Hi everyone – as Andrew said my name is Janine Symons and I am from the Sunshine Coast – where it’s a lovely 25 degrees today.
The Sunshine Coast is located one hours drive north of Brisbane and is famous for its beaches and hinterland areas. Our population is over 300,000 - as is our land area. We had 2.9m domestic tourist visitors and over 230,00 international visitors in the 11/12 calendar year. Our gross regional product is $10 billion and we have over 150,000 rateable properties. We are currently the 4 th largest council in Australia and our budget is $7.7million.
Sunshine Coast Council is presently undergoing an organizational review and restructure but the Civic and Community Events Team currently sit in the CRB of the CS dept. There are 4 event officers delivering operationally, 2 of which are senior roles.
We have a portfolio of events our team manages throughout the year, with the majority held over the festive season. For Australia day, council produces an awards program and event, a community celebration and a citizenship ceremony. There are also lots of community run events, some of which council supports through the community grants program. Grants are run by the Community Development team with one of our senior officers sitting on the panel.
Let’s look at our awards program first. The 2013 awards were launched on 3 September 2012 with nominations closing on 28 December 2012 providing over 12 weeks to get nominations in. The presentation ceremony is held the night before Australia Day as we include a full page feature in the regional newspaper on Australia Day with photos and a write up on all the winners. I have recommended changing the closing date this year to early-December – mainly due to the fact that we need a little more time to process and conduct judging before the awards event, particularly with a 50,00 strong New Year’s Eve event on during this time period, as well as two carols events and other Australia Day events.
I conducted a major review of our awards program in 2012 – some of you may even have received emails from me early last year – and one of the areas where I implemented changes was in the categories of the awards. We previously had a Business category which had never done particularly well – I believe due to the fact that this is not an excellence awards program and therefore has less value for a business. We have also introduced the Citizen of the Year category as there was previously a gap for this age group. As you can see the Community category is the largest by far – I plan to remedy this by changing this category to Community Group and increasing communication which will hopefully send a lot of the individual community nominations into either the Citizen, Senior or Young citizen of the Year categories.
Each category has specific criteria that must be addressed as part of the entry process. We have strongly suggested a minimum of 300 words is submitted, as we had been getting one line entries in previous years, and a maximum of 500 words. This is to make judging easier both in time taken to judge and equity in submissions. i.e. apples against apples… We also request that every nominee provides two referees. We then have the option to call and verify statements made of any potential winners. We had a winner in previous years who had only been living on the coast for 12 months, which we didn’t know until her acceptance speech, which you can imagine wen down a treat with those who did not win, which is why we also now ask for timeframes as per the above.
This was the first year we had a television partner and our entries were up 26%. Along with the print and tv advertising we printed 10,000 DL entry kits – on 100% recycled paper using soy based inks - which were distributed to all council customer service centres, libraries, visitor information centres, tafe’s and universities and councillors as well as a mass community mail out to over 300 known groups and organisations. Print media editorial and advertising was conducted in three stages, launched in September, mid-November story on this year’s trophy maker and last chance to nominate plus event MC and speaker info in December. Internal council tools such as library email newsletter, website home page portals and radio spotlight advertising was also utilised.
Market research is conducted through the online nomination process as well as at the ceremony and revealed that 86% of nominations are received online – we have an online nomination form which automatically emails us a copy of the nomination as well as allowing us to export all data into an excel spreadsheet. The four main channels for hearing about the awards were word of mouth – local paper, television and Information received in the post.
Allocated budget was $30K with just over $28K spent. The program is the major portion of the cost and includes expenses related to certificates, trophies, media launch, judging and all advertising and print collateral costs. Graphic design was competed internally at no cost. Event costs includes venue, catering, MC, entertainment and audio visual. Staff hours are not included in the budget, except for overtime. One senior officer and one event officer worked on the program and event with the rest of the team working at the event.
We have a total of five judges on the judging panel – a combination of male and female from different industries and academia. No councillors sit on the panel. All nominations are collated into a Précis document with each nominees’ 300-500 words addressing assessment criteria, nominee name and entrant number plus space for score out of ten and comments - purely for recall purposes and not shared internally or externally. The Précis document is sent to all judges to be scored and returned before the judging moderation day. All scores are to added together from each judge and averaged out. If a judge has a declared conflict of interest for a particular nominee then the average takes this into account. The judging panel is brought together to endorse the winners by outlining all scores paying particular attention to those that are close or tied. All judges are to discuss and agree on a clear first and second in each category – scores may be amended at this time. Ties do occur, but are generally limited to one as there are only 8 trophies commissioned. Additionally, there is the option of giving an Outstanding Achievement Award for something above and beyond - As we did with Jessica Watson two years ago.
Despite heavy rainfalls experienced in the lead up to the Awards ceremony as well as the day of, audience numbers were close to those in 2012 with numbers over 400. National television presenter and south-east Queensland resident, Sofie Formica was selected to compere the awards. Australia Day Ambassador Emeritus Professor Ken Donald was our guest speaker and was very well received. The Sunshine Coast Youth Orchestra played onstage before the commencement of the program while people arrived, chatted and seated themselves. The orchestra also played the National Anthem and a concluding piece. John Major, a local bush poet from Mapleton, performed Australiana poetry written especially for the awards ceremony. The Welcome to Country performed by Lyndon Davis and including traditional Aboriginal Dancing is always a highlight of the event.
All entrants are presented with a certificate. In previous years we had framed these but with entrant numbers increasing and budgets not, this year they were presented in white cardboard presentation folders. Category winners receive a bespoke trophy handmade by a local artist - we commission a different award design every year. A commemorative program from the day is also produced with all entrants names included. Catering is provided after the event including one beverage and finger food for around half an hour. In previous years this was just for the winners and VIP’s, but all nominees, winners and their guests were catered for in 2013 to increase the exposure time for the winners. Catering cost was about $9 per head. This program and event is regional so is moved around every year.
The Australia Day citizenship ceremony is our largest ceremony year after year, as I’m sure it is for most of you. This year we had 177 candidates and over 400 friends and family. Three days before the event we moved it to an indoor venue due to weather conditions. Note the recurring theme – rain in January! MC was Heather Foord, a newsreader from Channel 7 Brisbane who was provided free of charge through the LGAQ Ambassador program and the Guest speaker was Australia Day Ambassador Hetty Johnston. Again the welcome to country with traditional dancing is one of the highlights of the ceremony and feeedback received always confirms this. Surveys are conducted at every ceremony and prizes offered for completing them then and there. The hats in the pictures were given to recipients as gifts at the ceremony. This event is coordinated and run by the two event officers. This event, like the awards, is moved around the region and held in different venues.
Unfortunately both the 2012 and 2013 Australia Day’s have been weather affected! Last year we moved the event indoors the day before. The morning program with Shaun the Sheep and Bananas in Pyjamas was very popular whereas the afternoon session of bands saw a big drop off in numbers. This year’s event was cancelled and it was decided to move the entertainment to shopping centres and venues across the coast as they were already paid for. The budget for this event was $50K in 2012 reduced to $40K in 2013. Again one senior officer in conjunction with one event officer coordinated this event.
All of our Australia day events are currently under review and the recommendations are for no change to the awards program and event and no change to the citizenship ceremony. For the community celebration event however there have been options recommended. The preferred option is a two pronged approach. Instead of council producing one regional event– the budget ($40K) and officers’ time - will be split between a smaller low key council produced activity in the Kings Beach area – probably just a flag raising ceremony and some buskers – and portfolio management of community events. This will involve firstly identifying all established Australia Day events on the Sunshine Coast region. We will then put our time into building and developing more widespread community events – including possibly joinging failing events getting groups wanting to produce new events together, providing funding as well as guidance and assistance including sitting on events committees. We believe this will give us more bang for our buck as well as reducing potential losses due to bad weather as any community events cancelled will need to return any unused funding.
Thanks for your time.
Qld case study
AUSTRALIA DAYSUNSHINE COAST, QUEENSLANDAustralias most sustainable region - vibrant, green, diverse
2Who we areWaterways113 kilometresParks and bushlandOver 13,000 hectaresGross Regional Product$10 billionRateable properties155,830 (as at Jan 2012)Tourist arrivals2.9 million Domestic; 237,530 Internationaland 5 million day trips [2011/12]Council budget$7.7 million [2012/13]Council size4th largest in Australia
3Who we areOur teamCivic and Community Events Team, CustomerRelations Branch, Community Services DepartmentOperational delivery:2 x Senior Event OfficersJanine Symons & Katherine Morgan2 x Event OfficersJodie Feaver & Cheryl Pattison
4What we do• Australia Day awards program and event 1 SEO + 1 EO• Australia Day community celebration 1 SEO + 1 EO• Australia Day citizenship ceremony 2 x EO• Community grants program run by Community Development team
5Awards program and eventProgramAwards open3 September to28 DecemberPresentationceremony held onFriday 25 January
6Awards program and eventCategoriesCategory Nominated Withdrew Community 42 Sport and Recreation 6 Citizen of the Year 8 1 Creative 5 Environment 7 Young Citizen 4 Senior Citizen 27 1 TOTALS 99 2 97
7Awards program and eventCriteriaEntrants will be judged against each of the criteria listed. Timeframes for length ofservice / contribution / activity must be demonstrated for all categories.Citizen of the YearOutstanding contribution or achievement by an individual aged between 26 – 65 years on 26January 20XX. The winner will be an inspirational role model and display continued excellencein their field and in the community.Assessment Criteria - Demonstrated achievement in one or more of the following:•personal, academic or professional achievements•contribution in the relevant field•demonstrated leadership, innovation and creativity•personal interests and community involvement•contribution to the development of the Sunshine Coast community and/or economy•contributions being completed on a voluntary basis or exceeding the normal requirements ofthe nominee’s paid work
8Awards program and eventMarketingMedia partnerships weresought which enabled$21,000 of print andtelevision in-kind support fora total spend of $13,000Entries up 26% on last year
9Awards program and eventFeedback86% of nominationswere received onlineWord of Mouth, localpaper, television and inthe post were the topfour channels for hearingabout the awards
10Awards program and eventFinancialsBudget $30,000Spend $28,131Program $16,685Event $11,445
11Awards program and eventJudgingSpreadsheetsent to eachjudge forscoringScoredentriesreturned tocouncilScorescollated andaveragedEntriescollated intoprécisspreadsheetJudgingpanelmoderation
12Awards program and eventPresentation eventSunshine Coast Youth OrchestraJohn MajorMC Sofie FormicaWelcome to CountryAustralia Day Ambassador