Bega Valley Shire Council’s former general manager Leanne Barnes OAM PSM has been recognised with the Councillor Lillian Brady OAM Award for her dedication to community while working for nearly 20 years at council.
The prestigious accolade was given as part of the 2021 Ministers’ Women in Local Government Award, which celebrates the outstanding work women do in NSW councils.
Bega Mayor Russell Fitzpatrick said he was honoured to have worked and served the community with Ms Barnes through a challenging time in the shire’s history.
“From the moment I first met Leanne more than 10 years ago, it was clear her priority was to lead and work alongside the community,” Cr Fitzpatrick said.
“Leanne was there when the community needed her the most – during the Tathra, Yankees Gap and Black Summer bushfires, during too many flood events to mention and when the COVID-19 pandemic weighed heavy on each of us in the Bega Valley.
“For those who know Leanne, they see a strong leader with a down-to-earth and approachable personality who inspires women in roles of leadership and governance across the state.”
Council’s CEO Anthony McMahon said the award could not have gone to a more deserving person.
“I personally would like to congratulate Leanne Barnes on receiving this well-earned award,” Mr McMahon said.
“Her dedication to her community is well known and previous accolades make it very clear how much the people of the Bega Valley Shire mean to her.
“Having worked with Leanne as a peer elsewhere in the region I can attest to the broader influence she has had in local government beyond the Bega Valley.
“Leanne’s time spent in local government was never just a job or career, it was a means to which she could use her considerable skills in creating a great place for everyone from pre-school children to her staff.”
Ms Barnes said she was honoured and humbled at being selected for the award by Minister for Local Government Wendy Tuckerman.
“There are many outstanding and inspiring women working in local government right now and I encourage everyone to continue recognising their efforts as they work tirelessly for their communities,” Ms Barnes said.
“These are the women who will go on to be mentors and role models for future leaders.”