Winner of the Award – Gae Swain, Gunnedah Shire Council
Clr Swain has served more than 20 years on Gunnedah Shire Council, with two terms as Mayor.
As the longest serving Mayor in the Shire’s 33 year history, Clr Swain also holds the distinct honour of being the only female President/Mayor in 114 years of local government in the area.
Clr Swain is passionate about her town, and dedicated and committed to increasing women’s representation on Council – there are now four female councillors.
Clr Swain served as Chair of the Works and Services Committee in her early years on the Council - unusual for a woman at the time.
Clr Swain demonstrates her passion and commitment to the town and its people and has developed strong links to a range of community organisations – covering issues from aged care to land management, and education to water management.
Clr Swain was instrumental in organising Gunnedah’s sesquicentenary in 2006, and a cultural exchange to promote Gunnedah as a destination and place to live. She worked hard to maintain the community’s sense of pride and optimism in the face of the closure of major industries in the area (two mines and the local abattoir).
She also initiated a Youth Scholarship Fund to promote post-school education options for local young people.