Hume Community Awards

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The 2024 Hume Community Awards were held on Tuesday 25 June 2024

Across eight distinct categories, these awards aim to highlight and appreciate a diverse range of achievements that positively impact the social, cultural, environmental, and many more aspects of Hume City. Through this program, we aim to recognise the dedication, innovation and leadership displayed by community members, who create a sense of belonging, optimism and unity in Hume City.   

The program not only acknowledges the recipients' efforts but also aims to inspire others to engage in community betterment and development. By providing a stage to recognize these remarkable contributions, the Hume Community Awards strengthen community connections, promote inclusivity, and celebrate the diverse tapestry of talents that enrich the municipality. 


View images from the event held on Tuesday 25 June here

Award Winners

All nominees were invited to attend a special celebration at the Town Hall Broadmeadows where award winners for each category were announced. All nominees received a certificate of recognition of their nomination. If you were nominated and did not receive your certificate, please send an email with your name to


Academic Excellence

The winner of the 2024 Academic Excellence Award is:

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Vidhula Jayasena

Vidhula has consistently maintained outstanding school reports since he began his educational journey.  In Grade 2, he participated in the International Competitions and Assessments for Schools (ICAS), a competition conducted annually in over 20 countries and a proud moment for his Primary School being their first year participating in the assessments.

Vidhula’s performance was nothing short of extraordinary. He was awarded High Distinction in all four subjects: English, Digital Technologies, Mathematics, and Science. This accolade signifies that Vidhula was among the top 1% of all participants in Australia and New Zealand across these subjects.

Vidhula was also awarded two medals for Science and Digital Technologies, symbolizing his remarkable results in these subjects. He stood as the highest-ranked Grade 2 student in all of Victoria for these subjects, a truly commendable achievement.

Vidhula has developed a profound love for reading. He has a record of civic participation having participated in the ‘1000 Books Before School’ program offered by the Hume City Council and completed it almost three times before he even started school. His reading interests span a wide range of both fiction and non-fiction genres, allowing him to gain vast knowledge.

Vidhula’s achievements and dedication are a testament to his commitment to academic excellence and his passion for learning. His journey is an inspiration to us all, and we look forward to seeing what the future holds for this promising young scholar.

The criteria for this award included:

  • Outstanding academic performance, including high grades and academic awards
  • Demonstrated dedication to learning, research, and intellectual curiosity.
  • Contributions to the academic community, such as tutoring or mentoring peers.
  • Participation and achievements in academic competitions or conferences.
  • Innovative projects or research that have practical applications or positive impacts.

Advocacy and Social Justice

The winner of the 2024 Advocacy and Social Justice Award is:

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Jamil Nabole

Jamil has shown remarkable dedication and courage in advocating for the rights of LGBTIQA+ young people, particularly those who identify as trans and gender diverse in Hume. 

From a young age, Jamil has been a beacon of change, advocating for safe and inclusive spaces for LGBTIQA+ students in their Sunbury-based secondary school and the broader Hume community. 

At just 13, Jamil campaigned against the binary school uniform policy, opening up uniform options for all students, regardless of their gender. 

This advocacy continues to positively impact students today, supporting their gender affirmation. 

Jamil’s advocacy extends beyond school walls. They spoke at Melbourne’s first Trans Pride March and delivered education sessions focused on ‘diverse experiences of growing up in Australia’, aiming to build students’ understanding of diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice. 

Jamil is a self-described change-maker and a young leader in the LGBTIQA+ community. They volunteer their time to improve safety, health, and wellbeing outcomes for LGBTIQA+ young people, particularly trans and non-binary young people of color. Their commitment to social justice is evident through their social media content and chosen career path. 

Jamil has also worked alongside Cobaw Community Health, and Hume City Council Youth Services in co-delivering and being MC at the the IDAHOBIT Flag Raising Ceremony over several years. 

Jamil’s advocacy, demonstrated through public speaking, presentations, mentoring, policy reviewing, and social media, is a testament to their commitment to advocating for the rights of young people, particularly those in the LGBTIQA+ community. Their strength and dedication have grown over the past 8-10 years, making them a true inspiration for us all.

The criteria for this award includes:

  • Active involvement in advocacy efforts related to human rights, equality, or social justice issues.
  • Demonstrated impact on addressing social inequalities and improving living conditions for marginalized groups.
  • Effective use of communication and outreach to raise awareness about important social issues.
  • Collaborative efforts in building alliances and partnerships for social change.
  • Overcoming challenges and demonstrating perseverance in the face of opposition.

Arts and Creative Expression

The winner of the 2024 Arts and Creative Expression Award is:

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Deborah (Deb) Sweeney

Deb has been a pillar of our local choirs for over a decade. Her involvement with the Sunbury Divas In-Sync and Harmonix, her partner's choir, has not only enriched these groups with her talent but also inspired others to join and express themselves through music.

Deb has been a tireless advocate for The Sunbury Rock Festival. She started the Rock Festival Facebook group 15 years ago, which now boasts a community of 1500+ members. For 12 years, she has been in constant dialogue with Council, advocating for the continuation of the Sunbury Rock Festival right here in our community.

Her dedication bore fruit when she organized a meeting with well-known rock musicians, leading to the successful execution of the Sunbury 24 festival earlier this year, which celebrated 50 years since the original Sunbury Rock concerts – and I think has been one of the best events this Council has ever put on.  Her efforts were further recognised when her collection of memorabilia was displayed at the exhibition gallery at the Hume Global Learning Centre.

Deb’s generosity and willingness to help are evident in all her endeavours. She is always ready to lend a hand and involve herself in worthy causes.

Deb’s dedication to the arts, her advocacy for creative expression, and her commitment to our community make her a very deserving recipient of this year’s Art and Creative Expression Award. 

The criteria for this award included:

  • Demonstrated talent and creativity in their chosen artistic field.
  • Recognition and accolades received for their artistic contributions.
  • Positive influence on the local arts community, inspiring others to pursue creative expression.
  • Commitment to cultural representation and promoting diverse artistic voices.
  • Use of art as a means of advocating for social or environmental causes.

Community Service Excellence

The winner of the 2024 Community Service Excellence Award is:

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Annette McIlvain

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Annette has demonstrated exceptional leadership as the District Commissioner for Hume Scouts, overseeing the operations of four community groups, namely 1st Sunbury, 3rd Sunbury, 1st Craigieburn, and 1st Tullapark. Under Annette’s leadership, all members, from Joeys to Rovers, have received tailored support and guidance.

Annette’s visionary leadership became evident when she advocated for the inclusion of a Joey section in the 1st Craigieburn Scouts in 1999. The year 2024 marks the 25th anniversary of the Joey Scouts at Craigieburn, showcasing her profound influence in fostering a culture of leadership, resilience, and community engagement and I think it was that 30 years worth of community history that really stuck out for us a selection panel.

Annette's proactive approach to leadership development is evident as she continuously seeks relevant courses and programs to address and support the needs of others. From mental health first aid to supporting individuals within the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and providing training for effectively supporting neurodivergent youth, she leaves no stone unturned in equipping leaders with the necessary skills and knowledge.

Annette goes above and beyond her official duties. Her contributions to the community through her leadership in Scouting embody the highest ideals of service, mentorship, and inclusivity. Her dedication has left an indelible mark on countless lives, shaping future leaders and fostering a sense of belonging and purpose within the community.

The criteria for this award included:

  • Long-term dedication and consistent involvement in community service activities.
  • Measurable positive impact on the community and its residents.
  • Collaborative approaches to address community needs and challenges.
  • Demonstrated leadership and organizational skills in community service projects.
  • Initiatives that encourage broader community engagement and volunteering.

Environmental Stewardship

The winner of the 2024 Environmental Stewardship Award is:

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Austyn Edwards

Austyn’s leadership journey began early, serving on the school council since year seven. He has been a voice for his peers, interacting with school leadership and the wider school community. His representation extends beyond the school, as he also sits on the Hume Youth Action Committee, representing youth throughout Hume.

In his role as Sustainability Captain, Austyn has implemented several initiatives to foster a sustainable environment at his school. His ‘Good On One Side’ (G.O.O.S) paper initiative and Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) initiative have been instrumental in promoting recycling and sustainable use of resources.

In 2022, as the Middle School Captain, Austyn led an anti-vaping campaign, educating his peers about the dangers of vaping. His perseverance and determination have made a significant impact, fostering a healthier school environment.

Austyn’s commitment to his fellow students and the Sunbury community is evident in his readiness to lend an ear to those who need someone to talk to. He positively impacts their well-being, offering a friendly face and a listening ear.

His contributions have been recognized beyond our community. He was the inaugural winner of the Bob Hawke Award for outstanding school and community citizenship for his school and was the recipient of the 2023 ADF Long Tan Award for youth leadership and teamwork.

Austyn’s dedication to environmental sustainability, his leadership in fostering a culture of inclusivity and respect, and his commitment to his peers make him the deserving recipient of this year’s Environmental Stewardship Award.

The criteria for this award included:

  • Proactive efforts in promoting environmental sustainability and conservation.
  • Demonstrated success in implementing eco-friendly practices and initiatives.
  • Leadership in organizing environmental awareness campaigns or events.
  • Involvement in projects that protect local biodiversity and natural resources.
  • Collaboration with local organizations and authorities to advance environmental causes.

Sport and Recreation Achievement

The winner of the 2024 Sports and Recreation Achievement Award is:

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Nabil Yassine

Nabil’s tireless efforts have led to the establishment of the Dallas Football Club, a non-profit organization that has become a beacon of community spirit and sportsmanship. Despite the challenges, Nabil has worked relentlessly, often out of pocket, to ensure the club’s success.

In addition to founding the club, Nabil has been instrumental in promoting Auskick in the region. His efforts have not only put our local region on the map but also resulted in the Dallas Football Club hosting the biggest Auskick center in the whole of Victoria.

Under Nabil’s leadership, the club has already established two junior teams in its first year, with more anticipated in 2025. The club now hosts the EDFL thirds on Friday nights, attracting over a hundred fans weekly, a testament to the club’s growing popularity and Nabil’s effective leadership.

Despite personal challenges, Nabil’s commitment remains unwavering. He spends most of his free time at the club, passionately working to promote sport and support good sporting role models and I know when I was speaking with the AFL CEO Andrew Dillon earlier this year, he made mention of the incredible work being undertaken at the Dallas Football Club.

Nabil’s dedication to promoting sports and recreation, his leadership in fostering a culture of inclusivity and respect, and his commitment to his community make him the deserving recipient of this year’s Sports and Recreation Achievement Award. 

The criteria for this award included:

  • Exceptional performance and accomplishments in their chosen sports or recreational activities.
  • Demonstrated dedication to sportsmanship, fair play, and teamwork.
  • Representing the municipality at regional, national, or international competitions.
  • Initiatives that encourage youth participation in sports and recreation.
  • Contributions to sports-related community events and initiatives.

Outstanding Cultural Leadership

The winner of the 2024 Outstanding Cultural Leadership Award is:

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Raj Mann

Raj has consistently fostered connections and understanding between diverse cultural groups. Through tireless efforts, she has created numerous initiatives and events that bring people from different backgrounds together in meaningful ways.

Raj’s notable contributions are her leadership in organizing multicultural festivals and events such as the Hume Diwali Mela and Hume Holi Mela. These events have provided platforms for members of various cultural communities to showcase their traditions, cuisines, music, and art with the wider Hume community breaking down barriers and promoting cross-cultural understanding amongst our municipality.

Raj also regularly volunteers as a cultural ambassador, representing her own cultural heritage while also learning about and sharing other cultures with the community.

She actively participates in intercultural workshops, discussions, and educational initiatives aimed at fostering empathy, respect, and mutual understanding among diverse cultural groups.

Raj has also shown an ability to collaborate and partner with various stakeholders, including local governments, businesses, educational institutions, and other non-profits. These partnerships show the reach and effectiveness of her work in the community.

Through her passion, leadership, and commitment to inclusivity, Raj is helping to create and build a more cohesive and harmonious Hume where people from all backgrounds feel valued and respected.

The criteria for this award included:

  • Initiatives that actively foster connections and understanding between diverse cultural groups.
  • Successful events that celebrate various cultures, encouraging engagement and dialogue.
  • Demonstrated collaborative partnerships with cultural organizations.
  • Efforts to raise awareness and appreciation for cultural diversity within the community.
  • Measures taken that enhance community bonds across different cultural backgrounds.

Outstanding Community Leadership

The winner of the 2024 Outstanding Community Leadership Award is:

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Louise Zambello

Louise's journey is a testament to her unwavering commitment to service. After a remarkable 47-year career as a paralegal, she transitioned to a boutique governance consultancy, providing assistance to public companies, private organizations, and non-profits. Her wealth of experience and expertise has been instrumental in addressing their unique needs.

Upon retirement, Louise felt a strong calling to give back to non-profit organizations that were struggling to find volunteers with strong governance and leadership skills. Her extensive governance experience, coupled with her charitable inclination, made her an invaluable asset to these organizations.

A resident of Sunbury for over 40 years, Louise has always held a deep appreciation for her local community. She is a staunch advocate for health and wellbeing, especially for seniors. She understands the challenges many older individuals face, from financial difficulties to loneliness, and believes in the importance of socializing and maintaining a voice in society.

Over the last decade, Louise has held significant volunteer roles, including Board Member and Secretary of Heartbeat Victoria Council Inc., President of Heartbeat Victoria Sunbury Branch, President of Hume City Council Community Garden, President of Sunbury Senior Citizens Club, and Member of Sunbury Cobaw Community Health Community Reference Group.

Louise's accomplishments are numerous. She established a new branch of Heartbeat in Sunbury, recognizing the need for heart peer support in the Western suburbs of Melbourne. During the Covid lockdowns, she coordinated the online training of 55 members throughout Victoria, reducing the effects of isolation. She also obtained a grant which funded  computer iPads for Sunbury members who couldn’t afford a computer.

When Louise joined the Sunbury Senior Citizens Club in 2020, the club was on the verge of folding. However, Louise, with her characteristic determination, took on the challenge of resurrecting the club. Today, the club is thriving with 50 active members, a range of activities, and a culture of care, empathy, respect, and comradeship.

Louise Zambello is a shining example of what it means to be a community leader. Her tireless efforts, her dedication to service, and her unwavering commitment to improving the lives of others make her more than deserving of this award.

The criteria for this award included:

  • Evidence of successful community projects or programs led by the individual.
  • Demonstrated ability to mobilize and inspire others to work towards common goals.
  • Effective communication and problem-solving skills in a community context.
  • Recognized positive impact on community development and well-being.
  • Collaborative and inclusive leadership style that values diverse perspectives.