The south-west was well represented at the Regional Achievement and Community Awards on Friday night, taking out two of the 10 categories presented at Melbourne’s Docklands.
Warrnambool Base Hospital emergency department director Tim Baker won the south west regional achiever Award and Koroit and District Primary School claimed the leadership and innovation award.
Dr Baker was recognised for his contribution to emergency medical care, while the primary school was acknowledged for developing a successful parenting program.
The awards celebrated regional Victoria’s high achievers and community contributors.
Dr Baker is a specialist emergency medicine doctor at Warrnambool and Portland hospitals and is a Deakin University lecturer. He was commended for recognising the need for improved south-west emergency care and initiating the Centre for Rural Emergency Medicine.
The emergency department director has successfully built a regional emergency workforce of doctors, medical students and smaller emergency care facilities to complement the state-wide emergency care system.
Dr Baker has been invited by both state and federal government committees to advocate for the emergency medical needs of rural communities. Koroit and District Primary School, under the leadership of former principal Michelle Bickley-Miller, developed the Nurture Nest program to help parents prepare their children for kindergarten and school.
The program builds parents’ understanding and confidence in their child’s social, emotional, intellectual and physical development.
Teachers have noticed improved learning and an increased rate of literacy since the program began.
The Beyond the Bell Moyne Action Group program has been extended across the Moyne Shire.
Regional Development minister Jaala Pulford congratulated all award winners and nominees.
“Our people are what make regional Victoria a great place to live, visit and work,” Ms Pulford said.
“The winners demonstrate the level of passion and drive to make it an even better place.
“The winners should be congratulated for their leadership and for inspiring our next set of leaders.”