Australia Day honour for our local heroes

FIVE incredible locals and one non-profit group have been honoured at Canterbury Bankstown’s Australia Day Awards Ceremony.

To kick off the council’s Australia Day celebrations, Mayor Bilal El-Hayek was joined by Australia Day Ambassador Bob Turner last Thursday evening to announce this year’s award recipients and swear in 23 new citizens who call our City home.
Mayor Bilal El-Hayek congratulated the award recipients and nominees and commended their dedication to ensuring Canterbury Bankstown was a great place to live.
“We received so many outstanding nominations and it certainly wasn’t easy to narrow the winners down to just six,” he said.
“These people do a fantastic job and don’t seek glory or recognition. They dedicate their time to better the lives of others and between them, have racked up hundreds of years of service.
“They do what they do out of a commitment to the community and they are an inspiration to us all.”
The recipients are:
Citizen of the Year – Gaby Kobrossi: Gaby dedicates his time to volunteering and serving as a minister at Bankstown District Uniting Church. With involvement across various community service roles, Gaby is passionate about making a meaningful difference to those around him.
Young Citizen of the Year – Nour Al Hammouri: Nour has been an ardent advocate for young people throughout all the avenues in which he works. He has been involved in countless organisations catered towards fostering strong connections with community.
Volunteer of the Year – Issam Obeid: Issam has been an active volunteer for more than 40 years. Dedicating his time to supporting the Taekwondo community and volunteering for other organisations like the Zakat House, he constantly supports and uplifts those around him.
Community Organisation of the Year – Padstow Community Care
Padstow Community Care is a not-for-profit organisation providing community and social services to Canterbury Bankstown for more than 36 years. It works tirelessly to support those facing financial and emotional pressures.
Jack Munday Environment and Heritage Award – Gareth Wreford
Gareth has been an outstanding and tireless volunteer for the Mudcrabs and an executive member of the Cooks River Valley Association. He has played a key role in planning and decision making of both the Cooks River Valley Association and its affiliated groups.
Community Women of the Year – Rawaa El Ayoubi: Dr Rawaa El Ayoubi has excelled in the field of women’s leadership, demonstrating outstanding capabilities in guiding and empowering women within our community. Her leadership extends beyond professional settings through her commitment to fostering growth and equality.
Mr Kobrossi said hearing his name called was a huge surprise and encouraged others to give back to the community.
“It’s important to live together in harmony, look out for one another and support each other,” he said.
Mr Al Hammouri said it felt surreal to receive the award and have his advocacy work recognised.
“I want to be an example to other young people who come from similar positions to myself,” he said.
“I want to show people that whatever they put their mind to from whatever background they come from, they can achieve it.”