Local heroes honoured at Gold Coast’s Australia Day Awards

Some of the city’s most inspirational residents have been honoured at the Gold Coast’s annual Australia Day awards overnight.

A legendary lifeguard, international student, Gold Coast Titans worker and young wheelchair racing champion were among this year’s winners, with Mayor Tom Tate presenting them with the honour at a special ceremony at the Q1.

Gold Coast icon and Chief Lifeguard Warren Young took out the Citizen of the Year award, with the Mayor praising Mr Young’s incredible contribution to the city.


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“He is a dead-set Gold Coast legend,” Mayor Tate said.

Mr Young joined the lifeguard service in 1973 and is one of the city’s most recognised residents, credited with our lifeguard service becoming the first in Australia to use jet skis for rescues.

“There are few Gold Coasters more loved or recognised than Warren,” the Mayor said.

“His contribution to our city is significant.”

Other award recipients include teenager Elijah Palmer, who was named Young Citizen of the Year for his commitment to wheelchair racing.

The 16-year-old, who attends Mudgeeraba State Special School, received five gold medals at the Queensland Schools Championships in 2019.

The Community Service award went to veteran and Secretary of the North Gold Coast RSL Sub-Branch Melanie Annand, who provides administrative and life support for the veterans in the Northern Gold Coast community.

While Gold Coast Titans Community and Game Development general manager Renee Cohen was awarded the Sports Achievement award for her commitment to celebrating diversity within the Gold Coast sporting community.

“Through collaborating with Down Syndrome Queensland, Ms Cohen has provided young Australians living with Down’s Syndrome the opportunity to live the dream and escort their favourite Titans players onto the field before the game,” the Mayor said.

Friends of the Gold Coast Botanic Gardens was awarded the Environmental Achievement Awards, while the Cultural Achievement Award went to Ken Dinh – a Vietnamese student who came to Australia two years ago to study and now works at the Gold Coast Student Hub, supporting international students down under.

“Each of these citizens has helped make the Gold Coast an even greater place to live,” the Mayor said.

“This is our way of thanking these local legends for their ongoing commitment to the coast… their hard work and dedication to our city does not go unnoticed.”

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Go Elijah Palmer! You are amazing!