ONE of the smallest Councils in Australia is proving that size doesn’t matter when it comes to creating ingenious solutions that improve living standards for people living in regional Australia.

After receiving numerous local and State awards, Balonne Shire Council has won the National Partnerships and Collaboration award at the Local Government Professionals National Federation Awards event in November 2022 for their collaboration to create ‘The Hub’ in St George.

‘The Hub’ facility provides regional students with the opportunity to follow higher learning opportunities whilst staying in their hometown, close to family and friends via dedicated study and learning spaces, free access to high-speed internet, modern technology and general academic support.

The Hub in St George has was a slew of awards since it was opened in March. IMAGE: BSC

Balonne Shire Mayor, Samantha O’Toole, expressed her appreciation for the award which recognises Council’s vision to grow educational opportunities within the region and for the community to ‘grow its own’ into the future.

“The Hub is providing an effective space, the right technology and academic support for students in our Shire to focus on and succeed in their studies, without having to move away from home,” Mayor O’Toole said.

“The Hub is continuing to exceed targets and expectations with over 75 students now using the facility, proving the community need for a supported educational experience.

“This award is an acknowledgement of the work Council is doing to support hard working students across Balonne to achieve their goals and use their skills and knowledge in their own hometown.”

This Award follows on from ‘The Hub receiving the Queensland Local Government Managers Australia (LGMA) award for Partnerships & Collaboration in 2022, before the project was entered into the National Federal Awards.

St Hilliers project manager Ryan Canning, Balonne mayor Samantha O’Toole and Maranoa MP David Littleproud at the opening of the The Hub in St George. IMAGE: South West Newspaper Co.
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