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Excellence in Tourism Award

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Please read this fact sheet carefully before submitting your entry.

Fact sheet

This award is sponsored by the Australian Government Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism.

In scoring entries against the selection criteria below, the judges will be looking for projects that:

  • are innovative
  • are sustainable, such as: regular events which take place throughout the year; or annual events, where there is a commitment to hold the event on an ongoing basis, and
  • have generated some outcomes (with these outcomes being evidenced in the entry).

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The role of local government in tourism

Local government involvement in tourism can vary significantly between localities based on the importance of tourism within the region. Tourism is an industry which can provide significant benefits to local communities particularly in regional and remote Australia. Local governments are responsible for improving the maintenance, upgrading and the replacement of community infrastructure. Finding ways to use resources to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and quality of infrastructure with the local community are key priorities and also contribute to visitor amenity within a region. Local governments can also encourage practices which assist local tourism businesses to achieve sustainability and use key events to showcase their local region.

The award recognises projects or initiatives that build the sustainability and capacity of local governments to assist appropriate tourism development within their region.

For example, councils could enter projects for this award which involved:

  • improving the maintenance, upgrading and replacement of community infrastructure which provides a better visitor experience
  • better using resources to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and quality of infrastructure and the services to support a better visitor experience
  • supporting local events and developing new events which promote increased visitor numbers in the region
  • supporting tourism ventures which promote employment outcomes for the local community.

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Entry guidelines

Entries open 3 December 2012 and close 15 February 2013. Entries will only be accepted during this timeframe.

The online entry:

  • requires you to provide a brief overall description of your project, for use in the Winner's Book and other promotional material
  • has a 300 word limit to each criterion; short attachments are permissible (10 page limit)
  • requires all selection criteria to be addressed as appropriate to the project; if a criterion is not relevant to the project state ‘not applicable’.


  • applications and attachments will be printed in black and white only
  • DVDs and/or CDs will not be accepted.

If you are unable to access the online entry form, or if you require additional information please email the Awards Team at awards@regional.gov.au, or visit www.regional.gov.au/local/awards.

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Selection criteria

Entries for the awards should address the following selection criteria:

  1. Innovation and/or best practice
    How does your project demonstrate innovation and/or best practice in the way your council does business or delivers services to your community?
  2. Process and planning
    How did you determine what changes were required to improve your business practices and/or better meet your community's needs (for example, consultation processes, needs analysis, etcetera)?
  3. Benefits
    What are the benefits of the project? Who benefits and how?
  4. Transferability
    Could other councils adopt your initiative? How?
  5. Regulatory reform
    How has your project reduced red tape and compliance costs to enhance business practices for tourism operators?
  6. Employment and skills
    How has your project contributed to the training and employment opportunities for tourism businesses in your region?

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The judging process

There are two stages to the judging process.

  1. Category judging
    Each award category will be judged by a category judging panel with judging based on the submitted entry form—entrants do not present to the category judging panels. A public announcement of category winners is made in March 2013, by the Minister for Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport.
  2. National judging
    Category finalists will be asked to present their entries to the national judging panel in Canberra, early May 2013. The judging panel will consider category finalists based on a short presentation and the online entry submitted.

Judging will be based on the material provided by you, within the online entry form. You must address all selection criteria to ensure both sets of judges can properly assess your entry. However the judges may, at their sole discretion, take into account:

  • any website material referred to in your entry, and
  • any attachments, such as documents and images, that you have attached to your entry via the email facility provided at the end of the entry form—no more than 10 pages in length.

Depending on the entries received, judges may recommend a second award for a small council (councils with less than 15,000 rateable properties).

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About the sponsor

The Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism is responsible for developing and maintaining government policies and programs for the resources, energy and tourism industries. Key objectives of the department include:

  • achieving strong economic growth
  • resilient and secure energy systems
  • equitable distribution of the benefits of Australia's energy, resources and tourism industries, and
  • actively participating in a whole of government approach to domestic and international environmental policy.

Tourism 2020 is a joint industry-government strategy to increase Australia's overnight visitor expenditure from $70 billion in 2011 to between $115 billion and up to $140 billion by 2020. To assist in meeting Tourism 2020 goals, a reform agenda is being implemented for tourism in Australia. The six Tourism 2020 strategic areas are:

  • grow demand from Asia
  • build competitive digital capability
  • encourage investment and implement regulatory reform
  • ensure tourism transport environment supports growth
  • increase supply of labour, skills and Indigenous participation, and
  • build industry resilience, productivity and quality.
The expected outcomes are enhanced tourism quality and visitor experiences and increased visitation and expenditure in regional Australia—in line with Tourism 2020 growth projections and objectives around productivity, innovation and quality.

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Questions and answers for entrants

Who can apply?

All elected local government organisations (councils, shires, etcetera that provide direct services to Australian communities) may apply for this award.

  • The focus of the awards program is on the grass-roots efforts of councils and shires to better serve their communities. For this reason, other types of organisations, including local government associations, are not eligible to apply.
  • All award categories are open to all councils—large, small, capital city and non-capital city.
  • Where a project involves collaboration with other councils, one council may enter on behalf of other councils. The council that enters should specify details of the councils it is representing on its entry or in an attachment to its entry.
  • Councils that are involved in projects that are carried out in partnership with other bodies, or receive funding from other bodies (including Commonwealth bodies) may apply. In this instance, the entrant council is required to show in its entry that it was an active rather than passive partner in the project.
  • Councils and shires that are under administration are not eligible to apply or to receive an award.

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Can small councils enter?

We encourage small councils to enter. Depending on the entries received, the judges may recommend a second ‘small council’ award in each council, for a small council with less than 15,000 rateable properties.

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What is the timeline for the 2013 awards?

Entries open 3 December 2012
Entries close 15 February 2013
Category judging Late February to late March 2013
Category winners announced End March 2013
National judging: Category winners present their projects to the National Judges Early May 2013
Award presentation event: National Winners announced Mid June 2013

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Who are the judges?

Category judging

Each category judging panel is usually chaired by a representative from the sponsoring Department and includes representatives from one or more local government organisations (ALGA, ALGWA and/or LGMA), plus—depending on the category—other judges drawn from local government, universities etcetera.

National judging

The national judging panel is chaired by a senior local government person and includes representatives from local government organisations (ALGA, ALGWA and/or LGMA) and from the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport.

All judges are required to sign conflict of interest declarations and to abstain from judging entries that they have an interest in—for example, from their own council.

Given the tight timeframes involved and the high number of entries in some categories, it is not possible to offer feedback on individual entries.

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What can we win?

Category winners will travel to Canberra to present their entry to the National Judging Panel in May 2013.

Category winners are presented a trophy and framed winner's certificate, during the National General Assembly in June 2013.

Up to two presentations are made for the overall National Award for Excellence by the Minister during a dinner in June 2013 at the Great Hall, Parliament House, Canberra.

Category and national finalists will be provided with awards winner logos to place on their websites and correspondence.

No cash payments are made to awards winners.

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Winners' expenses

The Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport will fund awards-related travel and accommodation expenses of category and national winners who are invited to present to the national judging panel and/or attend the award presentation event in Canberra.

The department will make arrangements on behalf of:

  • one person per winning entrant to present to the national judging panel in May 2013
  • up to two people per winning entrant to attend the award presentation and official dinner in June 2013.

The department will not reimburse individuals for any expenses they may incur in participating in the awards, except by prior arrangement and only if the department is invoiced by the individual's employing council rather than directly by the individual.

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What happens after the awards?

Sponsoring departments are encouraged to promote the award winners and their projects throughout the local government sector, using a variety of communication options within your department's networks, for example, your internal website, social media outlets and industry contacts.

The Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport will continue promoting award winners via stakeholder engagement, advertising, digital and social media and events and where possible, media engagement opportunities.

Award winners will be encouraged to share their experiences with other councils that are interested in their projects.

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The Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sports would like to acknowledge the tremendous support from the 2013 sponsoring departments. Sponsor support of the awards program plays a vital role in ensuring the ongoing recognition of local government and community achievements. Involvement in the awards enables sponsors to better understand the issues faced by local governments. This knowledge can then be utilised to shape government programs to address areas of current community concern.

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Last Updated: 22 July, 2014