Coolum local named Oz Day Citizen of the Year by Council

Citizen of the Year – Coolum woman Michele Lipner with her Australia Day Award presented by Sunshine Coast Council. The award is in recognition of Michele’s work with OzHarvest which take surplus food and redistribute it to people in need. Photo: Contributed  

IN A CEREMONY that was held last week Sunshine Coast Regional Council presented their 2023 Australia Day Awards with Coolum local Michele Lipner from the charity ‘Oz Harvest’ bestowed with the prestigious ‘Citizen of the Year’.  

Michele has been described as a community champion whose efforts have helped feed thousands of people in need and has been honoured for her tireless dedication to helping others as well as reducing food waste and advocacy work.  

A Coolum local, Michele is the founder and coordinator of the local chapter of OzHarvest, Australia’s leading food rescue organisation. 

OzHarvest saves and redistributes surplus food to charities that feed people in need.  

Each month Michele and her volunteers rescue 15,000kg of quality food which goes on to support 45 charities, with 40 food donors and they have delivered 2.1 million meals.  

The local chapter also runs hands-on cooking classes, showing participants how 

to transform rescued ingredients into delicious meals and deliver education programs to charities that teach healthy cooking habits and how to cook simple and low-cost meals.  

Sunshine Coast Council Acting Mayor Rick Baberowski said people like Michele formed the backbone of our Sunshine Coast community. 

“This year, we received 63 Sunshine Coast Australia Day nominations across seven categories with a common thread weaving through each one — every nominee was praised for their selflessness and their dedication to helping others,” Cr Baberowksi said. 

“Together the nominations form a glorious account of the actions of everyday people who make a difference. It’s a humbling account and every nominee should feel very proud. 

“On behalf of Sunshine Coast — to all those nominated both this year and in previous years — a sincere thank you.” 



Martin Bristow 

Martin is the President of the Coolum Cricket Club (CCC) and has 

a vision for it to be the friendliest club on the Sunshine Coast. 

Participation growth is high because of this, with Marty making a 

point of welcoming new players and families. He has built a team 

of helpers to ensure the juniors and seniors continue to flourish 

and is diligent with administration. His most recent success was the 

installation of top-grade lighting for the Ron Cargill Oval. 

Amanda Jansen 

Amanda Jansen has been the volunteer Junior Activities Chair 

(JAC) at the Marcoola Surf Life Saving Club since 2018 and an 

active club member since 2006. She also manages ancillary tasks, 

assists with fundraising and actively participates in beach patrols. 

Amanda manages the Nippers Program, something she says takes 

an army of 70-plus volunteers to run each week. A huge reason for 

the substantial growth of nippers’ numbers, in recent years, can be 

attributed to Amanda’s tenacity, great communication and 

coordination skills. 


Stephanie Hughes channelled her passion for the ocean to create a 

completely circular economy for the everyday person’s grocery 

shop. In 2021 she set up Raw Bulk Foods Online and designed and 

engineered the first food grade, recycled ocean-waste returnable 

plastic bag, which is now being used across all food deliveries within 

her company. She also trials and implements technology to facilitate 

a circular economy for large scale food, uses pre-existing ocean 

waste in her packaging and funds ocean clean ups. 


Coolum Beach Uniting Church  

The church is doing wonders for the welfare and wellbeing of 

those in Coolum. Each Monday, they collect food from the Brisbane 

Foodbank, which is then offered to the most vulnerable in Coolum 

for a small donation, however, everyone can access the service 

regardless of finances. This is such a marvellous help to the 

community, especially at these times with the cost of living so high. The 

church also provides a range of community events and outreach 

activities, working hard to assist the Coolum community. 

A full list of recipients is available on council’s website 

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