Albury Council has won prestigious AR Bluett Memorial Award given to the most progressive municipality in NSW

ALBURY has won local government’s equivalent of the Brownlow Medal by claiming the AR Bluett Memorial Award, the city’s mayor says.

Kevin Mack accepted the prize, which saw Albury outclass Sydney and major regional NSW councils.

“It’s the equivalent of the Brownlow in football in terms of NSW council awards,” Cr Mack said of the accolade which dates back to 1945 and has only gone to Albury once before in 1984.

“Given that in our category we were competing with metropolitan cities it’s an amazing outcome.

“The judges visited Albury a couple of weeks ago, but we were up against some other councils that have applied for it four or five years in a row and haven’t been successful, so we’re lucky.”

State beaters: Albury Council chief executive Frank Zaknich and mayor Kevin Mack with a certificate recognising the city's Bluett Award. A bronze plaque marking the honour will also be presented in the future to the organisation. Picture: MARK JESSER

State beaters: Albury Council chief executive Frank Zaknich and mayor Kevin Mack with a certificate recognising the city's Bluett Award. A bronze plaque marking the honour will also be presented in the future to the organisation. Picture: MARK JESSER

The Bluett Award recognises the most progressive council in NSW and examines 17 factors with the key criteria being excellence, innovation and sustainability.

Award chairman and judge Graeme Fleming was unable to name Albury’s shortlisted rivals due to protocols, but he said progress other several years was crucial.

“It’s not just for the last 12 months that they won, it’s for the achievements of past councils as well,” Mr Fleming said.

“They’ve put some good long term plans in place for the city and they’ve backed them up with a good financial position.”

It is the first time since 2011 that Albury has sought the award and its entry highlighted MAMA, waste management and Wagga and Kerr road developments.

“It’s a prestigious award in local government circles and in terms of how we do business it’s important because it’s a stringent measure that people take note of,” Cr Mack said.

“It’s a temperature check of how you run your business, it’s a pretty arduous process.”

The award was presented at a ceremony in Wollongong on Tuesday night with Cr Mack receiving it alongside deputy mayor Amanda Cohn and former mayors Alice Glachan and Henk van de Ven and general manager Frank Zaknich.

Cr Mack said the prize was a credit to the council’s 460 staff with one now eligible for a $2500 scholarship which goes to an employee of the winning council.

Member for Albury Greg Aplin applauded the result.

“These are great achievements, it’s great to have recognition,” Mr Aplin said.

“Across the electorate we have had Tumbarumba Council successful before in one category so it’s always good news.”

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