Australia Day Awards for Penrith’s best

Australia Day Awards for Penrith’s best

Thursday, 23 January 2020

Penrith Council’s Citizen of the Year has been awarded to Malcolm Robar for his service to the community as a passionate and dedicated volunteer with various organisations including the NSW State Emergency Service, NSW Rural Fire Service and Marine Rescue NSW.

Malcolm was one of seven recipients recognised and celebrated in Penrith Council’s Australia Day Awards at a formal dinner held at the Penrith Civic Centre on Wednesday 22 January.

Penrith Mayor Ross Fowler OAM said this year’s worthy recipients are all outstanding members of the local community.

“Council’s Australia Day Awards acknowledge community service at a local level. This year’s recipients have all made an enormous contribution of time and effort to their chosen cause and I’d like to thank them for their dedication to our community,” Cr Fowler said.


MALCOLM ROBAR Penrith Citizen of the Year

Mr Malcolm Robar has dedicated his life to helping others in times of need, in his career as a member of the Australian Federal Police and as a volunteer for several organisations including the NSW State Emergency Service, NSW Rural Fire Service, and Marine Rescue NSW.

Malcom’s passion for service and helping people began during his time with the Australian Federal Police (1985-2000) where he worked in areas such as Fraud and General Crime, Drug Operations, Organised Crime Branch, Internal Affairs and as part of the security planning team for the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

For the past 10 years, Malcolm has been a dedicated volunteer for organisations providing emergency responses to natural disasters including hail storms, floods, bushfires and other major events. He coordinated responses and worked to coordinate agencies to ensure people received help when they needed it the most.

Malcolm has also been an active member of local sporting clubs supporting Softball and junior Rugby League players in his capacity as a coach and manager for teams in Penrith, and also recently visited the remote Kimberley Region of Western Australia to work with the Indigenous community teaching basic computer skills.


JOSE RELUNIA Penrith Local Appreciation

Mr Jose Relunia is a highly trusted, respected and recognised leader among the Penrith and Greater Sydney Filipino Community and he has devoted his life to helping others and sharing his culture with the broader community.

As President of the Western Sydney Fil-Oz Association, Philippine Australian Society for Senior Citizens Inc, Philippine Community Council of NSW and Australian Devotees of Our Lady of Penafrancia, Jose has played an important role supporting newly arrived migrants, fostering inclusion and promoting Philippine culture.

In retirement, Jose has dedicated his time to his faith and the community volunteering for the Filipino Chaplaincy, Diocese of Parramatta, Liturgical Committee, St. Nicholas of Myra Parish, Penrith and as a columnist for the Philippine Community Herald.


IAN WEST Penrith Local Appreciation

Mr Ian West has volunteered for the Emu Plains Lions Club for many years and has played an important role in driving their fundraising, donation and community programs which support the local Penrith community as well as international aid organisations.

This year Ian celebrated 20 years’ service with the Club, and has served as President twice; from 2003-2005 and 2014-2017. During this time he was responsible for coordinating the collection of over 25,000 pairs of prescription glasses for 3rd world countries, the Annual Lions BBQ for the NAIDOC Cup and the continued support of the Lions Youth of the Year Program.

Ian was also instrumental in forming the Penrith Men’s Basketball Club and Penrith Junior Australian Rules Club and has volunteered for other local community groups including Oz Harvest and Shalvey Community Centre, receiving and distributing food to those in need.


ROBERT RIGBY Penrith Local Appreciation

Mr Robert Rigby has been a committed and respected Cubs Leader for the 1st South Penrith Scouting Group for over 10 years and has made a significant contribution to the education, safety and wellbeing of children (cubs) in this time.

Robert goes above and beyond what is expected, taking the time to plan and execute an extraordinary variety of outdoor activities including camping, bushcraft, hiking, rafting and canoeing to ensure children are engaged and excited to learn and experience new things.

Robert is well-respected amongst the children, parents and other leaders and invests a great deal of time and effort to ensure children under his care enjoy a well-rounded, fun, challenging and adventurous experience.


CHERISE TERRY-JONGEJANS Penrith Local Appreciation

Ms Cherise Terry-Jongejans volunteers as a Youth Cadet Leader for St John Ambulance Penrith Division each Friday night, teaching young people aged 12-18yrs important first aid skills and sharing her passion for helping people.

As a St John Ambulance volunteer, Cherise also attends local events including those held at the Nepean River, ANZAC day parades and at the Penrith Community Tree Lighting. Her enthusiasm for helping people has encouraged large groups of Cadets to join her in volunteering at these events.

When she’s not volunteering Cherise is a registered nurse and a registered qualified Paramedic with the Western Sydney Nepean Blue Mountains sector of NSW Ambulance where she provides rapid response, emergency medical assessment, treatment and care for members of our community when they need it most.



Mama Lana’s Community Foundation has been providing ‘Kindness with No Strings’ to the local community since 2013. Mrs Lana Borg along with her husband Roger started the Foundation during the Springwood bushfire disaster, providing support and sandwiches to exhausted RFS personnel.

What began as something small and simple soon grew as they identified an urgent need to care for and feed the homeless and disadvantaged in the Penrith community. Mama Lana’s Community Foundation began serving hot meals six nights a week from an uncovered outdoor area in Allan Place, then from Judges Carpark and now from a house on Woodriff St, Penrith.

Mama Lana’s Community Foundation now has more than 180 volunteers on a rotating roster and has grown to become a vital service in the local community offering regular meals to the homeless and disadvantaged, free counselling services and working with NGOs to provide access to housing, mental health services and the NDIS.



The Kickability program, run by the Penrith Giants, is an award winning program developed locally to provide options for children on the autism spectrum or with intellectual, communication and attention difficulties to participate in Aussie Rules football.

The program was developed in response to parents wanting to involve their children in local sport, but the traditional Auskick program was not suitable. The Giants designed and piloted a program specifically created to meet the challenges of including children with special needs being smaller numbers, one to one coaching, modified and simplified rules (also available in Auslan for non-verbal children) and on field support.

The program has been a hit with kids and parents alike; graduates of Kickability are now playing alongside other children in junior teams, and older junior members are also participating as Coaches and support for the younger children. The Kickability program was also recently awarded the 2019 inclusion in sport award by ‘Play by the Rules’ organisation and worked closely with Relay For Life.


Photo caption: Malcolm Robar, Penrith Citizen of the Year (centre) with Penrith Mayor Ross Fowler OAM and Australia Day Ambassador Chief Inspector Bob Fitzgerald

Information contained within this news release was correct as at Thursday, 23 January 2020.