Recent concerns raised in the community regarding the judging process of the Australia Day Awards have prompted a response from Cowra Mayor, Cr Bill West.
"It is vital that the Cowra community be reassured of the integrity of the voting process for our Australia Day Awards," said Cr West.
"Members of the panel are made up of community groups who are asked to nominate a panel member. The community organisations who provide panel members are the Cowra Business Chamber, the Cowra Youth Council, the Cowra Sport and Recreation Council, Cowra View Club, Cowra CWA Evening Branch and Cowra Rotary Club.
"Two Councillors are also on the panel; one chairs the meeting and does not vote, the other joins the voting panel.
"The chair of the meeting, prior to judging, asks committee members to declare any possible conflict of interest. If a conflict of interest arises, the panel member either withdraws from the room or does not take part in discussion or judging," Cr West continued.
"The criteria to choose winners is stated on the nomination forms and includes areas of exceptional service in the previous 12 months to be noted, along with a previous history of service, however not all nomination forms have an equal amount of information for the panel to discuss" Cr West said
"Our community can be confident that the voting procedure for the Australia Day Awards is an equitable and honest one. Council always welcomes positive suggestions to improve our Australia Day celebrations and we look forward to the continuing acknowledgement of the outstanding achievements of our community groups and individuals," Cr West concluded.