Rockhampton Regional Council employee Thomas Gardiner has been named Australia’s Young Planner of the Year.
Mr Gardiner, 27, received the award in Perth last night (May 9) at Planning Institute Australia’s (PIA) National Awards for Planning Excellence.
Judges were drawn to the quality of Mr Gardiner’s lateral thinking and his ability to forge effective professional relationships in an often-challenging regional planning environment.
“He has had a significant impact on those he has met and worked with, and he has demonstrated initiative and drive well above what may be expected from his role in a regional setting,” they said.
Mr Gardiner, who is a senior planning officer, progressed to the national awards after being named as Queensland’s Young Planner of the Year back in November.
Rockhampton Regional Council chief executive officer Evan Pardon said he was delighted that that council had been able to provide Mr Gardiner with an environment rich with opportunities and support, allowing him to really challenge himself.
“I would say he has reached his potential but as this is a Young Planner award, I am sure we will see a lot more from him in the months and years ahead,” Mr Pardon said.
This year’s Planner of the Year Award went to NSW Department of Planning and Environment chief planner Garry White.
With almost 40 years’ planning experience, Mr White has held some of the most senior government planning positions in both NSW and Queensland.
PIA’s 2018 Planning Champion Award (recognising a non-planner for their advocacy or lasting contribution to the urban and regional environment) has gone to Perth community activist Paul Shanahan.
The Western Downs Regional Council received a commendation in the category for improving planning processes and practices.
The full list of winners can be viewed here.