By Jessica Micallef
What is your connection to the Macedon Ranges?
I’ve been lucky to call Macedon Ranges home for over 20 years.
What are you passionate about?
Diversity, activism, community engagement, the, environment, climate change action, gender equality, reconciliation and promoting respect for our first nation people, animal welfare and David Bowie.
How did it feel to know you had been named Young Citizen of the Year?
It was overwhelming. Community work is teamwork, so to be singled out for my contribution was honestly the last thing I expected. I received the news on my birthday, the day before Christmas – it was a delightful surprise.
Tell me about the volunteering you do throughout the community?
No two days are ever the same when you’re volunteering. I’ve been invited to Parliament House, dressed up as a zebra to campaign for a pedestrian crossing, and served our federal member Christmas lunch. My passion for community engagement ignited when I joined the Hanging Rock Action Group in 2013 as
the youngest committee member. Together we successfully campaigned for community consultation over the management of Hanging Rock, secured one million dollars funding from the state government, and achieved Victorian Heritage listing for the Hanging Rock precinct. Currently, I am a non-Indigenous
community member on the Macedon Ranges council’s Reconciliation Action Plan Working
Group. The group will enable all residents to celebrate and respect Aboriginal and Torres become more resilient, inclusive, diverse and environmentally friendly. Every day something inspiring happens in our community. I think it’s vital to share these stories.
What do you enjoy most about it?
Volunteering opens your eyes, your heart and your world. You’re always learning something new about yourself, about your community. It really is a two-way exchange. The more you give, the more you receive. Through volunteering, I have had the opportunity to be mentored by some incredible people in our community.
What would people be most surprised to know about you?
I’m an extra in Damon Gameau’s latest film 2040. I had to dance wildly in a Footscray warehouse for an entire day dressed like somebody from the future.
If you could change one thing about the area, what would it be?
The consumption of single-use plastics, bags, straws, coffee cups – the lot. One of the things I love most about living in the Macedon Ranges is the beauty of our natural environment. It frightens me how much plastic waste I find discarded in public spaces. It’s heartening to see the boomerang bag movement take off locally, TerraCycle available at neighbourhood houses and other spaces across the shire, and the gains the Macedon Ranges Sustainability Group is making in community education. I look forward to the momentum continuing. I also support the Woodend Neighbourhood House, Woodend RSL, and Woodend Library. We have such incredible, passionate, creative locals who are devoted to our community, helping it to