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CEQ announces winners at 10th annual Awards event


Remote store operator Community Enterprise Queensland (CEQ) has announced this year’s winners of its 10th Annual Awards at a special ceremony in Cairns.


The awards, which were the culmination of CEQ’s week-long Annual Conference and Trade Show, celebrated achievements in CEQ’s service across North Queensland, including its remote stores in Cape York and the Torres Strait.


The 2019 winners recognised for excellence in service were:

  • Assistant Manager of the Year – Gem Gigiba (Saibai Island)

  • Leadership Award – Stephen Bryant (Lockhart River)

  • Customer Service Award – Richard Gray-Spence (Cairns office)

  • Resilience Award – Justin Basham (Kowanyama)

  • Team Support Award – Ivy Billy (Cairns office)

  • Emerging Star Award – Nazareth Naawi (Bamaga)

  • Most Valued Team Member Award – Richard Gray-Spence (Cairns office)

  • Store of the Year – Thursday Island Supermarket

  • Store Managers of the Year – Rita Morseu (Thursday Island) and Eileen Morseu (Horn Island)

  • Supplier of the Year – Simon George & Sons

  • Trade Booth of the Year – Total Food Network


There were also tenure awards presented to long-term staffers, with two team members – Pamela Johnson-Barry and Ilikena Dabea (both from Palm Island) – receiving tenure awards for 30 years’ service to their community.


The 10th Annual Conference and Trade Show in Cairns focused on this year’s theme of ‘Custodians of Culture’.


The event ran for five days, initially focusing on training and development for CEQ staff, before culminating in a supplier trade show and the awards evening.


Almost 30 CEQ remote store managers, as well as CEQ’s Cairns-based staff, attended the conference, with training focusing on operational excellence and managerial development, and provided by:

  • Institute of Managers and Leaders

  • Acacia Connection (human resources services)

  • Queensland Police Service

  • Simon George & Sons (fruit and vegetable wholesaler).


Mr Copeland said CEQ staff had helped achieve some outstanding results in 2019 for remote communities across Queensland.


“The awards are a great opportunity to recognise staff and customers who have gone above and beyond this year,” he said.


“We’ve had another very successful year delivering retail services to remote communities, and this is a source of great pride to our organisation.


“This success allows us to re-invest into communities through infrastructure, affordability, employment, staff development and training (including support office staff),” he said.


Mr Copeland added that CEQ was passionate about providing training opportunities for its employees, the majority of which are Torres Strait Islander or Aboriginal people.


“This year’s conference theme of ‘Custodians of Culture’ focused not only the Indigenous cultures that we deliver services to in our remote stores, but also our organisational culture,” said Mr Copeland.


“The training week for our staff is always a great opportunity to build on that culture to ensure we provide the best possible service to our customers.


“We finished the week with our popular supplier Trade Show, where 42 exhibitors attended on the day to help us identify new products to improve and expand our range.”


CEQ is a Queensland Government statutory body responsible for providing goods and essential services to the Torres Strait, Northern Peninsula Area (NPA), and mainland Aboriginal remote communities.


CEQ’s Corporate Office is based in Cairns, and manages Islanders Board of Industry and Service (IBIS) and Aboriginal Business, Industry and Service (ABIS) remote stores, as well as other stores including Col Jones and Mitre 10 on Thursday Island.


For more information, visit www.ceqld.org.au

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