• Working to make healthy
    waterways for better fishing
    and a better future

  • Working to make healthy
    waterways for better fishing
    and a better future

Mike O'Neill Citizen of the Year

Mike O'Neill Citizen of the Year

Mike O'Neill Citizen of the Year

31 January 2017

Mick O’Neill has worked tirelessly over the past 9 years repairing and improving the health of local waterways. He is the co-founder and vice-president of a local not for profit group, Inland Waterways Rejuvenation Association (IWRA).

 Mick has been able to establish a strong volunteer committee of like-minded people who have conducted highly successful fundraising initiatives.  The proceeds of these fundraising efforts are spent on improving the health of the local waterways. In 2016 alone, Mick and the committee orchestrated $60,000 worth of river improvement projects such as re-snagging and contracted weed removal.

 Mick and the committee have also organised restocking and releasing native Murray Cod and Yellow Belly into the region’s waterways.  In 2014 they achieved a restocking milestone for the region and successfully administered the biggest community fish restocking effort ever undertaken in the district.

 

 One of the biggest fundraisers that brings thousands of locals and interstate visitors to the region annually is the Lake Burrendong Fishing Classic. Entrants compete for a community donated prize pool of $50,000 in cash and prizes.  Mick was the driving force behind getting 104 sponsors to donate cash, goods and services for the community run fishing fundraiser.

 Mick and the committee have also recently completed the “Big Wood for the Macquarie” habitat action project that saw a total of 120 large hardwood snags introduced to the Macquarie River.

 Mick also spends Sundays or workday afternoons on the highway roadside or along the river bank collecting rubbish, he does this on his own accord for the simple reason that it makes Dubbo look better and improves the health of the waterways.

 Mick is recognised for his work not only to rid the Dubbo region of rubbish but also for his ability to bind the IWRA Committee together and drive it to new heights of success. These qualities make him an extremely worthy recipient of the 2017 Citizen of the Year Award.