Close this search box.

HESTA Awards celebrates healthcare workers in Australia

4 min read

The eight winners of the 2021 HESTA Excellence Awards were announced in a virtual celebration of Australia’s top organisations and teams working across allied health, aged care, community and disability services.

Professionals were recognised for achievements including reducing ear disease in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, bringing together aged care residents, chefs and gardening teams as part of an innovative gardening and hospitality program, and teaching film studies to people with intellectual disabilities and from marginalised communities.

“My congratulations to this year’s extraordinary winners and finalists. I am incredibly humbled by the innovation and dedication they have shown in caring for their communities during such challenging times,” HESTA CEO Debby Blakey said.

“Their contributions have made, and will continue to make, a positive and long-lasting difference to health outcomes for Australians. It’s a great honour for the HESTA team to help recognise the critical work they do every day.”

Each winner took home $7500, made possible with the generous support of HESTA Awards supporter ME – the bank for you, to be used for further education or service or product development.

“Congratulations to these deserving winners, whose passion for service often sees them helping our community’s most disadvantaged,” ME CEO Adam Crane said.

“ME is pleased to recognise their incredible achievements today.”

The 2021 winners are:



Royal Freemasons’ Benevolent Institution (RFBI)


Royal Freemasons’ Benevolent Institution (RFBI) is recognised for their Mental Moments Show, a week-long show designed to highlight the importance of mental health for aged care professionals.

RFBI CEO Frank Price said the organisation wanted to recognise their staff following a challenging year of drought, fire, flood and a global pandemic.

“As the CEO, I am privileged to see firsthand the amazing job aged care workers do each and every day,” Price said. “We wanted to acknowledge the dedication and commitment our staff had demonstrated and encourage everyone to care for the carers.”

The show was a free livestream event featuring performances from a number of Aussie legends and messages from residents and families as well as special guests the Governor of NSW, Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC, Bronwyn Bishop AO, Pat Sparrow, CEO ACSA and Ian Thorpe.

“Our hope is that we can take this show, and our message to care for the carers, right across the aged care sector and reach all aged care workers throughout Australia,” Mr Price said.


Earbus Foundation of WA

Northbridge WA

Earbus Foundation of WA (EFWA) is recognised for their work to reduce middle ear disease in young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

After recognising the gap in effective service provision to Aboriginal populations across regional WA, EFWA created an Outreach Program with communities to address the issue of Aboriginal children’s poor ear health.

“There are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids all over the country who can’t hear and can’t learn,” EFWA CEO and Founder Paul Higginbotham said.

“This Award is not just a validation of what we do, it helps draw attention to a really big issue for Indigenous kids.”

In one remote region of WA, the rate of chronic ear disease decreased from 12.9% in the first quarter of the year to 3.4% in the third quarter of the year. To date, EFWA has succeeded in getting below the World Health Organization’s 4% benchmark for every region.

Higginbotham said it was rewarding to see the difference in the children once the disease had been identified and treated.

“To see that same child start to love school and watch their personalities come out as they interact with their family and friends is pure joy,” he said.

Higginbotham also said the prize money will be used to commence pilot trips in new regions, visiting schools and communities and those who need EFWA’s services the most.


Sacred Heart Mission

St Kilda VIC

Sacred Heart Mission is recognised for their dedication to the immediate needs of the St Kilda community and beyond. They provide support and services for people experiencing homelessness, disadvantage and social exclusion, including a meals program, trauma-informed case management, women’s crisis accommodation, long-term supported accommodation and more.



Sacred Heart Mission


Bus Stop Films

Carlton NSW

Bus Stop Films is recognised for its dedication to teaching film studies to adults with intellectual disabilities and those from marginalised communities.


Guliano Whitefield. Bus Stop Films.



Lifeview’s Hospitality and Gardening team

Carnegie VIC

Lifeview’s Hospitality and Gardening teams are recognised for their Planting with a Purpose Program, which brings together the chefs at all four Lifeview homes with the gardening team and residents to create menus and grow the required produce.


Daphne from Lifeview Hospitality and Gardening


Advance Rehab Centre team

Artamon NSW

The Advance Rehab Centre team is recognised for their work in assisting patients with Functional Neurological Disorders (FND), creating a multi-disciplinary team approach to ensure patients have access to the very specific neurological rehabilitation required by this population.

Advance Rehab Centre



Northbridge WA

The SHQ team is recognised for developing and implementing a clinician and consumer-endorsed screening tool to identify and support women who are at risk or who have experienced intimate partner violence or reproductive coercion.


Cyclabilities Incorporated

Ngunnawal ACT

The WaterAbilities program team is recognised for creating a dedicated allied health Safety and Survival swim program in Canberra for children with support and sensory needs.

For more information on the HESTA Awards program and 2021 winners, visit


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Next Up

For the latest news, delivered straight to inbox please fill in the details below