Mt Liebig’s Tidy Town victory

Mt Liebig’s Tidy Town victory

Indigenous Affairs Health and Wellbeing
Friday, 23 September 2016

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Photograph of Melvin Malbunka, Chairperson of the Mount Liebig Local Authority and some local community members

In the heart of Australia, Mount Liebig is a national leader when it comes to being tidy. The small Aboriginal community showed cities and towns around Australia how it is done by being awarded a Special Commendation in the Australian Tidy Towns competition. 

Mount Liebig, at the western end of the MacDonnell Ranges, 350km from Alice Springs, is a small community of around 150 people, with a health clinic, school, store and childcare centre. According to Melvin Malbunka, Chairperson of the Mount Liebig Local Authority, the local community had been determined to win Tidy Towns for years.

“We have entered the Tidy Towns competition three times now and we finally won,” Melvin said.

“It’s been a lot of hard work getting the town tidy and community members have spent a lot of time picking up rubbish, so everyone was really happy when we were awarded the Special Commendation.”

The Special Commendation came as a result of Mt Liebig receiving four Highly Commended mentions in the categories of Litter Prevention and Resource Recovery, Environment Education, Heritage and Culture” and Community Action and Wellbeing.

Melvin, who is also team leader for the regional council, a director of the Mount Liebig store and local Centrelink agent, said that the recent success of other MacDonnell Regional Council remote communities in the Tidy Towns competition inspired everyone.  

“Titjikala won the Territory Tidy Town a few years in a row and the Warren Creek Outstation, about a half hour drive from Mount Liebig, won the Best Outstation award last year,” Melvin said.

Another Mount Liebig resident, Essential Services Operator Paul Fly, is also proud of the work he and the community have done to earn the Tidy Town award.

“I moved here last year and I worked as a grader operator, flattening all the dirt around the community and picking up lots of rubbish,” Paul said.

“We’ve recycled our old tyres to be used as swings on the local playground and we have started planting trees, built a BMX track and shelter at the football ground.”

It was the involvement of the whole community in this work and in their determination for improving the health, education and family life of community members that convinced the Tidy Town judges of the worthiness of their entry.

Mount Liebig locals are determined to continue their success as a tidy town.

“The whole community is saying that we want to be known as the tidiest town in Australia,” Melvin said.