TOOWOOMBA singer-songwriter Josh Arnold has won the diocese’s 2016 Social Justice Award.
At the recent award presentation, the diocese’s Social Justice Commission executive officer Dr Mark Copland paid tribute to Mr Arnold for his work with the Walk Together Project.
“The Walk Together Toowoomba Project, which was the brainchild of musician and community builder Josh Arnold, is something the whole country can be proud of,” Dr Copland said.
He said it represented Australia at its very best.
The Walk Together is part of Welcome to Australia and promotes respect for all Australians from a diversity of cultural backgrounds.
Walk Together included community events throughout Australia celebrating diversity and promoting compassion over fear and prejudice.
In October of this year Toowoomba hosted one of the biggest Walk Together events in Australia.
Dr Copland said Mr Arnold had built a strong reputation across regional Australia over a number of years, promoting the resilience and spirit of rural people.
“His Small Town Culture project has been recognised and awarded as a dynamic way of bringing a rural community together and celebrating their special culture and history,” he said.
Mr Arnold has worked with young people throughout regional Queensland and beyond over many years.
This year Josh wrote a song for Queensland’s celebration of Catholic Education Week.
The Social Justice Awards were introduced in 2004 to recognise the efforts of local people working to create positive change upholding the dignity of the human person and integrity of creation each year.
Bishop Robert McGuckin presented Mr Arnold with the 2016 award.
As part of the presentation Bishop McGuckin highlighted the positive contribution that the Diocesan Social Justice Commission made to the broader community.
In a congratulatory speech Toowoomba Regional Council Mayor Paul Antonio described Josh Arnold as a local champion, somebody who worked every day to make the community more peaceful and harmonious.