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Previous winners

2022 Winners

Taylor Miller

Best thesis or research project award

Taylor’s paper explores how Indigenous knowledge can be integrated into environmental management processes. Namely, the paper asks “How can the State of Environment reporting better incorporate the perspectives and narrative of First Nations peoples effectively?” The thesis strikes at the heart of a contemporary planning opportunity to work towards advancing the purpose of the Planning Act 2016 by recommending measures to value, protect and promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge, culture and tradition.

The paper provides a series of recommendations for planning practitioners that are clear to ensure delivery of communities that are prosperous, resilient and sustainable.

The planning opportunity is contemporary and the paper detailed all relevant aspects of the issue to inform a series of practical recommendations.


Melissa Hensley

Highly commended runner-up— Best thesis or research project award

Melissa’s thesis examines the evolving relationship between urban planning and health. The topic chosen is a highly contemporary planning problem and the thesis does well to explore policy implications and provide practical recommendations for planning professionals.

The paper provides a series of recommendations for planning practitioners that are clear to ensure delivery of communities that are prosperous, resilient and sustainable.


Georgia Quick

Female student in planning award

Georgia is a highly accomplished student with her work from last year published on the Griffith University website after receiving the school of excellence award.

Georgia is an active student and volunteers for activities to improve student learning. This year she provided feedback to PIA accreditation panel on the degree course.


Cassie Tregea

Indigenous student in planning award

This year Cassie was awarded the highest marks of all Indigenous students in the College of Science and Engineering for 2022.

Cassie is recognised as an Indigenous woman with a bright future ahead of her.  It is clear she is highly motivated to address the socio-economic issues facing indigenous communities and building strong relationships between the planning profession and First Nations people.


2021 Winners

Sarah Gibson

Best thesis or research project award

Housing supply, diversity and affordability is one of the most significant contemporary issues effecting people across the state. Sarah’s exploration into key opportunities and limitations for medium density housing to address key urban development challenges in Cairns, provides a practical contribution to how diverse forms of medium density housing could support effective infill to help regional centres like Cairns achieve housing affordability, housing diversity and sustainable urban growth. Sarah’s holistic consideration of planning for this housing typology in a regional context represents a significant advancement of regional or town planning techniques.


Emma Gurney

Conversations about growth and change award

Emma’s paper explores how planners can improve methods and targets of outreach, dialogue techniques and relationship building to enhance traditional community engagement practices to progress effective conversations with communities about growth and change. This work gives thoughtful consideration to how planners can utilise increasingly digitalised community engagement methods to inform better place-making - encouraging meaningful conversations about growth and sustainable changes between communities and planners to generate successful solutions for urban areas.


Ruby Stockham

Female student in planning award

Ruby is recognised as an exemplary planning student who has demonstrated commitment to her studies and enthusiasm and passion across different aspects of the planning discipline. Ruby’s energy and focus into achieving top academic results is clear from her accomplishments to date, which have seen her recognised as one of the joint winners of the 2019 Planning Institute of Australia’s Student Bursary at the PIA Queensland Student Academic Prizes, as well the recipient of other academic excellence awards from her university.

Ruby has been recognised as an active member of her university and broader planning community, participating in PIA YP events and presentations as well as having taken on work in the industry as a student town planner.


Aidan Johnston

Advancing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge, culture and tradition award

Aidan’s paper explores future opportunities to improve engagement with the Quandamooka People and Minjerribah residents to represent the significance of Minjerribah to ensure future land use planning effectively ensures urban development, ecological protections, and social benefits improve Minjerribah in the coming decades. This work demonstrates innovative thinking in response to advancing aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander interests in land use planning and undertaking meaningful community engagement in planning, to ensure communities like Minjerribah are well-planned, prosperous, resilient and sustainable.

Last updated: 17 Aug 2023