WALGA President Cr Karen Chappel has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the 2023 King’s Birthday Honours list for her significant service to Local Government and to the community of Morawa.
Cr Chappel has been a Councillor at the Shire of Morawa since 2005 and President since 2009.  She has been a WALGA state Councillor since 2012, President since 2022 and was awarded Life Membership in 2018. 

She is the current Deputy President of the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA).
Cr Chappel said her family were strong role models and inspired her to serve in the rural community where she lived and worked.
“My father was a Shire President and from an early age the importance of service to your community was instilled in my family,” she said.
“As a very young girl I used to attend Country Women’s Association meetings with my mother, where I learned the important role women play in rural communities.
“While I am proud of my contribution to the Shire of Morawa and WALGA, I am equally proud of some of the work I have done within organisations such as Desert Blue Connect and Rural Financial Counselling Services WA.
“These organisations are all about making lives better for isolated folk in rural and remote WA and are incredibly important in the social fabric of our towns.
WALGA CEO Nick Sloan said Cr Chappel was a tireless, trustworthy, and inspiring community representative who always led by example.

“Karen is an outstanding community leader who has dedicated herself over many years to supporting and championing Local Government across the State,” he said.

“From mentoring Elected Members in their own leadership journeys, to inspiring women to take control of their own destiny, to chairing the Morawa District High School Board and being Treasurer of the Morawa Golf and Bowling Club, Karen has done it all.

“Karen exemplifies that healthy rural country ethos of pitching in and getting a job done.  Her passion for improving services in her community has been instrumental in many progressive projects in the Morawa and Mid West region.”
Shire of Morawa
  • President, since 2009.
  • Councillor, since 2005.
Australian Local Government Association
  • Vice President, since 2022.
  • Board Member, since 2020.
Western Australian Local Government Association
  • President, since 2022.
  • Deputy President, 2020-2022.
  • State Councillor, since 2012.
  • Deputy State Councillor, 2010-2012.
  • Member, Finance Committee, 2014-2016.
  • Member, Executive Committee, since 2016.
  • State Road Funds to Local Government Advisory Committee, since 2012.
  • Chair, Governance and Policy Committee, since 2016.
  • Member, Local Government House Trust, since 2014.
  • Member, Honours Panel, since 2016.
  • Member, Australian Black Spot Consultative Panel, since 2012.
  • Member Advisor, 2018-2019.
  • Life Member, 2018.
Northern Country Zone, Western Australian Local Government Association
  • Chairperson, since 2011.
  • Deputy Chairperson, 2009-2011.
Local Government Advisory Board
  • Member, 2015-2021.
  • Deputy Member, 2011-2015.
Local Government and Regional Development
  • Board Member, Mid West Development Commission, 2018-2021.
  • Councillor, Mid West Regional Council, 2007-2014.
  • Minister's Appointee, Acting President, Shire of York, 2015.
  • Minister's Appointee, Acting President, Shire of Ashburton, 2013.
Rural Financial Counselling Service Western Australia
  • Deputy Chairperson, since 2013.
  • Board Member, since 2008.
Northern Districts Community Support Group
  • Chairperson/Executive Officer, 2006-2019.
  • Committee Member, 2003-2006.
Community and Other
  • Board Member, Desert Blue Connect, 2018-2022.
  • Board Chairperson, Morawa District High School, 2013-2018.
  • Treasurer, Morawa Golf and Bowling Club, 2009-2021.
  • Board Member, North East Farming Futures, 2007-2017.
  • Justice of the Peace, since 2008.
Awards and Recognition include:
  • Woman of Distinction Award, Old Girls' Association, St Mary's Anglican Girls' School, 2015.
  • Citizen of the Year, Shire of Perenjori, 2007.
For an interview with WALGA President Karen Chappel please contact: 
Graham Mason, WALGA Media and Communications Manager
0448 896 435 or gmason@walga.asn.au