Alumni News Articles

New South Wales Australian of the Year Award recipients announced

18 November 2009

Environmental campaigner Jon Dee was tonight named the NSW Australian of the Year 2010 and presented with his award by Deputy Premier Carmel Tebbutt MP.

While his own name may not be immediately recognisable to the public, the programs Jon helped to create are household names which inspire millions of Australians to make positive environmental and social changes every day.  The 45 year old from Katoomba co-founded Planet Ark and instigated National Recycling Week and recyclingnearyou.com.au. Jon also founded World Environment News and co-founded National Tree Day. He spearheaded the campaign to phase out plastic bags, and initiated the lobbying campaign for Australia’s phase out of incandescent light globes. He is currently founder and Chairman of the Australian advocacy organisation, Do Something.  Jon Dee has led the way in showing us all how we can change our planet for the better.

The NSW Senior Australian of the Year is Charlestown’s Hiskelina (Lyn) Thorpe.  Since 1993, the 63 year old surgical nurse has used her skills to help others around the world - repairing cleft lips and palates, horrific burns, and birth deformities. In 2008, Lyn went to Cambodia and was part of a team that performed 100 cataract extractions that resulted in immediate sight. Lyn has also helped to raise $50,000 to bring a young burns victim from Papua New Guinea to Australia for treatment, nursing her in her own home after each operation.

The NSW Young Australian of the Year 2010 is Jack Manning Bancroft from Balmain, Sydney.  At 24 years of age Jack heads up Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME), and has been named in Sydney’s Top 100 Most Influential People. AIME works with Indigenous students from Years 7 to 12 to increase student retention and university admission enrolments. There are now 40 schools and five universities across NSW participating in AIME, with further growth expected nationally in 2010. Jack is well on the way to further increasing school attendance and providing Indigenous students with a solid educational foundation.

OzHarvest founder Ronni Kahn was awarded NSW Local Hero 2010.  The Bronte resident created the organisation in 2004 to collect surplus food from restaurants, cafes and events and deliver it to charities. OzHarvest now has over 600 food donors and delivers more than 110,000 meals each month to 163 charities in Sydney, Canberra and Wollongong and continues to expand. With Ronni’s guidance, OzHarvest has had a profound impact on the environment, saving thousands of tonnes of food from landfill and helping clients of charities to eat quality, nutritious food.

The NSW recipients will now join award recipients from all other States and Territories as finalists for the national awards to be announced on 25 January 2010 in Canberra. 

Tam Johnston, Program Director for the National Australia Day Council, said all the NSW award recipients will travel to Canberra for the national awards and to take part in the 50th Anniversary of the Australian of the Year Awards program.

“All the State and Territory award recipients will attend a special celebration event on 24 January before the announcement on 25 January,” said Ms Johnston.

“It will be a very special occasion and we look forward to sharing it with Jon, Lyn, Jack and Ronni.”

Ralph Norris, CEO Commonwealth Bank, offered his congratulations to the NSW award recipients. The Commonwealth Bank has been the major sponsor of the Australian of the Year Awards for more than thirty years.

“On behalf of the Commonwealth Bank, I would like to congratulate the recipients of the NSW awards. Their hard work and achievements are an inspiration to the Australian community,” said Mr Norris.

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