It was great to see The Project's Carrie Bickmore use her TV WEEK Gold Logie acceptance speech to raise awareness of an issue that affects so many people. Nominations for the 2016 Australian of the Year Awards are now open and if you know of someone going above and beyond, give them the recognition they deserve! #beaniesforbraincancer www.australianoftheyear.org.au/nominate Read More →
Queensland's Australian of the Year Award recipients announced
Queensland Australian of the Year 2011 - Associate Professor Noel Hayman
Queensland Senior Australian of the Year 2011 - Shelley Argent OAM
Queensland Young Australian of the Year 2011 - Jessica Watson
Queensland Local Hero 2011 - Dr Don Bowley
Associate Professor Noel Hayman has been named Queensland Australian of the Year 2011 in recognition of his lifetime’s dedication to improving Indigenous health care.
Queensland’s first Indigenous doctor, 56 year old Noel is on a mission to improve the life expectancy of Indigenous Australians. Current figures suggest that Indigenous men and women can expect to live on average 17 years less than other Australians, and Indigenous children are two to three times more likely to die before their first birthday than other Australian children. To address the lack of primary care in remote and rural areas, Noel established a major Indigenous health medical centre at Inala and is now its Director. Over the last decade he has helped increase the number of patients at the centre from 12 to 2500, with Indigenous patients travelling from all over Brisbane to the centre. His work is improving the control of diabetes and immunisation rates and he is recruiting and training much-needed Indigenous doctors. Noel has selflessly dedicated his life to improving Indigenous health care and raising public awareness about the issues.
Gay rights advocate Shelley Argent OAM was awarded Queensland Senior Australian of the Year 2011 for her commitment to making Australia a place where gay people have the same rights and respect as others.
In 1998, Shelley’s son told her he was gay and, determined that he not be treated like a second class citizen by society, she has devoted herself to encouraging understanding and acceptance of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. The 60 year old from The Gap in Brisbane started out donating her time as an education volunteer with the QLD AIDS Council before becoming involved in Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). Shelley is now the President of PFLAG and the organisation’s spokesperson. She has also written a series of educational booklets for families of gay people.
Queensland’s Young Australian of the Year 2011 is 17 year old sailor Jessica Watson of Buderim, who completed a solo circumnavigation of the globe this year.
Jessica’s round the world adventure in her yacht Ella’s Pink Lady was an extraordinary achievement within itself. The teen adventurer survived multiple knockdowns, endured 12-metre seas, 75-knot winds, storms and loneliness throughout the seven month journey. On top of the physical and mental challenge of the trip itself, she also overcame a lack of funding and respect and defied criticism from those who said her task was destined to fail. On her return to a hero’s welcome in Sydney Harbour on 15 May 2010 she was met with a wave of national pride and admiration for her courage and determination. She has continued to demonstrate her maturity and dignity since returning to dry land, becoming a role model for young people all over the world and handling the attention and accolades with a graceful, polite humility. Her achievement has inspired thousands of people of all ages to take up sailing and proved to people of all ages and abilities that you can follow dreams and achieve goals.
The Queensland Local Hero 2011 is Dr Don Bowley of Mount Isa, whose dedicated service with the Mount Isa Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) has earned him the endless respect and gratitude from the remote communities in his care.
For the last 14 years Don has worked with the Mount Isa RFDS, caring for people in geographical area larger than England. This part of Australia includes remote townships, rural stations and Indigenous communities and Don’s support of its people is legendary. The dedication, friendship and ongoing care he offers all his patients is more a way of life than a job, which is why they call him ‘the best in the west’. Even with the RFDS service available, for some people in this vast area help can be two hours away, but Don is always on the end of the phone with calm advice, understanding and reassurance.
The Queensland award recipients will now join recipients from all other States and Territories as finalists for the national awards to be announced on 25 January 2011 in Canberra.
Tam Johnston, Program Director for the National Australia Day Council, said the Queensland award recipients represented some of the greatest human and Australian qualities.
“This year’s Queensland award recipients reflect great Australian values such as helping others in need, standing up for what’s right, the spirit of the bush community and a resolve to follow your dream,” said Ms Johnston. Ralph Norris, CEO Commonwealth Bank, offered his congratulations to the Queensland 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 Queensland award recipients. Their hard work and achievements are an inspiration to the Australian community,” said Mr Norris.
For more information on the Queensland Award recipients, click here.