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State and Territory finalists announced for Australian of the Year Awards 2008
The National Australia Day Council today announced State and Territory finalists for the Australian of the Year Awards 2008 in the categories of Australian of the Year, Senior Australian of the Year, Young Australian of the Year and Australia's Local Hero.
Finalists were selected from more than 3,000 nominations submitted by the public. They represent areas such as community leadership, volunteering, education, research, sport, the arts and medicine.
Ms Tam Johnston, National Manager of the Australian of the Year Awards, said this year's finalists reflected the diversity of Australian society.
"The state and territory finalists in this year's awards are from all walks of life - high achievers, community workers, pioneers and people who simply care about others," said Ms Johnston.
"The public have again nominated people they find inspiring and who make us proud, whether it be in the difference they make to the lives of others, the contribution they have made to our society or the success they have found.
"It's also great to see the number of Indigenous Australians and people of non-English speaking backgrounds among the finalists this year."
Among the State & Territory finalists for Australian of the Year are Bangarra Dance Theatre's Stephen Page (NSW), golfer Stuart Appleby (VIC), Indigenous leader Noel Pearson (QLD) and world record sailor Ken Gourlay (TAS).
The Senior Australian of the Year State & Territory finalists include social researcher Hugh Mackay (NSW), AFL legend Kevin Sheedy AM (VIC), drought relief helper Brian Egan (QLD), shark expert Rodney Fox (SA) and sports scientist Professor Richard Telford (ACT)
State and territory finalists for Young Australian of the Year includes motorcycle champion Casey Stoner (NSW) and musician Niki Vasilakis (SA) while Local Hero finalists include Choir of Hard Knocks leader Jonathon Welch (VIC), community refuge carer Jack Hamilton OAM (NT) and literacy crusader Mary-Ruth Mendel (NSW).
State and Territory recipients for all categories will be announced at capital city events throughout November and will then proceed to national judging for the Australian of the Year Awards to be announced on the lawns of Parliament House in Canberra on 25 January, 2008.