Past Award Finalists and Recipients
Australian of the Year
State Finalist Australian of the Year 2009
Paul Briggs OAM
Paul Briggs is a Yorta Yorta man from Shepparton with a wealth of experience in Aboriginal community development. He was the founding chair of the First Nations Australian Credit Union, the first Indigenous credit union offering national access to financial services, but he is also well-known as the founding president of the Rumbalara Football Netball Club. The club came about as a result of his recognition of the vital role sport plays in Indigenous communities. The club not only provides sporting, recreational and social opportunities, but also addresses the spiritual, emotional and physical well-being of its players. '
In 2005, Paul was the first Indigenous man to join the Council of the University of Melbourne in its 150-year history. He was also founding chair of the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation and a founding member of the Koori Economic Employment and Training Agency Committee. He is a significant Aboriginal leader in Australia, working quietly, modestly and patiently towards improving the lives of his people. Melbourne University’s Professor Ian Renard describes him as ‘a natural leader held in high esteem not just by the Indigenous community and the Goulburn Valley but also by many other groups that have had the good fortune to work with him.’