NSW Australian of the Year Awards 2014 Recipients Announced!

Posted 18 November 2013 9:00am

NSW Australian of the Year 2014 - Adam Goodes not attending

NSW Senior Australian of the Year 2014 - Peter Ford

NSW Young Australian of the Year 2014 - Jacqueline Freney

NSW Local Hero 2014 – Reverend Graham Long 

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell has congratulated the 2014 NSW Australian of the Year Award recipients at a special awards ceremony at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney this evening.

Football player and community leader Adam Goodes has been named NSW Australian of the Year 2014 for his commitment to community programs and work establishing and co-chairing of the Go Foundation.

An Andyamathanha man, 33 year old Adam Goodes is a professional Australian Rules football player with the Sydney Swans.  Adam holds an elite place in AFL history, winning two Brownlow Medals and two premierships.  He is a four-time All-Australian, member of the Indigenous Team of the Century, and has represented Australia in the International Rules Series.  

Adam is proud of his Indigenous heritage and is actively involved with several Indigenous sport and community programs. He has spent time working with troubled youth, including those in youth detention centres. 

Together with his cousin and former teammate Michael O’Loughlin, Adam established the Go Foundation which empowers the next generation of Indigenous role models in all walks of life.  Adam co-chairs the foundation, focused on promoting education, employment and healthy lifestyles.

Adam is a great role model and advocate for the fight against racism both on and off the field and is admired by a great many people around the nation.

Inventor and enabler Peter Ford, has been awarded NSW Senior Australian of the Year 2014.

While working for CNN, Peter Ford reported on some of the biggest stories in the world - from US Space Shuttle missions to the first Gulf War.  But the 63 year old's biggest achievement was the invention of a device – NeuroSwitch – which enables people who cannot even lift a finger to communicate through a simple laptop. 

In 1982, while at CNN, Peter devoted his spare time to computer programming, and was part of the first US Veterans Administration team to develop microcomputers for rehabilitation and communications for people with disabilities. 

The Bellevue Hill resident’s passion to help people with profound disabilities led him to found Control Bionics, and serve as a software consultant to rehabilitation researchers and therapists around the world.  After decades of research and development, and help from Stephen Hawking, Peter’s invention is helping people who had previously been ‘locked in’ to communicate with family and friends, write poetry and books, edit videos, send emails and engage in day to day activities that help them feel more connected with the world.

NSW Young Australian of the Year 2014 is 21 year old Skennars Head resident Jacqueline Freney.

Being born with cerebral palsy has not stopped Jacqueline Freney from achieving greatness in the sporting arena.  Following in the footsteps of her swimming family, Jacqueline set herself the goal to become a competitive swimmer. 

In 2012, Jacqueline won a remarkable eight gold medals at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, becoming Australia’s most successful Paralympian at a single Games.  Two of Jacqueline’s performances were under world record time.  She won a gold medal for every event in which she competed and her gold medal haul was greater than any other competitor from any country. 

Her success earned her the crown of Australia’s 2012 Paralympian of the Year. Jacqueline’s indomitable spirit is not confined to the swimming pool.  She is actively involved in the wider community, working with Swimming Australia as a motivational speaker to help other people with disabilities reach their potential.  Jacqueline is an inspirational role model and positive proof that, with hard work and determination, anything is possible.

Reverend Graham Long has been awarded NSW Local Hero 2014 for his work as a community leader.

When the Reverend Graham Long joined the Wayside Chapel a decade ago as its pastor and Chief Executive Officer, it was a shadow of its former glory.  The hub for Sydney’s socially marginalised, the Wayside Chapel was on the verge of bankruptcy, service delivery was spasmodic, its buildings were dilapidated and its existence was seriously under threat.  

Graham’s inspired leadership, commitment and extraordinary ability to connect with all people has rejuvenated the Wayside Chapel and it is now a flourishing refuge of love and optimism.  With a philosophy of ‘love over hate’, Graham has touched and transformed the lives of thousands of Australians. 

Graham leads a team of 32 staff and more than 500 volunteers who deliver programs and activities for more than 75,000 visitors each year.  The 62 year old Bondi resident has helped drug addicts and alcoholics, chronic gamblers, victims of domestic violence and people who suffer from mental illness.  Graham’s extraordinary gift has been to again make Wayside a hopeful place for everyone to visit.

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The NSW award recipients will join recipients from the other States and Territories as finalists for the national awards to be announced on 25 January 2014 in Canberra. 

National Australia Day Council CEO, Jeremy Lasek, said the NSW award recipients were an inspiration to us all.

“The NSW award recipients cover a variety of fields but what they all excel in is their commitment to making the world a better place for others,” said Mr Lasek.

“All four of the award recipients are great Australians of whom we can be very proud. 

The Commonwealth Bank has been the major sponsor of the Australian of the Year Awards for more than 30 years. Chief Executive Officer Ian Narev congratulated the NSW award recipients.

“The Commonwealth Bank is proud to recognise your outstanding achievements. Congratulations on becoming national finalists in the Australian of the Year Awards - you should all be very proud,” said Mr Narev.

“We are pleased to be able to celebrate and acknowledge your ongoing dedication to building a better country for us all.”   

For more information on the Australian of the Year Awards visit australianoftheyear.org.au.

Media contact: Zannie Abbott 0418 274 291 or Nicole Browne on 0414 673 762