2015 Queensland Australian of the Year Award Recipients Announced

Posted 24 October 2014 5:00pm

The Premier of Queensland, Campbell Newman has announced the 2015 Queensland Australian of the Year Award recipients at a ceremony at the Queensland Museum in Brisbane this evening.

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said he was delighted to announce the Award winners and commended them on their generosity, passion and commitment. 

“These recipients are truly inspirational people and we are proud to count them as part of our Queensland community,” Mr Newman said.

“It is through their selfless, determined and unwavering commitment to their individual fields, that they make our society a better place, and in turn act as role models for younger and older generations alike.

“These awards not only allow us to celebrate the best and brightest among us, but they also provide an opportunity to learn about the remarkable and inspiring stories of Queenslanders making a difference to Australia.

“On behalf of Queensland, I would like to congratulate Hetty, Fred, Yassmin and Juliette on their awards and we wish them every success as they proceed as finalists to the national Awards in Canberra.”

Hetty Johnston AM has been named 2015 Queensland Australian of the Year for her work as a leading child protection activist for Queensland and the nation.

As the founder of child protection charity, Bravehearts, Hetty is determined to make Australia the safest place in the world for children. She established Bravehearts in 1997 after learning her daughter had been sexually assaulted.  Since then, Hetty has dedicated her life to creating awareness that child sexual assault is largely preventable and encouraging the nation to prioritise the safety of children.

Today, Hetty leads a team of more than 70 employees who provide therapeutic, educational and advocacy services across the nation.  Hetty has worked tirelessly to bring attention to a topic that was once taboo and her work has resulted in major policy and legislative changes, as well as numerous inquiries across the nation. 

Hetty's tireless work has compelled Australia to address child sexual assault and support the thousands of children who are sexually assaulted each year. She remains passionate and determined in her fight for children and her legacy will be a safer nation in which to raise a child.

Philanthropist Fred Hyde AM has been awarded 2015 Queensland Senior Australian of the Year.

While most people slow down when they retire, 94 year old Fred Hyde has devoted the past three decades and all of his resources - personal, physical and financial - to rescuing and educating abandoned children in Bangladesh.   After seeing the plight of children left orphaned after a tidal wave on Bhola Island in 1970, Fred later sold his house and poured all his savings into his not-for-profit organisation, Co-operation in Development. 

Since 1991, Fred has helped build 45 schools, five kindergartens, teacher training facilities for 165 teachers and, at present, there are 12,000 children attending Co-operation in Development schools.  A humble but awe-inspiring leader, role model and mentor to many, Fred continues to spend six months of every year in Bangladesh directing projects that touch the lives of countless people in need.

The 2015 Queensland Young Australian of the Year is 23 year old Sunnybank Hills resident Yassmin Abdel-Magied.

Born in Sudan, Yassmin Abdel-Magied moved to Australia when she was two and now devotes her extraordinary energy and talents to making Australia a better place.  At age 16, Yassmin founded Youth Without Borders, an organisation that enables young people to work together to implement positive change within their communities and internationally. 

Yassmin has forged a hybrid career as an engineer, social advocate and media commentator and she is a sought-after candidate for state and federal advisory groups.  Yassmin has sat on the Australian Multicultural Council, the Board of the Queensland Museum and the Design Council, contributed as a member of the Federal ANZAC Centenary Commemoration Youth Working Group and was on the organising committee of the 2014 Youth G20 Summit. 

She was also the Team Principal and designer of the University of Queensland's race team. Her achievements across a number of fields provide positive proof that hard work, resilience and self-belief can reap rewards, regardless of gender, faith or cultural background. 

Juliette Wright has been awarded 2015 Queensland Local Hero for her work as a social entrepreneur.

Driven, inspired and relentlessly ambitious, Juliette Wright is on a mission to alleviate poverty.  Establishing an online platform in 2009 to connect those who have with those who need, Juliette is changing the face of how society helps its most vulnerable and marginalised people. 

As the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of GIVIT, Juliette created the portal to ensure quality goods get to where they are most needed by safely connecting and inspiring an online network of givers.  Juliette’s vision, hard work and determination have resulted in donations of more than 126,000 items to disadvantaged members of the Australian community.

In 2011, when Queensland was hit by devastating floods, GIVIT became the state government’s official website for matching donors and recipients - with 1.8 million hits resulting in 33,000 items matched in three weeks.  Juliette’s positive ‘can do’ attitude inspires others to embrace philanthropy and her next challenge is GIVIT Kids, a safe online platform for children to give new or pre-loved belongings.  

The Queensland Award recipients will join recipients from the other States and Territories as finalists for the National Awards to be announced on 25 January 2015 in Canberra. 

National Australia Day Council CEO, Jeremy Lasek, said the Queensland Award recipients are four truly inspirational Australians.

“The Queensland Award recipients are amazingly dedicated individuals making significant changes to the lives of those less fortunate in Australia and overseas,” said Mr Lasek.

“They all deserve our congratulations and thanks.”

The Commonwealth Bank is a major sponsor of the Australian of the Year Awards.

“For more than 35 years, we have been pleased to support the Australian of the Year Awards - a national program that recognises outstanding individuals. Each year we are inspired by the calibre of recipients from each State and Territory. We congratulate this year’s recipients from Queensland and wish them all the best for the national Awards,” said Commonwealth Bank CEO, Ian Narev.

2015 National Nominee Senior Australian of the Year

Fred Hyde AM

Philanthropist

While most people slow down when they retire, 94 year old Fred Hyde has devoted the last three decades and all of his resources – personal, physical and financial – to rescuing and educating aband...

2015 National Nominee Australian of the Year

Hetty Johnston AM

Child protection activist

Founder of child protection charity, Bravehearts, Hetty Johnston is determined to make Australia the safest place in the world for children.  Hetty established Bravehearts in 1997 after learning her ...

2015 Local Hero

Juliette Wright

Social entrepreneur

Driven and inspired, Juliette Wright is on a mission to alleviate the effects of poverty across Australia.  Establishing an online platform in 2009 to connect those who have with those who need, Juli...

Where are they now? →

2015 National Nominee Young Australian of the Year

Yassmin Abdel-Magied

Engineer and social advocate

Born in Sudan, Yassmin Abdel-Magied and her family arrived in Australia when she was two and since then has devoted her extraordinary energy and talents to making Australia a better place.  At age 16...

Where are they now? →