2016 SA Australian of the Year recipients announced

Posted 11 November 2015 6:41pm

The Governor of South Australia, His Excellency the Honourable Hieu Van Le AO and President of the Legislative Council, The Honourable Russell Wortley MLC have announced the 2016 South Australia’s Australian of the Year Award recipients at a ceremony at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre this evening.

Dr John Greenwood AM has been named 2016 South Australia’s Australian of the Year for his work as a burns surgeon.

Looking after 450 acute burns patients each year might seem like a full time job, but Dr John Greenwood has set his sights on excellent and affordable burn care for every patient around the world. A plastic surgeon and Medical Director of the Adult Burn Centre at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, John cares for all adults sustaining burn injury in South Australia, Northern Territory, western New South Wales and western Victoria an area covering some 2.4 million square kilometres. John runs state-wide education services, heads the nation’s only mobile burn response unit for burn injuries in disaster scenarios and he was dispatched to Darwin in the aftermath of the 2002 Bali bombings. Since 2003, John has been developing a suite of innovative burn care and skin substitute products based on a biodegradable polyurethane platform that replace the skin graft. John’s selfless service to burn patients is improving survival rates and making life better for people around the world.

Scientist Monica Oliphant AO has been awarded 2016 South Australia’s Senior Australian of the Year.

An inspiring advocate for science and sustainability, 75 year old Monica Oliphant has influenced the future of energy consumption around the world. Starting out as a laser physicist, she is now recognised internationally as a pioneer in the use of solar photovoltaics and renewable energy. Monica has devoted her long career much in her own time and without financial reward to the promotion of renewable energy both in Australia and overseas. As a senior research scientist with the Electricity Trust of South Australia for two decades, Monica undertook research into renewable energy, with her work enabling grid-connected solar and wind power. Globally-recognised as a leader in her field, Monica has shared her knowledge at conferences in many countries and her work has facilitated development of clean energy policies around the world. Volunteering her time on boards and energy associations culminated in the presidency of the International Solar Energy Society. Monica has maintained a lifelong commitment to improving all people’s access, particularly those of lower socio-economic status, to environmentally and economically sustainable energy.

The 2016 South Australia’s Young Australian of the Year is 28 year old Adelaide resident Arman Abrahimzadeh.

Domestic violence was a normal part of childhood for Arman Abrahimzadeh and his sisters. The Adelaide siblings lived in fear of their domineering father, who, in 2010, would eventually murder their mother Zahra in front of 300 people on a dance floor at the Adelaide Convention Centre. Arman and his sister were left to parent their 12 year old sister and continue their mother’s battles in court. A gentle young man, Arman vowed to never follow his father’s footsteps into

a cycle of abuse. Now a White Ribbon Ambassador, Arman works with various organisations to support victims and raise awareness. A passionate advocate for better legislation to protect women and children, Arman speaks to schools, sporting clubs and police cadet training. In 2015, he established the Zahra Foundation Australia to assist women in crisis and empower them with education and financial independency. While his life has been scarred, Arman is reaching out to help the half a million Australian women experiencing domestic violence each year. 

Glenelg North’s Claire Foord has been awarded 2016 South Australia’s Local Hero for her work as a stillbirth educator.

Stillbirth is a devastation that no one should endure, but sadly it is something that will live with Claire Foord forever. In February 2014, Claire and her husband had to say goodbye to their daughter Alfie who was stillborn at full term. Alfie was a perfect baby, with no illness or issue, but without breath. In the aftermath of this tragedy, Claire established Still Aware to bring attention to the fact that 2,500 babies are stillborn each year in Australia – that’s one baby every four hours. With awareness, Claire hopes to bring about prevention. Since then, Claire has bravely told her story to the media and driven a campaign to help people understand how stillbirth can be prevented by ‘counting the kicks’. She has opened the doors for other people suffering from the same heartbreak to share their stories and has turned up the dial on a long-silent subject in the community.

The South Australian Award recipients will join recipients from the other States and Territories as finalists for the national Awards to be announced on 25 January 2016 in Canberra.

Adriana Christopoulos, Chair of the Australia Day Council of South Australia said the Awards have a long history in South Australia.

“For over 50 years the Awards have celebrated the positive stories of Australians who are worthy of the nation’s attention. Tonight 16 South Australians will be part of our nation’s most prestigious Awards program”

Karen Raffen, CEO of Brand South Australia said the Award recipients have accomplished some amazing successes for South Australia.

“This year’s recipients represent some of the best achievements and excellence in South Australia - these Awards not only highlight their achievements but provide great examples to the rest of the state and the nation about ways we can make our community a better one”

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

"The South Australian Award recipients are inspirational Australians dedicated to their chosen passion and committed to making change for the better. We are extremely proud of the four of them," said Mr Lasek.

For more than 36 years, the Commonwealth Bank has been a proud sponsor of the Australian of the Year Awards. Commonwealth Bank Chief Executive Officer, Ian Narev, congratulated the South Australian Award recipients.

“Congratulations to the South Australian recipients on being named national finalists in the Australian of the Year Awards. We recognise their inspirational contribution to our community and wish them well for the national Awards,” said Mr Narev.

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


2016 National Nominee Young Australian of the Year

Arman Abrahimzadeh

Domestic violence campaigner

Domestic violence was a normal part of childhood for Arman Abrahimzadeh and his sisters. The Adelaide siblings lived in fear of their domineering father, who, in 2010, would eventually murder their mo...

Where are they now? →

2016 National Nominee Local Hero

Claire Foord

Stillbirth educator

Stillbirth is a devastation that no one should endure, but sadly it is something that will live with Claire Foord forever In February 2014, Claire and her husband had to say goodbye to their daughter ...

2016 National Nominee Australian of the Year

Dr John Greenwood AM

Burns surgeon

Looking after 450 acute burns patients each year might seem like a full time job, but Dr John Greenwood has set his sights on excellent and affordable burn care for every patient around the world. A p...

Where are they now? →

2016 National Nominee Senior Australian of the Year

Monica Oliphant AO

Scientist

An inspiring advocate for science and sustainability, Monica Oliphant has influenced the future of energy consumption around the world. Starting out as a laser physicist, she is now recognised interna...