2024 AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR AWARDS – NOMINATE HERE
Nominations for 2024 will close on 31 July 2023.
The Australian of the Year Awards honours incredible Australians who have gone the extra mile to create a better country for us all. We all know someone that goes above and beyond in contributing to a greater community – the quiet achievers, the community heroes, the leaders and the doers.
Since its inception in 1960, the Australian of the Year Awards has provided a focal point for Australia Day celebrations and a forum for the recognition of outstanding achievement.
Each year our nation celebrates the contributions of eminent Australians through the Australian of the Year Awards by profiling leading citizens who are role models for us all. They inspire us through their achievements and challenge us to make our own contribution to creating a better Australia.
The Awards honour an extraordinary group of Australians who ignite discussion and change on issues of national importance.
The Australian of the Year Awards provide everyone with the opportunity to recognise any Australian who makes them proud.
Special message from Her Excellency the Honourable Frances Adamson AC, Governor of South Australia:
Read more about our most recent SA’s Australian of the Year Award Recipients 2023
SA State Recipient Australian of the Year 2023
Taryn Brumfitt – Body image activist, director, writer and speaker
Documentary director Taryn Brumfitt leads the Body Image Movement, an Adelaide-based organisation that teaches people to love and appreciate their bodies. Her 2016 documentary Embrace tackled the serious issue of women’s body loathing and Taryn’s path to body acceptance. It was seen by millions of people in 190 countries and is available on Netflix. Taryn has written four best-selling books. She released a documentary, Embrace Kids, in September 2022 that aims to teach nine- to 14-year-olds to move, nourish, respect and appreciate what their bodies can do.
She has collaborated with body image expert Dr Zali Yager to create an Embrace Kids companion parenting book. They have also created the Embrace Hub – a free, research-based resource for teachers, parents, children and communities on fostering body positivity. Taryn’s work has reached more than 200 million people. She is an internationally recognised keynote speaker whose work is recognised by UN Women.
SA State Recipient Senior Australian of the Year 2023
Sandra Miller – Aboriginal rights activist, advocate for Indigenous health and welfare
Sandra Miller, a proud Wirangu woman from the Ceduna area, has been a trailblazer, breaking down barriers for Aboriginal women aspiring to leadership roles at a time when they were under-represented.
Sandra trained as a social worker and in the early 1980s worked for the Department of Community Welfare in Adelaide. She pushed to change government policies that were detrimental to Aboriginal children and encouraged Aboriginal people to become foster parents. She went on to play an important part in policy development and service design across key state government portfolios, including Aboriginal health, ageing and welfare. Sandra continues to be a strong voice for her community since leaving the public service. She’s had leadership roles in Aboriginal health and legal rights groups, and holds multiple board and executive appointments. She has represented her community in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Alliance and at the United Nations.
SA State Recipient Young Australian of the Year 2023
Awer Mabil – Professional soccer player and co-founder of Barefoot to Boots
Socceroo Awer Mabil is co-founder of the not-for-profit organisation Barefoot to Boots, which aims for better health, education, policies and gender equality for refugees. His own unique way of celebrating a goal is a message to those struggling with their mental health: you are not alone and you can speak up.
The winger knows something about trying times. Awer grew up in a Kenyan refugee camp after his family fled civil war in Sudan, before coming to Australia at 10. Only a year after reaching his dream to play for the Socceroos, his sister died in a car accident in 2019.
Awer says that he now feels ‘unbreakable’. It is his experience of hard times, the memory of his sister and the knowledge that young people see him as a role model that drives him to perform. It’s what he does that Awer wants to be known for – not his background.
SA State Recipient Local Hero 2023
Christine Robertson – Co-founder of Lost Pets of South Australia and creator of the Chipblitz program
More than 65,000 pets across Australia have received a microchip thanks to Christine Robertson, but that wasn’t what she initially set out to achieve. Christine co-founded the Lost Pets of South Australia charity in 2013 to reunite lost pets with their families. The volunteer organisation uses social media and its connections with the RSPCA and other animal welfare groups to get lost animals back home.
However, it soon became apparent that many pets were being lost because their owners couldn’t afford to get them microchipped. Microchip fees generally start at about $65. So Christine developed the Chipblitz program in 2015, allowing trained implanters to microchip a pet for just $10. Chipblitz is now the biggest pet microchipping program in the Southern Hemisphere. It has a partnership with national pet goods store PETstock and 1,400-plus volunteers. More than 44,000 pets have been chipped in South Australia alone since the program began.
Honourable note to all of the finalists:
2023 Australian of the Year (SA) Finalists:
Professor Christopher Daniels PHD DSC FAICD – Environmentalist, zoologist and science communicator
Andrea Madeley – Lawyer and workplace safety advocate
Marie Elizabeth Shaw QC – Philanthropist and co-founder, Ice Factor program
2023 Senior Australian of the Year (SA) Finalists:
Margaret Fischer AM – Co-founder of Feast Adelaide Queer Arts & Cultural Festival
Eric Lewis Siggurs – Volunteer, Technology for Ageing and Disability SA
Eugenia Tsoulis OAM – CEO at Australian Migrant Resource Centre; founding member of Settlement Council Australia
Josh Cavallo – Professional soccer player and equality champion
Felicity Graham – Author, advocate and CEO at Fostering Change Australia
Zainab Kazemi – Multicultural advocate and volunteer