There are four finalists in each award category in each State and Territory. All State and Territory award recipients will become finalists for the national awards, which will be announced on 25 January 2010 in Canberra and which will also mark the 50th Anniversary of the Australian of the Year Awards program.
Among the state and territory finalists for Australian of the Year are neurosurgeon Dr Charles Teo (NSW), Samson & Delilah filmmaker Warwick Thornton (NT), workers rights campaigner Sharan Burrow (VIC) and indigenous educator Dr Chris Sarra (QLD).
The Senior Australian of the Year state and territory finalists include cook and restaurateur Maggie Beer (SA), crime victims’ advocate Ken Marslew (NSW), historian Prof Geoffrey Blainey AC (VIC) and singer/songwriter Kev Carmody (QLD).
State and territory finalists for Young Australian of the Year include singer Jessica Mauboy (NT), BMX champion Caroline Buchanan (ACT), playwright Finegan Kruckmeyer (TAS) and VC awarded soldier Trooper Mark Donaldson (WA).
The Local Hero state and territory finalists include community markets founder Norma Higgins (NT), OzHarvest food bank founder Ronni Kahn (NSW), indigenous community campaigners Emily Carter and June Oscar (WA), Maltese community leader Edgar Agius OAM (SA) and bushfire recovery workers Kevin and Rhonda Butler (VIC).
More than 2,500 nominations were submitted by the Australian public for this year’s awards, recognising everyone from high achievers to community volunteers.
“We always receive a wide range of nominations and that’s what’s great about the awards – it’s the public’s chance to tell us who they are proud of, who they find inspiring and who they want to thank for their efforts,” said Ms Johnston, Program Director at the National Australia Day Council.
“The finalists come from all walks of life, all areas of Australia and are involved a wide range of activities, but they are all either doing something to help others or making a difference in people’s lives.”
For more information about the Australian of the Year Awards visit www.australianoftheyear.org.au.
Photo credit: Australia Day Council (pictured: Australian of the Year 2009, Professor Michael Dodson AM)