Australia Day Awards finalists from across all states and territories have been congratulated by the Government at a series of events honouring their contribution in Canberra today.
Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister, Senator the Hon. James McGrath praised the dedication, courage and commitment of awards finalists and acknowledged the valuable impact they are having on the wider Australian community.
“This year’s finalists are a testament to the 2016 message of harmony and diversity, and through their leadership are helping to unify us all as a nation this Australia Day,” Senator McGrath said.
“I’m truly honoured to have met many of the finalists today. They represent a diverse range of fields from medicine, education and science, to social activism and business.
“Each finalist shares a passion and drive to advance their chosen cause, and through their efforts they are making Australia a better place.”
Senator McGrath said he was particularly impressed by the Young Australian of the Year finalists.
“Our youngest finalist, 19 year old Benjamin Masters from the Northern Territory is using his passion for music to help create opportunities for up and coming musicians in the Top End; and from Western Australia young mum Catherine Hughes is working to promote the importance of immunisation after the tragic loss of her youngest child Riley who died from whooping cough,” Senator McGrath said.
“These young people are truly inspirational. They show kindness and generosity and often great bravery in sharing their stories or experiences to help others.”
Senator McGrath also thanked all the sponsors for their support of the Australian of the Year Awards, including Woolworths who has just committed to sponsoring the Young Australian of the Year Awards for the next three years.
“It shows great community spirit and helps us all to recognise those Australians who have contributed so much to making Australia the great country that it is.”
The Australian of the Year Awards and official Australia Day celebrations are managed by the Australia Day Council.
For more information about the Australian of the Year Awards, including biographies of the 2016 national finalists, visit www.australianoftheyear.org.au