Congratulations to our 2023 NT Australian of the Year recipients.

2023 Northern Territory Australian of the Year Samuel Bush-Blanasi

Proud Mayili man Samuel Bush-Blanasi has worked for decades to empower Indigenous Australians. 

As chair of the Northern Land Council, he’s been instrumental in progressing sea country rights in Arnhem Land. 

In 2022, the Aboriginal Sea Company commenced operations. 

It will provide employment and allow traditional owners to oversee commercial fishing, aquaculture, and related activities along the coast. 

2023 Northern Territory Young Australian of the Year Jahdai Vigona

Jahdai Vigona is a Tiwi Islands man passionate about improving the lives of Indigenous Australians.

He’s been a presenter and participant at government forums, research summits and public events, highlighting the health needs of Indigenous people.

Jahdai is at the forefront of making health resources that resonate in Aboriginal communities. He encourages others to speak, and for those voices to be heard.

2023 Northern Territory Senior Australian of the Year Bernard Tipiloura

The work of Tiwi Island elder Bernard Tipiloura has led to a dramatic drop in the suicide rate in the Tiwi Islands over the past 20 years.

His story is one of community empowerment. Bernard and his wife engaged with the Islands’ young people to strengthen their cultural identity and connection to country, teaching them to be proud of who they are – with incredible results.

2023 Northern Territory Australia's Local Hero Sacha King

Social worker Sacha King founded the Two Two One Mental Health Charity in 2019. She aims to close the gaps in mental health service delivery and education in the Northern Territory.

Sacha also organises a number of events for young people around Darwin. These safe spaces are somewhere young people can connect, learn skills and improve their wellbeing.

 

2023 Northern Territory Australians of the Year

 

                                       Click here to read about the 2023 Northern Territory recipients in each category.

2022 Northern Territory Australian of the Year 

Arrernte woman Leanne Liddle has travelled thousands of kilometres to listen to Aboriginal Territorians to ensure they have a voice in the justice system.

As South Australia’s first Aboriginal policewoman, Leanne experienced racist abuse. After leaving the force, she continued fighting for justice. She completed a law degree with honours, eventually becoming the Director of the Aboriginal Justice Unit.

Leanne is the driving force behind the Northern Territory’s first Aboriginal Justice Agreement (AJA), which aims to reduce reoffending and imprisonment rates, engage Aboriginal leadership and improve justice for Aboriginal Territorians.

2022 Northern Territory Young Australian of the Year 

After overcoming her own adversities and mental health issues, small business owner Sizol Fuyana now devotes her life to supporting disadvantaged young people who are at risk of entering the justice system.

Sizol is the founder and Managing Director of Fuyana Support. It’s a youth-oriented consultancy firm that provides social and emotional wellbeing support to young people, equipping them with skills to help them be more effective members of their communities.

A law and psychology student who has volunteered for many working groups, Sizol recently received a Northern Territory Government Small Business Achievement Award.

2022 Northern Territory Senior Australian of the Year 

For over 40 years, Robyne Burridge has been a committed advocate for greater equality, accessibility and quality of life for all.

Robyne is a founding member of Integrated DisAbility Action, and a member of the governance committee on the NT Primary Health Network. She also established Focus-A-Bility to provide advocacy, case management and information to individuals with disability.

With her lived experience of cerebral palsy and expertise in disability advocacy, she is highly respected as a leader in the sector, receiving an Order of Australia Medal in 2020.

2022 Northern Territory Australia's Local Hero

Rebecca Forrest has an incredible talent for bringing people together. Over 13 years, her events have raised $1 million for a range of worthy causes.

In 2018, Rebecca founded No One Left Behind – events that focus on women but also welcome men in sharing journeys and experiences to inspire others. Her inaugural International Men's Day Forum included emotional addresses from Professor Mick Dodson AM and Tick Everett from Dolly’s Dream.

Rebecca is the Vice President of Business and Professional Women in Darwin. She also won the 2021 Palmerston Citizen of the Year.

2021 NT Australian of the Year DR Wendy Page

Dr Wendy Page, who has dedicated nearly 30 years to improving Aboriginal health for the communities in North East Arnhem Land.

Wendy has worked to highlight and eliminate a parasitic roundworm prevalent in Aboriginal communities across Northern Australia.

Her efforts have been instrumental in the reduction of strongyloidiasis in the local Arnhem Land communities – from 60% to below 10%.

Wendy is a world-recognised expert whose many published papers on the subject help to inform all medical practitioners.

2021 NT Young Australian of the Year Stuart McGrath

Stuart McGrath an Aboriginal health practitioner who will become the first ever Yolngu registered nurse.

Stuart has overcome significant challenges to study nursing – including completing his first year of university remotely while working full-time and being a father to two young girls.

He helped produce the ‘Ask the Specialist’ podcast, with the Menzies School of Health Research, to improve communication between health professionals and patients.

Stuart is committed to closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and encouraging other First Nations young people to participate in the health workforce.

2021 NT Senior Australian of the Year  Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr -Baumann

Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann AM, an Aboriginal elder and renowned artist, activist, writer and public speaker.

Miriam-Rose was the Territory’s first fully qualified Aboriginal teacher. As an art consultant for the Department of Education, she advocated strongly for the inclusion of visual art as part of every child’s education.

In 2013, Miriam-Rose established the Miriam Rose Foundation, to bridge the divide between Aboriginal culture and mainstream society, driving reconciliation at a grassroots level. Through her professional and creative life, she has remained dedicated to maintaining the cultural independence of her people.

2021 NT Australia's Local Hero Erica Gibson

Erica Gibson, a police officer for over 30 years, who is creating safer communities for Northern Territory women.

A passionate supporter of programs that combat family violence, she implemented a network of safe homes in remote communities to protect those in domestic violence situations.

Erica is active in a range of community initiatives that empower women and girls, including the Stars Foundation and White Ribbon Day.

She is a respected and inspirational mentor for women in the police force.

In 2017, Erica received a Telstra NT Business Women’s Award.

                                     Click here to read about the 2021 Northern Territory finalists in each category.