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    Premier
    The Honourable Campbell Newman

    Queensland recipients announced in Australian of the Year Awards

    Premier
    The Honourable Campbell Newman

    Wednesday, November 13, 2013

    Queensland recipients announced in Australian of the Year Awards

    Four remarkable recipients have been named in Queensland’s Australian of the Year Awards 2014, Premier Campbell Newman announced tonight.

    Queensland’s state level recipients for the Australian of the Year Award include:

    ·         Mr Li Cunxin, Queensland Ballet Director

    ·         Dr Robert McGregor, paediatrician and fundraiser

    ·         Miss Jordyn Archer, child protection activist

    ·         Ms Suzy Wilson, Indigenous literacy champion.

    Premier Campbell Newman congratulated each recipient, acknowledging their continuing success and impact they have had on their communities.

    “It’s no secret Queensland produces extraordinary talent, and the recipients in these awards are living proof of that,” Mr Newman said.

    “These recipients now join a growing legion of Queenslanders who have been recognised for their dedication to their communities.

    “I would like to personally congratulate Queensland’s finalists and recipients for 2014.

    “It’s an honour to be recognised in this way and these people truly make Queensland the great state it is today.”

    Recipients were announced at an awards ceremony held at the State Library of Queensland and now progress to the national Australian of the Year Awards held in Canberra on the eve of Australia Day.

    More than 3,000 nominations were received from the public for the 2014 awards and nominations are already being accepted for the Australian of the Year 2015.

    For more information and to nominate someone that makes you proud, visit www.australianoftheyear.org.au.

    The Australian of the Year Awards is a National Australia Day Council program and is proudly supported by the Queensland Government.

    [ENDS] 13 November 2013

    Contact: Premier’s Office 3719 7000

    Queensland recipients for Australian of the Year:

    Mr Li Cunxin

    Ballet director

    Born into poverty in rural China, Li Cunxin (pronounced Lee Schwin Sing) was spotted by Madam Mao’s Beijing Dance Academy at age 11 and his life changed forever. After a gruelling seven year training regime, Li became one of China’s foremost ballet dancers. Awarded one of the first cultural scholarships ever endowed in China to study in America, Li subsequently defected to the West in 1981. He went on to dance with the Houston Ballet for 16 years and became one of the best dancers in the world. While in London he met and fell in love with Australian-born ballerina, Mary McKendry, and in 1995 moved to Australia to become Principal Artist with The Australian Ballet. Li’s award-winning autobiography, Mao’s Last Dancer, is an international bestseller which became a blockbuster film in 2009. Today, Li is Artistic Director of the Queensland Ballet, a motivational speaker and mentor. Li encourages many ballet dancers with his passion for dance and devotion to artistic excellence, and his story of hardship, perseverance and success is an inspiration to all Australians.

    Senior Australian of the Year

    Dr Robert McGregor

    Paediatrician and fundraiser

    A medical practitioner specialising in child health, Dr Robert McGregor has made an outstanding contribution to Queensland’s community. Bob has devoted nearly four decades to his role as consultant paediatrician at Ipswich Hospital. Many of his current patients are the children or even grandchildren of former patients. Bob was the longtime chair of a hospital fund which raised more than $110,000 for medical equipment, child-friendly nurses’ uniforms and toys for the special care nursery. He has been involved in community outreach programs to prevent child abuse and has presented many papers at medical conferences. He is equally dedicated to his community, working in a number of voluntary roles for local schools and Lions clubs. A keen cyclist, Bob was the inspiration and driving force behind the Heritage Bank Ipswich100 Bike Ride fundraising event. By 2013, the 14th annual Bike Ride attracted nearly 1,000 riders and raised $100,000 for the Ipswich Hospital Foundation, local charities and Lions’ projects.

    Young Australian of the Year

    Miss Jordyn Archer

    Child protection activist

    At just 16 years of age, Jordyn Archer established her own not-for-profit organisation, Chant4Change. In the last five years, Jordyn’s fundraising concerts have contributed tens of thousands of dollars to the work of Destiny Rescue, a charity which frees girls from sex-trafficking and provides them with a home, skills training and a fresh start to life. Jordyn has lived in Cambodia, working among Destiny Rescue girls in a voluntary capacity, teaching English and dancing, and managing the café which employs some of the girls. Jordyn is equally passionate about issues on her own doorstep, and together with her brother Joel, hosts weekly barbecues for homeless people in the Sunshine Coast area. In 2013, Jordyn was asked to sit on the Advance Kawana community advisory body to provide input into issues facing her community. Jordyn is positive proof that neither financial resources nor celebrity status are necessary for someone to act on social injustice.

    Queensland’s Local Hero

    Ms Suzy Wilson

    Indigenous literacy champion

    Disturbed by low rates of literacy among Indigenous Australians, bookstore owner Suzy Wilson organised the first Riverbend Readers’ Challenge in 2004, raising $25,000 for Indigenous literacy projects. Determined to do more, Suzy subsequently established the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, which provides books and literacy resources to more than 200 remote Indigenous communities around Australia. A former teacher, education consultant and university lecturer, Suzy is passionate about literacy, and has become a catalyst that is changing children’s lives through literature. In 2013, the foundation raised nearly half a million dollars, translated dozens of early childhood books into the first languages of Indigenous communities, and supplied 100,000 books to people around Australia. More than 20,000 students now support the foundation through annual Great Book Swaps and other fundraisers. Suzy’s vision for a fair and equal Australia is helping to level the playing field, so that our nation’s children have the same opportunities to develop a lifelong love of reading.