North Queensland to host Ambassadors and Australia Day events

Published Monday, 23 January, 2023 at 02:51 PM

Premier and Minister for the Olympic and Paralympic Games
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

North Queensland residents will be treated to homegrown music acts and family-friendly activities as part of a stellar line-up of Australia Day events this week.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Australia Day was a time for Queenslanders to come together to reflect, respect and celebrate on Australia’s national day.

“Australia Day is an opportunity to reflect on what it means to be Australian, to celebrate our great lifestyle and to acknowledge our history,” the Premier said.

“Communities large and small are the foundation of our multicultural country, and I encourage all Queenslanders, far and wide, to come together to celebrate on our national day.

“We are all so lucky to live in Queensland, and my Government is proud to continue its work to promote our State’s wonderful diversity.”

This year, the Australia Day Ambassador Program is connecting Queensland communities with 48 proud, high-achieving Queenslanders who’ll participate in council-run events and activities across the state.

Brisbane Paralympic Football Program founder Jay Larkins, entrepreneur Selina Tomasich and Micah Projects founder Karyn Walsh AM will be among the Australia Day Ambassadors attending events in the North Queensland region this month[LL1] .

Ms Karyn Walsh said as an Ambassador, she is looking forward to going to Ingham and engaging with the community in their recognition of Australia Day.

The Australia Day Ambassador Program and Australia Day program of events are proudly supported by the Palaszczuk Government in partnership with the Australian Government through the National Australia Day Council.

North Queensland councils participating in the Australia Day program of events include Burdekin Shire Council, Charters Towers Regional Council and Hinchinbrook Shire Council.

For more information about Australia Day celebrations in Queensland and the Australia Day Ambassador Program, including ambassador biographies, please visit:



Jay Larkins

Jay has dedicated himself to helping people with disabilities live their best lives.

He founded the Brisbane Paralympic Football Program (BPFP) in 2006 after he couldn’t find a community sports group willing to include his son Jarrod, who has cerebral palsy. Jay created the program so people of all abilities can stay active and engage in their community through sport. Through BPFP, Jarrod and many other young people with disabilities are going on to represent Australia in their chosen sports. Jay builds each participant’s capacity, confidence and competence. His goal is to improve the overall health and wellbeing of people with disabilities and their families.

He’s also engaging with universities. Each year, more than 100 students from a range of faculties (from occupational therapy to law) join game sessions – providing opportunities for them to better understand individuals living with disability, something they’ll take through their careers.

Selina Tomasich

Selina founded Hair Aid Inc in 2010, an Australian not for profit organisation that sends teams of volunteer hairdressers across the world to teach those living in critical poverty how to cut hair. The teams teach the skills required to increase their livelihood, allowing them to earn money to feed, clothe and house themselves and their children.

Selina holds five university qualifications as well as an international inventor's patent for creating online technology. She has created eight apps, written academic books and is published in peer reviewed journals.

Karyn Walsh AM

Karyn established and has led Micah Projects for over 25 years. She has been responsible for the development and implementation of innovative and effective policies for community services which address homelessness and domestic violence, as well as supporting young parents, people with disability, including mental illness and substance use, preventing child abuse, and ensuring reparations for people who have experienced institutional abuse.

During COVID-19, Karyn worked with the Department of Housing and other non-government services in its response to support homeless people in Brisbane during the lockdowns, resulting in 1700 people accessing emergency housing. This included women and children escaping domestic violence. Karyn advocates a “Housing First” and an integrated approach, leading to statewide and nationwide homelessness practice that enables the most vulnerable to access healthcare and support services to sustain their tenancy.