WEDNESDAY 4 NOVEMBER 2020
2021 Northern Territory Australian of the Year Award recipients announced
2021 NT Australian of the Year – Dr Wendy Page (Nhulunbuy)
2021 NT Senior Australian of the Year – Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann AM (Daly River)
2021 NT Young Australian of the Year – Stuart McGrath (Galiwin’ku Community, Elcho Island)
2021 NT Local Hero – Erica Gibson (Katherine)
Facebook live stream link via @AustralianoftheYear
Wednesday 4 November 2020, 7:20pm Darwin: The 2021 Northern Territory Australian of the Year Awards have been announced this evening at the Darwin Convention Centre in the presence of NT Chief Minister, the Honourable Michael Gunner MLA.
The four Northern Territory award recipients will join those from the other states and territories for the national awards to be announced on 25 January 2021.
The 2021 NT Australian of the Year is global expert in Aboriginal health, Dr Wendy Page.
For more than 30 years, Dr Wendy Page has been dedicated to improving Aboriginal health outcomes, working tirelessly at the grassroots level for the communities in North East Arnhem Land. In 1993, Wendy took up a position at the newly established Miwatj Health Aboriginal Corporation in Nhulunbuy, where she is now medical director. Wendy has worked to highlight and eliminate a parasitic roundworm prevalent in Aboriginal communities across Northern Australia. She set up the first national workshop for strongyloidiasis, a disease caused by the Strongyloides worm. Wendy’s efforts have been instrumental in reducing the prevalence of strongyloidiasis in local East Arnhem Land communities – from 60 per cent to below 10 per cent. Her many published papers on the Strongyloides worm have made her a world-recognised expert and are used to inform all medical practitioners. Wendy is passionate about mentoring young doctors. The 65 year old has taken on roles as a lead supervisor in Nhulunbuy and as an examiner in Darwin to help registrars become qualified GPs.
Aboriginal activist, educator and artist Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann AM is the 2021
NT Senior Australian of the Year. Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann AM is an Aboriginal elder from Nauiyu and a renowned artist, activist, writer and public speaker. In 1975, Miriam-Rose became the Territory’s first fully qualified Aboriginal teacher. As an art consultant for the Department of Education, she visited schools through the Top End, advocating for the inclusion of visual art as part of every child’s education. Miriam-Rose later became the principal of the Catholic school in her home community before being appointed to the Federal Government’s advisory body, the National Indigenous Council. In 2013, she 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, 73 year old Miriam-Rose has remained dedicated to maintaining the cultural independence of her people and being a spokesperson for the Aboriginal worldview. In recognition of her leadership, she was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia medal and an Honorary PhD in Education from Charles Darwin University.
The 2021 NT Young Australian of the Year is Aboriginal health practitioner Stuart McGrath.
Stuart McGrath is an Aboriginal health practitioner. On graduation, he will become the first Yolngu registered nurse. At age 29, Stuart has already been exposed to experiences which give him special insight into the needs of different community groups – from his nomadic upbringing in remote Indigenous communities, to schooling in Canberra and studying in Darwin. Stuart has overcome significant challenges to follow his dreams – including completing his first year of a Bachelor of Nursing degree 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. A natural leader, Stuart is committed to closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. His passion for helping his community will inspire other First Nations young people to participate in the health workforce, leading to happier and healthier lives.
Police officer and safer communities advocate Sergeant Erica Gibson is the 2021 NT Local Hero.
Sergeant Erica Gibson is an engaging and enthusiastic leader who is creating safer communities for Northern Territory women. A police officer for more than 30 years, she passionately drives and supports community programs that help to combat family violence. Erica oversaw implementation of the Family Safety Framework program, which provides a network of safe homes in remote communities for people in domestic violence situations. The 53 year old actively supports the Stars Foundation of East Arnhem region, which helps women and girls choose healthy, active lifestyles and positive relationships. She was also a key organiser in Nhulunbuy’s inaugural White Ribbon Day event, which raised approximately $50,000. In 2016, Erica was appointed a member of the RCAG Regional Community Advisory Group for Top End Health Services. And in 2017, she received a Telstra NT Business Women’s Award. A keen mentor of other women in the police force, Erica’s integrity and leadership inspire others to make positive change.
National Australia Day Council CEO Karlie Brand congratulated the Northern Territory award recipients.
“The 2021 Northern Territory Australians of the Year are actively making positive impacts for people of the territory and Indigenous Australians in particular,” said Ms Brand.
“Their efforts are contributing to a better future for all Territorians and for Australia.”
For more information on the Australian of the Year Awards visit australianoftheyear.org.au.
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