Nominees for the 2023 New South Wales Australian of the Year Awards Announced



Nominees for the 2023 NSW Australian of the Year Awards include a former Socceroo fighting for human rights, an Aboriginal Constitutional lawyer, a country fireman, a palliative care pioneer, a Sikh charity founder and the young woman who started the call for sexual consent education.

They are just some of the 16 people in the running to be named the NSW Australian of the Year, NSW Senior Australian of the Year, NSW Young Australian of the Year and NSW Local Hero.

The 2023 NSW award nominees are:

NSW Australian of the Year

Professor Megan Davis – Aboriginal constitutional and human rights lawyer (Sydney)

Craig Foster AM – Human rights and anti-racism activist, former Socceroo (Sydney)

Dr Barry Kirby AO – Founder, The Hands of Rescue, obstetrics and gynaecology specialist (Carool)

Professor Kelvin Kong – Surgeon and advocate for Aboriginal ear health (Newcastle)

NSW Senior Australian of the Year

Astrid Hocking – Foster care advocate and anti-violence campaigner

John Moriarty AM – Co-founder Moriarty Foundation (Cammeray, Sydney)

Teresa Plane – Palliative care pioneer and advocate (Narrabeen, Sydney)

Dr Bruce Whatley – Children’s picture book illustrator and author (Vincentia)

NSW Young Australian of the Year

Chanel Contos – Founder, (Vaucluse, Sydney)

Lottie Dalziel – Founder, Banish and sustainability champion (Bondi Beach, Sydney)

Steve Dresler – Founder, What Ability and the What Ability Foundation (Bondi, Sydney)

Christopher McHughes – Fireman (Brewarrina)

NSW Local Hero

Mona Mahamed – Founder, Community Support Services Inc (Glen Alpine)

Christine Mastello – Founder, Southlakes Incorporated and Community Hair Project (Hamlyn Terrace)

Shiranee Pararajasingham – Pro bono Practice Executive and community champion (Enfield, Sydney)

Amar Singh – Founder, Turbans 4 Australia (Prestons)


The NSW nominees are among 131 people being recognised across all states and territories.

The four award recipients from NSW will be announced on the evening of Wednesday 2 November in a ceremony at Luna Park, Sydney which will also be available to watch via ABC iView from 6pm (local NSW time).

They will then join the other state and territory recipients as national finalists for the national awards announcement on 25 January 2023 in Canberra. 

National Australia Day Council CEO Karlie Brand said this year’s NSW nominees’ contributions and achievements are exceptional.

“Congratulations to all the NSW nominees for this recognition,” said Karlie.

“Each and every one of these exemplary Australians is making a difference and taking action to help others or bring about change.

“The people of NSW can be very proud of this year’s nominees.”

20 Years Of Local Heroes

The 2023 Awards also mark 20 years of the Local Hero category. Introduced in 2003, the award acknowledges extraordinary contributions made by Australians in their local community.

NSW recipients of Australia’s Local Hero include:

  • 2022 Shanna Whan - Founder and CEO, Sober In The Country
  • 2021 Rosemary Kariuki - Advocate for migrant and refugee women
  • 2020 Bernie Shakeshaft - Founder, BackTrack Youth Works Program
  • 2018 Eddie Woo - Mathematics teacher
  • 2016 Catherine Keenan - Youth educator
  • 2013 Shane Phillips - Indigenous leader
  • 2012 Lynne Sawyers – Foster mother
  • 2011 Donald Ritchie OAM (In Memoriam) - Suicide prevention advocate
  • 2010 Ronni Kahn - Food rescuer
  • 2004 Donna Carson - Survivor of domestic violence
  • 2003 Brian Parry AFSM - Bushfire fighter


Nominee bios can be viewed on the homepage of or in the pdf attached.

Nominee photos can be downloaded from this link (note all photos provided by nominees): NSW NOMINEE PHOTOS

Media contact: Nicole Browne 0414 673 762 or 

Twitter: @AusoftheYear and #AusoftheYear
Facebook: @AustralianoftheYear