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(Australian Associated Press)
STATE AND TERRITORY FINALISTS FOR LOCAL AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR
NSW – SOPHIE SMITH
Sophie Smith formed a charitable foundation, Running for Premature Babies, with her husband Ash after they lost their prematurely-born triplets in 2007. The organisation has raised millions of dollars towards giving premature babies a better chance of survival.
VIC – CAROL MATTHEWS
The lead litigant in the biggest class-action in Australian history has advocated for emotional preparedness to be included in bushfire preparation after losing her 22-year-old son Sam in the catastrophic Black Saturday fires.
QLD – ELIJAH BUOL
The criminologist, former refugee and director of Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland has been an advocate for the young and disadvantaged and was instrumental in removing children under 18 from adult prisons in the state.
WA – PROFESSOR CHERYL KICKETT-TUCKER
The Wadjuk traditional owner and Women’s National Basketball League player launched an after-school basketball program for young children, helping improve their social, physical and emotional wellbeing.
SA – MEGAN MCLOUGHLIN
The founder of Herd of Hope, which promotes organ donation to the community, has dedicated her life to supporting donor families and guiding organ recipients through the recovery process.
TAS – VICKI PURNELL
The talented sewer and founder of Bridie’s Blossoms has created more than 460 elegant outfits for stillborn babies so they can be farewelled with love and dignity.
ACT – DR DAVID WILLIAMS
The founder of Confident Speakers encourages people with intellectual disabilities to speak up for themselves, rather than relying on others to speak on their behalf.
NT – KATE AND TICK EVERETT
The couple founded Dolly’s Dream to create positive change around childhood bullying following the tragic death of their teenage daughter Amy “Dolly” Everett.