Honours for top Queenslanders

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale.
Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale. Queensland Times
LEADING Indigenous educator Dr Chris Sarra has been named Queensland’s Australian of the Year 2010 at a ceremony held at Customs House.

Best known for his groundbreaking and community-bonding approach to education in the community of Cherbourg, Dr Sarra is a dedicated educator who inspires Indigenous children to believe in themselves.

Dr Sarra’s leadership of the Cherbourg State School has become nationally acclaimed for its ‘Strong and Smart’ philosophy.  He is now the Director of the Institute for Indigenous Leadership in Education and Development which pursues improved student outcomes for Indigenous children everywhere.

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale was awarded Queensland Local Hero 2010for his tireless passion and commitment to making his home town themost liveable city in Australia.

Paul was elected Mayor in 2004and again in 2008 with an 82% majority, demonstrating the support andrespect in which he is held. He established the Ipswich and MoretonRegional Development Corporation which helped businesses develop andreshape the city and has also worked to protect existing parklands andcreate a new nature centrewhere visitors can see rare and protectedspecies.

The Queensland Senior Australian of the Year 2010 is surf lifesaving leader Ron Rankin AM of Cleveland. At 62 years of the age, Ron has been a volunteer member of Surf Life Saving Australia for over 46 years, has been on the Board of Directors for 25 years, and President since 2001.

He makes a significant contribution to drowning prevention and lifesaving development in the international arena and is Director of the International Lifesaving Federation (ILS) and Vice President of the ILS Asia–Pacific region. Ron’s dedication and commitment to an Australian tradition has saved many thousands of lives.

Queensland’s Young Australian of the Year 2010 is 30 year old Jean Madden of Upper Brookfield. After realising the negative effect sleeping on cement had on the homeless and that sleeping without shelter could be life-threatening, Jean designed the Street Swag made from a super lightweight waterproofed canvas with a high-density foam mattress that also has room for extra belongings.

Jean has given away over 11,000 Street Swags to the homeless and has now begun providing Street Swags to aid and relief organisations in other countries. This year Jean was the first Australian winner of the world’s largest design awards, INDEX.

The four Queensland award recipients will now join award recipients from all other States and Territories as finalists for the national awards to be announced on 25 January 2010 in Canberra.  

Tam Johnston, Program Director for the National Australia Day Council, said all the Queensland award recipients will travel to Canberra for the national awards and to take part in the 50th Anniversary of the Australian of the Year Awards program.

“All the State and Territory award recipients will attend a special celebration event on 24 January before the announcement on 25 January,” said Ms Johnston.

“It will be a very special occasion and we look forward to sharing it with these great Queenslanders.”

Ralph Norris, CEO Commonwealth Bank, offered his congratulations to the award recipients. The Commonwealth Bank has been the major sponsor of the Australian of the Year Awards for more than thirty years.

“On behalf of the Commonwealth Bank, I would like to congratulate all the recipients of the Queensland awards. Their hard work and achievements are an inspiration to the community,” said Mr Norris.

For more information on the Australian of the Year Awards visit

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