The Young Australian of the Year distinction, introduced to the awards in 1979, recognises the achievements and contributions of Australians aged 16 to 30 years from areas such as medicine, advocacy, arts, business, Indigenous affairs, community relations and sport.
National Australia Day Council Chairman, Ben Roberts-Smith VC MG, welcomed the new partnership with Woolworths.
“Woolworths has a long and proud history in Australia and is respected as a corporation which supports innovation, diversity and our youth – values reflected in the Young Australian of the Year Award recipients and finalists each year,” said Roberts-Smith.
“Woolworths has a long track record of supporting young people who go on to play leadership roles at a senior management level within its own organisation and at a national level. There’s a great culture of supporting the potential in people.”
Peter McConnell, corporate and public affairs, Woolworths, said the sponsorship of the Young Australian of the Year Award is a great way for an iconic Australian company to give back to the community.
“Woolworths is proud to be associated with an Award that recognises the achievements of our young people. As one of Australia’s largest employers and with young people making up such a large proportion of our workforce we’re delighted to be a part of the Young Australian of the Year awards,” he said.
As part of Woolworths’ new partnership with the Awards, an afternoon tea will be held in Canberra in the lead up to the announcement of the 2016 Australian of the Year Awards.
The event will bring together the 2016 Young Australian of the Year Award national finalists from each State and Territory and the 2015 Young Australian of the Year, Drisana Levitzke-Gray to share her experiences over the past year.
The finalists for the 2016 Young Australian of the Year Award are:
- New South Wales – Melissa Abu-Gazaleh (Young men’s health advocate)
- Victoria – Robert Gillies (Social enterprise founder)
- Queensland – Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett (Social entrepreneurs)
- Western Australia – Catherine Hughes (Immunisation champion)
- South Australia – Arman Abrahimzadeh (Domestic violence campaigner)
- Tasmania – Zac Lockhart (Mental health advocate)
- Australian Capital Territory – Nipuni Wijewickrema (Social entrepreneur)
- Northern Territory – Benjamin Masters (Musician and impresario)