Australia 's fastest skier and Canberran favourite, Michael Milton, has
been chosen as ACT's Australian of the Year for 2007, ahead of the
likes of Wallabies Captain, George Gregan.
Canberra born and bred, Milton accepted the award, and thanked his
partner of five years, Penni Lewer, his parents and other members of
his family who attended the awards.
"It's the first time in over a decade I have been in Australia at this
time of year so it's great to be here and it's a wonderful honour. I
feel so proud to be Australian and a Canberran. It was such a surprise.
Australia Day 2007 will be my first inAustraliafor many years, my first
with my new daughter Matilda and now it will be even more interesting,"
A big rugby union fan,Miltonspoke to Gregan after the ceremony.
"He was great. He came up and congratulated me and we chatted for a
while. I've met George before and have a lot of respect for him. I
think if he had won I would almost have been as pleased,"
saidMiltonwith a grin.
ACT Chief Minister, The Honourable Jon Stanhope MLA, announced the
award recipients at a special event at the National Gallery
ofAustraliathis evening, congratulating all finalists for their
inspiring achievements. Three other awards were also announced: Senior
Australian of the Year, Young Australian of the Year and Local Hero.
All four recipients are now eligible for the respective national award,
up against finalists from the other seven states and territories.
The National Australia Day Council said the nominations received from
the ACT for this year's awards covered a wide range of achievements and
"We were really pleased with the number of nominations we received from
the ACT for this year's awards and were also very impressed with the
many 'quiet achievers' who were nominated for giving so much to
others," said Tam Johnston, Australian of the Year Awards Manager for
the National Australia Day Council.
"Whether its achievements on a grand, public scale, like Michael
Milton, lifelong contributions like Beverley Orr and Dr Price or
life-changing commitments like John Van den Dungen, we can all draw
inspiration from these great Australians"
The 2007 Australian of the Year Awards will be announced by the Prime
Minister in Canberra on 25 January.
ACT AWARD RECIPIENTS - AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR AWARDS
AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR - ACT
Michael Milton OAM
Speed skier, Dickson
Michael Milton says that having only one leg is not an obstacle, it's just
part of who he is. In April 2006, in France , Michael set a new open
Australian speed skiing record, clocking an amazing 213.65km/hr. He is now
the fastest Australian skier ever and first person ever with a disability
to ski over 200km/hr. He is a twelve times gold medallist in six
Paralympics and six World Championships, and a champion for children's
charities. Michael has been skiing the slopes since he was three and doing
it on one leg since he lost the other one to bone cancer when he was nine.
His achievements between then and now are truly remarkable. He was a
Paralympian at fourteen. At the 2002 Salt Lake Games he won a clean sweep
of all four alpine skiing gold medals, and that same year was named World
Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability. Michael has overcome his
natural shyness to become a talented public speaker. He has achieved at the
highest levels and never stops planning to meet the next challenge.
SENIOR AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR - ACT
Dr Kaye Price
Indigenous education advocate, Gordon
Dr Price's commitment to education can be seen in her career as a primary
school teacher, principal, university lecturer, Indigenous education
consultant, and curriculum writer. The list of advisory and consultative
committees and education bodies she has contributed to over the past forty
years is very extensive. She has lectured at tertiary levels in Queensland
and now at the University of Canberra . Kaye has worked tirelessly on
improving the educational experience for Indigenous school students through
her investigations of pragmatic learning environment programs and her
examination of the relationships between school outcomes and Indigenous
students' positive self identity. Kaye certainly practises what she
teaches. As proof that learning and education is a life-long process, she
graduated in 1995 with a Master of Education from the University of South
Australia and this year was awarded her doctorate by the ANU's Centre for
Cross-Cultural Research. All this while balancing a family support role.
YOUNG AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR - ACT
John Van den Dungen, 25
Youth leader, Civic
At the age of eleven, John Van den Dungen left his rural environment to
come to Canberra for a new start. Struggling to fit in John did a stint in
a reform home and then fell in with the wrong crowd. By eighteen, he was on
remand, spending a month in Goulburn prison, which he describes as the
"gates to hell." John's decision never to go back there turned his life
around. Now he helps other young people facing troubles like those he faced
with sheer determination. He became the coordinator of The Connections, a
community-run organisation providing peer support to people trapped in a
cycle of drugs by offering them a new path, one that John is following
also. Through his work, John has emerged as a young man with the enthusiasm
and a passion to make a positive difference to the lives of other
LOCAL HERO - ACT
Foster carer , Giralang
Beverley Orr cares for kids, literally. For almost thirty years she has
opened her heart and her home to children in need of care, whether it's for
a day or so or for weeks. Beverley's contribution to the welfare of
children hasn't just centred on the Orr home. She was one of the
co-founders of the ACT Foster Carers' Association and still holds the
office of vice-president. She has taken her work to the national level
through her presidency of the Australian Foster Carers' Association.
Beverley is currently on the ACT Children's Services Council and is Deputy
Chair of Families Australia. All this while working full-time in Parliament
House, being a Guide Leader for the past fifteen years, and being only the
second woman to be awarded life membership of the YMCA Sailing Club. While
she promotes the welfare and care of children throughout Australia ,
Beverley remains our local hero.