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Outstanding women top ACT Australian of the Year Awards

A pioneer in women’s rugby league, a disability rights leader, a sustainability advocate and a foster carer have been recognised at the 2020 ACT Australian of the Year Awards.

Announced on Monday 28 October, the 2020 ACT Australian of the Year is women’s rugby league pioneer and Wiradjuri woman, Katrina Fanning.

For more than 25 years, Ms Fanning has lived and breathed rugby league. Following a successful career as a player, she was appointed manager of the Indigenous Women’s All Stars team, Chairperson of the Australian Rugby League Indigenous Council, and President of the Canberra and Australian Women’s Rugby League Associations.

In 2014, she was named Canberra Woman of the Year, and ACT NAIDOC Person of the Year, while this year she was the third woman to be appointed to the Canberra Raiders Board of Directors.

The 46-year-old firmly believes the ACT can lead the way nationally for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people outcomes, in creating and leading their own solutions.

In other awards, disability advocate Sue Salthouse was named the 2020 ACT Senior Australian of the Year.

In 2015, Ms Salthouse was Canberra Citizen of the Year, recognising her outstanding commitment and contribution as a disability advocate. Now aged 70, she runs a consultancy company specialising in disability rights advocacy and works in the disability sector.

The 2020 ACT Young Australian of the Year is 22-year-old sustainability advocate, Madeline Diamond, who is the founder of Trash Mob, a youth-led community group that meets every month to pick up rubbish in public areas in Canberra, as well as advocating for waste-free solutions.

Ms Diamond is also the executive officer of SEE-Change, a community organisation encouraging Canberrans to live more sustainably. Her achievements include initiating the Young Changemakers Workshop and overseeing the annual Parliament of Youth on Sustainability event.

The 2020 ACT Local Hero is Julia Rollings, who has been a foster carer for over two decades – supporting 50 babies, children and young people through difficult periods of their lives.

In 2009, she was awarded Barnardos ACT Mother of the Year Award for her work as a champion for children’s rights.

Drawing on past experience in the out-of-home care sector, Ms Rollings supports other carers through her role on the Carer Wellbeing Sub-Committee. She has also held various volunteer positions within adoption support groups, including president of the Adoptive Families Association (ACT).

The four ACT recipients will join those from the other states and territories for the national awards ceremony at the National Arboretum in Canberra on 25 January 2020 – the 60th anniversary of the awards.

For more information, visit australianoftheyear.org.au

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LJ Hooker Projects - The Chandler