Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnston has been named the 2015 Queensland Australian of the Year.
Child protection advocate Hetty Johnston has been named the 2015 Queensland Australian of the Year.
The Cedar Creek resident was handed the top state award at a ceremony in Brisbane on Friday for her work to support the thousands of children who are sexually assaulted each year.
Ms Johnston, who founded child protection charity Bravehearts in 1997, has dedicated her life to creating awareness that child sexual assault is largely preventable.
Her work has led to major policy and legislative changes, as well as numerous inquiries across the country.
“What this does is give us credibility, gives us standing – it says that what we’re doing is correct and it makes it harder for those who would dismiss this issue,” she told AAP after being named a finalist this month.
Philanthropist Fred Hyde, 94, was named the Queensland Senior Australian of the Year for his work in rescuing and educating thousands of orphaned children in Bangladesh during the past three decades.
Sunnybank Hills resident Yassmin Abdel-Magied, 23, has become the Queensland Young Australian of the Year for her work in making the country a better place.
She is the founder of Youth Without Borders – a group that helps youth make positive changes in their communities – and has sat on numerous federal advisory groups, including the Australian Multicultural Council.
Juliette Wright of Camp Mountain took out the Queensland Local Hero award for her work to alleviate poverty.
In 2009 she founded GIVIT, a website that allows people to safety donate goods and connect to those who are most in need. More than 100,000 items have been gifted through the site including many that were given to those affected by the state’s 2011 floods.
Premier Campbell Newman says the recipients are inspiring and should be commended for their generosity, passion and commitment.
“It is through their selfless, determined and unwavering commitment to their individual fields, that they make our society a better place.”
The Queensland recipients will join winners from other states and territories as finalists for the national awards to be announced in January.
2015 AUSTRALIAN QUEENSLANDER OF THE YEAR FINALISTS
* Terri Irwin – conservationist (Sunshine Coast)
* Adam Scott – sportsman and youth advocate (Gold Coast)
* Johnathan Thurston – sportsman and reconciliation ambassador (Townsville)
(Source: Queensland government)