Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, Richard Colbeck, has tonight paid tribute to the 2020 Senior Australian of the Year.

Professor John Newnham, AM, of Western Australia, was honoured by Prime Minister Scott Morrison during a ceremony at the National Arboretum in Canberra.

The award is presented to an Australian over 65 years of age who continues to achieve and contribute to the community.

Prof. Newnham is recognised as a world authority in preventing pre-term birth.

He has been described as “an intellectual leader of modern obstetrics who has changed the practice of medicine and the lives of women and infants”.

“Prof. Newnham’s ongoing achievements serve as an example to all Australians,” Minister Colbeck said.

“Senior Australians have an incredible amount to offer the rest of the community—their intellect, their capacity for hard work and their experience accumulated over many years.

“I would like to pay tribute to Prof. Newnham and to the thousands of senior Australians who play crucial roles across the nation in professional, volunteer and community roles.

“This award is a reflection of our national appreciation, admiration and thanks for your efforts.

The Australian Government has been a proud sponsor of the Senior Australian of the Year Award for more than 10 years.

Minister Colbeck also congratulated each of the state and territory finalists for their endeavours across a range of sectors in our community:

“Celebrating the accomplishments of our seniors is important not only to thank them for their work but to remind all Australians that age is just a number, not an indicator of ability,” he said.

Other finalists this year included:

  • Australian Capital Territory — Sue Salthouse specialises in disability rights advocacy and works in the disability sector. She also develops leadership training for women and actions to combat domestic violence.
  • Tasmania — advocate and volunteer for Landcare Tasmania, Dr Graeme Stevenson has been researching and promoting healthy soils and landscapes for 30 years.
  • Victoria — Dr Raymond Sheuy APM, a former Victorian Police Officer and Assistant Commissioner for Traffic and Operations, is a consultant on road safety and operational safety in Australia and worldwide.
  • Northern Territory — Banduk Marika AO is an artist, a passionate cultural activist and environmental adviser, known for exquisite prints of ancestral creation stories on linoprint.
  • New South Wales — founder of OzGREEN, Sue Lennox from NSW teaches people to become ‘citizen scientists’ and to take action to improve the health of the waterways.
  • South Australia — 90-year-old Sylvia McMillan has been an unstoppable community volunteer for more than 50 years after becoming treasurer of her local Legacy Club in the late 1960s.
  • Queensland — Peter Dornan AM helps men with prostate cancer share experiences and seek support and designed a program to treat incontinence after prostate cancer treatment.

More details about the Australian of the Year Awards 2019 are available at the Australian of the Year website.

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