Veena Sahajwalla is 2022 NSW Australian of the Year

The 2022 NSW Australians of the Year have been announced at a ceremony at Luna Park, Sydney this evening.

Premier Dominic Perrottet congratulated Professor Veena Sahajwalla, the 2022 NSW Australian of the Year, and NSW’s three other inspirational recipients in the categories of NSW Senior Australian, Young Australian and Local Hero.

“Each of the NSW recipients have been nominated due to their impact and making real life differences to the community in a range of fields. From instrumental roles in science and engineering, establishing not-for-profit welfare services for people in need, healthcare for the vulnerable and creating lifesaving campaigns and charities – they have all demonstrated an outstanding spirit of service to our nation.” said Mr Perrottet

“The Australian of the Year Awards allow us to recognise and celebrate the achievements of remarkable Australians ”“ people making immense contributions to our society.”

“The NSW recipients embody the Australian spirit and despite life’s challenges, they have led the way in founding social, environmental and life-saving initiatives. All are selfless in their dedication, and their individual stories remind us all that we have the power to help others, to bring about real change and to improve the lives of many in the community.”

The NSW Australian of the Year, Professor Veena Sahajwalla is the founding director of the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology at the University of New South Wales and is renowned for pioneering the high-temperature transformation of waste ”“ turning it into a new generation of green materials and products. Veena is most well known for her invention of Polymer Injection Technology, or ”˜Green Steel’.

President of the Islamic Women’s Welfare Association (IWWA), 72 year old Abla Kadous is the NSW Senior Australian of the Year. Abla helped establish the country’s first welfare service for muslim women after moving to Australia from Egypt. IWWA offers anti-discrimination forums, school-readiness programs, youth camps, cooking classes and also provides food and other essentials to people in need. Her generosity has seen her volunteering for more than 35 years while also raising her five children and overcoming many obstacles when creating IWWA.

Founder of Street Side Medics, Dr Daniel Nour is the NSW Young Australian of the Year.  Dr Nour identified a gap in healthcare for vunlnerable people in NSW and as a result of his leadership, this not-for-profit GP-led mobile medical service for people experiencing homelessness has changed the lives of more than 300 patients. Its clinics treat many communicable and non-communicable illnesses and detect conditions that would otherwise go unnoticed.

Shanna Whan, who is the founder and CEO of Sober in the Country, is the NSW Local Hero. After almost losing her own life to alcohol addiction, Shanna established a one-woman grassroots campaign creating radical social impact and change around how people discuss and use alcohol in rural Australia.  Shanna has dedicated her life since 2015 to saving lives across the country, first as a volunteer to help others locally, and now as the founder of the national charity Sober in the Country.

NSW’s four recipients will join those from other states and territories for the national awards ceremony in Canberra on 25 January 2022.

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