Detective and children’s champion, 55-year-old Jon Rouse of Ashgrove, has been named as Queensland’s Australian of the Year.
Detective Inspector Rouse has 34 years’ service with Queensland Police.
In 1996 he began investigating crimes against children and in 2001 started Task Force Argos, where he implemented Australia’s first operation to proactively target internet child sex offenders.
The 2019 Queensland Australian of the Year Award winners were announced on Friday at a ceremony held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Other category winners were:
- 2019 Queensland Senior Australian of the Year – James Dale
- 2019 Queensland Young Australian of the Year – Angel Dixon
- 2019 Queensland Local Hero – Elijah Buol
The Queensland winners will join other state and territory award recipients from around the country as finalists in the national Australian of the Year awards, announced on January 25 in Canberra.
Detective Inspector Rouse has dedicated significant time to global awareness of online child exploitation, delivering training and presentations to law enforcement officers across Australian and internationally.
He is sub-group chair of the Interpol Covert Internet Investigators Group and a director with the Society for the Policing of Cyberspace. In May, he received the Champion for Children Award in New York from the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children.
The 2019 Queensland Senior Australian of the Year is 68-year-old scientist, Professor James Dale of Moggill.
A scientist, researcher and humanitarian, Professor Dale has led significant research programs in agricultural biotechnology.
He was the inaugural Director of the Centre for Tropical Crops and Bio-commodities at Queensland University of Technology and founded Australia’s first molecular farming company, Farmacule Bioindustries.
His ground-breaking work includes seeking a solution to Vitamin A deficiency, which leads to death of an estimated 670,000 children in developing countries, and blindness in another 400,000.
Professor Dale led a project to genetically modify bananas – the staple diet in many poor countries – to boost their pro-vitamin A levels. The release of these lifesaving bananas is planned for East Africa in four years.
He has also led developments including medical technology that enables rapid testing for genetic diseases, and molecular farming technology that aims to produce edible, plant-based vaccines.
The 2019 Queensland Young Australian of the Year is model and activist, 28-year-old Angel Dixon of the Gold Coast.
The first agency-signed model with a physical impairment to feature in a national television campaign, Angel Dixon’s mission is to challenge societies perception of disability.
The two-time Mercedes Benz Fashion Week model is a passionate activist for disability inclusion and human rights.
Aware of the power that the media has in forming perceptions, Angel is advocacy manager for not-for-profit organisation, Starting With Julius, and CEO of the Attitude Foundation.
Both organisations seek to accelerate the inclusion of people with disability through the creation of authentic media and education on inclusive principles.
Angel is also a member of the steering committee for NOW Australia, a not-for-profit that provides support for people who have experienced workplace sexual harassment.
A remarkable public speaker and blogger, Angel’s other passion is design. She’s currently working on a line of walking canes that will be marketed as a fashion accessory – making buying a mobility tool a more positive experience and helping change attitudes towards disability.
The 2019 Queensland Local Hero is advocate for young and disadvantaged people, 33-year-old Elijah Buol of Regents Park.
Since arriving as an unaccompanied minor from South Sudan, Elijah Buol – a criminologist, father of four and director of the Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland – spends much of his time helping young and disadvantaged community members integrate successfully into Australian society.
With qualifications including a Master of Law, Master of Justice in Intelligence and a Bachelor of Human Services this former refugee has held senior and volunteer positions in community and not-for-profit sectors.
Elijah’s advocacy work was instrumental in helping remove children from adult prisons in Queensland.
Through motivational speaking and leadership training, Elijah has inspired many disadvantaged Indigenous, refugee and migrant young people.
He established the African Australian Women’s Network, now the African Australian Women’s Association, to improve the wellbeing of African women living in Australia. He has mentored through the prestigious Young African Australian Star Awards, celebrating high performing young African Australian Queenslanders, as president of Queensland African Communities Council.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said this year’s state recipients were remarkable Queenslanders who had positively influenced our communities, our state and our nation.
“This prestigious annual awards program celebrates the achievements and contributions of Australia’s finest,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“It is with great pleasure that I acknowledge these remarkable individuals as Queensland recipients who have impacted the lives of many.
“I would like to personally congratulate the 2019 recipients and wish you all the best of luck at the national announcement in Canberra.”
National Australia Day Council CEO Karlie Brand said the Queensland award recipients’ work was making a real difference for people in the community.
“We look forward to welcoming these great Queenslanders to Canberra in January for the national awards,” she said.
For more information on the Australian of the Year Awards visit australianoftheyear.org.au.