Leanne Liddle named as Territory's Australian of the Year


The 2022 Northern Territory Australian of the Year is the director of the Aboriginal Justice Unit, Leanne Liddle.

Senior Australian of the Year is Robyne Burridge, a disability services advocate and Founder of Focus-A-Bility, while Young Australian of the Year is Sizolwenkosi Fuyana, a businesswoman, podcaster and youth advocate.

The Territory's 2022 Local Hero winner is Rebecca Forrest for her event organising and fundraising efforts

The winners of the 2022 NT Australian of the Year Awards were announced on Monday night at the Darwin Convention Centre. Guests at the event included Vicki O'Halloran, administrator of the Territory and Michael Gunner, the Territory's Chief Minister.

AND THE WINNER IS: All of the nominees for this year's award.

AND THE WINNER IS: All of the nominees for this year's award.

National Australia Day Council CEO Karlie Brand congratulated the award recipients

"The NT award recipients are extraordinary women who are supporting people in need," said Ms Brand.

"Their contributions are exemplary and we look forward to welcoming them to Canberra for the national awards in January."

Paul Walker, from Katherine, was one of the nominees for the Local Hero award and Kathleen Short, a former deputy mayor of Katherine, was in the running for the Senior Australian of the year.

The four Territory recipients will join those from the other states and territories for the national awards to be announced on 25 January 2022.

The following profiles and pictures of the Northern Territory Australian of the Year Award winners have been supplied by the National Australia Day Council, as organisers of the Australian of the Year Awards.

Australian of the Year

Leanne Liddle

Leanne Liddle

Leanne Liddle - Director of the Aboriginal Justice Unit

Born and raised in Alice Springs, Central Arrernte woman Leanne Liddle has a passion for justice.

As Director of the Aboriginal Justice Unit, she's travelled thousands of kilometres to meet and listen to Aboriginal communities across the Northern Territory.

Leanne is the driving force behind the Northern Territory Aboriginal Justice Agreement, which, in partnership with Aboriginal people aims to:

  • reduce imprisonment rates;
  • increase Aboriginal leadership;
  • and improve justice outcomes for Aboriginal Territorians.

Leanne was South Australia's first Aboriginal policewoman.

During her decade of service, she experienced racism and abuse that she fought and used to fuel her passion to make a difference in the justice arena.

Leanne went on to complete a law degree and has since worked for the United Nations, and in several high- profile government roles, before joining the Aboriginal Justice Unit in 2017.

Now 52, Leanne is committed to empowering Aboriginal Territorians with justice solutions that will work where others have failed.

Senior Australian of the Year

Robyne Burridge

Robyne Burridge

Robyne Burridge OAM - disability services advocate and Founder of Focus-A-Bility,

In 1980, Robyne Burridge moved to the Northern Territory for 18 months to coordinate its International Year of People with a Disability.

Fast forward to 2021 and she is still living in the Territory - advocating for greater equality, accessibility and quality of life for all.

Robyne is a founding member of Integrated DisAbility Action, and a member of the governance committee on the Northern Territory Primary Health Network.

She served 20 years as an Alderman with the Darwin City Council, including one year as Deputy Lord Mayor.

In 1997, Robyne established Focus-A-Bility to provide advocacy, case management and information to individuals with disability.

At 76, Robyne is highly regarded as a leader, advocate and activist in the disability sector. Her lived experience of cerebral palsy and expertise in disability advocacy has seen her mentor many executives in the sector.

The recipient of many awards, in 2020, Robyne received an Order of Australia Medal for service to people with a disability.

Young Australian of the Year

Sizol Fuyana

Sizol Fuyana

Sizolwenkosi Fuyana - businesswoman, podcaster and youth advocate

After overcoming her own adversities and mental health issues, small business owner Sizolwenkosi (Sizol) Fuyana now devotes her life to supporting disadvantaged young people who are at risk of entering the justice system.

Sizol is the founder and Managing Director of Fuyana Support. It's a youth-oriented consultancy firm that provides social and emotional wellbeing to young people, equipping them with skills to help them be more effective members of communities.

Sizol has partnered with the City of Palmerston to develop a 'Youth Info Map', with the project leading to freelance work with Joblink. She also works with youth at Don Dale Youth Detention Centre.

Sizol's podcast, The Reality Change, is about personal growth and facing adversity.

She is also Chair of the 2021 Northern Territory Youth Round Table, which aims to make the government aware of key issues that are important to young people.

A law and psychology student who has volunteered for many working groups, 20 year old Sizol recently received a Northern Territory Government Small Business Achievement Award.

NT Local Hero

Rebecca Forrest

Rebecca Forrest

Rebecca Forrest - event organiser and fundraiser

Rebecca Forrest has an incredible talent for bringing people together in a safe environment where they can open up and share their experiences.

For more than 13 years, her events have raised awareness and much-needed funds for various causes.

All up, her efforts have contributed $1 million to support anti-violence and people with autism, as well as Life Education, the Cancer Council and the Police Legacy.

In 2018, Rebecca founded No One Left Behind - events that focus on women but also welcome men in sharing journeys, experiences and lessons learnt to inspire others.

Her inaugural International Men's Day Forum included emotional addresses from Professor Mick Dodson AM and Tick Everett from Dolly's Dream.

She also organises No More Violence events, pushing the message that violence won't be tolerated.

Rebecca is the Vice President of Business and Professional Women in Darwin.

The 40 year old's passion for social justice, anti-violence and youth affairs saw her win the 2021 Palmerston Citizen of the Year Award.

For more information on the Australian of the Year Awards visit australianoftheyear.org.au.

  • ACM, publisher of this newspaper, is Media Partner of the 2022 Australian of the Year Awards
This story Leanne Liddle named as Northern Territory's Australian of the Year first appeared on Katherine Times.