STEM inspires our Australians of the Year

Media Release
  • Minister for Jobs and Innovation
  • Senator for Western Australia

Two scientists, a mathematics teacher and a WA sports star have been honoured in this year’s Australian of the Year Awards.

The Australian of the Year Awards reward the vision, the passion and the dedication of men and women from all over the country.

Science and education are vital to Australia’s future prosperity and it’s wonderful to see these fields leading the way in this year’s Awards.

Through the years our science, research and innovation community has been very well represented.

The very first Australian of the Year was also a winner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine. Sir MacFarlane Burnet OM AK KBE received his award in 1960.

The 2018 Australian of the Year, Professor Michelle Simmons, now joins ranks with Sir Burnet and a whole host of prominent and inspiring Australians.

Michelle is leading the development of world’s first fully functioning quantum computer – keeping Australia at the forefront of technology and the creation of new industries.

Dr Graham Farquhar AO is this year’s Senior Australian of the Year. Agriculture is one of the five super-growth industries for the next decade. Dr Farquhar is a biophysicist who has developed sustainable farming practices to ensure the future of our food producing nation.

Eddy Woo is the Young Australian of the Year. Eddy is a teacher who is inspiring a generation of young people with his passion for mathematics and encouraging them to pursue a career in STEM – where the jobs of the future are being created.

Congratulations also to the Young Australian of the Year, soccer star Samantha Kerr who is a fantastic role model for girls across the country, particularly to those in our home state of Western Australia, encouraging them to follow their sporting dreams, and to keep fit and healthy.

Our scientists and educators work to make the future brighter and better for all Australians.

These awards are not only a testament to the hard work of Michelle, Graham, Eddy and Samantha but also show the importance of their work to our health, wellbeing and ongoing prosperity as a nation.

I hope these awards encourage all our scientists and teachers to see their work as critical to the future of our nation.


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