Winners of the NT's Australia of the Year awards were announced last night.
2018 NT Australian of the Year – Dr Bo Reményi
2018 NT Senior Australian of the Year – Kathy Guthadjaka
2018 NT Young Australian of the Year – Kevin Kadirgamar
2018 NT Local Hero – Bettina Danganbarr
Dr Bo Reményi was announced as 2018 NT Australian of the Year and Kevin Kadirgamar was announced as 2018 NT Young Australian of the Year.
This year a mother and daughter have also been recognised, with Kathy Guthadjaka named 2018 NT Senior Australian of the Year and her daughter Bettina Danganbarr named 2018 NT Local Hero.
The NT Award recipients will join a cohort of 32 State and Territory recipients from around the country.
These recipients will represent their state at the national Awards on 25 January 2018 in Canberra, where the four Australians of the Year will be announced.
The 2018 NT Australian of the Year is paediatric cardiologist Dr Bo Reményi of Darwin.
As a junior doctor working in remote communities, Dr Bo Reményi was tasked with filling out death certificates for children dying of preventable heart disease.
Finding this unfair and unacceptable, Bo spent a further six years studying to become one of Australia’s first female paediatric cardiologists.
Now an internationally-recognised expert, Bo is tackling the Northern Territory’s rate of Rheumatic Heart Disease, which is currently the highest in the world. Bo’s work in early detection, diagnosis and treatment, as well as her advocacy for the communities she serves, has raised awareness both nationally and internationally, leading to new treatments and better outcomes for patients.
She’s currently completing her PhD in the early detection of Rheumatic Heart Disease. Bo’s contribution is even more extraordinary, given she arrived in Australia as a political refugee after fleeing Hungary as a teenager. She started school in Australia without any English language skills, but today Bo’s education, expertise and sheer hard work is saving lives.
The 2018 NT Senior Australian of the Year 69 year old East Arnhem Land educator and pioneering academic Kathy Guthadjaka.
A senior Elder from Gäwa in north-east Arnhem Land, Kathy Guthadjaka is passionate about preserving traditional knowledge and sharing this with the greater global community. Gotha, as she is known, has worked as an educator since the mid-1960s. Growing up on a mission, Gotha was working as a teaching assistant when her father chose to establish homelands in a remote area of Elcho Island. Gotha was tasked with starting a school.
For the first year, Gotha taught without pay under a tarpaulin near the beach. The school was successful, and Gotha created a bilingual educational model that delivered high attendance and graduation rates. Since then, Gotha has pioneered new education methods, represented Australia at the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem and at the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in Geneva. In her role as a Yolngu researcher at Charles Darwin University, Gotha is leading academic research into language, knowledge, culture and country with widespread practical application.
The 2018 NT Young Australian of the Year is 28 year old refugee and migration lawyer Kevin Kadirgamar of Muirhead. Leaving his birthplace of Sri Lanka to escape civil conflict in his teens gave Kevin Kadirgamar a deep appreciation of the suffering experienced by many, and a steely determination to be a voice of the vulnerable. As a law student, Kevin co-founded Multicultural Youth NT, a youth-led organisation that promotes harmony and empowers young people to implement change in their own communities.
The 2018 NT Local Hero is Elcho Island Indigenous youth leader Bettina Danganbarr. An Aboriginal Community Police Officer in the East Arnhem community of Galiwin’ku, Bettina Danganbarr has offered her home as a safe haven to dozens of domestic violence victims. The Yolngu woman is admired throughout her community as a peacemaker. A tireless campaigner for the rights of women, particularly those experiencing family violence, Bettina has championed the establishment of the Galiwin’ku Women’s Space, a community-led response that addresses family violence in a culturally appropriate, Yolngu-led way.
Chief Minister Michael Gunner congratulated the recipients.
“Territorians are some of the most selfless people in this country and tonight’s awards have shown us just how remarkable our community members are,” Mr Gunner said.
For more information on the Australian of the Year Awards visit australianoftheyear.org.au.