Australian of the Year Awards

In these challenging and unprecedented times, the generosity, kindness, courage and resilience of Canberrans always shines through.  Do you know someone who goes above and beyond, demonstrating our great Australian spirit? They could be a quiet achiever, a leader in their field, a household name or an unknown hero. It’s up to you to nominate our next ACT Australian of the Year.

You know great people. You know their stories.

Be great and nominate at

2021 ACT Australians of the Year

Four inspiring and outstanding Canberrans were announced as the ACT’s Australians of the Year on Monday 2 November, and will now represent the community at the national awards on 25 January 2021.

The four inspirational Canberrans – Timothy Miller, Patricia Anderson AO, Professor Brendan Murphy and Tara McClelland

The four inspirational Canberrans – Timothy Miller, Patricia Anderson AO, Professor Brendan Murphy and Tara McClelland

The 2021 ACT Australian of the Year is Professor Brendan Murphy

Professor Brendan Murphy is the former Government Chief Medical Officer (CMO) and current Secretary of the Department of Health.

Brendan provided expert advice to the Federal Government to close the international borders before the spread of COVID-19 – a decision which saved tens of thousands of Australian lives. Thanks to his calm leadership, Australia was able to prevent the COVID-19 virus taking hold in the community during the first wave of the global pandemic.

The 2021 ACT Senior Australian of the Year is Patricia Anderson AO

Patricia Anderson AO is an Alyawarre woman who has built a national and international reputation as a powerful advocate for the health of Australia’s First Peoples.

With an extensive career spanning community development, policy formation, and research ethics, Pat has dedicated her life to creating and nurturing understanding and compassion between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians.

The 2021 ACT Young Australian of the Year is Tara McClelland

Tara McClelland works tirelessly to support and advocate for the rights and wellbeing of ACT’s young people.

In her professional role as Youth Worker with the Salvation Army, Tara works with 16-25 year olds experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, homelessness, helping to expand their skills while in crisis accommodation. She is particularly passionate about advocating for young people’s mental health issues, which is the focus of her strength-based empowerment practice.

The 2021 ACT Local Hero is Timothy Miller

Timothy Miller is the founder of Lids4Kids, a national organisation which encourages households, schools, businesses, and organisations to collect plastic lids to be recycled into sustainable products for children.

Lids4Kids now has over 25,000 participants across Australia. Tim coordinates leaders from all states to spread the message about Lids4Kids in their communities and collect, clean and sort lids from drop off points around towns and cities. His efforts have saved millions of lids from landfill, while educating children about the issue of plastic waste and empowering them to take action.

The Australian of the Year Awards celebrate the achievements and contributions of people who go above and beyond for their communities and challenge us to make our own contribution.

If you know someone who is making an outstanding contribution to the Canberra community, then nominate them for the Australian of the Year Awards. Nominations are open year-round and one nomination is all it takes for someone to be in the running.

For more information on the Australian of the Year Awards visit