Sydney Times




The 2023 Australians of the Year have been announced at a ceremony at Sydney’s Luna Park this evening, with the NSW Premier commending the four recipients for making such a positive impact on our state.

Premier Dominic Perrottet congratulated Craig Foster AM, the 2023 NSW Australian of the Year, and NSW’s three other inspirational recipients in the categories of NSW Senior Australian; Young Australian; and Local Hero.

“Tonight’s four winners come from an extraordinary group of 16 people who have demonstrated an outstanding spirit of service to our state and our nation,” Mr Perrottet said.

“This group have used their own gifts and talents to ensure that our prosperous and free country has an even brighter future.

“Their passion and perseverance stand as a lighthouse to us all, inspiring us to make our own unique contributions to the betterment of our beloved country.”

Mr Perrottet said that the awardees’ extraordinary acts of leadership, generosity and advocacy for change create a positive impact on the public and make tangible differences to the lives of others.

The NSW Australian of the Year, Craig Foster AM, a human rights and anti-racism activist, and former Socceroo is one of Australia’s most powerful voices for the disadvantaged. The 29-times-capped Socceroo and award-winning sports broadcaster has spent the past decade campaigning for refugee rights and marginalised communities. He promotes anti-racism, allyship and what he calls ‘active multiculturalism’ – communities protecting each other. As Patron of Australia’s Indigenous football teams, Craig, 53, works tirelessly for a better Australia including the ‘Racism. It Stops With Me’ and #RacismNotWelcome campaigns, and volunteers at the Addison Road Community Organisation and food pantry in Sydney.

Aged 89, The NSW Senior Australian of the Year, former nurse Teresa Plane,  is recognised as a pioneer of modern palliative care in Australia. Her devotion began during a drive home from hospital as she listened to a life-changing interview with psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross discussing the five stages of dying, and Teresa realised she’d always been a death-denying nurse. She went on to study palliative care methods overseas before opening a hospice and palliative care unit at Mt Carmel Hospital in Western Sydney in 1978. She later established Macquarie Hospice, a home care and day care centre and spoke many times at international forums, universities and national conferences. She continues advocating and volunteering as she approaches 90 years.

Founder of Banish, and sustainability champion Lottie Dalziel is The NSW Young Australian of the Year. Lottie founded Banish in 2018 after realising how hard it was to get accurate information about recycling and waste – so she made a new year resolution to be kinder to the planet. Since, her aim has been to provide Australians with reliable information and methods to reduce waste. Lottie, 29, also runs BRAD – the Banish Recycled and Disposal Program, with the initiative recycling 11 tonnes of waste, or 150,000 products, from 11,000 households within its first 20 months. In 2020, she delivered a TED talk on the power of community to fight climate change.


Amar Singh, who founded Turbans 4 Australia is the NSW Local Hero. The 41-year-old believes helping others should not be limited by religion, language or cultural background. He founded a charity after experiencing racial slurs and insults because of his Sikh turban and beard, and wanted to show people they didn’t need to be afraid and began helping struggling Australians. Every week, Turbans 4 Australia package and distribute up to 450 food and grocery hampers to people experiencing food insecurity in Western Sydney. Turbans 4 Australia has delivered hay to farmers experiencing drought; supplies to flood victims in Lismore and bushfire-impacted people on the South Coast; and food hampers to the isolated and vulnerable during COVID-19 lockdowns.


In addition, 2023 marks the 20th year of the Local Hero Category. First introduced in 2003, this award acknowledges the extraordinary contributions made by Australians in their local community.

NSW’s four recipients will join those from other states and territories for the national awards ceremony in Canberra on Wednesday, 25 January 2023.

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State Correspondent

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