Australia Day Awards honour community spirit

Friday, 18 January

Lismore will be honouring exceptional citizens as well as welcoming new Australians during the 2019 Australia Day Awards ceremony on Saturday, 26 January at Lismore City Hall.

Local groups and individuals have been nominated in the 2019 Australia Day Awards for a host of achievements in disciplines ranging from sports, the arts and the environment to services in the community.

Mayor Isaac Smith will also host the annual Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony, welcoming new Australian citizens from more than 20 countries including Cyprus, Zambia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Thailand, New Zealand, the United States, Vanuatu, India, Kenya, Iran and Libya.

This year’s Australia Day Awards will be presented by Lismore’s 2019 Australia Day ambassador, Mel Thomas.

Mel is a black-belt martial artist, public speaker, published writer and advocate for breaking the cycle of violence against women and children across Australia.

Mel is a survivor of childhood domestic violence and both a victim and perpetrator of teen bullying. In 2013, she established the violence prevention education program KYUP!

Pronounced ‘Key-up’ after a warrior power shout, KYUP! tackles uncomfortable issues surrounding bullying, gender equality, domestic violence and consent with practical life protection skills.

She launched the program in response to the growing number of domestic violence reports in Australia and since 2013, more than 10,000 students and young women have participated in her programs.

Mel is now the ambassador for Layne Beachley’s Aim for the Stars Foundation and was also named the Game Changer of the Year winner in the Women of the Year Awards in 2018.

“We are very excited to welcome Mel as our Australia Day ambassador – she is an amazing role model for young people and I am looking forward to hearing her story at our Australia Day Awards ceremony,” Lismore Mayor Isaac Smith said.

“I am particularly pleased that our young Australia Day nominees will get a chance to hear her keynote address. Mel has overcome some big challenges in life to not only succeed personally but to reach out and help others, and I think her journey is one that we can all learn from.”

The 2019 Australia Day Awards ceremony will be followed by morning tea and everyone is welcome to attend. The ceremony will begin at 9am on Saturday, 26 January at Lismore City Hall.
 

Image: Lismore’s 2019 Australia Day ambassador, Mel Thomas.

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