Nominations are now open for the Australian of the Year Awards for 2022, with the National Australia Day Council hoping to build on record nomination numbers for a second year.
Increased interest in the most recent awards saw a higher volume of names put in front of the council than usual. Chief executive officer Karlie Brand said they hoped the trend would continue.
Ms Brand said with everyone around the country facing either the bushfire recovery or the pandemic in 2020, recognising local heroes became even more important.
"I think it really gave people the chance to pause and think, 'Yes, I really should take the time to acknowledge those special people around me'," she said.
Residents from all states and territories have the opportunity to nominate someone they believe makes a significant contribution to the nation. Australian Community Media is the media partner for the awards.
A panel of judges from each jurisdiction will then select one recipient for each of the four award categories.
The categories include Australian of the Year, Young Australian of the Year, Senior of the Australian of the Year and Australia's Local Hero.
Made up of people from a diverse range of backgrounds, the Australia Day Council is a not-for-profit group responsible for picking the winners.
Ms Brand said the great thing about the judging process was that everyone on the panel was inspired by different things.
"The thing that gets me is when I can see that the individual is truly making an impact in whatever world they operate in," she said.
Ms Brand gave the example of Western Australia's 2021 local hero, Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, who founded the not-for-profit Plastic Free July.
"Her passion for that and her dedication to the environmental movement is just really powerful," she said.
"Then you've got Grace Tame with her extraordinary courage.
"The trauma that she has gone through but been able to turn that into something to make the country have a conversation about is also really powerful."
The winner of Australian of the Year in 2021, Ms Tame has been a vocal advocate for women's rights and was instrumental in changing laws which prevented victims of sexual assault to be named in Tasmania.
Nominations close at midnight on July 31, with the winners announced on Australia Day eve.
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