NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell and Minister for Women Pru Goward today announced the winners of the 2014 NSW Women of the Year Awards during a special reception at NSW Parliament House.
“The winners of these awards are outstanding role models we can all look up to. The contribution these extraordinary women have made to our society deserves recognition,” Mr O’Farrell said.
“To all the women who were nominated, we are extremely grateful for your efforts and for allowing us to share your journeys and achievements.
“The eve of International Women’s Day is an opportune time to publicly thank these inspirational women who have given so much to our community.”
Premier’s Woman of the Year Award
The winner of the 2014 Premier’s Woman of the Year Award is Turia Pitt - a mining engineer, and an inspirational burns survivor and motivational speaker.
“Turia is an empowering and compelling woman. She graduated with a double degree and first class honours in a field dominated by men,” Mr O’Farrell said.
“Turia’s relentless spirit can be seen in her quest to overcome injuries sustained in a bushfire while she was competing in an ultra-marathon in the Kimberley. Following this tragic incident, Turia had to learn to walk again to regain her independence.
“Her strong determination to push boundaries and to help others has seen her prepare for various fundraising activities this year, such as the Variety Cycle from Sydney to Uluru and the 20-Kilometre Lake Argyle Swim.
“I understand Turia will also walk a section of the Great Wall of China to raise money as an ambassador for Interplast, an organisation which provides free reconstructive surgery to burns survivors.
“Turia continues to inspire others by sharing her awe-inspiring story as a motivational speaker to school students and businesses.
“Her story is astounding and her contributions are truly inspiring.”
The Premier’s Woman of the Year Award is chosen by a judging panel, who select the winner from a shortlist taken from public nominations.
People's Choice Community Hero
The winner of the 2014 People's Choice Community Hero is Faten El Dana - President of the Muslim Women’s Welfare of Australia.
“Faten’s commitment to improving the lives of migrant women is commendable,” Ms Goward said
“Her determination to help others achieve a better quality of life through good health and education has already been recognised with an Order of Australia Medal and the NSW Premier’s Lebanese Community Award in 2012.
“Faten is a remarkable and passionate woman. She is a relentless force who makes a difference to people’s lives, and is a most deserving recipient of this award.”
The People’s Choice Community Hero award is the category nominated and voted on by the people of NSW. This award is sponsored by A.H. Beard.
Young Woman of the Year
The inaugural recipient of the 2014 Young Woman of the Year is Lakshmi Logathassan – a law student who promotes access to education, equality and a fair-go for all, through ‘The Laptop Project’, a program she founded and developed.
The program takes government-funded laptops that are no longer needed by Australian students and sends them to students in rural and remote schools in Kenya and Sri Lanka.
To date, about 250 laptops have been donated.
“Lakshmi has shown us that age is no barrier when it comes to helping others. She travelled to Sri Lanka to run a workshop to teach students to speak and read English. She also volunteers for a number of charities including Amnesty International and The Australian Red Cross,” Ms Goward said.
“Lakshmi stands as a role model to the younger generation and to all of us, proving that we can all have a role to play in addressing social imbalance.”
The Young Woman of the Year award is the category nominated and voted on by the people of NSW. This award was sponsored by Harvey Norman.
Ms Goward thanked the community for submitting a record number of nominations in all categories and for voting in the People’s Choice Community Hero and the Young Woman of the Year categories.
“I am proud to be amongst so many purpose-driven women. The work and contribution they make across our state is incredibly valued and deserves this recognition,” she said.
This year’s judging panel was led by Ms Goward and included:
- Jeni O’Dowd – Editor, Daily Telegraph
- Katie Page – CEO, Harvey Norman
- Garry Beard – Chairman, A.H. Beard
- Cathy Foley – Chief Scientist CSIRO, and winner of the 2013 NSW Premier’s Award for Woman of the Year
Photo Caption: (L to R) - NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell, Bee Orsini, Jennifer Star, Kimberley Abbott, Lakshmi Logathassan (Winner, Young Woman of the Year 2014), Katie Page (CEO, Harvey Norman), Minister for Women Pru Goward.