Queensland NRL player Johnathan Thurston has been announced as a finalist in this years Australian of the Year awards after receiving the QLD state award for his work helping to improve indigenous lives.
"I'm very passionate about my culture and trying to inspire the next generation of my culture and young Australians," Thurston said at the ceremony for the Queensland awards.
Thurston has proved a worthy role model both on and off the field and has helped launch the $9.5 million Cowboys House for 50 away-from-home Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
STATE AND TERRITORY FINALISTS FOR AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR:
ACT - MARK DION DEVOW
After taking a derogatory term and turning it into the successful clothing line Darkies Designs, the entrepreneur went on to support other indigenous Australians achieve financial independence by establishing the Canberra Business Yarning Circle.
NSW - MICHELLE YVONNE SIMMONS
The quantum physics professor led a team to create the world's thinnest wire and first transistor made from a single atom, leading the way towards a quantum leap in computing.
NT - DR BO REMENYI
The paediatric cardiologist has worked tirelessly in the early detection, diagnosis and treatment of rheumatic heart disease in the NT, which has the world's highest death rate due to the preventable disease.
QLD - JOHNATHAN THURSTON
The NRL player continues to be an inspirational role model for Indigenous people both on and off the field due to his humility, sportsmanship, leadership and loyalty.
SA - DAVID DAVID
The craniofacial surgeon has directly helped at least 17,000 people with facial deformities and disfigurements since establishing the world-renown Australian Craniofacial Unit in 1975 based in Adelaide.
TAS - SCOTT RANKIN
The multi-award winning theatre director and writer established the charity Big hART as a place for people to tell their stories of disadvantage through the arts.
VIC - SAMUEL JOHNSON OAM
The Australian actor has raised more than $7 million for cancer research since his sister Connie Johnson was diagnosed, and later died, from breast cancer.
WA - DR TRACY WESTERMAN
The internationally recognised psychologist works towards addressing the mental health issues and lowering rates of suicide among indigenous people in remote Australian communities, founding Indigenous Psychological Services in 1998 and training at least 22,000 clinicians in culturally-appropriate psychological approaches.