Article by Alex Mitchell courtesy of Australian Associated Press and Central Western daily.
While singer Delta Goodrem has been appointed a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia for her services to the performing arts and charity, mining magnate Gina Rinehart has been elevated to an Officer (AO) of the Order in the 2022 Australia Day Honours List.
Ms Rinehart’s gong – for distinguished service to the mining sector and philanthropic contributions – is the second-top award, with seven people appointed Companions (AC) of the Order, the highest honour.
Former chief scientist Alan Finkel has been appointed AC for his work across a range of fields include energy innovation, climate change and COVID-19 response initiatives.
Other scientist ACs include James Dale who has developed a range of genetically modified bananas and Jennifer Graves for evolutionary genetics research.
Helen Nugent was elevated to AC for her work leading people with disability through policy reform, while former Sports Australia chair John Wylie has also been appointed AC for leadership in sport, culture, business and charity.
Tennis champion Dylan Alcott, who was named Australian of the Year for 2022, has also been honoured with an AO for his service to Paralympic sport and as a role model for people with disability, after he won all four grand slams in 2021.
Cook and food author Maggie Beer, former NSW Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons and Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chair Rod Sims are other AO honourees.
Australia’s Olympic heroes have also been honoured, with gold medalists from last year’s Tokyo games awarded Medals (OAM) of the Order of Australia.
They include swimming stars Ariarne Titmus and Kaylee McKeown, slalom canoer Jessica Fox and skateboarder Keegan Palmer.
Swimmer Emma McKeon was appointed AM.
Some, including swimming sisters Bronte and Cate Campbell had previously been appointed the medal, with Australia’s gold medallists all traditionally given the OAM.
Formula One star Daniel Ricciardo and basketballer Patty Mills were both elevated to AM.
Of the 732 awards in the general division, 47 per cent were given to women, the largest percentage of female recipients since the honours system was introduced in 1975.
The recipients’ ages range from 17 to 99 years old, while 45 per cent of awards are for outstanding service in the community.
Some 30 awards were given in the Military Division along with 197 Meritorious awards and 81 Distinguished and Conspicuous awards.
And 58 of the recipients were honoured for their contribution to Australia’s COVID-19 pandemic response.
Governor-General David Hurley congratulated the winners.
“Collectively the recipients, whose achievements span community service, science and research, industry, sport, the arts and more, represent the strength and diversity of Australia,” he said.
“It has been a challenging couple of years and the recipients announced are a reminder and reflection of the richness of spirit, selflessness and good in our community.”