The woman responsible for leading a major convention aimed at reducing Aboriginal incarceration rates and improving justice outcomes in the Northern Territory has been named 2022 NT Australian of the Year.
the main points:
- Lianne Liddell was responsible for leading the Northern Territory Aboriginal Justice Convention
- She was honored at a ceremony in Darwin, where three more Territorians were honoured
- The national winners will be announced at a ceremony in Canberra in January
Born in Alice Springs, 52-year-old Lianne Liddell was the first Aboriginal woman to become a police officer in South Australia.
During her decade of service, she fought racism and discrimination, which only fueled her quest to make a difference in the justice sector.
After leaving the police force, she earned a law degree, and went on to work for the United Nations and several high-level government roles.
She joined the Indigenous Justice Unit in 2017, and in this role, she was the driving force behind the Indigenous Justice Convention.
The agreement aims to reduce incarceration rates, increase Indigenous leadership and improve justice outcomes for Indigenous Tritorians, in partnership with Indigenous Peoples.
Ms Liddell said she wanted to use the platform presented by the awards to draw greater attention to people struggling under the current system.
“I want people to know that we do not live in a just and equitable system, where everything is equal,” she said at the awards ceremony in Darwin.
Australia Player of the Year: Robin Burridge
The NT Senior Australian of the Year award went to disability services advocate Robyne Burridge, 76.
Ms. Burridge has been recognized throughout her working life as a leader, advocate and activist in the disability sector.
Ms. Burridge is the founder of Focus-A-Bility, an organization that provides advocacy, case management, and information for individuals with a disability.
She is also a founding member of Integrated Disability Actions and a member of the NT Primary Health Network Management Committee.
“I have 76 years of live experience… and everything [living with a disability] It’s just another challenge.”
“What I really want to see is more inclusivity.
Australian Young Man of the Year Award: Sizolwenkosi Fuyana
Like Ms. Liddell, youth justice is also a passion for this year’s Australian NT Young Winner Sizolwenkosi Fuyana.
The 20-year-old small business owner, podcast director, and youth advocate has been recognized for her dedication to supporting disadvantaged youth at risk of entering the justice system.
Her work includes founding and serving as General Manager of Fuyana Support, a consulting firm providing social and emotional wellbeing support to young people, developing the Youth Information Map in partnership with the City of Palmerston, and chairing the Youth Roundtable in the Northern Territory.
She also works with young people at Don Dale Youth Detention Center and presents a podcast about personal growth and coping with adversity.
“I look at Sizol two years ago—I was sitting in the psych ward, and I remember a nurse, she said to me, ‘Sizol, one day, you’re going to change the world. And I looked at it and said, ‘I’m in a dormitory myself, how is that possible?’
“I’m not here to represent myself, I’m here to represent the guys at Don Dale that I work with, because they’re the ones who will be here after me.”
NT Domestic Hero: Rebecca Forrest
Rebecca Forrest has been honored with the NT Local Hero Award for her work over 13 years raising awareness and funds for a wide variety of causes.
Her efforts have raised nearly $1 million in funds to prevent violence, support people with autism, life education, the Cancer Board, and police legacy.
She is also the founder of No One Left Behind, which runs events focused on inspiring others.
All four Northern Territory winners are now eligible for the Australia National Awards of the Year, which will be announced at a ceremony on January 25 next year.