NSW Australian of the Year: Shane Fitzsimmons awarded top honour

RECOGNITION: Duffys Forest firefighter and former NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons has been named NSW Australian of the Year. Picture: NSW RFS
RECOGNITION: Duffys Forest firefighter and former NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons has been named NSW Australian of the Year. Picture: NSW RFS

DUFFYS Forest firefighter and former NSW Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons has been named as NSW Australian of the Year.

The NSW 2021 Australian of the Year Awards were announced at Luna Park on Monday evening.

Mr Fitzsimmons, who is now commissioner of Resilience NSW, is a life member of Duffys Forest Rural Fire Brigade and he led the RFS and the state through the catastrophic 2019-20 bushfire season.

On accepting the award, he paid special tribute to the volunteers who worked to protect homes and lives last fire season, and particularly those who lost their lives.

RECOGNITION: Duffys Forest firefighter and former NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons has been named NSW Australian of the Year. Picture: NSW RFS

RECOGNITION: Duffys Forest firefighter and former NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons has been named NSW Australian of the Year. Picture: NSW RFS

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian congratulated Mr Fitzsimmons and the three other NSW Australian of the Year recipients.

"Working alongside Shane during last season's bushfires was an unforgettable experience. In times of devastation and great heartache, he remained authentic and excelled in his role both operationally and emotionally," she said.

"The people of NSW trust and respect Shane and he is worthy of being our Australian of the Year."

The NSW Award recipients will represent the state at the national Australian of the Year Awards, which will be announced in Canberra on January 25, 2021.

The NSW nominees were ...

Australian of the Year

  • Grace Brennan - Founder #buyfromthebush
  • Andrew Denton - Advocate for dying Australians
  • WINNER - Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons AFSM - Ex-NSW Fire Commissioner, leader of Resilience NSW
  • Craig Foster - Human rights and refugee ambassador

Senior Australian of the Year

  • Doug Cameron - Founding member of Guide Dogs NSW-ACT and philanthropist
  • George Chapman - Volunteer
  • WINNER - Isabel Reid - Elder and advocate for the Stolen Generation
  • Professor Neil Weste - Engineer, inventor and technologist

Young Australian of the Year

  • Isabella Bain - User Experience Designer, Co-founder of Ambient & Co, World Champion athlete
  • Joseph Bennett - Founder of Foster the Future
  • Bronte Hendricks - Disability advocate
  • WINNER - Nathan Parker - Pilot, Invictus Games gold medallist

NSW Local Hero

  • Louise Hardman - Scientist, innovator and waste-free plastics educator
  • Suzanne Hopman - CEO of Dignity Ltd, homelessness advocate
  • WINNER - Rosemary Kariuki - Advocate for migrant and refugee women
  • Lana Masterson - Down The Track

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