The Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton tonight congratulated Vicki Jellie who was named Australia’s Local Hero at the 2017 Australian of the Year Awards.
“My Department proudly supports Australia’s Local Hero Award in recognition of those working selflessly at a community level to make a real difference in the lives of their fellow citizens,” Mr Dutton said.
After her husband Peter died of cancer in 2008, Vicki found his plans for a local cancer fundraising event. His dream had been to bring radiotherapy services to the South West of Victoria. In 2009 Vicki initiated “Peter's Project” – a community group dedicated to fighting for improved cancer services.
After securing $30 million in July 2016, Vicki and her community celebrated the opening of the new South West Regional Cancer Centre, offering radiotherapy treatment for regional patients.
“By coincidence, I first met Vicki many years ago during my time in the health portfolio and was immediately impressed by her genuine passion to provide better cancer services for the community,” Mr Dutton said.
“I was very pleased in my capacity as Health Minister at the time to be able to commit $10 million on behalf of the Coalition Government to such a worthy project.
“Vicki is a very worthy recipient of Australia’s Local Hero and it gives me great pleasure to personally commend her on achieving such an incredible outcome for her community.”
Mr Dutton also congratulated the other finalists from each state and territory for their work and in being nominated.
“Each finalist here tonight has chosen to put others before themselves on a daily basis, constantly displaying the characteristics any Australian would be proud of.
“All finalists tell their own unique story and are motivated by different reasons, but they have all, in one way or another made their community a better place.
“I’d like to thank each and every finalist here today for their commitment to the improvement of their communities. Although, there can only be one winner tonight, all our finalists are heroes and worthy of the title,” Mr Dutton said.
If you are celebrating Australia Day or heading to a citizenship ceremony, then the Department of Immigration and Border Protection encourages you to share the Australian spirit; whether on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, use the hashtags #AusPledge and #AustraliaDay. The Department will also be live streaming the citizenship ceremony in Canberra on Facebook.