The recipients of Victoria's 2021 Australian of the Year Awards were announced during a virtual ceremony on Tuesday evening.
Founder and chief executive of the National Homeless Collective, Donna Stolzenberg was awarded the 2021 Victoria Australian of the Year.
A proud Indigenous woman, Ms Stolzenberg handed out 50 donated sleeping bags to homeless people in 2014 and that idea has evolved into a nationwide charity.
A mother of five boys and a grandmother of two, Ms Stolzenberg has lived experience of overcoming homelessness and hardship.
NHC has created six sub-charities under Ms Stolzenberg's direction targeting different issues.
A proud and shocked Ms Stolzenberg said her award represents thousands of hours of volunteerism and people coming forward to help.
"I found there were so many gaps in the system that I became aware of, but awareness without action is nothing," Ms Stolzenberg said.
"We have created something that is a voice for the unheard and face for the unseen.
"We realised we had to change the narrative around homelessness and get people thinking differently."
Footballer, boxer and respectful relationships ambassador Tayla Harris is the 2021 Victoria Young Australian of the Year.
Ms Harris has made her mark on the sports field and beyond.
After a photograph of Ms Harris kicking a goal became the target of sexualised trolling in 2019, she courageously used the experience to highlight online bullying and disrespect towards women.
Ms Harris is now an advocate for respectful relationships and ambassador for Our Watch, which works to prevent violence against women.
"I'm really honoured to receive this award and fortunate enough to have been shown incredible support from the Victorian community," Ms Harris said.
"I will continue to push on and advocate for equality and end this onslaught of online abuse, because it's not something I am going to accept.
"I'm only 23, so I have a fair bit of time to push for a better world."
Bendigo doctor Kirby White, founder of Gowns for Doctors, is the 2021 Victoria Local Hero.
When Dr White's supply of disposable gowns ran out in the third week of the COVID-19 outbreak, she and colleague Dr Nicole Townsend developed a gown that could be laundered and re-used.
The initiative raised more than $40,000 through a GoFundMe page and has produced more than 5000 gowns for more than 750 regional Victorian GP clinics during the pandemic.
"I can't believe we won, it's incredible," Dr White said.
"It gives us the opportunity to tell more people about Gowns for Doctors, which has shown what a community like Bendigo can achieve if we all work together.
"We are still getting requests from GP clinics for reusable gowns and almost every room in my house and garage has gowns folded and ready to be distributed."
Chief executive and honorary secretary of the Australian Vietnamese Women's Association Bich Cam Nguyen is the 2021 Victoria Senior Australian of the Year.
Ms Nguyen, 80, came to Australia in 1975 with her family as a refugee.
In 1983, AVWA was founded and helps Vietnamese and Victorians of all backgrounds with programs including home care, training and counselling.
The award recipients in each category will join other state and territory winners as finalists in the annual national Australian of the Year Awards announcement on January 25, 2021.
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