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The Informer: Celebrating collective and individual achievement as the country opens up

Patty Mills is the ACT Australian of the Year. Picture: Getty Images
Patty Mills is the ACT Australian of the Year. Picture: Getty Images

After too many months of escalating COVID numbers and extended lockdown dates, the country has earned its right to celebrate.

What better way than by recognising the achievements of some of our greats?

Most state and territory recipients of the Australian of the Year Awards have been announced this week, providing each jurisdiction the opportunity to reflect on the people that collectively make this country great. A welcome respite from thinking about the borders and bickering that kept us apart.

Basketball legend and Indigenous rights advocate Patty Mills was announced the ACT Australian of the Year in Canberra on Friday, after leading the Boomers to a breakthrough bronze medal at this year's Tokyo Olympics.

Another athlete and advocate, paralympian Dylan Alcott took the top award in Victoria. He was celebrated alongside Victorian Senior Australian of the Year Gaye Hamilton for her work as Western Bulldogs Community Foundation Chair.

For their work educating Australians on the dangers of coercive control and domestic violence, Sue and Lloyd Clarke were named 2022 Queensland Australians of the Year.

Western Australia had Surf Online Safe founder Paul Litherland to congratulate, director of the Aboriginal Justice Unit Leanne Liddle took out the award for the Northern Territory, documentary filmmaker and journalist Craig Leeson won in Tasmania and congratulations to Professor Helen Marshall from South Australia.

There's just NSW left to go.

The flurry of individual achievement announcements this week came as the country celebrated a rather enormous collective achievement.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed Australia passed the 90 per cent first dose COVID-19 vaccination mark on Friday, putting us on track to be one of the most vaccinated countries in the world.

While the troubled vaccine buyup might have given us a slow start, Australians are seemingly incentivised by borders opening and having summer to celebrate.

Some could say it was a nice distraction from some of the critcism coming after his government finally published its long-awaited modelling showing how it says it will achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

The Prime Minister labelled the vaccine rate as extraordinary during an interview in Victoria this week.

As the country continues to open up and more plans are made to celebrate this Christmas, it'd be difficult to disagree.

Have a great weekend.

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