State’s 2017 Australian of the Year finalists…

By Lauren Ferrone

When many teenagers are out partying, Adelaide’s 18-year-old Mathew D’Onofrio spends his weekends saving lives.

The Flinders University nursing student has been announced as the youngest South Australian finalist in the 2017 South Australia Australian of the Year Awards, in the ‘SA Young Australian of the Year’ category.

Inside South Australia first spoke to Matthew in April when Nightlife First Aid – an emergency first aid service he set up to create safe partying environments for his peers – was just taking off.

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South Australia’s health and safety entrepreneur, Mathew D’Onofrio

Matthew is among other State finalists, whom include an educator, cycling safety champion, community contributors, an agriculturalist and a fashion designer.

National Australia Day Council chief executive, Chris Kirby, says the South Australian Award finalists, like Matthew, are among 131 “great Australians being recognised as State and Territory finalists in the Australian of the Year Awards”.

“The Australian of the Year Awards allow us to recognise and celebrate the achievements of outstanding Australians – people making extraordinary contributions to our society,” he says.

“The South Australian Award finalists reflect the diversity of the state and the many ways in which people are inspiring others through their contributions. From helping others to forging a path in business to literally saving lives, the finalists are making a remarkable impact.”

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The 2017 South Australian award finalists are:

2017 SA AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR

Zita Ngor – Community Advocate (Salisbury Heights)

Professor Emeritus Alan Reid AM – Educator (Malvern)

Kate Swaffer – Dementia advocate (Wattle Park)

Dr Philip Tideman – Cardiologist (North Adelaide)

2017 SA SENIOR AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR

Patricia Buckskin – Educator (Para Hills West)

Nouha Jaber – Community volunteer (Linden Park)

Vilmos Milisits OAM – Businessman and philanthropist (Unley Park)

Mary Safe – Cycling safety champion (West Lakes)

2017 SA YOUNG AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR

Mathew D’Onofrio – Health and safety entrepreneur (Unley)

William Russell – Anti-bullying crusader (Findon)

Amy Rust – Champion for homeless women (Seaview Downs)

Paul Vasileff – Fashion designer (Seaton)

2017 SA LOCAL HERO

Caz Bosch – Volunteer (Millswood)

Linda Fisk – Women prisoners advocate (Wellend)

Reginald George Heading – Agriculturalist (St Peters)

Sarah Powell – Rural community champion (Wharminda)

The South Australian award recipients will be announced at Adelaide Oval on November 8, 2016. They will then join recipients from other States and Territories as finalists for the national awards, held in Canberra on January 25, 2017.

Read Matthew D’Onofrio’s Inside South Australia’s story Life of the party published earlier this year.

Read more about the State finalists recognised in the 2017 Australian of the Year Awards.