MEDIA RELEASE: Congratulations 2018 Senior Australian of the Year, Dr Graham Farquhar

Leading seniors advocate, COTA Australia, today congratulated the 2016 Senior Australian of the Year, world leading biophysicist, Dr Graham Farquhar AO.

COTA Chief Executive Ian Yates said the caliber of all Senior Australian of the Year finalists this year demonstrated the outstanding contributions older Australians are making across the country in science, medicine, agriculture and community advocacy.

“With an early dream of making the desert bloom, Dr Farquhar has created mathematical models of how plants work,” Mr Yates said

“His work has examined how efficient crops can protect food security in the face of climate change and  been instrumental in developing strains of wheat that can grow with less water.

“Among the string of accolades he has been awarded, is a 2017 Kyoto Prize – the first Australian to win the prestigious global award.

“Importantly, his passion and continuing curiosity about life and science, demonstrates the importance of making sure that that the joy of discovery and creativity never leaves us, no matter our age or our field of expertise.”

Mr Yates said Australians should be proud of all 2018 Senior Australian of the Year finalists.

Finalists ranged from Barbara Spriggs, whose campaigning for aged care residents galvanised both the community and governments to address systemic abuse and neglect experienced by too many older Australians, to community educator and pioneering academic Kathy Guthandjaka, whose has worked for half a century to improve education for Aboriginal children in the Northern Territory.

Finalists also included women’s health champion Kathleen Mazella AOM; surgeon Dr Catherine Hamlin AC, who founded the Hamelin Fistula Foundation; hearing health specialist and bionics advocate, Dr Dimity Dornan AO; cranio facial surgeon, Professor David David AC; scientist and diabetes specialist, Professor Paul Zimmet AO; and organic farmer Tony Scherer.

“The Senior Australian of the Year Award recognises Australians aged 65 and over who continue to achieve and contribute in their fields and in our community. It recognises the wealth of experience and wisdom older Australians offer the nation, a wealth that is often untapped and unrecognised.

“A huge congratulations to all the finalists this year. Every one of them deserved the recognition they received tonight,” Mr Yates said.

Media contact: Ian Yates 0418 835 439, Jenny Stokes 0478 504 280

COTA Australia is the peak policy development, advocacy and representation organisation for older Australians, representing COTAs in every State and Territory and through them over 500,000 older Australians.