Gina Rinehart recognised in Australia Day Honours for service to mining, community and sport

The Australia Day 2022 Honours List includes 1,040 Australians, whose achievements span community service, science and research, industry, sport and the arts.

Australian National Swimming Championships - Day 7

Gina Rinehart pictured at Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre in Sydney in 2015. Source: Getty Images AsiaPac

Billionaire mining magnate Gina Rinehart has been recognised in the Australia Day 2022 Honours List for her "distinguished service" to the mining sector, community and sport.

She is one of 1,040 Australians to have received honours on the 2022 list, including awards in the Order of Australia (General and Military divisions), meritorious awards and recognition for distinguished and conspicuous service in the Australian Defence Force. 

Governor-General David Hurley announced the names of the "outstanding Australians" on Tuesday night. 

"Collectively, the recipients, whose achievements span community service, science and research, industry, sport, the arts and more, represent the strength and diversity of Australia," he said. 

"It has been a challenging couple of years and the recipients announced today are a reminder and reflection of the richness of spirit, selflessness and good in our community." 

Of the 732 awards in the General division this year, 47 per cent are for women - the highest percentage since the introduction of the Australian honours system in 1975 - and 45 per cent are for service to local communities. 

Ms Rinehart was one of 25 people appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) "for distinguished service to the mining sector, to the community through philanthropic initiatives and to sport as a patron". 

She is the executive chairwoman of mining company Hancock Prospecting and founder and chair of the Georgina Hope Foundation. She has financially supported Australian Olympic swimming for nine years and has also supported Paralympic swimming for the past seven years.

Ms Rinehart and Hancock Prospecting also provide funding to support Olympic and Paralympic rowing.

The Order of Australia recognises Australians who have shown outstanding service or exceptional achievement. 

Anyone can nominate an Australian within the General division and all eligible nominations are considered by the Council for the Order of Australia, which recommends awards for the Governor-General's approval. 

The Order of Australia also has a Military division, with awards being recommended to the Governor-General by the Minister for Defence. 

There are four levels of award, with Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) being the highest honour. It recognises eminent achievement and merit of the highest degree in service to Australia or to humanity at large. 

This is followed by AO, for distinguished service of a high degree, Member of the Order of Australia (AM), for service in a particular locality or field or to a particular group, and Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM), for service worthy of particular recognition. 

This year's list also includes 58 Australians recognised for their contribution to Australia's COVID-19 response. They feature across all divisions and will also be included in an ongoing and permanent COVID-19 Honour roll.   

Companion of the Order of Australia (AC)

Seven people were appointed to the Order as a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC), many who were recognised for their service to fields in science. 

Among them is Dr Alan Finkel AO, who was recognised for "eminent service to science, to national energy innovation and research infrastructure capability, to climate change and COVID-19 response initiatives, and to science and engineering education”.

Distinguished Professor James Dale AO was appointed for "eminent service to agricultural science, particularly through biological and biotechnological research and development, leadership and gene technology”.

Among the other appointees recognised for service in their respective fields of science include Distinguished Professor Jennifer Graves AO, Professor Ary Hoffman and Dr Graeme Moad. 

Dr Helen Nugent AO was recognised for service to people with disability through leadership of social and economic policy and implementation, while John Wylie received an AC for his service to the community through leadership in the sport, cultural, philanthropic and business sectors. 

Officer of the Order of Australia (AO)

Among the 25 appointees of an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) was champion Paralympian and disability advocate Dylan Alcott OAM, who was also named the 2022 Australian of the Year. 

Alcott was recognised "for distinguished service to Paralympic sport, particularly to tennis, and as a role model for people with disability, and to the community through a range of organisations”.

Dylan Alcott
Dylan Alcott has been awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia. Source: Getty images

Shane Fitzsimmons AFSM was appointed to the Order for his service to the community through leadership roles within fire and emergency response organisations, while former Australian Federal Police commissioner Andrew Colvin APM OAM was recognised for service to law enforcement, counter-terrorism initiatives and to bushfire recovery programs. 

Cook and food author Maggie Beer was acknowledged for her service to tourism and hospitality industries along with aged welfare, and actress Deborra-lee Furness for her service to children as an adoption advocate, to not-for-profit organisations as an ambassador and to the arts. 

Victoria's Sandra Jean Eades, a Noongar physician, researcher and professor, was recognised “for distinguished service to medical research, to Indigenous health, and to professional organisations”, while Tasmania's Professor John Church received an AO for his service to climate science. 

Member of the Order of Australia (AM)

This year's list features 155 appointees as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM), including Dewani Bakkum.

As chief executive of Migrant and Refugee Settlement Services Australia, Ms Bakkum was recognised for her efforts in helping settle the refugee and asylum seeker communities of the ACT. 

"My passion was always helping others, always giving and making sure that nobody goes without and making sure all the aspects of their settlement are being addressed. So whenever they come into our office, we make sure that we listen to them, we find out what their needs are and how [we can] best accommodate to provide that service to them," she told SBS News. 

Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)

There were 545 Australians awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) this year. 

Among them is Trevor Buzzacott, an Arabana man who has been working since 1976 to help eradicate trachoma -  a preventable eye infection that can lead to blindness - in Indigenous communities. 

"I'm committed to working, I keep saying to everyone, 'come and work with me, we've still got work to do out there' and I'm not afraid to say it to anyone," he told SBS News.

Trevor Buzzacott has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia.
Trevor Buzzacott has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia. Source: SBS News

According to the federal government, Australia is the only developed country in the world where trachoma still occurs. But thanks to Mr Buzzacott and his work with the Fred Hollows Foundation, about 90 per cent of people with the infection are now cleared.

"It's an indication of the hard yards that not only I but the whole trachoma team that have given, the ophthalmologists that have committed themselves in all states so that we can eliminate trachoma, and by far, we were certainly on track to do that," he said. 

Canoe slalom athlete Jessica Fox was awarded an OAM for service to sport as a gold medallist at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, while fellow swimmer and gold medallist Emma McKeon OAM was appointed as an AM.

In addition to the 732 award recipients in the General division were 30 recipients in the Military division, 197 meritorious awards and 81 Distinguished and Conspicuous awards. 

7 min read
Published 25 January 2022 at 10:01pm
Source: SBS News