Global child protector named Queensland’s 2019 Australian of the Year

Detective Inspector Jon Rouse, who for the past 22 years has undertaken the heartbreaking but vital work of investigating crimes against children, has been named Queensland’s Australian of the Year.

Acting Premier Jackie Trad tonight congratulated Detective Inspector Rouse on receiving the prestigious honour in recognition of his pioneering role in rescuing and protecting children in Australia and around the world by proactively targeting internet child sex offenders.

“It is the hardest work imaginable, but without question the most important,” Mrs Trad said.

“Jon established Australia’s first victim identification team, Task Force Argos, which has instigated multiple national and international investigations targeting child exploitation criminal networks.

“His team of experts arrested 251 offenders on 2853 sex-offence charges in 14 months to March 2018, which highlights the profound importance and effectiveness of their investigative work.”

The Acting Premier also congratulated leading agricultural biotechnology scientist, researcher and humanitarian, Distinguished Professor James Dale, on being named Queensland’s Senior Australian of the Year.

The inaugural director of the Centre for Tropical Crops and Bio-commodities at QUT and founder of Australia’s first molecular farming company, Farmacule, has been leading ground-breaking research to improve the nutritional value and disease resistance of crops and develop edible, plant-based vaccines, benefitting millions of lives across the globe.

“Within the next four years, the children of East Africa, highly prone to vitamin A deficiencies that cause blindness and death, will be eating locally grown, genetically modified bananas developed by Professor Dale and his team – a lifesaving advancement straight out of Queensland,” the Acting Premier said.

Australia’s first fashion model with a disability to feature in a national television campaign, Angel Dixon, has been named Queensland’s Young Australian of the Year.

An Advocacy Manager at Starting with Julius, Ms Dixon is a passionate activist, supporter and advocate for disability inclusion and human rights, as well as an inspirational public speaker, blogger, and the designer of a line of walking canes that will be marketed as a fashion accessory.

“Angel is very much aware of the power of the media in forming perceptions and is using her public profile and experience in front of the camera to change attitudes towards disability,” Mrs Trad said.

Australia’s Local Hero from Queensland is Elijah Buol, a former refugee from South Sudan who has completed a Masters in Law in Criminology and spends much of his time helping young and disadvantaged members of ethnic communities integrate successfully into Australia’s way of life.

“As a father of four, as the Director of the Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland, and as a motivational speaker and community champion, Elijah is inspiring our young people to find purpose, fulfil their potential and make a difference in their communities,” the Acting Premier said.

“I commend these four outstanding Queenslanders on being named our Australians of the Year for 2019, and I wish them every success at the national awards in Canberra on Australia Day,” she said.

The Australian of the Year Awards is a program of the National Australia Day Council, managed in Queensland by the Queensland Government.

/Public Release. The material in this public release comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.