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Ita Buttrose has been named 2013 Australian of the Year at a ceremony on the eve of Australia Day.

The NSW nominee was presented with the award by Prime Minister Julia Gillard. She is being recognised for her achievements in media and her role in raising awareness of healthcare and media issues.

Ita began her career as a copy girl at the Australian Women's Weekly and moved up to create Cleo magazine for Sir Frank and Kerry Packer then was later appointed editor The Australian Women’s Weekly.

She later became editor of the Daily Telegraph and later the Sunday Telegraph. In addition, she uses her national profile to help raises the issues of Alzheimer’s, Arthritis, Macular Degeneration, breast cancer, HIV/AIDS and prostate cancer.

Senior Australian of the Year was awarded to South Australia's Emeritus Professor Ian Maddocks AM. He was awarded the role for his lifetime of health care achievements and is one of Australia’s leading palliative care specialists and is a passionate advocate for the cause of peace.

Young Australian of the Year was awarded to inspiring refugee and mentor Akram Asimi from Western Australia. Akram arrived in Australia from Afghanistan in 1999 as a refugee and uses uses his leadership and pastoral skills to help young people in remote and rural Western Australia.

Indigenous community leader Shane Phillips from NSW was announced as Australia’s Local Hero 2013. Shane is regarded as the voice of the community on issues including juvenile justice and Aboriginal deaths in custody.

Full of pride: Akram Asimi, Ian Maddocks and Shane Phillips

The recipients of the four awards were selected from over 2000 nominees sent in by the public.
Ita Buttrose, Professor Ian Maddocks and Akram Azimi will take part in the National Flag Raising and Citizenship Ceremony in Canberra tomorrow.

They will be joined by Shane Phillips in Sydney where they will attend celebrations in Darling Harbour.

CEO of Commonwealth Bank Mr Ian Narev which is a major sponsor of the awards passed on his congratulations.

"The 2013 Australian of the Year Award recipients are outstanding role models for us all, with their leadership, achievements, passion, and contributions. We are inspired by the difference that these exceptional Australians have made to their communities and I wish them the best of luck in the future” said Mr Narev.