VIC AUSTRALIAN OF THE YEAR 2017 FINALISTS
- Australian of the Year: Paris Aristotle
Establishing the the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture in 1987, Paris Aristotle has gone on to become a nationally recognised voice on the welfare of refugees and asylum seekers.
The foundation has more than 200 staff and provides services for the wellbeing of those with a refugee background.
He has also advised both sides of politics on refugee and asylum seeker policy.
- Senior Australian of the Year: Lois Peeler
Former Sapphires singer, Lois Peeler turned to education and became a principal at Australia's only Aboriginal girls' boarding school.
She welcomes students from some of the most remote regions in Australia and oversees a curriculum that focuses on Aboriginal values and teachings and includes western academic leadership.
- Young Australian of the Year: Jason Ball
Local footballer and gay man Jason Ball has campaigned to change hyper-masculine sport culture to be more inclusive.
He trains AFL draftees on inclusive language, speaks at schools and sporting clubs about mental health and kick-started the Pride Cup, which celebrates diversity in sport.
- Local Hero: Vicki Jellie
Vickie Jellie has campaigned to bring radiotherapy services out to regional Victoria ever since her husband Peter died of cancer in 2008.
In 2016, after securing $30 million funding from the government and from community donations, she opened the South West Regional Cancer Centre.