Two Logan men vie for Australian of the Year awards

TWO Logan men are contenders to represent Queensland at the National Australia Council’s 2019 Australian of the Year awards.

Logan social entrepreneur Tony Sharp, head of Substation 33 which converts e-trash into e-treasure while teaching job and business skills to the young and disadvantaged, vies to represent the state as Queensland’s entrant for Australian of the Year.

Regent’s Park advocate Elijah Buol, who helps young and disadvantaged refugees and migrants integrate into Australian society, is a contender to represent Queensland in the Local Hero category.

Queensland’s Australian of the Year, Senior Australian of the Year, Young Australian of the Year and Local Hero award winners will be announced at Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on Friday, November 9.

Queensland award winners join other state and territory winners at the national awards which are presented in Canberra on January 25, 2019.

National Australia Day Council chief executive Karlie Brand said Queensland nominees were among more than 120 people recognised in all States and Territories as part of the 2019 Australian of the Year Awards.

"The Queensland nominees are extraordinary people doing what they see needs doing most,” said Ms Brand.

“Through their experiences, skills and contributions, they are all making a difference and making their mark.”

TONY SHARP

CONTENDER: Tony Sharp, right, snapped at Substation 33.

CONTENDER: Tony Sharp, right, snapped at Substation 33.

SOCIAL entrepreneur Tony Sharp runs Substation 33, Youth and Family Services’ self funding social business enterprise arm which has solved an environmental problem while providing meaningful work and skills to the unemployed.

He said the nomination had come as a surprise.

“It’s humbling. Certainly not anything I expected or intended to do when I started at YFS 10 years ago,” he said.

Substation 33 opened its doors in January 2013 as an electronic waste recycling centre providing a workplace where volunteers and employees gain confidence and skills for the transition to sustainable employment.

Mr Sharp runs two hackathons a year – one for social start-ups, the other for Engineers Without Borders. He offers an incubator space for young engineers to work on their ideas for free.

“All I ever wanted to do was do something for Logan, to change conversations, to show people there’s great stuff going on here,” he said.

Mr Sharp competes for the title of against Dr Harry Stalewski, described as the founding father of paediatric surgery in North Queensland; Detective Inspector Jon Rouse, a champion of exploited children, and Lorraine Hatton, who run Titans 4 Tomorrow, Brisbane Broncos Indigenous Girls’ Academy program and the Preston Campbell Foundation.

ELIJAH BUOL

LOCAL HERO: Elijah Buol.

LOCAL HERO: Elijah Buol.

REGENTS Park father of four Elijah Buol devotes his life to finding ways to engage young people from migrant backgrounds and helping them integrate into Australian communities.

He arrived as a refuge and unaccompanied minor from South Sudan and overcame the odds to become a criminologist and director of Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland.

“It is wonderful to get this nomination. I came here 16 years ago with nothing but hope for a better life and to  realise my potential and now I call Australia home. I am very proud to be an Australian. This country has given me the opportunity to realise my potential.

Mr Buol helps young and disadvantaged community members integrate successfully into Australian society.

His qualifications include a Master of Law, Master of Justice in Intelligence and a Bachelor of Human Services. He is studying Juris Doctor at the Australian National University.

Mr Buol’s advocacy work was instrumental in helping remove children under 18 from adult prisons in Queensland. He has held numerous volunteer positions and is recipient of multiple awards for advocacy and community services.

Through motivational speaking and leadership training, Mr Buol has inspired many disadvantaged indigenous, refugee and migrant youth. 

He established the African Australian Women’s Network now the African Australian Women’s Association and mentored through the prestigious Young African Australian Star Awards and is the vice president of the Queensland African Communities Council.

Mr Buol vies for the title against social justice advocate Joan Beacroft, volunteer swim coach Elisabeth Ewen and volunteer Barbara Kienast.