About Us

The Blind Australian of the Year Awards are proudly facilitated by Link Vision Ltd. Link Vision is an expanding accommodation provider and advocacy organisation. Founded in 1968 by Reverend Elsie Dodd and her husband Gordon Dodd, Link Vision’s mission is to support people with Low and No Vision lead more independent lives and access meaningful and equitable work opportunities.


This award acknowledges and promotes an equitable and inclusive Australia. It celebrates the exceptional contribution of a blind Australian who, by example, inspires others to excellence and by action, improves Australian community life.

Nominations Open

We encourage you to spread the word about the Blind Australian of the Year Awards. Please Act Now! Don’t put off submitting a nomination. Everything you need to know about eligibility and the process for nominating for the Blind Australian of the Year and the Employer of Choice Award can be found in our FAQ tab on this website. Be sure to review our video instructions and pay close attention to the FAQ section: ‘What Makes A Strong Nomination?’ when writing and submitting your nomination. We look forward to receiving your nomination. Please contact us if you have any enquiries.

BAOTY Awards

Honour Roll

Northern Territory


Associate Professor Paul Harpur is a leading international and comparative disability rights legal academic. He has held many positions including recently 2020 academic fellow of the Harvard Law School Project on Disabilities.

He is the holder of a prestigious Fulbright Future Scholarship entitled “Universally Designed for Whom? Disability, the Law and Practice of Expanding the “Normal User”.

Associate Professor Paul Harper is a member of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society, which receives funding from the Australian Government. He also leads a US Social Science Research Council’s Just Tech Covid-L9 Rapid Response Grant, with funds provided by the Ford Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation.

Arkan Yousef was a teacher in Iraq for 19 years before he started losing his sight. Fearing life as a blind man in his hostile home country, he fled to Greece and then Australia in 2006.

The losing of his sight was the biggest hardship to encounter but he never lost his passion for teaching; enthusiasm and positive outlook in life to achieve his goals by helping others through his Volunteer work at Western Sydney Migrant Resource Centre.

Nastasia (Nas) is an accomplished journalist and a passionate advocate for diversity, inclusion, and for the rights of people with disabilities.

She has made an outstanding contribution to the way people with disabilities are portrayed in the mainstream media, by supporting them to tell their own stories, their own way.

Nas lost her sight when she was six months old. She is totally blind and lives with a neurological condition called Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) which affects the sensitivity in her fingertips and means she can’t read Braille.

New South Wales

Adam has devoted many years to the helpful provision of information, ongoing support and assistance to many blind and low vision Australians through his monthly telephone conferences providing up to date information on new products, together with updates on service provision. He has been involved in the Blind Citizens Computer Users group for over 20 years. Adam is responsible for many email lists, which provide useful links to assistive products and services, thus allowing an exchange of information between blind and low vision people, on such products as iPhones, Android phones, mobility aids, screen reading packages, various assistive products and services etc. Adam is quite unique in his employment behind the scenes at a Pizza shop.


Robin advocates to ensure business and school systems areinclusive.
He is exceptional at using and applying adaptive technology and he teaches and inspires students to gain independence through the use of technology.

Robin is paving the way for young people from all backgrounds and abilities and can be found working all around Tasmania and the mainland, always networking and learning so that he can offer his students everything they need to succeed.

In his spare time he is an administrator of a website and chatroom that is a resource for people who are vision impaired.
He spends hours offering support to those who require it, helping create the next generation of independent, adaptable people not just with vision impairment but anyone with differing abilities.

South Australia

David had to stop work as a senior clinician and academic in 2009, a gradual deterioration to sight and hearing has seen him become severely impaired. His journey has progressed from White Cane to Guide Dog to Human care support. During that time, he has focused on using his experience and knowledge to help represent and advocate for people facing vision loss and other disabilities at local council, State Government, Federal Government and organization levels. and has had a huge impact in South Australia. He undertakes most of the advocacy and has a dedicated supportive team on the committee.

David is currently on the SA Ambulance Clinical Governance, Advisory Committee (Disability Representative), and SA Government Web Accessibility Advisory member for vision disability.


Martin Stewart was born blind and in 2002 after an horrific public transport accident lost an arm and a leg.

Despite this, Martin through his work as President of the Blind Workers Union reviewed the Victorian Prototype trains, where he systematically went through the train, discovering major faults. Then tenaciously campaigning to have his concerns rectified, including spaces under priority seats for guide dogs, removing obstacle poles in the first and last carriages, increasing the doors’ button audio feedback and what he fought the hardest for a gangway gap creating a more equitable and safe environment for blind or vision impaired people.

He is currently working with a chemist, the C/W bank, Aus. radio and major sports bodies to develop accessible apps


Rebecca Maxwell trained as a teacher at a time when it was very difficult for a blind person to qualify for teacher training and to achieve success in her field as a linguist and teacher of English, French and Latin, using Braille as her medium.

Rebecca invented “BUOC”(Braille – User-oriented Code”) BUOC uses the existing Braille code but conceives of it in terms of the joy and comfort of touch and highly abbreviates it for reduction of bulk, ease of speed reading and note taking.

Recognised as a poet and a writer, Rebecca has shared her knowledge and skill with many through her participation in women’s writers’ forums.

South Australia

Peter has been involved on a voluntary basis as a presenter on Radio for the Print handicapped. He is a South Australian who has undertaken this role for over 20 years, and has been instrumental in bringing to the Blind and Vision Impaired community, public information and promotion of activities which benefit the lives of people who are blind or vision impaired throughout Australia. Peter has interviewed many politicians, service providers and advocates with relevant topical discussions and has highlighted the perspective of people who are blind or vision impaired and all people with disabilities.

He has been an active interviewer and sought to speak to a diverse range of people – acting as a conduit for information to the audience. He is an articulate and passionate interviewer with an outstanding commitment to his work. Simply put, Peter is an exemplary individual who has provided listening enjoyment to people who are blind or vision impaired across our nation.

Enlightening Social Attitudes

The Blind Australian of the Year Awards is a national awards campaign designed to increase social inclusion by highlighting the contribution of people living with blindness or low sight in our vision centric society, and the pathways that make this possible.

The stories of our award recipient and finalists provide essential encouragement and inspiration to others living with blindness and low sight, and other disabilities.

Crucially, their stories break through broadly held stereotypes of blindness and disability.

They highlight to the community at large, the scope and capacity for achievement that our fellow Australians living with blindness possess.

Our media, social media and educational activities provide examples of people with disability powerfully contributing in a range of social settings as well as examples inclusive practices. The Blind Australian of the Year Awards Gala is a unique event providing opportunities for robust conversation, connection and participation in inclusive activities by people living with blindness and those that are sighted, that are not normally a part of a formal event! We hope to see you there!

Informing Social Policies

The stories of excellence derived from the nominations provide an important national insight into the matters that are valued by those living with blindness and low vision, their family, carers, friends, and community contacts.

The Blind Australian of the Year Awards are a compelling national platform for change and advancement of the issues identified through our awards and scholarship programs. In addition to this archive of information, our Blind Australian Award recipients, due to their national profile, are able to inform and influence decision makers and leaders to create more inclusive social policies and practice.

Research Tool

The information reflected in the nominations provides critical data for researchers to reflect and report on the evolving relationships of those living with blindness and low vision within communities throughout Australia. It will remain a valuable annual and a definitive social commentary on the needs, activities, and aspirations of those living with blindness and low vision in our society.

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