What are the Blind Australian of the Year Awards?
The Awards acknowledge Contribution, Excellence and Self-Determination.
They celebrate people living with low vision and blindness and highlight pathways for inclusion within Australian workplaces and society in general.
The core mission of the Blind Australian of the Year Awards is to actively promote the contribution that over half a million people who live with low vision and blindness make to Australian society.
What are the Blind Australian of the Year Awards Categories?
There are 2 Awards Categories:
- The Blind Australian of the Year
- The Employer of Choice Award
What is the Blind Australian of the Year Award?
The Blind Australian of the Year Award celebrates exceptional achievement and contribution of individuals with low and no vision to the Australian business, corporate, government, health, education or community sectors. It captures the spirit of innovation, resilience and enterprise required to perform in a vision-centric world.
What are the Attributes of A Blind Australian of the Year?
Recipients of the Blind Australian of the Year Award embody traits of excellence, innovation, creativity, perseverance and courage.
The Blind Australian of the Year is a person who has reached an exceptional level of excellence or achievement in their field of endeavour or in contribution to Australian society. They are a person who is not defined nor limited by the level of their vision. They are a person who, by any measure, would be recognised for their excellence and contribution.
What is the Employer of Choice Award?
The Employer of Choice Award recognises organisations who not only champion diversity but demonstrate HOW workplace accessibility and inclusion is delivered to create truly diverse, high performing teams and successful business outcomes.
Who is behind The Blind Australian of the Year Awards?
The Blind Australian of the Year Awards is a not-for-profit program implemented by Link Vision Ltd, a charity providing accommodation and lifestyle services to people living with low and no vision and other forms of disabilities.
Tell Me How the Awards Work
Any Australian citizen or permanent resident currently living in Australia can nominate themselves or another person for the Blind Australian of the Year Award or the Employer of Choice Award.
Nominations close Sunday 1 October at 11.59pm.
Nominations for both categories are sought from every state and territory in Australia.
Nominations are completed via the online nomination form found here.
Nominations are short-listed by a broad selection panel convened by Link Vision and includes people living with low vision and blindness.
There will be three finalists in both categories, with the announcement of finalists anticipated by mid-October.
Finalists in each category are invited to attend the Blind Australian of the Year Awards Gala on Saturday evening 28th October 2023 in Brisbane, Qld.
Announcement of the individual Blind Australian of the Year, and the Employer of Choice, will be made at the Awards Gala.
Attendance at the Blind Australian of the Year Awards Gala is welcomed. Tickets for the event will be available for purchase from 1 August 2023. Group and corporate packages are also available for purchase.
When Do Nominations Open and Close?
Nominations can be made at any time of the year.
Nominations close Sunday 1 October at 11.59pm.
Nominations received after this date will be held over for entry into the 2024 Blind Australian of the Year Awards.
How Do I Make a Nomination for The Blind Australian of the Year Awards?
All nominations must be completed via the online form on the Blind Australian of the Year Awards website.
Consent must be gained from the Nominee prior to making the nomination. Confirmation of that consent is a mandatory field on the form.
Provision of full contact details for both the nominee and the person making the nomination is requested. This includes mobile telephone number and current email address.
In the case of Employer of Choice Award nominees, please include the organisation name and the name of a key contact person who is aware of the nomination, along with telephone and email contact details.
Please provide a testimonial of 750 words or less, demonstrating the level of excellence that the individual or organisation has achieved and why they should be considered for Blind Australian of the Year or Employer of Choice Award. Please carefully consider and respond to the Awards criteria in your testimonial.
What Are The Nomination Criteria for The Blind Australian of the Year Award?
- Demonstrates excellence and high achievement in their chosen field
- Contributes to community
- The impact their contribution has made or will continue to make is significant
- Is a person who embodies the values of the Blind Australian of the Year Awards such as (but not limited to): excellence, innovation, creativity, perseverance, courage, self-determination
- Demonstrates achievements that align with the Blind Australian of the Year Awards Mission – of community impact and improving inclusion within Australian workplaces and society.
- Possesses personal attributes that would make them an excellent Ambassador of these Awards
What Makes A Strong Nomination?
One well written, comprehensive nomination focused on the contribution, excellence and self-determination of the Nominee is all that is required. Completing a nomination for The Blind Australian of the Year or Employer of Choice Award might be approached like writing a job application or a marketing pitch.
Members of the Selection Panel come to this process as if they know nothing about the Nominees for each Award category (and in many instances they don’t!).
The Nominator, through their written nomination, must ensure that the Selection Panel:
- Understand who the Individual or Organisation Nominee is, and what they stand for;
- Can readily identify their key attributes and achievements;
- Can readily identify the Nominee’s contribution to community and the impact this has made;
- Agree that the Nominee should be recognised on a national stage;
- Can see how the Nominee would make an excellent Ambassador of these Awards.
We ask that the Nominator gain the consent of the Nominee before nominating them for the Blind Australian of the Year Awards. We encourage Nominators to work with their Nominee in the completion of the nomination form.
It is important to note that this is NOT a voting system. These are Awards based on specific criteria, not a popularity campaign. We discourage multiple nominations that do not convey the breadth and depth of what the Nominee has achieved, as outlined above. Multiple nominations will not influence the final decision of the Selection Panel.
Who Is Eligible to Be Nominated?
Any Australian citizen or permanent resident currently living in Australia is eligible for nomination as the Blind Australian of the Year. If nominating another person, we simply ask that you seek the consent of the individual you are nominating for the Blind Australian of the Year Award prior to nominating them.
Any Australian business, corporation, government department, education facility or community organisation that employs people with low or no vision may be nominated for the Blind Australian of the Year – Employer of Choice Award.
Any person can make a nomination:
- You do not have to be blind or have low vision
- You do not have to personally know your nominee
- Providing you meet the eligibility criteria you can self-nominate
- You are welcome to make multiple nominations for separate individual Nominees
What are the Eligibility Criteria for Nomination as Blind Australian of the Year?
Any person meeting ALL of the following eligibility criteria:
- Legally blind (as per the Assessment of Blindness for DSP https://guides.dss.gov.au/social-security-guide/3/6/2/40 )
- An Australian citizen or permanent resident currently living in Australia
- Aged 18 years or over at the time of nomination
- Able to pass a national police check
- Able to demonstrate a high level of excellence or achievement in their field of endeavour and / or their contribution to Australian society
What are the Eligibility Criteria for Nomination for the Employer of Choice Award?
An organisation who demonstrates leadership as an inclusive employer including:
- Has a diverse workforce, including current employees with low or no vision
- Provides tools and resources that accommodate the person’s particular needs in relation to their disability
- Has created a culture of teamwork and valuing every person’s contribution
- Values and promotes collaboration, innovation and flexibility
- Provides a voice for all members of their workforce, including those with a lived experience of disability and fosters engagement between all members of their workforce, including between management and workers
- Provides a purposeful pathway for growth and advancement for all employees, including those with a lived experience of disability
- Is a positive workplace – a place where employees want to work
- Has a reputation in the marketplace for delivering sound business outcomes
- Has a clear policy or mission statement that explicitly expresses commitment to inclusion
Who Is Ineligible to Be Nominated?
Candidates who are ineligible are:
- Previous recipients of the major prize categories
- Board members and employees of Link Vision, and their immediate family members
Can a Person Be Renominated?
Yes, providing they are not a previous major Award recipient.
How Will I Know If My Nomination Has Been Received?
After submitting your nomination, you will receive a confirmation email.
What Happens to the Information I Send You?
The information is used by Link Vision to confirm the eligibility of your nominee and assess against the criteria for the Award in which they are nominated.
We may contact the nominated individual as well as the nominating person and any referees provided to verify nomination details.
We understand how hard it can be to write about someone you admire, and especially to do it in 500 words. The award is not judged on how well written your testimonial is, our judges need to get a feel for the person and the contribution they have made.
I would like to nominate Brian (Surname) for the Blind Australian of the Year Award.
Brian was born with Refcums disease, a disease which affects the nerves in the body including the eyes.
When I first met Brian, he was working in a tile manufacturing company despite his physical and vision difficulties.
Brian worked for several years as a volunteer teaching adaptive technology classes for people who are blind or vision impaired in Ballarat. His caring attitude and wonderful sense of humour engaged students and encouraged them to continue through the different levels of training.
Brian later worked at Vision Australia as an adaptive technology trainer until his decision to retire from full time work. However, he couldn’t completely abandon his students and still works as a volunteer in the local area Day Centre where he shares his enthusiasm and knowledge with centre attendees as well as teaching computer one day a week.
Other ways Brian has contributed to the community include:
- Vision Australia Foundation – organised a social group to attend dances and meals out
- President and performer in Brrrr theatre group, a performance group for people of all abilities
- President and founder of a Goal Ball group for people who are blind or vision impaired in Ballarat. Goal Ball is a sporting activity for the blind and through this contributed to the health fitness and social inclusion of the blindness community in Ballarat
- 2 years on the Disability Advisory Committee for Ballarat City Council, a group that champions access and inclusion and operates as an advisory committee to Council’s planning and development.
- Disability Advisory Group – President, Brian contributed to this group working to improve access and inclusion in the Ballarat Region.
- Volunteer at Blind Bowls in Ballarat. Here he supported people to get out and about to improve fitness and to make and sustain social contact.
- Plays lawn bowls with fully sighted bowlers showing that disability is not an impediment.
In summary, Brian is a remarkable man who despite a disability which affects not only his vision but his entire physical body, gives to others who need mentoring and encouragement. He has a cheeky sense of humour which can engage even the most difficult person and help them find a better path. Although his work has been predominantly in the Central Highlands Region, his volunteer roles have touched the lives of a wide range of people he has broken down barriers, mentored others to get involved and positively influence members of the local community.
Please select the nomination form that reflects who you are nominating – options include individual nominations and organisation/business nominations for employer of choice award.