Victorian 2021 Australian of the Year Awards nominees

Stephen Bevington, founder of the largest not-for-profit social and affordable housing provider in Australia.

Stephen’s lived experience of homelessness inspired his dedication to providing affordable housing for those in need.

Founded 26 years ago in Melbourne, as a one-man operation.

Community Housing limited now has a presence in countries such as East Timor, Chile, Peru and India.

Today, Steven’s company manages over 11,000 properties nationwide, it also creates employment and training in construction, especially in regional and remote Aboriginal communities.

Kate Jones and Amanda Hose, hosts of two peas in a podcast.

Kate and Amanda met 14 years ago, after both having twins with a physical or intellectual disability for additional needs, they started their podcast after realising there were few voices speaking about their experience.

In 12 months, their podcast passed the 1 million download mark, attracting an average of 10,000 Weekly listeners.

By sharing their parenting experiences with humour and honesty, Kate and Amanda give a voice to parents with children who have additional needs.

Associate Professor Thomas Oxley, an internationally recognised neuro-interventional surgeon, and urologist. Thomas is the driving force behind innovations that could restore independence in 30 million people with severe paralysis.

This means that despite a healthy and active brain, they are unable to move their arms due to conditions such as spinal cord injury, motor neuron disease and stroke.

Thomas invented the Stentrode, a brain-computer interface that wirelessly transmits brain signals to enable severely paralysed people to text message, email, and perform online tasks using only thoughts.

Donna Stolzenberg, founder of Grassroots charity, the National homeless collective.

Donna began by handing out 50 donated sleeping bags to homeless people.

Under her direction, the National homeless collective has grown to include six sub charities that target different social issues.

It also runs the Kala space, an OP-shop employing women affected by domestic abuse or homelessness.

Donna's generosity and resourcefulness have also provided practical solutions for women escaping domestic violence, Australians affected by the 2020 bushfires, and those impacted by the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Reviewed 24 February 2021