By Amit Sarwal and Jitarth Bharadwaj
The Governor-General of Australia, the Hon. David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), today announced Honours and Awards for 1,191 Australians, including awards in the Order of Australia (General and Military Divisions), meritorious awards and recognition for distinguished and conspicuous service.
Remarkably twelve Indian Australians have been awarded in the list.
1- Sunita Gloster– Order of Australia (AO)
Sunita Gloster has been awarded the Order of Australia (AO) for significant service to the media and marketing industry, and to gender equality.
Sunita says she is energised by the process of inspiring and galvanising people to act. Her parents, Betty and John D’Souza OAM, moved from India to Australia in 1974. Sunita recalls:
“We left Bombay to settle in Mt Gambier. I can’t imagine the courage that took. I’m so grateful for all the sacrifices my parents made for my future. And I must acknowledge the community of Mt Gambier, which 49 years later my parents still call home, for welcoming us into their lives and to Australia.”
In 2021, Sunita was part of making change through an advocacy campaign she had helped to create and launch for UN Women Australia. She says it is a special feeling to be told that someone out there thought she had made enough of a difference to nominate her for an Order of Australia honour.
2- Ajay Satyan – Public Service Medal (PSM)
Ajay Satyan has been awarded the Public Service Medal (PSM) for outstanding public service through leadership in delivering grants in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ajay is the Executive Director of Program Centre at the Victorian Government Department of Jobs, Skills, Industry and Regions. Prior to his appointment in the Victorian Government, Ajay was the Chief Technology Officer at the Federal Department of the Environment and Energy, where he reformed critical platforms management by adopting Cloud and Software. With Master’s degrees in Computing and Business from the Australian National University, Ajay’s public sector experience has spanned across the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments.
In 2021, Ajay led the delivery of 17 economic support programs including the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021, the Small Business COVID Hardship Fund and the Business Costs Assistance Program, which is the largest grant program by value in Victoria’s history. These three programs alone supported more than 200,000 businesses to stay afloat through the protracted lockdowns in Victoria and they were the cornerstone of the Victorian Government’s economic response to COVID-19. He also led the delivery of the Test Isolation Payment Program, which was the largest grant program in Victoria’s history by application numbers. The Test Isolation Payment Program supported more than 1 million Victorians to isolate while waiting for COVID-19 test results, thus limiting the spread of COVID-19.
3- Assoc. Prof. Ravi Subramanya – Member of the Order of Australia (AM)
Assoc. Prof. Ravi Subramanya Bhat has been awarded Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia for significant service to medicine, and to rural psychiatry.
in 1999, Dr Bhat came to Australia from India with his young family and took a position with GV Health as a consultant psychiatrist. Since 2012, he has been working as Divisional Clinical Director – Mental Health Services and Authorised Psychiatrist and has authored He has authored 40 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters. In 2021, Dr Bhat was awarded the prestigious Victorian Branch Meritorious Award from The Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP).
“As a society, it comes down to how we take care of others, who we are, what are our values and what we want our children to be.”
4- Prof. Harshal Nandurkar Member of the Order of Australia (AM)
Prof. Harshal Nandurkar has been awarded Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia for significant service to medicine, particularly as a haematologist.
Prof. Nandurkar completed his MBBS from the University of Mumbai and then undertook PhD research at The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute followed by postdoctoral research in the Department of Biochemistry, Monash University. He is presently he Director of Clinical Haematology Alfred Health and Program Director of Alfred Cancer and also the Head of the Australian Centre for Blood Diseases, Monash University.
5- Dr Virendra Kumar Berera – Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)
Dr Virendra Kumar Berera has been awarded Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the General Division for service to the Indian community of Victoria.
Dr Berera is a well-known medical practitioner in Victoria and is President of the Federation of Indian Associations of Victoria, 2002-2004. He has been active in organising Diwali Festival and in 2007 was honoured with the Victorian Multicultural Award for Excellence.
6- Vinod Daniel – Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)
Vinod Daniel has been awarded Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the General Division for service to conservation and the environment.
Vinod is an international museum expert by profession. he is also Chairman of AusHeritage and Chief Executive Officer of India Vision Institute (IVI). He was a Board Member of the Australia India Council, Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia, for the period 2005-2011. His NGO IVI, a joint initiative of the LV Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad and the Brien Holden Vision Institute in Sydney, provides vision screening for the underprivileged, and free glasses to those in need.
7- Dr Sunita Siddhu Dhindsa – Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)
Dr Sunita Siddhu Dhindsa has been awarded Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the General Division for service to the Indian community of the Australian Capital Territory.
Dr Dhindsa has a PhD in genetics and a Graduate Diploma in Public Sector Management from Macquarie University. She is a member, founder member, patron, and life member of various community organisations and has held various positions. Dr Dhindsa is ex-Secretary of FINACT (2017-18), President of FINACT (2019-20), and Founder/ex-Coordinator of AusIndia Fair. After working in various roles, her aim is to support and empower the Indian-Australian community to contribute constructively to the Australian environment and economy.
8- Dr Saba Nabi – Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)
Dr Saba Nabi has been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the General Division for service to community health, education and multicultural affairs.
She arrived in regional Australia, Wagga Wagga in New South Wales (NSW) from New delhi, India, after her husband received a PhD scholarship in biomedical science from Charles Sturt University (CSU). Soon, Dr Nabi began work on her own PhD and also started volunteering at the university to help international students integrate into tertiary and community life.
Dr Nabi is recognised as a prominent voice in the regional Australian community who is helping women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
“I was really proactive from day one. I really wanted to engage because I was feeling homesick and I also really wanted to understand the Australian culture.”
9- Jaishri Patricia Falcetta – Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)
Jaishri Patricia Falcetta has been awarded Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the General Division for service to the community through social welfare organisations.
Jaishri is the founder and director of Social Living Solutions, and creator of the Family Joy Model™. Through her work, she hopes to see fulfilment of her vision for a world where people with Autism and other neurodiversity are accepted, integrated, and recognised as valued members of society. As a passionate advocate for neurodiverse people, Jaishri helps families with neurodiverse children to live a joyful life free of discrimination and judgement.
She is an active volunteer not only in her local community, but also internationally through the Global Goodwill Ambassadors network which serves others through humanitarian and charitable work. In 2019, she was also a finalist for the Australian Capital Territory Chief Ministers Inclusion Awards for Excellence in Support Work.
10- Nishi Puri – Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)
Nishi Puri has been awarded Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the General Division for service to the Indian community of Canberra.
Nishi is a small business owner who employs many new migrants especially women from domestic abuse relationships and supports their upskilling. While living in Canberra for the past 30 years, she has chaired and founded multiple cultural associations to engage the Indian and multicultural community locally and to promote the vast economic, educational, and cultural benefits the ACT has to offer.
Nishi is the President of the Global Organisation for People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) and was the President of the India-Australia Association of Canberra over 4 terms (from 2014-2018). In her various roles, Nishi has promoted networking between Indians from different parts of the world, cultivated business opportunities and diversified local business prospects in Canberra. In 2022, she was appointed as Honorary Australian Capital Territory Multicultural Ambassador.
11- Kalpana Sriram – Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)
Kalpana Sriram has been awarded Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the General Division for service to community mental health.
Kalpana is the Director of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan Australia and the Founder of Madhuram Academy of Performing Arts. She is also a Sessional Clinician at Transcultural Mental Health Centre and Multicultural Problem Gambling for New South Wales.
12- Arun Venkatesha – Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)
Arun Venkatesha has been awarded Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the General Division for service to the Indian community of Canberra.
Arun is Treasurer of the Canberra India Council and a Founding Member of Diwali Mela Inc.
Notably, for the first time since the Order of Australia was established in 1975, the majority of recipients in the General Division are women – recognised with 465 awards (50.6%).
Similarly, there is gender parity or better at the three highest levels in the Order – 50% of the appointments to the Companion of the Order of Australia are for women; 52% of the appointments to the Office of the Order of Australia are for women; and 53% of the appointments to the Member of the Order of Australia are for women.
Over 43 per cent of awards (397 in total) were for outstanding service or achievement in the community. The Governor-General has prioritised ensuring the Order reflects the diversity of our community. He added:
“Each recipient has something in common: someone nominated them. The Order of Australia belongs to each of us because nominations come from the community. In honouring today’s recipients, I also encourage all Australians to consider nominating someone they admire who has had a significant impact in the community.”
In addition to the 919 recipients of awards in the General Division of the Order of Australia (6 AC, 46 AO, 246 AM and 621 OAM), today’s Honours list includes: 19 recipients of awards in the Military Division of the Order of Australia (3 AO, 11 AM and 5 OAM), 199 Meritorious awards, and 54 Distinguished and Conspicuous service decorations.
The Governor-General said in a statement:
“Recipients have made substantial contributions and had a significant impact at the local, national or international level. Some are volunteers, others have had a remarkable impact in professional roles – many have done both. They are all inspiring and their service is valued by us all.”
This list also includes 73 Australians recognised for their contribution in support of Australia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.