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Philanthropists Honoured on Australia Day


Tuesday, 27th January 2015 at 10:12 am
Xavier Smerdon, Journalist
Philanthropists have taken top accolades for their contributions to the community sector as part of The Australia Day 2015 Honours List.

Tuesday, 27th January 2015
at 10:12 am
Xavier Smerdon, Journalist


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Philanthropists Honoured on Australia Day
Tuesday, 27th January 2015 at 10:12 am

Philanthropists have taken top accolades for their contributions to the community sector as part of The Australia Day 2015 Honours List.

Philanthropist Marcus Besen AO was one of only five people named a Companion in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AC) as a result of his philanthropic contributions to a range of social welfare, community health, arts, educational and youth initiatives.  

Besen is Chairman and Trustee of The Besen Family Foundation, established in 1978. As Executive Chairman of Highpoint Property Group since 2004, he has supported a range of Indigenous and youth welfare projects. He was also Executive Chairman of Sussan Corporation Australia Ltd between 1980 and 2003.

The awards, which marked the start of the 40th year of the Australian Honours system, recognised 827 Australians across a wide range of professions and industries, and from all States and Territories.

In the Order of Australia, 616 General Division appointments and awards were announced including two Honorary recipients, 304 of those in the Community category.

A further 14 people were awarded in the Community – Multicultural Affairs category and 16 in the Environment/Conservation category.

Frank Costa OAM was named an Officer in the General Division (AO) for his contributions supporting the community of Geelong, along with both Peter Clemenger AM and wife Joan Clemenger who were recognised for their philanthropic activities, most notably with charitable organisations and in visual and performing arts.

They joined property developed and businessman Langley Walker, included as a benefactor and supporter of social welfare, medical research, health care, heritage and sporting causes, and to commerce.  

Champion surfer Layne Beachley was also announced as an AO for service to the community through her support of charitable organisations and as a mentor for women in sport. Beachley’s foundation Aim for the Stars has financially assisted over 300 women and girls since 2003.

The Governor-General and Chancellor of the Order of Australia, Sir Peter Cosgrove, approved the awards, which are recommended by the Council for the Order, comprised of 19 members representing the community and all States and Territories.

“To all recipients, I offer my warmest congratulations and express my sincere gratitude for your contribution to our nation,” the Governor-General said.

“We are fortunate as a community to have so many outstanding people willing to dedicate themselves to the betterment our nation and it is only fitting that they have today been recognised through the Australian Honours system.

“Since 1975 these awards have drawn national attention to the personal efforts of individuals, made willingly, without thought of recognition or recompense.

“Today’s recipients now join the company of more than 40,000 women and men whose actions have enriched our community and whose values we hold dear – professionalism, compassion, dedication, generosity, tolerance, and energetic ambition.

“For 40 years these honours have helped to define, encourage and reinforce our national aspirations and ideals by identifying role models. Today, we add a new group of people to those whose lead all Australians should follow.”

All Australians are encouraged to nominate fellow citizens who have made outstanding contributions to the wellbeing of others for national recognition in the Honours List.

Other notable awardees:

Members of the Order of Australia (AM):

David Addington, NSW

For significant service to the community through refugee support organisations, particularly the provision of financial assistance programs.

Neville Bassett, WA

For significant service to the community, particularly through executive roles with the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia.

Ross Wiseman, QLD

For significant service to the community through the leadership and promotion of volunteer organisations.

Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM):

Ernest Barr, VIC

For service to the community, particularly through support for charitable organisations, and to the food industry.

Kirsten Deane, VIC

For service to people with a disability through support organisations.

June Reid, VIC

For service to the community, particularly through the Country Women's Association.

Allan Paull, VIC

For service to the community through charitable and social welfare organisations.


Xavier Smerdon  |  Journalist |  @XavierSmerdon

Xavier Smerdon is a journalist specialising in the Not for Profit sector. He writes breaking and investigative news articles.

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