Championing the importance of early years education for Aboriginal children has earned proud Yorta Yorta woman Dr Sue Lopez Atkinson the title of the Premier’s Volunteer of the Year.
For the past 20 years, Dr Lopez Atkinson has played an integral role in building understanding of and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ rights in Victoria, as part of steps towards meaningful reconciliation.
She volunteers hours each week providing expertise and advice to local groups, such as the Early Years Graduate Association, Merri Reconciliation Action Plan Committee, Moreland Human Rights Advisory Group, Re-gen Reconciliation Action Plan and Moreland Council Reconciliation Advisory Group.
Dr Lopez Atkinson was formally recognised at the Premier’s Volunteer Champions Awards ceremony on Sunday and awarded the Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Trophy and a $10,000 donation to her organisation of choice, FKA Children’s Services.
FKA has worked to support and develop early education and care services for more than a century, with a particular focus on supporting bilingual children’s learning.
More than 260 Victorians were nominated for the Premier’s Volunteer Champion Awards, which recognise, celebrate and thank volunteers for the incredible impact they have across Victoria.
Almost 60 Victorians from all corners of the state – including Mildura, Warrnambool and Wangaratta – were celebrated alongside Dr Lopez Atkinson at the Awards ceremony held at Government House, for their contributions to a range of different services, activities, communities and causes.
There are more than 1.5 million volunteers across Victoria, with the state’s volunteer sector worth more than $23 billion to the economy in 2011. This is estimated to increase to $42 billion by 2021. To learn more, visit .
Quote attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews
“Congratulations to Sue and to all of today’s award recipients – all Victorians are richer for the contribution of the 1.5 million volunteers who give their time to make Victoria a better place.”
Quote attributable to Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos
“Days like today are powerful reminders of how lucky Victoria is to have its volunteers – these are people who quietly put their hands up, advocate for change and give back without asking for anything in return.”
Quote attributable to Parliamentary Secretary for Volunteers Gabrielle Williams
“Thanks to all our amazing volunteers, who play a vital role in strengthening our communities. Every day, volunteers look after us and help make us happier, healthier and well-connected.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020