Gina Williams, a prominent member of the Indigenous community who has worked extensively in the South West, has been named the winner of the Aboriginal category at the 2017 West Australian of the Year awards on Friday night.
Mrs Williams was one of four finalists in the Aboriginal category. The singer and songwriter has dedicated her time to the survival of the Noongar language and is a five time winner of the WA Music Industry Aboriginal Act of the Year award.
Ms Williams has spent considerable time in Bunbury working with local students in her mission to teach the Noongar language while unifying Aboriginal traditions and contemporary cultures.
Businessman Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest was named the overall 2017 West Australian of the Year.
In addition to being the founder, former chief executive officer and chairman of the world-leading Fortescue Metals Group, Mr Forrest is considered one of Australia’s greatest philanthropists, business leaders and agents of change.
Under his leadership, Fortescue has made significant investments in the Australian resources sector of more than US$20 billion.
In late May, 2017 it was also announced that Mr Forrest and his wife Nicola will donate $400 million to be used for a number of social and scientific causes, including cancer research and the eradication of slavery.
Through the Minderoo Foundation, established with his wife in 2001, Mr Forrest devotes his energy to society’s most vulnerable citizens, with a focus on ending Australia’s Aboriginal disparity and drawing attention to and liberating 45.8 million people trapped in modern slavery around the world.
Mr and Mrs Forrest are also the first Australians to join The Giving Pledge, vowing to give away the overwhelming majority of their wealth.
The Forrests also actively champion arts and culture, as well as early childhood development, working in collaboration with the corporate sector, government and broader community.