AFL star Adam Goodes has won the NSW Australian of the Year award.
The 33-year-old Sydney Swans player was given the honour for his commitment to community programs, particularly for establishing and co-chairing the Go Foundation.
Mr Goodes’ foundation promotes education, employment and healthy lifestyles to help the next generation of Indigenous people across all walks of life, the Australian of the Year awards group said.
Inventor Peter Ford was awarded NSW Senior Australian of the Year and Jacqueline Freney won the NSW Young Australian of the Year award.
Mr Ford won for developing a device that allows paralysed people to communicate through a laptop.
Ms Freney was recognised for bagging eight gold medals at the London Paralympic Games.
The 21-year-old from Skennars Head, who was born with cerebral palsy, won a gold medal in every event she entered, making her the best performing athlete on the Australian team.
For his work with those addicted to drugs, alcohol and gambling, Reverend Graham Long was named NSW local hero 2014.
The 62-year-old runs programs from the Wayside Chapel with a team of 32 staff and more than 500 volunteers.
They assist 75,000 people annually.
The NSW winners will head to Canberra for the announcement of the national awards in late January.
Jeremy Lasek, the chief of National Australia Day Council, said “all four of the recipients are great Australians of whom we can be very proud.”
NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell praised the winners of the awards.
Mr Goodes, he said, is “a great role model” and a worthy recipient of the honour.
“Adam is a leading advocate in the fight against racism, his actions earlier this year transcended football and reached all parts of Australian society,” he said in a statement.
“I congratulate all winners and finalists in the awards and thank them for the great contribution they are making to the community.”