Media Release by Senator the Hon Ursula Stephens

Third sector leaders honoured

Speaking at today’s Social Inclusion Conference in Melbourne, Senator Stephens recognised the vital role that third sector organisations play in supporting vibrant and inclusive communities.

“I congratulate third sector leaders for their efforts and achievements across social and community services, environment, arts, innovation, philanthropy, advocacy and community development,” Senator Stephens said.

This year’s Australia Day Honours list acknowledges the inspirational work of Steve Lawrence, Chief Executive of the Social Innovation Exchange, who was made an Officer of the Order of Australia.

“Steve has built a generation of social entrepreneurs. He created the Australian Social Innovation Exchange, the School for Social Entrepreneurs in Australia and Social Ventures Australia, building on his experience working with disadvantaged job seekers and communities for more than two decades,” Senator Stephens said.

Another prominent sector leader honoured at the awards was OzHarvest founder Ronni Kahn who was named Australia’s Local Hero 2010 for her innovative approach to rescuing excess food for communities at risk.

“It was very pleasing to see Australia’s vibrant third sector so well represented in the awards.

“One third of Australians made an Officer of the Order of Australia received their award in recognition of their community service and service to our community was one of the dominant characteristics among all categories of this year’s award – testament to Australia’s rich culture of civic engagement and community spirit,” Senator Stephens said.

For a full list of Australia Day Honours recipients, go to It’s an Honour (