Awards and bursaries

Vision Australia Awards 

We understand the importance of acknowledging the invaluable contributions made by members of our community.

The Vision Australia Awards started at our 2006 Annual General Meeting and were created to celebrate and thank the generous organisations and individuals who give their time and resources to support our work.

In 2017 the Vision Australia Awards will be presented during the Annual General Meeting to be held in Victoria on Wednesday 25 October 2017.

Nominations can be made by Vision Australia members, employees, volunteers and members of the Client Reference Group.

So if you know someone who has made a significant or exceptional contribution to the blind and low vision community and deserving of recognition please nominate them today.

To find out more about the nomination process please read through the Frequently Asked Questions (Word, 23KB) or call Zara Lawless on 03 9864 9609 for more information.

Download a nomination form (Word, 15KB)

The 2016 Vision Australia Award recipients 

Individual Award to Nick Carter 

Nick has a given a lifetime of volunteer service to the blindness and low vision community.  Nick has been active in blindness and low vision organisations since 1992, when he was appointed to the Board of the Singapore Association for the Visually Handicapped. In Brisbane he was Chair of The Royal Blind Foundation Queensland at the time of its amalgamation with Vision Australia in 2006 and subsequently served on the Vision Australia Board for a further nine years.  Nick’s expert contribution to property matters, his commitment to advocating for services within Queensland, his support for fundraising initiatives and his broad general management knowledge have all contributed to a remarkable governance career.

Individual Award to Jessica Gallagher 

Jess, who won bronze in the Women’s B 1km time trial at the 2016 Rio Paralympics, is the first Australian athlete (either Olympian or Paralympian) to medal at both a Summer and Winter Olympics. Jess was the first Australian woman to win a Winter Paralympics medal when she won bronze in the Slalom at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Paralympics. She won her second Paralympic medal when she took out the bronze medal in the Giant Slalom at the 2014 Sochi Winter Paralympics.  In 2010 she was named Australian Female Paralympian of the Year and received an Australian Institute of Sport Achievement Award and in 2011 she won the Victorian Institute of Sport Gatorade Spirit Award – one of the top honours.  Jess was also involved with Vision Australia’s Pin and Win campaign at the 2011 Melbourne Cup Carnival with our charity partner The Victoria Racing Club.  Jess is a qualified osteopath, is on the Board of Directors at Vision 2020 Australia and is a Vision Australia ambassador and an ambassador for Disabled Wintersport Australia.   

Individual Award to Cliff Jackson

Cliff, who is 90 years old, is an active volunteer with 20 years of service.  Cliff first began volunteering in June 1996 with the Royal Blind Society Enfield (Vision Australia). He has consistently volunteered since, devoting 4 days a week to Vision Australia clients and services.  This is the second Vision Australia award awarded to Cliff.  Cliff was the recipient of the Vision Australia client service award in 2006 for his service as a dedicated volunteer and a strong believer in peer support.  Ten years on, Cliff’s Vision Impaired Persons Support Group now has more than 22 groups and over 500 members, he gives presentations on Vision Australia’s behalf to businesses and community groups and provides tours of the Enfield Building guiding community groups and Vision Australia supporters.

The Individual Award to Jan Lovie Kitchin

Jan’s contribution to the blindness and low vision community has been remarkable both in terms of her contribution via her research and academic career, and her direct involvement with clients with low vision. Her clinical practice and post-graduate study in Melbourne in the 1970’s resulted in the Bailey-Lovie visual acuity charts, which are now used in low vision clinics and in major research studies throughout the world.  She is currently Adjunct Professor of Optometry at QUT in Brisbane where she also holds the position of Chairwoman of the University Human Research Ethics Committee. Jan has been continually involved with the community at all levels through her direct work with clients in the low vision clinics of Vision Australia in both Kooyong and Brisbane.  We also thank Jan for her many years of service on the Board of Vision Australia.

Individual Award to Kevin Murfitt

In addition to his 12 years of dedicated service on the Vision Australia Board (10 as Chair), Kevin has held various Asia Pacific roles with the World Blind Union-Asia Pacific roles and was a Director on the Disability Services Board of the Victorian State Government.  Kevin was conferred his Doctor of Philosophy from Deakin University in 2006, with his research focussing on diversity and employment.  Kevin was Vice President of the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind and received a 2002 HREOC Human Rights Award for contributing to the Disability Discrimination Act (1992) Accessible Public Transport Standards.  He has had outstanding success as a water skier in the blind skiing category, with 10 world championship titles and two world records.

Individual Award to Denis Walter 

Denis has made a significant contribution to Carols by Candlelight over many years.  2016 will mark his 32nd consecutive year performing at this iconic event, making him the longest running performer to date, and something of an institution.  The generous donation of his time at Carols by Candlelight embodies the true meaning of Christmas and, for many Australians, it wouldn’t be Christmas without Denis Walter and his fabulous baritone.

Individual Award to Roger Zimmerman

Roger was a co-opted member of the Audit, Finance and Business Risk Committee of the Board and a Director of the Vision Australia Trust over a period of 13 years prior to his retirement in February this year.  Roger made a significant contribution to both of these bodies during this time.  His award was presented to him at the time of his retirement but we wish to acknowledge his outstanding contribution as part of the awards ceremony at this AGM.

Corporate Award to Ernst and Young with specific mention of the contribution of Stuart Painter  
Ernst and Young was appointed as the internal auditors soon after the formation of Vision Australia in 2004.  The Engagement Partner throughout their work with Vision Australia has been Stuart Painter. Stuart and his team of dedicated professionals have provided great support to the Board and management through the years. Ernst and Young were an integral part of the change process through the turnaround from 2010 and the establishment of a world class finance and controls environment, the envy of many for profit and not for profit organisation across Australia and beyond.  Stuart commands an exceptional knowledge of the NFP space, including being appointed as the internal auditor for the NDIA and has invested a lot personally and his expertise in the success of Vision Australia, we thank him for his contribution and commitment.



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