WA Australian of the Year Award: eastern suburbs duo in line for prestigious accolades


Jaqueline Mills.

Hugh Rogers.
Jaqueline Mills. Hugh Rogers.

TWO eastern suburbs residents, who work with people with disabilities and seniors, are in line to win their first 2018 Western Australia Australian of the Year Awards.

Bassendean resident and Microboards Australia director Jacqueline Mills was nominated for the accolade.

The 48-year-old was recognised for her work with families to adopt the microboards model – a small group of friends and family who help a person with a disability achieve their goals and needs.

Westminster resident and Senior Recreation Council of WA president Hugh Rogers was nominated for the Senior Australian of the Year award for helping thousands of people to stay healthy, connected and part of their community for the past 25 years.

Ms Mills said her work stemmed from early struggles in raising her son Eli, who had Angelman syndrome, a neurological disorder that challenged behaviour.

“My son is very vulnerable; he can’t speak and he needs 24-hour support, he has got some complex medical needs,” she said.

“I did feel myself starting to burn out… it was getting to the point where I wouldn’t be able to care for him for much longer.

“I found out about this (microboards) idea that people in the community could not only be invited into help and support vulnerable people but there can be a commitment to do that in the long term.”

Mr Rogers, who has led the council to expand to 11 branches, said helping seniors to learn new skills, stay active and happy, kept him busy.

“My time is almost wholly devoted to the Senior Recreation Council of WA,” he said.

“I spend a couple of hours every morning in the office in doing some administration.

“That is my reason for being; it keeps the brain active.”

The award winners will be announced on November 22 at Government House in Perth.

The WA award winners will then join a group of 32 state and territory recipients in the national awards, which will be held in Canberra on January 25.

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