Senior South Australian of the Year Professor Richard Bruggemann using award platform to continue disability advocacy work

AWARD: The 2021 South Australian Senior Australian of the Year Professor Richard Bruggemann upon receiving his award last year. Photo: National Australia Day Council/Salty Dingo
AWARD: The 2021 South Australian Senior Australian of the Year Professor Richard Bruggemann upon receiving his award last year. Photo: National Australia Day Council/Salty Dingo

The opportunity to continue to make a difference in the lives of people living with an intellectual disability is something 2021 South Australian Senior Australian of the Year Professor Richard Bruggemann cherishes.

The award winner has provided expert advice to governments and been a long-time advocate for disability services, legislation, inclusion and rights.

A dedicated volunteer, Prof Bruggemann has sat on more than 20 non-government boards and committees during his career, and is a prolific writer on topics relating to the disability community.

After the "shock and disbelief" of his award win last year, Prof Bruggemann said he had been able to use the award as a platform to promote his work and the inclusion of people with a disability.

"I didn't expect to win the award, but as I was involved in it more and more, it was a feeling that this was a good platform to continue to promote what is important," he said.

"People are happy to talk to me and I have been invited to events where I can promote the message of inclusion of all people in the community, including those with an intellectual disability.

"I am still a bit bewildered it was me who won the award, but that opportunity to promote the work I am doing has been the key thing for me."

Nominate your Australian of the Year

Prof Bruggemann was earlier this year called on by the state government to join a special taskforce investigating the tragic death of cerebral palsy sufferer Ann Marie Smith.

He was also appointed to a new government role to assess the temporary orders to protect people living with a cognitive or mental impairment from the spread of COVID-19.

Australians are being urged to nominate a deserving member of their community for the 2022 Australian of the Year Awards.

PLATFORM: Disability advocate Professor Richard Bruggemann has used the past year to continue to make a difference to the lives of people living with an intellectual disability. Photo: National Australia Day Council/Salty Dingo

PLATFORM: Disability advocate Professor Richard Bruggemann has used the past year to continue to make a difference to the lives of people living with an intellectual disability. Photo: National Australia Day Council/Salty Dingo

There are four categories - Australian of the Year, Senior Australian of the Year, Young Australian of the Year and Australia's Local Hero - and nominations at australianoftheyear.org.au close on July 31.

Prof Bruggemann encouraged fellow South Australians to nominate someone they know who is contributing to Australian society and inspiring those around them.

They could be quiet achievers, community members, leaders in their field of work, household names or people who go about their volunteering or work and are everyday heroes.

"If you know someone who has done something outstanding, anyone from any walk of life, you should think to nominate them," he said.

"Just because we know that person, we might discount what they are doing, but if you feel this person is doing something worthwhile, don't hold back.

"Even if you think they won't meet the grade, nominate them and they will go through the process."

  • Australian Community Media, the publisher of this masthead, is media partner of the Australian of the Year Awards.