The search is on for Canberra’s brightest young achievers in the 2023 Young Canberra Citizen of the Year Awards.

In 2022, Hayley Whatman took out the Personal Achievement award at the Young Canberra Citizen of the Year Awards for her work with and advocacy for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Hayley has shared a little of her remarkable journey with us and the importance of recognising the achievements of young people, particularly those who come from disadvantage.

“My own experiences of adversity, including cumulative inequality, trauma and poverty, have been the driving force behind my educational, personal and professional pursuits,” she said.

“My lived experience is my motivation for making a difference to the lives of young people in the ACT – showing that with determination, anything is possible.

“Defying statistical odds and empowering youth along the way is my greatest achievement, an achievement that I live out every day.

“Recognition of achievements for young people who come from disadvantaged, minority, or lower socio-economic backgrounds is especially important as it can inspire others to believe in themselves.”

Hayley also highlighted the impact of receiving the Personal Achievement Award on her life and career.

“Within the past 12 months, I am honoured to have been inducted into the ACT Women's Honour Roll, presented as a guest speaker at ANU, be appointed to the ACT Youth Advisory Council, and win the Personal Achievement award at the 2022 ACT Young Citizen of the Year Awards.

“Winning the award has changed my life by providing me with a platform to amplify my voice and make a greater impact.

“It has also opened doors to new opportunities, such as speaking engagements, collaborations, and networking with other like-minded individuals who share my passion for making a positive difference to the lives of others.

“In the years to come, you will see me continue to transform challenges into accomplishments through critical thinking and speaking, offering a new perspective of inspiration and action.”

There is still time to nominate an outstanding young person for this year’s Young Canberra Citizen of the Year Awards.

For more information, including category details and how to nominate, visit:

Be quick – nominations close at 12pm 16 October.

Page updated: 10 Oct 2023