SPECIAL GUEST: Dr Jamal Rifi, Lebanese-born Australian general practitioner and prominent figure in the Lebanese Muslim community in Sydney. Photo: Britta Campion.
SPECIAL GUEST: Dr Jamal Rifi, Lebanese-born Australian general practitioner and prominent figure in the Lebanese Muslim community in Sydney. Photo: Britta Campion.

Why a human rights champion is coming to Tenterfield

A HUMAN rights champion has been announced as the special guest of Tenterfield's Australia Day celebrations.

Tenterfield Shire Council announced this year's ambassador will be Dr Jamal Rifi AM, a respected and hardworking general practitioner as well as a prominent figure in Sydney's Lebanese Muslim community.

Dr Rifi has recently gained widespread praise nationally as one of the most passionate voices from the Australian Muslim community.

During the war on terror and a time of global uncertainty, Dr Rifi has spoken out about radicalisation in all shapes and forms, and sought to bring harmony among Muslin and non-Muslim communities.

Dr Rifi's efforts to build harmony have been recognised with a Human Rights Medal in 2007, and in 2015 he was recognised as The Australian's Australian of the Year and most recently named the Australian Father of the Year.

The council said this year's Australia Day event promises to provide "another wonderful morning of entertainment, recognition and celebration of our multicultural nation".

Community members are reminded the event has moved from Bruxner Park to Tenterfield Memorial Hall.

The festivities commence at 8.15am with a Breakfast on the Deck event hosted by the Tenterfield Lions Club and the Granite Belt Community Band.

The main event itself commences in the hall at 9am with a Tenterfield Shire citizenship ceremony immediately following the civic welcome.

Tenterfield mayor Peter Petty said the council received 19 nominations for Australia Day Awards, covering the categories of Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year, Young Sportsperson of the Year, Emergency Services Volunteer of the Year and Community Event of the Year.

"The calibre of the nominations made selection of the winners a very difficult task indeed," Mr Petty said.

"This past year, with the challenges that have plagued our shire and indeed much of Australia, many heroes and heroines have been brought to the fore and we recognise each and every one of them for their outstanding contributions."

Mr Petty said during the celebration, local Tenterfield performer Dancing DJ will provide the opportunity for everyone to get up and dance away the blues to some good old Australian rock and roll before the Tenterfield Highlander Pipe Band and the swirl of bagpipes brings the event to a stirring conclusion.