Dinesh Palipana OAM wins QLD Australian of the Year 2021

Doctor, Lawyer, Medal of the Order, and member QLS Diverse Abilities Network; if you thought his resume couldn’t get more impressive… Dr Dinesh Palipana OAM has been announced as 2021 Queensland Australian of the Year.

The room erupted with deafening applause as Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk last night announced 36-year-old Dinesh Palipana OAM as the Queensland Australian of the Year ahead of the national Australia Day awards in January.

The Premier recognised and congratulated him on his significant advocacy work co-founding ‘Doctors with Disabilities Australia’, as well as his extensive contribution to the advancement of treating spinal cord injuries and restoring functions for people with paralysis.

 “Dr Dinesh Palipana knows no barriers,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“He is a truly inspiring person and a much-deserved recipient of the Queensland Australian of the Year Award.

“Dr Palipana was the quadriplegic medical graduate and medical intern in Queensland and was also recently admitted as a lawyer.” 


For Dinesh, this achievement hits home on a personal level as he reflects on how far he’s come since the horrific car accident in 2010 that left him paralysed.

“10 years ago I was lying in a hospital bed coming to terms with the fact I could no longer move my body. Never in a million years could I imagine I’d be here today,” he said.

“This achievement means the world to me, and I hope it means a lot to Australian’s from all diverse backgrounds.

“I hope it encourages people to be more inclusive and accepting and I hope it inspires people to never stop striving to achieve their dreams.”

Since being admitted as a lawyer earlier this year, Dinesh was thrilled to join the QLS Diverse Abilities Network.

“They are such a passionate, powerful group of lawyers with so much to offer the profession. I am so proud to be able to work with them in creating awareness and inclusion within the legal profession,” he said.


As well as planning a wedding to marry his partner Rachael, Dinesh says he’s still got a few things he’d like to tick off his achievement list…

“I’m in the process of writing book, but I’d also love to get my pilot’s license and learn to fly – the sky’s the limit!”

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