Redland brothers Daniel and William Clarke win the 2021 Queensland Young Australian of the Year Award for orangutan conservation work

OUTSTANDING QUEENSLANDERS: Queensland Australian of the Year Dr Dinesh Palipana, Local Hero Natasha Johnston, Queensland Senior Australian of the Year Auntry McRose Elu and Queensland Young Australians of the Year Daniel and William Clarke.
OUTSTANDING QUEENSLANDERS: Queensland Australian of the Year Dr Dinesh Palipana, Local Hero Natasha Johnston, Queensland Senior Australian of the Year Auntry McRose Elu and Queensland Young Australians of the Year Daniel and William Clarke.

REDLANDS brothers Daniel and William Clarke have been recognised for their commitment to conservation, taking out the prestigious 2021 Queensland Young Australian of the Year Award.

It was among four awards announced at tonight's ceremony, held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Taking out the night's biggest award - Queensland Australian of the Year - was Dinesh Palipana, a senior resident doctor at Gold Coast University Hospital.

They will join winners from the other states and territories in the running for the national Australian of the Year title, to be announced on January 25.

Daniel, 24, and William, 22, have been working to protect the endangered orangutan in Borneo and Sumatra since 2008.

Inspired by the work of television wildlife celebrity Steve Irwin, as well as Kim Watkins' documentary Saving Orangutans, the brothers have raised more than $900,000 to support various conservation organisations.

The money has helped build holding enclosures and used to buy veterinary equipment at orangutan care centres.

They have also sponsored the protection of more than 50,000 hectares of orangutan habitat and adopted more than 100 animals.

Daniel and William's books on orangutan conservation have been incorporated into the NSW curriculum.

They have spoken at about 80 schools and to more than 60,000 students Australia-wide.

Their conservation efforts have been recognised by former US President Barack Obama, broadcaster and natural historian David Attenborough and Steve Irwin's father, Bob.

Daniel and William join an impressive list of Queensland achievers, including last year's state winner, Ipswich tennis player Ash Barty.

Barty went on to win the national Young Australian of the Year prize.

The brothers were among five outstanding Queenslanders recognised with major awards tonight.

The 2021 Queensland Senior Australian of the Year went to 75-year-old Aunty McRose Elu, an advocate for Torres Strait communities and climate change activist.

Natasha Johnston, the founder and director of Drought Angels, is the Queensland Local Hero.

Dr Palipana was the first quadriplegic medical graduate and medical intern in Queensland.

As co-founder of Doctors With Disabilities Australia, he has worked with the Australian Medical Association to create first-of-kind national policies for inclusivity in medical education and employment.

Head of the National Australia Day Council Karlie Brand congratulated the award winners.

"The contributions of the 2021 Queensland Australians of the Year are inspirational," Ms Brand said.

"Their dedication to making a difference for others, leading the way for change and helping those in need is to be respected and admired."

ACM, publisher of this newspaper, is a proud partner of the Australian of the Year Awards.