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Nominations for the 2022-23 Australian Search and Rescue (SAR) Awards are now open.

The Awards are presented annually by the National Search and Rescue Council (NATSAR Council) in recognition of ‘Outstanding contributions to Search and Rescue’ in Australia.

Nominations are open to individuals, groups or organisations that have made a significant contribution to search and rescue in Australia and deserve recognition at a national level.

Any person or organisation can nominate candidates for the Awards by completing the official nomination form online.

NATSAR Council Chairperson Mark Morrow said professionals, volunteers and members of the public who perform selfless acts for others at a time of peril deserve to be recognised.

“I’m always humbled to hear about the work of our professional community of SAR personnel around Australia, along with volunteers and people who help others in perilous circumstances,” he said.

“Ordinary people respond to extraordinary situations all the time, and I encourage anyone who knows of a selfless, lifesaving act, to make a nomination.”

Last year’s awardees included:

Professional Award: the ACT Australian Federal Police Search and Rescue Team displayed remarkable resilience in a physically demanding alpine operation in dangerous sub-zero temperatures.

Non-Professional Award: a Ballarat man, Maxime Jond, performed a selfless act at a Princeton beach in Victoria on New Year’s Day, saving the life of a swimmer caught in a dangerous rip.

Long-Standing Contribution Award: Jim Whitehead, a retired 42-year veteran of the Queensland Police Service and search and rescue specialist, successfully coordinated thousands of operations saving hundreds of lives.

Commendations were also awarded to the NSW Police Rescue officers and Ambulance Paramedics who tackled a treacherous rock fall to rescue three survivors in the Blue Mountains, and Dean Wotherspoon, a Tasmanian Police Rescue Squad member, with 25 years’ service.

The 2023 Awards will be presented at a ceremony hosted by the NATSAR Council later this year.