2023 Gold Coast Australian of the Year announced

Published on 07 June 2023


This year’s Gold Coast Australian of the Year has been instrumental in changing the lives of countless young men at-risk and giving them hope for a better future.

Marco Renai is the Founder and CEO of the Men of Business Academy which provides an alternate senior secondary school empowering young men with the skills, knowledge and confidence to be happy, healthy and successful in life.

Men of Business started with six boys in its first program 10 years’ ago and in 2023 alone, over 200 young men completed the program. They will go on to pursue full time/part time jobs, apprenticeships, traineeships or further education.

Acting Mayor Donna Gates, at the private ceremony at SkyPoint on tonight (6 June), said Marco was an inspiration for his work in giving young men the support they need to choose the right path in life.

“Marco is inspiring young Gold Coast men to build their confidence in a supportive environment and make these boys realise they belong somewhere,” she said.

“Thank you, Marco, for your tireless contributions to our community, particularly our future generation of young men.”

“Our other award recipients are also outstanding individuals who dedicate their lives to helping some of the most vulnerable in our community.

“We are proud to recognise you all for your incredible service to our community and helping to make the Gold Coast a better place.”

Gold Coast Australian of the Year

Marco Renai, Men of Business

As Founder and CEO of The Men of Business Academy, Marco is the driving force behind building an alternate senior secondary school that focuses on empowering young men with the skills, knowledge and confidence to be happy, healthy and successful in life. He is a proud Gold Coaster who combines his passion for education, innovation and improving the lives of others with finding other organisations on the Gold Coast who can also help nurture this.

Gold Coast Senior Australian of the Year

Robyn & Lindsay Burch, Havafeed

29 years ago Lindsay and Robyn felt there was a growing need to help those that were disadvantaged in the Gold Coast community by providing relief with hot meals and food parcels. This is when Havafeed was born, a not-for-profit charity that provides a safe and judgment free space for anyone looking for support.

Gold Coast Young Australian of the Year

Emma McKeon, Olympic Swimmer

At age 29, Emma is the most decorated Australian Olympian, with 11 Olympic Medals and 20 Commonwealth Games Medals to her name. She is also a seven-time world record holder, three current and four former, in relays. In 2021, Emma tied with Ian Thorpe for the most number of Olympic gold medals won over the course of an Australian athlete's career.

Gold Coast Local Hero

Ross Lee, Lee Lawyers

Founder and president of My Community Legal, Ross and his team of 90 volunteers have provided free legal advice to over 10,000 vulnerable Gold Coasters since 2004. The clients the service benefits includes, but is not limited to, those experiencing family or domestic violence, the homeless and those that are culturally or linguistically diverse.

For more information about the awards CLICK HERE