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Deadly nomination inspires achievers

Voting is still open for the Deadly Awards and with a strong line-up of finalists, now’s your opportunity to have a say in who’s deadly in 2011.

This year’s Deadly Awards recognise the national achievements of Indigenous people across many fields including sport, the arts and community throughout the past year.

And nominees say the Deadlys hold a special place in their hearts because of the pride that comes from being recognised by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Singer-songwriter Benny Walker, from Echuca in northern Victoria, has been nominated for a Deadly in the Most Promising New Talent in Music category.

Benny cut his teeth on classic blues, surf and folk music before finding his own voice in the raw honesty of acoustic roots music and says he is “excited and proud to be nominated for a Deadly.”

“It’s a real honour to be recognised by the Aboriginal community for my achievements and what I am trying to do in the music industry,” Benny says.

“The Deadlys are great exposure for up and coming artists and also great recognition for those who are making an impact.

“It is a great boost for my career, great exposure and also gives me confidence in what I’m doing – to see that other people are recognising this.”

Benny is about to embark on a tour that will take in Tasmania in October and South Australia in November. He is playing at the Australian World Music Expo in Melbourne in November and is also supporting Christine Anu in shows later in the year.

“I am very excited about getting my stuff out in front of the wider public,” he says.

Meanwhile, actress Shai Pittman, has been nominated in the Female Actor of the Year category.

Shai starred in the film Here I Am that premiered in May this year and she says she is “over the moon” to be nominated.

“It’s a real privilege to be nominated for a Deadly,” Shai says.

“It’s like another door is opening for me and Indigenous women and if I get this award, hopefully I can be a voice for Indigenous women from where I come from and from all over Australia. I feel like a winner just by being nominated.”

Motocross champion Meghan Rutledge has been nominated in the category of Female Sportsperson of the Year.

The 16-year-old motocross champion says it is a “pretty good feeling” to be nominated.

“I feel like I am representing women in motocross because there are not many women in the sport in Australia,” she says.

Meghan began racing at the age of seven, quickly winning several titles. In 2004, she became the first female to win a NSW State Title competing against boys. She is also the first female to win the Oakdale Motorcycle Club junior club championship – her home club where she got her start in racing.

In the past year, Meghan has won Australasian, Australian and State titles. In August 2010, Meghan won the NSW 12 to Under-16 years 85cc all-female championship and 13 to Under-16 250cc all-female little class. She was also the runner-up in the boys 13 to Under-15 year’s lites.

“Being nominated for a Deadly gives you that little bit more of a confidence boost and inspires you to achieve more,” Meghan says.

She is in Year 11 at Picton High School and balances her riding commitments with school work.

Voting in Australia’s largest Indigenous awards night is now open at Voting closes on 10 September 2011, so get in and have your say on who’s Deadly.

The Deadly Awards are on at the Sydney Opera on 27 September this year. Tickets for the 2011 Deadlys ($45 or $30 concession) are available from the Sydney Opera House. For more information, visit

The Deadly Awards will be broadcast on SBS One on Sunday, October 2 at 9.30pm and repeated on SBS Two on Saturday, October 8 at 7.30pm. The Deadlys will also be broadcast on the National Indigenous Radio Service live on 27 September from 4.30pm to 5.30pm, Deadly Dressed and the Sunset Ceremony; and from 7.05pm to 10.30pm the Deadlys will be broadcast live from the Opera House Concert Hall.

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