NSW champions of cancer awareness, disability sports, robotics and journalism have been named candidates for the state's Australian of the Year.
Wheelchair racer and three-time Paralympic gold medalist Kurt Fearnley, Newcastle Herald investigative journalist Joanne McCarthy, the Mark Hughes Foundation's eponymous founder and robotics professor Salah Sukkarieh were named as nominees on Thursday.
Mr Sukkarieh is using robotics to design the future of farming, find more efficient and sustainable ways to monitor and grow crops and animals and strengthen global food security.
Mr Fearnley has won thirteen medals across five Paralympic games and advocates for disability rights, particularly in community and workplace participation.
Ms McCarthy's investigations into sexual abuse by the Catholic Church in the Hunter Valley was seminal in the establishment of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Mr Hughes founded his organisation in 2014 after being diagnosed with brain cancer a year earlier. It is dedicated to finding a cure and raised more than $10 million through the "beanie for brain cancer" campaign.
Mr Fearnley, Mr Hughes and Ms McCarthy are all prominent Newcastle identities while Mr Sukkarieh is from Kogarah in Sydney.
The winner, along with the NSW Senior and Young Australians of the Year will be named on November 12 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney.
They will join their fellow winners from each state and territory around Australia for the national award ceremony in Canberra on January 25 next year.
Australian Associated Press