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During a year that took so much from all of us, there were also many incredible wins across gender equality, australian aid, environment, health and vaccines.
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10 Wonderful Things That Happened in Australia Amid a Remarkably Hard 2020


Why Global Citizens Should Care
The COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to reverse so much of the progress the world has made toward achieving the United Nations’ Global Goals, impacting goal 1, which seeks to end poverty and goal 2, which aims to eliminate hunger, among others. This year also showed that the world could come together to solve global issues, and has produced some incredible wins along the way. Join Global Citizen and take action to make the world a better place here.

For many, 2020 would undoubtedly be one of the most challenging years to date.

The health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented, as are the virus's socioeconomic effects across domestic violence rates, homelessness, inequality, mental health, poverty, hunger, and education.

In Australia, Melbourne was thrust into one of the world’s strictest and longest lockdowns in an attempt to contain its second outbreak, which saw businesses crumble across the state and almost 5 million citizens confined to their homes for 112 days. 

However, during the year that took so much from all of us, there were also many incredible wins. 

Check out some of Australia’s most noteworthy 2020 successes below — and here’s to a bigger and better 2021. 

1. More Than $1 Billion Announced in New Australian Aid Funding for World’s Poor

Additional aid packages announced to help Australia’s closest neighbours deal with the pandemic have now reached over $1 billion — bringing Australia’s aid spending to the highest level in years.

The End COVID for All campaign, supported by Global Citizen, helped secure COVID-19 recovery packages for the Pacific and Timor-Leste and a package to help the procurement and rollout of COVID-19 vaccines to the Pacific and Southeast Asia. 

2. The Entire State of South Australia Powered by Solar Energy for 1 Hour in World First 

Between 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. on Oct. 11, the entire state of South Australia had its energy requirement met by solar power — a world first for a jurisdiction of its size. The state obtained the historic milestone primarily thanks to solar systems on the roofs of homes.

3. Australia Vows to Plant 25 Million Trees by 2025 to Compensate for Bushfire Destruction 

Australia's largest-ever restoration project will see an impressive 25 million trees planted over the next half decade. The initiative by AstraZeneca, EverGreening Alliance and Greening Australia is meant to aid bushfire recovery following the Black Summer fires that saw more than 12 billion hectares of land burned. 

The trees will also help lift 4.25 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere over the next 25 years.

4. 40,000 New Australians Sign Up to Be Global Citizens 

The incredible success of Global Citizen’s One World: Together at Home and Global Goal: Unite for Our Future virtual events, which broadcast across Channel 9 and Channel 10, helped bring Global Citizen’s message to tens of thousands of Australians. The star power of artists like Lady Gaga and the influence of incredible global leaders inspired people from across the country to sign up and take action to work for a better world. 

5. Australia Pledges $300 Million to Gavi to Help Fund Vaccines and Save Lives  

In early June, Australia pledged $300 million AUD in international aid to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, an organisation that aims to ensure the world's most vulnerable people have access to life-saving vaccines against deadly, preventable diseases. The incredible announcement was made during Gavi's virtual pledging conference, and formed part of $8.8 billion total committed by 32 nations.

6. Australia Joins COVAX Facility to Ensure COVID-19 Vaccine Access for Vulnerable Nations 

The COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility, or COVAX, pools funds and supplies from developed and developing nations to accelerate vaccine research and delivery. By joining, Australia is committed to ensuring COVID-19 vaccines reach every individual in every country, not just those who can afford it. 

7. Queensland Becomes First Australian State to Ban LGBTQ+ Conversion Therapy 

Related Stories Aug. 19, 2020 Queensland Becomes First Australian State to Ban LGBTQ+ Conversion Therapy

LGBTQ+ conversion therapy, a cruel practice that attempts to "cure' homosexuality, has officially been criminalised in Queensland. The updated Health Legislation Amendment Bill states that any health service provider seen to be performing conversion therapy on a child or vulnerable individual will be charged with 18 months in jail. 

8. Victoria Announces That All Public Schools Will Offer Free Pads and Tampons in an Australian First 

Every student in Victoria who menstruates will now have access to free pads and tampons. The Victorian government initiative is expected to boost inclusivity, save families money, ensure no school child suffers from period poverty and lessen the discomfort around periods. 

9. Professor Brendan Crabb AC Wins Global Citizen Prize: Australia’s Hero Award

The Global Citizen Prize: Country Hero Award honours individuals who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to achieving the UN’s Global Goals and championing the world’s most vulnerable individuals. The award provided recipients with $10,000 to support their projects and was presented to people or organisations in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Nigeria, South Africa and Mexico.

Professor Brendan Crabb AC, the director and CEO of medical research facility the Burnet Institute and the Chair of Pacific Friends of Global Health, has been awarded this year's inaugural Australia’s Hero Award. Crabb was selected thanks to his tireless effort to ensure the world's poor have access to appropriate health care and his dedication to reducing rates of disease. 

10. Australian Artists Join Together At Home Instagram Live Sessions 

Related Stories March 27, 2020 Australia’s Own Guy Sebastian, Vance Joy and G Flip Join ‘Together At Home’ With Virtual Concerts

Australian icons Guy Sebastian, Amy Shark, Tash Sultana, Harrison Storm, Vance Joy and G Flip all joined Global Citizen this year to encourage people around the world to practise social distancing and help stop the spread of COVID-19. The musicians took part in the “Together At Home” virtual concert series — a campaign launched by Global Citizen, in partnership with the World Health Organisation.

In total, the One World: Together At Home campaign raised $127.9 million, with $55.1 million going to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and $72.8 million to local and regional responders.