Michael Hawkins.

National Association of Cinema Operators (NACO) executive director Michael Hawkins, former Seven Network CEO Maureen Kerridge, and actress Val Lehman are among the screen industry professionals to be recognised as part of the Australia Day honours.

Hawkins, who is also the chairman of the Asia Pacific Screen Awards advisory board and the director of Creative Content Australia, was named a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to the film and television industry, and to screen content.

In addition to his role with NACO, Hawkins is also the executive director of the Australian International Movie Convention (AIMC), and sits on the Screen Australia board.

He was also executive chairman of Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival from 2014 to 2017, and of CEO Australian Multiplex Cinemas from 1994 to 2010.

Hawkins told IF being able to advocate for sectors of the industry had been an important part of his career.

“Right now, my thoughts are with the people I represent more than myself,” he said.

“From the cinema owners who are working very hard just to stay open to the courageous filmmakers across the Asia Pacific, who are out there taking risks and trying to get projects made.

“They are the real champions of what they do.”

Also honoured with an AM was Kerridge, who passed away in December following a long battle with cancer.

The TV and advertising industry figure, who became the first woman to head a television network when she became Seven Network CEO in 2000, was recognised posthumously for significant service to the television industry, to the arts, and to charitable organisations.

During her time at Seven, Kerridge also held roles of executive director, board member, sales and corporate marketing director, and group sales manager.

Of the other screen industry members to make the AM list, Lehman was included for significant service to the performing arts, and to wildlife conservation.

The veteran actress has appeared on Australian screens for more than half a century through shows as diverse as Prisoner, Something in the Air, Neighbours and The End, and films Charlie and Boots and Kitty and the Bagman.

Outside of acting, Lehman has contributed to wildlife conservation through ambassador roles with Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors and Endangered Species Supporters Australia. She is also a supporter and advocate for Positive Women Victoria.

In the Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) division, journalist Kerry O’Brien was to be honoured for his distinguished service to the broadcast media, and to journalism, but declined his award in support of Dr Clara Tuck Meng Soo, who handed back her Order of Australia in protest of Margaret Court receiving the honour.

Specialising in national politics for the ABC, the experienced journalist is known for his work on the 7.30 Report, Lateline, Four Corners, and This Day Tonight, as well as being the federal and state election night anchor for nearly three decades between 1987 and 2013.

Overall, the Australia Day Honours list recognised 845 Australians.

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