A WHITSUNDAY woman who continues to lead North Queensland's strata insurance fight has been rewarded for her efforts with a nomination for Australian of the Year.
Margaret Shaw has been a tireless campaigner in the ongoing insurance battle since strata premiums rose dramatically after Cyclone Yasi in 2011.
A victim of the price hike herself, it was hearing the plight of others, from struggling families to pensioners, that spurred her on.
Over the past four years she has travelled up and down Australia's east coast meeting insurance representatives and politicians on both state and federal levels.
Dawson MP George Christensen said her efforts came to his attention and that of Leichardt MP Warren Entsch.
"And, as a consequence, we got a parliamentary inquiry into North Queensland insurance as well as a review of the market by the government actuary," he said.
"[Margaret's] lobbying efforts have also been instrumental in seeing the Federal Liberal National government release a policy discussion paper last year... [and] I know that whatever measures are adopted out of that discussion paper process will have Margaret's fingerprints all over it."
It was late last month that Ms Shaw received a letter from Chairman of the National Australia Day Council, Ben Roberts-Smith, to say she had been nominated for the 2015 Australian of the Year awards.
"More than 2000 nominations were received this year and while you were not selected as a finalist, you can be very pleased and proud that someone felt you deserved special recognition and took the time to nominate and tell us about you," the letter said.
Shortly after this, Ms Shaw received a letter from Mackay resident Nicole McNamara, a woman she had never met, who said the nomination should not be a surprise.
"I have seen you put immense amounts of time and effort, energy and fights into this [insurance battle]. A single unknown average Joe woman against insurance giants. David against Goliath... and that is the reason for the nomination and the very core that people need and admire - a strong sense of justice and someone to stand up for that and fight no matter the cost and how long it takes," the letter said.
The Queensland recipient of this year's awards was child protection activist Hetty Johnston, with Terri Irwin, Adam Scott and Jonathan Thurston among the finalists.
Ms Shaw was gracious about not becoming a finalist herself, saying "there are so many people out there doing much more than me and making a much bigger difference to the world as a whole".
"Still, it is nice to be included in such company," she said.
For more information about the awards visit http://www.australianoftheyear.org.au.