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Young Citizen of the Year – Christian Lane-Krebs

Christian Lane-Krebs
Christian Lane-Krebs has been recognised for his achievements in community service, academics and sport at the 2024 Bundaberg Region Australia Day Awards. Photo: N Harth.

Local and regional disability and health advocate Christian Lane-Krebs has been awarded Young Citizen of the Year in the 2024 Bundaberg Region Australia Day Awards.

Christian was awarded for his remarkable achievements in community service, academics and sport.

Despite facing health challenges and hospitalisations since birth, Christian pursued athletic excellence, particularly in rowing where he secured podium finishes in the Australian Rowing Championships and holds six world records, putting Bundaberg on the national and global map.

Christian is also actively engaged in community service, having participated in Anzac Day commemorations, worked to aid the homeless, as a strong advocate for disability inclusion and has championed First Nations people's health.

Following his graduation from Kepnock State High School in 2022, where he was school captain, Christian has remained committed to his dream of becoming a doctor, earning admission to the CQUniversity/UQ Rural Medical school program.

Christian said the main driving factor behind his disability advocacy was the inequity he had experienced between metropolitan and rural health care.

“I have cerebral palsy and a blood condition called haemophilia A, and that arose from complications at birth,” Christian said.

“The additional burden that's placed on people living with disabilities, especially within rural or regional areas, is really, really prevalent, but it's not spoken about enough.

“It's all those little impacts, that ultimately not only affect the physical and mental wellbeing, but it also affects overall outcomes, and it decreases the quality of life for people living with disabilities.

“So, once I got to an age where I started realising that I had the ability to create change or at least present the situation to people who would listen, I would say that's when I started to realise my power and my privilege to be in a position where I can advocate for those who are less fortunate.”

Christian's impact extended beyond local boundaries, as evidenced by his role as one of the youngest presenters at the 2023 Disability Conference.

His presentation was so well-received that it was developed into an accredited micro-course by the university.

On being awarded Bundaberg Region's Young Citizen of the Year, Christian said he was thrilled.

Christian Lane-Krebs Australia Day Award
Christian was named Young Citizen of the Year at a special ceremony on 25 January 2024. Photo: M Everett.

“I'm honestly really stoked,” he said.

“I never in my wildest dreams would think that I would be in a position to be able to accept this award and that the efforts in the community are really being recognised, and it shows that there's such a drive for change within the Bundaberg Region.

“I want to help raise awareness for the causes that do matter and the things that do matter, even though sometimes it can feel like it's just being overlooked or not necessarily being treated correctly.

“That's why I'm so fortunate to be in a position like today, being awarded this amazing award and having such an honour to my name.

“I'm able to push further the activities and the resources that are available to people within the region to hopefully influence or create change or even just make the waves a little bit bigger.”

Christian said he encouraged anyone who wanted to try and make a positive influence to give it a go.

“Have a crack; be that person,” he said.

“Surround yourself with people and colleagues and co-workers that are able to build you up because, you know, you can only do so much by yourself.

“And it's really not just about how much you can do as a singular person, but how much you can lean against others in your community.

“And fortunately, Bundaberg is a great place to do that because it's so tightly knit.

“It's so much easier than people would expect because everyone wants to help, everyone wants to do something good.”

Christian's ongoing service to the community and his determination to make a positive impact are an inspiration in the Bundaberg Region and beyond.