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Deng Adut the 2017 NSW Aussie of the Year

AAP logoAAP 7/11/2016 Andi Yu

As refugee and criminal lawyer Deng Adut wakes up as the newly crowned 2017 NSW Australian of the Year, he is pondering how best to articulate the issues closest to his heart.

Mr Adut, 33, received the top honour from Premier Mike Baird in Sydney on Monday night.

He told AAP he'd need a few days to think about his message to Australians, should he be chosen as Australian of the Year in Canberra in January.

Domestic violence prevention, juvenile justice, discrimination and inclusiveness are the issues he feels passionately about, he said.

Mr Adut was forced to fight as a child soldier at the age of six in Sudan before he was smuggled out and made it to Australia.

He taught himself to read English, studied law and now practices in Sydney, with a focus on fighting for members of the Sudanese community.

NSW Senior Australian of the Year went to celebrity doctor John Knight, better known as James Wright, and NSW Young Australian of the Year was awarded to reconciliation champion Arthur Alla, 27.

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