Queensland city-builder Maha Sinnathamby will use an international award as an opportunity to rebuild the image of Australia’s education sector overseas.

Springfield City Group Chairman, Mr Sinnathamby, was recently recognised in Kuala Lumpur by the Global Organisation for People of Indian Origin for his entrepreneurial skills and services to education in Australia.

Mr Sinnathamby, who was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Southern Queensland for his services to education, said he felt the perceptions which had emerged in recent years did not truly reflect life in Australia for people of Indian origin.

“I am humbled by the award and will be very happy if it means we can help the Australian economy by promoting Australia’s education sector,” Mr Sinnathamby said.

“My experience has been that Australia is a nation of opportunity where if work hard and persist, you will achieve all of your education and career goals and that is the message I want to send to potential students.

“The education sector suffered some damage to its reputation in recent years but this is a chance to let overseas students know that Australians are wonderful people with a strong sense of community and a belief in giving people a fair go.”

The GOPIO Community Service Awards, in Kuala Lumpur on January 30th, are awarded to people of Indian origin for outstanding community service, public service and/or significant charitable or philanthropic contributions of benefit to their community.

Springfield was named the world’s best master-planned development in Indonesia last year by the International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI).

Mr Sinnathamby’s commitment to education has driven the emergence of an education precinct within Australia’s largets master-planned development called Education City, which boasts a university, a technical college and eight schools.

“Our vision was to build an integrated learning community with a range of education, training and learning providers supported by the facilities that make studying easy and convenient – things like childcare, parklands and student accommodation,” Mr Sinnathamby said.

“Education is literally booming in Springfield and I can’t tell you how proud that makes me.”

Mr Sinnathamby, who runs a scholarship program to provide education opportunities to disadvantaged students, credited education with playing a transformative role in his career and personal life.

“I was fortunate enough to have come to Australia as a young man and was given access to the gift of education – I want more people to have that experience,” Mr Sinnathamby said.