Seven exceptional women have been recognised for their contribution to Australia's rural and emerging industries, businesses and communities by being named national finalists of the 2022 AgriFutures Rural Women's Award.
The AgriFutures Rural Women's Award is the leading award empowering and celebrating the inclusive and courageous leadership of rural women across Australia.
The seven national finalists were announced at events in capital cities across Australia over the last three months, after a highly competitive selection process.
Women from all over Australia were encouraged to apply with a project, business or program having a positive impact on rural and emerging industries, businesses, and communities.
Each of the seven female leaders will receive a $15,000 Westpac grant to help boost, expand or elevate their work, with the National Winner awarded an additional $20,000 and National Runner Up, an additional $15,000.
AgriFutures Australia managing director, John Harvey said he was thrilled with the diverse and innovative projects that were submitted this year.
"It's an exciting year for the AgriFutures Rural Women's Award with our seven national finalists already making such a positive influence in their industries and communities with their initiatives," he said.
"We're excited to provide these women with a platform to not only build on their leadership skills to drive change in rural and regional Australia, but also inspire and support other women whilst doing so."
The 2022 AgriFutures Rural Women's Award National Finalists include Robyn Verrall, McCallum, SA; Kylie Jones, Alice Springs, NT; Stephanie Trethewey, Dunkeld, Tas; Kimberly Furness, Strathfieldsaye, Vic; Louise O'Neill, Denmark, WA; Josie Clarke, Bellimbopinni, ACT/NSW; Rebecca Bradshaw, Jackson, QLD.
Representing SA, Robyn's goal is to reduce food insecurity and increase food affordability in rural, regional and First Nations communities in Australia.
She is a director, founder and business advisor of Kere to Country, an Aboriginal owned-and-operated food supply company bringing high quality and affordable meat into First Nations communities in SA and the NT.
Representing NT, Kylie is working to improve the educational support for families living in remote and isolated areas.
Kylie gave up her stable job as a teacher to found RAISE Education, a not-for-profit organisation which provides individualised learning support by fostering connection and belonging for geographically isolated children, home tutors and parents.
From Tas was Stephanie who created Australia's first personalised online rural mothers' group.
Motherland Village provides greater opportunities for rural mums across the country to find connection and support, regardless of their location.
Representing Vic, Kimberly is connecting regional and rural women through her magazine, OAK Magazine.
The proudly independent print publication is dedicated to female entrepreneurs and women in business across regional and rural Australia.
From WA Louise is committed to improving the mental and physical wellbeing of rural communities.
Her business, Farm Life Fitness, aims to overcome the constraints of long distances in rural areas to deliver one-on-one coaching and live online group fitness workouts.
Representing NSW/ACT, Josie is passionate about inclusivity in the agriculture industry, particularly giving a voice to those with a disability.
She developed Ability Agriculture to raise awareness and provide opportunities for those with disabilities through the provision of an online platform and community on Facebook and Instagram that shares the stories of those with a disability in Agriculture.
From Qld Rebecca established the first private, child health nurse-led service to be delivered online in her state.
Through the Award, she hopes to expand the reach of her service to more rural communities.
The seven inspiring women will represent their state or territory at the 2022 AgriFutures Rural Women's Award Gala Dinner and National Announcement on September 6 at the Great Hall in Parliament House, where the National Winner and National Runner Up will be announced.
The award's platinum sponsor, Westpac Agribusiness national general manager Stephen Hannan congratulated all the state/territory finalists on their win and for being selected to represent their state at the national awards later this year.
"This award is one of the most prestigious acknowledgements of rural women and Westpac applauds all the state/territory finalists on their achievements," he said.
"These leaders are turning projects and businesses into opportunities that benefit rural industries and communities.
"Westpac has been a long-term supporter of Australian rural industries and we're committed to advancing the growth of women in business."
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