Ag Industry, Awards, Farming

2024 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award finalists named

Tuna, threads, wool, workers and healthcare are the focuses of nominees for the 2024 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award

AgriFutures Australia has named seven women from each state and territory as national finalists for the 2024 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award.

The selection process saw more than 100 women apply, with the seven national finalists recognised for their contribution to Australia’s rural, regional and remote 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.

The award finalists are:

Rebecca Keeley – New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory

Keeley is the founder of Yarn, a digital platform bridging geographic barriers and waitlists in rural healthcare, offering evidence-based programs for children’s communications.

Keeley aims to use her Westpac grant to spread Yarn’s services across remote Australia, empowering both clinicians and families.

Tanya Egerton – Northern Territory

Egerton’s Remote Opshop Project aids First Nations communities in remote northern Australia by establishing community owned opshops.

They offer affordable goods, business training and funding for cultural projects. Egerton plants to use the grant to form a First Nations Leadership Council, crafting decision-making frameworks that will prioritise community needs.

Kate Lamason – Queensland

After learning that 99 per cent of tuna consumption in Australia comes from imported sources, Lamason co-founded Australia’s first 100 per cent owned and made preserved tuna – Little Tuna.

Based in Cairns, she plans to use the grant to further develop her award-winning product, advocate for the Australian tuna industry and educate consumers on sustainable fishing.

Nikki Atkinson – South Australia

Atkinson is the founder of Horrocks Vale Collections, creating Merino wool wedding dresses and formal attire. With her grant, Atkinson plans to elevate Merino wool’s profile in the fashion and wedding industries.

Belle Binder – Tasmania

Binder’s Farm Work Loop project provides Tasmanian producers with consistent, productive and high-quality farm workers.

With support from her grant, Binder aims to expand the Farm Work Loop all over Australia.

Grace Larson – Victoria

Larson and her sister launched the Sisterhood Project, which tackles rural children’s health disparities.

It provides life-saving skills to rural Australian parents, offering free first aid, CPR and illness prevention education.

Larson plans to use her grant to save more rural lives through education.

Mandy Walker – Western Australia

Walker is the co-manager of Walkers Diesel Services, specialising in heavy-duty diesel repairs and engineering services.

Her focus is on helping others with her collaborative business model – mitigating agricultural seasonality risks by integrating into the defence industry supply chain.

With her grant, Walker plans to teach more Wheatbelt enterprises how to secure long-term economic diversity and resilience.

AgriFutures Australia managing director John Harvey says the award provides forward-thinking rural, regional and remote leaders with the support and leadership skills to pursue projects that make a difference.

“These awards are not just a game changer for the recipients, they allow them to continue driving change so that entire communities and industries reap those rewards for generations to come,” he says.

The national winner and runner up will be announced on August 20 at Parliament House in Canberra, with the winner receiving an additional $20,000 and the runner up receiving an extra $15,000.

Tickets for the 2024 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award Gala Dinner and National Announcement are on sale now.

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