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WA Rural Women’s Award finalists for 2020 unveiled

Released on

Released on:
Monday, 9. March 2020 - 9:45

Western Australian finalists have been announced from a competitive field for the prestigious 2020 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award.

The Award celebrates the integral role regional women play in their communities across Australia.

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Director General Ralph Addis congratulated the five WA finalists who have demonstrated how they inspire and support their regional industries and local communities.

“These finalists have very diverse expertise and interests, but what they have in common is they are innovators, collaborators and leaders in their fields and excellent ambassadors for Western Australia’s regional communities,” Mr Addis said.

The finalists are:

- Lucy Anderton, Albany - farms in partnership with her husband in a broad acre mixed farming enterprise. As an agriculture economist she recognised the need for an easy-to-use whole-of-farm business analysis tool to assist with building resilience in the industry.  Working with agricultural stakeholders, Lucy designed FARMSMART®. Using their own data farmers can explore alternative scenarios, enterprise mix and seasonal conditions. Lucy’s project will deliver business development workshops using FARMSMART® with a focus on understanding risk and financial outcomes in a complex environment.

- Jo Ashworth, Kalannie - co-manager at Kalannie Community Resource Centre who works passionately on community building, farms in the Goodlands area with her family and trained as a mechanical engineer. She has led the Growing Kalannie Project which offers and promotes inclusive, wide scope opportunities to community members to complete traineeships and apprenticeships. This recognised training helps youth and potential new community members to consider remaining in or returning to Kalannie. Jo’s project is to formulate a successful program that has wider application across regional WA. 

- Lauren Bell, Broome - founded a start-up that seeks to utilise insect farming as a way of sustainably managing organic waste, primarily food waste. Insect farming is an innovative emerging industry and Lauren is passionate about seeing regional areas actively partake in and develop the industry. Her aspiration is to develop a model of insect farming for organic waste management that is suitable for regional and remote towns across the North West. She believes this has the capacity to foster economic growth in those regions through job creation and support local agriculture through the provision of feed and fertiliser products.

- Cara Peek, Broome - a Yawuru/Bunuba woman, lawyer, entrepreneur and social innovator committed to fostering access and opportunity for rural and remote communities. Cara worked in government, non-profit and corporate sectors before co-founding The Cultural Intelligence Project and founding not-for-profit Saltwater Country, with a focus on empowering First Nations people to improve their social, emotional and economic well-being. Cara’s project is to create Saltwater Academy, a rite of passage through a collective of targeted place based people centred programs celebrating the Kimberley Aboriginal pastoral industry heritage.

- Kendall Whyte, Perth - a 27-year-old woman who grew up in Mukinbudin. After losing her brother to suicide in November 2018, Kendall helped create the Blue Tree Project.  Starting as a grass-roots campaign, the project has flourished into a not-for-profit making an impact across Australia, with a mission of helping spark difficult conversations and encourage people to speak up when battling mental health concerns. Kendall’s project will further increase awareness through a regional tour of WA where community painting days will be held, aimed at bringing people together to talk about mental health struggles and provide support.

The 2020 WA AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award winner will receive a $10,000 business development award to help develop their project and will compete in the national AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award.

She will follow in the footsteps of the 2019 WA Award winner, Esperance sheep and grain farmer Belinda Lay, who was recognised for her innovative project using specially designed collars to monitor sheep health.

The 2020 WA AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award is supported by the Department, Westpac, CBH Group and the Rural, Regional and Remote Women’s Network of WA.

The WA Award winner will be announced at a ceremony in Perth on Wednesday 8 April.

Rural Women's Award 2020 WA finalist
Lucy Anderton
Rural Women's Award 2020 WA finalist
Jo Ashworth
Rural Women's Award 2020 WA finalist
Lauren Bell
Rural Women's Award 2020 WA finalist
Cara Peek
Rural Women's Award 2020 WA finalist
Kendall Whyte

Media contacts:

Jodie Thomson, media liaison +61 (0)8 9368 3937