The Rural Women's Award is an initiative of AgriFutures Australia, and supported in Western Australia by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, CBH and The Rural, Regional, Remote Women's Network of WA.
The Award is aimed at emerging female leaders who want to create impact, innovate and make a difference to rural and regional Australia.
It acknowledges and supports the essential role women play in rural industries, businesses and communities, and provides a platform to inspire and support Australian women to use and develop their skills to benefit their industries and communities.
CBH has been supporting the award for more than 10 years as part of our focus on building capacity to help create resilient and connected communities which are strong for the future.
Each state and territory winner of the Rural Women's Award receives a $10,000 bursary to progress their innovative idea or project, access to professional development opportunities and alumni networks.
2022 Winner – Louise O'Neill
Louise is a Denmark-based farmer and online business operator. Her work-life balance mindset and speciality in health made her award-winning business venture come alive.
Louise realised that rural living means missing much needed health and well-being services. After identifying this crucial gap, she created an online community where the rural population can reach out, connect and improve their mental and physical well-being. Said business, Farm Life Fitness delivers one-on-one coaching and live online group fitness workouts as well as offering corporate health programs and support.
- Debbie Dowden
- Dr Bronwyn Blake
2020 Winner – Cara Peek
Cara is a Broome-based lawyer, entrepreneur and social innovator who is passionate about driving opportunities for rural and remote people to empower the Aboriginal community.
Her project aims to progress the Saltwater Academy, which celebrates the heritage of the Kimberley Aboriginal pastoral industry and provides related emotional, economic and cultural initiatives, including training and employment opportunities.
- Lucy Anderton
- Jo Ashworth
- Lauren Bell
- Kendall Whyte
2019 Winner – Belinda Lay
The Esperance-based grain and sheep farmer will use her bursary to help progress her project to monitor sheep through specially designed collars - similar to a 'fitbit for sheep'. It tracks data such as heart rate, temperature and GPS location. When an animal shows unusual statistics, particularly during lambing, Belinda will be notified via mobile phone and can attend to its needs, and also use the data to help find solutions and efficiencies for the business. Belinda aims to change the way technology and livestock, which has been focused on manual handling, are viewed.
- Tanya Kitto
- Leah Boucher
- Juliet Grist
2018 Winner – Darrylin Gordon
Darrylin is a Jaru cattlewoman from Halls Creek who is passionate about empowering local Aboriginal people and effecting positive change for the Kimberley region. She is working to develop a program aimed at delivering a work orientation and mentoring program at Lamboo Station, in which participants can connect to country, learn invaluable life skills and gain financial independence. Ms Gordon hopes her program can provide employment opportunities to the young people of the Kimberley.
- Sophie Dwyer
- Paula Pownall
- Carol Redford
2017 Winner – Tanya Dupagne
Tanya developed a subsidised women's camp program to support women from regional WA. The program focuses on developing essential life skills such as leadership, trust, self-confidence and ambition. The camp is an intense three-day experience where women will be able to experience the Camp Kulin activities.
Support groups would be created via social media to enable participants to keep in touch and continue to build their skills. The leadership component of the program would equip women to take on leadership roles, bringing positive change to their own communities.