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AgriFutures Rural Women's Award

Develop your existing project, business or program to make a greater impact in your community.
2023 Louise O'Niel Rural Women's Award

What you need to know

Time Committment: Medium – 5 days (this caters for interviews, media training and awards nights)
When: Details coming soon
Location: Details coming soon
Cost: Fully funded, recipient will receive a $15,000 business development bursary

Am I eligible to apply?

Designed for motivated women who want to develop their existing project, business or program for the benefit of rural communities and industries. 

Yes, if you are over 18 years old, identify as a female, are an Australian citizen or permanent resident and have an existing rural project, business or program which is live and up and running. You can find out more here.

Benefits to you

  • Create more impact: Develop your existing project, business or program to make a greater impact in your community.

  • Broaden your networks: Finalists grain access to a network of like-minded individuals and alumni, fostering collaboration, knowledge exchange and ongoing support. 

  • Recognition and visibility: The awards provide recognition for the exceptional contributions of rural women in agriculture and related fields, increasing the visibility of your initiative both locally and nationally. 

Application dates

Applications for the 2025 award will open mid 2024.

  • 2024 Winner – Mandy Walker

    Mandy co-owns Walkers Diesel Services in Wongan Hills, specialising in heavy-duty diesel repairs an maintenance across agriculture, transport, and mining sectors.

    A passionate advocate for family business in regional areas, Mandy has developed a game-changing business model for other Wheatbelt engineering enterprises. The model will assist businesses to collaboratively integrate into the defence industry's existing supply chain and help future-proof them against the seasonal fluctuations of agriculture.

    2024 finalists:

    • Jay Page
    • Nicola Kelliher 
  • 2023 Winner – Michelle Moriarty

    Michelle is a South-West businesswoman who unexpectedly became a widow at 38. Michelle’s lived experience and 18 years as a social worker led her to supporting widowed people across regional Western Australia.

    Michelle hopes to reduce social isolation for widowed people by providing support groups that offer a safe and non-judgemental space where widows can have honest discussions about the harsh realities of widowhood. Her project will develop the operational structure and expand both the current WA Young Widowed Support Group and the Grief Connect Over 55s Widowed Support Group

    2023 finalists:

    • Joy Sherlock
    • Kate Mitchell
  • 2022 Winner – Louise O'Neill

    Louise is a Denmark-based farmer and online business operator. Her work-life balance mindset and specialty 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.

    2022 finalists:

    • Debbie Dowden
    • Dr Bronwyn Blake


  • 2022 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.

    2020 finalists:

    • 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.

    2019 finalists:

    • 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.

    2018 finalists:

    • 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.

  • Interested?

    Ready to grow your business, project or program? Learn more about the AgriFutures Rural Women's Award and how to apply.

    Find out more