Legislative Council: Tuesday, February 20, 2024


AgriFutures Rural Women's Award

The Hon. J.E. HANSON (15:21): My question is to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development. Will the minister inform the chamber about the progress of the 2024 South Australian AgriFutures Rural Women's Award?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (15:22): I thank the honourable member for his question and his ongoing interest. The AgriFutures Rural Women's Award was established in 2000 to raise the profile of talented and passionate women involved in primary industries and rural Australia. Over the past 24 years, the award has both highlighted and supported the contributions of more than 250 women who lead the development and implementation of diverse and innovative projects, businesses and programs in regional Australia.

On 9 February, I had the pleasure to announce the three finalists for this year's South Australian award. In no particular order, they are:

Nikki Atkinson from Wilmington in the Flinders Ranges, a designer of luxury, sustainable wedding dresses and occasion wear made from merino wool;

Suzi Evans from Mantung, a mental health first aid trainer and founder of the resilience-building program 'Workbench for the Mind'; and

Susie Williams, an entrepreneur from Willunga and developer of the Fleurieu App, an online platform that provides free local news and celebrates local businesses, events, places and achievements that define the region.

Each is in the running to receive a $15,000 grant from Westpac, which can be used to enhance their endeavours through a number of ways: formal training in leadership and business management, overseas study tours, establishing business plans or pilot programs, developing educational or promotional campaigns, networking at forums and conferences, developing training programs, testing information technology initiatives, developing or testing a new business concept or innovation, and publishing books.

In addition, the South Australian winner will also attend a three-day workshop with other state and territory winners to focus on further professional development and to refine their winning project, business or program initiative. The South Australian winner will also go on to represent the state at a gala dinner in Canberra and be in the running for the national AgriFutures Rural Women's Award.

The AgriFutures Rural Women's Award provides a focal point to celebrate the achievements and contributions of some exceptional female role models, which in many ways represents so many other regional women who perform critical functions at the heart of rural communities. I congratulate all of the finalists and look forward to the announcement of the South Australian winner on 26 March.