​Media Release

Young rural Australians Heywired for success

12 February 2015

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, today congratulated the winners of ABC Heywire 2014 as part of their annual Regional Youth Summit in Canberra.

Minister Joyce said it was fantastic to see young Australians from across the nation getting involved and engaged in the political process as a way of addressing the issues affecting them and their communities.

“I always encourage our young people – especially from rural and regional Australia – to try and be part of the conversation and to be heard as much as possible. Coming to Canberra for summits such as these means that you do get your voices heard.”

The competition invites people aged 16-22 to tell their stories of life in regional or rural Australia, and the 40 winners represent communities right across Australia from Gippsland to Esperance, Broken Hill to the Tiwi Islands.

“Rural and regional Australians make such an important contribution to our nation. It’s no surprise to me that these 40 incredible young people are from the country—so many great Australians throughout our history have hailed from regional Australia,” Minster Joyce said.

“The stories from this year’s winners raise issues that I grapple with every day and articulate some tough policy issues we tackle in government including; agriculture’s place in rural Australia, the hardship of drought, youth unemployment, isolation and many more.

“The 37 young people who could join us this week are contributing to a national discussion—and that is really important.”

Minister Joyce also stressed the breadth of opportunities available for young Australians in rural and regional industries, including agriculture.

“In 2013–14 the agriculture, fisheries, forestry and related industries employed about 313,000 people and Australian agriculture had a gross value of production of $53 billion,” Minster Joyce said.

“It is a sector brimming with opportunity—for every graduate of agriculture and related studies, it’s estimated there are up to six jobs waiting, and university enrolments are up to help fill this demand.

“Initiatives like Heywire give young country people a voice, so they can shine a light on issues affecting regional Australia—and also to highlight what’s great about life outside the major cities.

“It’s a unique opportunity for us politicians to take the pulse of young people from the country to help inform our decision-making.” 

For more information on ABC Heywire and the Regional Youth Summit visit www.abc.net.au/heywire​