​Media Release

Rural women inspiring country kids take out top awards​

13 September 2017

  • Barnaby Joyce tonight presented two outstanding rural women with awards as part of the AgriFutures (formerly RIRDC) Rural Women's Awards.
  • The 2017 Australian Rural Women's Award winner was Tanya Dupagne, recognised for her work in supporting the wellbeing of young rural Australians through her role as director of Camp Kulin in WA's wheatbelt region.
  • The 2017 national runner-up was Simone Kain, recognised for her work in educating children about farming and encouraging them to consider a career in agricultural industries.

The achievements of rural women from across the country have been celebrated in Parliament House tonight as part of the AgriFutures Rural Women's Awards, with women who inspire the ambition of country kids taking out the top awards.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, presented the Australian Rural Women's Award to Tanya Dupagne from Western Australia's wheatbelt, and the runner-up award to Simone Kain from Penola, South Australia.

"The idea that women are anything but drivers of the economic success story that is Australian agriculture is something of a novelty to me because I see it every day. There are more than 70,000 women working in agriculture alone, unfortunately they have not always had the recognition they deserve," Minister Joyce said.

"This year's national award winner, Tanya Dupagne, is supporting the health and wellbeing of thousands of young people in our rural and regional communities through the Camp Kulin program she founded four years ago.

"Camp Kulin is a children's recreational camp three and a half hours from Perth and is one of the fastest growing programs in the country, taking around 2000 students annually for school holiday camps, community group camps and more.

"The program aims to revitalise dwindling regional communities by holding regular camps and address problems faced by at risk youth through its scholarship program. Tanya is doing an amazing job and her local goodwill is boosting the economy and the health of the region."

Minister Joyce said the National runner-up Simone Kain's work is also benefiting young Australians - her character 'George the Farmer' teaching kids about agriculture and where their food comes from in an interactive story app.

"Simone will be using her award bursary to develop new educational resources for preschool and primary school students, featuring George's wife, talented agronomist 'Dr. Ruby', to encourage more children to consider a career in agriculture," Minister Joyce said.

"Congratulations to Tanya and Simone—and to all the state and territory award winners. I look forward to seeing all these talented women continue to achieve great things and encourage any woman who wants to create an impact across rural industries and regional and rural communities to apply for this award."

Each state and territory winner has already received a $10,000 bursary to further their innovative ideas and projects, as well as access to professional development opportunities and alumni networks. As the National Winner, Tanya receives an additional $10,000 and as Runner Up, Simone will receive an additional $5,000.

Applications for the 2018 AgriFutures Rural Women's Award open on the 14 September 2017. For more information, visit agrifutures.com.au

Fast facts

  • There are around 70,000 women working in agriculture in Australia (ABARES 2011 figure)
  • Previous winners of RIRDC/AgriFutures Rural Women of the Year Awards include Georgie Somerset—now a Director at the ABC and the Royal Flying Doctor Service; Danica Leys—now CEO of the Country Women's Association; and Roma Britnell—now the Victorian Liberal Member for the South-West Coast.
  • Other state and territory winners and national finalists in this year's AgriFutures Rural Women's Awards were Sandra Ireson of Booligal, NSW; Kirsten Abernethy of Portarlington, Victoria; Jacqui Wilson-Smith of Eerwah Vale, Queensland; Rebecca Lynd of Plenty, Tasmania; and Kate Peake of Humpty Doo, NT.