Outstanding WA Rural Entrepreneur Wins Award 24 May 2011

Caroline Robinson – both a rural development consultant specialising in community development, strategic engagement and project management, and a wheat and sheep producer from Woolocutty in Western Australian – is the winner of the 2011 Australian RIRDC Rural Women’s Award.

Barbara Grey, a rural communicator from Mungindi in Queensland, is the Award runner up.

Tonight’s winners were presented with their awards at a gala event in Canberra, by the Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Dr Mike Kelly.

Chairperson of the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, Professor Daniela Stehlik, congratulated Caroline and Barbara on their achievements noting that, “every year we are impressed by the outstanding achievements and contribution rural women make to Australia’s agricultural sector.”

“Caroline Robinson and Barbara Grey are a deserving winner and runner up of this prestigious national award, and typify the resourcefulness, ingenuity, determination and creativity demonstrated by rural women across Australia every day.

“One of Caroline’s many achievements is the role she has played in the development of the Wheatbelt Business Network, established to promote local produce and regional tourism and to provide opportunities for entrepreneurship and networking, training, and education and the advancement of women in business,” Professor Stehlik said.

Caroline’s award ambition is to visit other rural communities and learn from their strategies. She will then coordinate a survey of local government and key stakeholders across the Western Australian wheat belt to identify the gaps within the local economy and also the scope for existing businesses and prospective new businesses to fill the gaps. She then intends to embark on a comprehensive marketing campaign for the entire region.

“Award runner up Barbara Grey, has an impressive record as an irrigated cotton grower and industry leader, and this award recognises her strong commitment to healthy and productive rural industries,” Professor Stehlik said.

Barbara’s award ambition is to implement a pilot education program empowering aspiring rural and regional women leaders with a better understanding of political process and government decision making, giving them a stronger, more effective voice for rural industries and regional communities.

The RIRDC Rural Women’s Award provides a bursary of $10,000 for all seven state and territory winners to help them achieve their vision for their industry and enhance their skills and capacity to contribute to agriculture, natural resource management and rural Australia.

RIRDC acknowledges the support of the Award’s national sponsors: Westpac, ABC Radio and Rural Press Ltd for hosting the evening. The Awards are supported by the state and territory government departments of agriculture and primary industries, and the Australian Departments of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, and Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government.

Further information on Caroline and Barbara, including photos, is on the RIRDC website.

Media enquiries:
Dale Starr – RIRDC Rural Women’s Award Media Manager – 0404 282 178 
Edwina Clowes – RIRDC Rural Women’s Award National Coordinator - 0417 727 544