The annual Heywire Regional Youth Summit brought some of our nation’s most inspiring voices to Parliament House during February. Travelling from as far as Borroloola in NT and Broome in WA, these were the voices of our future leaders from regional, rural and remote Australia.
This year’s cohort of Heywire winners tackled a range of topics like the impact of drought on Sea Lake in Victoria; what it was like campaigning for marriage equality in Ulverstone in Tasmania; and starting a fish farm in a desert, the remote town of Buttah Windee in WA.
Throughout the week-long Summit, Heywire winners were mentored through skills-building workshops and were given the unique opportunity to share their ideas with members of Parliament and Senators. They stole the media spotlight and had their stories professionally recorded and broadcasted on the ABC, stories which were both moving and inspiring.
From the cohort, 15 Heywire Trailblazers, representing some of the brightest emerging leaders in regional Australia, spent time developing their ideas and projects and presenting them to leading community figures.
Life on a Station began as a social media project during Emma’s gap-year. Through photography and the universal social media platform Instagram, she wanted to showcase life on remote cattle stations. The project has since grown to exhibitions in local airports. Her beautiful and raw imagery works to increase agricultural tourism and educate our urban cousins on what life is really like in agriculture and what is involved in the paddock to plate journey.
“By carrying my camera with me I am able to create some realisation of the work that goes on behind the scenes of that steak you buy at the butchers. Some people might not know where their meat comes from, and I’m passionate about raising awareness of the work that jackaroos and jillaroos do behind the scenes,” said Ms Moss.
The 2018 AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award SA Winner, Alex Thomas, was selected to mentor Emma Moss. Alex brought her own unique experience of using the borderless power of social media to make a big impact in agriculture. Through her #plantaseedforsafety campaign, Alex’s drive to increase farm and industry safety extends beyond speaking engagements and resource development, and onto our screens.
“The great thing about having had the opportunity to mentor Emma via the Heywire Trailblazer program was the intangible and yet invaluable exchange of energy and ideas between two people, despite being almost 2,000 kms apart.
“Programs such as Heywire create a safe container to ensure the views and opinions of young people are placed front and center in everyday life. By recognising the usual voice and by increasing the value of diversity of thought, the potential impact of such programs is immeasurable, invaluable and imperative – not only for each individual – but for the future of rural communities,” said Ms Thomas.
AgriFutures Australia, Manager, Communications & Capacity Building, Pip Grant said the organisation continues to support the Summit because the winners always come from such diverse and varied backgrounds and their ideas leave everyone with something to think about.
“The winners give us a unique lens on how we need to improve our rural communities. Tackling issues of diversity and access in rural communities, finding an optimistic outlook for family farming, sharing challenges that young people face globally, to exploring the impact of isolation; the diversity in backgrounds coming together at the Summit, bringing with them many different perspectives, made for some exciting pitches in the Heywire Youth Ideas Launch,” said Ms Grant.
For more information about the ABC Heywire competition, visit https://www.abc.net.au/heywire/
Pip Grant, AgriFutures Australia, Manager, Communication & Capacity Building
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