Applications open for inspiring Rural Women’s Award


Emerging female leaders who want to create impact, innovate and make a difference to rural and regional Australia are being encouraged to apply for the new-look AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award.

Applications are now open for the 2018 AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award – Australia’s leading Award in acknowledging and supporting the essential role women play in rural and regional businesses, industries and communities.

The award, formerly the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) Rural Women’s Award, has been renamed and adapted to align with AgriFutures Australia’s new strategic direction on the changing face of Agriculture, where technology is transforming the sector and successful and impactful leaders are skilled, professional, dynamic, entrepreneurial, commercially savvy and connected.

John Harvey, AgriFutures Australia Managing Director, is encouraging anyone who wants to create impact, innovate and make a difference or contribute to enhancing the prosperity of rural and regional Australia to apply, and says the Award is open to all women – irrespective of their location.

“Over the past two decades, the Rural Women’s Award has provided more than 200 women with significant professional development opportunities and importantly the opportunity to achieve positive change for rural and regional Australia. Award winners have delivered diverse and innovative projects relating to rural and regional industries, and the communities and businesses that rely on, and support them,” Mr Harvey says.

“As demonstrated by Tanya Dupagne, the National Winner of the 2017 AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award, and all of the state and territory winners, the Award provides a life-changing opportunity for women to use and develop their skills to make a difference and benefit their industries and communities.”

To align with AgriFutures Australia’s new strategic direction and to ensure the Rural Women’s Award continues to identify, celebrate and empower women, a number of changes have been made to the Award criteria for 2018.

“It is an exciting time ahead and the changes to the Rural Women’s Award is just one of many AgriFutures Australia initiatives ensuring rural and regional industries prosper now and into the future,” says Mr Harvey.

“One of the important changes to the 2018 AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award is that projects or initiatives can be commercially focused, providing they still align with AgriFutures™ strategic priorities of innovation, creativity, community sustainability, education, productivity, agribusiness, regional development and technology.”

“Location is also no barrier – applicants can live in rural and regional Australia, or in the city –their applications will be measured on the impact and benefits to rural and regional Australia.”


Another important change to the Award criteria is applicants are not required to have a specific project to be considered eligible, applications can be submitted based on an idea, an identified problem or opportunity.

Each state and territory winner receives a $10,000 bursary provided by Platinum sponsor Westpac, to bring their idea or project to life, access to professional development opportunities and national Alumni networks. The 2018 AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award National Winner and Runner Up, selected from the state and territory winners, and announced at a Gala event at Parliament House in Canberra in September 2018, will receive a further $10,000 and $5,000 respectively.

Stephen Hannan, General Manager for Westpac Agribusiness, said Westpac was again proud to be the 2018 AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award Platinum sponsor.

“The Award provides a foundation to inspire and support Australian women to use their talents and abilities to benefit their industries and communities. It makes it easier for dynamic women to lead in their communities, and recognises the pivotal role they play in bringing about change, driving innovation and building resilient rural and regional communities.”

Mr Hannan encouraged more women to step forward and take hold of the opportunity in 2018.

“The Award is more than the Westpac bursary, it offers access to influential industry advocates. It provides an important platform to talk about the issues that matter most in our community and beyond.”

The AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award is proudly supported by Platinum sponsor Westpac; media partners, RM Williams OUTBACK Magazine, ABC Radio and Fairfax Agricultural Media; and supporting state and territory agencies outlined below:

  • NSW Department of Primary Industries
  • NT Department of Primary Industry and Resources
  • Primary Industries and Regions SA
  • WA Department of Regional Development
  • Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment TAS
  • Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources VIC

Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry QLD

Applications for the AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award are open now and close on Sunday, 29 October 2017 at 9pm AEDT.

Apply now at

Media contact:

Nicola Bell


0429 234 759