The AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award is Australia’s leading award acknowledging and supporting the essential role women play in rural industries, businesses and communities. The Award provides a platform to inspire and support Australian women to use and develop their skills to benefit their industries and communities.


Over the past two decades, the Award has gained a significant profile, and is recognised as a program of influence among parliamentarians, industry, media and Award alumni. Each state and territory winner receives a $10,000 bursary for innovative ideas and projects, access to professional development opportunities and alumni networks.

AgriFutures Australia is committed to the future growth and advancement of the Award as a means of identifying, celebrating and empowering women. The Rural Women’s Award is one of many AgriFutures Australia initiatives ensuring our rural industries prosper now, and into the future.

Who can apply

  • The Award is open to all women involved in rural industries, rural and regional businesses and rural and regional communities
  • Location is no barrier. If you want to create impact, innovate and make a difference and/or contribute to enhancing the prosperity of rural and regional Australia, then we want to hear from you
  • Women must be over the age of 18, and Australian citizens or permanent residents
  • No formal qualifications are required
  • Detailed Award guidelines can be found here. Applications for the 2020 Awards  are now open.
  • If you know someone who should apply for the AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award, please email their name, contact details, and project area to

When we refer to “rural industries” we mean agriculture, forestry and fisheries.


September 2019 Thursday, 12 September: applications open

Thursday, 26 September, 6pm AEST: Q&A Webinar

Webinar: what is the Rural Women’s Award, who should apply, and what should I address in the selection criteria?

Listen to the 2018 webinar here.

Thursday, 31 October 2019 2020 applications close at 11.00pm AEDT
Sunday, 26 January 2020 2020 applications close (NT only) at 11.00pm AEDT
November 2019 – February 2020 Applications reviewed and short-listed. Top 8-10 applicants for each state/territory participate in phone interviews with state/ territory Selection Panels
March 2020 – April 2020 State/territory finalists participate in face-to-face interviews with the state/territory Selection Panel. State/territory winners announced
July 2020 2020 state/territory winners participate in a three-day workshop and National Selection Panel interviews
September 2020 2020 AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award Gala Dinner and National Announcement

2021 applications open

How to apply

Online applications for the 2020 AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award are now open, and close Thursday, 31 October 2019 at 11.00pm AEDT. Northern Territory applications close on Sunday, 26 January 2020 at 11.00pm AEDT.

Applications must address all selection criteria and include contact details for two referees.

Referees will only be contacted if your application makes it to the final round – i.e. face-to-face state/territory interviews.

State Coordinator contact information is provided below. We encourage you to contact your State Coordinator who will guide you through the application process and provide feedback on your project, initiative or idea.

Information webinar

A free information webinar will be held on Thursday 26 September, 2019 at 6.00pm AEST for interested potential applicants, covering the following:

  • What is the Rural Women’s Award and who should apply
  • Information on the 2020 selection criteria and what is important to address.


AgriFutures Australia is thankful for the support of the following Award partners:

Platinum Sponsor
Media Partners
Supporting Agencies


Each state and territory has its own Award Coordinator:

New South Wales & ACT
Allison Priest
Department of Primary Industries
02 6391 3620

Northern Territory
Samantha Nowland
Department of Primary Industry and Resources
08 8924 4265

South Australia
Donna Busuttil
Primary Industries and Regions SA
08 8429 0473

Western Australia
Rob Leicester
Department of Primary Industry & Regional Development
08 6552 2018 | 0419 921 056

Sue Weedon
Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment
03 6777 2233

Gemma Heemskerk
Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions
03 9938 0161

Katie Barrett
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
07 3096 6770

National Award contact
Brooke Croft
AgriFutures Australia
02 6923 6917

2019 Alumni Advisory Panel

When AgriFutures Australia relaunched the RWA Alumni in July 2018, we committed to creating an Advisory Panel which will ensure the Alumni program is powered by Alumni, for the Alumni.

The Alumni Program has been designed so that it can engage everyone (who wishes to participate) in shaping it. Alumni contribution is vital in stimulating the program as a community.

Opportunities to interact through the program have been designed flexibly with this in mind: from the online community to national initiatives, to training, mentoring and informal collaborations.

AgriFutures Australia’s intention is that the RWA Alumni Advisory Panel will advise AgriFutures Australia on priorities for investment within identified initiatives and the direction of activities (such as identifying topics for professional development activities), based on consultation with the wider Alumni community.

The Advisory Panel will have up to eight members, each of whom will serve a term of between 12 and 18 months selected through an application process in 2019.

The Advisory Panel will meet a minimum of once per year, face to face, to coincide with the Gala Dinner, where possible, other meetings will be convened via teleconference.

Priorities of the RWA Alumni Advisory panel will be:

  • Working with the RWA community to identify topics for professional development activities
  • Selecting and supporting participants in the mentoring program
  • Leading and co-ordinating initiatives to raise the profile of the Award and the Alumni
  • Building the community through engagement on Facebook and at events

Who can apply:

  • Rural Women’s Award Alumni only.

Advisory Panel term:

  • The RWA Alumni Advisory Panel term will be 12-18 months.

Key dates:

  • Monday, 24 June 2019 at 8.00am AEST – Online applications open
  • Sunday, 14 July 2019 at 11.00pm AEST – Online applications close
  • August 2019 – Successful Alumni Advisory Panel members informed
  • Wednesday, 11 September 2019 – Alumni Advisory Panel will be publicly announced at the RWA Alumni Lunch.


Time commitments:

Date What Where
Wednesday, 11 September 2019 RWA Alumni Lunch Canberra, ACT
Wednesday, 11 September 2019 RWA Gala Dinner & National Announcement Canberra, ACT
Wednesday, 16 & Thursday, 17 October 2019 First 2019 Advisory Panel Meeting Canberra, ACT
March 2020 2020 Advisory Panel Meeting Wagga Wagga, NSW
w/c Monday, 6 July 2020 AgriFutures Summit Location TBC
September 2020 RWA Alumni Lunch Canberra, ACT
September 2020 RWA Gala Dinner & National Announcement Canberra, ACT

How to apply:

If you have any questions regarding the RWA Alumni Advisory Panel, please contact: 

Brooke Williamson-Jones
Manager, Communications & Capacity Building
AgriFutures Australia

Phone: 02 6923 6917 |  

2019 Travel Subsidy Scheme

The Rural Women’s Award Alumni Travel Subsidy Scheme (RWATSS) provides financial assistance for Rural Women’s Award (RWA) Alumni to travel to Canberra and attend the AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award Alumni Lunch and the Gala Dinner and National Announcement held in Canberra on Wednesday, 11 September 2019.

RWATSS applications are assessed by AgriFutures Australia, and all decisions are final. A maximum of 20 subsidies will be allocated each year. Subsidies will be allocated to individuals a maximum of once every five years.

Key dates:

  • Monday, 24 June 2019 at 8.00am AEST – Online applications open
  • Sunday, 14 July 2019 at 11.00pm AEST – Online applications close
  • Early August 2019 – Success applications contacted
  • Mid August 2019 – Subsidies will be paid once a formal agreement has been executed.

Travel subsidies of up to $1,000 will be provided for RWA Alumni to travel and attend the Alumni Lunch and the Gala Dinner and National Announcement. However, please note;

  • A ticket to the Gala Dinner must still be purchased
  • RWA Alumni awarded a travel subsidy must attend the upcoming Gala Dinner (and Alumni networking lunch the same day) in Canberra, otherwise the subsidy must be returned to AgriFutures Australia.

If you have any questions regarding the RWATSS, please contact: 

Brooke Williamson-Jones
Manager, Communications & Capacity Building
AgriFutures Australia

Phone: 02 6923 6917 |

Related Resources

Meet the 2019 Winners

Meet the 2019 AgriFutures™ Rural Women's Award winners.

Read more

Meet the 2018 winners

Meet the 2018 AgriFutures™ Rural Women's Award winners.

Read more

Meet previous winners

Meet the winners of the AgriFutures™ Rural Women's Award from previous years.

Read more