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 have now closed.
  • 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 have now closed.

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 was held on Thursday 26 September, 2019 at 6.00pm AEST for interested potential applicants, and covered 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

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.

The purpose of the RWA Alumni Advisory Panel is to 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.

Priorities of the RWA Alumni Advisory panel are:

  • 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

RWA Alumni Advisory Panel Members:

  • Jackie Jarvis, 2013 AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award National Runner Up and WA State/Territory Winner
  • Lillian Lever, 2001 AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award QLD State/Territory Finalist
  • Sandra Ireson, 2017 AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award NSW State/Territory Winner
  • Mary Retallack, 2012 AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award National Winner Up and SA State/Territory Winner
  • Jacqueline Wilson-Smith, 2017 AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award QLD State/Territory Winner

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