Media Release by The Hon Julie Collins MP

Celebrating women in Australian agriculture

Joint Media Release with:

  • Senator the Hon. Joe Ludwig
    Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
    Senator for Queensland

Australians everywhere are encouraged to celebrate the contribution of rural women this International Women’s Day.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, and Minister for the Status of Women, Julie Collins, said 8 March was an opportunity to reflect on the ongoing achievements of women to Australia’s primary industries and their communities.

“Women represent nearly a third of Australia’s agriculture workforce,” Minister Ludwig said.

“More than 80,000 women are directly employed in agriculture, from running farms and agribusinesses to working as irrigators and vets.

“International Women’s Day offers us all a chance to reflect on the ongoing contributions women make to the productivity and sustainability of our primary industries.”

Ms Collins said more recognition was needed about the diverse contribution made by rural women to their communities.

“Australian rural life and industry have a strong and diverse representation from women,” Ms Collins said.

“We need to continue to encourage that participation so women can advance themselves, their communities and their industries.”

One way the Australian Government is helping ensure women’s voices are heard is through its commitment to raising the representation of women on high level boards and decision making bodies.

“Agriculture is one area where we are close to achieving our aim of having at least 40 per cent women on Australian Government boards by 2015,” Minister Ludwig said.

“This is close to double the representation of women on boards in 2007, when it was 20.6 per cent.

“As at 30 June 2012, women held 39.3 per cent of board positions within the agriculture, fisheries and forestry portfolio.

“Thousands more women contribute indirectly to our primary industries through organisations like Australian Women in Agriculture (AWiA), and do inspiring things to support the growth of rural, regional and remote communities across Australia.

“The National Rural Women’s Coalition, one of the six National Women’s Alliances funded by the Australian Government, provides an opportunity for the Government to listen to the voices of rural and regional women.

“It also gives member organisations like AWiA a chance to link women and create networks to advance the productivity and sustainability of our primary industries and communities.”

The Australian Government is also supporting rural women, through its funding of the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation’s Rural Women’s Award.

“This award recognises women who are drivers of innovation, productivity and sustainability in our rural industries and the Government is proud to have provided $225,000 in funding support,” Minister Ludwig said.

Funding support for the Rural Women’s Award program is for the next three years (2012-13 to 2014-15).