Media Release by The Hon Julie Collins MP

Acknowledging the rural women of Australia

Joint Media Release with:

  • Senator the Hon. Joe Ludwig

    Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
    Senator for Queensland

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Senator Joe Ludwig says the United Nations’ International Day of Rural Women on 15 October provides the perfect opportunity for all Australians to honour the key role rural women play in building regional communities and the economy.

“Women around the world are central to food production and security, and in the productivity and sustainability of the agricultural, fisheries and forestry industries,” Minister Ludwig said.

“In Australia alone, around 80,000 women are directly employed in agriculture. The work and dedication of many thousands more also provide priceless contributions to our primary industries and economy.

“Whether it be working directly in the agricultural sector, donating their time to community organisations or organising natural resource management activities, Australia’s rural women have proved time and again they are leaders of rural and regional Australia.”

Minister Ludwig said women in the sector were passionate about its future and that needed to be recognised.

“Women are drivers of innovation, productivity and sustainability in our primary industries,” he said.

“That’s why I’m committed to engaging women on boards that support the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors. Boards function best when they have a broad range of skills and experience, broadly reflective of the diversity of life in Australia. That’s why we have – over the life of this government – more than doubled the representation of women on Agriculture portfolio boards.

“I encourage women to contact my department and express their interest in being considered for appointment to part-time positions on one of the sector’s many boards.”

Minister for the Status of Women Julie Collins also recognised the unique and important work done by women in rural communities.

“Rural women make a very valuable contribution to the social and economic fabric of communities across the nation,” she said.

“They run businesses and farms, take on leadership roles, drive sustainability and innovation across primary industry sectors, ensure the wellbeing of families and communities, build strong networks and take part in everything from disaster response to volunteer work.

“The Government is committed to working alongside women from these communities, including through organisations like the National Rural Women’s Coalition.

“It is important that these women’s voices are heard and their needs are met through the work that we do as a Government.”

Earlier this year, Minister Ludwig announced $225,000 to continue the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) Rural Women’s Award until 2014.

“These awards give women who are already leaders a chance to enhance their skills and continue to inspire other women to follow in their footsteps and play a greater role in rural industries,” he said.