Anita Ratcliffe from Westpac, AgriFutures Board Member Bill Ryan, 2020 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award National Winner Cara Peek and The Hon. Alannah MacTiernan MLC
Broome-based lawyer, social innovator and co-founder of Saltwater Country, Cara Peek has been named the 2020 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award National Winner for her work in driving employment opportunities for First Nations people in remote Australia. Cressida Cains, artisan cheesemaker and a passionate dairy industry advocate from New South Wales was announced as the Award’s National Runner Up.
Due to COVID-19, the national Rural Women’s Award ceremony was postponed last year. Instead, the 2020 National Winner was announced today at a special ceremony offering live coverage of the proceedings via video links with over 600 viewers tuning in across the country.
Ms Peek, a proud Yawuru/Bunuba woman was recognised for her dedication to fostering access and opportunity for rural and remote communities and accepted the award at a State-based ceremony at The University Club of Western Australia in Perth.
Adding to the $10,000 already awarded to each state and territory finalist from Platinum Sponsor Westpac, Ms Peek will receive an additional $10,000 from the bank to further progress Saltwater Country, an Indigenous-led not-for-profit that uses rodeo sports and country music events to re-engage at-risk Indigenous youth with their rich pastoral history.
Saltwater Country currently develops and oversees a number of evidence-based programs delivered with cultural integrity, allowing students to train in the safety of their own communities across the disciplines of horsemanship, equine therapy, agribusiness, marketing and event management.
“The collective success of our people in delivering events and programs is empowering in the social, emotional and economic development and advancement of Indigenous people in the north. It provides real time experience and solutions – it’s a place for our people to shine. It’s also an opportunity for training and development with transferable skills”, she said.
“Winning the Award is great recognition of the work that we’ve undertaken and I hope that it will generate the network and support that we need to achieve all the things we aim to achieve. If I can create opportunities for others out of that, and play a part in the collective strength of our people, that’s what I’m going to do every day”.
“I am extremely thankful to AgriFutures and Westpac, not only for the award but for the opportunity to showcase the resilience and ingenuity of our indigenous communities in the Kimberleys. It’s been great to be in a cohort of such strong, high achieving women and the support that also comes with that”, she said.
John Harvey, AgriFutures Australia Managing Director, congratulated Cara on winning the Award and said she demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities and a passion for bettering the lives of others.
“Cara’s work is a clear conduit to a future, built sustainably for rural and remote Indigenous people, by Indigenous people. She has continued to operate in the toughest of times, whilst having real impact, and has been central to driving hope and lasting change within the Kimberley. I am confident this bursary will go some way to supporting Saltwater Country in realising its full promise”.