Jackie is a fifth-generation farmer’s daughter who hails from the lush pastures of Byaduk, in the Western District of Victoria. The recipient of the 2014 Matthew George Young Stockman Award, Jackie is fondly referred to by her father as his ‘Chief Gate Opener’. Jackie is a passionate advocate for those who suffer from anxiety and also enjoys working with farmers as an Animal Health and General Merchandise Specialist for westernAG.

When asked what concerned Jackie about the work health and safety of those in rural industries, she paid kudos to the courageous men and women who so generously donate their time to the Country Fire Authority, particularly given their exposure to potentially traumatic events. Jackie heeds the reminder to stay safe, to look out for your mates, and to speak up – regardless of whether you’re concerned about the response you might get.

How would you describe yourself in three words?

Committed, resourceful and compassionate.

What's one achievement you are most proud of?

Being awarded the 2014 Matthew George Young Stockman Award, which took me on a three month trip of the beef industry in the USA.

What makes you truly happy?

Helping my father with farm work, keeping our new house garden maintained and having time to make a delicious meal for dinner to be enjoyed by my family.

What do you love the most about being a rural woman?

The big open blue skies that we work under, having family close by and the endless opportunities for women in rural areas – you just have to find them!

Tell me about a time when you felt worried about your own or someone else’s health, safety or wellbeing on the farm, boat or in some other aspect of rural life.

My partner is a CFS volunteer, which requires him to go out in the truck on strike teams or on ‘back up’. Because the CFS is largely comprised of volunteers, I always wonder if they are safe and have adequate training to handle whatever situations they may face. 

Following the devastation they witness, how do they truly recover from what they are seen or been exposed to?

What practical things did or could you, your partner and / or others do to prevent someone from getting hurt?

I frequently remind my partner to be safe and to look out for his mates.

"Speak up, and don't avoid saying something because you're afraid of the response you might get."

Is there a time, place or scenario when your partner / workers are more willing to make changes to the way work is done? 

They’re more willing to make changes to make it safer after a ‘close call’.

If you could give any advice to another rural woman about work health and safety in rural industries, about influencing change in business - or just in general - what would it be?

Speak up, and don’t avoid saying something because you are afraid of the response you might get.

Share your story!

Everybody knows someone who’s been hurt at work in rural industries.

No matter what role you fill, where you come from or how long you’ve lived in a rural or regional area, we are ALL responsible for looking out for the health, safety and wellbeing of ourselves, and of others.

Thirty years ago no-one wore seatbelts. Today we do it without even thinking about it.

Join the conversation today.

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