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 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. In 2019, Jackie launched an inaugural Rural Women’s Day celebration in Dunkeld, drawing a crowd of 140 rural and regional women from across Australia. With a vision to inspire, celebrate and connect rural and regional women, Jackie is not only planning yet another Rural Women’s Day event in 2020, but actively showcases the contribution of rural and regional women via social media. More recently, Jackie’s initiative was named the Southern Grampians Shire Council Australia Day Community Event of the Year. Follow @RuralWomensDay on Facebook or Instagram for more information.

When asked what concerned Jackie about the health and safety of those in rural industries and communities, she paid kudos to the courageous men and women who 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 United States of America.

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.

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Everyone knows someone who could be making smarter, safer and healthier choices.

No matter what role you play, where you live or what you do, we all have a responsibility to look out for the health, safety and wellbeing of ourselves and those around us.  

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

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