Western Australia social innovator, Cara Peek was announced as the 2020 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award National Winner on Wednesday.

Peek, a proud Yawuru/Bunuba woman, was named the National Winner for her work in driving employment opportunities for First Nations people in remote Australia.

She is also a Broome-based lawyer, social innovator and co-founder of Saltwater Country.

“Winning the Award is great recognition of the work that we’ve undertaken,” she said.

Peek hopes to level the playing field between rural and metropolitan standards of living for Aboriginal people.

“I hope that it will generate the network and support that we need to achieve all the things we aim to achieve.”

Cara Peek. Photo Supplied.

Due to COVID-19, the national Rural Women’s Award ceremony was postponed last year.

The AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award was established in 1999, with the aim to celebrate and inspire the next generation of female leaders in rural and regional industries, businesses and communities.

The prestigious award recognises the essential role women play across regional Australia.

The Hon. David Littleproud, Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia, made the announcement, naming dairy industry trailblazer, Cressida Cains (NSW) as National Runner Up.

The National Winner and National Runner Up, receives a further $10,000 and $5,000 Westpac Bursary respectively.

The additional $10,000 to Peek is an opportunity 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 allows 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,” Peek said.

“It provides real time experience and solutions – it’s a place for our people to shine.”

Peek recognised the organisation as an “opportunity for training and development with transferable skills”.

“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,” she said.

“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.”

In 2022, AgriFutures and Platinum Sponsor, Westpac will be offering up to $42,000 in
bursaries and mentoring support for successful state and territory winners.

By Teisha Cloos