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Australia's rural leaders need to boost talent pool.

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DAFF07/033SL - 3 June 2007

Australia’s rural leaders need to boost talent pool

The success of rural industries and communities depends on the participation of women and young people and Australia’s rural leaders need to act now to ensure these groups are provided with leadership opportunities.

This was the take-home message from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Sussan Ley, this morning at the 2007 Leadership Forum: ‘Doing Leadership Differently’ in Beechworth. At the forum, which brought together over 150 graduates of the Australian Rural Leadership Programme and the Alpine Valleys Community Leadership Programme, Ms Ley stressed that clear action was

needed now to ensure rural Australia attracts and retains up-and-coming talent.

“More needs to be done to encourage leadership and cultural change in Australia’s rural industries and communities. And we need to be on the lookout all the time for new ways to encourage leadership diversity,” Ms Ley said.

“Women, young people and Indigenous leaders continue to be under-represented on boards and committees and in executive officer positions.

“So we are evolving the concept of rural leadership and helping rural leaders to institute cultural change,” she said.

“Through the Australian Government’s Pathways for Participation Strategy weare investing in mechanisms to enhance women’s, young people’s, and Indigenous people’s participation in rural industries, by linking rural industry and communities with the needs of people in rural areas.

“With low unemployment, and greater educational opportunities, rural industries and communities are in real competition for leadership talent,” Ms Ley said.

“I urge rural leaders to consider what they can to do differently to ensure that rural Australia promotes a culture which encourages leadership from all people, and at all levels.”

Ms Ley also took the opportunity to urge rural leaders to encourage young people to apply for the Pathways to Rural Leadership Course, August 2007. Applications are now open and will close at 5.00pm (AEST), Wednesday, 20 June 2007.

Further information about the Pathways for Participation Strategy and Pathways to Rural Leadership Course can be obtained by calling 1800 686 175 or by emailing Course applications are available at

Further media inquiries:

Ms Ley's office: Verity Williams 02 6277 4503 or 0428 213 264