Pastoral project founder wins Rural Women’s Award

Saltwater Country founder Cara Peek.
Camera IconSaltwater Country founder Cara Peek. Credit: Jakeb Waddell.

Broome-based lawyer, entrepreneur and social innovator, Cara Peek has won this year’s AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award.

The annual award acknowledges and supports the vital contributions of women to rural industries, businesses and communities around the State.

Ms Peek is a Yawuru/Bunubu woman driving opportunities for rural and remote people to empower the Aboriginal community.

She will invest her $10,000 business development award to progress the Saltwater Academy, which celebrates the heritage of the Kimberley Aboriginal pastoral industry and provides related emotional, economic and cultural initiatives, including training and employment opportunities.

Ms Peek won from a strong field of five finalists including Albany farmer and agricultural economist Lucy Anderton, who designed the FARMSMART farm business analysis tool, Kalannie Community Resource Centre co-manager Jo Ashworth, whose Growing Kalannie Project provides community members access to traineeships and apprenticeships, Broome’s Lauren Bell, who founded an insect farming start-up for the sustainable management of organic waste, and Mukinbudin-raised Kendall Whyte, whose Blue Tree Project sparks important conversations around mental health.

While an awards ceremony could not go ahead this year due to social distancing requirements, this year’s Rural Women’s Award was announced in a special broadcast on ABC Country Hour.

Ms Peek follows in the footsteps of last year’s award winner Belinda Lay, an Esperance sheep and grain farmer who demonstrated an innovative use of specially designed collars for monitoring sheep health.

Ms Peek will now represent WA at the national AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award.

WA Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan said she could not be “more pleased” for Ms Peek to win the award “in recognition of her creative work to celebrate and enhance the rich Aboriginal heritage of the Kimberley pastoral industry”.

“Cara is an extraordinary character who brings a fresh approach to creating change and opportunity for the Kimberley Aboriginal community,” she said.

“All of the 2020 finalists have made and continue to make important contributions to the economic and social development of WA’s rural and regional communities.

“The recognition and professional opportunities the awards provide these women will empower them to continue to lead and inspire future generations of WA rural women.”

The 2020 WA AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award is supported by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Westpac, CBH and the Rural, Regional and Remote Women’s Network of WA.

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