Australia’s first Torres Strait Islander MP

March 14, 2018

This week we speak with Cynthia Lui, who has made history as Australia’s first Torres Strait Islander elected to parliament. Representing the far north Queensland electorate of Cook, Cynthia spent most of her life in the remote northern Torres Strait. In her career as a social worker, she has seen and dealt with some major issues facing indigenous communities, especially in areas of health, education and employment. Cynthia talked to Kendi Burness-Cowan about her role as a female representative, and her hopes for her community and people.

The way forward for daughters on farms

March 8, 2018

This week, we’re speaking to Katrina Sasse, who has been travelling Australia and the world to interview farming families as part of her Nuffield Scholarship.

Katrina’s research is filling a gap in understanding about what brings farming daughters back into the business, and what we need to do differently to lift the number of daughters taking on the family farm. While plenty of farmers say they’re happy to find a place for their daughters, women still represent about 10% of farm leaders – so what needs to change?

Mind your beeswax

March 1, 2018

At 50, Mary Jane was suddenly single with two kids still at home and a government job about to disappear after a restructure. While she thought about how to make ends meet, she started experimenting with making sustainable packaging wraps using natural bees wax. Today she’s working full time in her own business, Waxiwraps.

Reigniting education with robots

February 21, 2018

Christine Roberts-Yates leads the Disability Unit at Murray Bridge High School in South Australia. In 2017, Christine was recognised for her outstanding contribution to education and won a Commonwealth Bank Teaching Award. Since beginning her role, which educates students with moderate to severe intellectual and multiple disabilities, Christine has introduced a technology rich learning environment, including socially assistive robots. She has established work experience placements, school-based apprenticeships, and animal-assisted therapy, resulting in students maximising their learning potential and transforming the unit into one of Australia’s pre-eminent disability educational settings.

When farm finances need a rethink

February 15, 2018

Chris Wheatcroft is the CEO of the Rural Financial Counselling Service of WA. He leads a team of people across Western Australia who help bring farmers and farming communities into improved financial situations by educating them on better business practices.

Chris talks to Kendi Burness-Cowan about what brings farmers to financial counselling and how it’s never too late to have hope for a good outcome.

Opening opportunities on King Island

February 8, 2018

Our guest this week, Helen Thomas, is the Economic Development Officer at the King Island Council. She tells us about the grant King Island has received from the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal to pilot a vocational TAFE course for interested young adults to help build the local skillset, especially in industries where there’s great growth potential.

Horses For Courses

January 31, 2018

Tiani Cook lives on Suplejack Downs Station in the Tanami Desert, 1000km from Darwin. She’s also the President of the Northern Territory Isolated Children's Parents' Association, so she knows a bit about educating kids in rural Australia.

Last year, Tiani and her friend spent a month in the saddle riding on horseback from Suplejack Downs to Darwin to raise funds and awareness for children in remote areas of Australia who face barriers every day to get schooling.

Best of 2017 - John Wagner

January 23, 2018

During January Regional Voices is featuring four great stories we covered in 2017.

In February we spoke to John Wagner, whose family did something pretty amazing to support the future of their region – they built an airport.

Digging into their own pockets and their own property, John and his family built an airport capable of landing jumbos just outside Toowoomba. The new airport is a driving factor in the Regional Australia Institute’s projection of a $10b expansion in the local economy over the next 15 years.

In this episode, John spoke to Kendi Burness-Cowan on how the Wagners went from talking about building an airport to opening one in the space of just a few years, and why vision and courage are essential for the future of regional Australia.

Best of 2017 - Fleur McDonald

January 16, 2018

During January Regional Voices is featuring four great stories we covered in 2017.

In November we spoke to Fleur McDonald, one of Australia’s best known authors and particularly well loved by readers in rural and regional Australia who enjoy the authentic regional settings of her stories. 

Fleur told Kendi Burness-Cowan her fascinating tale of shadowing the Queensland Police Major & Organised Crime Squad (Rural).  

In the country, we tend to think we’re relatively safe from crime, but as Fleur found, this isn’t always the case.  

In this great interview she talks everything from stock theft to laser beams to cyber crime – and her plans for her beloved character Detective Dave Burrows.

Best of 2017 - Dr Anthony Lowe

January 11, 2018

With an average of 20,000 men diagnosed with prostate cancer each year and a staggering 3,300 of these resulting in death, detecting prostate cancer early is vital – yet many men look after their cars better than their own health. Dr Anthony Lowe shares the common facts of prostate cancer, how it’s diagnosed and why men in rural and regional Australia have a 25% less chance of survival than their city neighbours.

Best of 2017 - Simone Kain

January 8, 2018

During January Regional Voices will feature 4 great stories we covered in 2017.

In March we spoke with Simone Kain, who had recently won the South Australian RIRDC Rural Women’s Award for her work teaching kids – and grown ups – about Australian agriculture through her George the Farmer stories.


Rachel powers a future for Tasmanian regional tourism

December 27, 2017

Rachel Power owns Waterfalls Café in Mt Field National Park, just over an hour's drive from Hobart, and won Tasmania’s 2017 Innovator of the Year award for her innovative approach to marketing the café and the attractions of the area. Her work has helped to see park visitation grow by almost 90%, and has also opened up employment opportunities for a community facing a troubling unemployment rate - from a staff of 1, Rachel's team will be 30 strong this season.

Innovative farming saves on water and labour costs

December 21, 2017

Cotton grower James Barlow, a young farmer by farm industry standards, has embraced innovative technology through irrigated cropping. Today he irrigates 1,600 acres all from his smart device which not only saves on water but labour as well.

Changing the regional innovation game

December 15, 2017

Simone has become a leading spokesperson for innovation in regional Australia. She developed the phone app, 365 Cups, from her home in Wagga Wagga, NSW, which now has 45,000 users across Australia and New Zealand, and has also developed a co-working space in the regional city.

Turning stone into soil

December 6, 2017

This week we chat with Tim Pannell, who is quite literally a mover and shaker in Australia’s agricultural industry. When Tim invented the “Reefinator,” it addressed a major challenge for producers in Western Australia – areas on properties that couldn’t be farmed because of hard, rocky land. The Reefinator is machine that makes it cost effective and easy to convert that rock into arable land, and are now all over Australia.