Education with no limits

February 7, 2019

Melanie Meers is the Principal of Anson Street School in Orange, NSW which caters for children from Kinder to year 12 with a range of diverse learning styles. Melanie and her fabulous staff work closely with students and their families developing personalised learning plans, but this is only the beginning of the wonderful work being done at their school. Melanie tells us that living life without limits is all about what the children can achieve.

Kendi Burness Cowan talks to Melanie about how close connections with the wider community are also benefiting the students now and after they move on from Anson Street School.

Do you know a great educator in a regional school? Tell us on social media. And don’t forget to subscribe to the Regional Voices podcast.



Citizen science and the Great Barrier Reef

December 26, 2018

This week we talk to Erin Peterson, Project Leader for Virtual Reef Diver, an important initiative that collects critical data on the health of the Great Barrier Reef through imagery. Erin explains how, with the help of everyday citizens, they are collecting and sharing data aimed at protecting and preserving our Great Barrier Reef.

Erin talks to Kendi Burness-Cowan about how this innovative approach is likely to provide more data than ever before on the reef and how you can get involved.

Let us know on social media if you are going to become a citizen scientist and don’t forget to subscribe to the Regional Voices podcast.

What do we expect from Mother Nature?

December 19, 2018

Australians are really into watching the weather, and none more than Agata Imielska, Senior Climatologist, at the Bureau of Meteorology. Agata turned a love of maths and science into a career that’s all about weather, using complex modelling to analyse trends and give some clues about what to expect from Mother Nature.

Kendi Burness-Cowan talks to Agata about modern weather forecasting, climatology, the outlook for 2019 and the risks we are all facing this summer.

Find Regional Voices on social media to tell us your wild and woolly weather stories, and don’t forget to subscribe to the Regional Voices podcast. 

Community embraces refugees and bushfire safety

December 12, 2018

This week we talk with CFA Volunteer Trevor Schwarz from the Victorian town of Nhill. When Nhill welcomed a refugee community into town, they had to find a way to educate the newcomers about the bushfire risks of their new home.

Kendi Burness-Cowan talks to Trevor about how making a video better connected the community and is keeping everyone safer.

Have you done your bushfire prep this year? Tell us about it on social media. And don’t forget to subscribe to the Regional Voices podcast so that you never miss one of our great stories about the real people of regional Australia.


One day closer to rain

December 5, 2018

This week, drought is our focus, as we talk with Merriwa beef producer Cassandra McLaren.

Cassandra made a heartfelt post on Facebook that grew into an online community of more than 30,000 members. It’s called “One Day Closer to Rain”, and it’s a place for those trying to cope with drought to share their stories, support each other and have the occasional laugh too.

Kendi Burness-Cowan talks to Cassandra about how the drought has affected her own farm, the inevitable long road to recovery and the power of connecting people.

Have you been supported through the drought by your local community or an online community? Tell us about it on social media. And don’t forget to subscribe to the Regional Voices podcast for more great stories like this.

Emergency volunteers keeping you safe

November 28, 2018

Chris Draffin has been involved in responding to emergency situations for decades, and he was one of two Tasmanian recipients of the Emergency Service Medal in this year’s Australia Day Honours.

Kendi Burness-Cowan talks to Chris about the hazards of being in an emergency team, why people volunteer, and the biggest mistake Aussies continue to make in extreme conditions.

Have volunteers helped you in an emergency situation? Tell us on social media. And don’t forget to subscribe to the Regional Voices podcast to catch more episodes about the real people of regional Australia.

Farm safely, home safely

November 21, 2018

In 2016, six dairy farmers died at work. It was a particularly bad year, but even in a typical year, dairying is surprisingly dangerous.

This week we talk to Bill Youl from Dairy Australia about DA’s initiative, the Farm Safety kit. The kit was developed with farmers as a starting point to try and improve farm safety and lift the statistics that have not changed for the better over time.

Kendi Burness-Cowan chats to Bill about some of the major contributors to farming injuries and how implementing simple measures can often ensure everyone’s safety.

Have you made some simple changes to make your property safer? Tell us about them on social media and don't forget to subscribe to our podcast.

Regional innovation making safer roads

November 14, 2018

Australian research has shown that widened roads result in up to a 42% reduction in serious injury crashes. But around Australia lots of roads don’t have great shoulders and some have none at all. It’s a particular challenge in regional areas where funding is limited.

Now there’s a new approach, thanks to some classic Aussie inventiveness. A Wauchope based, family run company has developed a system to provide a cost effective way of making roads safer, and they’re about to take their great idea to the world.

Ashleigh Pinson tells Kendi Burness-Cowan how her dad came up with the idea for the ShoulderMaster, which enables quick and effective repairs to road shoulders.

Planting a seed for safety

November 7, 2018

Today we talk to Alex Thomas, a safe work campaigner who says safer farms are not about ticking boxes but about changing the culture.

Alex has started a number of initiatives on social media, including ‘plant a seed for safety’ and the rather catchy ‘save a life listen to your wife’. She wants everyone in farming, including family members who might not be out working on the property every day, to talk about safety. Alex tells Kendi Burness-Cowan how having conversations can lead to practical solutions.

Have you had a safety conversation with those around you? Get in touch on social media to let us know how it went.


Rob Cook: Strength and reinventing the future

October 31, 2018

This week we share the powerful story of Rob Cook, a fourth-generation farmer whose life was turned literally upside down in a terrifying helicopter crash.

In an instant, the future Rob had planned for him and his young family completely changed. His injury left him with quadriplegia. But after a lengthy recovery, and with the unwavering support from his wife Sarah, Rob is back on the farm.

Rob talks to Kendi Burness-Cowan about rethinking the future, his love of farming, and the world first joystick he and a friend created that lets him operate the gate and drafts in his cattle yards from his wheelchair.

Join the conversation on social media to share your thoughts on this episode.

Cycling to success in sport and life

October 24, 2018

This week we chat with Shannon Malseed, current Australian champion women’s road cyclist. It’s been a big year for Shannon, who took the road cycling title in her home town of Ballarat and went on to be part of the team which brought home gold at the Commonwealth Games. 

But as she’s discovered, winning is definitely not everything for Shannon. Join us as Kendi Burness-Cowan chats to Shannon about the social and team aspects of cycling, the elation of winning and maintaining the motivation to keep training while aiming high.

Are you a recreational cyclist or a tour tragic? Join us on social media and tell us what you love about cycling.

Tentpegging, a regional sport on the international stage

October 17, 2018

This week we chat with Barry Biffin, President of the Australian Tentpegging Association; Member of the Australian Tentpegging Team and Coach of the Australian Ladies team. Tentpegging is an equestrian sport with military origins. It involves competitors galloping, while carrying a lance aimed at a target, in individual and team events.

Join us, as Kendi Burness-Cowan chats to Barry about competing in far-flung overseas countries and the following that the sport has in the Middle East and Pakistan where tentpegging is as celebrated as cricket.

And remember to subscribe to the Regional Voices podcast so that you never miss one of our great stories about the real people of regional Australia.


Sport helping to build healthy communities

October 10, 2018

Today we talk to Michael Albert, the Chief Executive Officer of Garnduwa, an Indigenous sport and recreation organisation covering the vast Kimberley region in West Australia.

Michael has seen how sport can be transformative for people of all ages and abilities. He also knows that getting a sporting program up and running is no mean feat when the communities you service are tiny and very remote.

Kendi Burness-Cowan talks to Michael about building healthy people and communities through participation in sport, and how sport is linked to better educational and employment outcomes.

Follow us on social media to join the conversation.


Be inspired by the Invictus spirit

October 3, 2018

The Invictus Games bring together wounded, injured and ill servicemen and women from around the world. Among them will be Corporal Sonya Newman, from the tiny town of Marrakai outside of Darwin, representing Australia at her second Invictus Games after a four medal haul in Toronto last year.

Sonya tells Kendi Burness-Cowan about her lifelong love of sport, her competitive spirit and why neither of those are the most important things about the Invictus Games.

You can subscribe to the Regional Voices podcast and never miss one of our great stories about the real people of regional Australia. Catch us on social media to join the conversation.

Leading the way to solving interesting problems

September 26, 2018

Dr Wendy Craik AM has been making a huge contribution to society for decades and she’s not about to slow down any time soon. In fact, she recently accepted an appointment to the Board of the Reserve Bank.

She’s also a former Chair of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation and Director of the National Farmers Federation. Listen as Wendy talks with Kendi Burness-Cowan about leadership development and policies affecting rural and regional Australia.

You can subscribe to the Regional Voices podcast and never miss one of our great stories about the real people of regional Australia. Find Regional Voices on social media to join the conversation.