The Queensland Rural Regional and Remote Women’s Network Inc. is an organization dedicated to promote the interests of women in rural, regional, and remote areas of Queensland. The focus of QRRRWN is to CONNECT, DEVELOP and INSPIRE the wonderful women in Rural, Regional and Remote Queensland areas.

The following excerpt from a recent online public forum – with panel guests the Honourable Di Farmer MP, and The Honourable Ros Bates MP, Robin McConchie, former ABC producer, and QRRRWN President Tracey Martin – showcases some of the substantial work that QRRRWN is involved in that makes significant differences in women’s lives, especially for those women who live in rural, regional and remote areas.

Forum Report – Queensland RRR Women – Toward 2030

Executive Summary

QRRRWN convened a statewide on-line forum RRR women in Queensland – Toward 2030 for members and other guests.

Key Speakers: The Honourable Di Farmer MP, and The Honourable Ros Bates MP put forward their positions and answered participants’ questions,
alongside QRRRWN President Tracey Martin. Robin McConchie, former ABC producer, ably steered the discussion as MC.

When: 2 pm 28 September 2020
What: Virtual forum convened on Zoom
Who: 91 registered attendees; 80+ participants

CONTEXT
Established in 1993 QRRRWN is a not for profit incorporated organisation that connects, develops, and inspires rural, regional, and remote women,
particularly in Queensland. We are funded through membership and external partners with an interest in the well-being, ambitions, and prosperity of RRR
women.
2020 is a critical year for QRRRWN and the communities we represent – to reprioritise and reorientate after a decade that has seen crippling drought,
floods, cyclones, and fires, and the social and economic impacts of COVID-19. How does QRRRWN best support women to regenerate and refocus knowing
women have borne the brunt of the social and economic impacts of COVID-19 and recognising it may take years for recovery to be achieved?

ISSUES RAISED

COVID-19 impacts – Social and economic stress has been registered statewide as agriculture, rural business and regional tourism registered significant
downturns despite low numbers of infections. Post-COVID RRR women have a crucial role to play in regional economic recovery and job creation. Ensuring
appropriate support and opportunities for them is vital.

RRR women being heard, having influence – There are strong women who aspire to represent their communities politically. We want to ensure the voices
of ‘ordinary women’ who do extraordinary things every day have the opportunity to make their contributions. RRR women in professional, small
business, productive & community roles need better access to support; technology is crucial.

Connecting with grants, opportunities and support – There needs to be improved visibility for support, training opportunities and grants for women in
small , community or other enterprises. Further research is needed to understand the profile of women in RRR communities and the typical
trajectory of entry into small business so it is clear how this can be accelerated. Technological skills and confidence are vital.

Domestic violence, the safety of children and coercive control of women – Regional and rural women’s vulnerabilities are exacerbated by isolation and
distance. QRRRWN can be a vital mode for informing about available supports and services and takes its advocacy on this issue very seriously.

Regional and rural women’s vulnerabilities are exacerbated by isolation and distance. QRRRWN can be a vital mode for informing about available supports
and services and takes its advocacy on this issue very seriously.

PRIORITY ACTIONS for QRRRWN:

  • Obtain advice from the Office for Rural and Regional Queensland and the Office for Women , about how RRR women can best raise their
    concerns, make their issues known
  • Regarding RRR women’s access to grants and support – raise the matters of invisibility and request consideration of different structures and
    access points for women
  • Technology know-how and confidence – lobby for BridgIT II (potential for crowd-funding) to ensure women can access the www and all it
    offers
  • Supporting women to become engagement ready to advocate where and how they want
  • Bridging city-country divide through specific initiatives & collaboration with the Office for Women

I have had the absolute pleasure in witnessing Cecily’s vision for our organisation come to fruition over the last three years. As an elected Director to the Board for Queensland’s Remote, Regional and Rural Women’s Network (QRRRWN) in charge of the Membership portfolio, Cecily’s ability to look into the future and address the needs of our members, as a futurist has set our organisation up as a progressive, communicative women’s network. Comprising of women from a range of localities, both rural and regional, and from diverse businesses enterprises such as agricultural and financial fields, Cecily also focused on women’s wellbeing, recognising their needs in these areas and making sure they were met.

Cecily has the uncanny ability to foresee areas that need attention and deliver workable methods to ensure the smooth running of our organisation, and its membership well into the future. Through her thoroughly written and well considered guidelines for the organisation, our future is strong.

Julie Mayne
Mayne Pastoral
QRRRWN Board Director