9 February 2012
Youth with big ideas and strong leadership from across rural and regional Australia have converged on Canberra this week and Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, has congratulated them on being named winners in the annual Heywire competition.
The competition, run by ABC, asked young people aged 16–22 years, to “tell it like it is” through short stories, sharing the stories of their lives in rural and regional Australia.
“The stories these 35 young people shared gave great insight into our next generation and the challenges and rewards they see in their lives and their communities,” Minister Ludwig said.
“Agriculture played a role in many of their stories and their lives, be it as a shearer, living on a farm or just being part of a rural or regional community. Some of the entrants have called their community home for many years, others are finding their role in the place they now call home.
“It is clear that no matter where they come from, they are passionate about their communities and can tell stories in a way that brings people together.”
Minister Ludwig said he would join the finalists, parliamentary colleagues and community members tonight at the presentation ceremony, giving him the opportunity to meet with the winners and find out more about the people behind the stories.
The connection between urban and rural Australia has been in the spotlight as the Australian Year of the Farmer gets underway and Minister Ludwig said it was important to recognise the role youth played in the future of the agricultural industry and in strengthening that link.
“The qualities displayed by this year’s Heywire winners put this future on a strong footing,” he said.
The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry supports the Heywire program, along with the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, the Department of Health and Ageing, and the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport.