Michelle Leonard has been announced winner of the 2023 NSW/ACT AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award for her work as the Founder and Artistic Director of Moorambilla Voices, a multi-arts program that connects regional youth to culture, community and country through creative arts.
For taking out the top honour, Ms Leonard will receive a $15,000 grant from Westpac to spend on leadership and development opportunities to further support her work in regional communities.
Minister for Women Jodie Harrison, who attended the awards last night at the State Library of NSW, said Ms Leonard's passion for collaboration and celebrating cultural identity had sparked an innovative way to engage regional youth with music, dance and respect for the land and for others.
“She is driving change in how our children learn to tap into their creativity, resilience and sense of joy while gaining a deeper understanding of Australian and Aboriginal culture,” Ms Harrison said.
“All 3 finalists are truly inspiring women who are applying their strengths to make a difference to our regional communities. Thank you for all your dedication to your crafts and congratulations on being finalists for this prestigious award.”
As the winner of the state finalists, Ms Leonard will represent NSW and the ACT at the National Gala Dinner in September where the winner of the nation-wide AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award will be announced.
NSW/ACT finalists Dimity Brassil and Rochelle Olsen will both receive $2000 in sponsorship from the Country Women’s Association and NSW Farmers to support the development of their businesses.
IMAGE: Pictured are Amanda Middlebrook from award sponsor Westpac, Country Women's Association representative Danica Leys, AgriFutures Australia's Dianna Gibbs, Minister for Women Jodie Harrison, NSW Farmers' Rebecca Reardon and Jade Clarke from Westpac.