NSW Regional Woman of the Year Award 2024 announced

07 March 2024

The NSW Regional Woman of the Year 2024 is awarded to Theresa Mitchell this morning at a ceremony held at the International Convention Centre in Sydney.

The award recognises the accomplishments of an exceptional woman living in regional NSW who inspires and advances their community, and contributes to the fabric of their local area.

Theresa Mitchell founded Agape Outreach Inc in 2009, a charity that focuses on assisting the homeless and those in need. Operating between Byron Bay in NSW and Runaway Bay on the Gold Coast in QLD, Agape’s activities include:

  • Collecting rescued foods
  • Preparing meals and food hampers for families
  • Providing case management support
  • Offering assistance with applications for people applying for disability insurance services
  • Running a psychology department
  • Offering access to showers and laundry facilities
  • Conducting group training for basic life skills

With a dedicated team of over 240 volunteers and 5 paid staff members, the entirely community-funded organisation serves more than 1,000 people and rescues over 2 tonnes of edible food per week.

A further four outstanding women from Regional NSW were nominated for the award today.

Tsukasa Hiraoka, the founder of Wilba the Empowerbus, a new transport service in Dubbo and Bourke that’s creating employment opportunities and empowering communities. Tsukasa’s vision is to address transport disadvantage in regional and rural NSW by providing affordable, reliable, efficient and environmentally friendly solutions to existing gaps in public transportation, and helping residents access essential services.

Dr Skye Charry, who has practices, researched and consulted on sex discrimination law in rural contexts for almost 20 years. Skype co-founded S.A.C. Consulting Australia which provides bespoke gender equity programs to government, industry and the education sector in the bush and beyond.

Nicole Kiss OAM, founder of a not-for-profit auspice providing hospitals with burial clothing for babies. Her organisation now supplies more than 200 hospitals across Australia.

Rochelle Olsen, founder of The Baby Loss Mentor, her mission is to create informed, safe and understanding communities that recognise and address the unique challenges encountered when someone navigates life after baby loss.

Minister for Regional NSW Tara Moriarty said:

“I’m proud to announce the award for Regional Woman of the Year to Theresa Mitchell today and congratulate the many fantastic women nominated for their inspiring work.

“The diverse achievements of these incredible women is a testament to their unique backgrounds. It is important awards like this acknowledge and celebrate women who are leading the long-term success of our regional communities.”

Minister for Women Jodie Harrison said:

"Congratulations to Theresa who is our 2024 NSW Regional Woman of the Year. Your contribution to regional NSW is greatly appreciated by your community and you're an inspiration to others.

"This award is the NSW Government's way of showcasing the valuable work that regional and rural women do. Whether it is in charitable work, community outreach or challenging gender inequality - you are what make regional NSW the heartbeat of our state.

“The NSW Women of the Year Awards recognise the accomplishments of truly exceptional women and I look forward to following their journeys.”

Find out more about the finalists, recipients and watch the recorded livestream