Rural women recognised through agricultural bursary

The superannuation fund for rural and regional Australia, AustSafe Super, has partnered with the Queensland Rural Regional and Remote Women’s Network (QRRRWN) to highlight the invaluable contribution made by women in farming communities. 

Coinciding with today’s International Day of Rural Women, AustSafe Super and QRRRWN have announced the winner of a bursary which enabled one of the latter’s members to attend the recent QRRRWN Conference, held in Kingaroy, Queensland. The winner is Bindi’s n Bulldust podcast author, Heather Jonsson.

AustSafe Super chief executive, Craig Stevens, said the partnership with QRRRWN is a very important one, in that it is core to the Fund’s commitment to helping women in rural and regional Australia.  

“We see bursaries like this as a way of ensuring women working on the land can stay connected with other women who also live and breathe farming. They’re often working in very remote areas, with limited resourcing and social opportunities, so this bursary is very much a way of helping them stay connected with their peers.

“The Fund wholeheartedly congratulates Heather on the bursary win, particularly as it overlaps with such a significant day – International Day of Rural Women,” he said.

Heather is the full-time teacher to her four children, as well as manager of the household, and book-keeper of the family business. She experienced first-hand issues associated with distance education when the new Curriculum into the Classroom resource was being implemented. Unsatisfied with the unproven and untested model at the time, she set out to find a better way to educate her kids and wrote her own school curriculum.

“I took a look at the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority and from there decided what they should be learning, and what level they should be achieving at what age. I also integrated that with rural learnings, such as six months of feral pest management,” she said.

During this time, while the kids were very much a focus, Jonnson also committed to doing something for herself, and the Bindi’s n Bulldust concept was conceived. “Originally, it was a blog where I shared all my home-schooling worksheets, curriculum and tips on how to home school your kids.”

Now, the podcast has an 800-strong following, Jonsson looks forward to sharing ideas and supporting women in rural and regional communities by telling their stories and linking them to relevant connections in the industry.

“There’s a brilliant network of people at our fingertips, and this was evident at the QRRRWN Conference, which I was so delighted to have been able to attend. Women are always willing to share ideas or help, and I want to encourage women to never be too afraid to reach out to the unknown, ask a question, or ask for help,” she said.

Now in its 30th year of operation, AustSafe Super is the industry super fund for rural and regional Australia and looks after more than 100,000 members with over $2.5 billion funds under management. In July 2018, AustSafe Super announced that the Fund signed a Successor Fund Transfer Deed with fellow Queensland-based industry super fund, Sunsuper, which authorises a merger of the two funds with a target date of early 2019. The combined fund makes it one of the nation’s biggest superannuation funds, with more than $58 billion in funds under management, 130,000 employers and 1.4 million members.