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Rural Health Advocate Wins NSW/ACT AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award

Rebecca Keeley, founder of Yarn, an innovative health platform has been named the 2024 NSW/ACT AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award winner.

Ms Keeley accepted the Award for improving allied health services for children and families across rural and regional Australia last night at a ceremony at the Parliament of NSW presented by The Hon. Tara Morarity, MLC, Minister for Agriculture, Regional New South Wales and Western New South Wales.

(Photo supplied)

The AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award, supported by long-term platinum sponsor Westpac, is Australia’s leading award for acknowledging and supporting the critical role women play in rural and regional businesses, industries, and communities. It is an opportunity to celebrate the forward-thinking, courageous leaders who come from industries that represent some of the most vast and remote areas of the state.

Ms Keeley, a dedicated allied health professional, has developed an innovative digital health platform, Yarn, which tackles the obstacles of geographical isolation, increasingly challenging service delivery options, and growing waitlists for speech pathology services across the country.

"Yarn is more than just a digital health platform - it is a movement towards a more equitable and accessible healthcare system,” Ms Keeley said.

“By using innovative technology to support the allied health clinical community and the patients they serve, we can create a future where geography is not a barrier to accessing high-quality healthcare. I am proud to be a part of this conversation and look forward to seeing the impact that Yarn can have on the lives of families across the country.

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“I’m so thrilled to receive this award so that I can continue to deliver on the vision of speech pathologists across the country, to transform healthcare delivery in rural and remote Australia.” 

As part of the Award, Ms Keeley receives a $15,000 grant from Westpac to further support her project, as well as the opportunity to undertake a professional development course of her choosing. Ms Keeley will go on to represent NSW/ACT at the AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award Gala Dinner and National Announcement in Canberra later in the year, where the National Winner will be awarded an additional $20,000 Westpac grant and the National Runner Up, an additional $15,000.

NSW Minister for Women Jodie Harrison said: “Congratulations to Rebecca Keeley for winning the NSW/ACT AgriFutures Awards.

“These Awards shine the light on regional women and their contributions. All the finalists are excellent examples of the resourceful and resilient women in regional and rural communities,” Ms Harrison said.

AgriFutures Australia Managing Director John Harvey said women like Rebecca are trailblazers in their communities, making a lasting positive impact on the people around them and their respective industries. Their hard work and dedication are a source of inspiration for other women looking to make a difference in rural, regional, and remote areas.

“The award not only acknowledges the remarkable contributions made by these women but also seeks to provide them with the support and leadership skills needed to continue shaping the future of regional Australia. Through this Award, we hope to inspire and empower more women to take up leadership roles and make a significant difference in their communities,” Mr Harvey said.

Sam Gaston, NSW Regional General Manager, for Westpac congratulated Rebecca on being awarded the NSW State winner. "Our communities and rural industries have had to face many challenges but to have women like Rebecca creating new opportunities to drive positive change, puts the future of the rural sectors in good hands.

Congratulations to Rebecca on her achievements and for winning the NSW/ACT Award, against a cohort of outstanding finalists. The NSW Westpac Agribusiness team looks forward to cheering Rebecca on at the National announcement later this year," said Mr Gaston.

Mr Gaston also extended his congratulations to the NSW/ACT State finalists, Rae Knopik and Ruby Riethmuller.

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