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Beyond the Bale : December 2013
30 30 30 ON-FARM December 2013 BEYOND THE BALE NSW woolgrower and recent Australian Rural Leadership Program (ARLP) graduate Mary Goodacre was reminded of Australia’s old “have-a -go” attitude during a trip to India as part of the program. “I rarely heard rural Indians asking what their Government would do to solve a problem,” Mary said. “Their self-help approach is much closer to Australia’s old “have-a -go” attitude. Indian politician, Professor Nageshwar summed it up: ’Local leadership taking up the people’s issues can cut through bureaucracy and red tape to achieve change.’ FAST FACTS l AWI funds the participation of a wool industry leader in the Australian Rural Leadership Program. l Woolgrower Mary Goodacre from near Canowindra, NSW recently graduated from the program and will use her knowledge and experience for the advancement of woolgrowers. l Mary says rural Australia needs more open-minded leaders that encourage a “have-a-go” attitude. “Unfortunately, many Australians seem to have adopted a sense of entitlement, constantly asking ’What will the Government do about this?’ I think rural Australia, and particularly its leaders (including me), must step up and help achieve change, not ask who will. “Rural Australia needs open-minded leaders that will work with their rural communities – to build on the opportunities for profitable wool and sheep enterprises and also to manage past mistrust between the industry and groups that seek to influence it.” Mary, who is a partner in a Merino, beef and native grass enterprise near Canowindra NSW, was the AWI-sponsored participant in the most recent cohort of thirty graduates from the program. The ARLP is a part-time program run across Australia and overseas in six sessions over 16 months. The aim is to respond to the challenges being faced by rural, regional and remote Australia, and foster and develop the rural leaders of the future. “Each leader on the course brought a unique set of skills, experiences and views to our trips to the Kimberley, Adelaide, Sydney, Canberra, India and regional NSW and Victoria. Many faced personal and professional challenges before and during the course. Their shared experiences inspired, and prove that regional Australia has many experienced, open-minded, ethical leaders committed to their industry, communities and workplaces. “What I learnt from the course is that, as a leader, I now accept I don’t need to know all the answers. Rather, I need the skills and will to draw on a team’s knowledge to find the answer. I need to be curious – to focus less on having the ’right answer’ and more on asking the ’right question’.” As well as being a partner in a wool- growing enterprise, Mary has worked with several agricultural and environmental organisations in NSW and the Northern Territory, and was appointed to three natural resource and Aboriginal cultural heritage boards in NSW. She has also been a project manager for AWI, managing several projects including the successful Making More from Sheep program, and MLA as research extension manager. “I will continue to participate in sheep and wool industry activities that encourage woolgrowers to make changes on farm, in rural communities and across the wool industry, rather than ask who will.” More information: www.wool.com/ARLP Australian Rural Leadership Program graduate Mary Goodacre with her, now grown, poddy Merino ewe, Harriet, in the yards at home. REBUILDING THE “HAVE-A-GO” ATTITUDE