WoolPoll 2015 launch with AWI CEO Stuart McCullough and WoolPoll Chair Will Roberts

Woolgrowers will be asked in September how much they want to invest in their industry’s research and development. Australian Wool Innovation CEO Stuart McCullough launched WoolPoll 2015 – the voting process that lets growers decide the levy rate that will fund industry R&D and marketing. WoolPoll 2015 Panel chairman and Queensland woolgrower Will Roberts spoke about the grower-driven process.




2015 Young Journalist Forum


Bruce Guthrie is the editorial director for news website The New Daily. 

Guthrie began his news media career in 1972 as a copy boy at the Herald newspaper. He spent the first half of his career reporting, eventually becoming a foreign correspondent for the Herald & Weekly Times. Since then he has worked as the editor of The Sunday Age, The Age, The Herald Sun, Who Weekly, The Weekend Australian Magazine, and a senior editor at People Magazine in New York.

Guthrie’s memoir, Man Bites Murdoch, was published to wide acclaim in 2010. In November 2013, after stints as a Fairfax columnist and ABC broadcaster, he launched The New Daily.

Josie Taylor is the acting consumer affairs reporter for the ABC News National Reporting Team.

Taylor hosted the 7.30 Victoria program from 2011 to 2014, bringing many rural and region stories to a wider TV audience.

She was Victorian state political reporter for ABC TV from 2008 to 2010 and has also reported for 730, Lateline, AM, PM and The World Today, and was the associate producer for Insiders with Barrie Cassidy.

Andrew Lund is the State Political Reporter for Nine News in Melbourne.

Lund got his start as a reporter with Seven Local News on the Sunshine Coast in 2002, before working Mackay and Cairns.

After transferring to Melbourne in 2007, he produced the Walkley-award winning coverage of the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009.

He moved to Channel Nine in 2011 and currently covers Victorian politics, transport and general news.

2015 Media Outlet of the Year


 Geelong Advertiser wins Media Outlet of the Year at Rural Press Club of Victoria awards

The Geelong Advertiser has been named Media Outlet of the Year for the second time at the Rural Press Club of Victoria’s Journalism & Photography Awards, held at South Wharf in Melbourne on Friday, August 21.

The newspaper claimed the prestigious title, finishing ahead of the Latrobe Valley Express, and the Weekly Times.

The judging panel faced a daunting task weighing up and comparing the merits of a wide range of media outlets, the difficulty reflected the high standards being maintained in an increasingly challenging media market.

However, the Advertiser came out in front in its 175th year, rewarded for its unflinching journalism, including its exposure into a culture of bullying in the Geelong council.

The Geelong Advertiser’s Mandy Squires was named Journalist of the Year, ahead of colleague Danny Lannen, and Peter Hemphill of The Weekly Times.

The judging panel said Mandy delivered compelling content across subjects as diverse as uncovering the ice epidemic in Geelong and exposing bullying within the council.

Glenn Daniels of the Bendigo Advertiser was named Photographer of the Year, edging out Brendan McCarthy of the Bendigo Advertiser, and Josh Nash, of the Portland Observer.

A highly competitive field in the Ray Frawley Young Journalist of the Year showed that the future is in good hands.

The award was presented to Kara Irving of the Ballarat Courier. Bethany Tyler of the Geelong Advertiser was awarded Highly Commended, while Richard Koenig of the Hamilton Spectator was awarded Commended for his work over the past 12 months.

The awards took place on Friday 21 August in front of 130 people, including 110 of Victoria’s leading rural and regional media.

The other winners were:

  • Chris McLennan, The Weekly Times (Best Regional News Story)
  • Jeanette Severs, Stock & Land (Foot on the gas) (Best Rural News Story)
  • Danielle Grindlay, ABC Country Hour (Best Feature Series – Broadcast)
  • Donna Kelly, The Local (Best Feature Series – Non-daily papers)
  • Mandy Squires, Geelong Advertiser (Best Feature Series – Daily & State-based papers)
  • Nikolai Beilharz, ABC Country Hour (Best Feature Story – Broadcast)
  • Tessa Hayward, Hamilton Spectator (Best Feature Story – Non-daily papers)
  • Nigel McNay, Border Morning Mail (Best Feature Story – Daily & State-based papers)
  • Mandy Squires, Geelong Advertiser (Best Campaign, including social media)
  • Emily Bissland, ABC Open South West Victoria (Best Multimedia)
  • Shannon Twomey, The Weekly Times (Best Agriculture Story)
  • Peter Hemphill, The Weekly Times (Best Business Story)
  • Alex Oates, Geelong Advertiser (Best Sports Story)
  • Michael Dugdale, Geelong Advertiser (Best News Photographer)
  • Brendan McCarthy, Bendigo Advertiser (Best General Interest Photography)
  • Julie Mercer, Shepparton News (Best Sports Photography)
  • Glenn Daniels, Bendigo Advertiser (Photographer of the Year)
  • Kara Irving, Ballarat Courier (Ray Frawley Young Journalist of the Year)
  • Mandy Squires, Geelong Advertiser (Journalist of the Year)
  • Geelong Advertiser (Media Outlet of the Year)

2015 IFAJ World Congress pre-tour, Cairns and Sydney


Hot Tropics is an IFAJ 2015 World Congress pre-tour which will highlight tropical agriculture over three days in far north Queensland, including a day on the Great Barrier Reef. The group will then travel to Sydney for two nights before flying to New Zealand on October 13. 

Hot Tropics is hosted by the Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists and the Rural Press Club of Queensland.

We will be staying at the Novotel Oasis Resort (122 Lake St) in Cairns and Rydges World Square (389 Pitt Street) whilst we are in Sydney.

Register now | Full delegate single room A$1300 | Full delegate sharing A$990 | Delegate partner A$790

For more information - click here

Pre-congress tour bookings    2015 IFAJ Congress tour in NZ - book here

2015 ACAJ Star Prize - media release


Photo caption: ABC Rural reporter, Charlie McKillop (right) from far north Queensland receives the Rabobank Australian Star Prize for Rural Broadcasting from Rabobank state manager for Queensland/Northern Territory, Brad James, at a Rural Press Club of Queensland lunch today in Brisbane.

Rabobank award recognises Australia’s top broadcast journalists

ABC Rural reporter from far north Queensland, Charlie McKillop, has won the country’s top award for rural broadcasting.

Charlie was presented with the Rabobank Australian Star Prize for Rural Broadcasting at a lunch hosted by the Rural Press Club of Queensland in Brisbane today.

The award recognises Charlie’s outstanding audio piece, “A duty to be kind in halal killing,” which explored the halal slaughter of cattle in far north Queensland on ABC Rural’s Country Hour radio program.

Her award-winning broadcast examined what happens on the killing room floor and saw her confront the uncomfortable reality that in order to eat meat, animals must die and somebody has to do it.

Apart from providing insight into the halal slaughter of animals in Australia, Charlie’s radio story also highlighted the challenges faced by Muslims in regional Queensland.

For full media release, click here 

CFA - new award exclusive to journalists


New award open exclusively to journalists

Have you reported on a major fire-related incident or issue in the past 12 months? 

Be recognised for your work! 

A new award is now open exclusively to MEDIA to recognise the contribution journalists make to promoting fire safety.

We are looking for outstanding fire-related reports published on:

  • Television
  • Radio
  • Newspaper
  • Online
  • Podcast
  • Blogs

The Media Award recognises excellence in reporting on an issue related to fire safety or outstanding coverage of a fire-related incident by a content producer (such as a writer, journalist, blogger, photo journalist or other) from a recognised media outlet.

Entries may also include a series of stories on a similar topic or event, or an investigative piece that has led to increased awareness of fire safety through innovative and responsible reporting and promotion.

Eligibility: The media report must have been broadcast or published between 30 June 2014 and 30 June 2015 in Victoria.

This category is open to: Media Content Producers from a recognised media outlet. CFA, DELWP, MFB and EMV employees and members are ineligible to enter this category.

Enter today: (Entries close 30 September)

As this is a new award we are happy to answer any questions you may have about potential stories or coverage you wish to enter. Please contact Awards Coordinator Carlie Newman on 9665 4487.

ACAJ media release


Young Aussie rural reporter NZ-bound

The countdown is on for a young Victorian reporter to fly the Australian flag in New Zealand in October, as one of 10 agricultural journalists selected from around the world to take part in a prestigious leadership program.

ABC's western Victoria rural reporter Brett Worthington was selected by the Australian Council of Agricultural Journalist (ACAJ) as the Australian entrant in the global program organised by the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ).

Brett went on to be chosen for the 2015 IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism Award, which includes a trip to the annual IFAJ Congress and a professional development ‘boot camp’ in Hamilton, NZ, along with entrants from Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Sweden, UK and USA.

The Rural Press Club of Victoria (RPCV) will also assist in Brett’s professional development by funding his trip to New Zealand.

ACAJ president Genevieve McAulay congratulated Brett on his win.

“Australia continues to have good representation on the global front with the IFAJ/Alltech award,” Ms McAulay said. “Brett is another one of our young and upcoming rural journalists and it is fantastic that we can offer him and others with a passion for agriculture the opportunity to be part of the professional development and leadership program.

“Other young leaders in Australian rural journalism, such as Rebecca Jennings (Coretext), Carla Wiese-Smith (Stock Journal) and Nikolai Beilharz (ABC), are past recipients of this award. Just as they have gone on to continue to achieve excellence in their careers, the ACAJ also looks forward to following Brett’s career.”

Ty Yeast, managing director of Alltech Australia/Lienert Australia, said Alltech has been sponsoring the Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism program for more than ten years in order to identify and recognise future leaders in journalism.

“Our industry is in strong need of leaders and agricultural journalism is no exception to this,” he said. “We are delighted to see a strong global interest in the program but it makes myself and the whole Alltech Australia team proud, that the IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Agricultural Journalism award again has a winner from Australia. Congratulations to Brett for the fantastic achievement.”

Rural Press Club of Victoria President, Stephen Cooke, said Brett’s selection was a highly deserved reward for his dedication to both his craft and his local community.

“The Rural Press Club of Victoria is delighted for Brett and very pleased to fund his flight to New Zealand,” Mr Cooke said.

“Journalists and photographers are integral members of their local community. We often see how reporting on issues of importance to the community can bring beneficial change.

“Investing in the professional development of journalists and photographers is important for both the individual and their community.”

About Brett:

Brett is the ABC's western Victoria rural reporter, joining the ABC in 2013 as the Mildura-Swan Hill rural reporter, having previously worked for newspapers in Bendigo, Colac and Cambodia and for ABC TV's Offsiders.

He lives at Horsham, in the Wimmera region of western Victoria, and studied journalism at RMIT six years ago. In 2014, he was selected for an IFAJ Exposure-4-Development media tour to Tanzania, Africa.

Brett said he is excited to represent the ACAJ in New Zealand and will use this experience to further hone his skills, learn from experienced reporters and immerse himself in another culture.

“Covering agriculture is not simply about producing content for farmers. It’s about giving the broader community an understanding of the role of agriculture and the contribution it makes to regional and global economies,” Brett said.

“Australian farmers tend to look internationally to our north – with a particular focus on Asia – and often forget our neighbours on the other side of the ditch and the major overhaul the country has undergone to transition from sheep-based industries into dairy. I am eager to learn more about the role agriculture plays in New Zealand’s economy and the impact its transition to dairy has had across the country.”


Interview contacts

  • Brett Worthington, (03) 5381 5320
  • Genevieve McAulay, President of ACAJ, 0428 279 576
  • Stephen Cooke, President of the Rural Press Club of Victoria, (03) 9478 9779

Award details

IFAJ Congress


Click here for PDF format

The Nationals in transition


photo supplied by Rex Martinich


Vice president of the Rural Press Club of Victoria and Hamilton Spectator journalist 

The Victorian National Party appears to be going back to basics for election campaigning under its newer, younger leaders Peter Walsh and Steph Ryan.

However, the policies developed by the Nationals will have to change to meet the changing types of people in their own electorates.

Mr Walsh and Ms Ryan were interviewed by ABC 7.30 national affairs correspondent Heather Ewart, who made the acclaimed ‘A Country Road’ on the Nationals, at a Rural Press Club of Victoria function in Melbourne last week.

Stung by a surprise defeat to an independent candidate in Shepparton last year, the Nationals will be getting back on the road and going door to door in electorates to avoid a repeat next election.

Mr Walsh, as the new party leader, acknowledged the difficulty in getting voters to “connect” with large financial numbers and indicated a preference for highlighting tangible local projects.

“I think if you look back with hindsight, which is a great tool, we could have had our message better about what (the party) was delivering for families and individuals,” Mr Walsh said.

“One of the traps of politics is talking about the billions (of dollars); people don’t relate to the billions of hundreds of millions, they relate to what is going to have an impact on their lives.

“I don’t think we connected with people, on their level, on what we actually did for country Victoria.”

Health, education and wealth outcomes for individuals and families will also become a greater focus for the party.

Ms Ryan, the new deputy leader, credited the tried and true methods of a long campaign, face-to-face meetings and an experienced election staff for her victory in Euroa, rather than social media.

The Nationals have made, and will continue to make, very visible changes to the types of candidates they run.

Ms Ryan joked that the traditional National Party candidate, a former footballer, was now an “endangered species” as the number of female candidates increased.

The party’s election win in the western Victorian seat of Lowan and the by-election in Gippsland South were held up by Mr Walsh as examples of how the National Party could take on the threat of independent and minor party candidates.

“You can also look at quite a few other seats with independents who have been rather persistent in getting elected, but it didn’t happen,” Mr Walsh said.

Changing demographics have also directed the Nationals to make changes to the core of the party, as well as the front-of-house candidates.

“We are no longer a farmers’ party” would have been an astonishing statement for a National

Party leader to make in years gone by, but that is exactly what Mr Walsh said last week.

“You look around our team now: ex builder; football coach; CEO of a hospital; real estate agent; editor of a newspaper; and the list goes on,” Mr Walsh said.

“Out in our branches in country Victoria we have different demographics being members of the party.

“The traditional farmer issues aren’t the ones to be discussed.”

Mr Walsh said that education and Year 12 attainment rates were the main topics of discussion by the party branch in Echuca.

Ms Ewart did hint that the Nationals had not quite shed some of its old self.

“When I grew up, women in the Nationals served scones and cakes. There’s probably a bit of that still going on, more than there should be?” she asked during the interview.

“Well in their defence, they generally make excellent scones and cakes,” Ms Ryan said.

“Except for me. I cannot cook to save myself.”


ABC journalist Heather Ewart interviewed Nationals Victoria leader Peter Walsh and deputy leader Steph Ryan at the May Rural Press Club of Victoria lunch on Monday, May 25. Topics included the loss in Shepparton to independent Suzanna Sheed, why they won’t amalgamate with the Liberals, and what they stand for.