Department of Family and Community Services

2017 Rex Airlines Regional Woman of the Year

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Julia Harpham

Julia Harpham
Winner

School teacher, cattle farmer, refugee advocate and Mingoola community legend, Julia personifies civic leadership. Her work with a vast number of local community groups in northern New South Wales saw her and husband Philip awarded Tenterfield’s 2017 Citizen(s) of the Year. Most notably, Julia championed a grassroots resettlement plan for African refugees that transformed her community and addressed the problems of an aging and declining rural population. Julia worked with refugee advocacy groups and government organisations to locate refugee families welcome them to Mingoola and provide the support needed to grow into the community.

Welcoming four families (29 members) to Mingoola has allowed the town to reopen its school and provides permanent seasonal workers for local farmers. Julia and the Mingoola Progress Association’s model successfully connects refugees to regional Australia, breaks migrant misconceptions and shows hope to other deteriorating regional communities.

Annette Baker

Annette Baker
Finalist

Annette's 15-year-old daughter, Mary took her own life in 2011. Since then Annette has made a significant contribution to the promotion of mental health advocacy and suicide prevention throughout the Albury-Wodonga region. Responses to Annette’s participation in the Border Mail’s, Walkley Award winning campaign, 'Ending the Suicide Silence' motivated her next actions. Annette founded Survivors of Suicide and Friends, The Winter Solstice event and The Big Splash.

Annette has been steadfast in her efforts to break down barriers associated with the stigma and shame associated with mental ill health and suicide. The annual Winter Solstice event has attracted world-leading experts Professor Patrick McGorry AO and Professor Ian Hickie. In 2016 prominent journalist and Wiradjuri man, Stan Grant highlighted the overrepresentation of Indigenous deaths by suicide, fostering new discussions within the regional community.

Her dedication and commitment to improving mental health outcomes has generated a new energy rising above traditional barriers, knowing full well that inadequate care can lead to dire outcomes. Annette was recognised as one of seven finalists as part of The UNSW 2016 Inaugural Australian Mental Health Prize, and is an active member of Australians for Mental Health.

Stephanie Cameron

Stephanie Cameron
Finalist

Stephanie is the business operations manager, director and co-owner of East West Enviroag, a Tamworth based soil testing lab. Stephanie's business started from a desire to provide soil and water testing facilities locally, reducing the need to send samples to the city, creating employment and skill development opportunities locally.

Passionate about her community and the environment, Stephanie is actively involved in several community projects and groups. She is chair of the New England North West Landcare Network and the Sustainable Northwest program, and deputy chair of Landcare NSW. Stephanie is also a founding member of the Tamworth Urban Landcare Group and the treasurer of the Tamworth Regional Landcare Association and Tamworth Club of Zonta.

Under her stewardship, local groups have successfully secured over $2 million in funding for soil health and healthy farms projects. Stephanie is known as a mentor for young women and an empowering force leading on well-being projects and domestic violence support services.

Associate Professor Lyn Fragar AO

Lynette Fragar
Finalist

Lyn is a Public Health Physician who has been the Director of the Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety (ACAHS) and initiated Farmsafe Australia. Her work at ACAHS helped significantly reduce on-farm deaths and serious injury and resulted in her being awarded an Officer in the Order of Australia (AO). She is currently chair of the Hunter New England Local Health District Board, and is committed to providing access to quality, safe, patient-centred health care services to all. This work sees Lyn on the road, visiting small and larger rural hospitals and health services and representing rural communities' health interests at district, state and federal levels. Lyn is also a Director on the board of GP Synergy.

Lyn is recognised as an inspiring leader with a genuine commitment to community and patient engagement. Lyn was honoured by the Australian Medical Association in 1999 for the best individual contribution to health care in Australia.