Remote employment crusader wins national rural women’s award

Terry Sim, September 12, 2019

2019 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award Jo Palmer, right, with runner-up Claire Moore.

NEW South Wales remote work advocate, Jo Palmer, has won the 2019 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award and $10,000 to help build a portal to connect employers with potential employees.

Ms Palmer is the founder of Pointer Remote Roles and was presented with the award by Minister for Agriculture, Senator Bridget McKenzie, at a black tie gala dinner at Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday evening.

Victorian beekeeper Claire Moore, received a $5000 Westpac bursary as the award runner-up. The two women received their awards in front of more than 500 guests, including alumni, government officials, industry representatives, media and finalists’ family and friends.

Ms Palmer plans to use her Westpac bursary to create a portal within the PRR platform providing a series of resources, training and formal certifications to help alleviate obstacles faced by many rurally-based professionals to gain remote work. The portal will also educate and support businesses to adopt remote employment.

“The online portal will further assist Pointer Remote Roles to connect employers and talent and in-turn reduce rural unemployment, stimulate local economies and reduce pressure on farming families looking for off-farm income and alternative revenue streams.

“I am incredibly grateful to AgriFutures Australia and Westpac for providing not just financial assistance, but also a platform from which to champion remote work,” Ms Palmer said.

Ms Palmer is based at The Rock, near Wagga Wagga, and was inspired to establish PRR by her own network of highly-qualified professional friends, many of who were unable to make the most of their skills as a result of living in regional areas.

“Rural, regional and remote areas in Australia hold a wealth of highly qualified and experienced professionals and much of this talent is sitting idle, particularly among women.

“Pointer Remote Roles provides a valuable pathway for companies, corporations and government agencies to fill positions with the best candidate for the job, regardless of where they live,” she said.

AgriFutures Australia managing director John Harvey congratulated Ms Palmer and said her ability to identify societal shifts and use these to drive opportunities for rural, regional and remote Australia demonstrated exceptional leadership.

“Jo exemplifies all that the AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award represents.

“By connecting underutilised resources with businesses in need, her project has the potential for economic gains for Australian employers, and huge economic and social impacts in rural and regional economies, particularly during our current challenging climate,” he said.

Mr Harvey also congratulated Ms Moore. The Kyneton resident is on a mission to inspire Australian bee keepers to increase their hive numbers while also exporting Australia’s healthy and clean bees to the world. Her project involves breeding a genetically diverse range of queen bees that are healthy and adaptable in a variety of climates to address declining bee colony numbers.

“Jo and Claire, and all the state winners, join an alumni of over 300 women from a range of industries.

“The AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award has provided these women with the opportunity to achieve positive change for rural and regional Australia through diverse and innovative projects relating to rural industries and communities,” Mr Harvey said.

Westpac’s national manager agribusiness, Stephen Hannan, said the award is more than the Westpac bursary.

“Exceptional people like Jo and Claire deserve to be acknowledged nationally and celebrated for their inspiring work,” he said.

Minister for Agriculture Bridget McKenzie said Jo Palmer sees the regions as places full of potential, and a source of highly skilled workers for city employers to tap into.

“She’s passionate about the $25 billion positive effect on our nation’s GDP that is achievable by lifting women’s employment by six per cent, made all the more achievable in regional Australia by increased connectivity.

“She’s putting talented professionals in regional, rural and remote areas in contact with businesses all over Australia so they have access to challenging work where they live and businesses have access to a whole new pool of expertise,” Ms McKenzie said.

“Huge congratulations to all the finalists as well, for putting themselves out there and for their contribution to regional industries and communities.”

Applications for the 2020 AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award are now open and close on Thursday 31 October 2019, 11.00pm AEDT. Northern Territory entrants closes Sunday, 26 January 2020, 11.00pm AEDT. Full details can be found at


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