Pro­gram helps to ex­plain ru­ral is­sues Lead­ing the way

Townsville Bulletin - - News - by Bar­bara Lynch bar­bara. lynch@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

TOWNSVILLE woman Chan­tal Oxenham is hop­ing for big re­sults fol­low­ing the news she will take part in a ru­ral lead­ers’ pro­gram.

Six ru­ral lead­ers se­lected from Queens­land will take part in the Aus­tralian Ru­ral Lead­er­ship Pro­gram which gives re­cip­i­ents a chance to de­velop lead­er­ship skills as well as busi­ness, strate­gic plan­ning and in­ter­per­sonal skills.

Ms Oxenham, a Cen­tre­link busi­ness man­ager, said she was ex­cited about what this could lead to.

‘ ‘ This will help me bet­ter un­der­stand the im­pact of things like drought can have on com­mu­ni­ties and we can look at ways to help,’’ she said.

‘‘ It is dif­fi­cult at times for fam­i­lies who have to make a de­ci­sion to stay on the land or go.’’

The lead­er­ship pro­gram runs for 17 months, be­gin­ning in May and fin­ish­ing in Septem­ber 2012.

Ms Oxenham, who was born in Vanuatu and raised in France, hoped to bet­ter un­der­stand the needs of peo­ple liv­ing in ru­ral ar­eas.

Through Cen­tre­link she deals with peo­ple liv­ing as far south as Glad­stone, north to Thurs­day Is­land and west to Mount Isa and Birdsville.

Ms Oxenham re­ally be­came in­volved in ru­ral is­sues when she ap­plied for a ru­ral port­fo­lio job at Cen­tre­link in Townsville in 2003.

Her job took her to Lon­greach and Nor­man­ton and this is where her love of travel came from.

She will travel for the ru­ral lead­ers pro­gram, in­clud­ing two weeks in In­dia, next Fe­bru­ary.

‘‘ You can imag­ine why I’m ex­cited to be se­lected. There are so many op­por­tu­ni­ties out there,’’ the 53-year-old said.

The pro­gram is de­signed to help her un­der­stand peo­ple liv­ing on big sta­tions out west through to those in small farm­ing com­mu­ni­ties along the Queens­land coast.

Upon grad­u­a­tion, Ms Oxenham will be­come part of the Aus­tralian Ru­ral Lead­er­ship Foun­da­tion’s net­work of more than 550 grad­u­ates.

Ap­pli­ca­tions for the next round of schol­ar­ships have opened. Visit www. ru­ral-lead­ers. com. au.

GREAT OP­POR­TU­NITY: Chan­tal Oxenham of Cen­tre­link

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