Program helps to explain rural issues Leading the way
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