Every city, town and community is connected to rural Australia in some way. On a basic level this is simply through our need for food and fibre to feed and clothe ourselves. Our rural heritage is linked to our identity as Australians.
Historically, rural Australia is the heart of our nation and the cradle of our cultural identity. Despite the enormous change in our nation the country and the outback are part of the bedrock of what we are as a nation.
Rural Australia’s primary producers rank amongst the most efficient, environmentally conscious and innovative in the world. They produce almost 93 per cent of Australia's daily food supply and along with related sectors, generate $155 billion a year—12 per cent of Australia’s GDP.
We need to respect and build on that contribution.
An act of faith
The idea of the Foundation came from Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (Rural Industries RDC) in 1991 and 1992, as it looked at how to encourage the development of new rural industries and thriving communities.
The Rural Industries RDC board members wanted an organisation that could influence change across Australian rural industries as a whole, and rural communities in general.
They noted that a key difference between successful rural communities and those perceived as failing was often not inherent natural resources or strategic position, but an individual or group of individuals, standing up and taking on leadership roles.
They concluded that leaders were required, not only in state and national political roles, but within local schools, on hospital boards, within community and sporting groups, and local industries.
So, the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation Limited was formed to nurture and advance rural Australia. It was registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission on 3 September 1992 as a not-for-profit company, limited by guarantee. Due to its role, it has deductible gift recipient status.
A model that works
The Foundation has stood the test of time. Our achievement is evident through our graduates whose impact has been deeply felt across the depth and breadth of Australia.
The Foundation’s founders pioneered a model for its leadership program that provided the impetus and fueled the imaginations of hundreds of graduates.
In 2008, in keeping with the ever-shifting challenges within contemporary rural Australia, the Foundation refined and redeveloped its leadership model. This model forms the basis for our curriculum and our suite of programs that develop the practical, innovative and ethical approaches needed for effective leadership in the businesses, organisations, industries and communities of rural Australia.