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Rural leaders head for heart of politics

Rural leaders head for heart of politics

Twenty-nine diverse rural leaders are set to converge on Canberra and Sydney, as the 20th cohort of the Australian Rural Leadership Program (ARLP) examine politics and social issues in their upcoming session.

The ARLP is a 59 day program, delivered in six sessions over 17 months. Five of these sessions take place in locations across Australia, and one component takes place overseas.

Course 20 of the ARLP have already experienced a session examining leadership behaviour in the Kimberley, and have honed their media expertise and studied effective communication in Adelaide.

Now, with their third session taking place in Canberra and Sydney, participants will examine themes including political leadership, influence, advocacy and power.

Entering a highly changed political landscape, and attending Parliament’s first sitting week since the federal election, participants will have an invaluable opportunity to meet a range of parliamentary members and ministers.

They will not only gain crucial insights into the process of lobbying and representing community and industry interests, but will have access to some of the country’s most experienced and established leaders.

The second half of the program will take place in Sydney, exploring leadership interventions in social issues such as homelessness, prostitution, refugee experiences, youth homelessness and drug and alcohol abuse.

A session on ethics will provide an over-arching framework through which to view their leadership thinking and decision-making. A further key learning outcome will be to reflect on individual preconceptions, attitudes, and reactions to experiences - how these shape viewpoints, behaviour, and hence leadership engagement.

Strategic Manager for Australian Pork Farms Group Ltd and ARLP Course 20 participant Bjorn Ludvigsen said he is keen to sink his teeth into the next session of the ARLP.

“The primary objectives of the Canberra/Sydney session are developing our understanding of the role of government in Australia, learning about social problems facing contemporary Australia, exploring ethical dilemmas and developing our personal leadership skills,” Bjorn said.

“I am particularly interested in learning more about effective lobbying of government from an industry perspective and I am expecting the first hand exposure to social issues like homelessness and drug and alcohol addiction to be both challenging and eye-opening.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed the first 2 sessions of the ARLP and I am looking forward with anticipation to what the remaining 4 sessions hold in store,” Bjorn said.

“I believe my confidence, self-awareness and perception of others is already developing… I am enjoying the ARLP’s mix of experiential/hands-on learning with traditional class-room and presentation based teaching,” he said.

Bjorn also noted that having been sponsored to take part in this iconic leadership program by Australian Pork Ltd, he is always thinking ahead to the leadership he will be able to bring to his own industry. 

“I want to make a wider contribution to my industry as, like across most of agriculture, much of the work force is ageing and nearing retirement, yet there are few leaders being developed from younger generations to bridge this widening skills and leadership gap,” he said.

Fellow participant Beau Taylor, sponsored on the Program by the Australian Meat Processor Corporation, said he feels each session equips participants with new perspectives on leadership and new ideas with broad applications.

“Through a broader understanding of the current and future restraints on rural, regional and remote Australia, I can better position my industry to develop actions that will lead to sustainable improvements,” he said.

Course 20 will arrive in Canberra on Saturday, 16 November, and the session will conclude on Saturday, 23 November in Sydney.

The next session these rural leaders will undertake will be the overseas component of the Program, which takes place in India.

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