Mr FITZGIBBON (Hunter) (13:58):  I enjoyed my visit to the member for Page's electorate very recently, where we had a national Country Labor forum. I did note that the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources and a whole posse of National MPs paid a visit the very next week. It obviously had an effect.

I rise to alert the House to the fact that today is the United Nations International Day of Rural Women. First struck in 2008—better late than never—the day highlights the crucial role women play in rural, regional and remote economies and communities. This, of course, is nothing new. Women have always played a crucial role and their contribution has been of great benefit to the global community. Happily, their influence is on the rise. Indeed, they are playing leading roles in local councils, local boards, national boards and economic development bodies.

Women on the land were once stereotyped: they cooked, cleaned the house, fed the chooks and paid the bills. This, of course, was never universally true. Thankfully, Australians are now more enlightened and better understand the diverse and technical roles women play on the farm and in agribusiness. Inside the farm gate, they are out in the field or in the shed using the latest technologies. Further up the value chain, they are in agronomy, in finance and in logistics.

The UN's efforts also serve to remind us that we must acknowledge that many women are still the silent voices in our remote, rural and regional areas and government has a role to play in ensuring that their voices are more loudly heard. (Time expired)

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