January 26, 2020
Durong grazier Georgie Somerset is on the ABC Board, is the General President of AgForce … and is now also a Member of the Order of Australia.
Georgina Jane Somerset AM received her award in the 2020 Australia Day Honours for “significant service to primary industry, to women, and to the community”.
Her award cites her industry roles:
- General President, AgForce, since 2018.
- Member, National Rural Advisory Council, 2005-2012.
- Director, QRAA (now Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority), 2011-2017.
- Committee Member, Rural Skilling and Labour Industry Advisory Group, 2006-2009.
- General Manager, Durong Country Beef, 1996-2002.
- Director, Royal Flying Doctor Service, Queensland, since 2016.
- Director, Children’s Health Queensland, since 2013.
- Committee Member, Wide Bay Burnett Regional Development Australia, since 2015.
- Chair, Red Earth Community Foundation, South Burnett.
- Founding Member, South Burnett Community Leadership Program.
- President, Queensland Rural, Regional and Remote Women’s Network, 2009-2014, and Founding Vice-President, 1993.
- Vice-President, National Foundation for Australian Women, 2009, and Board Member, 2007-2012.
- Associate Member, National Council of Women, since 1995.
- Board Member, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, since 2017.
- Committee Member, Regional Telecommunications Independent Review, 2015-2016.
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On Tuesday, AgForce Qld said it was “thrilled” its General President had been named a Member of the Order of Australia.
CEO Michael Guerin commended Georgie Somerset for her the decades-long dedication in advocating for equality for people in the bush.
“A South Burnett cattle producer, Georgie has been a strong and vocal advocate for the agriculture industry for many years, first as a member of the United Graziers’ Association, and for the past 20 years with AgForce,” Mr Guerin said.
“We are fortunate to benefit from her passion, her dedication and her vision as General President, as we advocate on behalf of not just primary producers but the rural and regional communities of which they are an integral part.
“Georgie’s background in regional development has helped her be a driving force behind AgForce’s Stand Up for Regional Queensland program, a movement that aims to ensure people who live outside south-east Queensland have access to the same quality services, infrastructure and opportunity.
“This supports Board roles she holds with respected organisations including Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority, the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Qld Section) and Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
“In particular, Georgie’s support for women in agriculture has done so much to improve the recognition of their contribution and the opportunities available to them, leading by example as she smashes those glass ceilings herself.
“She has contributed much as founding vice-president and later president of the Queensland Rural, Regional and Remote Women’s Network, vice-president of the National Foundation for Australian Women and an associate member of the National Council of Women.”
Mrs Somerset said it was humbling to receive the accolade, and the honour was in being able to represent the men and women of regional Australia.
“There are no more resilient, resourceful and positive people living anywhere in the world than here in the bush,” she said.
“We are used to battling on with a steadfast resilience against whatever is thrown at us, raising strong families, who remain positive when seasons are dire, knowing they will continue this incredible positivity.
“It is a privilege to be involved in helping provide a voice for these people and their businesses, as sometimes, I think this resilient attitude is taken advantage of by governments and businesses to provide a second-rate service.
“I am optimistic agriculture’s contribution to our economy and our environment will be more valued in the years ahead and I am committed to continuing the work I do to assist this.”