Farming a brighter future: challenging boundaries to farmer health, wellbeing and safety

September 8th – September 9th 2022

September 8, 2022 @ 1:30 pm September 9, 2022 @ 4:30 pm

All attendees have access to the session recordings. A password was sent to each attendee, which will grant you access to the symposium portal. If you have lost your password or would like to enquire about gaining access, please email

Learn, network, and connect face-to-face with the industry’s best. 

Farming a Brighter Future explores the health, wellbeing and safety challenges and opportunities faced by Australia’s agricultural workforce, including how research is being translated into action to create better outcomes for the sector as a whole.

Through a combination of workshops, panel discussions and presentations, the event will provide a forum to foster learning, promote discussion and extend collaborative networks to make a difference to farmers’ lives, both now and into the future.

Book your tickets now through the link below.

Farming a Brighter Future Symposium Sessions

Thursday 8th September

1:30 pm

Registrations open. Light refreshments will be available from 1:30pm – 5:30pm.

2:30 pm

Welcome to Country and welcome to the symposium by MC Kirsten Diprose.


  • Greg Walcott (NCFH Board Chair)
  • Dr. Alison Kennedy (NCFH)
  • Dr. Gary Rogers (Deakin University)
  • Dr. Susan Brumby (NCFH)

3:30 – 5:30 pm

Panel Session 1

The power of communication: Influencing engagement and health, wellbeing and safety through media messaging

This panel will include a presentation and discussion from media/social media, communications, training and social marketing to explore how to engage effectively with farming populations and how using appropriate content, language and imagery can represent diversity, avoid stereotypes, and support and promote health, wellbeing and safety.


Rohan Fitzgerald, Western District Health Service


  • Dr. Timo Dietrich (Griffith University)
  • Cathie Schnitzerling (ABC Landline)
  • Rob McRae (Auschem Training Board Member/Chair)
  • Annabelle Macgugan (NCFH)
  • Alex Thomas (Founder of #plantaseedforsafety)

6:30 – 9:30 pm

Networking Dinner

Join us for a conversation with Alex Thomas, multi-award-winning Farm Safety advocate, S.A. Rural Woman of the Year 2018, and Founder of #PlantaSeedforSafety

Hosted by MC Kirsten Diprose

Friday 9th September

9:00 – 10:30am

Panel Session 2

Mental Health in Agriculture: From understanding risk to improving pathways to support

This panel session will include presentations and discussions with researchers, educators and service providers to highlight current and emerging risks to farmer mental health and demonstrate approaches to preventing, mitigating and responding to risk through education/training, tailored resource development and service provision.


Kirsten Diprose


  • Lauren Stracey (Rural Aid)
  • Dr Alison Kennedy (NCFH)
  • Rebecca Marshall (WorkSafe Victoria)
  • Dr. Joanna Macdonald (NCFH)
  • Kelly Barnes (Founder of Mates Working Dog School)

10:30 am

Morning tea for all Symposium and AusChem Attendees.

11:00 am – 12:30pm

Panel Session 3.1

Think locally, act globally: breaking down barriers and scaling opportunities for growth in agricultural health, wellbeing and safety

This collection of presentations will showcase efforts to (i) understand and positively shift culture, and (ii) maximise the scalability of effort to ensure a broader shift in attitudes, behaviour and health, wellbeing and safety outcomes for farming populations across Australia and internationally.


Sarah Crosthwaite (NCFH Advisory Group)


  • Dr. Jacquie Cotton (NCFH)
  • Dr. Lisa Cowan (Agriculture Victoria)
  • Dr. Amity Latham (NCFH)
  • Sally Cunningham (NCFH)
  • John Darcy (Making our Farms Safer (VFF)

11:00 am – 12:30 pm

Panel Session 3.2

Reaching the ‘Hard to Reach’: Increasing impact through co-design and collaboration

This collection of presentations will showcase research and service initiatives that have been either (i) co-designed with farmers, community and industry to increase their applicability and engagement with farming populations, or (ii) developed collaboratively with industry and community partners. Presenters will discuss findings, reflect on lessons learned and share recommendations for ongoing or future work.


Heather Fleming (NCFH Advisory Group)


  • Sally Cunningham (NCFH)
  • Kelly Barnes (NCFH)
  • Dr. Alyna Turner (Deakin IMPACT)
  • Susan Scarr (Connect Well)
  • Kim McDonnell (Thankful for Farmers)

12:30 – 1:15 pm

Lunch for all symposium and AusChem attendees, brought to you by the Gentlemen of Geelong.

1:15 – 2:45 pm

Panel Session 4.1

Rural workforce recruitment, retention and capacity building to support farmer health, wellbeing and safety

This collection of presentations will explore rural workforce capacity building from numerous angles, farm recruitment and retention, through to cultivating workforce knowledge and competency when engaging with farming communities about health, wellbeing and safety. The session will incorporate the various perspectives of researchers, educators, employers and employees.


Greg Walcott (NCFH Board Chair)


  • Dr. Cath Cosgrave (Cath Cosgrave Consulting)
  • Dr. Jacquie Cotton (NCFH)
  • Louise Scott (GCAHM Graduate, National Emergency Management Agency)
  • Fiona Whale (Rural Bank)
  • Lauren McDonald (Psychologist/Rural Health and Stress Trainer)
  • Cecilia Fitzgerald (NCFH)

1:15 – 2:45 pm

Panel Session 4.2

Building rural workforce capacity through supporting rural research pathways

This session will showcase a selection of Honours and HDR student projects covering a range of rural and farmer health, wellbeing and safety topics.


Hugh Macdonald (NCFH Advisory Group)


  • Jessie Adams – Child Safety on Farms (PhD) (NCFH)
  • Claire McKay – Filtering the Facts: A meta-analysis of risk factors for Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Origin (Honours) (NCFH)
  • Jordan Walker – Agrichemical and Quad Bike Safety (Honours) (NCFH)
  • Mariel Flores Lima – Emerging infectious diseases in light of climate change (PhD) (CeRRF/NCFH)
  • Mary Malakellis – Developing a model of care for frequent potentially avoidable presentations to ED (PhD) (DRH)

2:45 – 3:10 pm

Light afternoon tea.

3:15 – 4:15 pm


Cultivating Health, Wellbeing and Safety in the Agriculture-dependent Workforce: Strategies to future-proof the agricultural industry

This final session will include presentations and questions from leaders in agriculture (including young farmers), rural research and rural health. This session is designed to highlight innovative thinking, inspire best practice approaches and identify areas for future growth in farmer health, wellbeing and safety.


  • Gavin Merriman (Aurora Dairies)
  • Emma Germano (VFF)
  • Clay Gowers (Young Farmer’s Advisory Council)
  • Dr. Rachel Huxley (Deakin University)
  • The Hon. Gayle Tierney (Minister for Agriculture)

4:15 – 4:30 pm

Final address from Dr Alison Kennedy, Director of the National Centre for Farmer Health.

4:30 pm

Symposium concludes.

AusChem Professional Development Day

This symposium will also host the AusChem Professional Development day. If you are an AusChem team member, you will be given a promotional code to use upon checkout. This will grant you access to the ticket option exclusive to your professional development day.

If you have any questions, please email Jacquie via


There is a range of accommodation options available for anyone travelling to Waurn Ponds for the event.


A huge thank you to our sponsors WorkSafe, Gentlemen of Geelong and Mallee Marketing, without whom this event would not have been possible.