AT a gala dinner at Crown Perth following the Pastoralists and Graziers Association of WA (PGA) annual convention, Gina Rinehart was named the 2023 PGA Rural Achievement Award recipient.
The announcement was made by PGA president Tony Seabrook, who said for more than 30 years the award had recognised the contributions of some of its most outstanding members, not only for their contribution to PGA, but also to rural and regional Western Australia.
"It is impossible to adequately articulate the impact that Mrs Rinehart has had on our industry, our Association and rural and regional WA," Mr Seabrook said.
"She has always held a deep love of the land, family, and community, and exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit that makes Western Australia great.
"Coming from one of the longest continuing pastoral families in Australia - started in the Pilbara region of Western Australia in the 1860s, and before that on farms closer to Perth, she spent her childhood on large sheep and cattle properties in the Pilbara and attended boarding school at St. Hilda's Anglican School for Girls in Perth.
"Having worked alongside her father and then succeeded him as executive chairman following his death, she turned a company with severe financial difficulties into the largest private company in Australia and one of the largest mining houses in the world, providing employment to many across the outback of Australia."
Mr Seabrook said under Ms Rinehart's leadership, the company had diversified from prospecting to become a miner, with further investment in iron ore, copper, potash, gold, and coal and in property, dairy and beef cattle.
Her vision to grow and value-add Australian food had been the basis for significant investments, with pastoral properties now stretching across most states in Australia and the Northern Territory and including the acquisition of the iconic S. Kidman and Co pastoral company.
"She is the founder of Australians for Northern Development and Economic Vision, has authored two books, and arranged and funded a third one, (for agriculture), founded Australia's Annual National Mining and Related Industries Day and National Agriculture and Related Industries Day, is patron of several organisations and a governor of American Chamber of Commerce Australia," Mr Seabrook said.
"And she is a strong supporter of several medical, sporting, educational, health and community organisations including serving as patron of Australia's internationally renowned Olympic swimming, rowing, volleyball and synchronised swimming teams, whose Olympians provide important role models for Australians.
"As an industry leader and huge contributor to Australia, Mrs Rinehart provides a role model for other women, is an inspiration to so many and her dedication and support for the PGA is beyond compare."
With Ms Rinehart not in attendance due to a previous engagement, Hancock Agriculture chief executive officer Adam Giles, accepted the award on her behalf, watched by several of her WA team members.
"I thank you Tony and your members very much," Mr Giles said.
"Mrs Rinehart will be utterly honoured to receive this award and recognition.
"And I want, on her behalf, to applaud you and your organisation for standing up for what you believe in.
"At a time when many other organisations have been too woke or too scared to speak up, you and the PGA have been the voice of reason.
"We saw that with the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act which sent shivers down our spine on both an agricultural and mining front, but you had the fortitude, insight, determination, grit and guts to fight against it.
"Thank you for standing up for industry, for Western Australia and for driving change for the betterment of all."
Ms Rinehart is also the current Western Australian of the Year, the 50th year of the awards, and will represent WA at the national final in Canberra on January 25, 2024.
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