Passing an exam brings satisfaction at any time, doubly
so when it is the challenging Company Director Course run
by the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Jane was
recently presented with the GAICD qualification by AICD
Queensland past-president Richard Haire (see photo). Jane
is director/honorary secretary of International House Board
of Management, a past president of the Rural Press Club
and looking forward to making further contributions at board
Jane's LinkedIn profile.
up a social enterprise
Jane lives by her values of integrity, creativity and purpose.
She loves the integrity of natural fibres, the creativity
of original clothing and the purposefulness of making her
After years of gathering many (too many!) garments of wool,
linen, silk and cotton – as well as button, lace, ribbons
and beads – Jane is applying old-fashioned skills of sewing,
patchwork and needlework, to create History Skirts. Find
out more at http://textilebeat.com.
Jane is also incubating a social enterprise based around
passing on the skills of sewing, repurposing and adapting
garments as a means of reducing, reusing, and recycling
natural fibres. Follow Textile Beat at on Twitter at @textilebeat
Health Media Club – a network for conversation about wellness
Jane lead the development of a Health Media Club to strengthen
links between health journalists, health communicators and
professionals in the sector. The club is an initiative of
the Queensland non-government organisation's Swap It program,
which is a partnership between Diabetes Queensland, Cancer
Council Queensland, the Heart Foundation and Nutrition Australia
Qld. The inaugural Health Media Club speaker on July 12
was Health Minister in Queensland Lawrence Springborg. Join
the Health Media Club as www.healthmediaclub.com.au
Creating a healthy movement for change
The scales have tipped now that 60 per cent of Queensland adults are overweight and at risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, some cancers, and type 2 diabetes. As communications manager for Diabetes Queensland and a former ABC rural reporter, Jane brokered the 612 ABC Swap It Challenge which saw presenters Spencer Howson, Steve Austin, Kelly Higgins-Devine, Tim Cox (pictured with Jane) and Rebecca Levingston championing teams of 12 swappers on a 12-week journey to reduce their collective waistlines. The Trim Tims and Spencer’s Slimmers were named joint winners of the challenge, shaving about 8.5 percent from their collective waistlines. More information about swapping is available at www.swapit.gov.au
Diabetes Footprint a wake-up call
How best to demonstrate the fact that every day in Queensland another 60 people are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes? People relate to stories not statistics, so the communications team at Diabetes Queensland set about finding 60 people prepared to stand up and spread the word about this chronic disease for which there is no cure. One of those 60 is media personality Jamie Dunn, from the 98.9 FM breakfast show. The Diabetes Footprint appeared in King George Square during National Diabetes Week 2011 and 2012, along with risk assessment kiosks and information on how to prevent or delay the condition.
Walk the talk
When your work brings you face-to-face with the facts about chronic disease risk and obesity – it’s time to walk the talk – or cycle, as was the case in the SoreBums challenge when Jane rode 13.6km in 30 minutes raising awareness of type 2 diabetes. As communications manager for Diabetes Queensland, Jane is now working on the health side of food, rather than the farming side of food. The role has given Jane insights into the challenges for people living with type 1 diabetes, which is not preventable, and type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes, which can be prevented or delayed. Find our more at www.diabetesqld.org.au
Leadership an action, not a position
As an adult, it is a rare gift to have the opportunity to examine your personal effectiveness and develop your team leadership capacity with a diverse group of motivated colleagues from across Australia. Jane is honoured to be accepted as a fellow of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation following the September graduation ceremony in Alice Springs. She was sponsored by Rural Press Ltd on the 60-day Australian Rural Leadership Program which was spread across six sessions during the past 17 months, taking in the Kimberley, Adelaide, Canberra/Sydney, India, Perth and then to the central heart of Australia for graduation.
Photo: Jane with Australian Rural Leadership Foundation patron, former Governor-General Major General Michael Jeffery, and ARLF chairman Professor Peter Shergold.
Who grew my dinner?
Jane is Queensland runner up in the RIRDC Rural Women’s Award with a project to develop an electronic showcase of Australian agriculture. The aim is to build more awareness about the farming side of food using a web-based platform to fill in the knowledge gaps. Most column centimetres and razzle-dazzle around food in Australia is about cooking and eating, chefs, recipes and restaurants, with less attention paid to the origins of the key ingredients. Read more about this issue in Jane’s article Who grew my dinner? (February-March 2010 Issue 60 The Walkley Magazine)
Read more about Jane's project (PDF)
A taste of India
The Australian Rural Leadership Program recently took Jane and 32 colleagues to India for an amazing exposure to expand our world view, be exposed to different cultures and observe different leadership styles. Learnings about agriculture: at the high tech end, India has hit the pause button on genetically modified eggplant by not approving it as the first food GM crop ready for market. At the low tech end, it was great to see NPM – non pesticide management – being practised by village farmers using natural pest control measures including a potion of tobacco, garlic, chilli and cow urine. Most Indian farms are two acres or less. The Indian road users also provided a unique insight, with barely a bingle witnessed despite apparent free-flowing chaos. When dreaming of India, it is the constant but friendly beeping of horns from all manner of vehicles that comes to mind. For more information on ARLP, visit www.rural-leaders.com.au
Photo: Jane with the women of Thippaiguda village near Hyderabad.
A salute to leadership
For more than a decade, north Queensland banana grower Len Collins spearheaded a savvy, strategic and well-resourced effort to ensure the pest and disease concerns about Philippines banana imports were recognised in the import risk assessment process. As a tribute to Len on his retirement, the Australian Banana Growers’ Council commissioned a limited-edition book, A Salute to Leadership, which documents the scientific, legal, political, and public awareness aspects to the campaign masterminded by Len. Photo: Author Jane Milburn with former ABGC CEO Tony Heidrich and Len Collins.
Agriculture is front page news
Jane was intrigued to be in Washington DC and pick up a copy of The Washington Post to read a front page story about the impact of a decade of drought on agriculture along Australia’s Murray River. Agriculture rarely makes front-page news in Australia, although The Australian has significantly boosted its coverage of farm issues during the past year. In the Washington Post December 9 edition, writer Blaine Harden was reporting from Australia in a well-researched article that said farmers refuse to buy into climate change. Perhaps it is a matter of semantics because dealing with climate variability has always been a part of Australian farming. Australia farmers don’t deny that. View article - A lingering pool of disbelief (Washington Post).
Snow and lights in Montreal
Canada is experiencing record cold weather this winter but that did not detract from the joy of catching up with my eldest son Casey who is doing a year of his electrical engineering degree at Montreal’s McGill University. With my other children, Lily and Max, we enjoyed exploring the sights while the snow came down around us. Most memorable were the Basilique Notre-Dame-de-Montreal in Old Montreal and Parc-Mont-Royal. There was not much of the high school French in memory, but fortunately the locals are friendly and bilingual with we English speakers.
Jane a life member of Rural Press Club
It is an honour to have been granted life membership of the Rural Press Club of Queensland, and very satisfying to see the club continue to thrive and innovate under the leadership of Gen McAulay as president. In nominating Jane, Gordon Collie said:
“Jane was a dynamic leader who has left a lasting legacy, putting the Rural Press Club on an excellent footing to continue into the future. She was valued for her “can-do” attitude and her creative ideas which she then put into action. Her pizzazz helped attract headline speakers which in turn raised the club profile. Under Jane’s stewardship, the club member and financial base was strengthened, paving the way for the appointment of a paid part time administration officer. This has revolutionized the professional way we do business.”
Social media - a happening thing
There are exciting opportunities with social media and Web 2.0 technology which are changing the way we receive and communicate information. Jane recently attended the Media 140 conference in Sydney with web expert Genevieve Robey. Using social media to link consumers to the origins of food is a future opportunity Jane plans to cultivate.
Australian Rural Leadership Program Course 16
Jane won the Rural Press Open Scholarship to participate in the Australian Rural Leadership Program, which commenced with a 12-day experiential learning opportunity in the Kimberley Region of Western Australia.
It is a privilege to be part of this personal and professional development program which involves 60 days of learning across a 16-month period in various parts of Australia and in India. 1st photo:Jane’s Kimberley team, the Spiritual Travellers, included from left: Anthony Shelly, Mike Mooney, Keelen Mailman, Dallas King and Andrew Mencshelyi.
2nd photo: Jane with Major General Michael Jeffery, Australian Rural Leadership Foundation patron.
Banana industry remains strong
Despite a policy decision technically paving the way for banana imports from the Philippines, the quarantine bar has been set very high and no import application has been made. The industry was in a buoyant mood at the Eighth Australian Banana Industry Congress at the Gold Coast, which is the biennial gathering of banana growers, researchers, transporters and others. Jane spent time with Australian Banana Growers’ Council president Nicky Singh, left, and ABGC imports committee chairman Len Collins.
Social impacts of drought report
Former AgForce president Peter Kenny, right, is wearing a number of hats since vacating the presidency in September 2008, including a national role as chair of the social impacts of drought panel which conducted a national review on behalf of Federal Agriculture Minister Tony Burke. The report was released at a special breakfast at Parliament House Canberra, which Jane chaired in her capacity as secretary of the Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists, and subsequently we all took tea in the Prime Minister’s Kevin Rudd’s office.
Lee Kernaghan advocates for the bush
2008 Australian of the Year Lee Kernaghan donated a day of his time to record the new Every Family Needs A Farmer campaign segment for farm group AgForce as part of his dedicated advocacy for rural Australia.
Jane Milburn doesn’t sing that well but this is a great photo for the collection anyway, as is the snap with another articulate bush advocate and all-round good bloke Shane Webcke at the Leyburn Pub.
(Photos - Above: Jane Milburn and Lee Kernaghan at the microphone. Right: Jane and Shane Webcke at the Leyburn Pub).
Thanks for the good times Rural Press Club
After eight years in executive roles with the Rural Press Club, Jane completed her final year as president in September confident the club is in excellent shape with a fabulous new committee and plenty of money in the bank. The final event on Jane’s watch was Liberal National Party leader Lawrence Springborg, who earned a rare second appearance at the club (the first being in 2003) after successfully steering the coalition parties to a position of unity. Jane is going national as the new secretary of the federal rural media body, the Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists.
Above photo: The three past presidents of the Rural Press Club are Gordon Collie (left), with Jane Milburn and Peter Lewis.
blast from the past
enjoyable reunion was had by all who attended The University
of Queensland agricultural science graduates (1974-1978
et al) get together at former dean of the faculty Barry
Norton’s home at Mt Glorious. Jane Milburn (right), a 1979
graduate, caught up with Carol Watson (left) now from Ruby
Hills, Walcha, New South Wales, and Brian Keating (centre),
head of CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems in Brisbane.
celebrates years in business
The Every Family Needs a Farmer gala dinner at
Tattersalls provided a great opportunity for Jane to celebrate
five years as a media consultant and communications strategist.
was great to be among friends including Primary Industries
Minister Tim Mulherin, the ABC Country Hour team, Queensland
Country Life editor Mark Phelps.
message sticks to sticky messages
marketing, virtual worlds, Web 3, social media, corporate
blogs and viral campaigning were amongst the plethora of
ideas, inspiration and information available at the recent
8th National Public Affairs Convention run by The Walkley
Foundation and the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance.
enjoyed the fantastic speakers and catching up with colleagues
MEAA federal secretary Christopher Warren, above left, with
Jane Milburn and 7.30 Report presenter Kerry O’Brien.
Milburn and Laurelle Pacey, right, began their careers as
ABC rural reporters and both now run communication consultancies.