An ABC online feature on the $10 Billion Inland Railway Project has taken out Australia’s premier rural journalism prize – the Australian Council of Agricultural Journalists’ (ACAJ) Rabobank Star Prize for Excellence in Rural Broadcasting.

Brisbane-based reporters Dominique Schwartz and Alexandra Blucher spent a fortnight travelling the route of the proposed railway and delivered a series of breaking news stories and features across the public broadcaster’s various platforms.

Check out their winning story here.

As part of their prize the pair will travel to The Netherlands and represent Australia at the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists’ (IFAJ) Awards in July.

ACAJ President Genevieve McAulay congratulated them on being the first digital entry to win the prestigious Rabobank-sponsored award.

“Their stories analysed this massive inland infrastructure project and its likely impact on agriculture and the regional communities between Melbourne and Brisbane, “ she said.

“ Along the way they gave voice to the hopes and concerns of those who’ll be most affected, and challenged the economic assumptions that underpin it – as well as the political spin.”

Ms Schwartz and Ms Blucher will be joined in The Netherlands by the Victoria’s Simone Smith winner of this year’s ACAJ Star Prize for Excellence in Print Reporting, for her standout dairy report ‘Fonterra’s Trump Card’.

“Simone’s winning entry packed some real punch and was a great example of combining unrivalled analysis and succinct story-telling , Ms McAulay said.

This year’s other national winners included the ABC’s SA-based Rural Reporter Tom Nancarrow for his report on irrigators caught up in the ongoing Murray-Darling Basin imbroglio and the ABC’s Qld-based reporter Kathy McLeish for her Landline television story on the North West Queensland graziers balancing the needs of endangered species and beef production.

The 2018 ACAJ Star Prize for Photography went to the Townville Bulletin’s Scott Radford-Chisholm for his spectacular aerial shot of cattle mustering in Queensland’s Gulf Country .

All these category winners will represent Australia at the IFAJ International Awards which coincide with IFAJ2018 in The Netherlands in July.

Rabobank’s Group Executive for Country Banking in Australia Marcel van Doremaele said the winners of the ACAJ Awards showcased the very best rural journalism, generating significant interest from audiences in both regional and urban areas.

“The Award winners show just how far-reaching these issues can be, and the skill of journalists in communicating these stories so they can resonate not only with a rural audience but with people all around the country,” he said.

For more information contact:
Genevieve McAulay, ACAJ President: 0428 279 576

Pete Lewis, ACAJ Vice-President: 0408722113

Email president@acaj.org.au