The NSW Nationals are thanking all of our fantastic Local Woman of the Year recipients, for their dedication and contribution to the communities we love.

Member for Upper Hunter Michael Johnsen MP congratulated Cassandra McLaren on being the Upper Hunter Electorate Local Woman of the Year at the NSW Women of the Year Awards. Mr Johnsen said he attended the event with Cassandra and her husband Peter, to celebrate her achievements and the inspiring efforts of other women across NSW.

“This year’s awards are all the more poignant given the fires and droughts that have affected NSW,” Mr Johnsen said.

“The important part that women have played in keeping our communities together cannot be underestimated, so it was only right and proper that our state deservedly recognised women for the profound and positive impact they have had on their communities.

“The Upper Hunter community is a better place because of women like Cassandra, and I was proud to see her represent us at the statewide awards ceremony.”

Michael Johnsen

“Cassandra McLaren was chosen as the Upper Hunter electorate Local Woman of the Year due to her work keeping drought-affected communities in NSW together with her Facebook page One Day Closer to Rain,” Mr Johnsen said.

“The page has become a real community for farmers and supporters, and as well as assisting farmers Cassandra also fields enquiries for donors also.

“Cassandra’s efforts have connected isolated individual farmers in regional communities across state boundaries, and those endeavours have in fact created a community with no regional boundaries, offering not only practical solutions but mental well-being.”

NSW Nationals Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh congratulated Coffs Harbour Electorate 2020 Local Woman of the Year Julie Ferguson, who is the local driving force behind OzHarvest’s Coffs Harbour chapter.

“On a daily basis, Julie carries out her dedicated and tireless service to the needy in the Coffs Harbour Electorate through her important work with OzHarvest,” Mr Singh said.

“Julie established the Coffs Harbour chapter and she’s put in countless hours collecting donated food to be given to those in need in our community, including schools, to ensure no child goes without breakfast.

“Julie is an unstoppable force of kindness, contributing some 40 plus hours a week to her labour of love, all the time with a smile on her dial.

“She not only collects food, she also drives the van, recruits volunteers, seeks assistance from local businesses, supervises the warehouse and manages a team of 20 volunteers.”

OzHarvest Coffs Harbour is a passionate and lively group rescuing quality food for more than 25 charity partners in our community since its 2014 inception.


Women help make the backbone of our rural and regional communities, and the NSW Nationals in Government are working hard to progress equity and recognition in our communities for women across NSW.

“The Awards are an important opportunity to acknowledge women who are using their skills and passion to positively shape our society and inspire future generations, and I would like to thank all of the nominees, finalists and winners for their contribution,” Mr Johnsen said.