Growing the Agri Industry | Rabobank Cloncurry
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Growing the Agri Industry – Local Cloncurry Team Lead the Way

Category Our People

Rabobank Cloncurry branch photo

 

A genuine outback community, Cloncurry is synonymous with big hats, sprawling cattle stations and big sky country – yet it seems the town’s local women are just as iconic.

A vibrant centre for agriculture in Queensland’s north west, it’s a team of four local females who, together with rural manager Peter McConville, help lead the local Rabobank branch to shape and grow the region’s Industry.

Consisting of Zali Hall, Josie Campbell, Amelia McMillan and Merrill Phillips, all four women are passionate about the region and ensuring that the community, and rural businesses, thrive.

Josie, a credit analyst, grew up on her family’s beef cattle properties in the Cloncurry shire, and has an acute understanding of beef production.

Having gained a Bachelor of Agribusiness and a Bachelor of Applied Science, majoring in Production Animal Science from The University of Queensland’s Gatton Campus, Josie moved home five years ago, and together with her husband, is based on a nearby family property.

“It’s such a pleasure being home, Cloncurry has such a nice mix of rural, mining and tourism with lots of fun social events in town.”

Joining Rabobank almost three years ago, Josie said the role also afforded her an opportunity to combine her love of agriculture with helping others in the district succeed.

“I’m passionate about beef, I’ve lived it, I’ve studied it and now I’m inspired to share knowledge and help bring our clients’ visions to reality.”

“At Rabobank we are so well supported by our global networks, including RaboResearch for the latest commodity insights and outlooks, it makes me very proud knowing our clients have access to this valuable information.”

The strong focus on community was a further reflection on Rabobank’s commitment to its clients.

“This is a region in which we all live and work, so Rabobank is extremely invested in ensuring the vibrancy of our community, and since the branch opened its doors in 2006, we’ve been proudly supporting a large number of events, including the Cloncurry Show, McKinlay Races and Sedan Dip.

Amelia is another local staff member who was born, raised and based on a local cattle property

Completing a Bachelor of Agribusiness in 2020, Amelia returned to the family farm and joined the team last year as a credit analyst, enabling her to balance a career with grazing.

“I love Rabobank because while it provides a flexible working environment for its employees, they are very passionate about providing its customers with great service,” Amelia says. “Rabobank has several branches throughout the region with great staff onsite who are eager to assist with all enquiries.”

And when this dedicated horse-woman is not working, she’s at a campdraft – either competing or volunteering.

“I just love the fact that Cloncurry offers a great range of competitive activities, including horse sports and rodeos, with lots of opportunities to have a go.”

“Horse sports is part of the community’s culture, and I’m so grateful for the lifestyle I have out here, where I can balance work, farming and a bit of fun too.”

”Relationship analyst Zali says her path was destined for the rural industries, with the bush being all she knew from a very young age.

“I dabbled in Zoology at University, but decided it was a career that did not facilitate a rural lifestyle, so completed a double major in Financial Management and Human Resources Management, which I studied largely externally.”

Zali also grew up in the region on her family’s beef cattle property in the Cloncurry area, and is still actively involved at a farm gate and industry level.

“I love all things beef – the people, the industry – it’s what I know, it’s what I grew up with and I feel proud to be involved in an industry doing important things when it comes to feeding the world.”

She’s also grateful to Rabobank for the opportunity to combine her passion for agriculture with her chosen studies in finance, as well as forge a meaningful career whilst remaining in her home town.

“I have so much job satisfaction working with Rabobank, at the end of the day it’s a peoples game, and I love working with our region’s farmers.”

“There’s nothing more rewarding than getting someone onboard for their first loan and supporting their business growth and success.”

Another talented sportswoman, Zali isn’t afraid of a rodeo ring, competing whenever she gets a chance.

“There is so much opportunity in our little town - it’s beautiful and rugged, social and friendly.”

Applauding Rabobank on its knowledge sharing strength, and the support clients receive thanks to the bank’s depth of experience, Zali maintains this purpose in all her community endeavours.

As the secretary and treasurer of the Julia Creek Western Riding Club, she said the focus was on knowledge and learning events – horsemanship clinics, junior bull riding schools and upskilling.

“You’re never too old to learn, and whether it’s at work or in the community, the empowerment people gain from knowledge is inspirational, underpinning all business and personal growth.”

Merrill may have grown up on a sheep, cattle and cropping property in South West NSW, but after 40 years, it’s safe to say she’s a local.

A risk and compliance manager, Merrill has lived on the family’s small cattle property at Cloncurry for thirty years, and has been at Rabobank for the past seven years.

“I commenced my migration to North Queensland in 1981, zigzagging through Coonamble and Murrurundi in NSW, working on the land and with horses before settling in at Mt Isa.”

“Initially I was only going to stay in Queensland’s north west for three months, but here I am 40 years later!”

She credits the people, and the landscape as the region’s greatest assets. “Our local people are so welcoming to everyone, and there is such a unique beauty in the country out here – it’s not your typical green landscape, it’s rugged and majestic and it certainly gets into your blood.”

“We have a valuable balance of large scale multi-generational family cattle operations – many up to third and fourth generation – and corporate holdings that attract a steady stream of jillaroos and ringers coming north each year for adventure and life experience.”

It’s this mix of generations, both socially and in the workplace, that Merrill believes is particularly unique to North West Queensland and the Northern Territory.

“The region’s isolation lends itself to innovation, benefitting rural operations both locally and nationally – not to mention facilitating a genuine ‘can-do’ community.”

“North West Queensland and the Northern Territory are, in a way, not unalike Rabobank – a bank with its boots on the ground, sharing the same can-do attitude and commitment to community, and agriculture.

And while a risk and compliance manager working amongst a team of avid campdrafters may seem like an oxymoron, Merrill laughs that horse sports are the least of her concerns.

“Being surrounded by livestock and horses most of my life, I believe the benefits of our local competitions or events to the surrounding communities – from a social and health and wellbeing perspective – far outweighs the risk!”

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