Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke MP has congratulated Dr Louise Baker from Cowra and Professor Faye McMillan from Coolamon who both took home prestigious awards at the 2019 NSW Women of the Year Awards in Sydney today.

Dr Baker who has worked as general practioner in Cowra for more than 30 years, received the REX Airlines NSW Woman of the Year award for her work as a GP and senior lecturer at the ANU Rural Clinical School.

Coolamon woman Dr Faye McMillan won the Aboriginal Woman of the Year. Faye is a founding member of Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA) and is the Director of the Djirruwang program director at Charles Sturt University.

“Louise and Faye are valued members of the wider Cootamundra community and passionate supporters and educators in working to improve people’s health. I am thrilled to see them honoured in the 2019 Women of the Year Awards,” said Ms Cooke.

“Both women are a shining example to young women from rural settings about what is possible, and also to healthcare professionals about what you can achieve in our part of the world.

“I’m just so thrilled to have two of our most accomplished and dedicated professionals recognised by the State at this level.”

Minister for Women Tanya Davies said this year’s Awards program attracted an unprecedented number of nominations and more than 9,000 public votes.

“The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government is working hard to progress gender equity for women across the State and we are so pleased the momentum of the Awards has grown year on year,” Mrs Davies said.

“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. I congratulate Dr Baker for her contributions as a doctor and leader in rural health.”

The REX Airlines Regional Woman of the Year recognises women from regional NSW who have made significant achievements in areas that are important to regional or rural communities. The NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year recognises Aboriginal women who are exceptional achievers in promoting economic, cultural or social opportunities for Aboriginal people in NSW.

There are seven categories in the NSW Women of the Year Awards program.

For a full list of winners, or more information about other events being held during the inaugural NSW Women’s Week (March 3 to March 9) please visit



Dr Louise Baker

Dr Baker has provided more than 30 years of dedicated service as a GP Obstetrician in Cowra NSW. She has provided care to generations of Cowra families, including substantial medical service to the local Aboriginal community.

Louise is also Academic Coordinator and Senior Lecturer for the ANU Rural Clinical School, training and mentoring medical students and GP Registrars. Through this work she has put Cowra on the map as a great location to work as a doctor. In 2018 she received the Peter Graham ‘Cohuna’ Award – the highest Award bestowed by the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine and Rural Doctors Association of Australia and in 2016, the Supervisor of the Year Award at the Western NSW Regional Awards by GP Synergy.

Louise has worked as a locum GP, set up the Central West Division of General Practice and served in various roles with the Remote Vocational Training Scheme. She has also served on the Management Committee of the Rural Doctors Association of NSW for the past eight years.

Louise has worked tirelessly for GP procedural training in NSW and represents the Rural Doctors Association on the NSW Rural Generalist Program Statewide Council. She has also been involved in the Cowra pilot of the NSW Health Integrated Care Project, working to support local young people in areas including mental health. Louise is married to Steven and they have five adult children.

Associate Professor Faye McMillan

Associate Professor McMillan is a Wiradjuri yinaa (woman) from Trangie, NSW. Faye is an inaugural Atlantic Fellow, where she has used this time to develop an app to support people experiencing mental health concerns.

Faye is a founding member of Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA), was a board member of IAHA from 2009-2017, Chairperson from 2010-2016 and works at Charles Sturt University as the Director of the Djirruwang Program – Bachelor of Health Science (Mental Health). Faye is a board member for Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network and is on the community advisory committee for the Wagga Wagga Notre Dame Medical School.

Faye holds a Doctor of Health Science, a Master of Indigenous Health Studies, Bachelor of Pharmacy and is Australia’s first registered Aboriginal Pharmacist. Faye also holds Graduate Certificates in Indigenous Governance from the University of Arizona (USA), Wiradjuri Language Culture and Heritage (Charles Sturt University) as well as a Graduate Certificate in Education through the University of Melbourne.

In 2018 Faye was a finalist in the NSW Woman of the Year Awards in two categories (Regional Woman of the Year and Aboriginal Woman of the Year). In 2017 Faye was recognised in the Who’s Who of Australian Women and in 2014 Faye was included in the Australian Financial Review and Westpac 100 Women of Influence. Faye is a daughter, granddaughter, sister, aunt and friend in her community and is the proud mother of Kye and Ethan.