Tuna entrepreneur wins Queensland’s Rural Women’s Award

Published Wednesday, 13 March, 2024 at 02:00 PM

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities
The Honourable Mark Furner

  • Cairns businesswoman to represent Queensland at national Rural Women’s Awards
  • Little Tuna means big win for North Queensland
  • Awards celebrate powerful work being done by women in rural industries, businesses and communities

Cairns tuna businesswoman Kate Lamason has been named Queensland’s 2024 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award winner.

Kate will receive a $15,000 Westpac grant and will represent Queensland at the national awards in August where she has the chance to win an additional $20,000 Westpac grant.

The accountant, who runs Little Tuna with her husband in Cairns, was selected from a field of four finalists who epitomised the significant impact women have on rural industries, businesses, and communities.

Kate has broad experience across the seafood industry, not-for-profit sector and local government. She is a graduate of the National Seafood Industry Leadership Program and is a board director for Tuna Australia.

She is the co-founder and director of Little Tuna and opened Australia’s first canned tuna community since large-scale production shifted off-shore.

All finalists join a 300-strong alumni that collaboratively works to shape the perception of women in regional and rural Australia and provides a network to support their future endeavours.

The other finalists were Burdekin senior secondary agricultural science teacher Louise Nicholas, Aussie Helpers CEO Natasha Kocks from Gladstone and Gloriously Free (GF) oats founder Kylie Hollonds.

Westpac has been a platinum sponsor of the Rural Women’s Awards for over 15 years.

Queensland’s new state sponsor, the Queensland Country Women’s Association, will provide a $2,000 grant to Queensland’s finalists. Finalists also gain access to professional development opportunities and alumni networks.

In addition to the Rural Women’s Awards, AgriFutures Australia offer the Rural Women’s Acceleration Grant as a leadership and development opportunity for rural women who feel they are not quite ready to apply for the award.

The Rural Women’s Acceleration Grant provides a bursary of up to $7,000 for professional development, driving innovation in rural industries, businesses and communities.

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner:

Kate Lamason is an inspiration to so many women in the seafood industry, including with her advocacy through Women In Seafood Australasia,” Mr Furner said.

“Her example of success will add to the shining light of women’s contributions to primary production in Queensland, as also exemplified by the other Queensland finalists.

“That contribution is growing every year and the innovation, creativity and leadership being shown by Queensland women will help to lift our $23 billion industry to even greater heights.”

Quotes attributable to Managing Director of AgriFutures Australia John Harvey:

“The AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award is Australia’s leading award in acknowledging and supporting the essential role women play in rural industries and communities,” Mr Harvey said.

“This announcement highlights the exceptional contributions of the four finalists and serves to highlight them as role models for the next generation of rural leaders."

Quotes attributable to Regional General Manager Northern Queensland, Regional & Agribusiness for Platinum Sponsor Westpac, Maxine Austin:

Maxine Austin, Regional General Manager Northern Qld, Regional & Agribusiness for Platinum Sponsor Westpac, said the Award is an opportunity to champion the business achievements of women in Queensland’s rural industries.  

“The winners, alumni and nominees of the highly respected Rural Women’s Award reflect the quality of innovation, drive and passion that our rural women possess.

"Congratulations to Kate for being awarded the Queensland state title – she is a great ambassador for our rural industries and a beacon for its future success." 

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