Queensland’s 2023 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Finalists Announced

A local Cairns accountant who is passionate about the Australia Seafood Industry and sustainability and positively represents women in a male-dominated industry has been announced as a finalist in the 2023 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award.

A busy mum to three beautiful children Kate Lamason and her husband Rowan Lamason started Little Tuna as a side hustle, but the business quickly grew. Little Tuna catch their tuna locally from waters internationally renowned as some of the most prolific fishing grounds in the world. 

Little Tuna is the first of its kind on the market and the first company in Australia to find a distinctive way to bring Australian caught and canned tuna back to the Australian market. 

Australians consume over 50,000 tonnes of preserved tuna per year, and for the past 20 years, none of this has been produced in Australia.

Twenty years ago, when all canning was sent offshore chasing cheaper methods, Australian tuna fishers bulk exported their Albacore tuna as a low-value item. With Little Tuna, Kate and Rowan have brought Australian tuna back to Australian consumers and support Australian fishers to value-add a product that was once considered low value. 

Having heard the news today, Kate said she was shocked but excited about what the future holds. 

“For me personally, I really like the idea of people who are like-minded other women in agriculture and fisheries. I’m really looking forward to meeting people and networking with people who have the same challenges as we have,” Kate said.

“For our business to be recognised by an organisation like AgriFutures is fantastic” – Kate

“We’ve got really big things planned for Little Tuna, and this will give us a boost.” 

Little Tuna prides itself on being resourceful, innovative, and authentic with Australian seafood and only engages Australian suppliers. All ingredients paired with our tuna are locally sourced from Australian family businesses.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities Mark Furner said the four finalists were now in the running for the prestigious AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award.

“The AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award has a rich heritage of promoting the wonderful contribution Australian women make to rural industries, businesses and communities and inspiring them to further develop their skills,” Mr Furner said.

“This year’s finalists join 300-strong alumni dedicated to advancing the work of women in regional and rural Australia and providing a supportive network for future endeavours.”

This year’s winner will receive a $15,000 Westpac grant and represent Queensland at the national announcement in September, where they have the chance to win an additional $20,000 Westpac grant.

AgriFutures Australia Managing Director John Harvey said it was fantastic to see the 2023 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award state finalists already positively influence their industries and communities with their initiatives.

“We’re excited to provide these women with a platform to build on their leadership skills to drive change in rural and regional Australia,” Mr Harvey said.

The winner will be announced on Thursday, 2 March 2023.