Meet the National Finalists for the 2024 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award


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Seven remarkable women have been recognised for their contribution to Australia’s rural, regional and remote industries, businesses and communities by being named national finalists of the 2024 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award.

The AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award is the leading award empowering and celebrating the inclusive and courageous leadership of rural women across Australia.

The seven national finalists were announced at events in their respective states and territories across Australia earlier this year, after a highly competitive selection process that saw over 100 applicants vying for the prestigious titles.

Women from all over Australia were encouraged to apply with a project, business or program having a positive impact on rural, regional and remote, businesses, and communities.

Each of the seven female leaders will receive a $15,000 Westpac grant to help boost, expand or elevate their work. At the Gala Dinner & National Announcement at Parliament House, Canberra on Tuesday, 20 August 2024,the National Winner and Runner Up will be announced, and they will receive an additional $20,000 and $15,000 grant respectively.

AgriFutures Australia Managing Director, John Harvey said the AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award provides forward-thinking rural, regional and remote leaders with the support and leadership skills to pursue projects that make a real difference.

“These Awards are not just a game changer for the recipients, they allow them to continue driving change so that entire communities and industries reap those rewards for generations to come,” Mr Harvey said.

“Positive initiatives like this set us all up for a stronger tomorrow. We can’t wait to celebrate all of their achievements in August.”

Tickets for the 2024 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award Gala Dinner & National Announcement go on sale Tuesday, 14 May 2024.

The 2024 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award National Finalists are (in alphabetical order by state):

Rebecca Keeley

2024 New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory Winner

Rebecca Keeley, an allied health professional with an MBA from the University of Oxford, champions rural healthcare as the founder of Yarn, a digital platform bridging geographic barriers and waitlists in rural healthcare, offering evidence-based programs for children’s communication. Rebecca aims to use her Westpac grant to spread Yarn’s services across remote Australia, empowering both clinicians and families.

Kate Lamason

2024 Queensland State Winner 

Kate Lamason, co-founder of Little Tuna in Cairns, created Australia’s first 100% owned and made preserved tuna with her husband Rowan, after the shock of discovering that 99% of tuna consumption in Australia comes from imported sources. Lamason plans to utilize her Westpac grant to further develop her award-winning product, advocate for the Australian tuna industry and educate consumers on sustainable fishing practices.

Belle Binder

2024 Tasmania State Winner

Belle Binder is revolutionising farm labour with her unique project – the Farm Work Loop. This innovative approach integrates work, travel and camaraderie for backpackers and locals alike, providing Tasmanian producers with consistent, productive and high-quality farm workers. With support from her Westpac grant, Belle aims to expand the Farm Work Loop all over Australia.

Mandy Walker

2024 Western Australia State Winner

Although Mandy Walker, co-manager of Walkers Diesel Services, specialises in heavy-duty diesel repairs and engineering services, her focus is on helping others with her collaborative business model – mitigating agricultural seasonality risks by integrating into the lucrative defence industry supply chain. With her Westpac grant, Mandy plans to teach more Wheatbelt enterprises how to secure long-term economic diversity and resilience.

Tanya Egerton

2024 Northern Territory Winner

Tanya Egerton, CEO of Circulanation, pioneered the Remote Opshop Project, aiding First Nations communities in remote northern Australia. The initiative establishes community-owned opshops, offering affordable goods, business training and funding for cultural projects. Now, with her Westpac grant, Tanya plans to facilitate the formation of a First Nations Leadership Council, to craft decision-making frameworks that will prioritise community needs.

Nikki Atkinson

2024 South Australia State Winner

Nikki Atkinson, founder of Horrocks Vale Collections, blends innovation with tradition, as the creative machine behind her line of Merino wool wedding dresses and formal attire. Married to a Merino producer, she understands the craftsmanship and generations of hard work that goes into producing premium fibre. With her Westpac grant, Nikki plans to elevate Merino wool’s profile in the fashion and wedding industries.

Grace Larson

2024 Victoria State Winner

Grace Larson and her sister launched The Sisterhood Project to tackle rural children’s health disparities. With over 17 years of experience as a paediatric critical care nurse, the Sisterhood Project provides life-saving skills to rural Australian parents, offering free first aid, CPR and illness prevention education. Their mission aims to improve health outcomes for bush kids. Grace plans to use her Westpac grant to save more rural lives through education.

Background Information

The AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award has gained a significant profile, growing in prestige and popularity and is recognised as a program of influence among parliamentarians, industry, media and Award Alumni.

Each National Finalist receives a $15,000 Westpac grant for their project, business or program, access to professional development opportunities and alumni networks. The National Winner will be awarded an additional $20,000 Westpac grant and National Runner Up, an additional $15,000.

The Award provides a platform to inspire and support Australian women to use and develop their skills to benefit their industries and communities.

AgriFutures Australia is committed to the future growth and advancement of the Award as a means of identifying, celebrating and empowering women. The Rural Women’s Award is one of many AgriFutures Australia initiatives ensuring our rural industries prosper now, and into the future.

The Award is supported by Platinum Sponsor Westpac, and media partners R.M. Williams OUTBACK Magazine, ACM Agricultural Publishing & Events, and ABC Rural. For the complete list of State and Territory agencies and sponsors, head to

Media enquiries:

Lara Finlay
The Regional PR Co. 
0419 412 925

Media Assets

woman in sheepyards in long dress and boots

2024 Rural Women's Award SA State Winner, Nikki Atkinson


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