24 May 2024

Insight from: Robbie Sefton

This year I attended my fourth Beef Australia and just when you think they can’t lift the bar any higher, they do. The organisers and board rolled out a world-class event that ran like clock-work, connected with both participants and attendees and most importantly celebrated the beef industry nationwide and what it means to the agriculture industry.

And this is such a valuable thing to do sometimes – actually reflect on and celebrate the achievements and contribution of an industry or sector, like beef, and all the people who play a part in that success. As Australians, we don’t feel as comfortable doing this as other nations might, but sometimes a well-deserved pat on the back and collective acknowledgement that we do have something worth celebrating is a valuable exercise in motivating and inspiring those already involved, and also those coming behind.

I would say anyone, no matter who you were and how you were involved, left Beef Australia this year feeling valued, relevant, and certainly inspired. This event affirmed just what a critical industry agriculture is to Australia, and the importance of ongoing advocacy for our livestock industries, and farming as a whole. The industry contributes so much to Australia’s bottomline, across the entire supply chain, and it’s up to all of us to stand tall and speak up on the issues that matter.

There was certainly ample opportunity for advocacy, with a steady stream of politicians making their way to Rockhampton in what we can only hope is a positive indication of their commitment to agriculture and its ongoing viability and prosperity. While Beef Australia really emphasised positivity, collaboration and opportunities, there’s no doubt there’s an undercurrent of concern at the moment about governments’ appreciation of the significance of agriculture to our nation and its future, and the impact of government policy and regulatory decisions. While our agriculture industry is built on a foundation of resilience, we still expect a fair go and can’t be expected to do all the heavy lifting alone.

This theme of resilience was brought home to me at the Westpac High Tea, which I had the pleasure of again hosting and which featured guest speaker Sam Bloom, three-time world para surfing champion and bestselling author. Sam’s story, and her and her family’s connection with a baby magpie they named Penguin, inspired a movie and continues to inspire the many audiences who have the pleasure of hearing her speak.

At several points during Sam’s presentation there wasn’t a dry eye in the house, as she spoke about her life following a devastating accident and the people – and bird – who helped her find a renewed enthusiasm and passion for life. For me, some of the most powerful messages were around not only resilience, but also the importance of having a team around you who support and encourage even when you may be unwilling to listen. We all need those people, no matter who we are or what we do, and equally vital, if they make that commitment to you, then you commit to them.  

At Beef Australia, these themes of encouragement, collaboration and commitment were everywhere you looked, and there’s no doubt the beef sector, and industry, are united in their belief that with ongoing hard work, passion, drive and visionary thinking, the future is bright. It just needs that same support and commitment from those who can help agriculture not only thrive, but soar.

Robbie Sefton interviewing three-time world para surfing champion and bestselling author, Sam Bloom, who shared her remarkable story of resilience in front of a sellout crowd the Westpac High Tea.

Seftons Managing Director, Robbie Sefton was host to three-time world para surfing champion and bestselling author, Sam Bloom, who shared her remarkable story of resilience in front of a sellout crowd at the Westpac High Tea.

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