Prime Minister Tony Abbott has paid tribute to Australian beef baron Graeme Acton, describing him as a great and proud man.
“He was a proud Queenslander and a great Australian,” Mr Abbott said in a statement following news of Mr Acton’s death on Friday in Brisbane.
“Graeme contributed so much to agriculture in our country, in particular to the cattle industry around Rockhampton where the Actons have been farming for four generations.”
Mr Acton, 63, had been on life support in the Royal Brisbane Hospital after falling from a horse on May 2 while competing in a campdrafting event in central Queensland.
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said he was shocked and saddened.
“He was an outstanding character who was much loved by all,” he said in a statement.
“A hard working Queenslander, he devoted his life to the land and growing the cattle industry in this state.”
Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said Mr Acton was a hero of the cattle industry and a fierce advocate for agriculture.
“We are truly indebted to this great Australian, for the blessing he has been as a father, husband, friend, pioneer and great captain of the agricultural industry in Australia,” he said.
Just last week Mr Acton had told Mr Joyce how the government could do things better.
“His words of wisdom were not lost on me,” Mr Joyce said.
“Graeme possessed a unique ability to communicate with people irrespective of their background or social standing and united tens of thousands through his love of the art form of campdrafting.”
Mr Acton headed Acton Land and Cattle – one of the country’s largest farming operations.
The firm owns 180,000 head of cattle on seven Queensland farms which span about 1.58 million hectares of land.
Acton Land and Cattle exports 30,000 beasts to the Middle East and Asia each year.
Mr Acton is survived by his wife Jennie and their children Tom, Hayley, Victoria and Laura.