Jared is the ABARES Executive Director. He joined the bureau in 2018, leading the Agricultural Forecasting and Trade Branch. Prior to joining ABARES, Jared held senior roles at the OECD where he managed work related to agri-food trade policy, global value chains in agriculture and food security and risk (focusing on Southeast Asia) along with monitoring and evaluating agricultural
policy developments in a number of OECD member and non-member countries. Jared has previously worked for the Productivity Commission on diverse issues ranging from Australia’s involvement in bilateral and regional trade agreements, domestic drought support policy to issues related to infrastructure policy and the challenges posed by an ageing population. Jared has a PhD in agricultural and natural resource economics from the University of Sydney.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
Mathias Cormann is the 6th Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). His five-year term commenced on 1 June 2021.
Working with OECD members his priorities as Secretary-General are to help maximise the strength of the economic recovery in the wake of COVID-19; drive and promote global leadership on ambitious and effective action on climate change to achieve global net-zero emissions by 2050; finalise a multilateral approach to digital taxation; seize the opportunities and better manage the risks in the digital economy; promote market-based policies and a rules-based international order; and to strengthen the engagement and outreach of the OECD into the Asia-Pacific.
Prior to his appointment to the OECD, Mathias served as the Australian Government Minister for Finance, the Leader of the Government in the Australian Senate and as a Federal Senator representing the State of Western Australia. In these roles, he has been a strong advocate for the positive power of open markets, free trade and the importance of a rules-based international trading system.
Mathias was born and raised in the German-speaking part of Belgium. He migrated to Australia in 1996, attracted by the great lifestyle and opportunities on offer in Western Australia.
Before migrating to Perth, Mathias graduated in law at the Flemish Catholic University of Louvain (Leuven), following studies at the University of Namur and, as part of the European Erasmus Student Exchange Program, at the University of East Anglia.
Between 1997 and 2003, he worked as Chief of Staff as well as Senior Adviser to various State and Federal Ministers in Australia and for the Premier of Western Australia. Between 2003 and 2007, Mathias worked for major Western Australian health insurer HBF in a range of senior management roles.
In 2001, realising a childhood dream, Mathias obtained his private pilot’s licence. Mathias grew up speaking German and graduated in law following studies in French, Flemish and English. He is married to Hayley, a Perth lawyer, and they have two young daughters, Isabelle and Charlotte.
Fortescue Future Industries
Julie joined Fortescue in 2013 and has held General Manager roles at Fortescue’s Cloudbreak and Solomon mines. Julie commenced as Deputy Chief Executive Officer in February 2018 and appointed CEO Fortescue Future Industries in August 2020.
Julie holds a double major in extractive metallurgy and chemistry and has 27 years’ experience in the mining and resources industry in Australia, China, Tanzania and South America, including 19 years in gold/copper working for Newcrest Mining, Sino Mining and Barrick Gold prior to joining Fortescue. Julie is a Fellow and Chartered Professional of the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM) and was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia in 2021 for her significant service to the minerals and mining sector.
Sarina is Planning Editor for ABC Regional. She has been a senior reporter with ABC Regional, and has won an international prize for agricultural journalism and the Crawford Fund prize for food security.
Sarina has reported on Australia’s international agricultural aid programs in Indonesia and East Timor. With nearly 30 years’ experience in the ABC and BBC, Sarina has helped bring climate change, environmental stewardship, agri-business, trade, biosecurity and production issues to a wider audience on all ABC media platforms.
Nikolai Beilharz is the presenter of Breakfast on ABC Radio Adelaide in South Australia, the corporation’s flagship agricultural news and current affairs show. Nikolai has worked throughout Australia for the ABC Rural department, exploring regional Victoria, Queensland and South Australia during his 10 years covering everything in the farming world.
He also appears regularly on ABC Radio Melbourne and News Breakfast on ABC TV explaining rural issues.
Connect with Nikolai on Twitter
Dr Neal Hughes is a Senior Economist at ABARES. Neal has over 15 years of experience as a researcher at ABARES with a focus on water markets and water policy in the Murray-Darling Basin and the effects of drought and climate change on Australian farms. Neal is a Sir Roland Wilson Scholar, completing his PhD in Economics at the ANU in 2015. In 2021 Neal received the Ian Castles Alumni Prize for his outstanding contribution to public policy in Australia.
Neal is currently a visiting scientist at the CSIRO and an adjunct associate professor at Deakin University.
Connect with Neal on Twitter
Future Drought Fund Consultative Committee
Brent is currently the Chair of the Future Drought Fund Consultative Committee, and has 40 years’ experience in the agricultural sector. He runs a sheep and cattle property called Cooinda in the Traprock region of southeast Queensland. Brent is also the Managing Director of Finlay Agricultural Industries, which provides specialist strategic advice to existing and emerging enterprises across the agricultural sector.
His business interests include developing the next generation of agricultural products and travelling to developing countries.
Brent spent 10 years in representative roles for the agricultural industry, representing Australian farmers as the President of the National Farmers’ Federation for three years where he chaired the NFF’s Drought Committee, as well as a term as the President of AgForce Queensland. He was elected to the board of the World Farm Organisation based in Rome, where he represented the Oceania region. Key issues negotiated while Brent was in these roles included trade agreements with China, Japan, Korea and the Trans Pacific Partnership, drought packages, backpacker tax and responses to natural disasters. Recently Brent has been the independent chair of the Emu Swamp Dam Detailed Business Case, now known as Granite Belt Water, which proposes the development of an irrigation project for the Granite Belt’s high value horticulture.
Southern NSW Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub
Cindy was recently appointed as the Director of the Southern NSW Drought Resilience and Innovation Hub, where her extensive networks and long history in the agriculture is being called on to help shape this next phase of innovation in the sector.
Cindy is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, with graduate and post graduate qualifications in science and agriculture. Her 25+ year career includes research and business management at some of Australia’s largest agribusinesses along with working in regional NSW as CEO of Temora-based not-for-profit farming systems group FarmLink Research. In 2015 Cindy received the RIRDC (AgriFutures Australia) NSW/ACT Rural Women’s Award and used the award to explore national and international approaches to agricultural innovation and on farm adoption of change. Cindy is currently a Director and member of the Audit Committee for AgriFutures Australia.
Warwick Long started with the ABC in 2007 and has presented the Rural Report for ABC Shepparton for the last 12 years.
In that time he has also been a regular fill-in on programs around the ABC network including the Victorian Country Hour, the South Australian Country Hour, Drive for ABC Melbourne and Regional Victoria, plus summer host for Macca's Australia All Over.
Warwick has been at the forefront of reporting on issues in the Murray-Darling, the collapse of Murray Goulburn and the wider dairy industry, the first planting of GM crops in Victoria and the troubles of food processor SPC Ardmona.
Growing up in Broadford, studying at Bathurst and now working in Shepparton, Warwick has a passion for the people and stories from regional Australia.
Connect with Warwick on Twitter
Minister for Resources and Water, Member for Hinkler
Keith Pitt was sworn in as Minister for Resources and Water on 2 July 2021.
He was first elected to represent the Hinkler electorate in the Australian Parliament in September 2013 and was re-elected at the 2016 and 2019 elections.
Mr Pitt has previously served as Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia, Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister and Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment.
Mr Pitt was born and raised in Bundaberg, and after finishing high school he undertook an electrical apprenticeship and went on to complete a bachelor’s degree in computer and electrical engineering. Before entering politics Mr Pitt owned a consulting and training business (including a registered training organisation) delivering vocational education and training across the east coast of the country, but particularly in rural Queensland. He is a former registered professional engineer in Queensland, and also owned two cane farms in Bundaberg.
An active member of the Hinkler community, Mr Pitt was heavily involved in local sports such as touch football and surf lifesaving, interests he maintains today. Through his previous business interests he supports a wide variety of local community groups and events. Mr Pitt is married with three children.
Mihir is a Senior Economist at ABARES and has worked for more than ten years as an economist in the public sector. He has a strong background in applied economic research and complex data analysis. He has worked on a wide range of topics including the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, water markets and climate change adaptation. In his current role at ABARES, Mihir leads the planning and delivery of water research.
Tom is the CEO and founder of the Waterfind Group which includes Waterfind Australia, Waterfind USA and Now Market Services, a specialised software supplier. Tom started in the water industry in 1989 and over this time has gained extensive experience and knowledge relating to water markets, Australian water policy and water trading rules.
Tom grew up in regional Australia, has owned and operated an irrigated citrus property and is a past Australian Rural Youth Ambassador to Japan. His passion and dedication to the Australian water industry is beyond reproach and in 2014 this was recognised by the Australian water industry where Waterfind received a prestigious leadership award for the water industry in Australia.
Waterfind’s electronic marketplace was created in 2003 to assist with maturing Australia’s national water market, consolidating water trading rules, centralising water market information and providing weekly water market reports to over 22,000 participants per week throughout all major water jurisdictions in Australia. Waterfind is an Australian made, Australian owned and the nation’s only Quality Assured Water Market Operator. Waterfind is the recipient of two national innovation awards and a host of other business awards relating to market engagement, product design and deployment.
Department of the Environment, Land, Water and Planning VIC
Joe is the acting Director Water Markets and Grid at the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning. Since joining the department in 2007 Joe has worked on a range of reforms to provide water users with clear entitlements that give certainty about their share of available water and effective water markets, and to provide equitable and efficient ways to access and share finite water resources.
His team is currently leading projects to review the Goulburn to Murray trade rule, implement clearer river delivery rights and to consider Victoria’s response to the recommendations of the recent Murray-Darling Basin Water Markets Inquiry.
Rachel has built a career spanning a decade within the irrigation industry. Since 2015, Rachel has worked in policy and advocacy positions for the Australian rice industry, and since 2019 has held the position of Vice-Chair of the NSW Irrigators’ Council.
Prior to this Rachel practiced law, working predominantly in agribusiness, water law and litigation, and worked with a local irrigation company on their irrigation infrastructure modernisation program. These positions have all enabled Rachel to develop a thorough understanding of the complex political and regulatory frameworks influencing the Murray-Darling Basin and its water markets.
Rachel hails from an irrigation farm in the Murrumbidgee Valley and today is part of her husband’s family irrigation business in the NSW Murray Valley.
Rachel has a Bachelor of Laws, a Bachelor of Commerce and post graduate qualifications in rural leadership. Rachel is a graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Program, the Australian Institute of Company Directors’ course and is the Mid-Murray and Murrumbidgee representative to the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s Basin Community Committee.
Southern Queensland Northern New South Wales Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub Director
Professor John McVeigh is the Director of the Southern Queensland Northern New South Wales Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub, and the Executive Director of the University of Southern Queensland (USQ)’s Institute for Resilient Regions, which focusses on social sciences research and engagement to assist regional communities build resilience and adapt successfully to change.
He is Chair of Toowoomba Surat Basin Enterprise, one of the nation’s leading regional economic development organisations; Chair of the Regional Economies Centre of Excellence, a research collaboration between USQ, University of Queensland, James Cook University and Central Queensland University; a Board Member of the Royal Agricultural Society of Queensland; and has been a steering committee member of the AgTech & Logistics Hub, a challenge led open innovation platform supported by the Queensland Government, USQ, UQ and the private sector.
John was previously the Federal Member for Groom. He served in Cabinet as Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government. Prior to federal politics John was the State Member for Toowoomba South and served as Queensland Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and Shadow Minister for Science, Information Technology and Innovation.
Prior to public life John led an agribusiness management consulting practice, managing local and international irrigation, aquaculture, beef, cotton, dairy, grains, horticulture, timber, wool and food processing projects.
Find out more about the SQNNSW Drought Hub at usq.edu.au/sqnnswhub
Australian Mission to the EU and NATO, Belgium
Jo is Minister-Counsellor (Agriculture) representing the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment at the Australian Mission to the EU in Brussels, Belgium. Jo has 17 years public service experience in policy, regulation and programme management on trade, competition, consumer, industry and regional policy issues in the agriculture and telecommunications sectors.
Prior to taking on her current trade role, Jo worked on a range of agriculture commodities including wool, dairy, wine, grains, cotton, poultry and horticulture and cross cutting issues including the dairy and horticulture codes of conduct and access to migrant labour for the agriculture sector. Jo has a Master of Business Economics (University of Queensland) and a Bachelor of Theatre Arts (University of Southern Queensland).
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment
The Hon Dan Tehan MP is the Member for Wannon in Victoria. He is Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment and was sworn in on 22 December 2020. Mr Tehan served as Minister for Education from 28 August 2018.
Prior to this, he was the Minister for Social Services, and preceding this, the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Minister for Defence Personnel, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cyber Security and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of Anzac.
Mr Tehan was elected to Federal Parliament in 2010 and has held positions including as the Chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security; Co-Chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Youth Mental Health, and; Chair of the Coalition Friends of Tourism. Prior to entering Parliament, Mr Tehan worked in agriculture in Australia and overseas. He worked in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade where he held various roles, including as a diplomat at the Australian Embassy in Mexico. Mr Tehan also worked at senior levels of the Howard Government, and as the Director of Trade Policy and International Affairs at the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Mr Tehan has Masters Degrees in International Relations and Foreign Affairs and Trade. He is married and lives in Hamilton, Victoria. He is a passionate supporter of the Richmond Football Club and enjoys spending time outdoors with his family.
Australian National University
Emma is a Fellow at the School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet) and Associate Director (Research) for the Zero-Carbon Energy for the Asia Pacific Grand Challenge at the Australian National University. She has degrees in chemical engineering (UNSW), environmental management (Oxford) and economics (UC Berkeley).
Emma combines her interdisciplinary understanding with extensive government and industry engagement to develop solutions to problems at the intersection of international economic regulation and the environment. Her work on international investment agreements has been published in leading journals in political science, economics and international law, and she has been an invited expert on the topic at both the OECD and the United Nations Commission on Trade and Development. Her current research explores how to make trade & investment policy and green industrial policy mutually supportive of each other, and of the net-zero transition. She is currently collaborating with the Australian Government and the World Bank, researching trade-related climate policies including hydrogen/ammonia certification and embedded emissions accounting frameworks.
Special Representative for Australian Agriculture
Su McCluskey is an experienced senior business executive and company director, and a beef cattle farmer at Yass, NSW. Su has a strong background in agricultural policy, production and research.
As the Special Representative for Australian Agriculture, Su will promote the role that agricultural trade plays in enabling global food security, promote sustainability standards based on outcomes rather than prescriptions, and emphasise the role that innovation, technology and research play in supporting sustainable agriculture and productivity growth.
Su’s other current roles include Director of Australian Unity, LiveCorp, Foundation for Young Australians, Australasian Pork Research Institute, NSW Rice Marketing Board and Energy Renaissance. She is also a Commissioner for the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research.
More recently, Su was a Commissioner on the National COVID-19 Advisory Board, a member of the Deregulation Taskforce Advisory Panel, the Charities Review and the Small Business Digital Taskforce. She was also a member of the Independent Review Panel for CPA Australia, the Harper Review of Competition Policy and the NSW Review of the Regulatory Framework.
Previously, Su has been the CEO of the Regional Australia Institute, the Council of Rural Research and Development Corporations and the Executive Director of the Office of Best Practice Regulation. She has also held senior positions with the Business Council of Australia, the National Farmers’ Federation and the Australian Taxation Office. Su was named the Westpac/Australian Financial Review Regional Women of Influence in 2013 and received the Women in Agribusiness award in 2014 for outstanding contribution to policy development.
Delegation of the European Union to Australia
Cornelis (Kees) Keijzer is currently Head of the Economic and Trade section of the Delegation of the European Union in Australia with the diplomatic rank of Minister-Counsellor. He has worked as an official for the European Commission since 1995, mostly on economic and trade-related issues, and also foreign policy issues. He represented the European Union in Geneva in the WTO and in the EU Delegation in Tokyo. His experience with trade policy dates to the Uruguay Round, in which he negotiated initial commitments on services in the context of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). In Brussels, he was involved in the development of the Commission’s Market Access Strategy. He negotiated the trade in goods part of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement and plurilateral sectoral agreements in WTO (Information Technology Agreement (ITA) and the pharma-agreement). Before working for the European Commission, Kees worked for the Ministry of Economics in The Netherlands, as well as for the Dutch Central Bank, working on the introduction of the euro. He studied political science, economics, and financial policymaking at the Universities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam and in Paris/Strasbourg at the French Ecole Nationale d’Administration (ENA).
At GRDC Terence is head of economics where his responsibilities include international demand forecasting, investment analysis and impact assessment.
Terence has previously worked on grain and livestock farms and has an interest in business management and analytics. He holds degrees in agricultural economics from universities in Australia, Canada and the United States. Prior to joining GRDC Terence taught agricultural economics at the University of New England, worked with NSW DPI in several roles and was a consultant to various research organisations in Australia and overseas.
The role of the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) is to improve the profitability and sustainability of grain growers in Australia and a part of this ambition is to ensure that growers are well informed and enabled to take advantage of new technologies and innovations.
Emily is an industry economist in ABARES Agricultural Forecasting and Policy section. She is currently the coarse grains analyst and was previously the oilseeds analyst, contributing to ABARES Agricultural Commodities publication. She also contributes to the Australian Crop Report as the Western Australia crops analyst.
Emily has an honours degree in Economics from the University of Queensland. Prior to joining ABARES in February 2020, Emily spent 4 and a half years in the Australian Public Service working in various policy and program officer roles.
Tim, who was named Australian Rural Consultant of the Year in 2018, has over 25 years’ experience across Australia and internationally, 20 of which was spent running his own business. Tim is co-founder of DataFarming, which services over 26,000 farms across 50 countries with satellite imagery every five days.
Tim’s strong ag tech focus has been driven by an evolution from CTF (controlled traffic farming), auto-steer technology, elevation mapping and water drainage planning, yield mapping, variable rate, soil mapping, GIS, and satellite imagery. He has managed over 20 industry RD&E projects for a broad spectrum of clients in grains, rice, horticulture, cotton, viticulture, sugarcane, turf, and tree crops. He has served on the CRCSI (program 4) board, Society for Precision Ag Australia (SPAA) committee, the National Positioning Infrastructure (NPI) advisory board, and is a foundational member of AusAgTech. Tim has delivered presentations to around 40 national and international conferences including the first PA conference in South Africa and the World Congress on Conservation Agriculture in Canada.
University of Queensland
Professor Craig Baillie is the Director of the Centre for Agricultural Engineering (CAE) and the Deputy Executive Director of the Institute for Advanced Engineering and Space Sciences (IAESS) at the University of Southern Queensland. Craig is an agricultural engineer with over 25 years’ experience in agricultural research, development and extension (R, D &E).
Craig’s primary research interests include farming systems innovation and technology solutions to improve farm productivity and profitability. Key focus areas include precision agriculture, energy conservation, bioresources, irrigation modernisation and automation.
Craig is also involved in major initiatives and collaborative research with Deere and Company in the USA on new and innovative farming technologies. Prior to commencing with USQ, Craig had a number of roles including farming systems research and technical support to large corporate farming operations which involved the development and implementation of new infrastructure, machinery, technologies and innovative farming strategies.
South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI)
Rhiannon is an agricultural scientist who leads the Agronomy Program at the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), a division of the Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA).
She is also an Affiliate Lecturer at the University of Adelaide and Deputy Director of the South Australian Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub. Her research focuses on improving crop and soil management across the low, medium and high rainfall zones of South Australia. She has an established network bringing together multi-disciplines to achieve applied research outcomes that benefit the grains industry. This includes her recent GRDC-funded project focused on using machine learning to extract maximum value from historical paddock mapping datasets.
Amelia is a multi-platform reporter with ABC Rural, and also hosts the local breakfast radio show on ABC Upper Hunter. Amelia was born and bred in the horse capital of Scone in the Hunter and has always had an interest in shining a light on regional and rural affairs since beginning her journalism career in 2016.
Jonathan leads the Livestock team in the ABARES Agricultural Forecasting and Policy section. Jonathan is the beef and veal analyst and contributes to ABARES Agricultural Commodities publication.
Jonathan has previously worked in both trade and water at the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. He has a Master of Environment and Resource Economics from the Australian National University, and a Bachelor of International Studies from the University of New South Wales.
Angus is a Senior Analyst in the RaboResearch Food &Agribusiness Research team, responsible for research and analysis on the local and global animal protein sectors. In his role, Angus provides regular market updates on beef, sheepmeat, pork, poultry and seafood markets.
He is the lead author on the Rabobank global beef quarterly and writes the Australian beef seasonal outlook. Furthermore he develops and writes feature research, providing knowledge and insights on key industry issues. Recent reports include looking at livestock supply chain management of GHG emissions, growth in grainfed beef markets, forward and value-based marketing for beef, and global demand outlook for sheepmeat. Angus is a regular public speaker at farmer and industry events and also produces podcasts as part of the RaboResearch team communications.
Angus holds an honours degree in agriculture economics from the University of Sydney with majors in agricultural economics and marketing and a masters in accounting from Curtin University in Western Australia.
Australian Organic Meats
Simone is a farmer and founder of the organic beef industry in Australia. She has been pioneering global networks for organic farmers since the mid-1990s as joint Managing Director of the Australian Organic Meats Group, an organic food company that represents farmers in their quest to achieve fair market returns for their products.
She was recognised as a finalist in the 2018 Australian Financial Review 100 Women of Influence. Simone has previously acted as Co-chair of the Organic Federation of Australia and contributes towards government policy development on behalf of the organic industry. Simone and her family also operate a beef property near Goondiwindi, NSW.
The Livestock Collective
Holly is the founder and Managing Director of The Livestock Collective. The non-for-profit company was developed in 2019 out of a crisis and critical need to improve the Australian community connection and understanding of the livestock export industry. Holly’s mantra is “when there is a void of information it will be filled by others” and has set out to change this within the livestock industry.
Holly and The Livestock Collective team continue to deliver key communications and leadership capacity building projects to assisted in driving community acceptance and trust in the livestock industry and agriculture more broadly.
Holly is employed as the Corporate Governance and Compliance officer for Emanuel Exports. She completed a Bachelor of Agricultural Science at La Trobe University and a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery at Murdoch University, WA. Holly has worked extensively in the livestock export supply chain as a veterinarian before moving into management roles in operations and compliance. Holly is passionate about driving best practice in animal welfare through highly trained people in all parts of the supply chain; embracing innovation and technology and engaging with all stakeholders and industry to drive transparency and strong relationships.
Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
Andrew Metcalfe has been the Secretary of the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment and Australia’s Director of Biosecurity, since the department was created on 1 February 2020. As Departmental Secretary, he leads 7,000 staff in the department itself and over 12,000 in portfolio agencies such as the Bureau of Meteorology and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority.
The department is focussed on assisting industry to grow to a $100 billion agriculture sector by 2030; supporting stewardship and sustainable management to enhance Australia’s environment and unique heritage; supporting the sustainable management and productive use of Australia’s water resources; managing biosecurity risks to Australian agriculture, the environment and our way of life; and advancing Australia’s strategic, scientific and environmental interests in the Antarctic and the Southern Ocean.
Andrew was born and grew up in Toowoomba Queensland. After studying law and public administration at the University of Queensland. Andrew has had a long career in the Australian Public Service, including as head of the Department of Immigration for seven years and head of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. Between 2014 and January 2020 Andrew was a senior partner in EY (Ernst and Young), the global professional services firm. Andrew was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2012
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries QLD
Malcolm is Deputy Director General and Chief Biosecurity Officer in Queensland’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. He co-chairs the National Biosecurity Committee and chairs the National Biosecurity Communication and Engagement Network.
Malcolm has also chaired a working group on research and innovation priorities designed to respond to the recommendations in the Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity (IGAB) review. Malcolm is also a non-executive Director of Animal Health Australia. Malcolm believes technology including social research can be better used to optimise the benefits of biosecurity investment.
Malcolm has worked with the Queensland Government for 29 years, with the last 22 years in senior executive roles including as Deputy Director-General, Agriculture. He has extensive experience in agricultural policy and industry development and for five years he was also responsible for the trade and investment area in the department.
He has previously been on the Board of Safe Food Production Queensland and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He holds undergraduate qualifications in environmental science and post graduate qualifications in extension.
Animal Health Australia
Kathleen is the CEO at Animal Health Australia, and an experienced and successful leader in policy and strategy development and implementation. Kathleen’s previous roles include the General Manager of Policy at Australian Pork Limited, acting CEO and Policy Director at Pork Council Australia, and Policy Director at Wool Council of Australia.
She began her career at the Reserve Bank of Australia and later worked in business management consulting and training in the financial sector.
Kathleen holds a Bachelor of Economics (Hons) and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She is passionate about making a difference to the prosperity of farmers and the rural and regional communities that rely on them. Kathleen also believes in the power of education, and the economic empowerment and support of those in our society who are less fortunate.
Plant Health Australia
Sarah is Chief Executive Officer of Plant Health Australia and her biosecurity experience extends across the Australian Government, as well as the Queensland and Northern Territory (NT) state governments.
Sarah has delivered significant eradication programs for agricultural and environmental pests under deed-like arrangements as well as the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed and the National Environmental Biosecurity Response Agreement. She has overseen biosecurity research and investment in infrastructure across sectors, including disease detection, management, and response.
She has held a number of roles on various national committees and is an observer (and former member) of the National Biosecurity Committee. In November 2021, Sarah was presented with the Dr Kim Ritman Award for Science and Innovation at the Australian Biosecurity Awards. She was previously awarded a NT Chief Minister’s Award for excellence in biosecurity and was a joint winner of an Australian Biosecurity Award for her work on the National Citrus Canker Eradication Program.
With more than 20 years’ experience in biosecurity, Sarah also has experience as an Army Reserve Scientific Officer, supporting the Australian Defence Force through research and operational activities.
Sarah enjoys the challenges and rewards from protecting plant health and keeping industries viable by working with government, industry, and the community. Connect with Sarah on LinkedIn or email her.
Freight & Trade Alliance
Sal is the Head of Border and Biosecurity at Freight & Trade Alliance (FTA) and the Australian Peak Shippers Association (APSA). Based in Melbourne Sal provides member support as well as engaging with key stakeholders such as Australian Border Force; the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment and the Port of Melbourne.
Sal is a licensed customs broker professional of some 20+ years standing, as well as experience in international freight forwarding and supply chain logistics. Sal has previously held senior brokerage roles at several global logistic providers including Mainfreight International, Damco and most recently Rohlig Logistics, all of which have him well versed to provide his professional advice and support to the international trading community.
FTA is a peak advocacy body for the international trade sector with a vision to establish a global benchmark of efficiency in Australian border related security, compliance and logistics activities. FTA represents around 450 businesses including Australia’s largest logistics service providers and many major importers. APSA is the peak body for Australia’s containerised exporters and importers designated under Part X of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 and by the Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. APSA represents many of Australia’s largest shippers and provide advocacy support to several industry associations.
Fiona Breen is the Executive Producer of ABC Rural Tasmania and a journalist with more than 25 years’ experience in the media specialising in rural and regional stories. Before that she was a reporter on ABC Landline covering stories across Tasmania and Victoria from dairy to aquaculture and fisheries, wool, livestock and horticulture.
Her long and award-winning career has taken her on two assignments to the sub–Antarctic’s Macquarie Island reporting on the multimillion dollar pest eradication program and the revitalisation of the ecosystem.
She’s also had a three-week stint for the ABC in the Antarctic covering stories at Wilkins Runway, Davis and Casey stations.
Fiona is experienced in reporting across radio, digital and TV, managing a team that brings rural stories to audiences across those platforms.
Fiona covers a broad range of agricultural and fisheries issues, from horticulture and labour, the wine industry, aquaculture, wool, livestock and more and reports on these for a local and national audience.
Richard heads up Kalfresh Pty Ltd, a vertically integrated Queensland horticultural business with farming interests in QLD and NSW and supplies fresh vegetables to retail customers in Australia and overseas.
As CEO Richard is focused on offering customers consistent, high-quality and reliable supply of fresh vegetables, while ensuring sustainable returns to the farm.
Over the past six years Kalfresh has moved into Certified Organic production in North Queensland and the Scenic Rim and is now a large supplier of organic fresh produce to retailers. The company has also invested in value-add processing lines to enable more of the crop to be utilised and sold in the ‘ready to eat’ space.
In 2017 Kalfresh embarked on a move into renewable energy, with a focus on transforming food waste and energy crop into green power and organic fertiliser. Kalfresh is in the final stages of a co-ordinated Queensland Government planning process to establish an integrated Agricultural Industrial Precinct for advanced food and beverage manufacturing at Kalbar, QLD, with a bioenergy facility at the heart of the development. The bioenergy facility will use anaerobic digestion to turn food waste and energy crop into reliable baseload power and organic soil nutrition.
Fresh Markets Australia
Shane is committed to ensuring the longevity of the fruit and vegetable industry and independent sector in Australia. Shane has extensive experience in the fruit and vegetable industry with over 35 years’ involvement. Thirteen of those years were in the retail sector with roles at Woolworths including Group Manager and Category Manager.
Shane then moved into the wholesale sector and was CEO for a number of vertically and horizontally integrated wholesaler businesses in the Melbourne Market. Since 2014, Shane has jointly owned and operated Produce Time P/L, a wholesaling business at the Melbourne Market.
Shane holds a Bachelor of Business and has been the President of Fresh State Limited for over 14 years. Since 2009 he has been the FMA Chair. He is a strategic leader and played an active role in the creation of the A better choice! program, which drives consumer support to the independent retail sector, ultimately sustaining the central market system for years to come.
Tim has led the vegetables team at Coles since 2019 and has worked across supply chain and buying during his 13 years with Coles, including the Dairy, Grocery, General Merchandise and the Fresh Produce business units. With over 20 years of retail experience, Tim is passionate about his customers and has been able to gain a strong understanding of the supermarket business right across the store and through the supply chain.
In his time at Coles he has championed Australian grown – Coles frozen mango and canned pineapple grown in Queensland, and the move to 100% Australian fresh garlic have helped to reduce imported produce and support Australian growers.
Tim is energised to work alongside Australia’s best growers, feeding customers all over Australia, driving innovation through new and exciting products, leading positive change on sustainability, and creating value within the supply chain.
Food and Agribusiness Growth Centre
Michele is currently Chair of the Boards of Apple and Pear Australia Limited, Charles Sturt University, the Food and Agribusiness growth Centre (FIAL), Trusted Autonomous Systems Defence CRC, AgrifoodConnect and Wine Australia. She is a non-executive director of CSIRO, CRC Food Agility, Smart Sat CRC and Dairy Food Safety Victoria.
Her prior board roles include Chair Meat & Livestock Australia, Grain Growers Limited, Tasmanian Irrigation, Innovation and Science Australia, Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation, Forest & Wood Products Australia, Chair William Angliss Institute, Callaghan Innovation (NZ) and Food Standards Australia and New Zealand. Michele has held executive roles with Amcor Limited, Kraft Foods, Bonlac Foods Limited, ICI, Tasmanian Bioinformatics Centre of Excellence Tasmania, Johnson and Johnson, and Nestle. Michele has a Bachelor of Applied Science from the University of Technology Sydney, a Master of Management of Technology from the University of Melbourne, a Master Commercial Law from Deakin University and a Doctorate from RMIT. She is a fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Denise is a Sensory & Consumer Insight Specialist at Kantar - the world’s leading evidence-based insights and consulting company. A passion for insights, stalking supermarket aisles, and all things food and wine saw her trade in neuroscience for consumer science. Today, she leads the sensory research practice at Kantar and champions the Millennium Monitor, a longitudinal tracker of social values.
Utilising this unique blend of expertise, Denise contributes to research that provides strategic direction for organisations, brands and categories on how to best position themselves for the future.
Nick is an experienced food innovator, lecturer and consultant who is the CEO and founder of Australian start-up v2food. Launched nationally in October 2019, v2food has developed plant-based meat, building on a close collaboration with CSIRO to create tasty, sustainable and healthy products.
Nick holds a Master of Manufacturing from Cambridge University, and has worked in aerospace and chocolate manufacturing before moving into research and development in the food industry, working at global multinationals in The Netherlands and Australia. He was R&D Director at Masterfoods and at PepsiCo Australia and New Zealand, working on products like Grain Waves, Red Rock Deli, Sunbites and Smiths. He lectures in the Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation degree at UTS and has consulted to CSIRO and the meat industry.
National Farmers’ Federation
Fiona believes that agriculture is an industry of the future. Collaborative and passionate, she has been an agricultural industry leader at state and federal levels since 2008. Elected in 2016 as the first female President of National Farmers Federation in its 40 year history, she is now leading industry through an exciting period of change.
A farmer herself with her husband Ed and family from the Liverpool Plains in NSW, she hopes to create opportunities for more women and young people to become involved in industry. Fiona was instrumental in the launch of the NFF’s first Diversity in Ag Leadership Programme in 2018. She has also spearheaded the NFF’s 2030 $100bn Vision, is leading new approaches to the stewardship of natural capital and biodiversity, and focussed on growing connections between farmers and urban consumers.
Growing up on a property near Armidale, NSW, Fiona is passionate about the growth and sustainability of rural and regional Australia and agriculture’s role in its future. She is a skilled and experienced board director, with experience in policy development, communication and governance. As well as a number of government advisory committees, Fiona also chairs the recently established Future Food Systems CRC, is a Commissioner and Chair of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, sits as a Director on the Boards of Australian Made Australian Grown and NRMA (NSW), and is Patron of National Rural Press Club and Gunnedah Gatepost Community Support Centre.
As Chief Financial Officer and member of Forico’s Executive team, Rayne van den Berg contributes oversight and strategic planning to add value to Tasmania’s largest plantation forestry estate.
Rayne has over 20 years’ experience as a chartered accountant, which has seen her lead teams, drive change and create value across a broad range of industries in Australia and internationally including primary production, aquaculture, wine, property development, and more recently in forestry.
Rayne has a strong interest in corporate sustainability and believes that integrated reporting will be an important tool to improve the transparency of an organisation’s environmental, social and financial impact and generate positive change. Last year, Rayne inspired and led a multidisciplinary team to develop Forico’s first two natural capital reports – some of the first of their kind in the world to articulate the value of nature in a financial reporting format.
Forico’s plans to extend its sustainability story by adding a social and human capital report to its reporting framework for the year ended 30 June 2022. This additional report will present Forico’s stakeholders with a comprehensive description of its impact and dependencies on people, planet and profit to ensure long-term corporate sustainability.
Ric’s journey with sustainability reporting starts as a young forester explaining the theory and practice of multiple use forest management to school groups. Later, he helped create the framework for a forest practices code when working for the Forest Resources Commission of British Columbia.
Ric also introduced the concept of an Australian forestry standard when working for the national forest industry association in Canberra in 1990s. More recently, he has led the development of high impact industry branding campaigns focussed on climate change and renewability, as well as a sector-wide approach to sustainability reporting.
He holds a Bachelor of Science (Forestry) degree from the Australian National University and Master of Business Administration from University of British Columbia. He is currently a director of the Gippsland Centre Against Sexual Assault. After 13 years leading the forest sector’s research and development corporation FWPA, Ric has recently founded a new sustainability advisory service, CarbonAbility Pty Ltd, focussed on ensuring the integrity of carbon offsets. Ric lives in an off-grid property in West Gippsland that should never have been cleared for grazing (and soon won’t be).
Farming for the Future
Dr Sue Ogilvy is Research Director of Farming for the Future, a collective impact, public interest research and change program initiated by the Macdoch Foundation.
Farming for the Future is establishing a multi-year research program to engage farmers and their advisors to understand the relationships between differences in natural capital and business and personal benefits for farmers. This work draws on Sue’s PhD research in natural capital accounting and her practical experience with farm-scale projects in NSW, Victoria, Tasmania, Western Australia and the NT. These projects are contributing to the emergence of strategies for helping farmers assess, manage, and communicate their natural capital position and environmental performance.
University of Adelaide
Dr Joanna Howe is an Associate Professor in Law at the University of Adelaide and a consultant with Harmers Workplace Lawyers. Joanna is a leading expert on the legal regulation of temporary labour migration.
She is project leader on a number of significant national research grants, including grants funded by the Australian Research Council and the Department of Social Services and is the lead author of a three-year inquiry into labour challenges in the horticulture industry.
Joanna is the author of three books and her work is internationally recognised. Her edited collection Temporary Labour Migration in the Global Era (with Professor Rosemary Owens) is the seminal international work on the regulation of transnational migration flows between countries on a temporary basis, and her monograph Rethinking Job Security provides a three country study of unfair dismissal law.
She holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in Law from the University of Oxford where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar. In 2021 Joanna was appointed by the Minister for Immigration to the Ministerial Advisory Council on Skilled Migration. In 2019 Joanna was appointed as the Australian representative to an expert ILO working group on temporary labour migration.
Fresh Produce Group
Taryn is the Human Resources Director at Fresh Produce Group (FPG), one of Australia’s largest and most innovative fresh produce suppliers.
Over 4,000 people work at Fresh Produce Group businesses each year across 13 farms and distribution centres located in New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, Queensland and Western Australia. Taryn oversees all matters relating to the FPG workforce, including participation in Pacific labour schemes, graduate employment and employee relations. She’s been responsible for navigating the organisation through the many challenges COVID-19 has brought to the horticulture industry, forming new and sustainable workforce strategies to respond to the changes. Fresh Produce Group is a member of the Australian Fresh Produce Alliance, where Taryn sits as a member of the HR Reference group, bringing her 11 years’ experience in horticulture to provide advice on industry employment matters.
Charlie is the General Manager of Trade & Industry Strategy at Dairy Australia, responsible for facilitating profitable international trade of Australian dairy products and providing information, analysis and data to inform industry and government on matters relating to dairy markets and industry policy.
This includes ensuring the industry's interests are upheld in the vital area of international trade policy reform, as well as providing factual advice on potential impacts of domestic policies in areas such as water, human health and nutrition, animal welfare and labour. The team also works to address sustainability challenges in the dairy manufacturing sector.
Charlie has a long history of working in the agriculture and food sector in areas related to policy, advocacy and informing decisions related to the market dynamics. Charlie came to Dairy Australia from the National Farmers' Federation (NFF), where he was the General Manager of Policy and prior to that, worked in the pork and red meat industries.
Scott is the Director of the Australian Milk Price Initiative (AMPI), formed in 2017 and aims to investigate how milk price hedging markets could be implemented in Australia, similar to those seen in other Australian commodity markets (e.g. wheat and sugar) and other major global milk producing regions (US, EU and NZ).
These tools allow the dairy value chain (farmer-processor-consumer) to manage price volatility, thereby improving the ability to budget, plan, invest and grow.
At the 2018 election AMPI received a commitment of funding from the Morrison Government, delivered via the Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) to “design new milk pricing and marketing concepts for the dairy sector, aiming to deliver farmers better leverage, more transparency from the supply chain and more choices on how and when they price their milk.” It was also included in the Australian Dairy Plan as a key commitment.
This project ran in 2020 and delivered a proposed market design in mid-2021, based on consultation with farmer representatives, all major processors, and various end users. The design proposes the development of monthly regional milk spot markets, which will then serve as the price benchmarks for financial hedging tools. The first of these spot markets runs on March 3 2022.
La Trobe University
Professor Felicity Blackstock is currently the Academic Lead of Industry Placements at La Trobe University and was previously with Dairy Australia as Learning and Development Manager. Her career began in the higher education sector, creating and evaluating the impact of innovative learning experiences for students in science, health and engineering.
This included simulation-based, work-integrated, and technology-enabled learning to overcome geographical barriers to access and improve equity in education. These approaches have since been successfully applied to support people in dairy to enter the industry, enable career development and lead profitable and productive farm businesses. Felicity led the Learning and Development team at Dairy Australia to transform extension and education to become flexible, with a mix of face-to-face and technology-based models of training, and maintaining critical access to quality training for people in dairy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, Felicity has used evidence of current and predicted workforce needs to drive decision making for dairy's investment in people. Felicity has over 50 publications, national and international awards, and is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. The role of extension and education in recruiting, developing and retaining capable people in agriculture, for a profitable, productive and sustainable industry, is her primary passion.
Mick Keogh was appointed to the ACCC in February 2016, and then as Deputy Chair of the ACCC in 2018, with responsibility for small business and agriculture.
Mick has a long and diverse history of involvement with the small business and agriculture sector, including employment as a business consultant, and in advocacy and advisory roles to policymakers and governments. He is currently a member of a number of Government and private sector boards.
Mick was awarded the Order of Australia Medal in 2015. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in science, both obtained at the University of New South Wales, and a Doctor of Applied Science (honoris causa) from Charles Sturt University.
Ann is a dairy farmer, with her husband and son, in Bamawm, near Echuca, in northern Victoria. Ann completed an agriculture degree at the University of Melbourne and then moved to Echuca as a Dairy Extension Officer with the Victorian Department of Agriculture in February 1982.
In 1989 Ann went sharefarming and milking 180 cows. In July 1990 Ann and her husband purchased their first farm, had their first child and milked 200 cows on 107 acres plus 50 acres of leased land.
Now, the Gardiners milk 1000 cows, rear 500 young stock and 130 wagyu calves on 400 hectares plus 200ha leased land. They run two herds - one an A2 protein herd and the other a conventional, A1, protein herd. The A2 herd is fed a total mixed ration for half the year and a partial mixed ration for the remainder of the year. The A1 herd is grazing plus supplements. As well, the Gardiners grow permanent pastures, annual pastures, lucerne, vetch, winter cereals and maize.
Ann is a national councillor with Australian Dairy Farmers, has been on the board of Murray Dairy, been on various industry steering committees as well as being active in the local football and netball clubs, and community planning group.
Australian Dairy Products Federation
Janine is the Executive Director of Australian Dairy Products Federation (ADPF), Australia’s peak body for dairy processors, marketers and traders. She leads a team of members across rural and regional Australia.
Janine brings to the role more than 20 years’ experience in the food industry. Before joining the ADPF in 2019, Janine was running a nutrition consultancy with clients including market-leading Carman’s, Don’s Smallgoods and Swinburne University. Previously she was Nutrition Leader with beverage and food company Lion’s Group. Janine spent 13 years with Lion (National Foods) specialising in stakeholder management, policy and regulatory frameworks, consumer insights, product development and executive leadership. Her first role in the food industry was in 2001 with Dairy Australia as a Dietitian – Health and Nutrition. Janine has a Masters of Nutrition and Dietetics from Deakin University, and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Queensland.
Under Janine's leadership the ADPF has launched the Milk Value Portal, seen the Queensland Dairyfarmers' Organisation's "Fair Go" Dairy Licensing Scheme be set aside and delivered the first comprehensive report into the economic and broader contribution of the Australian dairy processing industry.
The ADPF is Australia’s peak body for dairy processors, traders, brokers and marketers, representing more than 90% of Australia’s total milk pool. The ADPF strives to protect and promote dairy for the future success of dairy processors, providing a trusted source of advice and lead on public advocacy to government and the community, on the economic, social and health benefits of dairy.