Outlook 2016 archive – Speakers and chair profiles

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The Hon Barnaby Joyce MP

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources

Deputy Prime Minister, National Party Leader and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, has been a member of the Federal Parliament since 1 July 2005 when he assumed the Queensland Senate seat he won at the 2004 federal election for the Nationals.

Minister Joyce is currently the Nationals Parliamentary Federal leader. Previously, Minister Joyce was the Deputy Federal leader to Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss after leading the Nationals in the Senate for just under five years.

On 8 August 2013, Minister Joyce resigned from the Senate to contest the House of Representatives seat of New England at the September 2013 federal election. The seat had been held by independent MP Tony Windsor. In winning the northern NSW regional seat, Minister Joyce became the first person in Australian politics to have represented one state in the Senate and another state in the House of Representatives.

In Opposition, Minister Joyce held a number of portfolio responsibilities including being the Coalition spokesman for Finance and Debt Reduction (2009–10), for Regional Development, Infrastructure and Water (2010), and for Regional Development, Local Government and Water (2010–13).

Minister Joyce was the fifth child in a farming family of six children. He was born in Tamworth and grew up at Danglemah, where his family owned a sheep and cattle property. He was educated at Woolbrook Public School and St Ignatius College, Riverview. He studied at the University of New England where he gained a Bachelor’s degree in Financial Accounting. Minister Joyce practised as an accountant, as a rural banker, and ran his own accountancy firm in St George, Queensland for 10 years.

As a Senator, Minister Joyce was responsible for authoring “The Birdsville Amendment” which was designed to protect small business from predatory pricing through the Trade Practices Act. Minister Joyce was also instrumental in negotiating a multi-billion dollar regional telecommunications package as a condition of the government’s full sale of Telstra in 2005.

During his time as a Nationals Senator and prior to becoming a shadow minister, Minister Joyce crossed the floor 28 times.

Minister Joyce was appointed as Agriculture Minister on 18 September 2013. As well as his ministerial responsibilities, Minister Joyce was also appointed as chair of the Prime Minister’s Water Infrastructure Ministerial Working Group.

On 21 September 2015, Minister Joyce also assumed portfolio responsibility for water policy and was sworn in as Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources.

On 11 February 2016, Minister Joyce became the Leader of the Nationals and on 18 February 2016, was sworn in as Deputy Prime Minister.

Minister Joyce is married with four daughters.

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Leigh Radford

ABC Rural

Leigh Radford joined the ABC as a trainee rural reporter in Melbourne in February 1988 and has worked at all levels of regional, state and national reporting and also as a long serving Country Hour Presenter. Leigh has been the Head of ABC Rural since 2005.show more

Leigh has nearly three decades of extensive travel around Australia in these various roles and has broadcast programs from literally right across the country and into the outback.

Leigh regularly hosts large national conferences and particularly enjoys the community engagement opportunities his role allows.

He is a multi-award winning broadcaster, with a number of Dalgety Awards for Excellence in Rural Journalism, (including the national award winner in 1992); several Landcare awards, and he was the inaugural winner of the Telstra Rural Journalist of the Year award in South Australia.

He comes from a background of environmental sciences and has an Honours degree in biogeography

Leigh is passionate about the people and issues of rural Australia and has a great love of the environment.

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Karen Schneider


Karen Schneider was appointed Executive Director of ABARES in November 2013. In this position she oversees the Bureau’s program of work, including research and commodity analysis. Prior to that, she was First Assistant Secretary of the Department of Agriculture’s Biosecurity Animal Division, Executive Director of the Bureau of Rural Sciences and Deputy Executive Director of ABARE.show more

Karen spent eight years as an analyst at the International Energy Agency at the OECD, following several positions as an economist in the Australian public service. She holds qualifications in Applied Science from the University of New South Wales.

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Wim Boonstra

Rabobank The Netherlands

Wim Boonstra is the Chief Economist of Rabobank, Utrecht. He is also Professor of Economic and Monetary Policy at VU University, Amsterdam. Wim has published numerous articles on banking, financial markets, international economics, business cycles and European integration.show more

In 1990 he won a Special Merit Award in the American Express Award Competition with an essay in which he launched a proposal for the common funding of public deficits in the Economic and Monetary Union. This was the first proposal for the use of so-called 'Eurobonds' to stabilize the Economic and Monetary Union.

Wim's other positions include:

- President of the Monetary Commission of the European League for Economic Cooperation, Brussels (since 2006)

- Member of the Board of SEO Stichting Economisch Onderzoek, Amsterdam (since 2009)

- Advisor of the Investment Committee of the Gasunie Pension Fund, Groningen (since 2010)

- Member of the Supervisory Board (and member of the Audit Committee) of the Diabetes Fund, Amersfoort (since 2012)

- Secretary and co-founder of 'De Monetaire Kring', a debating group of Monetary Economists active in banking, central banking and academics (since 1992).

In 2008 Wim completed his Phd thesis entitled 'The balance of payments and the international investment position' through VU University Amsterdam. In 2001 he completed Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program and, in 1985, received his Masters Economics (Doctoraal Algemene Economie) (Cum Laude) from VU University.

In previous roles Wim has lectured on money and banking at VU University; a columnist in 'Het Financieele Dagblad' (the Dutch Financial Daily); a member of the Dutch government Task Force Wind Energy at Sea; EMU project coordinator of Rabobank and a former board member of the Dutch Royal Society of Economic Affairs and the Société Universitaire Europeénne de Recherches Financières.

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Saul Eslake


Saul Eslake has worked as an economist in the Australian financial markets for more than 25 years, including as Chief Economist at McIntosh Securities (a stockbroking firm) in the late 1980s, Chief Economist (International) at National Mutual Funds Management in the early 1990s, and as Chief Economist at the Australia & New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) from 1995 to 2009.show more

He took a break from the financial markets between July 2009 and December 2011, during which time he worked part-time as Director of the Productivity Growth Program at the Grattan Institute, a ‘think tank’ affiliated with Melbourne University, and as a freelance writer, speaker and consultant.

Saul returned to the financial markets in his role as Chief Economist of Bank of America Merrill Lynch Australia from December 2011 until mid 2015.

Saul is also a non-executive director of Hydro Tasmania, the largest renewable energy producer in Australia; and a member of the National Housing Supply Council (which produces long-run estimates of the demand for and supply of housing) and the Australian Statistics Advisory Council (the external advisory body to the Australian Bureau of Statistics).

He has at different times in the past been a Chair of the Tasmanian Arts Advisory Board; a board member of the Australian Business Arts Foundation and the University of Tasmania Foundation; a member of the Howard Government’s Foreign Affairs and Trade Policy Advisory Councils, and of the Rudd Government’s Long-Term Tourism Strategy Steering Committee; and a member of the Steering Committee established by the Tasmanian Government to prepare a business case for a Tasmanian team in the AFL.

He has also been an occasional contributor to the Melbourne Age, Sydney Morning Herald and Launceston Examiner newspapers, and to a number of professional and other magazines.

Saul has a first class honours degree in Economics from the University of Tasmania, and a Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and Investment from the Securities Institute of Australia. He has also completed the Senior Executive Program at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business in New York.

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Ticky Fullerton

ABC TV The Business

Ticky Fullerton presents ABC's The Business program and Business PM on radio. In twenty years with the broadcaster, she spent five as an investigative reporter with Four Corners where she won the Eureka Prize for Environmental Journalism.show more

Ticky was also the presenter for Landline, and reported for Lateline in Canberra and Sydney. Prior to journalism, Ticky was an associate director with investment bank Credit Suisse First Boston for ten years in London and then Sydney.

Ticky is the author of 'Watershed', the first comprehensive book on the challenges facing Australia in water. She's been a director of the Cooperative Research Centre for Irrigation Futures and is a Friend of the Peter Cullen Trust. Ticky has a law degree from Oxford University and was Treasurer of the Oxford Union.

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Elizabeth O'Leary

Macquarie Agricultural Funds Management

Elizabeth O’Leary is a Senior Managing Director at Macquarie Group, with more than 12 years senior experience in its business in Australia, the UK and Hong Kong.show more

Elizabeth is Head of Agriculture for Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA), the world’s leading infrastructure fund manager with growing platforms in agriculture, real estate and energy. MIRA Agriculture currently manages two wholesale funds on behalf of its investors with assets in Australia and Brazil. Elizabeth is responsible for developing and managing MIRA Agriculture’s institutional investment platform, overseeing investment management as a member of the Executive Committee for each of its funds; and is an active director on the Boards of the Fund’s operating companies Paraway Pastoral Company Limited, Lawsons Grains Pty Ltd and Cruziero do Sul Graos Limitada.

Raised on a rice, wheat and sheep farm in the Riverina region, Elizabeth has a long association and deep knowledge of agribusiness. She has over a decade’s experience as an active investor in one of Australia’s largest Angus cattle breeding and genetics companies, and is an owner/operator of farmland in three Australian states.

Elizabeth’s previous Macquarie roles included funds management and corporate positions for which she was responsible for large global operational teams, leading transformation programs and supporting major business acquisitions. Within funds management, she was a senior member of the asset management team in MIRA’s London headquarters, playing instrumental roles in the acquisition and asset management of some of MIRA’s flagship European infrastructure investments. Elizabeth was also integral to the success of several transformational acquisitions for Macquarie, including in the acquisition and transition management of Delaware asset management from Lincoln Financial in the United States.

Elizabeth is a Board Member of the Macquarie Group Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Macquarie Group.

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John Corbett

Hassad Australia

John Corbett is an independent business and corporate finance consultant with a specialisation in agriculture and agribusiness.show more

John has 30 years’ experience in arranging and structuring capital and business solutions for corporate and multinational agriculture and agribusiness clients. John’s career experience was gained through senior management and executive corporate banking and project finance roles with ANZ Bank and Suncorp Bank together with his more recent roles as a company director and independent consultant.

John’s agricultural career includes:

- Four years leading the ANZ NSW corporate cotton agriculture portfolio which covered corporate cotton producers (dryland and irrigated), cotton ginning and cotton marketing, cotton and diary co-operatives, corporate cropping operations, grain processing and marketing.

- Four years leading the ANZ Queensland corporate banking portfolio which had heavy portfolio emphasis on private and co-operative exposures across the livestock production & processing, dairy processing, horticulture processing and cropping sectors of agriculture as well as grain storage, marketing & processing.

- Director (since company inception in 2009) of Hassad Australia – a large scale cropping and livestock entity wholly owned by the Qatar Investment Authority and operating across mainland Australia.

- Director of Australian Grains Champion Pty Ltd, which has launched a proposal to commercialise and list the WA grain handling co-operative CBH Limited.

John has a Bachelor of Business (Accountancy) from Capricornia Institute of Advanced Education and a Master of Business (Applied Finance) from the University of Technology, Sydney. John is also a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

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Damien Webb

First State Super

Damien joined First State Super in January 2014 as the Head of Income and Real Assets. This coverage includes fixed income, credit, infrastructure and property. Previous to First State Super Damien worked for 11 years at Perpetual Investments and was ultimately the Head of Multi Manager for Perpetual’s multi-manager fund. As Head of the Multi Manager funds, he was responsible for the investment process, manager research and selection.show more

Prior to Perpetual Investments, Damien spent seven years at ING Optimix, holding a number of positions at ING Investment Management. From January 2000 he was a Portfolio Manager for Optimix Investment Management - ING’s multi-manager group - where he was responsible for manager research and blending, and contributing to the tactical asset allocation strategy.

Damien received a Bachelor of Economics degree from the University of Sydney. He is an Associate of the Securities Institute of Australia, having completed his Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and Investment. In 2006, Damien completed his Masters in Applied Finance with Macquarie University.

Damien is married and has two young boys that keep him very busy.

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David Watson


David was appointed by Andrew Robb, Minister for Trade and Investment, as his Senior Investment Specialist for the Agribusiness and Food sector with Austrade, in July 2014.show more

David is an experienced food industry executive, having worked in senior executive roles at Mars Inc. around the world, including in Dubai, where he held a regional role for Africa, India and the Middle East, and more recently at Mars head office in Washington DC, where he was a member of the management team responsible for the chocolate division globally. In those roles, David was actively involved in investment decisions and he understands the investment drivers for a global food company.

David is a lawyer by training. He holds a Masters of Law, Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of Sydney.

In his legal career David was a partner at a leading Australian law firm Minter Ellison (in that firm’s New York and Sydney offices), where he specialised in cross border mergers and acquisitions transactions.

David’s board experience includes roles as a non-executive director at Serco Asia Pacific, a director of Mars Superannuation, Chairman of Mars Australia, and as a director of the Australian Food and Grocery Council.

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Peter Gooday


Mr Peter Gooday leads ABARES research on farm analysis, productivity and biosecurity. Recent work in this area has focused on providing analysis and policy advice on factors affecting agricultural profitability and productivity growth.show more

Peter has been involved in a broad range of research and analysis, including water market reform, productivity analysis, infrastructure issues affecting agriculture, fisheries management, economic issues associated with native forestry; meeting environmental objectives cost-effectively as well issues affecting international and domestic mineral industries and commodity analysis.

He has a Degree in Economics with Honours from the Australian National University.

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David Cornish

Cornish Consultancy

David has over twenty years’ experience in the business of agriculture. His past experience includes roles with the National Australia Bank as agribusiness economist, agribusiness marketing manager and senior banking roles in regional Australia. David was the initial CEO of Rabo Financial Advisors and also worked with Landmark as Strategic Marketing Manager and General Manager of Meredith Dairy Company - the largest integrated goat and sheep cheese manufacturer in Australia.show more

As a private consultant David now works with private and public institutions looking to invest in agriculture. His major focus is quantifying risk exposure. His past assets management roles have included coordinating and implementing on-farm due-diligence and farm acquisition.

David holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Economics majoring in econometrics and farm management, a Bachelor of Business majoring in accounting and a Diploma in Financial Planning. He is also a past participant of the Australian Rural Leadership program

When he gets the chance he also assists his mother on the family property based at Casterton in western Victoria.

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Stephen Hannan

Westpac Agribusiness

Stephen was appointed General Manager Westpac Agribusiness in March 2014, with responsibility for managing the end to end relationships across the Agribusiness segment.show more

Prior to this appointment, Stephen was the State General Manager for Regional Commercial and Agribusiness NSW from 2008.

Stephen has held many senior roles with Westpac in his 27 years with the bank, and has extensive experience in wealth, credit, commercial, retail and agribusiness.

He has a passion to ensure the ongoing sustainability and vibrancy of communities across regional, rural and remote Australia.

Stephen is a graduate of Southern Cross University where he studied Sports Science (Coaching). He is also a graduate and Fellow of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation; completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors course and Australian Graduate School of Management. Stephen is married to Dianne with three daughters, Emily, Larissa and Abbey.

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David Sackett

Growth Farms Australia

David is the Managing Director of Growth Farms Australia, a company that specialises in the acquisition and management of agricultural investments in Australia on behalf of separate account and pooled fund investors. Growth Farms has recently secured a UK insurance company as cornerstone for the first close of a diversified fund. The business currently manages just under $400 million of assets across a diverse range of sectors including cereal and oilseeds, sheep, beef, cotton, sugar and water.show more

Prior to joining Growth Farms, David was a founding partner of Holmes Sackett and Associates, committing over twenty years to the business as it developed into the leading agricultural consulting business in south east Australia. He was also a board member of two Australian Co-operative Research Centres (Sheep and Future Farm Industries) and Prattley Livestock Equipment.

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Jacky Hodges

Australian Bureau of Statistics

Jacky Hodges leads the Industry Statistics Division within the Australian Bureau of Statistics. She has nearly 20 years’ experience working across a range of program areas including Census, engagement with state government agencies and across the breadth of economic surveys. More recently, Jacky held the positions of Regional Director of the Sydney, Hobart and Perth offices, including the official positions of Tasmanian and Western Australian Statistician.show more

The Industry Statistics Division is responsible for developing, compiling, analysing and disseminating statistical information across a range of sectors including agriculture, environment, building and construction, transport, tourism, financial institutions, innovation and technology. The division also produces main economic indicators including private new capital expenditure, retail trade, business indicators, building approvals, job vacancies, new motor vehicle sales and housing and lending finance. The division is focussed on working with its partners to provide a strong information base for policy development and evaluation.

Jacky holds an Applied Science degree (Honours) majoring in Textile Management from the University of NSW and post graduate qualifications in Statistics from Victoria University. Prior to joining the ABS, Jacky worked in marketing for Pacific Brands. In 2012, Jacky was named as one of the 100 Women of Influence in the Westpac/Australian Financial Review Women of Influence Awards.

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Philip Evans

Boston Consulting Group

Philip Evans is a Senior Advisor with the Boston Consulting Group and a BCG Fellow. He founded BCG’s Media and Internet practices.show more

Philip was educated at Cambridge University, was a Harkness Fellow at Harvard, and obtained an MBA from the Harvard Business School. Philip is also Director of the Oxford Internet Institute.

Philip has authored many publications, including “Strategy and the New Economics of Information” which won a McKinsey Prize, awarded annually for the best contributions to the Harvard Business Review. His book Blown to Bits: How the New Economics of Information Transforms Strategy was a global best-seller. His recent TED talk has garnered more than one million views: How Data Will Transform Business.

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Alex Ball

Meat & Livestock Australia

Alex has been employed with Meat & Livestock Australia since 1997 and has held roles including as national manager for Sheep Genetics, Sheep and Southern R&D, Southern Production and Eating Quality and Lean Meat Yield R&D and as the General Manager Livestock Productivity which encompassed work on genetics, OCM, and MSA He has been responsible for delivery of initiatives such as the MSA optimisation and MSA index, as well as finding new tools for objective beef carcase grading and feedback systems.show more

Alex maintains an active interest in R&D publications and is the author of three book chapters and over 65 refereed journal articles. He is an Adjunct Professor at the University of New England.

In terms of beef production Alex completed research in the Beef CRC and with AgResearch in New Zealand on carcase quality and growth and development of muscle. Alex has strong knowledge of carcase and use of objective measurements.

Alex has a Bachelor of Rural Science Hons (1) and a PhD from the University of New England and is a fellow of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation. Alex lives with his wife Melissa and three daughters in Armidale, NSW and is a wool, sheep and beef producer, running fine wool sheep and cattle.

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Sue Barrell

Bureau of Meteorology

Sue Barrell was appointed Deputy Director, Observation and Infrastructure at the Bureau of Meteorology in November 2014. Prior to this appointment, Sue spent a year establishing the new Information Systems and Services Division as the acting Deputy Director, and led two recent Bureau reviews of research and development and space weather.show more

Sue served as Assistant Director (Observations and Engineering) for nine years until July 2013, during which time she brought a strategic composite network approach to the Bureau’s observing systems and led the development of an enterprise data framework. Previous responsibilities spanned operational meteorology, research, basic system design, climate services, international climate policy and corporate governance.

Sue is currently the Vice President of the World Meteorological Organization Commission for Basic Systems and chaired the WMO Inter-commission Coordination Group on the WMO Integrated Global Observing System from 2006 to 2015. She was the Australian Principal Delegate to the intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and served on the Australian Space Industry Innovation Council. Sue chairs the Australian Telescope National Facility Steering Committee and represents the Bureau on the Integrated Marine Observing System Advisory Board.

Sue holds a Ph.D. in Astronomy from the Australian National University, a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Physics from the University of Canterbury (NZ), a Graduate Diploma in Meteorology from the Bureau of Meteorology and is a Graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Sue has published more than 25 professional scientific publications (excluding reports and Bureau publications) and is a Fellow of the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.

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Mick Keogh OAM

Australian Farm Institute

Mick Keogh grew up on a farm in southern NSW. He holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in agriculture, both obtained at the University of NSW.show more

His career has included periods of employment as a farm manager, a university researcher, an agribusiness consultant and an agricultural lobbyist and policy advisor.

In late 2003 he was appointed Executive Director of the Australian Farm Institute, an independent policy research institute that conducts research into strategic policy issues of importance to Australian agriculture.

Since that time, Mick has been involved in research into a wide range of issues impacting on the agricultural sector in Australia and internationally, and has authored a large number of papers and reports on these subjects.

In 2011, Mick was appointed Chairperson of the Australian Government panel which reviewed drought support measures. Mick was also Chairman of the Australian Government’s National Rural Advisory Council from 2012 to 2015.

Mick is a member of the Australian Government’s Emission Reduction Assurance Committee, the CSIRO Sustainable Agriculture Flagship Advisory Council, the NSW Primary Industries Ministerial Advisory Council and the Council of the University of Western Sydney Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment.

Mick was awarded the Rabobank Australian Rural Leadership award in 2014, and the Order of Australia Medal for services to agriculture in 2015.

He remains involved in family farming interests in southern NSW.

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Peter Collins


Peter is a senior economist in the Agricultural Commodities and Trade branch at ABARES, which produces the outlook for Australia’s major agricultural commodities published each quarter. Peter’s roles include overseeing production of the Australian Crop Report and managing ABARES Regional Outlook Program.show more

Peter has worked as an economist for the majority his time in the public sector and whilst at ABARES has worked in the fields of agriculture and fisheries.

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Tassos Haniotis

European Commission

Tassos Haniotis is currently the Director of the Directorate for Economic Analysis, Perspectives and Evaluations; Communication in the Directorate General for Agriculture of the European Commission.show more

He previously held posts as Acting Director for Direct Payments, Head of Unit in the Agricultural Policy Analysis and Perspectives unit and the Agricultural Trade Policy Analysis unit in the same Directorate General, as Member and subsequently Deputy Head of the Cabinet of former European Commissioner for Agriculture Franz Fischler (with respective responsibilities for the preparation of the 2003 reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, and the agricultural chapter of the Doha WTO Round and the EU-Mercosur negotiations), and as the Agricultural Counsellor of the European Commission’s Delegation in the United States.

He holds Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Agricultural Economics from the University of Georgia, USA, and a B.A. in Economics from the Athens University of Economics and Business, in his native Greece. Before joining the European Commission, he spent six months as a visiting Fellow at the Centre for European Agricultural Studies, Wye College, University of London, focusing on EU-US agricultural trade relations in the Uruguay Round of GATT negotiations.

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Greg McNamara


Greg runs a 300 head dairy herd in partnership with his wife Sue and son Todd at Goolmangar. He has extensive experience across the agricultural sector, including dairy, beef, pigs, horticulture and animal genetics.show more

Greg has been a director of Norco Co-operative Limited for 19 years. As NORCO Chairman, Greg has focussed on the process of successfully leading the Board through a new major contractual arrangement with Coles, and the development of NORCO’s capability to export fresh milk and ice cream to Asia, and communicating with NORCO’s members and majority stakeholders about those arrangements. Within the boardroom environment, Greg encourages open and frank discussions and his view that working collectively brings about a better outcome for all stakeholders.

Greg is also a Board Director of the New South Wales Business Chamber and Chairperson of the Northern Rivers Cooperative Alliance.

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Barry Irvin

Bega Cheese

With his extensive experience in the dairy industry, Barry Irvin has been Chairman of Bega Cheese since 2000. During his leadership Bega Cheese has grown from a small regionally based dairy company to one of the largest dairy companies in Australia, supplying a large range of dairy products in Australia and around the world.show more

Barry's in-depth industry knowledge includes a significant understanding of the issues affecting Australian dairy farmers, the infrastructure and investment required to meet changing market needs, management of long term customer relationships and the creation of business value. Barry is also a director with the Gardiner Foundation and Capitol Chilled Foods Australia.

Barry was awarded the NAB Agribusiness Leader of the Year in 2009 and the Rabobank Agribusiness Leader of the Year in 2011.

Barry is very aware of the importance of social responsibility. Since 2002, he has been Chairman of Giant Steps, an organisation providing services to children and young adults with autism. In 2008 Barry was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia for contributions to children with disability and the Australia dairy industry.

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David Moore

Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited

David has held the role of General Manager, Research and Development at Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited for the past five years. Prior to that he has worked at the national and executive level in corporate agriculture in Australia and in the wider Asia Pacific region, including with Monsanto. David’s roles with Monsanto spanned 2000 to 2010 and included as Asia Pacific Technology Lead (Cotton and Oilseeds); Technology Lead and Technical Manager. David also worked with Colly Cotton Limited as a Senior Agronomist from 1993 to 2000.show more

David is a Churchill Fellow and has an undergraduate degree in agriculture and a Master’s degree in biotechnology.

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Brian Moir


Brian Moir is a senior economist in the Agricultural Commodities and Trade branch in ABARES.show more

He trained as an agricultural economist, with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of New England.

Brian worked in the Bureau of Agricultural Economics before spending a number of years at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, in Rome. He returned to ABARES in 2010.

Brian’s work has covered a wide range of topics in agricultural economics, both in Australia and internationally, including commodity market, trade and policy issues.

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Brenton Woolston


Brenton Woolston commenced as Almondco Australia’s Managing Director in 2012. Prior to this Brenton was Almondco’s Marketing Manager from 2001 and was promoted to Group General Manager just over a year later. Brenton has managed a period of significant growth and success in Almondco's long history and is a strong advocate for promoting Australian almonds as a premium, food safe product on the world stage.show more

Brenton has been a director of the Almond Board of Australia since 2003, and was chairman from 2007 to 2009. Brenton also held the position of President of the Australian Nut Industry Council from 2006 to 2009.

Almondco Australia is a successful grower owned company with strong cooperative principles and ethos. Almondco represents more than 80% of Australia’s growers located from the Riverina of NSW, Sunraysia (Vic), and Riverland right through to the Adelaide Plains in South Australia.

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Nicola Mann

Roses 2 Go

Nicky Mann and her husband Wade are hydroponic rose growers based in Woongarrah on the Central Coast of New South Wales. The Mann family migrated from Zimbabwe in late 2002 after being forcefully evicted from their family farm of more than 20 years. They started a brand new intensive hydroponic rose farm. They have recently diversified the business and are now growing hydroponic blueberries, raspberries and strawberries in coir under multi-span greenhouses.show more

Over the past 24 months Nicky has undertaken a Nuffield Australia Farming Scholarship studying intensive berry production using greenhouses, substrates and hydroponics. This study has taken Nicky around the globe looking at all types, shapes and sizes of berry production.

Nicky is passionate about protected cropping production which can be done anywhere, such as an old car park, or on very marginal or poor soil. Water and nutrients can be recycled meaning more ‘crop per drop’ and there should be less risk from climate, disease and pests within a protected environment. Today, farmers have to be extremely innovative as well as super-efficient getting more yield using less water, less nutrients, less labour and less land in order to be economically, financially, socially and environmentally sustainable.

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Jim Trandos

Trandos Farms

Jim Trandos is a third generation vegetable grower and Managing Director of Trandos Farms. Trandos Farms is the largest fresh market grower of sweet corn and beans in Western Australia. They supply major chains throughout Australia and currently export to seven countries.show more

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Daryl Quinlivan

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources

Daryl Quinlivan is the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.show more

Daryl is a career public servant who was the Head of Office at the Productivity Commission before his appointment as Secretary of the department in 2015.

Daryl has worked in a number of departments and agencies including the Department of Transport and Regional Services and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and also served as an adviser to the Assistant Treasurer.

Daryl previously worked in the then Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry from 1999 to 2010, as both a Deputy Secretary and First Assistant Secretary.

Following this, he joined the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy as a Deputy Secretary before moving into the position of Head of Office at the Productivity Commission in 2012.

Daryl holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from Monash University and a Bachelor of Economics from the Australian National University.

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Lyn O'Connell

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources

Lyn O’Connell started as Deputy Secretary in the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources in October 2015 and is responsible for biosecurity, compliance, service delivery and oversees the Australian Chief Veterinary and Plant Protection offices.show more

Lyn was previously a Deputy Secretary at the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, a position she held for nearly seven years.

Prior to that, Lyn held a number of senior executive positions in other government portfolios and the private sector.

She has a Bachelor of Science degree (ANU); is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management. Lyn was awarded a Public Service Medal in 2014.

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Gary Fitt


Dr Gary Fitt has extensive research experience in agricultural sustainability with a focus on integrated pest management systems, particularly in the development and deployment of transgenic cottons and the resistance management systems required to sustain this technology. His specific expertise is with the ecology, movement and resistance evolution of agricultural pests.show more

Gary obtained his PhD from the University of Sydney and joined CSIRO as an experimental scientist in 1977. During a 20 year career at the Australian Cotton Research Institute at Narrabri, NSW; he became a Senior Principal Research Scientist before becoming the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Cotton Cooperative Research Centre in 1999, also based at Narrabri.

In 2004 Gary was appointed as the Deputy Chief of CSIRO Entomology then moved into the role of Deputy Chief of CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, a position he held until the establishment of the Biosecurity Flagship in 2012, where he is the Science Director. Through the Health and Biosecurity Business Unit Gary has broadened applications to address the health challenges to Australia's people, agricultural industries, environment and economy.

Gary has published more than 100 refereed publications and contributed to more than 20 books. Gary's other roles include as Board Director of the Cotton Catchment Communities CRC, chair of an expert panel for the International Cotton Advisory Committee; Member Advisory Committee for the Australian India Strategic Research Fund and is currently chair of the Science Advisory Body of the OECD Cooperative Research Program in Sustainable Agriculture. He is an Adjunct Professor at the University of New England and the University of Sydney.

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Tom Kompas

Centre of Excellence for Biosecurity Risk Analysis

Tom is a specialist in the economics of biosecurity, with a recent emphasis on optimal surveillance, environmental costs and benefits, and the allocation of investments across the spectrum of biosecurity threats and measures. Along with being a Chief Investigator in the Centre of Excellence for Biosecurity Risk Analysis (CEBRA). show more

He is also Director of the Centre for Environmental and Economic Research (CEER) at the University of Melbourne, a research consultancy group that supports CEBRA, and has dedicated much of his time and effort to public policy in Australia. Until recently, he was a part-time Senior Economist at the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE); a Commonwealth Environment Research Facilities project leader on biosecurity and Editor-in-Chief of the Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics. He also serves as the Foundation Director of the Australian Centre for Biosecurity and Environmental Economics at the Australian National University and is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia.

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Sarah Corcoran

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries QLD

Sarah Corcoran is the Director for National Red Imported Fire Ant and Electric Ant Eradication programs, administered by Biosecurity Queensland, and representing a centre of excellence for Australia in the eradication of invasive species.show more

Sarah has worked in the field of biosecurity for more than 20 years in a variety roles and has a passion for entomology. Starting out in research for biocontrol agents for the United States Department of Agriculture melaleuca control program, Sarah moved into mosquito and vector borne disease research with the Department of Defence.

Her desire to make a contribution to protecting Australia’s unique environment led her to the applied role of operational entomologist with the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) where she spent six years developing skills in detection and identification of exotic invertebrates and protecting Australia’s shores from invasive pests and diseases. A notorious claim to fame for Sarah during this time was the identification of Red Imported Fire Ants from the Port of Brisbane. During her time with AQIS there were many opportunities to work across government agencies particularly from the perspective of emergency response and Sarah moved across to Biosecurity Queensland, part of the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, in 2006. Since then she has worked in the fields of plant biosecurity and chemical usage and has played key roles in emergency responses for myrtle rust and Hendra.

Fourteen years on from the initial identification of fire ants, Sarah now leads the eradication programs for fire ants in south east Queensland and Yarwun and Electric Ants in Cairns. Recognising the catastrophic effects these ants have on environment, agriculture, social amenity and lifestyle, Sarah is driven to see them eradicated from Australia.

Sarah also serves as an Army Reserve Specialist Services Officer with the Australian Army Malaria Institute and has deployed to remote communities and overseas.

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Trish Gleeson


Trish Gleeson directs the team of agricultural commodity analysts at ABARES, which produces the outlook for Australia’s major agricultural commodities published each quarter in Agricultural Commodities and the Australian Crop Report. While her own research focus has mainly been on livestock commodities and markets, Trish was also the lead ABARES researcher on a joint CSIRO/ABARES assessment of food and fibre supply chains in northern Australia.show more

Prior to her role in agricultural commodities, Trish managed ABARES’ program of energy research where her team was responsible for the production of Australia’s energy statistics and projections for the International Energy Agency. Between 2004 and 2008 she worked on trade issues in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and prior to this spent a period of time in ABARES as a livestock commodities analyst covering the meat, wool and dairy industries.

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Troy Setter

Consolidated Pastoral Co.

Troy commenced as the company’s CEO in July 2014. He is recognised as one of Australia’s top cattlemen and agribusiness leaders who is well-renowned for his achievements across the industry, making him a valuable member of Consolidated Pastoral Co.’s (CPC) executive team.show more

In his previous role as Chief Operating Officer for the Australian Agricultural Company, Troy successfully executed a three-year strategic plan to restructure the company’s operations and diversify sales to new markets, invest in and divest assets, develop and implement the genetic improvement strategy and increase profitability and herd size. Troy also held key management positions at Torrens Investments, North Australian Cattle Company (NACC) and Killara Feedlot.

Throughout his career, Troy has been responsible for all aspects of the supply chain - from cereal and fibre cropping, grain and grass fed cattle operations, domestic and international logistics, trading and shipping through to genetic improvement, beef and cattle marketing, broad strategy development, investment and finance. A key career achievement includes turning NACC – a small live exporting company – into Australia’s biggest live export business.

In his current role with CPC, Troy is developing and implementing a five-year business development road map to help the company become more customer-focussed in its everyday business. Positive outcomes to date include returning the company to profitability, a greater focus on OH&S, less station staff turnover, entrusting greater responsibilities to general managers, integrating the Indonesian business, and fostering the company’s vision and values.

Troy holds a degree in rural science from the University of New England, and has completed further study including the agribusiness program at Harvard Business School and the Australian Institute of Company Directors course. He sits on the Tocal Advisory Board and is a Director of the Australian Live Exporters Council.

Troy has three children and enjoys long distance bike riding.

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Tom Maguire

Teys Australia

Tom Maguire is currently General Manager- Corporate Services with Teys Australia. Teys Australia - a 50/50 joint venture between the Teys family and Cargill - is a substantial part of Australia's beef industry, operating six beef processing plants, three cattle feedlots as well as other businesses in the value chain located across Australia's eastern seaboard.show more

In 2016 the Teys' family will celebrate 70 years of business in the Australian beef industry and more than ever is firmly committed to feeding people, enriching lives. For his part, Tom is a firm believer that the Australian beef industry must fully transform from a commodity to customer focus if it is to remain competitive in the long term.

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Andrew Spencer

Australian Pork Limited

Andrew Spencer has been the Chief Executive Officer of Australian Pork Limited since July 2005. Through that period he has worked with the industry through significant challenges including the 2009 swine flu pandemic, large increases in imported pork volumes into Australia and a profitability crisis in 2007-08. Andrew is also a director of the Pork Co-operative Research Centre and the Australian Farm Institute.show more

Andrew commenced his career in Australia in marketing and product management in the agricultural chemicals business sector after completing his studies in the mid 1980s. He has an Agricultural Science degree from Melbourne University. Prior to 2005, Andrew worked for ten years in France, South Africa and Germany in agricultural biotechnology, seeds and chemicals businesses.

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Selwyn Snell

Council of Rural Research and Development Corporations

Selwyn Snell has an extensive history as a senior executive and director with leading agribusiness and biotechnology enterprises in Australia and internationally.show more

Selwyn is currently the Chairman of Horticulture Innovation Australia Ltd (HIAL); and Barawyn Pty Ltd. He is also the Chairman of the Council of Rural Research and Development Corporations.

Selwyn’s former roles include as former Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Single Vision Australia Ltd; IAMA Ltd; BioProspect Ltd; Zeneca/Syngenta KK Ltd Japan and General Manager of Crop Care Australasia Ltd. Selwyn has also previously served as Chairman and board member on a number of publicly listed and not-for-profit company boards.

Selwyn is a fellow of the Australian Institute of Management and a member of the Institute of Company Directors.

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Christine Pitt

Meat & Livestock Australia

Dr Christine Pitt is General Manager Value Chain Innovation and a member of Meat & Livestock Australia’s executive leadership team with overall responsibility for an annual $50 million R&D and commercialisation portfolio across the Australian red meat industry value chain. This includes global innovation insights across all markets; value chain innovation; food safety and industry traceability and integrity systems; product development and value-adding; automation technology; and building industry innovation capability.show more

Prior to joining MLA, Christine’s career included extensive commercial experience at CEO and director level across a range of industries spanning health, finance, retail, manufacturing and food. She holds tertiary qualifications in Science, a Masters of Health Administration and a Doctor of Business Administration in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Christine is a proactive and successful entrepreneur and has established a number of start-up companies.

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Richard Dickmann

Bayer CropScience

After a 20 year international career with Bayer, Richard Dickmann returned to Australia in 2009 to take up the position of Head of New Business Development. This department assesses the long-term impact and trends facing Australian agriculture and creating new business opportunities which capitalise on the combined innovation power of Bayer and Australia.show more

From a southern Victorian farming background, Richard holds a Bachelor’s degree in Forest Science from Melbourne University, and a Master’s degree in Agriculture from the University of Sydney. After working in government extension and agricultural insurance, Richard held various management positions with Bayer in France, Singapore, Japan, China and Germany, accumulating broad experience in food production and distribution issues.

Richard believes that the Australian agricultural market is one of the most environmentally and economically challenged markets in the world which forces farmers, researchers and the food value chain to innovate every day. This is one reason why Bayer has continued to invest heavily in local research and development activity in Australia.

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Cam Nicholson

Nicon Rural Services

Cam Nicholson is a partner in Nicon Rural Services, a consulting business near Geelong that works with grazing and cropping industries and in natural resource management.show more

Cam has been the project manager for the Woady Yaloak Catchment Project since 1993 and co-ordinates several large grain and meat programs in the southern region for the Grains and Research Development Corporation and meat & Livestock Australia. He also provides consultancy advice to farmers and lectures on animal and pasture systems at Marcus Oldham College. Cam has been on committees for the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority since its formation and is currently on the community advisory committee and chairs the land health program steering committee.

Cam has a Bachelor of Agricultural Science and a Masters in Applied Science (Agriculture and Rural Development). He and his wife Fiona run a 320 hectare beef and wool farm on the Bellarine Peninsula in Victoria.

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Ric Sinclair

Forest & Wood Products Australia

Ric Sinclair is Managing Director for Forest and Wood Products Australia Limited (FWPA), the industry-owned services company responsible for R&D investments, wood promotion and standards coordination, and statistics collection for the sector.show more

Innovation, collaboration and continuous improvement are the cornerstone of all FWPA activities. Over the last eight years, the company has substantially lifted support for forest and wood products, by both consumers and building specifiers, through its research, market development and promotion activities.

Ric has broad industry experience in the forest and wood products sector and the food sector in the areaS of public policy, operations, corporate finance and strategy. He has a forestry degree from the Australian National University and an MBA from the University of British Columbia.

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Senator the Hon. Richard Colbeck

Minister for Tourism and International Education
Minister Assisting the Minister for Trade and Investment
Senator for Tasmania

Richard Colbeck is a Liberal Senator for Tasmania and Minister for Tourism and International Education, and Minister Assisting the Minister for Trade and Investment.show more

Prior to entering politics in 2002, Senator Colbeck worked in the construction industry for more than two decades, starting as an apprentice and going on to own his own business.

He served as an Alderman on the Devonport City Council, a Director of the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and President of the Devonport Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

He has previously held a number of parliamentary roles in both government and opposition including Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture with responsibility for fisheries and forestry, and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance and Administration.

Senator Colbeck is a proud Tasmanian and lives in Devonport with his wife Gaylene and their three children.

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Jammie Penm


Dr Jammie Penm is Chief Commodity Analyst and Assistant Secretary, Agricultural Commodities and Trade Branch in ABARES. His professional expertise and achievements revolve around commodity analysis and economic research that are important to Australia’s primary industries.show more

He has a PhD in econometrics from the Australian National University and a Master’s degree in economics from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Before joining ABARES, Dr Penm worked at the Australian National University, the former Industries Assistance Commission and the State University of New York at Stony Brook in the United States.

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Mary Bohman

Economic Research Service

Mary Bohman is Administrator of the Economic Research Service. Mary joined ERS in 1997 and has served as Director of the Agency's Resource and Rural Economics Division, Deputy Director for Research in the Market and Trade Economics Division (MTED), and Chief of MTED's Europe, Africa, and Middle East Branch. Other public-sector positions held include details to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and to USDA's Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services. From 1990 to 1997 she was on the Agricultural Sciences faculty at the University of British Columbia. Mary first worked in agriculture and rural development as a Peace Corps Volunteer for cooperative development in Togo, West Africa in the early 1980s.show more

Mary received her Ph.D. from the Department of Agricultural Economics, University of California, Davis and her B.S. from the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University.

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Joseph W. Glauber

International Food Policy Research Institute

Joe Glauber is a Senior Research Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, DC where his areas of interest are price volatility, global grain reserves, crop insurance and trade. Prior to joining IFPRI, Joe spent more than 30 years at the U.S. Department of Agriculture including as Chief Economist from 2008 to 2014. As Chief Economist, he was responsible for the Department’s agricultural forecasts and projections, oversaw climate, energy and regulatory issues. Joe also served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation.show more

From 2007-2009, Joe was the Special Doha Agricultural Envoy at the office of the U.S. Trade Representative where he served as chief agricultural negotiator in the Doha talks. He served as economic adviser at the so-called Blair House agreements leading to the completion of the Uruguay Round negotiations. Joe is the author of numerous studies on crop insurance, disaster policy and U.S. farm policy.

Joe received his Ph.D. in agricultural economics from the University of Wisconsin in 1984 and holds an AB in anthropology from the University of Chicago. In 2012, he was elected Fellow of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

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Ken Baxter

Productivity Commission

Ken Baxter was appointed a part time Commissioner with the Productivity Commission on 30 April 2015.show more

Ken has had 30 years direct involvement in the Commonwealth, Victorian and NSW governments. He is the first person since Federation to have served as the Secretary of the Premiers’ Departments in both NSW and Victoria. He has been a senior policy adviser to the Prime Minister's Department in Papua New Guinea.

In addition, he has extensive experience in the reconstruction, funding, sale, re-organisation and operation of government owned organisations as well as devising and implementing fundamental microeconomic reforms in the energy, transport, infrastructure and agriculture sectors in Australia, Papua New Guinea, South-east Asia and the Indian sub-continent. Ken is currently a commissioner for the Regulation of Agriculture inquiry.

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Rod Sims

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

Rod Sims was appointed Chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in August 2011 for a five year term.show more

Rod has extensive business and public sector experience. Immediately prior to his appointment to the ACCC, he was the Chairman of the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal of New South Wales, Commissioner on the National Competition Council, Chairman of InfraCo Asia, Director of Ingeus Limited, and member of the Research and Policy Council of the Committee for Economic Development of Australia. Rod was also a Director of Port Jackson’s Partners Limited where he advised the CEOs and Boards of some of Australia’s top 50 companies on commercial corporate strategy over many years. Rod relinquished all of these roles on becoming Chairman of the ACCC.

Rod is also a past Chairman of the NSW Rail Infrastructure Corporation and the State Rail Authority and has been a Director of a number of private sector companies. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Rod worked as the Deputy Secretary in the Commonwealth Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet responsible for economic, infrastructure and social policy and the Cabinet Office. He also worked as Deputy Secretary in the Department of Transport and Communications.

Rod Sims holds a first class honours degree in Commerce from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Economics from the Australian National University.

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Taf (Tafadzwa) Shaamano

ANZ Bank

Taf is a global diversified industry research associate with ANZ, specialising in agriculture, resources, infrastructure and manufacturing.show more

His experience covers macro-economic research, corporate finance analysis, consultancy and public speaking. A key focus is analysing, measuring and contextualising the impact of consumer behaviour as a leading indicator of macro-economic signals, which in turn support investment decisions by corporate, public and private investors.

Part of Taf’s remit is the delivery of value adding commercial insights content to global institutional banking customers, their supply chain networks across ANZ's regional footprint and also to industry, government and special interest groups across the Australian home market.

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Hermione Parsons

Victoria University

Hermione Parsons is the Director for the Institute for Supply Chain and Logistics at Victoria University. Hermione has specialist expertise gained from more than 20 years public and private sector experience in the design and management of logistics and supply chain systems; extensive research experience in corporate supply chains and structural adjustment; and government planning policy regulation as well as its interaction with industry and commerce.show more

Her focus is on supply chain reengineering; strategic planning for industry and government projects; port, landside and intermodal transport and logistics; metropolitan and regional planning; and industry collaboration, and business relationships management.

Hermione has led many national and international programs to increase supply chain efficiency. These include Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Australia to United States of America funded programs specifically addressing supply chain traceability and visibility, and economic benefits of improved efficiency for businesses, regions and nations.

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Rebecca Michael

Queensland Transport and Logistics Council

Dr Rebecca Michael is Chief Executive Officer of the Queensland Transport and Logistics Council (QTLC).show more

The QTLC the peak freight, transport and logistics industry body in Queensland, providing advice to government and industry stakeholders on the development, planning, regulation and operation of freight and logistics transport, infrastructure and services in Queensland.

Since commencing as CEO in February 2012, Rebecca has delivered a number of key initiatives to support the efficient movement of freight in Queensland.

Prior to her role with the QTLC, Rebecca occupied the role of Principal Advisor Transport, Infrastructure and Economics within the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) for a number of years.

In her current and previous roles in government, Rebecca engages with government and industry on a number of diverse research, transport, infrastructure and economics projects that focus on improving supply chain outcomes that benefit Queensland.

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Richard Clark

Grains Research and Development Corporation

Richard was appointed Chairman of the GRDC from 1 October 2013. He runs an intensive grain enterprise, focusing on summer and winter cereals, pulses, and oilseeds, at Tulloona, New South Wales.show more

Richard is a graduate of the Orange Agricultural College and a fellow and graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He has extensive experience as a director and chairman of organisations in the agricultural sector and the grains industry in particular.

Richard’s experience includes the founding Chair of the New South Wales Farmers’ Association Grains Research Committee and Chairman of the Wheat Research Foundation of New South Wales. He has served as a director of Advantage Wheats, ChemCert, the Grain Foods Cooperative Research Centre and Quality Farms Australia, and was a director of the GRDC from 1996 until 2002.

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Lisa Elliston


Lisa Elliston is the Assistant Secretary of the Portfolio Strategies and Land Branch within ABARES. Her responsibilities include implementation of the government’s regulatory reform agenda within the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, oversight of the department’s performance reporting framework, and facilitation of a department-wide proactive focus on the critical issues that are anticipated for the agriculture, fisheries, forestry and water resources sectors in coming years. Lisa is also responsible for ABARES programme of work related to data and land.show more

Since joining ABARES as a graduate in 1997, Lisa has worked in both research and policy roles. Previous achievements include supporting the Ministerial Working Group on Water Infrastructure to develop an options paper that explores processes to accelerate water infrastructure investment and priorities for investment to assist in economic development, flood mitigation and responding to community and industry needs, and working closely with industry and state and territory governments to strengthen Australia’s national biosecurity system in the areas of preparedness and emergency response.

Lisa holds an honours degree in economics from the University of Adelaide and a Master’s degree in operations research and statistics from the University of New South Wales.

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Ross Kingwell

Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre

Ross is Chief Economist at the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre, a joint initiative of the West Australian Department of Agriculture and Food and the Grains Research and Development Corporation. He is also a professor in the School of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Western Australia.show more

Ross serves on a Department of Agriculture and Water Resources Expert Advisory Panel and chairs the Australian Farm Institute’s research advisory committee. He has been a co-editor of the Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, president of the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society and is a distinguished fellow of that society.

In Noel Fitzpatrick’s book on the history of DAFWA Ross is listed of one its 50 most historically influential people. Ross’s research interests and expertise are principally in farming systems and industry analysis. A current emphasis for Ross in his research is grain supply chains in Australia and its competitor nations.

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Wade Bidstrup

Aloe Farming Co.

Wade and his wife, parents, brother and sister in law dryland farm approximately 3000 hectares at Warra on the Darling Downs in Queensland. Farm production is evenly split between summer and winter crops. The property has a grey cracking vertosol soil type with a slope in the range of 0.05-0.08%. Wade operates a zero-till, controlled traffic farming system and has been yield mapping for over 15 years.show more

The property also hosts a number of Queensland Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation; Queensland Alliance for Agricultural and Food Innovation and industry trials focussing on sorghum, corn, mung beans, chick peas, faba beans and soil nutrition.

Wade completed a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) at the Queensland University of Technology in 1999 and Graduate Certificate in Rural Science (cotton production) through the University of New England in 2003.

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Mark Palmquist


Mark Palmquist joined the GrainCorp Board as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer in October 2014.show more

He was previously Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Ag Business, for CHS Inc. a leading global agribusiness diversified in energy, grains and food. Mark has held a variety of leadership roles for a broad range of CHS agricultural inputs and marketing areas, retail businesses and grain-based food and food ingredients operations.

Mark was previously a Director of Rahr Malting, a leading US maltster, and is a Director of Allied Mills Australia.

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Jo Evans

Deputy Secretary, Department of Agriculture and Water Resources

Jo Evans was appointed Deputy Secretary in the department in November 2014.show more

Jo is responsible for: international trade and market access; the regulation of live animal exports; export certification services for food (meat, dairy, fish and eggs) and residue monitoring services; and the department’s corporate services including information services, governance and corporate strategy, and finance and business support.

Jo is the department's Security Executive and chairs the People, Safety and Culture Committee. Jo is also the department's Indigenous Champion.

Jo has been a member of the senior executive service (SES) in the Australian Public Service for ten years, including time in the Departments of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Climate Change and Environment.

In 2009-10 Jo was a member of the advisory board that developed the report Ahead of the Game: blueprint for reform of Australian Government administration.

Prior to joining the APS in 2000, Jo worked for management consultants McKinsey & Company.

Jo has a Masters of Public Policy from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University, a Masters in Environmental Science from the University of Melbourne and a combined bachelor degree in Asian Studies and Economics (honours) from the Australian National University.

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Neil Barr

La Trobe University

Neil Barr began his professional career with a grounding in research psychology. Somehow that led to a career in government and the university system exploring the social transformation of rural communities in Victoria. Over 30 years Neil has made innovative use of data from the ABS censuses and land and water ownership records, to better understand the processes of agricultural restructuring, population decline, structural ageing and amenity migration. More recently he has found the need to explore the linkages between individual well-being in rural communities and government policy options.show more

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Neal Menzies

University of Queensland

Neal Menzies has a passion for agriculture and the environment, and has used his role as a teacher and research leader to bring others into this highly rewarding field. While his research spans a range of environmental chemistry issues, Neal considers himself primarily a soil scientist and sees soil science as a central discipline in the solution of a broad range of problems. This is reflected in the research projects Neal has been involved with, including projects in agricultural production, water quality, waste disposal, mined land rehabilitation, conservation biology and even forensic science.show more

Neal's main research interests are the bio-toxicity of trace metals, remediation of contaminated and drastically disturbed land and the development of sustainable but highly productive tropical farming systems.

Following his PhD at the University of Queensland, Neal worked at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Cameroon, and then as an academic at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in the UK, before returning to Australia and the University of Queensland. Neal is a well-regarded teacher and an active researcher with a strong record of achieving practical solutions to environmental problems.

Neal has undertaken many leadership roles in soil science. He is a Past President of the Australian Society of Soil Science, and Past Vice-President of the International Union of Soil Science.

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Isobel Knight


Isobel Knight is a succession planning specialist and owner and a director of Australia’s leading family farm succession planning business Proagtive for the last decade.show more

Isobel’s association with family farm businesses stems from her family’s farm near Junee and now Loomberah in New South Wales, where she and husband Rod run a cattle trading enterprise. Being part of two family farms and experiencing firsthand the challenges of planning for the future has been the catalyst for Isobel’s interest in farm succession planning.

Isobel’s passion is to ensure that the next generation has an opportunity to participate in agriculture and believes a lack of succession planning is costing farming families, rural communities and agriculture dearly.

Isobel is a mother of three, has degrees in business law and psychology, is a trained counsellor and mediator, and was awarded the 2013 NSW-ACT Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation Rural Women’s Award and national runner up.

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Sue Finger

Vernview, Victoria

Sue Finger is an orchardist from the Yarra Valley in Victoria. Together with her husband David, they operate two apple orchards growing, storing and packing fruit for the fresh domestic market. They grow predominately Jazz, Pink Lady and Granny Smith apples and have invested in new varieties which may allow expansion into export.show more

Sue is a director of Horticulture Innovation Australia Ltd and has had a strong and active involvement in farmer and industry representative organisations and her local community.

Sue and David are approved employers under the Seasonal Worker Programme and their participation in the program has allowed their business to grow. Timing in horticulture is the key to productivity, and in turn planning for labour requirements is an important driver in their business.

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Joel Lisonbee

Bureau of Meteorology

Joel Lisonbee is a climatologist for the Bureau of Meteorology. He began with the Bureau five years ago in Darwin as the senior climatologist for the Northern Territory and greater tropical region. Joel’s current role as a senior climate liaison officer for the Bureau in Canberra includes providing weather and climate information to national government agencies and local ACT stakeholders.show more

In addition to his natural enthusiasm for the weather, Joel has a Batchelor of Science degree in meteorology and a Masters of Science degree in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Utah, in the United States.

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Mark Howden

Australian National University

Professor Mark Howden is the Director of the Climate Change Institute at the Australian National University and is an Honorary Professor at Melbourne University, School of Land and Food. Mark’s work has focussed on how climate impacts on, and innovative adaptation options for, systems we value - agriculture and food security, the natural resource base, ecosystems and biodiversity, energy, water and urban systems.show more

Mark has also helped develop the national (NGGI) and international (IPCC/OECD) greenhouse gas inventories for the agricultural sector and assessed sustainable methods of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. Mark has worked on climate variability, climate change, innovation and adoption issues for more than 27 years in partnership with farmers, farmer groups, catchment groups, industry bodies, agribusiness, urban utilities and various policy agencies via both research and science-policy roles. Mark has more than 400 publications of different types and has been a major contributor to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth Assessment reports and various IPCC Special Reports, sharing the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with other IPCC participants and Al Gore. He is now a Vice Chair of IPCC Working Group 2. Recently Mark sat on the US Federal Advisory Committee for the 3rd National Climate Assessment and he participates in several other international science and policy advisory bodies.

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Jason Crean

Department of Primary Industries NSW

Dr Jason Crean is the Director of Climate Research and Development in the agricultural branch of the NSW Department of Primary Industries. He is based in Orange, NSW and has 20 years’ experience as an agricultural economist working with NSW DPI and its predecessors in extension, research and policy positions. His own research interests have focussed on the management of climate variability and the value of seasonal climate forecasts to agriculture.show more

Jason manages a research team responsible for state-wide seasonal condition reporting, and the development and evaluation of adaptation and mitigation technologies aimed at improving the productivity of agricultural industries in NSW.

Jason grew up on a mixed farm in Wellington where he gained direct experience of the effects of climate variability in agriculture. Jason will be presenting recent work on the impacts of climate change on broadacre agriculture in NSW.

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Jaclyn Brown


Dr Jaclyn Brown is a senior research scientist in climate. Her passion is studying climate variability and climate change, and exploring ways that this information can be utilised to increase efficiency and resilience. Her current research is in forecasting pasture growth for livestock grazing. Previously Jaclyn has worked on projects in coral bleaching, tuna habitats, regional climate change, Australian and Pacific Island climate, large scale ocean dynamics, antisubmarine warfare and high resolution ocean modelling.show more

Recently Jaclyn was part of the Pacific Climate Change Science Program delivering climate change information to Pacific Islanders (www.pacificclimatechangescience.org) and was an Australian finalist for the APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education.

Prior to working at the CSIRO Jaclyn was a postdoctoral associate at Yale University. Her PhD and undergraduate degrees were undertaken at the University of New South Wales in Mathematics where she was awarded the University Medal.

Jaclyn is also a passionate scientist communicator. She has a number of articles published on the Conversation, and extensive television experience having been a TV Weather presenter on the Tasmanian ABC Nightly News and The Weather Channel.

Jaclyn is mother to six year old triplets

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David Parker AM

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources

David Parker joined the Department of the Agriculture and Water Resources as Deputy Secretary, through the machinery of government changes, from the Department of Environment.show more

David had been the Deputy Secretary of Environment since February 2011 and brings with him the responsibility of Water within the portfolio.

David has qualifications in economics and law and is a former Deputy Secretary of The Treasury.

With a career spanning more than 30 years with Treasury, David has worked on financial sector liberalisation, tax reform, macroeconomic forecasting and policy, competition policy, energy policy and international economic issues.

From 1997 to 2002 David worked at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris. David was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2012.

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Phillip Glyde

Murray-Darling Basin Authority

Phillip Glyde was appointed Chief Executive of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority in January 2016. Prior to this, Phillip was a deputy secretary in the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources since November 2006. In that role he was responsible for agriculture, fisheries and forestry.show more

Phillip has previously had responsibility for international trade and market access, export certification services and the department's research division, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

Prior to this Phillip worked on natural resource management, industry and environment policies and programs in a number of Australian Government departments, including the Departments of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Environment and Resources and Energy.

Phillip has also worked overseas. In the mid 1980s he worked for the Environment Directorate of the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris and in the late 1990s was seconded to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in the United Kingdom.

Phillip has an Honours Degree in Natural Resource Management from the University of New England and a Bachelor of Economics Degree from the Australian National University.

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David Papps

Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder

David Papps is the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder - a statutory position responsible for managing Commonwealth environmental water to protect and restore the Murray-Darling Basin’s environment.show more

Prior to this appointment, David was the inaugural Director-General of the ACT Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate, created in 2011 by the amalgamation of the Department of the Environment, Climate Change, Energy and Water (DECCEW) and the ACT Planning and Land Authority. Mr Papps was previously the inaugural Chief Executive of DECCEW.

David joined the ACT Government from Victoria where he was a Deputy Secretary in the Department of Sustainability and Environment.

David spent nearly four years with Macquarie Bank as a director in the then banking and property group. He helped Macquarie Bank establish its community partnerships business and also worked on Macquarie’s indigenous development program and sustainability policy.

Before going to Macquarie, David was an Executive Director in Planning NSW (formerly NSW Department of Urban Affairs and Planning) where he led the Department’s programmes on strategic planning and policy across rural and regional NSW as well as developing policy and programmes in natural resource management, especially in coastal planning and catchment management.

David was earlier a Deputy Director-General in the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service where he was principally responsible for its off-park conservation work. He helped lead a major reform program to establish new policies and legislation, including endangered species conservation, natural resource management and sustainable development.

He has also worked as a journalist, environmental consultant and policy advisor to a government minister. David holds an honours degree in zoology.

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John Culleton

Coleambally Irrigation Co-operative Limited

John Culleton assumed his role as Chief Executive of Coleambally Irrigation Co-operative Limited (CICL) in 2008. Prior to this role, John spent 32 years in the Australian Army, commanding at platoon, company and battalion level. He has lived and worked in Malaysia, Canada and the USA and served with the United Nations in the Middle East. His final posting in the Australian Army was as Australia’s Defence Attaché to the United Nations in New York.show more

After leaving the Army in 2002, John was the NSW/ACT State Manager of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and subsequently the Deputy Chief Investigator of the NSW Office of Transport Safety Investigations.

Since joining Coleambally Irrigation, John has overseen the continued modernisation of CICL’s irrigation system, to the point where it is one of the most modern and efficient open channel irrigation systems in the world. John has also been immersed - at an industry and community level - in trying to bring about a balanced Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

John is a graduate of the Royal Military College, Duntroon; the Australian Army Command and Staff College; the Canadian Services Command and Staff College; the Australian Institute of Company Directors and currently serves as a Director on the National Irrigators’ Council and the NSW Rice Marketing Board. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of NSW (Economics and Government) and was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross for his leadership and work in the remote communities of Cape York, the Gulf Country and the Torres Strait while commanding the 51st Battalion, the Far North Queensland Regiment.

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Nicola Morris

Tasmanian Irrigation

Nicola Morris is the new CEO of Tasmanian Irrigation, commencing her role from 1 March 2016. Tasmanian Irrigation is a state owned company that develops, owns and operates irrigation schemes in Tasmania.show more

Nicola returns to Tasmania after four and a half years in Uruguay and China. From Dec 2013 until August 2015 she was Business Head of New Zealand Farming Systems Uruguay- one of the largest global dairying operations - and Vice President Dairy for Olam International.

From October 2011 until November 2013 Nicola was Director of Farming Operations for Fonterra and based in Beijing, China.

Nicola’s first experiences in Tasmania were as Chief Executive Officer of the Van Diemen’s Land Company and Tasman Farms Ltd, a position which she took on in March 2008. This company was Australia’s largest dairy farming business.

Whilst in Tasmania Nicola was also a director of DairyTas and Skills Tasmania.

In New Zealand Nicola was Chief Executive Officer for fifteen years of Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre, a tertiary education organisation which provided education and training to the wider farming community and new entrants using a number of commercial farming properties operated by the Centre. Nicola started her working career as an agribusiness banker.

Nicola holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Science degree majoring in rural valuation and farm management; a postgraduate diploma in finance and banking; a Masterate of Business Administration and a Masterate in Public Policy.

She is a registered valuer and farm management consultant.

She has a strong interest in agribusiness and in encouraging young people into agriculture.

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Ian Thompson

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources

Ian Thompson is First Assistant Secretary, Sustainable Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Division in the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.show more

In this role Ian is responsible for sustainable agriculture policies and programmes, fisheries, forestry, agriculture and veterinary chemicals, community and Indigenous engagement and Landcare.

Ian has previously been responsible for biosecurity policy and emergency response, plant industry policy, field crop issues, plant health, native title, drought management, water infrastructure and water reform, rural adjustment, rural leadership and rural research issues.

Ian has a Bachelor of Natural Resources degree from the University of New England and is a graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Program.

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Neil McKenzie

CSIRO Agriculture

Dr Neil McKenzie is a soil scientist with 30 years of research experience in the land and water sciences. His primary career focus has been to improve the quality of soil information to enable better agricultural land management.show more

Neil’s team has been responsible for several national standards on measurement, monitoring and survey of soil and land resources. His team produced the Australian Soil Resource Information System (ASRIS) in collaboration with state and territory agencies. ASRIS is the national online system for soil and land resource information.

Neil has been involved in shaping public policy through his membership of scientific and technical committees. As Chief of CSIRO Land and Water, he contributed to a wide range of national and international forums on Earth observation, environmental information, water resources, soil resources, sustainable agriculture, food security and climate change.

Neil has been heavily involved in the design and development of the emerging global soil information system. He is currently a member of the Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils and was a lead author on the first Status of the World’s Soil Resources Report released in December 2015. Neil is responsible for Australia’s National Soil Research, Development and Extension Strategy which has been developed under the National Primary Industries Research, Development and Extension Framework.

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Julia Seddon

Inghams Enterprises

Julia is Head of Business Sustainability, a new role at Inghams, which is one of Australia’s largest privately owned companies employing more than 8000 people across a wide range of production and processing operations.show more

Julia’s role as Head of Business Sustainability is recognition that sustainability has moved beyond the boundaries of environment into the social and economic business realms. Managing business risks, many of which remain natural resource based, is her main focus while continuing to oversee the environmental management, water stewardship, corporate social responsibility and ethical sourcing strategies.

In her previous role, Julia was instrumental in moving the company beyond environmental compliance and making sustainability a key business priority.

Winning the inaugural Prime Minister’s Water Wise Award for the Murarrie Advanced Water Treatment Plant in 2010 marked Inghams as a leader in its field and sets a new benchmark for water efficiency in the food industry globally.

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Brooke Summers

Cotton Australia

Brooke Summers is the Manager of Cotton Australia’s international marketing strategy Cotton to Market. She has worked in strategic communication, marketing and community engagement in Australia’s agriculture sector for more than 20 years including with Landcare Australia, the vegetable and rice industries, Catchment Management Authorities and the Australian cotton industry, where she’s spent most of her time for over a decade.show more

Brooke runs a strategic consultancy business, has a BA in Communication, a Churchill Fellowship in Urban Conservation and is a recent graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Program.

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Juanita Hamparsum

Hamparsum Investments

Juanita is a director of ‘Drayton’, a family farming business in North West New South Wales that she manages with her brother. Her father established the business in 1961 and developed the soldier settlement grazing property into an intensively irrigated precision cropping operation. The farm is located on the Liverpool Plains utilising the unique highly fertile black vertisol soils on the floodplain. ‘Drayton’ accesses both groundwater and unregulated river water to produce year-round irrigated crops.show more

The main enterprises are cotton, wheat, sorghum and sunflowers rotated around an annual cropping programme of 1,480ha. ‘Drayton’ was awarded the prestigious Brownhill Cup in 2015 to recognise the soil conservation and sustainable farming practices maintained on the farm.

Juanita is also involved with policy directions for water resource management; Landcare programs; natural resource management; and agricultural research and development strategy for the cotton sector.

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Paul Swan

Australian Wool Innovation

Dr Paul Swan is General Manager - Research for Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), and Chair of the International Wool Textile Organisation Sustainable Practices Working Group.show more

Paul has extensive experience in development and operational delivery of strategies for wool production and textile research, education, and commercialisation in Australia and internationally.

Career achievements include management of a number of substantial investment portfolios in on-farm and post-farm sectors of AWI, oversighting establishment of a number of major joint ventures including Sheep Genetics Australia/ MerinoSelect (Australia’s national sheep genetic database), the SheepGenomics Program, AWI's On-Farm Fibre Measurement program, Australian National Dark and Medullated Fibre Response Program; and development of the Sheep CRC’s Wool program.

Before joining AWI in 2001, Paul spent spent eight years with the CSIRO Division of Wool Technology (now CSIRO Textiles and Fibre Technology), developing objective specifications for wool compressibility, fibre curvature, and staple structure, and prediction of wool handle, and nine years providing commercial consulting services to a wide range of wool- related commercial enterprises, including stud and commercial Merino producers, wool selling brokers, and wool processors and retailers.

Paul’s qualifications include a Doctorate of Philosophy in Wool Science, a Bachelor of Science in Wool and Pastoral Science from the University of New South Wales, and Paul is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Paul is married to Juliana and they have two sons, William and Nicholas. Privately, Paul is an Associate Director of Laboratories Credit Union.

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Caroline Gunning-Trant


Dr Caroline Gunning-Trant is manager of the Agricultural Trade section at ABARES. In the past she has researched the wool, wine and cattle markets while part of the Agricultural Commodities section at ABARES, and before that she worked as an economist at the Canadian Department of Agriculture. More recently she has worked on the What Asia wants series of reports looking at the future food demand in Asia; researched agricultural policies in India, and analysed the impact of trade agreements on the Australian agricultural sector.show more

Caroline holds a PhD in agricultural economics from the University of California at Davis and a Master’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of Guelph in Canada.

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Jason Trompf

JT Agri-Source

Jason Trompf, director of J.T. Agri-Source, has been working as agricultural consultant for 15 years across Australia and has had significant input into the design, delivery and evaluation of a range of farm management programmes including the Triple P Program, Lifetime Ewe Management and Bred Well Fed Well. Each of these programmes are widely recognised for their positive impacts in lifting productivity and profitability on farm. The Lifetime Ewe Management and Bred Well Fed Well programmes have been delivered to over 5000 producers. Jason also has extensive experience in lamb survival, as well as consulting with and presenting to producers around Australia.show more

Jason also manages a significant livestock enterprise, with 3000 ewes and 200 cows. These self-replacing high productivity enterprises provide Jason with a sound practical background and a constant reality check with the challenges that producers are facing on a day to day basis.

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David Michell

Michell Wool

David Michell is Chairman of Michell Wool, a South Australian-based global wool company sourcing, processing and supplying the international textile industry.show more

David joined the family business Michell Australia in 1977 as a cadet wool buyer. After three years in Adelaide and Melbourne he joined the merchant banking industry working overseas for 10 years before re-joining Michell Australia as Treasurer and returning to the company's headquarters in Adelaide. In 1997 he took on the position of General Manager - Wool which he held until the company's 2004 restructure when Michell Wool was established.

Today Michell Wool remains the world's largest carboniser of wool and is a significant buyer, processor and exporter of Australian wool. The company's primary headquarters and processing facilities remain in Adelaide and are now complemented by Michell Suzhou, a green fields wool processing plant built in China in 2006.

David's objective is to keep the family business at the forefront of the international textile industry by developing and implementing key business strategies designed to expand production capabilities and encourage the creation of innovative new fibre products while focussing on the organisation's long-term viability.

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Andrew Bouffler

'Valera', Lockhart, NSW

Andrew is the Managing Director of Valera Pastoral Company, a mixed sheep/wheat family-controlled business that has maintained a traditional balance between cropping and livestock enterprises. He is also the Principal of the Trigger Vale Maternal Poll Merino and Terminal White Suffolk studs, which maximise genetic gain and client profitability by performance testing using LAMBPLAN and MERINOSELECT genetic evaluation tools in conjunction with the more recent Genomic technologies .show more

During his 2006 Nuffield Scholarship, Andrew investigated how to fully utilise and rapidly improve the Australian maternal ewe flock (including Merinos) to ensure continuity of supply to Australia’s valuable meat and wool markets. This time of study and reflection about genetics, management and how sheep interact with their environment has influenced Andrew’s approach to his seedstock operation but also his growing client base and the wider Australian sheep industry. The winds of change towards an easy care, multipurpose Merino is gaining momentum across the Australian sheep industry and Andrew is considered by many as one of the most influential seed stock producers leading the charge.

Over the past 25 years, Andrew has been an active member of numerous industry boards and organisations including the Sheep Genetics Advisory Board, Rutherglen sheep CRC Advisory group and on the Executive for the Superwhites Young Sire Evaluation Program. Andrew has a Bachelor of Agricultural Economics from the University of New England and is a graduate of the Duchy College Challenges of Rural Leadership Course held in the United Kingdom in 2009. In 2010 he participated and completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors course.

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Peta Ashworth

Ash Research

Peta Ashworth is the Director of Ash Research and an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Queensland. Peta brings over thirty years’ experience working in a range of senior management, research and facilitation roles. She is well known for her expertise in the energy, engagement and technology assessment fields. Peta has been researching public attitudes to climate change and energy technologies (wind, CCS, solar PV, geothermal) for the past ten years with a particular focus on CCS.show more

Previously, Peta conceptualized and led the Science into Society Group within CSIRO’s Division of Earth Science and Resource Engineering, which specialised in interdisciplinary research at the interface between science and society. Peta has an interest in designing a range of dialogic processes for engaging around complex issues.

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Senator the Hon Anne Ruston

Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources

Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator the Hon. Anne Ruston, has been a Senator since September 2012.show more

In July 2014, Anne was elected Senior Deputy Government Whip in the Senate and chair of the Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee. She was also an active participant in the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee, initiating inquiries into the Australian citrus and wine industries.

Senator Ruston was appointed Assistant Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources in September 2015.

Prior to becoming a Senator, Anne held several senior positions in government and the private sector, including senior policy adviser to the South Australian Minister for Industrial Affairs and Tourism, Recreation, Sport and Racing, and inaugural chief executive of the National Wine Centre.

Born and raised in Renmark—which is situated on the River Murray in South Australia's Riverland region—Anne is a proud member of the community where she still lives and works to this day. She is the only Senator for South Australia based in a regional area.

Anne is a primary producer and an irrigator, producing commercial cut flowers and implementing irrigation efficiencies on her property that reduced water use by more than 60%. She is a passionate advocate for rural and regional communities and for a balanced approach to water reform in the Murray-Darling Basin. Her vision for the Murray-Darling is for it to become the world's best example of an environmentally healthy, sustainable river system supporting efficient irrigation industries and vibrant river communities.

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Kym Anderson AC

University of Adelaide

Kym Anderson is the George Gollin Professor of Economics and formerly foundation Executive Director of the Centre for International Economic Studies at the University of Adelaide, where he has been affiliated since 1984.show more

During 2014-15 Kym was a member of the Expert Working Group for the Australian Council of Learned Academies' project for the Chief Scientist on Securing Australia's Agricultural Future, published in July 2015. Kym has also recently completed a research project on Emerging Asia, trade-distorting policies, and food security concerns: implications for Australia.

Kym's career roles include as a Research Fellow at the Australian National University's Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies (1977-83), following doctoral studies at the University of Chicago and Stanford University (1974-77). In 2012 he rejoined ANU part-time as a Professor of Economics in its Crawford School of Public Policy. He was on extended leave at the Economic Research division of the GATT (now WTO) Secretariat in Geneva during 1990-92 and at the World Bank's Research Group in Washington DC as Lead Economist (Trade Policy) during 2004-07. He is a Fellow of the AAEA, AARES, AAWE, ASSA, APPS and CEPR. He is also Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Washington DC based International Food Policy Research Institute, and President of the Policy Advisory Council of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research.

Kym has published more than 350 articles and 35 books and has received awards from professional associations including the Australian, European and American Agricultural and Applied Economics Associations. His latest edited volume is titled Measuring WTO's Contributions to Global Economic Welfare (2014). A collection of Kym's articles is available in Trade, development, and agriculture: essays in economic policy analysis (2013).

In 2014 Kym was conferred with an honorary Doctor of Economics degree by the University of Adelaide and in 2015 he became a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC).

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Stewart Lockie

James Cook University

Professor Stewart Lockie studied agricultural systems as an undergraduate at Hawkesbury Agricultural College before undertaking a PhD in rural sociology at Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga. Over time, his research has extended from its original focus on community-based natural resource management to include studies of biodiversity conservation, environmental policy, food security, social impact assessment and the management of natural and industrial hazards.show more

Understanding and informing a range of potential futures is a key theme in Stewart’s current work. He is author of a recent report to the Australian Council of Learned Academies on the future of Australian agriculture, and lead investigator on an Australian Research Council funded study of climate governance in Australia, China and the United Kingdom.

Stewart has held professorial positions at Central Queensland University and the Australian National University before taking up his current position as Director of the Cairns Institute at James Cook University in 2014. Stewart is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and a member of the International Council for Science Committee for Scientific Planning and Review.

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Paul Morris

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources

Paul Morris has been acting as Deputy Secretary in the department since January 2016. In this role he is responsible for agriculture, fisheries and forestry policy, farm support programmes and the department’s economic and scientific research arm, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES).show more

Paul has previously headed up divisions responsible for corporate strategy and governance, trade and market access, and innovation as well as serving as Executive Director and Deputy Executive Director of ABARES.

Between October 2013 and July 2015 Paul headed the taskforce (based in the Department of the Prime Minster and Cabinet) responsible for developing the government’s Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper.

Paul first joined the department in 1984 and has worked across a range of portfolio issues, as well as being seconded to inquiries into the wool industry and grains industry. He served as the department’s senior representative in Australia’s embassy in Washington DC from 1996 to 1999.

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