Five board directors with a combination of industry experience, knowledge and expertise have been appointed as the inaugural board to oversee the development of the new industry company, Grains Australia Ltd.
The company has been established with widespread support from industry and will consolidate the delivery of important services and functions on behalf of the grains supply chain.
An initiative of the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), Grain Growers Ltd (GGL), Grain Producers Australia (GPA) and Grain Trade Australia (GTA), the formation of Grains Australia will combine a multitude of industry good functions under one organisation. These functions are likely to include trade and market access, commodity variety classification, market information and education.
GRDC Chair John Woods said the initiative represented a significant milestone for the grains industry.
“Grains Australia will take industry good functions that growers and the broader sector already pay for and put them under one roof,” Mr Woods said.
“This has been a 10-year aspiration for the grains industry and it has taken three years of negotiation to achieve this outcome.
“The alignment and integration of these core functions will deliver better outcomes and efficiencies, which ultimately means a greater return on investment for growers and more effective use of resources.”
Well known Western Australian grain and livestock producer Terry Enright has been appointed the inaugural Chair of Grains Australia. He will step down from his current role as chair of the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC) to take on the new role from September 1.
Mr Enright will be supported by four newly appointed Grains Australia directors, who will also start in September. The inaugural directors are:
- South Australian-based commercial lawyer Catherine Cooper, who has had a senior management career in agribusiness, both domestically and internationally. Ms Cooper is also the director of Animal Health Australia and Chair of the Environmental Protection Agency in SA and has experience in trade and market access, customer engagement and export businesses.
- Northern New South Wales grain grower Rebecca Reardon, who has more than 25 years’ involvement in grains agribusiness including domestic and international marketing, supply chain management and commodity production.
- Victorian-based Stuart Richardson, a former director of Grain Trade Australia and former head of trading at the Australian Wheat Board, who brings more than 30 years’ industry experience to the new board.
- Western Australian Andrew Young, who has held senior executive and director roles in leading agribusiness organisations in Australia and South East Asia and is also the managing director of a grain accumulation and export business.
- Inaugural board Chair Terry Enright has more than 40 years’ experience in agriculture and has held numerous high-profile positions, including GRDC Chair, director of Grain Producers Australia, Commissioner of the Export Wheat Commission and Chair of the Australian Livestock Export Corporation. He is also the current Chair of the Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council.
Mr Woods said the selection of the inaugural chair and directors had been undertaken by an independent selection committee – comprising nominees from GRDC, GGL, GPA and GTA – with support from a specialist recruitment organisation.
“More than 200 applications were received for the five board positions, and the calibre of applications was exceptional, so it was a challenging process for the committee to select the skills-based board,” he said.
“This inaugural board represents a combination of experience and expertise that will achieve the consolidation of industry good services and functions that has been long awaited by grain growers.”
The GRDC has provided the initial investment in Grains Australia, in combination with residual Wheat Industry Special Account funds. However, it is anticipated that grains industry organisations will be active contributors to the operations of the company through involvement on committees, councils and working groups.
Mr Woods said Grains Australia had a very clear purpose – it would be a low overhead and outcome-driven organisation, with accountability to deliver to the industry and growers.
One of the first tasks for the board is expected to be the recruitment of a chief executive officer, as well as implementing operational arrangements. Any potential site requirements for the effective execution of business will be a matter for Grains Australia in time.
“With the structure in place, it is now up to the new board and management of Grains Australia to continue discussions with all relevant organisations to integrate and execute the functions identified and establish a consultative process with industry,” Mr Woods said.