19 April 2012
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, has today appointed Mr Michael Keogh as the National Rural Advisory Council’s new chairperson.
Joining Mr Keogh will be new members Ms Susan Brumby, Ms Alexandra Gartmann and Mr Kerry O’Brien, with Mr Andrew Locke reappointed to the council.
“The reappointment of Mr Locke, together with the ongoing terMs of National Farmers’ Federation representative, Mr Ian Feldtmann, and Mr Tom Aldred as the representative of the Commonwealth, will retain continuity of membership on the council, while new members will bring a variety of fresh skills and expertise to help achieve the work of the council in the sector,” Minister Ludwig said.
“Over the many years of drought, the council has brought independent advice to the government’s Exceptional Circumstances decision making.
“The reduction in EC work now gives me greater opportunity to make use of the council’s expertise to receive advice on a range of policy matters affecting agriculture.
“The new members all commence their terMs from July 2012 and I will be asking the council to pursue a new work program from that time.
“The program will include a focus on skills and the workforce capabilities of agricultural employers, an inquiry into the effectiveness of FMD schemes in Australia, and on insurance products, including multi–peril crop insurance and its feasibility in Australia.”
Minister Ludwig, in Bendigo today, thanked outgoing council chairperson, Mr Keith Perrett and fellow members, Mrs Keryl Enright, Ms Georgina Somerset and Mrs Sharon Starick for their hard work and dedication to the council.
“The outgoing council members have worked very hard in providing advice to the government over the last seven years,” Minister Ludwig said.
These members have completed three terMs of appointment on the council and as such, are not eligible for a further term.
The appointment of a new state and territory representative to the council, to replace Mr David Hartley, will be finalised shortly.
The council is an independent skills–based panel of producers and rural industry experts responsible for advising the Minister on matters such as rural adjustment, regional issues, training and other matters, as requested.
The new council members are:
Mr Keogh is the Executive Director of the Australian Farm Institute and was chairperson of the Drought Pilot Review Panel, which recently reviewed the pilot of drought reform measures in Western Australia. Mr Keogh has extensive experience in policy development and industry representation through his involvement in the New South Wales Farmers’ Association.
Ms Brumby is a Clinical Associate Professor and Director of the National Centre for Farmer Health. She has made significant contributions to research, education and service delivery methods that will provide national leadership to improve the health and wellbeing of farm men and women, farm workers and their families across Australia.
Ms Gartmann is the Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal. She is the former CEO of the Birchip Cropping Group. Ms Gartmann currently serves on the board of the Australian Landcare Council and will bring her expertise in sustainable agriculture and regional development to the National Rural Advisory Council.
Mr O’Brien was a Senator for Tasmania from 1996–2011. He was a member of the Opposition Shadow Ministry for various portfolios including Primary Industries.
Mr Locke is a partner and business manager for a family farming enterprise in Walcha, New South Wales and he has extensive experience in finance and banking, which he will continue to bring to the council.