Farmer the two organisations were “a voice for the same thing across Gippsland” and it made sense to bring them together.
“Instead of a turf war, we are bringing the best of both worlds and creating one organisation.”
Agribusiness Gippsland chairman Stuart Quigley is another Gippslander with extensive industry experience and will also be co-chair of the first Food & Fibre Gippsland board.
Mr Quigley anticipated the key focus areas of collaboration, innovation and engagement would lead to a reinvigorated energy across a wide cross-section of Gippsland food and fibre businesses.
“When producers, processors and other stakeholders can connect, network and share via their membership with Food & Fibre Gippsland, they may then view each other as collaborators, with the potential to leverage each other’s strengths and resources to support better outcomes for their own businesses as well as the sector as a whole,” he said. Dr Nicola Watts, who has been chief executive of the East Gippsland Food Cluster since 2011, will continue as interim chief executive of Food & Fibre Gippsland until June 30. The position has been advertised.
“With the collaborative force of this amalgamation, we really have a golden opportunity to work together right across Gippsland to proactively shape sustainable future development of the food and fibre production and processing sector” Dr Watts said.
Peter Schutz, executive chairman of Food Innovation Australia Limited’s (FIAL) – Australia’s Growth Centre for food and agribusiness, is filling the independent chair role in an advisory capacity until a recruitment process is concluded.