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About the Program

Our Consultants

Consultant review process

Our consultants are reviewed on the basis of: 
Their CV (which includes details of professional credentials, agricultural project experiences, and references); an ABN/ACN; insurances (indemnity and liability); a statement of financial capacity; and their quoted rates and regional service reach. Consultants who participate in training at our National Forums are invited to provide specific services to our farmer groups.

A – E

Mark Allsop


Mark Allsop – Partner, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

Mark has more than 15 years experience as a management consultant and leads the Victorian Deloitte Private consulting team. The team focuses on small to medium enterprises, private companies, and the commercial elements of philanthropic organisations.


  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Post Graduate Diploma of Economics
  • Cert IV – Workplace Assessment
  • Affiliate – Institute of Chartered Accountants

Industry skills/experience

  • Advised 100s of SME clients in developing strategies and plans for business growth and effectiveness
  • Leads Deloitte’s Industry Partner role nationally for AusIndustry’s Entrepreneurs Programme
  • Led the development and delivery of the Canberra Business Point SME capability development program for the ACT Government
  • Developed business cases and strategies for Business Victoria as a single point of business entry
  • Deloitte project lead for the development of the Economic Reconstruction Strategy for the Kinglake Ranges – post Black Saturday Bushfires
  • Lead a study for the Victorian Small Business Commissioner on forming and maintaining business relationships. This was subsequently published as The 7 Ways of Business Success
  • Lead a study of model business behaviour for the new Australian Small Business Commissioner to define best practice behaviours applicable to businesses and government
Duncan Ashby

Duncan Ashby – Senior Consultant, ProAdvice

Duncan Ashby is a management accountant who specialises in agri-business advice with a focus on collaborative farming models, farm financial management, business structuring and succession planning.

Over the last decade Duncan has advised farm businesses throughout south-eastern Australia. He has recently merged his business with ProAdvice where he is now working as a Senior Consultant.

Duncan works with clients to review, analyse and develop efficient and profitable agri-businesses, which are structured in a tax effective manner with clearly developed succession and estate plans. This focus includes analysis of farm debt, off-farm investments, rural land leasing and risk management strategies.

  • In 2013 Duncan was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to study the leasing and share-farming of rural land in the UK, Canada and the USA.
  • In 2016 Duncan participated in the GRDC Extension Adoption Training and Support Program.
  • In 2017 Duncan is also involved with pilot programs for Figured Farm Software and for the Farm Co-Operatives and Collaboration Program.

Duncan is also involved in lecturing at Marcus Oldham College in Off-farm investment, Rural Leasing (and collaborative farm business models), and Business Law; corporate governance work with selected companies and has co-authored a RIRDC publication on land leasing (‘Successful Land Leasing in Australia’).

Duncan studied economics and business law (Bachelor of Commerce from The University of Melbourne); and politics (Graduate Diploma of Arts (Pol.Sci.) from The University of Melbourne); and has further post graduate qualifications in Accounting (Graduate Certificate in Accounting from Deakin University); and Financial Planning. Duncan is also a CPA Associate and a Xero Certified Adviser.

Gerard Belleville

Gerard Belleville – Partner, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

Gerard is the leader of Deloitte’s agribusiness sector team in Victoria. He has extensive experience in providing assurance services, transaction support and commercial advice to a wide range of clients across the agribusiness sector. Over the years, he has acted, and continues to act, for many businesses operating in the agrisector. These include: grazing, feedlotting, dairy, large scale irrigation cropping, food processing, feed supplies and cropping.


  • Bachelor of Business (Accountancy)
  • Member of the Institute of Charted Accountants (CA)
  • Registered Company Auditor


Industry skills/experience: Gerard’s skills include financial and operational management, business structures, business strategy and governance. Within Deloitte Private, a business unit within Deloitte of more than 1000 people, Gerard has operated as Chief Operating Officer, Chief Risk Officer, National Lead Audit partner and Victorian Lead partner.  Gerard’s parents had farms in Gippsland where they ran beef cattle. Today, Gerard lives on his family farm outside of Melbourne with his wife and two sons where he runs more than 650 head of Angus beef cattle.

Other rural/regional achievements: Gerard’s agribusiness experience includes working with Ceres Agricultural Company, ICM Australia, Botanical Foods Group, Almond Investors, Rosella Group, Australian Sustainable Hardwoods, Riverina Dairy Group, Reid Stockfeeds, Deutz Australia, the Horseland Group and a number of smaller pastoral companies.

Damien Bones

Damien Bones – Partner, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu 

Damien has more than 15 years’ experience in both advisory and industry roles providing business, accounting and taxation advice and solutions to a wide range of clients including small business, government agencies, state owned organisations and listed companies.

He has provided strategic and corporate planning oversight and advice, including business case and plan preparation, financial modelling services with associated commercial analysis and has experience in workshop facilitation and presentation.

Damien specialises in providing services to small to medium enterprises and associated high net wealth individuals. He provides services to a wide range of clients including local private businesses and family groups with farming operations.

Experience/qualifications: Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia, Member of Tax Institute of Australia, Bachelor of Commerce (Economics and Accounting).

Other rural/regional achievements: Damien services a broad range of agribusiness clients including: Huon Aquaculture Company, Saltas (a form of co-operative) and family groups with farm operations in dairy, beef, sheep, fruit and aquaculture.

Sam Byrne

Sam Byrne – Secretary, Co-ops NSW

Sam has worked in governance and co-operative enterprise for more than 20 years. As secretary of Co-ops NSW, the peak body for co-operatives in NSW, he supports, represents and promotes co-operatives on a daily basis.

Experience/qualifications: Sam’s greatest strength is the diversity of his governance and management experience.
He has been a director of the $10bn Local Government Super for more than seven years. Sam was also a local councillor and mayor at Marrickville in Sydney for nine years. From 2009 to 2012, he was a director and chair of Alfalfa House Community Food Co-operative. Sam has also worked as a management consultant in the community sector with Zakumi Consulting.
Sam holds a Masters of Management (Community/Not-for-Profit) from the University of Technology Sydney and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Industry skills/expertise: Sam presents Co-ops NSW’s governance training for co-operative directors and provides a wide range of other assistance to co-operatives and forming co-operatives. As chair of Alfalfa House, Sam achieved staffing change delivering savings and efficiencies, and also reform of the co-operative’s share rules to substantially improve the balance sheet.

As mayor, Sam led his council through a 20-year strategic planning process and major reform of its consultation process expanding community involvement. As a consultant, he has conducted demographic analysis, social mapping and structural and constitutional reviews for a number of community organisations.

Dr Chris Capel

Dr Chris Capel – Chris Capel Consulting

Chris has worked for 35 years on and off a 32,779 ha sheep/cattle property in central-western Queensland. She has experience in policy advice, project management, and communications with the Queensland Government. Chris Capel Consulting provides a range of services including: corporate/business planning, research, group facilitation and project management.

Experience/qualifications: PhD – rural sociology (Monash Uni), Masters of Public Relations (USQ), Grad Dip (teacher librarianship) (QUT) BA, Dip Ed (UNE), Graduate Australian Rural Leadership Program.

Partner/owner Evesham Pastoral Company since 1985.

Queensland Government positions include: Office of Rural Communities (Senior Project Officer) and DPI (Partnership Development Officer, Principal Project Officer and Manager of Communication and Information (Western Queensland). Pioneered remote home-based teleworking while working for state government from 1997 – 2008.

Chris Capel Consulting provides: research/feasibility studies, group facilitation/process design, communications, corporate/business planning, community engagement.

Industry skills/expertise: Skills include: research including interviews/surveys/media analysis regarding rural/agricultural issues, corporate and community planning, community engagement planning, group facilitation and process design, communications e.g. media writing/communications planning, funding grant application writing, rural advocacy, and project management.

I graduated with my PhD in Sociology through Monash University in 2015. My PhD examines whether/how people in remote areas can influence government policy. Thesis title: ‘Policy, power and remote community activism: a case study of the Lake Eyre Basin Wild Rivers policy’.

Other achievements: Community roles: Queensland Rural Women’s Network (various roles including chairing the $3.1m rural internet training BridgIT project), Foundation for Australian Agricultural Women (President 2004-6), Rotary secretary (South West Rocks 2016), Mid-North Coast Regional Development Australia (advisory committee – current), North Queensland Rural Financial Counselling Service (advisory committee – current).

Peter Cooke

Peter Cooke – Director, Agknowledge

Agknowledge provides management advice to agribusiness companies and farming enterprises across Australia. Working from a WA base, Agknowledge principals Peter Cooke and Nicol Taylor have more than 50 years combined involvement in agriculture at all levels – from farm strategic planning, to agribusiness companies, government and industry policy making, research and business development.

Experience/qualifications: Peter has worked as a farmer, to agribusiness consultant and policy contributor for Federal and State governments. A broadacre farmer in WA’s Great Southern area in the 1970-80s, he was CEO of the Kondinin Group in the 1980-90s, and is now an agribusiness consultant and director of Agknowledge.

He has been a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors since 1997. He spent six years as a board member of RAFCOR, and was the chair of the WA FarmBis program 1998-2008. Working with the FarmBis program has required an in-depth knowledge of agricultural industries, the social drivers and needs of farmers.  He is a board member of Landcorp, and recently deputy chair of the Landgate. He has the role as independent chair of four family farm boards.

Industry skills/expertise:

  • Highly skilled facilitating community groups, business managers and strategic planning meetings and preparing, facilitating and reporting on focus groups, workshops and community forums.
  • Contributes sound strategic thought and planning to all aspects of current business engagements.
  • Has a clear understanding of the role of and interaction with government processes whether with a government trading enterprise, private enterprise or indigenous corporation.
  • Clear about good governance within the boardroom and interaction with an executive.
  • High-end communicator.
  • Strong commercial focus, having been a CEO, through boardroom performance, 16 years of consultancies and understanding balance sheets of agricultural operations ($10-$75m) and government authorities (up to $2.4bn).
Phil Dorman

Phil Dorman – Partner, Mellor Olsson Lawyers

Mellor Olsson are proud to be a South Australian owned and operated firm providing legal services throughout the state. Our strong coverage of regional South Australia, combined with our years of experience working in rural areas, means that we have an in depth knowledge of the issues and legal requirements facing farmers and others working in the agribusiness sector.

Experience/Qualifications: Phil commenced practice as a lawyer in 1975 and has experience working for both institutional and private clients. He joined Mellor Olsson as a Partner in 2008. Phil is a Fellow of the Taxation Institute of Australia. He is the Deputy President of the Community Accommodation and Respite Agency (CARA), chair of its governance committee and a member of its property committee, and is the Chair of the Inner West Business Enterprise Centre.

Industry skills/Expertise: Phil’s current focus is on providing advice to small and medium sized business enterprises and their owners. His work covers transactional matters such as the setting up of business structures, sales and purchases of businesses and real estate and leasing, as well as providing strategic advice on a wide range of associated matters.

Phil also provides advice in relation to stakeholder agreements, business succession and estate planning and has worked with a number of farmers and other people in the agricultural industry to structure their business and personal affairs.

Mark Ellem

Mark Ellem – Director, Taxation & Business Services, Thomas Noble & Russell Chartered Accountants

Mark is a director with more than 16 years professional experience in taxation and business advisory services. He works closely with many of our clients to manage their taxation affairs, including primary producers and small to medium enterprises. Mark has strong knowledge and expertise in accounting, income tax and indirect taxation laws and rulings.

TNR Chartered Accountants has been operating successfully for more than 100 years in northern NSW and south-east Queensland. As a multi-service chartered accounting firm, we can offer you expertise in a range of services. With a team of 80 professionals, we are at the leading edge in the delivery of accounting, business advisory and other professional services.

In partnering with TNR, you will have access to an exceptional mid-tier national and internationally affiliated chartered accounting firm, which can provided you with the infrastructure and technical knowledge expected from a large firm, but with the personalised service provided by a smaller firm. You will have the best of both worlds.

Industry Skills and Expertise:

  • Business and organisation structuring
  • Performance analysis
  • Business support and development
  • Representation in tax audits, objections and appeals
  • Salary packaging
  • Taxation structures advisory
  • Goods and services tax
  • Fringe benefits tax, payroll and wages tax

Qualifications and Memberships: Chartered Accountant

Other Achievements: Providing professional and mentoring services for a financial literacy TAFE pilot program for local dairy farmers, including: Mentoring candidates during TAFE program, guidance regarding accounting concepts and interpreting financial information and assistance with general business services.

Kerry Anderson


Kerry Anderson – Director, KA Rural Enterprises

KA Rural Enterprises facilitates important conversations encouraging rural businesses and industries to look at existing landscapes with fresh eyes.  Services include business and marketing planning, and feasibility studies. Creative, practical and respectful research, stakeholder engagement, and communications are tailored to meet individual industry and business needs.

Experience/qualifications: Brought up in an earthmoving business and owning her own retail business before establishing KA Rural Enterprises, Kerry Anderson understands rural businesses. At an executive level she also worked for a top 100 Australian food manufacturing company, Castle Bacon (now DON KRC). Rural entrepreneurship studies have taken her on numerous occasions to the United States and she draws on an extensive knowledge gained from interviewing rural Australian business owners for her Rural Entrepreneurs blog and book.  Kerry is an Australian Institute of Company Directors graduate and has qualifications in marketing (post-grad), training & assessment (diploma), and public relations (executive certificate).

Industry skills/expertise: As a passionate communicator Kerry’s strengths are in assessing and writing business and marketing plans, conducting feasibility studies, and working with groups to facilitate effective consultation and collaboration.  As a small business owner and consultant from a rural town, she has a practical understanding of rural businesses and the environment in which they operate.  In a rapidly changing world, Kerry is aware of the importance of innovation and looking at existing landscapes with fresh eyes.  She collaborates with and draws on a wide network of colleagues for specific industry expertise.

Other achievements: Kerry is a national award-winning communicator, writes a monthly column for Inside Small Business and regularly speaks at conferences and on regional and national radio about rural entrepreneurship. She is an Inspiring Rare Birds ambassador and was a 2011 Victorian Rural Woman of the Year finalist.

John Baillie

John Baillie – Partner, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

John brings deep taxation experience across the private and public sector. His skills and experience include business structuring, domestic and international tax planning and tax risk management.


  • Bachelor of Business in Accountancy (RMIT University)
  • Master of Taxation (University of Melbourne)
  • Fellow / Chartered Tax Adviser, Taxation Institute of Australia
  • Member, Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia and NZ
  • Registered Tax Agent

Recent client engagements include:

Goulburn Murray Water – provision of complex tax advice in relation to the treatment by landholders of income derived and expenditure incurred in relation to the Connections Project (Northern Victoria Irrigation Renewal Project)

Murray Goulburn Co-Operative – provision of tax compliance and tax consulting services

Other rural/regional achievements: John’s client experience includes SCT Logistics, Murray Goulburn Co-Op and Goulburn Murray Water.

Ian Bennett

Ian Bennett – NSW Business Chamber
Senior Manager, International Trade

Ian has been helping Australian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) achieve offshore success for over 26 years, by providing trade advice, assisting with strategy development, export planning and implementation and getting connected in overseas markets. He has good knowledge of offshore investment strategies and assists in both exporting and importing for SMEs. Ian has an in-depth understanding of Australia’s many free trade agreements which assist both importers and exporters and how to maximise the benefits of these agreements.

Ian has over 15 years’ experience working in Singapore where he managed an Australian company involved in the marketing and distribution of industrial products through South East Asia. He also worked for two years in Indonesia in the shipping industry. Prior to moving to Singapore he held a number of management positions in procurement, sales, marketing and regional territory management.

Country specialisation
South East Asia – ASEAN, India, China and the Middle East

Industry expertise
• building products
• food products
• light machinery
• agricultural machinery
• industrial consumer products
• education

International Marketing (Australia Institute of Management, Sydney)
Accounting for non-accountants (Australia Institute of Management, Sydney).


Adam Boyle

Director, A.D. Boyle & Associates

We are an experienced provider of economic, commercial, and business analysis for both small and large enterprises. Our association of consultants provides ad-hoc planning and project delivery support for all business needs.

Experience/qualifications: During his career, Adam has offered strategic, commercial and business intelligence advisory services to public and private sector businesses across a wide range of industries to meet their decision management, compliance and project advisory needs.

Industry skills/expertise: Adam comes from a background in strategy and business development as well as corporate finance. Adam brings with him more than 12 years’ experience across investment markets, finance and commercial advisory and has worked in or consulted to infrastructure/utilities, ports, airports, oil and gas, rail, electricity, water, resources, transport, excavation, agriculture, financial services and funds management.

Other information: We have strengths in agribusiness and have been involved in a number of high-profile agribusiness deals /projects, including multiple projects or transactions, valued at more than $100m.

Kate Burke

Dr Kate Burke – Think Agri Pty Ltd

Kate loves nothing more than seeing people, crops and money combine well to generate sustainable farm profits. Kate formed Think Agri Pty Ltd in 2015 after various roles from research to commercial management during 25 years in the grains sector.

Think Agri Pty Ltd was established by Kate Burke and combines Kate’s love of people with her expertise in crop production, commercial management and consulting. Think Agri provides strategic and business planning services to farm businesses and non-ag professionals seeking agricultural expertise. Specialist knowledge includes corporate governance in farming, water efficient dryland crop production, agricultural investment and group facilitation.

Previous professional roles include 12 years as a cropping consultant with JSA Independent in Victoria and three years as Commercial Manager, Warakirri Cropping Trust. Kate holds a Ph.D from the University of Melbourne and resides in Echuca, Victoria.

Sara Cheng

Sara Cheng
NSW Business Chamber
Sara Cheng has over 20 years of experience in international trade and business consultancy both in China and Australia. Sara is also a widely-recognized speaker and writer on doing business with China, and co-authored the book Engaging China – The Realities for Australian Businesses.

Sara established and strengthened strategic alliances with Chinese government agencies on national, provincial and municipal levels, including the Ministry of Commerce, Shanghai Municipal government. Sara has assisted more than 100 Australian companies with various business models across a range of sectors to successfully do business with China.

Her practical services include:

  • identification and assessment of niche markets and partners
  • development of market entry strategies and plans
  • selection of clients, distributors, agents, suppliers, manufacturing and joint venture partners and merger & acquisition targets in China
  • in-depth and practical services for joint venture/wholly foreign owned enterprise set up and merger and acquisitions in China.

Country specialisations: Greater China region
Languages: Fluent in Mandarin
Industry expertise: Professional services, medical and pharmaceuticals, ICT, consumer goods, agribusiness, cold chain solutions, electronics and machinery, transport, construction.
Education: Master of Business Administration; BA



Alan Crabbe


Alan Crabbe – Co-founder and Director of Pozible

Alan introduced Crowdfunding to Australia and Asia pacific. With his background in web application design, Alan and his co-founder built the Pozible platform that is used by thousands of creators to fund new creative projects and ideas.

The site has hosted thousands of projects in Australia alone and distributed over $50 million to creative individuals, groups and organisations since it launched in 2010.

Experience/qualifications: Alan previously worked in a range of roles in tech startup companies in the UK before moving to Australia in 2007. He developed a creative entrepreneurial spirit through a technology startup that was spun-out from Queen’s University in N.Ireland where he studied Business and Information Technology. Alan is very excited to be at the forefront of Crowdfunding and is probably the strongest advocate for the model.

Rick de Sousa

Rick de Sousa – Executive Manager

Successive Executive Management roles built upon dairy factory and commercial experience with global companies including Fortune 500 and Fortune 50, and private international companies.

Experience with Australia’s largest food and beverage manufacturing sites across all sectors. Focused on dairy processing, specialty chemicals and hygiene, and Australian based F&B aligned service companies.

Training and Qualifications include MBA MGSM, Dairy Technology, in-house business profit and leadership, process/quality related technical training.

My management philosophy: if you believe in what you’re doing, and hope to make a difference, then work hard to deliver on your goals.

Danielle England

Danielle England – Lead Consultant, Ag Innovate

Danielle England is an agricultural consultant and a passionate farmer based in Narrogin Valley, Western Australia, Danielle has over 20 years’ experience working in rural and regional Australia with farming families, farmer and industry groups to drive change at the business, local and regional level.

Experience/qualifications: I studied my Bachelor of Agribusiness Marketing (Curtin University) at the Muresk Campus, and have a Graduate Certificate in Rural Systems Management (Queensland University, Gatton Campus), as well as a Diploma in Project Management and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Industry skills/expertise: I specialise in change management on-farm (and within family businesses). I take these skills into industry development projects, working in the past within the livestock, grains and horticultural industries to create and manage change. I have a strong relationship with many of the RDE organisations, and research institutions. I enjoy taking research and putting it into practice on-farm, all the interpretations and macerations that happen along the way.

Other achievements: I was WA’s 2013 Rural Woman of the Year, where I studied how the New Zealand dairy industry had grown to become the leading supplier globally of powdered milk, and what it meant for farmers, industry and the community.

In 2014 I was listed in the Emerald Grain 100 Women in Australian Agribusiness.

Joanna Andrew

Joanna Andrew – Partner, Mellor Olsson Lawyers


Our strong coverage of regional South Australia, combined with our years of experience working in rural areas, means that we have an in depth knowledge of the issues and legal requirements facing farmers and others working in the agribusiness sector.



Joanna joined Mellor Olsson in 2003 following completion of her law degree with Honours at Adelaide University and was promoted to Partner in 2008. She specialises in employment law, including work health and safety, and offers advice on corporate governance issues. She is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and is a regular Facilitator for the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Industry skills/Expertise: Joanna has significant experience as a Board member, and currently holds a number of Director positions in prominent not-for-profit organisations, including Chair of Australian Vignerons (formerly Wine Grape Growers Australia), where she shares her governance and strategic leadership experience.

Recently, Joanna helped lead Australian Vignerons during the process of dissolving their existing structure, advising of alternative structures, drafting constitutions, corporate governance and directors’ duties training. Throughout this process, she advised and assisted in direct engagement with growers and the industry at large. Joanna is also involved in the wine industry’s direct engagement and ownership of funding from the Federal Agricultural Minister within the Wine sector.

Joanna has an extensive background in primary industries and was raised in the Riverland on a grape and citrus property.

Paul Barnett

Paul Barnett

Co-Founder, Ethical Fields

Paul has a track record in agricultural innovation, ag-tech and collaboration having worked in senior roles in the CSIRO as well as founding a management consulting firm focused on delivering high value insights, business models and networks.

Experience / qualifications: With a family background in agriculture and having several years in a senior roles in CSIRO Agriculture, Paul relates to all parts of agriculture – big and small. Paul was awarded Bachelor of Science (Resource and Environmental Management) from ANU and has 15 years domestic and international experience working on land, water and agriculture innovation through application of science and technology. Particular background in developments related to data, analytics and robotics.

Industry skills / expertise: Paul has deep experience in strategic road-mapping, facilitation, strategy formation, business case development, business modelling and business model development. With an expansive network within and beyond the rural sector and strong links to many research organisations, he can be relied upon to find the right person on any issue.

Other information: Ethical Fields is founded with the mission to align social and technology innovation that delivers supply chain power to producers and consumers. We are passionate about securing the best outcomes from the digital transformation including data cooperatives, cooperative incubation, cooperative commercialisation pathways and agricultural development.


Warren Blyth

Warren Blyth – Senior Farm Business Advisor, Meridian Agriculture

Warren works closely with corporate and family farming operations in developing strategic and operational objectives, assessing business through financial analysis and budgeting. Warren has excellent project management, commercial analysis and business development skills. He also supports individuals’ performance through coaching.

Experience/qualifications: Warren holds a Graduate Diploma in Agriculture, an Associate Diploma in Farm Management and has completed the Leadership Development Program from Melbourne University.

Industry skills/expertise: Warren has a strong commercial and corporate agriculture background where he has successfully engaged stakeholders to complete complex projects that deliver strategic outcomes. He is a high level influencer and negotiator.

Andrew Brickhill

Andrew Brickhill
Senior Associate, Ballawyers
Planning and Environment Law

Experience / Qualifications
Bachelor of Laws
Bachelor of Science (Resource & Environmental Management)
Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice

Andrew practices in Planning, Environment and Local Government law and provides advice to private and Council clients on a range of environmental, planning and local government issues in NSW, including statutory interpretation and environmental enforcement.
Industry Skills / Expertise
Andrew has previously worked for an accredited specialist in NSW Planning and Local Government Law for 4 years and developed a comprehensive knowledge of legislation affecting the business operations of local government authorities. He also developed significant expertise in relation to Council land acquisitions.
Andrew has a broad range of experience in practice areas outside of Local Government and Planning such as Criminal Law, Insolvency, Water and Property Law, Intellectual Property and Coronial Inquests. This experience base allows him to advise clients to head off unforeseen issues before they become costly and problematic.
Andrew’s particular area of interest is the operation of planning law in regional communities and he frequently advises clients on the interpretation of planning legislation in a rural context.
Other Achievements
Andrew is a member of the Environment and Planning Law Association of New South Wales. Previously, Andrew has worked and volunteered at the NSW Environmental Defenders Office and mentored students.

Shelley Brookes

Shelley Brookes – Partner, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

Shelley has more than 14 years’ experience in corporate restructuring services including corporate and personal insolvency, acting for mortgagees and business turnarounds. Shelley has a broad range of experience across various sectors including agriculture, hospitality, construction, transport, forestry, retail and woollen mills.


  • Registered Liquidator
  • Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia
  • Member of Australian Restructuring Insolvency & Turnaround Association
  • Bachelor of Commerce


Industry skills/experience: Shelley has managed a number of beef, dairy and crop farms through the receivership process by providing business advice, strategic planning and financial management and has developed a strong network of agribusiness professionals throughout Tasmania.

Michael Clarke

Michael Clarke – Partner, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

Michael has more than 20 years’ experience working with private businesses and family groups. His skills and experience include financial management, business and tax structuring, transaction management and business strategy. He has worked with family business groups on succession planning, governance and family office structures.


  • Bachelor of Science
  • Fellow, Institute of Chartered Accountants
  • Member, Taxation Institute of Australia


Industry skills/experience: Michael and his family operate a cattle breeding and stud operation, Koolewong Angus, with 450 Angus breeders located in Braidwood NSW.

Other rural/regional achievements: Michael has worked with a significant portfolio of families with farming interests including the McGuigan family and the Paspaley family.

Tom Crothers

Tom Crothers – Director, Stellar Advisory Services Pty Ltd.

Stellar Advisory Services Pty Ltd is a consultancy business that was established in 2011. It specialises in project management, water policy, water legislation, water planning and due diligence assessments of water entitlements.

Experience/qualifications: Tom Crothers retired from the Queensland Public Service in July 2011 after a 35-year career in natural resource management. His career started in 1975 as a soil conservation officer, he managed numerous natural resource management programs in Warwick and Bundaberg before relocating to Brisbane in 2004 as Regional Services Director (South East Region). In 2006, he was appointed as General Manager – Water Allocation and Planning (Qld), a position he held until his retirement.

Academic qualifications: Bachelor of Business Studies (Rural Management) with Second Class Honours (Division B), Queensland Agricultural College, Lawes (1973). Queensland Diploma in Agriculture, Queensland Agriculture College, Lawes (1969).

Industry skills/expertise: During his public service career, Tom was responsible for the delivery of numerous natural resource management initiatives and programs including; the Areas of Erosion Hazard soil conservation program, Queensland Landcare initiative, Integrated Catchment Management program, Property Management Planning program, Land Resource Assessment initiative and the Water Planning and Allocation and Wild Rivers programs. In delivering these programs – he acquired extensive knowledge, skills and expertise in the policy settings and statutory provisions associated with a broad range of natural resource management activities, as well as the opportunities and processes for engaging stakeholders and the community to influence the outcomes of government.

Other achievements: Tom has received numerous community group and Queensland Public Service awards for his strong focus on high-quality service delivery. He has an enviable reputation for his broad knowledge of governmental processes and the most effective ways for managing these processes, to deliver quality outcomes from a client’s perspective.

Majella Doyle

Majella Doyle, Senior Consultant
Honey & Fox

Majella is a highly skilled communication and marketing profession with over 30 years’ experience in the hospitality, automotive, seafood and diary industries, the education sector, and with local and state government. She was also integral to the formation and transformation of Queensland’s largest water utility – Queensland Urban Utilities (QUU).

Majella also specialises in strategic planning and business strategy, business development, stakeholder management, issues management and event planning. Her passion is to find your competitive advantage, create shared value and creatively transform your culture and your business.

For the past 17 years, Majella has been delivering leadership and human resource strategies, as well as marketing, communication and stakeholder engagement campaigns that positively impact an organisation’s target audiences and bottom line. As Program Marketing Director at Brisbane City Council, she led and developed numerous high profile marketing campaigns, including the Drought campaign, to either inform, engage, consult, collaborate or encourage Brisbane residents to participate in any one of the many successful BCC initiatives.

As Stakeholder Manager, she was also responsible for the integration of five Council infrastructure capital works engagement programs and designing a customer-centric, seamless and consistent approach to how QUU engaged with its customers to minimise disruption, and mitigate risk while enhancing brand equity.

She has a postgraduate qualification in communication and recently completed an Executive Master of Business Administration (International Leadership), with distinction, at the Queensland University of Technology.

Greg Arthur

Greg Arthur – Managing Partner, Mellor Olsson Lawyers

Our strong coverage of regional South Australia, combined with our years of experience working in rural areas, means that we have an in depth knowledge of the issues and legal requirements facing farmers and others working in the agribusiness sector.


Greg joined Mellor Olsson as a Partner in 1992 following the merger of “Mellors” and “Olssons”. He holds a Bachelor of Laws, was admitted to practice in 1977 and joined Olssons in 1983. Greg is the current Managing Partner.

Greg’s practice covers both commercial and taxation law. He has obtained the Chartered Tax Adviser designation from the Taxation Institute of Australia which is an internationally recognised and respected mark of technical excellence and professional integrity representing the pinnacle of the profession.

Greg is also a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a former Chairman of the South Australian branch of the Taxation Institute of Australia and a current non-executive Director of Resthaven Inc and Foundation Barossa Inc.

Industry skills/Expertise: Greg frequently provides advice to clients on commercial transactions, corporate and company law issues, capital raisings, succession planning, public offerings, trust law and managed investments. He also practises in the areas of taxation, revenue and property law, and advises on estate planning and asset protection matters. He is also able to provide advice on corporate governance and structures, and has previously advised people seeking to establish co-operative and other collaborative projects, both in the agribusiness and commercial sectors.

Other comments: Greg has been recognised as an expert lawyer in Agribusiness Law (South Australia) by The Doyle’s Guide, an independent directory which ranks law firms in a number of different practice areas.

Leigh Baring

Leigh Baring – Partner 
Maddocks (Legal)
LLB (Hons), BEc (Hons), Monash University

Leigh has more than 20 years’ experience in advising Australian and multinational companies, high net worth individuals, accountants and financial advisers on all areas of taxation law.

Leigh regularly provides advice on structuring of businesses and transactions, mergers and acquisitions, corporate reorganisations and distributions, sale of businesses, demergers, capital raisings, joint ventures and property developments, international tax (both inbound and outbound), succession planning and liquidations. His advice covers both direct and indirect tax considerations.

Throughout his career, Leigh has been at the forefront in developing tax-effective corporate, trust and superannuation structures.
Leigh is recommended for Tax in Victoria in the latest edition of Doyle’s Guide.


Peter Batt

Dr. Peter Batt, Rural Development Consulant and Market Researcher

Peter is an accomplished, internationally renowned rural development consultant and market researcher with more than thirty years’ experience in linking farmer groups to institutional buyers in both domestic and export markets.

Experience and qualifications: With an undergraduate degree in Horticultural Science (Lincoln), a Master of Commerce (Marketing)(Curtin) and a Doctorate in Agribusiness (Curtin), Peter is able to offer clients a comprehensive system-based approach to solving marketing problems. With extensive experience in the marketing of grain, fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers, Peter has assisted farmer groups in developing export markets into China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. He is regularly employed by the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and the World Bank.

Industry skills/expertise: As an accomplished food and agribusiness marketing consultant, Peter works at both the business-to-business and the business-to-consumer level. Industry-based marketing research projects has been undertaken for the Aquaculture Council of WA, Fruit West, Market City, the Potato Marketing Authority, Vegetables WA, Wescobee and the grain industry. In linking small farmers to downstream institutional buyers, Peter has considerable experience in facilitating the formation of collaborative marketing groups and the implementation, within those groups, of quality management systems. As food markets fragment and consumers seek differentiated offers, Peter has assisted numerous farmer groups in pursuing direct marketing options.

Other achievements: Peter has held numerous senior positions with a number of industry groups and associations including the Australian Institute of Horticulture, the Australian Society of Horticultural Science, International Food and Agribusiness Management Association and the International Society of Horticulture Science. He is regularly engaged as a keynote speaker, workshop moderator and rapporteur, and has an extensive record of both peer reviewed and industry publications.

Patten Bridge

Patten Bridge – Principal Consultant, Bridge Logic Consulting

Bridge Logic works with individual farming businesses, farmer groups, dairy manufacturing businesses, rural and regional organisations, and peak industry bodies with a view to developing a shared understanding of what they want to achieve and then building the business and strategic framework required to achieve this goal.

Experience/qualifications: Patten Bridge has over 30 years of consulting and executive experience in rural and regional Australia with an emphasis on the Dairy Industry and Sustainable Agriculture Systems. He has worked extensively within successful farmer cooperatives and has strong existing links with a number of projects based on the principles of collaborative action and strengthening the route to market for farmers. Patten’s qualifications include a BAg Sci (Melb) and M (Sci) Hons (UWS).

Industry skills/expertise: Patten is a skilled facilitator who is able to work at all levels to achieve clarity of purpose and a commitment to action. His specific areas of expertise include business strategy, strategic planning, business performance, funding submissions, change management, industry sustainability, workforce development and succession planning. Patten’s breadth of client base includes, individual farming businesses, farmer groups, dairy manufacturing businesses, regional organisations and peak industry bodies.

Other interests: Patten has a keen interest in finding new and innovative solutions to problem situations. He has been closely involved with the establishment of the Dairy Industry Sustainability Framework in Australia, and has a strong interest in the role agriculture plays in underpinning the future of rural Australia. He was involved in the development of the Alpine Valleys Dairy Pathways Project in North East Victoria, and the establishment of a successful greenfields manufacturing facility in North West Tasmania. Patten is also the driver behind a new model to improve outcomes with farm succession/transition planning.

Daryl Camilleri

Daryl Camilleri – Bennett Partners, Chartered Accountants

After a long career in public practice, I have a range of experience from an advisor role, through to guiding entities with economic development, and being in the management and on the Boards of operating entities who have been involved in various mergers, acquisitions, and reformations.


  • Have been a partner in accounting practice for almost 30 years in a regional community which has a strong rural base of clients.
  • Experience in local Government as Deputy Mayor of a council which merged 3 councils (Mackay, 2008- 2012)
  • Strong involvement in economic development (REDC, RDA Mackay Isaac Whitsunday, Mackay Hospital and Health Service Board
  • Personal involvement in several business ventures.
  • The latter have resulted in strong involvement in political and government circles, and a range of contacts in those areas.

Industry skills/expertise:

  • Grew up on a cane farm in Mackay, (family only ceased farming in the 2000’s)
  • Strong tax background related to merger and acquisitions.
  • Good negotiating skills generally based on strong preparation.
  • Media savvy, and ability to manage media requests

Other rural/ regional achievements:

  • Worked in economic development roles, chairing the regional body, and being part of various boards for over 10 years.
  • Served in local government after the amalgamation of three councils and had council responsibility for the financial integration of those three.
John Christensen

John Christensen – Farm Business Advisor, Rural Business Support

John is a Chartered Accountant/Farm Business Advisor with over 20 years’ experience across a broad range of industries including agriculture, manufacturing and retail. His unique skillset enables the development of strategic solutions and assist farmers to plan for their future. John’s passion is working with family business owners to achieve their goals.

John holds a Bachelor of Commerce, Grad Dip. in Accounting, Grad Cert. in Agriculture (Consulting), and is currently completing a Master of Science in Agriculture at University of New England.

Industry skills/expertise
John provides advisory and mentoring services to agricultural businesses across South Australia. He conducts business evaluations and benchmarking resulting in the formulation and implementation of business change and process improvement. John also provides assistance with risk management, succession planning, budgeting, cash flow management, scenario analysis, feasibility studies, strategic planning, project management and grant applications.

John develops and facilitates farm management programs to rural businesses. John has experience in broad acre cropping, beef, irrigated industries, horticulture, fruit and vegetable, bees, viticulture and sheep. John is currently conducting strategic business reviews with a number of dairy businesses across South Australia.

Other rural/regional achievements or noteworthy comments
John has been successful in obtaining over $3.5million in grants to fund his client’s innovative business development projects and is now undertaking a benchmarking project for the SA Dairy Industry.

Robyn Donnelly


Robyn Donnelly – Consultant to the Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals

Robyn has practiced as both a solicitor and barrister in NSW in criminal and commercial law. An academic career at Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, in finance, business and company law followed. In 2000 she took a position as the Legal Manager for the NSW Registrar of Co-operatives and Associations. This included managing the interstate working party of officials to develop a uniform scheme of legislation (now operating as the Co-operatives National Law).

She is a member of the Legal Models Working Group for Social Enterprise and provides consulting services to the Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals. She also provides secretarial and management services to the Bathurst Wholefood Co-operative Ltd.

Brett Duczmal

Brett Duczmal – Principal, Karakash Grain Pty Ltd

Karakash Grain Pty Ltd provides advice to all sectors of the grain industry, concentrating on supply chain, the markets (both domestic and international), risk management, business strategy and project plan & development.

Experience/qualifications: Brett started his agricultural career in 1994, while studying for his International Business degree, working as a dispatch clerk in the cotton warehouse at Colly Cotton. Brett worked his way up through the company and was seconded to work in California and Texas, managing trade banking and shipping for their US office.

In 2000, Brett was approached by Ecom Commodities to establish a cotton trading office in Sydney. In 2003, Brett was appointed Managing Director of Agrinational (a grain handling company owned by Ecom). Bythis time Brett had completed an MBA majoring in International Business and was a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

In 2010 Brett established and headed the Australian grain trading department for Marubeni Australia. Since 2015, Brett has been consulting to the grain industry through his company, Karakash Grain.

Industry skills/expertise: With extensive experience and knowledge of the entire grain industry, Brett is perfectly placed to provide advice on macro and micro based grain related projects. His expertise is in his ability to dovetail his knowledge of markets and trade (domestic and international) into supply chain based projects, ensuring maximum value is achieved. While having excellent knowledge of most agricultural commodities, Brett’s real passion is for grain and the grain industry.

Other achievements: Brett has sat on Boards for Ecom Commodities, Agrinational and Guardian Childcare Alliance. In 2005, Brett was a committee member for NACMA (now Grain Trade Australia) on their Transport, Storage and Handling Committee. In 2006, Brett became a board member for the Australian Cotton Shippers Association (ACSA) and in 2009 was elevated to Vice-President.

F – K

Grant Fawcett

Grant Fawcett – DJ Agri Ltd

Grant has extensive experience in working and developing rapport with participants in the Northern Australian cattle grazing industry. Mr Fawcett was asked to play an ongoing consulting role in securing funding, providing administrative support and advising on governance and government policy for a new local representative body, The Northern Gulf Graziers Group. The region’s cattlemen and women felt their representative bodies had lost touch with grassroots members and that the compulsory levy was not going to benefit their sector. This drove the industry to form its own organisation, which Mr Fawcett assisted with.

Grant also worked with industry stakeholders and participants to address the very real issue of financial illiteracy of family owned agribusinesses. He was asked to deliver a long term solution and generate funding to implement it. After extensive consultation and research he developed the Business Improvement Package and its debt reduction spin off, the Accumulated Tax Credit Swap for Debt proposal. Grant worked closely with a range of academics, Government officials, financial organizations and industry specialists and leaders to develop this proposal.

He has recently been consulting to the commercial fishing industry to develop a co-operative brand marketing strategy to maximize the industry’s strengths in exporting local produce. This brand is now being expanded to other primary production industries to sell regional produce into the same markets.

As well as the projects outlined in detail he has also led projects such as new water infrastructure planning; replacing diesel water pumps with solar; remote monitoring of water infrastructure and the advance of GIS and Spatial Systems throughout the Rangelands of Australia.

John Francis

John Francis – Director and Consultant, Holmes Sackett

Holmes Sackett is an agricultural consultancy business based in Wagga Wagga in southern NSW. We provide consulting and benchmarking services to corporate and family farm asset owners and managers, the rural finance sector, government and industry bodies and the agricultural services sector.

Holmes Sackett consultants have developed a unique and thorough understanding of the drivers of profitability in farm business. Their reporting of the key messages extracted from their analysis of their annual farm benchmarking results in their annual flagship publication AgInsights supports their recommendations.

Their expertise generates value for clients via one on one consultancy, group consultancy, industry-driven project work, workshop content development and delivery and public speaking engagements and industry presentations.

Experience/qualifications: John Francis is farm business management consultant with over ten years’ experience in agricultural consultancy and a further fifteen years’ experience in production agriculture (agronomy). John holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (Agriculture) and a Certificate IV in workplace training and assessment.

Industry skills/expertise: John has a background in production agronomy and livestock production. He is a competent business manager and has a proven understanding of the drivers of profitability in agriculture. John works at a strategic and tactical level with corporate and family farm asset owners and managers. John has developed a number of farm business-related workshops and is the co-author of AgInsights. He has a detail-oriented personality type with a proven ability to think critically, rationally and objectively. John is an equity shareholder and operational director in Holmes Sackett.


Jayne Gallagher

Jayne Gallagher – Managing Director
Honey & Fox

Recognised nationally and internationally for her work, Jayne is an international trade and market development professional. She has extensive experience working in food and agribusiness sectors in corporate, small business, government and research. She is currently Managing Director and co-founder of Honey & Fox which provides international business development and marketing services to food, agribusiness and associated companies, specialising in Asian markets.

In addition to her work in seafood Jayne is currently consulting to the pork, red meat and packaging industries. She is sought after as a speaker nationally and internationally, and currently lectures on international business development for the Executive MBA program at QUT. Jayne served as President of IAFI (International Association of Seafood Professionals) for 4 years (2005-2009) and is still involved as an executive member of the Board. Helping to organise the World Seafood Congress 2017 in Iceland.

Professional credentials and memberships:
• BSc (ANU) and EMBA(QUT)
• Adjunct Academic Fellow, Business School, University of the Sunshine Coast
• Visiting Fellow, Queensland University of Technology
• Graduate of the Harvard International Women’s Leadership Forum
• Director at Large Women’s Industry Network Seafood Community
• Committee member Aquaculture Without Frontiers Women’s Network


Camil Gereis

Camil Gereis
NSW Business Chamber
Manager, Middle East, International Trade

Camil M. Gereis brings years of experience from various roles as an international trade adviser. Working across a number of industries, Camil offers practical advice and support to SMEs hoping to build their sales network overseas. Camil successfully delivered the Austrade TradeStart program over the last two years.

Camil provides training to build export capability, assists with distribution, procurement, supply chains, logistics, agency agreements, export pricing, shipping advice and overseas regulatory issues. He has worked across a range of industry sectors, including construction, health, agriculture, livestock, manufacturing, FMCG, ICT research and market intelligence.

Camil has worked in the Middle East and Asia; travelled most of Australia’s export destinations and consulted in:
• End Product and End Service Distribution
• Global Supply Chains
• Value Chain Participation
• Equity participation

Camil offers practical assistance to SMEs for business partner niche markets; entry strategy, planning and targeting; distributors, agents, suppliers, manufacturing, joint ventures and mergers/acquisitions.

Fluent in Arabic and English

• Masters of Commerce in Business, Accounting and Finance
• Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration
• Bachelor of Economics
• Associate Membership – CPA
• Future Leaders Program, Henley Management College, UK.


Ian Harper

Ian Harper – Partner, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

Ian Harper is one of Australia’s best-known economists. In May 2016, he was appointed to the Board of the Reserve Bank of Australia and recently chaired the Federal Government’s Competition Policy Review, a “root and branch” review of Australia’s competition policy, laws and regulators. Ian is often asked to comment on economic and financial issues in the media. He was a Partner of the firm from March 2011 until May 2016 and is now a Senior Advisor to Deloitte Access Economics Pty Ltd.


  • Ph D. in Economics (ANU1982)
  • Master of Economics (ANU 1978)
  • Bachelor of Economics with First Class Honours in Economics (UQ 1977)
Symon Jones

Symon Jones – Consultant Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

Symon practices as an independent farm consultant and currently operates a 500-cow dairy operation on the north-west coast of Tasmania.

He is also an experienced farm business and grazing management consultant working with both dairy and beef clients throughout Tasmania. He has assisted in the management of a number of dairy, prime lamb and cropping operations including some larger scale dairy farms owned by a large investment group.


  • AssDip Animal Production
  • Cert III Farming


Industry skills/experience: Symon has provided assistance to other dairy farmers in his role as a pasture coach and mentor within the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industry, Parks, Water and Environment for the 20/12 and Pasture Plus extension programs.

Other rural/regional achievements: Symon is a farmer, director and current chairman of the DairyTas board and the Tasmania regional farmer delegate on the Fonterra Australia Supplier Forum.

Natalie Faull


Natalie Faull – Partner, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu 

Natalie has more than 19 years experience providing professional services to privately owned and operated businesses, with a focus on agribusiness. She has broad business advisory skills and experience, including: accounting and tax compliance management, group structuring, transaction support, succession planning as well as operational advisory services.


  • Bachelor of Commerce, Major Accounting, Commercial Law and Management (Deakin University)
  • Chartered Accountant (Australia & New Zealand)
  • Registered Tax Agent
  • Member of Golden Key International Honour Society
  • Memberships: Agribusiness Australia, Geelong Chamber of Commerce and G21 Alliance

Industry skills/experience: Natalie’s agribusiness experience has been gained in working with businesses predominately owned by high-net wealth family groups, together with her active involvement on a sheep grazing and cereal cropping family farm located in regional Victoria. Her background has enabled her to build a strong rapport with farmers and work effectively in translating complex technical matters.


Other rural/regional achievements: Natalie’s private business clients include Bibendum – The Wine Traveller, Mainstream Aquaculture, Australian Sustainable Hardwood, and Australian Pacific Touring Group, and Ronstan International and the Bajle Group. Natalie also works with the Government body PrimeSafe, the Victorian-based regulator for meat, fish and poultry.


Russel Franey

Russel Franey – Partner, Taxation and Business Services, Thomas Noble & Russell Chartered Accountants

Russell specialises in business advisory and taxation services to a range of clients, including large corporate clients, primary producers, co-operatives and small to medium enterprises. He has more than 30 years professional experience and has significant expertise in succession planning, business structuring, tax minimisation and business negotiation.

TNR Chartered Accountants has been operating successfully for more than 100 years in northern NSW and south-east Queensland. As a multi-service chartered accounting firm, we can offer you expertise in a range of services. With a team of 80 professionals, we are at the leading edge in the delivery of accounting, business advisory and other professional services.

In partnering with TNR, you will have access to an exceptional mid-tier national and internationally affiliated chartered accounting firm, which can provided you with the infrastructure and technical knowledge expected from a large firm, but with the personalised service provided by a smaller firm. You will have the best of both worlds.

Industry Skills and Expertise:

  • Business and organisation structuring,
  • Share and business valuations
  • Preparing independent expert reports
  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Performance analysis
  • Taxation structures advisory
  • Goods and services tax
  • Fringe benefits tax, payroll and wages tax
  • Representation in tax audits, objections and appeals
  • Salary packaging
  • Succession planning
  • Business support and development

Qualifications and Memberships: Chartered Accountant and Registered Tax Agent

Other achievements: Providing professional and mentoring services for a financial literacy TAFE pilot program for local dairy farmers, including: Mentoring candidates during TAFE program, guidance regarding accounting concepts and interpreting financial information and assistance with general business services matters, including:

  • Needs assessment
  • Business planning
  • Business support and development
  • Feasibility studies
  • Strategic planning
  • Development of business and finance proposals
Roderick Glass

Roderick Glass – Principal Consultant, Systems Agriculture

Roderick is a principal consultant and researcher in the field of agricultural business and sustainable business with more than 35 years’ experience. He specialises in program and project facilitation, management and completion, both in Australia and overseas, predominantly in the area of agriculture value chains and sustainability.

Experience/qualifications: Project and teaching highlights include: Commercialised research or technology product or idea – Response; Sustainable Food Supply Chains – UQ; Introduction to Adapting Technology in Agribusiness – USQ; Understanding Australian Farm Business Performance – RIRDC.

Tertiary qualifications: DPHD Candidate Agribusiness – University of Southern Queensland; Bachelor of Business – University of Southern Queensland, (Accounting and Finance); Diploma – Biological Sciences Plant Option; Certificate of Workplace Assessment and Training; Accredited ‘Belbin’ Team Facilitator (Honours).


Industry skills/expertise: Current research and adoption programs include the development of national framework characterising success in agriculture. This includes the development of an understanding of price drivers for adoption of innovation and investment analysis within supply chains.

Within the FCCPP Program this includes assisting farmers to collaborate through a holistic approach to business and supply chain development. Other areas work includes a focus on financial sustainability and family succession assisting business to look at their businesses in new ways to enhance profitability and productivity.

The focus is understand complexity within their business and develop innovation options with their most important asset – their people.

Other achievements: Industry Fellow – ACSBD, University of Southern Queensland; Member – Australian Agricultural & Resource Economics Society; Member – Australian Institute of Public Accountants.

Howard Hall

Howard Hall – Pinnacle Agribusiness

For over 27 years Howard Hall, Principal of Pinnacle Agribusiness, has provided quality research, analysis, strategic advice and advisory services to private owners and corporate entities in a wide range of agricultural-based industry sectors.

He has extensive experience across agribusiness including assignments for input providers, producers, wholesalers, processors and marketers, industries, NGO’s and government clients. He also advises in agribusiness transactions, on both buy and sell sides of mid-market transactions.

Howard has had the opportunity to complete a wide range of challenging projects across varied industry sectors, in many countries. Activities performed whilst completing these projects include:

  • Accessing and compiling current industry, production and competitiveness data;
  • Collecting and analysing business, industry and value chain information;
  • Collecting, compiling and analysing benchmarking data;
  • Defining, costing and modelling business options and Greenfield projects;
  • Delivering industry and project economic impact analysis;
  • Designing and implementing benchmarking programs;
  • Designing and managing projects and business development programs;
  • Designing and managing product launches in ‘challenging’ segments;
  • Developing data analysis software and management systems;
  • Developing strategic analyses and options throughout the chain;
  • Establishing international markets and key trading partners;
  • Identifying and consulting with stakeholders throughout the chain;
  • Negotiating with vendors, buyers and financiers;
  • Planning, managing and executing divestment opportunities;
  • Reviewing supply chain processes;
  • Working closely with Chief Executives, Boards, family groups, and management teams.

Howard has experience and exposure in agribusiness sectors including Apples and Pears; Aquaculture; Avocados; Bananas; Beef, Pork, Poultry and Game; Citrus; Farm Inputs and Services; Fresh Cut Fruit and Vegetables; Frozen and Dry Goods; Grains, Field Crops and Stockfeed; Macadamia and Tree Nuts; Mangoes; Olives and Olive Oil; Organics and Eco-accredited supply; Stone Fruit; Tropical Fruit; and Vegetables.

He has worked throughout Australia and overseas including in Belgium, Chile, China, France, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.

Richard Jackson

Richard Jackson – Director, Acacia Agricultural Consulting

Acacia Agricultural Consulting provides wide ranging advice and services to the farming and agribusiness industries. This has included topics including agronomic issues through financial matters and broad ranging agricultural investigations.

Experience and qualifications: Richard Jackson as the founder of Acacia Agricultural Consulting trained at Dookie Agricultural College which has a reputation for its thorough and practical training of its graduate stakeholders.

Richard has achieved over 40 years of agricultural and horticultural experience through government service initially moving into agribusiness employment and progressing onto some 25 years ago into agricultural and agronomic service consultancy. This included conducting meetings, due diligence investigations, field trial assessments, value adding options, farm management, diversification and succession issues and viability considerations.

During all of this work Richard has lived in rural areas experiencing and intimately understanding the opportunities and challenges that farming and agribusiness present – through the prosperous and the downturn periods of rural life’s challenges. Some consultancy work was associated with irrigation options whereas a lot of work was assisting through consulting during the millennium drought era.

Travelling to many areas of Australia over the years while working on various rural projects Richard has experienced a wide variety of agricultural activities, projects and situations.

Other achievements:  Richard keeps up to date with various industry meetings and field days and is a keen participant at Ag Institute of Australia functions. Richard has been involved in small and larger scale undertakings in various key agri- industry segments, and has recently been completing a large scale agricultural issue throughout Tasmania and East Gippsland on behalf of a large multi national agribusiness.

Kim Faithfull

Kim Faithfull – Consultant, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

Kim is a senior client advisor at Deloitte, having recently returned from 3 years working in Mongolia and leading the Supply Chain team for the Oyu Tolgoi Mine.


  • BA (UNSW)
  • MA (Cranfield University, UK)
  • MBA (QUT)


Industry skills/experience: Kim is a very experienced logistics/supply chain design professional who has worked on several large-scale agribusiness projects, including for cattle and fertiliser businesses. He was also involved in Rio Tinto’s agribusiness assistance program in Mongolia, providing support to herders and farmers in the South Gobi Desert. As a military officer, Kim also worked on the post-conflict reconstruction in Iraq, working with military and aid agencies to rebuild agricultural infrastructure and production across the country.

Other rural/regional achievements: Beef Innovations Australia, Wengfu Australia (Fertiliser Supplier), Rio Tinto (Mongolia), Metropolitan Fire Brigade, Melbourne and Royal Flying Doctor Service, Victoria.

Stuart Fricker

Stuart Fricker, B.Com, CPA,
Director, Tax & Advisory
Stuart Fricker (CPA GAICD) is a qualified Accountant and member of the Institute of Company Directors. Stuart has been a Partner with AMD since 2004 and now Director of AMD. Stuart comes from a pioneering WA Wheatbelt farming family and has continued to offer Business Planning and Accounting Advice to the Agricultural sector.
Stuart is Director responsible for our Agri Business area of specialisation. Stuart’s family background has provided him with the ability to quickly understand and relate to farming clients. His knowledge and ease of communication being a valuable skills when offering advice and building rapport.

Agri Business client work includes:
Westside Cattle Co – Beef Feedlot
Peninsula Downs Dairy – Large WA Diary Operation
Bannister Downs – Large WA Dairy Processing Operation
Farmwest – Herd Improvement
Happs Wines – Vineyard and Winery Business

Michael Gastevich

Michael Gastevich –  Partner, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

Michael has more than 15 years’ experience, specifically in taxation, financial accounting, financial reporting and tax accounting governance. Hel predominately focuses on working with private family groups supporting business structures, taxation planning and general business advisory

Experience/qualifications: Michael has Bachelor of Business (Major in Accounting) and is a Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia.

Industry skills/experience: Michael has deep experience across the agribusiness sector (specifically dairy and meat) and co-operatives working with clients including: Murray Goulburn Co-operative Limited, Western Australian Meat Marketing Co-operative Limited, Genus Australia Pty Ltd), OneSteel Limited and Steel & Tube Holdings Ltd (NZ).

Other rural/regional achievements: Michael also works with cooperative groups and has provided business structuring, tax planning, risk and governance advisory. He also has deep transaction experience working on small to large corporate mergers and acquisitions, vendor due diligence and private equity transactions including those in the agribusiness sector.

Karen Green

Karen Green – Partner, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

Karen has more than 20 years’ experience providing taxation advice and compliance services to a wide range of clients in Darwin and Kununurra. She has presented at various seminars on behalf of professional bodies such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants on taxation matters. In addition, she has been the lead client service partner on a number of engagements for the Northern Territory Government and its departments and agencies.


  • Member, Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia
  • Member, Australian Society of Certified Practicing Accountants
  • Member, Taxation Institute of Australia
  • Member, Top End Regional Executive Committee
  • Member of Territory Taxation Administration Liaison Committee


Industry skills/experience: Karen is responsible for a portfolio of small to large sized clients engaged in the offshore support services, construction and property development, manufacturing and pastoral activities amongst others. She also acts as an advisory board member on a number of emerging companies in the Northern Territory, advising on strategic issues including financial strategies, business plan preparation, operations and profitability improvement.

Other rural/regional achievements: Some of Karen’s agribusiness clients include Five Rivers Station, Precision Pastoral, Bullo River Station, Sultan of Brunei Cattle Group, Wards Heliwork, Top End Mustering Coastal and Rural Training, and Pine Creek Mango Plantation.

Linda Hygate

Linda Hygate – Consultant, Ag Innovate

Linda is an experienced program and project manager with the ability to “get in and get things done”.  She has worked across many disciplines in agriculture and natural resource management, from research to consulting to research management.

Experience/Qualifications: Linda holds an honours degree in Agricultural Science, a Graduate Diploma in Agricultural Economics and a Masters degree in Environment and Program Evaluation.  She is a graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Program.

Industry skills/expertise: Her skills are focussed on farm business management, especially in the sheep and cattle industries, however, she has worked in other industries and finds that the same principles hold.  Linda knows how to ask the questions to find the right answers. Her clear communication style is acknowledged by many clients and former colleagues.

Jeremy Fisher

Jeremy Fisher – Principal, Kingfisher Law

Kingfisher Law is a commercial firm working for food and fibre producers around Australia. We have expertise in co-operatives and mutuals. We understand the commercial, legal and technical risks in farming, irrigation, water treatment and supply, construction and major projects. We also advise boards, senior managers, business owners and individual landholders.

Experience/skills: Raised in South Australia’s Riverland, Jeremy Fisher has an affinity with primary production, irrigation and horticulture.

Jeremy’s legal career includes major law firms, government agencies, in-house legal counsel for large engineering and agricultural businesses and boutique private practice. He has worked on major projects from inception to conclusion. He is particularly skilled at helping clients integrate project and operational management with corporate financial and governance systems.

Jeremy takes a pragmatic, risk management approach to deliver strategic, actionable legal counsel.

Industry skills: Kingfisher Law has specialist expertise in:

  • Co-operative and mutual structures
  • Agriculture
  • Irrigation
  • Water trading, licensing, compliance and regulatory reform
  • Environment
  • Infrastructure and supply chains
  • Rural and peri-urban development projects

We partner with experts in tax and economics, agronomy, hydrology and other areas to assist clients to develop and implement food, fibre, land and renewable energy projects. We also conduct commercial and administrative law litigation on our client’s behalf, as required.

We provide more than simply legal answers. We consider each client’s case from several perspectives – commercial, legal and public policy. Our clients benefit from both our commercial acumen and legal expertise.

Other comments: Our clients are remote, rural and peri-urban corporations, co-operatives and mutuals, community organisations, irrigators and farmers. We are members of Irrigation Australia, Australian Water Association and Northern Territory Farmers.

Mark Gardner

Mark Gardner – Director, Vanguard Business Services

Mark is owner/director of Vanguard Business Services in Dubbo, which works with 300 farm families, on issues related to farm business management, including family business meetings, strategic business development and succession planning. Vanguard has won a number of Regional Business Awards.

Mark’s current activities involve working with farm family businesses, to improve profitability grazing/land management and organising and conducting business management programs for groups. Mark works on an ongoing basis with groups of landholders in NSW, including the facilitation of a number of business development and marketing groups.

Mark has been a long time Holistic Management Educator with the Savory Institute and has a passion for regenerative farming practices. He is able to work with a wide range of producers to suggest practical business options for the future. His style is informal, respectful and consultative. Vanguard has high level financial and benchmarking skills.

Skills include:

  • Group Facilitation and Strategic Planning
  • Using technology in the modern farm business (Telemetry, eID)
  • Developing Branded Product Marketing Opportunities (direct marketing of beef, lamb, goat and wool).
  • Assisting individuals and groups develop their “Marketing Story”
  • Developing collaborative production groups, sharing land, machinery, technology and labour
  • Developing marketing plans for Branded Products
  • Development of Farm Tourism and visitation opportunities
Lee Girolamo

Lee Girolamo – Partner, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

Lee has extensive experience in the provision of audit and advisory services including external audit, acquisitions, regulatory compliance, technical accounting advice, process improvement and internal audit reviews.


  • Registered Company Auditor (Number 474550)
  • Member, Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand (CAANZ)
  • Fellow, Financial Services Institute of Australasia
  • Bachelor of Commerce (Corporate Finance)
  • Master of Business (Accountancy)
  • Master of Applied Finance (Corporate Finance/Advisory)


Industry skills/experience: Lee has a broad exposure to a wide range of clients from ASX listed companies to multinational corporations to significant Australian corporates in various industries. While his specialisation is within the energy/infrastructure sectors, he has also had considerable exposure to other industry sectors such as agribusiness, property, financial services, consumer business, manufacturing and government entities.

Other rural/regional achievements: His main agribusiness clients include: Thames Pastoral Company Pty Ltd and Viterra Australia (formerly ABB Grain Limited). Lee also works with a number of Northern Territory Government Departments, Agencies and related entities providing assurance and advisory services.

Stephen Harvey

Stephen Harvey – Partner, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

Stephen is the leader of Deloitte’s Australian Wine Industry Group and a member of the Deloitte National Agribusiness Group. He brings more than 30 years’ experience working with agribusiness clients providing assurance, transaction support, business structuring, risk management and strategic advisory.


  • Bachelor of Science (Mathematics), University of Adelaide
  • Fellow, Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia
  • Member, Australian Institute of Company Directors
  • Member, Treasury and Finance Association


Industry skills/experience: His agribusiness clients range from small to medium private and family owned businesses to large multinational groups. Stephens’s broad experience has assisted clients with financial and operational management, risk and governance.

His significant experience in the wine industry means he is a sought after industry speaker and commentator on industry best practice and benchmarking.

Other rural/regional achievements or noteworthy comments: Some of his agribusiness clients include: Aroona Holdings (almonds), Australian Vintage Limited (wine), Barossa Valley Estates (wine), Balco Limited (hay), Brand New Vintage Limited, Carter Holt Harvey Limited (timber), D’Vine Ripe (tomatoes and other glasshouse grown vegetables), Perfection Fresh Australia (whole fruit and vegetables), SP Hay (hay), and Tandou Limited (cotton, stone fruits, citrus).

Micah Jenkins

Micha Jenkins – Legal Director, Jenkins Legal Services

Jenkins Legal Services is a dedicated team of skilled and professional lawyers and business support people. They are complemented by a professional network of lawyers, referral agents and consultants that provide specialist services for clients. The firm boasts the most up-to-date legal practice management and research systems and tools. 

Experience/qualifications: The Jenkins Legal Services team is dedicated to ensuring that clients secure the deal they desire, minimise risk and avoid disputes through strategic advice and appropriate documentation. Jenkins Legal Services is a people-focussed business and specialises in all aspects of business and property law. This includes starting a business, commercial structuring and services to support buying or selling a business, not-for-profit structuring and corporate governance, through to succession planning and insolvency. Since we are located in a regional city and due to our links with a number of referring accountants located in rural areas, we have provided these services to many farmers and agribusinesses. We have acted for a wide range of SMEs, government bodies and individuals including agribusiness SMEs and individual primary producers.

Jenkins Legal Services is directed by Micah Jenkins, who is a Business Law-Accredited Specialist. The Specialist Accreditation Scheme is very competitive with only a limited number of accreditations awarded per year. Micah would be an invaluable addition to any team of advisors assisting farmers in legal matters, governance and business support and development.

Industry skills/expertise: Jenkins Legal Services offers services to small to medium-sized business with a particular focus on businesses in the agricultural sectors. For farmers in particular, we have extensive experience in matters such as:

  1. Establishment of farming JV structures;
  2. Shareholder and partnership disputes concerning farming enterprises;
  3. Farm business and property conveyancing and leasing;
  4. Estate and succession planning for farming families;
  5. Contract preparation and negotiation for farmers and other businesses in rural areas; and
  6. Commercial litigation including debt recovery for farmers.
Frank Kelloway

Frank Kelloway – Partner, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

Frank has more than 18 years’ experience consulting to regional and rural businesses across Victoria. He has worked with a wide variety of cooperative and grower owned structures, ranging from the Warracknabeal Business Association to AWB. He has established cooperative ventures in numerous sectors including health, agribusiness and consulting.

Experience/qualifications: Frank has an MBA and a BA, a Cert IV in Training and Development and is fully qualified as an Effective Negotiation Services (ENS) consultant.

Industry skills/experience: Frank’s experience includes facilitating the design and implementation of the Timber Industry Action Plan for VicForests, facilitating structured collaboration between mills, harvest and haulage contractors, VicForests and NGOs. He was a founding director of The Lonsdale Group (acquired by Deloitte in 2015). He brings experience in planning and negotiation advisory services to businesses ranging from Rio Tinto and Landmark to small regional councils such as Golden Plains Shire and rural health cooperatives including Wimmera Primary Care Partnership and Central Victoria General Practice Network.

Other rural/regional achievements: Frank’s clients include Forestry Victoria and Tasmania, Wengfu Australia (national fertiliser business), G21 Regional Alliance, Regional Development Australia and Regional Development Victoria.

L – Q

Ben Lyons

Dr Ben Lyons – CEO, Food Leaders Australia

Ben has worked extensively in Asia for the past 20 years, specifically in the agribusiness, exports, research and education management sectors. Fluent in written and spoken Mandarin, he has worked for some of the world’s leading brands including Dulwich College International, The Financial Times (UK), The Woolmark Company, the Australian Wool Exchange and the University of Queensland.

As the Chief Executive Officer of Food Leaders Australia and prior to that Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise group, Ben is actively involved in supporting the economic development of agribusinesses in regional Australia through export, trade and innovation opportunities.

In October 2016 he led Australia’s largest private delegation of over 200 businesses to Shanghai which was also the first international passenger flight out of Brisbane West Wellcamp airport. The Access China ’16 delegation generated potential trade and exports valued at over $350 million. He worked closely with Cathay Pacific and Brisbane West Wellcamp airport on developing the airfreight service between Toowoomba and Hong Kong. Ben was also behind 400M:Agtech and Investment forum which was the first investment and agri-tech of its kind in Australia.

Mark McKenzie-McHarg

Mark McKenzie-McHarg – Director, Mach 2 Consulting

Mark McKenzie-McHarg is principal of Mach 2 Consulting which he co-founded in 1993. Prior to this, he had five years with KPMG Management Consulting, which followed eight years’ experience in government.

He has broad consulting experience in business, government, water authorities and banks. Mark is a skilled facilitator, business planner and financial analyst. He prepares business cases and undertakes feasibility studies for a range of private and public projects. In particular, he is skilled in feasibility assessment/business case development in relation to business investment proposals.

Experience/qualifications: Bachelor of Business (RMIT)

Industry skills/expertise: Mark specialty in in business analysis and preparing business plans. He has experience in beef and livestock marketing and has undertaken projects for Murray Goulburn Cooperative in its trading/retail division. He has undertaken business-planning work in areas including food manufacturing, tourism, hospitality/resorts, airlines and IT sectors. In addition, he has worked in government and water sector projects, business case development for environmental water recovery (Water for Rivers) and in the hospital/health sector. He has also had experience in banking/insurance.

Specific skills/expertise includes:

  • strategic and business planning
  • business case development/feasibility studies
  • financial analysis, performance analysis, benchmarking, and KPIs
  • governance and structure reviews
  • social enterprises, establishment of cooperatives and community-owned enterprises.

Other information: President of the Yackandandah Chamber of Commerce, Mark was a foundation shareholder/founding chair of Yackandandah Community Development Company Ltd, established under social enterprise principles for community ownership. Today, 50% of households are shareholders in YCDCo. Ltd, which runs fuel, hardware, rural supplies and gas businesses and Yackandandah’s newspaper. Mark conducted feasibility studies for other projects including the Wangaratta Livestock Exchange and the AlburyWodonga Regional Foodshare project.

David Norris

David Norris – Partner, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

David has more than 14 years’ experience working with private and family business, and their owners. He provides a broad range of financial management, taxation, accounting and business advisory services.  He has worked with large family groups many with farming interests, providing financial management and accounting functions as well as business structuring and tax planning support. His role includes the project management of highly complex engagements and transactions including the coordination of third-party advisors.


  • Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting and Finance)
  • Member of the Institute of Charted Accountants (CA)


Industry skills/experience: David also has strong experience working with dairy farmers and co-operative societies on the south coast of NSW.

Other rural/regional achievements: Some of the farming clients David has worked with include: Cattle farm in Suttons Forest, Strawberry Hill Stud and Waratah Thoroughbreds.

Rick Pickering

Rick Pickering – Managing Partner, GMG Financial Group

With more than 30 years experience in accounting, business advisory and taxation services to the agriculture sector, Rick has established a wealth of knowledge in relation to several agricultural enterprises. A down-to-earth approach, genuine interest in client affairs, clear strategic thinking, and wealth of experience ensure business advisory matters conclude in a positive outcome, providing a pathway forward.


  • Diploma business – Accounting
  • Diploma Financial Planning
  • Fellow Institute Public Accountants
  • Registered Taxation Agent
  • Registered SMSF Auditor
  • 30 years’ experience in public accounting, business and taxation advisory – servicing the business and agriculture sectors.


Industry skills/expertise:

  • Several agricultural enterprises, including broadacre cropping, stone fruit horticulture, wine grape viticulture, livestock grazing, and irrigation production
  • Business advisory – business structuring, business mentoring and benchmarking, capital management,  cash flow preparation and management, succession planning
  • Co-operative – Facilitation, setup, accounting and governance
  • Company director – Independent director and advisor to large-scale private companies
Leanne Matthewson

Leanne Matthewson – Director, Murdoch Lawyers

Leanne Matthewson was appointed the first female Director of Murdoch Lawyers in July 2013. With more than 15 years of legal experience, Leanne is a highly respected lawyer who has extensive experience in providing strategic advice to help people achieve their business and personal goals – both now and after their death.

Since leaving Brisbane to “come home” over 10 years ago, Leanne has focused on providing commercial and practical advice for a wide range of clients including primary producers and others involved in agribusiness. During that time, Leanne has enjoyed developing strong relationships with many clients as well as their accountants and financial planners.

Leanne’s enthusiasm at work is matched by her energy at home allowing her to successfully balance her legal career and home life with her husband Michael and two young daughters on their small farm outside Toowoomba.

Leanne also has a strong sense of community and is particularly passionate about affordable housing and homelessness in regional areas. This has led to her involvement with YWCA Qld which is a vibrant, proactive non-profit committed to providing Queensland women with opportunities to develop as leaders in their communities and agents of positive change.

Leanne has also supported the Vinnie’s Community Sleepout spending a chillyToowoomba night sleeping rough to raise awareness and funds for the homelessness programs of the St Vincent de Paul Society.

Community Involvement:

    • Associate Member Tax Institute (ATI)
    • Member SMSF Professionals’ Association of Australia (SPAA)
    • Member YWCA Qld (not for profit)

Specialist Areas:

      • Estate Planning
      • Succession Planning
      • Trusts
      • Self Managed Superannuation Funds
      • Stamp Duty
      • Taxation Law
      • Water Entitlements
      • Agribusiness
Melina Morrison

Melina Morrison – CEO, Business Council of Co-operatives & Mutuals

The Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM) is the national peak body representing co-operative models of enterprise including agricultural and retail co-operatives, customer owned banks and mutual insurers. With an estimated 2000 co-operative and mutual businesses operating nationally representing a total of 14.8 million memberships, the BCCM works to increase awareness of the important contribution co-operatives and mutuals make to the national economy and social development in Australia. Australia has a rich heritage of co-operatives including in the agriculture sector where co-operatives contribute 15 per cent of the output of the sector.

Experience/qualifications: Melina Morrison is the CEO of Australia’s first peak body for co-operatives and mutuals (BCCM). Melina has commissioned, edited and co-written the sector’s first national mapping reports and is called on to provide strategic advice and policy ideas on developing the co-operative sector. Melina’s former roles in the co-operative sector include five years as editor of the flagship publication for the global peak body, the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA). Melina wrote the message platform for the ICA’s global strategy, Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade.

Industry skills/expertise: Melina is an advocate for all forms of co-operatively owned enterprise, regularly contributing commentary and appearing as a spokesperson for the sector.  Melina provides advice to groups wanting to set up co-operatives and to state and federal government on developing and implementing co-operative policy. Melina was successful in lobbying for a Federal Senate inquiry into the co-operative and mutual business sector, which handed down its report on the 17 March 2016. Her advocacy work for the sector resulted in Australia minting a coin commemorating the International Year of Co-operatives in 2012.

Anne Marie O'Callaghan

Anne Marie O’Callaghan
Director, BIA Strategic Advisors

BIA Strategic Advisors is a business advisory group that drives business success by offering practical, innovative and objective business analysis and insights.  Advisory services include:

  • collaborative business development,
  • business structuring,
  • assessment of business health,
  • facilitation of group workshops and negotiations,
  • planning for business expansion or acquisition,
  • business valuations.

Anne Marie has spent nearly two decades working with rural and regional communities, and has an in-depth understanding of the challenges experienced by start-up and existing agribusinesses.  With PricewaterhouseCoopers, she was a senior corporate tax consultant before becoming a partner in a chartered accounting practice with multiple offices in rural and regional Queensland.  She holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours), a Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning, is a Chartered Tax Advisor, CPA accountant, GAICD and registered tax agent.

Anne Marie has a wealth of knowledge in the establishment, development, fostering and influencing of community and producer organisations at various stages in the supply chain.

For over 15 years she advised and guided an organic beef producer company which started with a community based idea and, after overcoming drought, adverse exchange rates and commodity prices, is now a multi-million dollar entity exporting organic beef worldwide.

She also works closely with the Queensland Government’s Local Management Arrangements, assessing the feasibility of transferring water distribution assets to local ownership, engaging extensively with stakeholders, successfully obtaining support for a collaborative business model.

Other achievements
Anne Marie is a director on the Fairbairn Irrigation Network Pty Ltd representing irrigators & growers in the assessment of a proposed transfer of distribution assets to local management.  She is also a director of Suncare Community Services Limited, a not-for-profit provider of care to those ageing, living with a disability or with mental illness.


Richard O'Leary

Co-ops NSW

Richard has a lifetime of co-operative enterprise, accounting and farming experience. As Chair of Co-ops NSW, the peak body for co-operatives in NSW, he directs the organisation’s support, representation and promotion of co-operatives.

Experience/qualifications: Richard was CEO of Macleay Regional Co-operative for 10 years and now serves as Chair. The co-operative began as a dairy producer but shifted to survive into retail including supermarkets. It is now shifting again and Richard has led these changes.

Richard is also Secretary of the Co-operative Food Group, a new co-operative wholesale grocery business supplying stores across NSW. Realising that the IGA supplier was not delivering for independents, the Group now has 33 members and 58 supermarkets.

Richard is a Fellow of both the Institute of Public Accountants and the National Tax Agents Association.

Industry skills/expertise: Richard ran a successful accountancy business for 30 years while also breeding Devon cattle on the family farm near Kempsey. With Co-ops NSW, he also has many years of experience advising co-operatives on a wide range of issues, including governance, and is an authority on the Co-operative National Legislation.

Richard was also a key member of the organising committee for the 2012 International Year of Co-operatives in Australia that helped deliver the current resurgence of co-operatives. He is a guest lecturer in Co-operative Studies at the University of Sydney’s Business School.

Other: Richard is Chair of the local Macleay Valley Branch of the NSW Farmers Federation. He is also a Director and Treasurer of Regional Development Australia Mid North Coast.

Emily Mantilla

Emily Mantilla, Senior Partner
Honey & Fox
Emily is a skilled communications and marketing professional with over 15 years’ experience in a number of sectors. For the past 10 years she has been working in the Australian seafood industry. She is currently Senior Partner and co founder of Honey & Fox Pty Ltd which provides business and marketing services to food, agribusiness and associated companies, specialising in domestic and Asian markets. She currently is managing the Australian Wild Abalone® brand on behalf of the Australian Abalone Council and Woolcool Australia’s brand with the partners of Honey and Fox Pty Ltd.

In her role as Manager, Communications, Education and Extension at the Australian Seafood Cooperative Research Centre, Emily was responsible for ensuring a $100million dollar research program resulted in products and services that could easily be accessed and used by Australian seafood businesses. She produced over 150 products including the Super Seafood health benefits resource package, the SeaFOOD magazine and the safe seafood packaging guide. In addition, she was part of the team who managed the development of the ‘whole of seafood industry marketing strategy’.

Other achievements include establishing the Australian Seafood Retailers Network, Seafood Industry TV News, chef and hospitality training module videos, seafood master classes, social media and PR management for the Love Australian Prawns campaign and Post Graduate Business Retreats.

She currently works with a wide range of clients in both Australia and China including Australian Wild Abalone, Institute of Food and Grocery Council, the Sydney Fish Market, the China Cuisine Association and food sectors such as pork, wool, aquaculture and fisheries.


Steve McGloin

Steve McGloin – Director, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

Steve has more than 15 years’ professional experience working in the private business sector. He provides professional services to private business owners, the businesses they operate and high-wealth families within a variety of industries that include agriculture and agribusiness.

Experience/qualifications: BA of commerce and business law from Swinburne University and Chartered Accountant – Chartered Accountants Australia

Industry skills/experience: Steve’s experience includes both financial compliance and advisory services. This includes annual tax and accounting compliance, structuring and asset protection advice, transaction support services, cash flow modelling and succession planning. He brings strong project management skills demonstrated through his roles in managing outsourced finance functions for a broad range of clients. He is a member of the Deloitte Agribusiness group and focuses on working with clients across regional Australia as well as metropolitan areas.

Other rural/regional achievements: Steve’s clients include Bulla Dairy Foods and Almond Orchards Robinvale where Steve manages the outsourced finance function.

Mark Narustrang

Mark Narustrang – Principal Consultant and Director, Pivotal Point

Mark has been with Pivotal Point since 2015 having previously worked at Australia’s largest cooperative, the grower owned CBH Group for 11 years, most recently as Group Strategy and Innovation Manager. At CBH Mark, was instrumental in instituting a performance focus and was responsible for facilitating board strategy, developing business opportunities (including internationally), commercial analysis and process improvement.

As a consultant, Mark has been engaged by GRDC, AEGIC, DAFWA, Pardoo Beef Corporation and a number of other agribusinesses in grain and livestock. In addition, Mark has consulted to businesses in the health, industrial manufacturing and mining industries.

Recent consulting engagements have included Board facilitation, strategy development, business case and business plan development, commercial analysis, feasibility studies, performance reviews and process improvement.

Mark has a Bachelor of Business, a Graduate Diploma in Finance and Investment, is a CPA and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Directors. He is also on the Board of Grain Industry of WA (GIWA).

Elizabeth Olsson
Elizabeth Olsson – Senior Solicitor, Mellor Olsson Lawyers Our strong coverage of regional South Australia, combined with our years of experience working in rural areas, means that we have an in depth knowledge of the issues and legal requirements facing farmers and others working in the agribusiness sector. Elizabeth holds a Master of Laws from The University of Adelaide, focusing on litigation and in particular, the role of standards in product liability law. She has nearly 30 years’ experience and is one of the third generation of the Olsson family to work for the firm. Industry skills/Expertise: Elizabeth’s practice encompasses broad litigation work, as well as employment law, work health and safety and workers compensation claims. She advises on employment law and employment contracts, both with regard to their terms and conditions, and their termination. She also has significant experience with work health and safety issues and advises both employers and workers regarding their rights and obligations arising from workers compensation claims. Elizabeth also acts on a wide range of litigation issues, including estate disputes, commercial disputes and constructive trusts, particularly relating to family businesses. For many years Elizabeth has advised clients in the viticulture and wine industry, particularly with regard to their employment responsibilities; and has assisted with employment contracts and WHS compliance for numerous other farming clients. She has sound experience with both the Wine Industry Award and Pastoral Industry Award.
Ben Perry

Strategic Director, The Agri Business Australasia

If you represent an organisation or collective you’re here because you’re looking for expertise to help complement your team. You want someone that has empathy, understands your market and can bring innovative and dynamic strategies to help you realise your vision. That’s our goal and why for 15 years I personally love doing this.

We specialise in 4 areas:

  1. Create inspiring brands (not just a logo) but rather a brand philosophy that guides your organisations communication, culture and market promise.
  2. Develop strategies to build your business relationships.
  3. Develop strategies to launch your products or services into existing or new markets nationally and internationally.
  4. Provide business strategies to streamline your operations. We’ve created and repositioned brands such as Grain Corp, Grain Growers Association, Dow AgroSciences, Coopers Animal Health and Agribusiness Australia. With Avalon Airport we examined the feasibility for it to become an airfreight hub and are working with Horticulture Innovation Australia to increase vegetable exports to Japan. These are well known businesses but if you’d like to see more examples then please see our website.

If you’re like me you’d want someone that is not just a consultant but has real world experience and practises what they preach. I grew up and then managed a broadacre farm at Forbes NSW. I currently co-own 4 businesses and part own Burrundulla Vineyard at Mudgee. With partners we started a frozen yogurt company, Foxy’s Frozen Yogurt, that we took to the USA. I use the same strategies for our clients on my own businesses. In 2015/16 I was a board director of Agribusiness Australia and I now sit on their NSW committee.

Rob McConnel

Rob McConnel – Partner, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

Rob is the national lead of Deloitte’s Sale and Purchase Advisory team providing commercial advice around the structure and content of sale and purchase agreements from a financial perspective.


  • Bachelor of Agricultural Economics
  • Master of Commerce
  • Master of Applied Finance and Investment
  • Master of Business Administration
  • INSEAD – Advanced International Corporate Finance program
  • Chartered Accountant
  • Affiliate – Australian Institute of Company Directors
  • Fellow – Financial Services Institute of Australasia


Industry skills/experience: Rob is also Deloitte’s National Industry Leader for agribusiness and is a member of Deloitte’s Global Food Value Chain Centre of Excellence with more than 17 years’ experience, originally in the agricultural banking sector, before moving into transaction services with Deloitte. He has a Bachelor of Agricultural Economics degree and is a chartered accountant and previously worked with the National Australia Bank and the Queensland Industry Development Corporation for seven years across northern NSW, Central and Western Queensland within a range of industries including cotton, beef, wool, sheep meat and grains.

Other rural/regional achievements: Rob has an extensive list of transactions in the agribusiness sector. Most recently, in 2016 he led the Deloitte team as lead advisor to QIC in the successful acquisition of a controlling stake of the North Australian Pastoral Company (NAP) (2016).

Geoff Musgrove

Geoff Musgrove, Client Relationship Partner
Maddocks (Legal)
BEc, LLB, Monash University

Geoff ‘s principal areas of practice are corporations law, business restructuring, franchising, insolvency, commercial contracts, mergers, acquisitions and disposals, joint ventures, intellectual property, information technology, business succession planning and private client services. Geoff is a former chairman of Maddocks (2011-2013).

Geoff has acted for a wide range of rural, commercial, accounting, manufacturing, and professional industry clients. Geoff’s rural background in the poultry industry and his knowledge of issues confronting the rural sector, particularly in the marketing of products, compliment his legal skills in providing legal services and advice to the rural sector.

Geoff advises his clients on corporate law, contract negotiations, acquisitions, disposals, joint ventures, partnerships, shareholder disputes, business and family succession planning and company and trust formations, reconstructions, insolvency, asset protection strategies, amalgamations, commercial litigation, franchise agreements, intellectual property, information technology, commercial property transactions, tax planning, personal succession planning, wills and estates and superannuation.
Geoff is recognised in Best Lawyers Australia 2015-16.

Cameron Neil

Cameron Neil

Co-Founder, Ethical Fields

Cameron is applying 20 years of experience working for a more equitable and sustainable world to serving food and fibre producers and communities through Ethical Fields. Ethical Fields is working with passionate producers, makers and creators to facilitate producer-first businesses and organisations that deliver social, environmental and economic value for the long-term.

Cameron brings an eclectic set of skills to the food and fibre sectors, gathered from roles with government, NGOs and business. Business strategy and operations, strategic and applied research, project management, team building and group facilitation and training, governance and sustainable supply chain management and more give Cameron a unique opportunity to assist farmers, farming organisations and farming communities to achieve their aspirations.
Cameron’s value to the sector is illustrated by a number of signature projects and roles:

  • Cameron co-authored a major 2016 report for Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform – Australia on the opportunities and challenges of harnessing digital agriculture to engaging consumers on their sustainability concerns
  • As Sustainable Supply Chain Business Leader with Net Balance between 2012 and 2014, Cameron completed projects with some of Australia’s leading companies, including Telstra, AGL, Officeworks, Bunnings, Woolworths, Fortescue, NAB and Goodman Fielder. In the agricultural area, he led a team assisting Dairy Australia to develop and operationalise its sustainability framework, was lead author on a report for AFCG and WWF-Australia on Palm Oil use and impacts, and helped convene three multi-stakeholder Sustainable Food Summits with the Three Pillars Network
  • From 2003 until 2011, Cameron played a key role in building the Fairtrade Certification movement and market in Australia & New Zealand, gaining unique experience and insight into regulatory systems for Australian and global agricultural markets, trade, and smallholder farming cooperatives
Matt Noonan

Matt Noonan – Senior Solicitor, Mellor Olsson Lawyers

Our strong coverage of regional South Australia, combined with our years of experience working in rural areas, means that we have an in depth knowledge of the issues and legal requirements facing farmers and others working in the agribusiness sector.

Experience/Qualifications: Matt graduated from the University of Adelaide in 2006 with a Bachelor of Laws with Honours and a Bachelor of Arts. After graduating Matt worked with legal firms based in regional SA and Adelaide. During his time in Adelaide, he completed the Foundation Tax course through the Tax Institute of Australia.

Matt joined Mellor Olsson in October 2013, following the merger of Jenkins Anderson and Mellor Olsson. He looks after the day-to-day running of the firm’s Port Lincoln office, and regularly visits clients at Kimba and Cleve. Matt was appointed a director of the company which operates the Port Lincoln Community Bank Branch of Bendigo Bank and is an affiliate member of the Taxation Institute of Australia.

Industry skills/Expertise: Matt practises in the non-litigious aspects of commercial law, property law and estate planning. He has a particular interest in farm succession planning. Given his rural location, a significant portion of Matt’s clients are primary producers and others indirectly involved in primary production.

Mark Olsen

Mark Olsen – General Manager, EarthCheck Consulting

Mark has nearly twenty years of experience in tourism and destination management including eight years at Tourism Queensland in a variety of roles including Regional Director for Brisbane and South East Queensland Country. Through his career Mark has worked extensively with the tourism industry at various levels and has well recognised skills and experience in the areas of business mentoring, project facilitation, research, master planning, project feasibility, strategic planning, policy development, tourism marketing, industry consultation, investment facilitation and project management.

Mark has personally mentored numerous tourism small, medium and large business managers and is highly experienced in working with cluster organisations, including ‘beyond farmgate’ operators.

R – Z

Angela Reid

Angela Reid – Manager, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

Angela has more than nine years’ experience in Australia providing taxation services to multinational groups, large corporate and private companies. Her experience relates to the provision of tax compliance, business consulting and specialist tax advisory services to companies in a variety of industries including agribusiness, oil and gas, mining, engineering and property.

Experience/qualifications:  Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.

Industry skills/experience:  Angela has worked on numerous business transactions providing specialist tax advice across business structuring, tax due diligence and tax consolidation. Angela has deep experience in cooperative structures working with some of Western Australia’s largest cooperative groups.

Other rural/regional achievements: Angela’s main clients include WA’s largest meat processing business and Co-operative Bulk Handling Limited (CBH). She also services a portfolio of private family businesses with operations across diverse industry sectors.

Chris Scheid

Chris Scheid – Director, ProAdvice Pty Ltd

ProAdvice Pty Ltd is a Professional Services firm focussing on Consulting and Accounting services to agricultural businesses and SMEs. We work with more than 1000 family groups throughout Vic, Tasmania and South Australia. The ProAdvice team consists of a staff of 44 who have a broad range of farm business consulting, SME consulting, tax compliance and management accounting skills.

Experience and qualifications: During his career, Chris has consulted in the agricultural and SME industry for more than 20 years assisting a large number of businesses to set and meet their business goals, adapt to industry change and to understand and improve their financial performance. Client transition from one enterprise to another, staged business growth and succession have been important areas of recent client work.

As a client manager and management consultant Chris supports 25 clients (farming families, family corporates and SMEs) across South Australia and Victoria. Client work is varied: assembling collaborative farming ventures; succession planning; business re-structure and refinance; feasibility and business plan development resulting in business expansion; assisting the ‘people’ side of families in business; mentoring businesses in strategy setting and strategy review.

Industry skills/expertise: Chris provided ProAdvice’s training and education services delivering ProAdvice’s farm management courses for 15 years to farmers and graziers throughout South East Australia. Recent Industry expertise include supplying the South Australian Dairy Industry with benchmarking data for the past 4 years, providing a business improvement project for McCain’s and its potato growers.

Danica Sekulovska

Danica Sekulovska – Partner, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

Danica has extensive experience in leading the preparation of applications for government funding for clients in a diverse range of industries. Through her extensive client portfolio, she has developed a deep understanding of the drivers of investment decisions by government. She has developed and maintained relationships with key ministerial offices, ministerial advisers, public servants and government departments.


  • Bachelor of Arts, La Trobe University
  • Diploma of Education, the University of Melbourne
  • Post Graduate Diploma in Information Management, University of Melbourne
  • Master of Education, University of Melbourne


Other rural/regional achievements: Australian Manufacturing Technology Institute Limited (AMTIL), Federation of Automotive Products Manufacturers (FAPM), Australian Industry Group (AiG), State Government of Victoria, and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

Stirling Tavener

Stirling Tavener – Senior Consultant, Anson Advisory

Anson Advisory provide management, financial and governance advice to agribusinesses to improve management ability, productivity, efficiency and profitability. We use analysis, capital raising, vertical integration, value chain analysis, management accounting and governance tools (among others) to take businesses to the next level with professional but practical advice. We utilise the best facets of very successful operators to build on strengths, identify weaknesses and form a strong, robust business that is both efficient to manage and profitable, while minimising risk.

Producers and business owners are very good at what they do, but sometimes need a hand in physically documenting their ideas, plans, feasibilities and direction in order to present to a bank/investor/stakeholder of how and why they will succeed – an Anson specialty!


  • Masters of Business Administration (Finance & Accounting)
  • B.Agricultural Science
  • B.Science
  • Graduate of Australian Institute of Company Directors (governance)
  • Certificate IV in Project Management
  • Environmental auditor

Stirling grew up on a farm and has over 17 years experience in agricultural analysis & consulting, banking, investments and business from a very broad range of industries. He has established a number of businesses, developed new products and raised millions in startup capital.

Industry skills/expertise: 

Stirling has experience in hundreds of business operations and regularly identifies and rectifies operations providing a clear, unbiased picture of a business quickly, saving time, money and frustration.

Working across Australia and the South Pacific in many industries, provides a perspective that cannot be achieved from operating a single or small number of businesses. This gives Stirling an advantage by staying at the ‘cutting edge’ of contemporary business and helping clients achieve their full potential in the least amount of time. Stirling also provides independent chairman-type services to bring objectivity, fairness and fresh ideas to operations and is now based in Cairns, north Queensland but works with clients all over Australia and the South Pacific.

Melanie Trethowan

Melanie Trethowan – Owner, Heart of the Bush

Based in Mudgee, central west NSW, Melanie has operated a marketing and consulting business for the past 21 years. She specialises in getting what is in a person’s head down onto paper in some sort of structured way. This may be for grant applications, business plans, funding proposals or marketing plans.

Experience/qualifications: Melanie has a Master of Business (Marketing) and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She has worked with more than 100 commercial, not-for-profit and local government organisations in rural and regional NSW, Queensland and metropolitan areas.

Industry skills/expertise: Melanie has the ability to work with all organisations and industry sectors to identify and achieve their strategic goals. Melanie is not afraid to ask the ‘dumb questions’ to build her understanding of a business or industry, or to challenge accepted concepts and ideas. She has facilitated a wide range of workshops to brainstorm strategic directions and then translate those ideas into tangible plans.

Other achievements: Melanie is a graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Programme and is a recipient of the Vincent Fairfax Ethics in Leadership Award.

Brian Tran

Brian Tran – Senior Analyst, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

Brian has experience in working collaboratively with key management stakeholders for clients in the not-for-profit, private and commercial sector.

Experience/qualifications: Bachelor of Commerce, Major Accounting and Finance (University of Melbourne) and Chartered Accountant (Australia & New Zealand).

Industry skills/experience:  Brian’s experience includes reviewing an organisation’s business operations and performance (financial and operational), with a focus on identifying revenue opportunities and highlighting key financial, non-financial and business risks.

He also has experience with building integrated financial models to project an organisation’s business performance, including producing cash flow forecasts, budget models, as well as working capital and budget variance analysis for Board reporting and strategic planning purposes.

Other rural/regional achievements: Brian regularly attends board meetings on behalf of clients to present on the organisations’ financial and commercial performance.

Matthew Waring

Mathew Waring
Legal & Governance
Principal of Waring Legal

Matthew founded Waring Legal in 2012 and has a strong focus on the agricultural sector. Matthew currently holds the role of Special Counsel to the NSW Farmers’ Association. Waring Legal provides legal services to the rural community with a focus on employment law, industrial relations and human resource management. Waring Legal specialises in employment related matters including unfair dismissal claims and employment obligations & rights for both employers and employees. The firm has acted for farmers in industrial matters; property matters; mining and environment cases in the Land and Environment Court; provided commercial advice to farmers and has a strong understanding of policy issues affecting the rural community. Matthew currently sits on the NSW Quad Bike Action group and Safework NSW stakeholder committees. The firm’s property division can deal with any transaction in NSW, while the employment division operates throughout the country. Matthew often acts in other heavily regulated sectors including maritime and construction sectors.


Tony Robinson

Tony grew up on properties in Northern NSW and Western Queensland, and for many years managed a family property of over 75,000 acres running over 25,000 head of sheep and 3,000 head of cattle. He is a graduate of the Longreach Pastoral College, holds a Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment, and has completed the AICD’s Company Directors Course. With many years experience in the fields of workforce planning and training, particular skills in regional engagement and working with both state and federal governments, Tony was Director of the Emerald Agricultural College until 2015 overseeing the education and training of students whilst managing three farming and grazing properties in the region.
Tony has extensive knowledge of the agricultural sector, both as a farmer-grazier, trainer and industry representative. An accomplished facilitator, presenter and negotiator, he has excellent engagement and negotiation skills, and regularly facilitates workshops including concept development, strategic planning, risk management strategies.
Other achievements
Tony is a deputy-director of the Central Highland Regional Resource Users Co-operative (CHRRUP) helping drive improved resource management in the region, and sits on the Commercial Committee examining commercial fee for service business opportunities. He is a member of the CQUniversity’s Agriculture Advisory Panel guiding the design and integrity of agricultural courses offered to students. In 2014 he was appointed to represent Central Queensland on the AgForce State Council and is an active advocate for primary producers.

Experience/qualifications:  Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.

Industry skills/experience:  Angela has worked on numerous business transactions providing specialist tax advice across business structuring, tax due diligence and tax consolidation. Angela has deep experience in cooperative structures working with some of Western Australia’s largest cooperative groups.

Other rural/regional achievements: Angela’s main clients include WA’s largest meat processing business and Co-operative Bulk Handling Limited (CBH). She also services a portfolio of private family businesses with operations across diverse industry sectors.

Darren Secomb

Darren Secomb, Nanga Mai Services Pty Ltd

Darren grew up on a family farm on the Adelaide Plains in South Australia. After completing tertiary studies at Roseworthy College (Adelaide University) he worked for several rural financiers across South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales; with the last eighteen years with Primary Industry Bank of Australia / Rabobank. During this time he has enjoyed roles in lending, credit, asset management and most recently in succession planning.

In late 2016 with a restructure at Rabobank, Darren has taken this opportunity to commence his own business, Nanga Mai Services Pty Ltd utilising the skills and knowledge that he has gained over his career to share with farming families.

Darren believes that better decisions come from an increased understanding and knowledge of all aspects of your business and your farming family or management team. He can help with family meetings through facilitating discussion and communication in regard to your strategic and succession planning. Darren also has considerable experience in analysing business performance, evaluation business development plans and in reviewing finance matters.

Jennifer Sewell

Jen provides strategic high level advice consultation and coaching services in the areas of leadership, management, marketing and business planning to rural and regional businesses.  I have a thorough knowledge of agriculture, farming communities, having lived in one and I am well networked across the sector

I have an MBA from UNE and a Bachelor of Education.

My skills and expertise are in marketing, facilitation, strategy and training across diverse industries. I have particular interest in sustainable, small farming operations with a focus on the development of value adding, biodiversity and permaculture. In my capacity as a trainer and teacher at TAFE, I have developed and delivered programs in rural skills and trade.  I run a small farm, raising Angus cattle near Armidale NSW.

Anthony Taylor

Anthony Taylor – Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals

The Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals is the peak body for Australian co-operatives and mutuals.

Experience/qualifications: Anthony holds degrees in Arts and Law. He has experience working in a variety of roles in a member-owned collaborative enterprise.

Industry skills/expertise: Anthony has a strong understanding of the co-operative business model and the policy and legal environment it operates under in Australia.

Helen Thompson
Federation Uni
Simon Venus

Simon Venus
(LLB/LP (Hons), Grad Dip Leg St, BA)

Piper Alderman assists clients with a full spectrum of legal matters, from complex high value corporate transactions, to advising smaller cluster groups and family farming enterprises.


Simon is a Partner in Piper Alderman’s Corporate division and National Head of the Agribusiness Practice Group.

He has hands on experience in agriculture having worked as a jackeroo and overseer on pastoral station properties for many years before becoming a lawyer.

Simon is a Director of the peak national industry body, Agribusiness Australia, and was an inaugural member of the South Australian Agribusiness Council, an advisory group hand-picked by the Minister for Agriculture to assist in identifying emerging domestic and international economic development of the agrifood and agribusiness sectors.  Among other roles, he is also an inaugural member of the Agribusiness Advisory Board at the University of Adelaide’s School of Business and is a trustee of several charitable organisations.

Simon is the principal author of the ‘Business Structures’ section in the LexisNexis ‘Practical Guidance’ legal publication (including a chapter of collaborative structures) and has been a speaker at several agribusiness-focused investment and legal conferences.

Other achievements

  • Included in the peer awarded Best Lawyers list in the practice area of ‘Agriculture & Rural Affairs’ in each year since 2012.
  • Included in the peer awarded Best Lawyers list in the practice areas of ‘Commercial’ (2016 and 2017) and ‘Corporate Law’ (2017).
  • Winner of ‘Agricultural Industry Lawyer of the Year – Australia’ in the Lawyer Monthly Legal Awards 2016.
  • Winner of ‘Primary Industries Commercial Lawyer of the Year – Australia’ in the Corporate Livewire M&A Awards 2015.
  • Winner of ‘Agribusiness Lawyer of the Year: Australia’ in the Lawyer Monthly Legal Awards 2014and the Finance Monthly Global Awards 2014.
Steve Williams

Steve Williams – Client Manager, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

Steve joined Deloitte in March 2010 and has a wide variety of experience ranging from financial accounts analysis and tax compliance, due diligence and external audits of small and medium businesses including family groups. Over seven years, he has developed a strong understanding of the drivers of private businesses and how to work with clients to achieve growth.


  • Bachelor of Commerce, Major Accounting and Finance (University of Melbourne)
  • Chartered Accountant (Australia & New Zealand)


Industry skills/experience: Steve’s key experience include accounting, taxation and advisory services. This also includes the project management of external audit and financial due-diligence services, assisting clients during the transition phases of their business. He is a member of the Deloitte Agribusiness group and has a diverse range of clients based in Victoria and interstate, including in the dairy, horse agistment and wine industries.

Other rural/regional achievements: Steve has a strong family history in the agribusiness sector, farming beef cattle in the Geelong region for more than 40 years. His father currently works as a consultant to beef and dairy farmers in Victoria with a particular focus on artificial breeding.

Melissa Webb

Melissa Webb – Manager, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

Melissa has more than 10 years’ experience in providing accounting and taxation services to private business clients and family groups. Her skills include business structures, financial modelling/board reporting, technology cloud solutions and family office services.


  • Bachelor of Commerce, Flinders University
  • Member, Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia


Industry skills/experience: Melissa’s family operates hydroponic greenhouses located in the Murraylands so her background, knowledge and passion lie in horticulture. Her background has enabled her to work effectively with agribusiness clients across South Australia and build a strong rapport with farmers. Given her background in the industry for 30 years, Melissa is familiar with the environment, industry suppliers and attends the protected cropping conference.

Other rural/regional achievements: Melissa has assisted agri-clients with: Feasibility studies, business proposals, grant funding applications, financing and crop production management. Some of her clients include Mitolo Wines Group and Australian Saltworks.

Richard Wheeler

Richard Wheeler – Partner, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

Richard has more than 15 years’ experience providing business advisory services to a diverse range of clients across the agribusiness sector.


  • Chartered Accountant
  • Chartered Tax Advisor
  • Fellow Australian Institute of Company Directors
  • Fellow Finsia (Financial Services Institute of Australasia)
  • Certified Public Accountant – Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants


Industry skills/experience: Richard’s has provided business structuring and financial management to large family groups in beef cattle production, feedlots and irrigated and dryland cotton. He has also managed several transactions including vendor advisory services on the transacting of a large cotton aggregation to foreign buyers.

He has facilitated business and strategic planning to family groups in the beef cattle industry as well as strategic advisory on market expansion for a number of foreign owned Australian agricultural operators. He is a speaker for the tax institute on a number of primary production matters, including land access agreements and compensation agreements associated with the mining industry and agricultural land.

Other rural/regional achievements: Richard has worked with many farming groups across western Queensland including Wambo Feedlot, Cowral Agriculture and numerous beef cattle producers.

Laurence Rooney

Capability Statement

Laurence facilitates important conversations encouraging rural businesses and industries to look at existing landscapes with fresh eyes. Services include systems development and implementation, auditing and risk assessment. Creative and practical stakeholder engagement and communications are tailored to meet industry and business needs and he can clearly define how improvements in safety add to the bottom line of business’ performance. Laurence has the proven ability to influence key stakeholders in the development of better business systems.

Experience and qualifications

Laurence has many years’ experience working in the agricultural industry across livestock, farming, feedlotting, processing and marketing.

Qualifications include a Bachelor of Agribusiness Management, Graduate Diploma Occupational Health and Safety and he is currently completing his research thesis on fatality and injury rates in the beef cattle industry.

As well as agriculture Laurence is experienced working in resources for one of the world’s leading machinery companies and is very experienced working in the oil and gas industry.


  • Systems development
  • WHS Strategy
  • Implementation and design
  • Influencing and communicating
  • Quality
  • Risk assessment
  • Auditing
  • Inspections
  • Investigations
  • Occupational hygiene


Robbie Sefton

Robbie Sefton,
Director and Founder, Seftons

Robbie is a leader in rural and regional communications and marketing, and a farmer. She is driven by her vision of agriculture, rural, regional and remote Australia as dynamic and prosperous providing rewarding careers, profitable and sustainable businesses, and flourishing communities.
Robbie has provided effective and influential strategic marketing and communications services to agribusiness clients, and has worked closely with farmers across a range of industries in marketing, communication, facilitation and advocacy, She knows agriculture from the bottom to the top.
Experience and qualifications
Robbie has more than 27 years experience running her award-winning strategic communications and marketing business, and as a farmer jointly owning a 2900-hectare grazing and cropping property.
Industry skills/expertise
Since starting Seftons in 1990, Robbie has been helping shape rural Australia through her role in projects such as Water for the Future, the National Farmers’ Federation’s Blueprint for Australian Agriculture, the Meat & Livestock Australia Challenge, and the Government’s White Paper for Agricultural Competitiveness. She has a team of 20 across Australia and headquarters in Tamworth.
Robbie has served (and is serving) on boards and committees including National Australia Day Council, Graziers Investment Company, Reserve Bank Small Business Finance Panel, Woolworths Responsible Business Forum, USQ Public Relations Discipline Advisory Group, Australian Rural Leadership Foundation, Regional Women’s Advisory Council (to Deputy Prime Minister) and ATO Small Business Advisory Group.
Robbie’s achievements include Australian Rural Leadership Program graduate, RIRDC NSW Rural Woman of the Year, 2015 Westpac/AFR Woman of Influence, 2013 Australian Business Women’s Network (ABN) Hall of Fame, and 2013 Government Relations Consultancy of the Year.

Carlyn Sherriff

Carlyn holds a Bachelor Economics (International Agricultural Business), she has completed the Professional Management Program at Adelaide University (2012) and in 2014 she completed a Diploma in Management (Australian Institute of Management). Carlyn is also accredited to deliver sessions with the Myers Briggs Type Indicator.

Employed with Rural Directions Pty Ltd since 2005, Carlyn has experience in agribusiness management including facilitating advisory boards, business planning and benchmarking. She also assists businesses to recruit new employees, improve their people management systems and plan their future business development.

Carlyn also works on leadership focused capacity building and training programs which utilise her skills in MBTI, people management, leadership and strategic planning. In 2015/2016 Carlyn was a deliverer of the GRDC funded Resilient Grain Leaders program and the Australian Wool Innovation funded Breeding Leadership program. Carlyn has been involved in Breeding Leadership since 2006.

Carlyn has a passion for working with people and assisting families and businesses to remain successful.


Daniel Terrill

Dr Daniel Terrill – Partner, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

Daniel leads teams in agribusiness, natural resources and regional economic development. He has over twelve years of consulting experience in related industries, and a PhD involving a catchment management case study in the Murray Darling Basin. He also has a long history in cost benefit analysis and economic geography, and is a leading practitioner of using geographical information systems in mainstream economic consulting, as both an analytical modelling and data presentation tool.

Experience/qualifications: PhD, University of Melbourne (2001) and BPD (Hons), University of Melbourne (1995).

Industry skills/experience: Daniel is also an active beef cattle farm manager and water entitlement holder in north-eastern Victoria.

Other rural/regional achievements: Extensive research and economic analysis on behalf of government and agricultural stakeholders across areas including: agricultural policy and strategy development, rural water and irrigation, crops and livestock, biosecurity and agricultural research.

David Thompson

David Thompson – Senior Project Officer, Regional Development Australia Northern Inland

Working with the agricultural/forestry and rural/regional development policy sectors for over 30 years.  Particular emphasis on business level bio-economic modelling, farm budgeting and benefit-cost analysis.

Experience/qualifications: Agricultural Science (B.Rural Science Hons) and Economics (M.Ec). I have over 30 years’ experience working at the interface of natural resource management issues and their economic impacts.  This has included both agriculture, forestry and fisheries issues and the economic impacts of policy at both an individual business and regional level.  More recently, I’ve become involved with regional economic development issues.  I have worked extensively for a range of private and public clients.  Have also conducted economic modelling for non-farm businesses.

Industry skills/expertise: Skills in economic analysis/modelling, particularly at the micro-economic (business level) and data capture/interpretation/analysis.  Well-versed in NRM issues, particularly water/irrigation policy and the on-farm impacts of policy, as well as forestry economics.  Highly developed skills in report writing and group presentations of economic analysis.  Skilled in benefit-cost analysis.

Other achievements: Numerous projects for local government examining the economic aspects of proposed developments/investments.

Andrew Ward

Andrew Ward – Director, Crowdfunding Institute of Australia

Andrew is a passionate advocate for regenerative agriculture. Andrew is currently a director of the Crowdfunding Institute of Australia, an angel investor in two technology companies, and founder/owner of 3 Minute Angels and

He is also exploring the interplay between local economics, shared services and infrastructure in the agricultural industry.  Andrew is advising QUT amongst other Research organisations.

Brian Wehlburg

Brian Wehlburg
Inside Outside Management
Brian is well regarded holistic management educator. Passionate about the environment from an early age, he attended an introductory course in 1995 and was bowled over with the results he obtained through managing holistically.

As a certified holistic management educator, Brian has shared his passion and knowledge with many businesses, land managers, families, environmental groups and pastoralists, with people from a variety of cultures and backgrounds. Brian has trained and consulted in Australia, New Zealand, America and Zimbabwe. His belief and passion allow him to create an atmosphere of trust within a group, allowing participants to actively contribute towards positive outcomes. In addition, he has hands on experience, crop farming in Central Africa, working as a pasture and cattle manager in South West Queensland and managing a mixed-species property in New South Wales. He is motivated by seeing the positive change that holistic management can bring to people’s lives and livelihoods.
Holistic management is a new decision making tool that allows managers to make better decisions for their business, the community and the environment.


Jacquelyn White

Jacquelyn White – Director, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

Jackie has 15 years of practical experience in agribusiness and specialises in production systems across northern Australia. She is the firm’s resident agronomist and has a particular interest in cotton, grain, pasture, beef cattle and sheep.


  • Bachelor of Agriculture,
  • Certificate of Rural Science,
  • Graduate Certificate of Management
  • Masters of Business Administration


Industry skills/experience: Jackie is a member of the agribusiness advisory team which provides a range of services to lenders, borrowers and investors and other stakeholders within the Australian agricultural sector.

Her skills and experience in agribusiness finance include product development, relationship management and chief risk office. Her agronomic specialisation includes crop monitoring and production management. She brings deep advisory experience working with primary producers, investors, financiers and government.

Other rural/regional achievements: Jacqui services a broad range of farming and agronomic clients of broadacre and irrigated crops including cotton, wheat, barley, oats, sorghum and pastures. During her professional career, Jackie has been involved with hundreds of agribusinesses across Australia.

Nigel Russell

Nigel Russell – Manager, EarthCheck Consulting

Nigel has over twenty years of project development and business support experience in the tourism and economic development sectors.  Prior to joining the EarthCheck Consulting team in 2012, Nigel worked in the UK’s regional tourism sector, delivering a wide range of development, research and business support programs over a 15 year career.  He has an extensive tourism development track record, working with local, regional and national businesses and agencies.

Recent project work has included: City of Swan Tourism Strategy, Mount Isa City Futures Plan, Western Downs Local Tourism Action Plans, and a Business plan for Caloundra Music Festival. Nigel has experience in the development of business proposals and feasibility studies.

Linda Seaborn

Linda Seaborn – Cooperatives Tasmania

Linda is an experienced co-operative developer who combines theory and practice.


  • Graduate Certificate Management (UTS 2008)
  • Diploma of Project Management (2011)
  • Member of a housing co-operative since 1993

Participated in various peak bodies for housing co-operatives and co-operatives since 1993 as either an elected representative or a participant in developmental activities (Tasmanian Co-operative Housing Development Society [Secretary], Co-operatives Victoria, National Housing Co-operative Working Group, Business Council of Co-ops and Mutuals, Co-operatives Tasmania)

Linda wrote:

  • Book chapter “The power of co-operation: How co-operative and mutual enterprises support small firms” in Clark, D, McKeown, T and Battisti, M (eds) 2016, Rhetoric and Reality: Building Vibrant and Sustainable Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Tilde University Press, Melbourne
  • Report The Inclusion of co-operatives by Australian governments in business development support, Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals, June 2015
  • Book chapter Co-operative Equality, in Griffiths, David (ed) Co-operators – Co-operation and Co-operatives, South East Housing Ltd, December 2012

Industry skills/expertise: Linda is experienced in the day to day operation of co-operatives, having lived in a housing co-operative for sixteen years and worked across the co-operative sector in Tasmania, including retail co-ops and a work co-op. She is familiar with democratic member control, strategy and developing co-operative rules and policies.


John Squires

John Squires – Director, Rural Directions Pty Ltd

John holds a Diploma in Agriculture; Graduate Diploma in Agriculture and a Diploma, Australian Institute of Company Directors.

John’s experience includes 10 years working in livestock, pasture and cropping research and extension; 6 years delivering and managing the Property Management Planning Program. Starting with Rural Directions Pty Ltd in 2000, John became a Director and active company Board member in 2006.

John’s role as a Senior consultant sees him working on a range of activities including Bestprac, coaching and mentoring farming businesses and small and medium size enterprises, facilitating family business meetings, business planning, whole farm planning, Indigenous enterprise development and general livestock consulting.

John has a real passion for working with people to identify and understand different components of business performance and to implement positive business and enterprise change. He also enjoys learning new things and challenging and being challenged on current thinking – current problems will not be solved by current thinking!

Alex Smith

Alex Smith – CEO, Regional Development Australia Northern Rivers (RDA-NR)

Alex Smith spent 20 years with IBM where he held a range of management positions, including overseeing government relationships in Australia, Canada and the US. This and other roles have provided him with an ability to initiate and maintain relationships with key stakeholders, government and industry. RDA-NR is a Commonwealth and NSW Government funded voice supporting the development of local economies and dynamic communities. RDA is a non-for-profit organisation with demonstrated networks and alliances.

Experience/qualifications: Alex Smith has degrees in economics and management and many years of hands on business planning, international marketing and financial experience. He also holds a Diploma from the AICD and is a graduate of the Harvard Leadership summer school. Alex has a decade of experience in e-commerce and multinational tech-based supply chain innovation. He has a personal interest in agricultural big data projects and robotics applications.

Industry skills/expertise: Alex owned and managed a macadamia farm in Wollongbar for several years and is familiar with agricultural businesses in the Northern Rivers. In 2016 he was regional manager for a large rural supply company.

Derek Tink

Derek Tink – Director, Farm IQ

Farm IQ assists clients to pursue innovation and entrepreneurial ambitions. The consultancy provides tools, skills, knowledge, connections and attitude to drive ideas forward.

Our clients are forward thinking, dynamic, seeking new opportunities for growth or understand the importance of securing the right services at the right time.


  • Derek is an experienced business & enterprise advisor, with a proven capacity to assist drive ideas into action.
  • He has for over 20 years developed businesses spanning agribusiness, ag technology, banking, investor relations and business advisory.
  • Derek has provided direct service and consultation to hundreds of farm enterprises, agribusinesses and regional based business.
  • He has provided management advice and tools for leading enterprises spanning commercial / stud cattle, sheep and cropping.
  • He has completed a range of formal qualifications including Bachelor of Business, Master of Commerce and has completed Master level research studies, with a focus upon Action Research.

Industry skills/expertise:

  • As an experienced business advisor, a key expertise is listening and translating ideas into actionable documents.
  • Key industry skills include business case, proposals and business plan development
  • Collaborative business processes – providing consultative leadership to groups
  • Project management – scoping, resourcing and managing projects
  • Crowd funding – developing solutions for raising capital
  • E-commerce – bilingual and global development ecommerce solutions
  • Feasibility studies – documenting needs, collecting and analysing data
  • Grant submission assistance – state and federal grant writing experience
  • Marketing – extensive brand, marketing strategy and promotional experience
  • Mentoring – experienced coach, advisor and consultant.

Other achievements:

  • Developed/implemented regional focused business development programs, providing direct business advisory and training to 200+ regional-based businesses.
  • Developed/implemented bilateral trade development programs between Australian local governments and China – Delegations.
Katy Tindall
David Ward

David Ward – Agricultural Consultant

David is a qualified Agricultural Consultant with more than 23 years of hands-on experience within the agricultural sector. Possessing a passion for responsible and regenerative food production principles he brings skills and experience to support Australian farmers to build thriving regional communities along with holistic profitable production methods that are simultaneously economically, environmentally and socially sound.