FORMER Nationals MP Kay Hull has been confirmed as the new Chair of the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC).
Nationals’ leader and Agriculture and Water Resources Minister Barnaby Joyce confirmed Ms Hull’s three year term today, ending ongoing industry speculation about the appointment.
Ms Hull represented the Nationals from October 1998 to August 2010 in the federal NSW rural seat of Riverina now held by Small Business Minister Michael McCormack.
Before entering Federal Parliament, she served on the Wagga Wagga City Council from 1991 to 1998, including five years as deputy mayor and was also Chair of the Council of Tourist Associations in NSW from 1995 to 1998.
In 2015, Ms Hull received an Order of Australia for her contribution to the Australian parliament and community leadership.
Mr Joyce said as an accomplished former federal politician, Ms Hull brought extensive leadership, governance, board and business knowledge to the RIRDC.
“Ms Hull is perfectly placed to oversee the relocation of RIRDC to Wagga Wagga and to engage with farmers, businesses and research institutions in the region, including with Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga,” he said.
Ms Hull has recently been outspoken about the NSW State Coalition government’s decision to ban greyhound racing given her family’s deep connection to the sport in her local community.
Other members of the party have also spoken out strongly against the hasty ban and its impact on the majority of industry participants including greyhound trainers, who don’t mistreat their animals.
Ms Hull told Fairfax Media the decision to outlaw greyhound racing “opened Pandora’s box” for a multitude of other sports, given it has now emboldened animal rights activists determined to shut down all animal-use industries; including livestock farming.
The RIRDC was recently relocated to Wagga Wagga in Mr McCormack’s electorate as part of a decentralisation policy pushed by Mr Joyce and the Coalition government.
Ms Hull will replace Professor Daniela Stehlik who has held the RIRDC Chair’s position since April 2010.
Former Grains Research and Development Corporation CEO John Harvey was recently appointed to replace outgoing RIRDC Managing Director Craig Burns who retired in late February.
Mr Harvey was appointed GRDC CEO in 2011 and was replaced by Dr Steve Jefferies.
NSW farmer Richard Clark was appointed GRDC Chair shortly before the 2013 federal election by then Agriculture Minister Joel Fitzgibbon – and Mr Joyce is also due to announce whether he will be re-appointed to continue in the role.
Mr Joyce also announced that Richard Haire had begun his three-year term as the chair of Cotton Research Development Corporation (CRDC).
Mr Haire was Managing Director and Regional Head for Olam International - a leading agri-business operating across 70 countries.
He was also CEO of Queensland Cotton Corporation Limited from 1990 until it was acquired by Olam in 2007.
He is a member of the Rabo Australia Food and Agribusiness Advisory Board and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Australian Institute of Management.
Mr Joyce said Australia had a world class cotton industry underpinned by marrying research and on farm activity.
“I welcome Mr Haire’s leadership in this role to ensure that targeted and intelligent investment in cotton RD&E continues to support a profitable, competitive and sustainable industry,” he said.
“A strong R&D system drives future productivity growth, and effective natural resource management.”