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Grain Producers Australia has welcomed the return of grower directors to the GPA Board, to continue the national group’s strong grass roots grower representation and policy advocacy.

GPA Chair, Barry Large, will continue as a director for the Western Region after he was re-elected by GPA members, at the GPA AGM today.

Mr Large farms at Miling in WA’s Northern Wheatbelt and is also a founding member of GPA with extensive experience at state and national level representing growers on biosecurity, including as Chair of GPA’s Biosecurity Committee.

Former GPA Chair and Victorian farmer, Andrew Weidemann AM, was re-elected to serve another two-year term for the Southern Region. Mr Weidemann will continue driving outcomes for growers through his roles as GPA’s National RD&E Spokesperson and Special Projects Manager.

In November 2021, the GPA Selection Committee appointed Mark Schilling to fill a casual vacancy for the Southern Region. Mr Schilling – who farms at Cunliffe in SA, and is the proprietor of AG Schilling & Co – was elected to the GPA Board position at the AGM, for his first two-year term.

GPA Deputy Chair, Andrew Earle, farms at Thallon on the NSW and Queensland border, and was re-elected as a Northern Region Director. He will continue his important work in key areas for Australian growers, including as GPA’s representative on the Grains Australia Steering Committee.

Pic: GPA Grower Directors (left to right) Gerard Paganoni, Andrew Weidemann, Andrew Earle, Barry Large, Mark Schilling and Matthew Madden.

As per 15.1 (j) of the GPA Constitution, Mr Earle nominated for election to renew the process of having one grower director from each region retire at each election, which will be followed at next year’s AGM, for the Southern Region.

Mr Large said GPA’s grower directors were vital to GPA’s strong grass roots representative voice, working with State Grains Members, and engaging the views of their elected grower-leaders, representing their own grower members’ views.

“Our grower representatives throughout Australia will also be meeting this week at the GPA Policy Council to discuss and determine policy priorities and advocacy for the year ahead,” he said.

“GPA’s 2022 Annual Report was also accepted by members at the AGM. This report clearly shows the significant volume of work our members have contributed over the past year, to drive solutions to common challenges and identify proactive opportunities to benefit growers,” he said.

"Continuity and stability of our board is important to help manage the challenges we all face with strong grower representation.

“Genuine collaboration and engagement across government and industry will continue to be GPA’s focus and motivation as we continue to deliver good policy and advocacy outcomes, to boost the profitability and sustainability of Australian grain producers.”

GPA Highlights

• Implemented national policy plan and advocacy on skilled labour shortages, with Operation Grain Harvest Assist

• Targeted engagement/advocacy on ACCC market study/2022 federal election policy priorities

• Implemented new GPA management and organisational structure, to enhance strategic policy development and advocacy and strengthen member, stakeholder and grower engagement

• Enhanced communications/media engagement on GPA activities and policy advocacy

• Development of GPA Biosecurity Committee to boost engagement with members/stakeholders

• Delivery of ZP50 mouse bait emergency use permit, to enhance grower crop protection

• Re-signed project partners TMA and SPAA to deliver autonomous farm machinery project

• Launched GPA Training safety partnership with GrainCorp and Qube Agri to lift safety standards for grain site delivery inductions

• Launched farmer mental health initiative with Nufarm and project partners, to boost awareness

• Launched Ukraine fundraising appeal to provide targeted humanitarian recovery support

Mr Large said this increased growth and activity over the past year also occurred whilst a record 62 million tonne national grain crop was produced, valued at an estimated $26 billion.

“Given our industry contributes an estimated $13 billion in value on average per year to the national economy, this was a remarkable result,” he said.

“Australian growers were central to this success and this needs to be recognised.

“This is especially true given these record returns came despite significant production challenges and ongoing disruptions across our industry and supply chain.”

Mr Large acknowledged the contributions of the GPA Board and GPA’s State Members over the past year and highlighted the importance of continuing to work together more cohesively, to develop good policy for growers and manage challenges that will continue to arise.

“We need to work smarter, not harder, to represent growers more effectively in future,” he said.

“This cohesion and working in partnership with others is vitally important, given the recent change of government.

“The more we can collaborate and engage strategically, to ensure a strong, inclusive and empowered voice for growers, the better outcomes we can deliver for all.”



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