Victorian Agriculture Advisory Council
The Victorian Agriculture Advisory Council (VAAC) has been established to provide strategic advice to the Victorian Minister for Agriculture and Food Security on agriculture industry pressures, seasonal and economic conditions and impacts, and industry and rural adjustment.
The Minister has appointed Council members with a diverse range of expertise and experience including industry development, banking, regional development, community health and small business. Members are:
- Mike Taylor AO (Chairperson)
- Mark Bennett, ANZ Banking Group
- Susan Brumby, National Centre for Farmer Health
- James Flintoft, Department of Environment and Primary Industries
- Alexandra Gartmann, Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal
- Rob Goudswaard, Rural Finance Corporation
- Dennis O'Connor, Small agriculture business owner
- Bernie O'Sullivan, Department of Environment and Primary Industries
- Peter Tuohey, Victorian Farmers Federation
Victorian Agriculture Advisory Council Secretariat
C/- Department of Environment and Primary Industries
PO Box 500
East Melbourne VIC 8002
Victorian Agriculture Advisory Council members biographies
Mr Michael Taylor AO (Chairperson)
Mr Taylor had extensive experience working at a chief executive level in agriculture, transport and regional development for both State and Commonwealth governments. His appointments include Secretary for the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and prior to that the Victorian Department of Agriculture. Mr Taylor sits on a number of boards and was the Chairman of the Murray Darling Basin Authority up to 2011, and is currently Chairman of the Geoffrey Gardiner Dairy Foundation.
Mr Mark Bennett
Mr Bennett is currently working as Head of Agribusiness, Regional Commercial Banking at ANZ. Prior to that Mark worked as State Manager – Victoria & Tasmania for Rabobank.
Ms Susan Brumby
Ms Brumby has extensive experience working in health, agriculture and education sectors in service delivery and applied research. Currently holding the position of Clinical Associate Professor at Deakin University and founding Director for the National Centre for Farmer Health, Ms Brumby also sits on the National Rural Advisory Council.
Mr James Flintoft (Department of Environment and Primary Industries representative)
Mr Flintoft is currently the Deputy Secretary for the Agriculture Productivity Group of the Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries. Mr Flintoft has experience working at an executive level for both Victorian and Commonwealth governments. Prior to joining the public service he held positions at ANZ Banking Group, McKinsey & Company and Allens Arthur Robinson.
Ms Alexandra Gartmann
Ms Gartmann is currently the Chief Executive Officer for the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal. Ms Gartmann sits on a number of committees including the National Rural Advisory Council, Regional Advisory Board at La Trobe University, Rural Finance Corporation and is the current chair at CSIRO Sustainable Agriculture Flagship Advisory Council.
Mr Rob Goudswaard
Mr Goudswaard is currently the Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Rural Finance Corporation. He has over 10 years' experience working in a senior management position at ANZ, including holding Country Head roles in the Pacific and the Middle East. Mr Goudswaard currently sits on a board at World Vision.
Mr Dennis O'Connor
Mr O'Connor has worked for over 25 years as Managing Director of JJ O'Connor & Sons Pty Ltd. He is now employed as the company Director, Shareholder and Board Member. Mr O'Connor has an extensive network of contacts and comprehensive knowledge of regional Victoria and boasts a passion for rural communities and businesses.
Mr Bernie O'Sullivan (Department of Environment and Primary Industries representative)
Mr O'Sullivan is currently the Deputy Secretary for Regional Services at the Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries. Mr O'Sullivan has extensive experience working in state and national leadership roles in the agriculture sector, including executive positions with the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW, a livestock commodity council in NFF House Canberra, and the NSW Farmers' Association.
Mr Peter Tuohey (Victorian Farmers Federation representative)
Mr Tuohey is currently the President for the Victorian Famers Federation. He has sat on a number of committees including the Victorian Water Board Selection Panel, Victorian Ministerial Freight Advisory Committee and Victorian Freight & Logistics Board. Mr Tuohey is currently sitting on the National Farmers Federation board.