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Our Advisory Board

The Hon Shane Stone AC QC (Chair)

Shane Stone is the Chair of the National Drought and North Queensland Flood Response and Recovery Agency Advisory Board.

The Advisory Board will assist Mr Stone and the National Drought and North Queensland Flood Response and Recovery Agency to provide national leadership and a whole-of-government response to support farmers and regional communities as they respond to and recover from drought and the 2019 North Queensland flood event.

Dr Wendy Craik

Wendy Craik has over 25 years of experience in senior roles in public policy. She has held many senior positions including Commissioner at the Productivity Commission, Chief Executive Officer of the Murray-Darling Basin Commission (MDBC), President of the National Competition Council (NCC), Chair of the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA), Executive Director of the National Farmers Federation (NFF) and Executive Officer of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA).

Wendy has also been a director on a number of boards and was Deputy Chancellor of the University of South Australia. She is currently a board member of the Reserve Bank, Chair of the Climate Change Authority, Chair of the Steering Committee for the 10 year program for the Eradication of Red Imported Fire Ants, a Director of the Australian Farm Institute and a member of the Future Drought Fund Consultative Committee.

Wendy was awarded the Member of the Order of Australia in 2007 for service to the natural resource sector of the economy, particularly in the areas of fisheries, marine ecology and management of water reform, and for contributions to policies affecting rural and regional Australia.

The Hon Simon Crean

Simon Crean has been a leading figure in Government, politics and industrial relations for five decades. He has completed more than five years of Chair and Board positions in the livestock and red meat industries, and is a board member of the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal.

Simon is Chair of the European Australia Business Council (EABC), Australia Korea Business Council (AKBC) and Cornerstone Group Advisory Board. He is also Deputy Chancellor of Monash University and Associate Professor at Deakin University.

Prior to this Simon was a member of the House of Representatives between 1990 to 2013 representing the Labor party in the Victorian electorate of Hotham. In those 23 years, he held a number of key portfolios and covered areas such as trade, treasury, employment, regional development, science, energy, education and training, industry, local government and the arts. He served under four Prime Ministers and as Opposition Leader between 2001- 2003.

Simon developed the first national drought and natural disasters policy while holding the Primary Industries and Energy portfolio. During his time as Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government, he developed an inclusive partnership model for locally driven regional development.

Before entering politics Simon had a prominent career in Australia’s union movement and rose to the lead role of President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions in 1985.

David Galvin

David Galvin is the former chair of the Australian Livestock Export Corporation (Livecorp). He has extensive experience in the northern pastoral industry, land management, infrastructure and tourism development.

David served as Chief Executive Officer of the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC) from 2001 to 2012, when the ILC was in the top-ten largest cattle producers in Australia.

He is an independent Director of the Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council, non-member Director of the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (chair of the Audit and Risk Committee), an Advisory Board Member of Paga Hill Development Company in Papua New Guinea, Managing Director of Tubarao Investments Pty Ltd and on the Executive Committee of the Queensland Livestock Export Association.

Tracey Hayes

Tracey is a senior leader in business and industry with considerable experience across Northern Australia as a Chief Executive Officer, Board Chair, Company Director and Board Member working at Territory, national and international level.

Former Chair of the Darwin Waterfront Corporation and Member of the Order of Australia Honours Council, Tracey is a Director of the Cooperative Research Centre for Northern Australia and sits on the board of the Australia Indonesia Institute.

Tracey is a small business proprietor, a long-term former Territory pastoralist, pilot and Justice of the Peace. As the first female CEO of the Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association, Tracey was tasked with leading the billion-dollar NT pastoral industry.

Tracey has a Global Executive Master of Business from the University of Sydney, studied Business Management and Rangeland Management with the University of Queensland and has continued her agribusiness studies with the Harvard Business School short course program.

Tracey is a passionate industry advocate with a strong interest in agribusiness, agri-politics and championing women in leadership.

Don Heatley OAM

Don Heatley is a fifth generation north Queensland cattle farmer, and is the Chair of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research Commission.

Don is a passionate and committed advocate for both promotion of Australian agribusiness interests overseas and investing in the strengthening of domestic agribusiness in developing countries.

Don has more than 30 years’ experience promoting the Australian beef industry internationally, including as former chairman of Meat and Livestock Australia, and through roles on state livestock councils and the Cattle Council of Australia.

The Hon Bill Heffernan

Bill Heffernan is a passionate advocate for farmers, particularly on the issue of water and its availability to rural and regional communities.

Born in Junee, NSW, Bill attended boarding school in Sydney before returning to the family property in the region, where he became a successful large-scale farmer.

He has a long history of community service, including as past President of the Junee Shire Council, and as Senator for NSW from 1996 – 2016. During this time, he served as the Parliamentary Secretary to Cabinet, and on several Parliamentary committees concerned with rural and regional affairs. Bill was also Chair of the Prime Minister’s taskforce to examine opportunities for further land and water development in Northern Australia.

Fiona Simson

Fiona Simson believes that agriculture is an industry of the future. Collaborative and passionate, she has been an agricultural industry leader at both a state and federal level since 2008.

Elected in 2016 as the first female President of the National Farmers Federation (NFF) in its 40 year history, she is now leading the industry through an exciting period of change. A farmer herself with her family in the Liverpool Plains, NSW, she hopes to create opportunities for more women and young people in the industry, and was instrumental in the launch of the NFF’s first Diversity in Ag Leadership Programme in 2018.

Fiona also spearheaded NFF’s 2030 $100bn Vision, is leading new approaches to the stewardship of natural capital and biodiversity, and is passionate about the need to grow connections between farmers and urban consumers.

Fiona is a skilled and experienced Board Director, with particular experience in policy development, communication and governance. She is also Chair of the recently established Future Food Systems CRC, and sits as a Director on the Boards of Australian Made Australian Grown, and NRMA (NSW).

Andrew Metcalfe AO

Andrew Metcalfe was appointed to the role of Secretary of the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment on 1 February 2020.

As Departmental Secretary, he leads over 7,500 staff in the department itself and over 12,000 in portfolio agencies such as the Bureau of Meteorology and the Murray Darling Basin Authority. 

The department is focussed on Commonwealth government support for our farmers’ productivity and trade access, biosecurity, drought and bushfire responses, water issues, environmental programs, protection of threatened species, Commonwealth national parks and the Great Barrier Reef, and Antarctica.

After studying law and public administration at the University of Queensland, Andrew has had a long career in the Australian Public Service, including as head of the Department of Immigration for seven years and head of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. 

Between 2014 and January 2020 Andrew was a senior partner in EY (Ernst and Young), the global professional services firm.

Andrew was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2012.

Gavin Baskett

Gavin Baskett was elected Mayor of the Winton Shire Council in November 2017 and has served in Local Government since 2016.

A former small business owner, he always has the best interests of the community at heart and as Mayor, draws upon the experience he has gathered over the years to ensure those interests remain a key consideration as the region continues to grow and develop.

As a leader, Cr Baskett brings an inclusive style of leadership to Council, ensuring the thoughts and views of his fellow Councillors, the management team and the community are all heard and taken into consideration.

Mayor Baskett’s goal is to see Winton and Western Queensland once again become a prosperous and vibrant community. He is a member of several boards in Western Queensland  and hopes to bring local knowledge to his time on the National Drought and Flood Agency Advisory Board.