CEO Update Article

Join us to celebrate success in Gippsland


   Monday 12th August, 2019
Australian Carbon Innovation Day

One of the many things I'm really enjoying about this role is getting out and about throughout the region, meeting people and businesses from all different parts of the sector, as well as from other industries, like last week when I attended the Australian Carbon Innovation Day at Federation University's Churchill campus.

This event featured a huge turnout of very notable speakers including Dr Allan Finkel who spoke about the opportunity for hydrogen to be an alternative high density fuel source.

According to Steve Dimopoulus MP, the Latrobe Valley is well placed to be a world leader in the production of hydrogen energy for the future, and he indicated that there are plans underway to test the hydrogen supply chain.

In the longer term, this could be a game changer for Gippsland's transition away from traditional energy production, and according to Richard Bolt, the Vice President for Strategy and Innvoation at Swinburne University, Gippsland could be a a focal point for energy supply to the world - in his words;

"If I was the goddess of hydrogen, I would come to Gippsland - there are huge advantages like coal, water, ports, storage and the potential of huge winds offshore"

How we as a community achieve this will remain to be seen, but it's clear that whilst renewable energy sources are a big focus, that certainly needs to be matched with community acceptance.

Earthworm Field day at Dicky Bills

I had a very productive meeting with Jane Oakley from Committee for Gippsland - with collaboration at the top of Food & Fibre Gippsland's list as one of the vital ingredients to individuals, businesses and the entire sector being successful, I'm delighted that we are both on the same page, and always keen to work through ways that we can continue to collaborate to ensure that Gippsland's best interests remain front of mind, and at the top of the right priority lists.

Another of the many things I love about this role is rolling up my sleeves and connecting with producers on their turf - so I seized the perfect opportunity to do this at an Earthworms Field Day last week on property at one of our valued members, Dicky Bills.

Whilst I know that worms are good for the soil, this workshop really opened my eyes about the far reaching benefits of encouraging and introducing worms on a large scale to improve the long term profitability and sustainability of soils in large vegetable production fields. It was great to meet other members and potential new members as we all got our hands dirty and got to understand the finer points of having a productive and healthy earthworm population.

Making use of spent vines at Blue Gables - fibre value-adding in action !

I really enjoy seeing our members collaborating with their communities to try innovative things.

A great example of this that I saw last week was the team at Blue Gables Vineyard teaming up with Jo Camaniti to hold an art class creating interior designer ésq items using spent grape vines !

The works in progress that I saw were impressive and will no doubt tell a great story in someone's home somewhere some day soon - could be a future "fibre" opportunity with a Made in Gippsland brand on it !

Speaking of telling great stories - there will be many of them to be told at this Friday night's Excellence in Agribusiness Awards, being held at the newly renovated Cobb & Co Stables in Sale - known now as The Stables - you may have seen it featured on the local news over the weekend ?

It's a church one day a week, and the rest of the time it's hired out as a venue to the general public.

And our Awards night is the first event to be held there - can't wait !

I have it on good authority that we've also got a special surprise guest speaker - it's not likely to be anyone you know, but having watched a few little snippets of this impressive young person - I highly recommend you get a ticket and join us on the night!

You'll get to meet our new Chairperson, Joanne Butterworth-Gray along with a number of our board members, and most importantly you'll be able to shake hands with our talented and diverse group of finalists who are winners already in my mind, just because they are in business in Gippsland.

We've got a great night planned and I'd love to see you there.

Until next week
Paul.