CEO Update Article

Relationships and Collaboration

   Friday 12th June, 2020

It has been a busy time since I stepped into the CEO role at Food & Fibre Gippsland, and the organisation is powering ahead with a number of projects continuing to make a positive impact across the region. It is inspiring to see and be part of so much genuine collaboration and passion for the region to thrive and prosper.

All Shires have been presented to recently at either CEO or Economic Development (and in many cases both) levels and are fully engaged with us as an organisation and the potential for driving more growth and opportunities in each of the 6 important regions that make up Gippsland.

I’ve re-established our relationship with Agriculture Victoria and we are working closely together on opportunities for the future. After an excellent meeting and discussion with dairy representatives, we have now been invited to collaborate as part of the Gippsland Regional Dairy Leadership focus.

We're expanding our relationship with Federation University so please ‘watch this space’ for some very exciting announcements on collaborative projects we’re getting ready to jointly announce that will impact the entire value chain of food and fibre in Gippsland.

Another upcoming announcement to watch out for is in relation to formal collaboration between Food & Fibre Gippsland as a cluster with another sector cluster that will bring some pretty incredible opportunities to our region and our members.

Our Workforce Capability Training and Industry Partnerships Project has been kicking serious goals with a world class Learning Management System (and it’s so much more than just that) designed and launched in around ten days, right in the middle of COVID-19. This Knowledge Economy driving infrastructure has many application opportunities and a number of commercial operators across a diverse range of industries are already asking how this user friendly and engaging framework can be incorporated into their businesses.

The proposal of establishing a high-tech vegetable processing hub in Gippsland has been a topic of discussion for a number of years – and now all of that discussion is coming to fruition with significant engagement in the concept across all levels of government, industry, community and research.

We know our horticulture sector is hungry for opportunities to value add to their traditional crops and revenue streams. Utilising what would be ordinarily discarded as harvest waste, this hub has huge potential to build capacity in the booming nutraceuticals market, create jobs and drive ongoing growth in the regional economy.

In the middle of all of our projects, is the work we continue to do on the creation of a Gippsland provenance trademark – a simple distinguishable stamp that will give recognition and integrity to the origins and authenticity of the many food and fibre products that are made in Gippsland. This trademark will be an important part of the story of products that are grown, made and produced in Gippsland and we look forward to sharing some exciting announcements on this with you very soon.

Relationships are at the centre of everything we do, and after sharing a Gippsland Jersey milkshake with Senator Raff Ciccone at Warragul Farmers Market a little while ago, we were delighted to take some of the region’s producers to meet with him last month in Melbourne. Passionate about listening to locals and improving communities, it was great to have some time with him to talk about the issues and challenges in Gippsland.

COVID-19 has created a new way of working, and whilst the few months of Zoom calls, virtual meetings, webinars and phone catch ups have been very productive, I’m really looking forward to getting out in the region to connect with our members and industry face to face.

Stay safe and warm - enjoy the wonders of Winter in Gippsland.

Nicola Pero
CEO - Food & Fibre Gippsland