CEO Update Article

What a night !

   Sunday 18th August, 2019

In the CEO update this week, we share Paul Griffin's speech from Friday night's Excellence in Agribusiness Awards Dinner.

Hello and welcome!

Thank you for being here tonight at The Stables in Sale to celebrate all things Food and Fibre - collaboration, innovation, excellence…and just pure hard work and determination.

Special thank you to Minister Darren Chester for making time in your busy schedule to part of this event, it’s great to have you with us.

Who am I?

Born and raised on a mixed farm in the southern NSW before going off to uni.

I studied Systems Agriculture in Sydney, then chased my now life partner, Nicole, up to Narrabri in northern NSW to work in the cotton industry.

To date, I’ve enjoyed a career rich in experience; from working in machinery and large scale animal production, to spending most of the last 20 years in banking. I have dealt with drought, flood and fire on a personal basis.

Working in both rural and regional areas, I looked after a host of different clients of all agricultural enterprise mixes. And yes - I have seen the best and worst that banking can expose anyone to.

In case you were wondering, I don’t have the blood line of a true Gippslander, having only lived and worked in the region for the last seven years.

*But the place definitely stole my heart from the first week we moved here back in November 2012.

The diversity we have from Mallacoota in the far east to Cowes in the far west, and everything north and south in between is nothing short of breathtaking – I feel very lucky to call this part of the world my office!

In 2014, I sat in a Committee for Gippsland seminar, where the keynote speaker provided a summation of Gippsland’s potential.

Out of the 9 key attributes of a strong region, Gippsland had 8 of them in spades, but what their 2014 report highlighted was that we lacked an entrepreneurial spirit to drive innovation.

I am now delighted to see that things have changed significantly. We are now seeing a culture of innovation and a groundswell of enthusiasm to challenge the status quo, continuing to drive change in the region on what sometimes feels like a daily basis!

Food & Fibre Gippsland is all about collaboration, innovation and engagement, and to continue to drive success in the region, we need to keep pulling together as one.

Sure.. businesses absolutely still need to compete against each other, but along the way when we can share best practice that helps all of us tread the path forward with greater confidence, it helps everyone become more successful in the process.

Together, we really are stronger.

Food and Fibre (fork to farm gate) is the backbone of our Gippsland economy, with our gross regional product totalling around 7 billion dollars of 15 billion dollars generated by the region.

We are a major player in Victoria’s economy, the diversity and richness of our region has us in prime a position to take advantage of the future food trends shaping society. We know this sector will continue to evolve to become the dominant economic engine of Victoria.

Our aspiration is to grow this gross regional output by 5% p.a, by continuing to get smarter about how we do business. Watch this space!

It’s not necessarily about increased production, but more about greater profit, and by collaborating within and across industries, we have the very real potential to deliver a better bottom line to people, planet and prosperity.

I’ve only been in this dream role 4 weeks, and I want to take a moment to extend a personal and professional thank you to Dr Nicola Watts, whose many years of knowledge, project and operational expertise has resulted in a strong, healthy organisation equipped to lead capacity building and innovation for the greater good of the sector.

I can tell you with absolute honesty, the passion that exists within the food and fibre team is at such a high level, it amazes me daily.

We are committed to helping you to grow better, more sustainable businesses through collaboration and innovation.

Whilst we may not be able to physically get to every event or meeting across Gippsland, we are constantly thinking of ways to connect and share valuable information, to help our members take advantages of opportunities and collaborate with others to, quite simply, move forward and prosper together.

We encourage you to be a vocal Gippslander - proud of what you produce, proud of where it comes from and not shy to share your story.

We encourage you to reach out and tell us what you need and how Food & Fibre Gippsland can help you succeed.
We are only ever an email or a phone call away.

Thank you and have a fabulous night.