Food & Fibre Great South Coast Inc. today announced the appointment of experienced and innovative senior executive, Ms Natalie Collard, as their new Executive Officer.

Chair, Georgina Gubbins, said the Food & Fibre Council was very excited about the appointment, and they are looking forward to working with Ms Collard to increase the value and capacity of the local food & fibre industry, the largest driver of GDP in the region.

“Natalie is a highly respected and credentialed, proactive operator with extensive cross-industry experience,” Ms Gubbins said.

“She has a proven track record in driving strategic change and delivering policy, operational and advocacy excellence, as well as delivering contemporary leadership and positive outcomes for all stakeholders.”

“We are absolutely delighted to welcome her to the organisation, it’s a real coup,” Ms Gubbins said.

Ms Collard’s extensive experience spans transport, energy, telecommunications, agriculture, defence and foreign affairs and trade.

She was formerly a director of Landcare Australia and in 2013 was awarded Telstra Business Woman of the Year – Victoria (Community and Government) and NAB Women’s Agenda Emerging Leader Award national finalist in recognition of the business and industry transformation she led as CEO of Australian Dairy Farmers and the Australian Dairy Industry Council, where she implemented Australian agriculture’s first commercial-collective funded whole-of-supply chain policy and advocacy model.  She is currently a member of the Victorian Government Agriculture Energy Investment Plan Independent Advisory Council.

Ms Collard said she has a passion for advancing agriculture and is looking forward to the challenge of her new role.

“Whilst the Great South Coast is already renowned for its food & fibre output, with its secure rainfall and fertile soils, there is huge potential to increase value across and up the region’s supply chains,” she said.

“I look forward to building upon the Food & Fibre Council’s previous work to remove capacity constraints that are impediments to growth and investment; and provide capacity into the future through targeted action in areas like providing a skilled workforce, advocating for the right policy settings that support growth of our sectors, public investment in infrastructure upgrades, and regulations that are fit-for-purpose for the region.”

Ms Collard said she is also excited about working with stakeholders to investigate alternative high-value land use, new agribusiness models, and value-adding opportunities.

Ms Collard will commence her new role on Monday 24th August.

Natalie’s career achievements include:

  • Awarded 2018 Woman in Renewables of the Year by the International Global Solar Energy Storage Organising Committee for her work as Chair of Women in Renewables (Australia)
  • Led Telstra’s Corporate Affairs for Victoria and Tasmania
  • Business Mentor: Empowering Women as Managers in the Renewable Energy Sector at APEC – Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
  • Executive Director Policy & Government at Roads Australia
  • Executive General Manager at Clean Energy Council
  • Chair at Women in Renewables
  • Manager – Rural Affairs at National Farmers’ Federation
  • Transition Manager at Department of Defence of Australia
  • Assistant Director International Security Policy and Agreements at Department of Defence, Australia
  • Assistant Director – Strategy and Planning at Department of Defence of Australia
  • Managed an emergency post-September 11 meeting of 32 countries in Paris and addressed the United Nations in Geneva on Biological Weapons.
  • Managed $1.2bn in corporate contracts and, as Defence’s lead negotiator on security treaties, played the key role in delivering seven bilateral agreements, including Australia’s first treaty with an organisation, NATO.
  • Current Non Executive Director at Council of Australian and Latin American Relations