FORMER PIRSA chief executive Dennis Mutton has been appointed chairperson of the central fund set up by the SA Dairyfarmers Association to finance projects for the betterment of the state's dairy industry.
Mr Mutton, who was appointed to the role after meeting with the SADA board on Monday, brings a wealth of experience from his involvement with government, which included roles as chief executive of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the (now defunct) Woods and Forests Department.
He is an independent consultant and chairman of the Pork CRC.
The central fund is financed by sales of SADA Fresh, with 40 cents from every 2-litre bottle of milk sold going into it to invest in projects that directly benefit SA's dairyfarmers and ensure the industry's viability.
Mr Mutton said he genuinely believed SADA was trying to act in the best interests of the sector.
"The initiative to brand a product and get a revenue stream into a fund that is looking to support projects to grow, support and drive the dairy industry in SA - and hopefully make it more profitable - makes a lot of sense," he said.
"It's really about the industry doing something for itself and not expecting others to do it - that's the thing that really impresses me about dairy industry."
Mr Mutton was excited about the role, given the opportunities facing the SA dairying sector.
"It's not only centred around what it might be able to generate out of a domestic market, but also what opportunities might be able to be developed in the international marketplace," he said.
SADA president David Basham said Mr Mutton was the first person they approached for the role, and were thrilled that he accepted it.
The board that will oversee the fund will be made up of three people - Mr Mutton as the chair, someone with financial expertise and a dairy industry nominee, which will initially be Mr Basham.
"I see that as only a very short-term role up until the board's annual general meeting in 12 months' time when I will step down and allow a dairy industry nominee to fill that role," Mr Basham said.
Monday's meeting also comprised an in-depth discussion about what should and should not be funded from the revenue generated by SADA Fresh.
"The central fund's board will make those decisions under some over-arching principles, which will be similar to the way the Gardiner Foundation operates in Vic," Mr Basham said.
* Full report in Stock Journal, May 1, 2014 issue.