In one of the final steps of a major review, an independent chair has been appointed to guide Australia's live export research program in meeting the constantly evolving social and economic challenges faced by the industry.
Trysh Bridgen will chair the Livestock Export Research and Development Advisory Committee (LERDAC) as well as the management committee made up of representatives of the funding partners, LiveCorp and Meat & Livestock Australia.
Ms Bridgen has almost 30 years' experience working in Australian government fisheries and agriculture bodies, with a strong record of delivering innovative outcomes in policy and regulation. She is known to the industry and understands its operation, having spent five years working for the live animal exports regulator.
LiveCorp CEO Sam Brown says the review has seen a major overhaul of the research, development and extension program.
"The industry's priorities have been clearly defined through consultation to develop an RD&E Blueprint which outlines specific areas to improve animal welfare (around 75pc of the budget), supply chain efficiencies and market access. The blueprint also lays out a transparent process for receiving and assessing research proposals," he said.
"We've also overhauled governance processes, which includes re-defining LERDAC as a skills-based committee, and appointing an independent chair. There's still hard work ahead, and the chair will play an important role in helping us to bed in the new approach, challenge our thinking, and extract the best ideas from the committees."
LiveCorp chair Troy Setter is confident Ms Bridgen will make a significant contribution to the RD&E program.
"Trysh has a lot of drive and energy, and earnt respect from the industry for her balanced and fair decision-making when she was dealing with regulatory reform," he said.
"Just as the industry is focused on continual improvement, we need to ensure the RD&E program is agile, focused on future risks, developing new knowledge and, most of all, delivering real outcomes for levy payers and the industry."
Ms Bridgen knows it will be challenging, and is enthusiastic about the role.
"I've worked in fisheries management, agriculture chemical regulation, and live animal exports - all industries dealing with evolving community expectations," Ms Bridgen said.
"Research has a vital role to play in staying on a path of continuous improvement, and I'm looking forward to steering the RD&E program to make sure it keeps delivering the results needed for both the economic and social environments the industry is working in."
LiveCorp and MLA worked with an external recruitment agency to ensure the independence of the chair, attracting a strong field of 13 applicants. As with the other LERDAC members, Ms Bridgen's appointment is for a period of three years.
LERDAC is a skills-based advisory group with members including both farmer and exporter representatives, as well as an independent technical advisor and an animal welfare/social science representative.