Board update – Annual General Meeting and Board meeting 96


Plant Health Australia’s (PHA’s) Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held in Canberra on Tuesday 19 November 2019. A number of member meetings were held around the AGM, including the 30th Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed (EPPRD) Parties Meeting  on Wednesday 20 November.

At the AGM, members received the Directors’ Report, Financial Statements and Independent Audit Report for the financial year ending 30 June 2019, and a presentation on the 2019-20 Annual Operating Plan. Members also resolved to reappoint Dr Joanne Daly, Steve McCutcheon and Robert Prince as Directors of the Board to fill three of the four vacant positions on the Board. Finalisation of the Board selection process will be taken forward to the General Meeting planned for May 2020, as will proposed amendments to the PHA constitution which were deferred at the AGM.


PHA Board meeting 96, Thursday 21 November

Chair and Deputy Chair appointments

The first item on the agenda was the appointment of the Chair and Deputy Chair. Mr Steve McCutcheon was reappointed Chair for a term of two years and Liz Alexander was reappointed Deputy Chair for a 12 month period.


Standing Items on the Board’s agenda included consideration of changes to our strategic environment, updates and discussions relating to key strategic projects including the AGSOC RD&E strategy, the National Fruit Fly Strategy, implementation of the National Plant Biosecurity Strategy and AUSPestCheckTM.

PHA is currently very active in the area of strategic planning. With support from the Department of Agriculture, PHA is reviewing and updating the plant diagnostic and surveillance strategies. We are also developing a new preparedness strategy. These three strategies will input into the review and update of the National Plant Biosecurity Strategy, which is planned to be presented to members at the 2020 AGM. These activities will also support the development of PHA’s next 2021–26 Strategy, due for completion by the 2021 AGM.

CEO selection process

The process to identify a replacement for the outgoing Executive Director and CEO, Greg Fraser, is progressing with applications for the role closing on 29 November. Interviews for shortlisted candidates will be conducted in January 2020.


As a matter of good governance, the PHA Board annually reviews membership of its Finance and Audit Committee (F&AC) and appoints the Chair of the F&AC. Kim Halbert and Dr Prue McMichael were reappointed to the committee, while Doug Phillips was appointed as a new member. Kim Halbert was appointed as the Chair.

The Board reviewed year-to-date financials and noted the potential impact of the ongoing drought on levy income which could impact the ability of a number of industries to pay 2019–20 subscriptions. The Board will keep a close watch on future developments.

Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed

The Board also reviewed Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed management and was pleased to note ongoing compliance with PHA’s obligations. The Board agreed that potato spindle tuber viroid be removed from Schedule 13.  Categorisation of brown marmorated stink bug continues to be discussed as new information becomes available.

Future meetings

The Board confirmed its meeting schedule to the end of 2020 including the General Meeting in May 2020, which will now be held on Monday 25 May in Melbourne.