PHA Board Meeting 115 Communique

  • PHA Board Meeting 115 Communique image

The Plant Health Australia (PHA) Board of Directors travelled to Rydges Sydney Central in Surry Hills, NSW at the end of May for a busy and productive week of engagements, including Board Meeting 115 (BM115), the PHA General Meeting, Members’ and Deed meetings, and an appearance before the Senate Budget Estimates Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport (RRAT) Committee.  

The Board discussed several key matters at BM115, with items of special interest to Members including: 

  • planning for the Board’s annual strategy workshop to be held 23-25 July 2024 
  • approval of the 2024-25 annual budget 
  • approval of the 2024-25 Annual Report timetable 
  • approval of the external audit plan for the Company; and 
  • approval of the 2024-25 Annual Operational Plan. 

Prior to BM115, the Board and the PHA Executive met with representatives of the Government-Industry Agreement (GIA), the New Zealand counterpart organisation to PHA and Animal Health Australia (AHA) for biosecurity responses.  

The GIA delegation included Steve Rich (Chief Executive of GIA Operations Limited), Leanne Stewart (Chief Executive of Kiwifruit Vine Health Inc. and GIA Board Director, Chair of the Plant Biosecurity Council and a member of GIA’s Deed Governance Group), Mike Lawson (Manager, GIA Partnerships, Biosecurity New Zealand) and Dave Harrison (General Manager, Policy & Advocacy, Beef + Lamb New Zealand and Chair of GIA). The PHA Board and Executive and GIA delegation shared insights and learnings on topics from strategy and pest categorisation to member liaison and secure funding.  

The Board also met with John Woods (Chair) and Nigel Hart (Managing Director) of the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), discussing grains biosecurity and opportunities for ensuring that biosecurity remains at the forefront of Australia’s R&D agenda. 

The Board remained in attendance over the following two days post BM115, as the 3rd Government Members Forum, 37th Plant Industry Forum, 23rd General Meeting, 14th PHA Members Forum, 5th EPPRD Debriefing Forum and 39th EPPRD Signatories Meeting took place, where key items of business included: 

  • passing of a resolution to increase Member subscription fees by 4.1%; and 
  • passing of resolutions to remove Bentleys ACT and appoint Nexia Canberra as PHA’s external auditor. 

The Chair Mr Kim Halbert and CEO Sarah Corcoran took the opportunity during the General Meeting to thank Dr Susanna Driessen for her 12 years of excellent work for PHA in the role of General Manager, Emergency Response and wished her all the best in her new role as Chief Plant Protection Officer for Biosecurity Tasmania.  

Finally, the Chair Mr Kim Halbert appeared alongside PHA CEO Sarah Corcoran and Chief Operating Officer Ms Jessica Arnold at the Senate Budget Estimates Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport (RRAT) Committee on the afternoon of Friday 31 May 2024. They were pleased to answer questions from Senators Matthew Canavan, Bridget McKenzie and Anne Urquhart and to speak to the mission, value and integrity of PHA’s recent work. 

The Board will meet again in late July in Canberra for their annual strategy workshop and will travel to Western Australia for Board Meeting 116 on 17 September 2024.