The Victorian horticulture industry just got a makeover with the election of Gippsland vegetable grower Emma Germano as President of the Victorian Farmers Federation Horticulture Group.
Ms Germano, a 2014 Nuffield Scholar who manages her family’s mixed farming business, was elected unopposed after serving two years as the Group’s Vice President.
As Vice President, she campaigned against the Federal Government’s backpacker tax, which led to Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison slashing the proposed tax rate on working holiday makers in Australia from 32.5 per cent to 15 per cent.
“I’m really looking forward to taking as many opportunities as I can to meet with members across the state. We need to make sure we are listening to our members to represent their issues,” Ms Germano said.
“Employment responsibilities, competition policy and red and green regulation can all add significant costs to a business and I want to make sure governments understand that implementing new policies can have an impact on the viability of our billion dollar horticultural sector.”
Ms Germano will be joined by Romeo’s Best Table Grapes General Manager of Marketing and Operations Stephen Dever, who was elected unopposed as Vice President.
Romeo’s Best is Australia’s largest privately owned table grape producer, with businesses spanning across the country. Mr Dever is also chairman of the Queensland Tablegrape Association and is passionate about market access and biosecurity issues.
Ms Germano and Mr Dever will work closely with newly appointed executive members Bill Bulmer and Gaye Tripodi, and the VFF Horticulture Council to lead the Group’s lobbying activities.
“There are a lot of challenges and issues facing the horticulture industry and our aim is to ensure growers have a voice that is heard by industry and at all levels of Government,” Ms Germano said.
Ms Germano will replace outgoing VFF Horticulture President Owen Brinson, who will soon embark upon the Australian Rural Leadership Program.
“Owen has made a great contribution to the sector over the past four years as VFF Horticulture President and the whole Council wishes him well for the future,” she said.
The new team will officially take up their positions from May 1 2017.