Seven hats in the ring for CBH director election

Cally Dupe and Zach RelphCountryman
Successful nominees will be inducted at the CBH annual general meeting in Perth on February 20.
Camera IconSuccessful nominees will be inducted at the CBH annual general meeting in Perth on February 20. Credit: Danella Bevis

Seven grain growers have thrown their hats into the ring to jostle for three director roles with Australia’s biggest grain exporter — Co-operative Bulk Handling Group.

The WA Electoral Commission announced its candidates last Thursday, after nominations officially closed, revealing three candidates in District 1, two candidates in District 2 and two candidates in District 4.

The farming co-operative’s 12-person board is made up of nine grower member directors, from five of its election districts, and three independent directors.

Kirrilee Warr, of Yuna, Walkaway’s Gareth Rowe and Miling’s Ken Seymour are vying for selection in District 1.

The trio are battling for outgoing director Rod Madden’s position, after the Morawa-based farmer flagged in November he would not renominate.

In District 2, Northam grain grower Vern Dempster hopes to hold on to the board seat he has held for the past 11 years.

However, Mr Dempster will face stiff competition from Mukinbudin’s John O’Neil.

CBH chairman and Newdegate farmer Wally Newman will attempt to maintain his District 4 spot from Lake Grace’s Shane Carruthers.

Despite the competition, Mr Newman, who has served as chairman since August 2014 after first being elected to the board in 2000, welcomed Mr Carruthers’ nomination.

“I just think the elections are important for CBH and it is good that people do nominate, at the end of the day it is a democracy,” he said.

“I know Shane well and I have done some work with him CBH-related, he used to be the zone manager in Lake Grace.

“It is an opportunity for it to go to the growers, there hasn’t been anyone nominate against me for the last three times and I think it is good for everyone to have the opportunity.”

Countryman understands Cascade grain grower Simon Stead has emerged as a likely suitor for the board chairman’s role, if Mr Newman is not re-elected.

Mr Newman has served as chairman since August 2014, after first being elected to the board in 2000.

He served as deputy chairman from 2008 until 2012, and was last re-elected as the District 4 representative in 2017.

Ballot packs will be mailed to members in Districts 1, 2 and 4 tomorrow.

Votes should be in before the close of the poll at 10am on February 17.

Results will be announced later that day, and the successful nominees will be inducted at the CBH annual general meeting in Perth on February 20.

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