Cripps stands for change

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Brad Cripps is standing for District 1.
Camera IconBrad Cripps is standing for District 1.

Brad Cripps, of Northampon, hopes to land a spot on the CBH board, representing District 1.

Why are you standing for election?

I believe it is time for a change of directorship to breathe new ideas into the business. The CBH board needs directors who are going be proactive in the competitive world. CBH must be more commercial and protect the balance sheet that it has built in the past 84 years.

What experience do you bring to the table?

I have been involved in community and agribusiness organisations for many years. I am a fourth-generation farmer. The original Cripps farm was Mumby, 25km north-west of Northampton, which was taken up in 1864 and farmed by four generations of Cripps. In 1952, my father, Ernie, took up 2800ha of virgin land 18km east of Mumby. My parents developed this property, which is now operating as Barellan. My wife, Cath, and I took over the business in 2004 and in 2009 expanded the land-holding. It is now a 3600ha all-cropping enterprise.

I have been a volunteer for a variety of local organisations. I was councillor for the Shire of Northampton for four years, and have been on the Northampton Agricultural Society Committee since 1989, serving as treasurer for five years and as president for five years. I have been an active committee member of the Northampton Junior Football Club for 10 years, and have coached junior football for many years. I was president of the Northampton District High School P&C for two years and secretary of the Ogilvie Fire Brigade.

What changes do you hope to make on the board and at CBH?

I am standing on a very clear platform of ensuring a clear vision and direction for CBH, reducing costs and red tape and developing strategies to grow the business. I am also keen to develop strategies to meet the challenges of competition and defend the co-operative model. I want to ensure more transparency around decision-making processes. Finally, I would like to foster the spirit of teamwork within the organisation.

What are your thoughts on Australian Grains Champion’s attempt to corporatise CBH?

While I do not have enough detail to fully comprehend the rejection of the AGC offer, I acknowledge the thorough process that was undertaken as part of the CBH board’s review. I also wholeheartedly accept the grower survey outcomes and am keen to strengthen the co-operative.

What is your view on CBH investing outside of WA?

CBH must grow, but it cannot grow effectively without first defining a clear vision. If CBH does not have that vision, it is difficult to make rational investment decisions. That is when investments become ad-hoc and mistakes are made. If investment is required outside of WA to deliver on the vision, I am supportive, but only on the understanding that our own business is working well for growers and customers.

What are the biggest issues or challenges for CBH in the next five years?

Corporate overheads need to be reduced from the $191 million today and supply chain costs need to be competitive internationally, not just in Australia. The network needs to increase its ability to get tonnes to port and CBH has to reshape its service to ensure it is more difficult for competition to take our business. Finally, the board needs diversification of age and gender.

Should smaller sites be closed to increase efficiency across the network?

I support such an outcome, because we need to have the most efficient network we can. But the alternative sites need to be upgraded and they must offer the full range of services before growers are asked to cart their grain further. Most importantly, any cost savings and efficiency gains from the closure of smaller sites should be shared with growers through a reduction in storage and handling fees. Otherwise, what is the point?

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