GRDC sets up WA presence

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Jenne BrammerThe West Australian
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A substantial shake-up at the Grains Research and Development Corporation will see the Canberra-based organisation have a bigger presence in the regions, including WA.

The GRDC is in the process of establishing regional headquarters and will have five staff based in each of its three key zones.

The changes are the outcome of a restructuring process that has been underway at the GRDC in recent months, resulting in about 30 existing roles being made redundant.

The overall headcount of 76 has remained the same nationally as a result of newly-created roles at the organisation.

In WA, Darren Hughes has been appointed general manager systems and agronomy, West.

Mr Hughes worked for GRDC based in WA previously, as Western grower services manager, but relocated to the Canberra office less than a year ago to take up a position as senior manager, training and extension.

He moved back to Perth earlier this month to take up the new role.

Meanwhile, GRDC is advertising externally for a manager systems and agronomy west, contracts administrator and team assistant to work in WA.

In each role's job description advertised on the job search website Seek, the Western GRDC team is referenced as being based in both Perth and Northam, though GRDC has confirmed all roles will initially be based at the GRDC's Bentley-based headquarters.

Regional grower services manager West Roger States remains in WA and will continue to report to the executive manager, grower services, based in Canberra.

There are also no changes to the role of the regional croppings solutions networks co-ordinator operating from WA, who works for GRDC on a contract basis.

As part of the restructure it is also planned to have two Northern region offices, comprising a Queensland office in Toowoomba and a NSW office at a location to be determined.

The Southern region office will initially be located in Adelaide.

GRDC managing director John Harvey said the operational change would strengthen regional engagement and delivery, transferring staffing and resources to the regions, while growing GRDC's capacity to be more responsible to the needs of grain grower communities across the nation.

"The changes mean GRDC will be well-placed to have closer relationships with growers, complementing our already strong regional panel system," he said.

Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce indicated earlier this year that the GRDC should relocate from Canberra to the regions, a move which could have cost around $30 million, funded from grower levies.

However, GRDC had previously said the restructure had been underway for several months prior and was not linked to Mr Joyce's wishes.

A spokeswoman for GRDC said the organisation had received a letter from the secretary for the Department of Agriculture, saying it was supportive of the approach.

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