‘Remote’ role vital to board for Nixon

Shannon VerhagenCountryman
Celebrity chef Don Hancey, WA Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan and Michael Nixon.
Camera IconCelebrity chef Don Hancey, WA Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan and Michael Nixon. Credit: Anton Blume

Canarvon banana grower Michael Nixon hopes to provide not only a grower’s but a remote and regional WA perspective in his new director role on a national industry board.

The grower with New Norcia broadacre farming roots has lent his voice to several initiatives and organisations and held a number of board positions over his career, including the Gascoyne Food Council, Australian Banana Growers’ Council and AUSVEG.

He can now add Hort Innovation to that list.

Mr Nixon was one of three directors elected to the board for a three-year-term at the not-for-profit research and development corporation’s AGM on on November 25. He is the only director from WA.

“It’s exciting,” he said.

“It’s actually quite daunting because you get a lot of support from industry in the voting and you have a responsibility to them. I take this very seriously.”

He is joined by former executive officer of the National Horticulture Research Network Victoria Taylor and deputy chair of Brisbane Markets Limited Tony Kelly.

Mr Nixon said he hoped to improve communication between growers and Hort Innovation to ensure the best outcomes for levy payers.

As a grower 500km from the nearest city, Mr Nixon believed he could add a unique perspective to the board and give the body and those in the cities a greater understanding of living on farms in regional areas.

“It’s interesting,” he said. “I think on one hand it shouldn’t matter or not be completely relevant, but on the other hand I think it’s incredibly important that I’m quite remote.

“When you’re remote, people in the cities forget or don’t have the basic grounding of what that means. For example I send people a pin drop if they want to know where I am... and if I was receiving a document I had to sign, it couldn’t be sent seven days before, it’ll take three weeks.”

Mr Nixon said he was looking forward to what the future on the board held and to meeting and working with Ms Taylor and Mr Kelly in due course.

The corporation also welcomed a new chair Julie Bird and deputy chair Paul Harker, who replaced Selwyn Snell and Dr Mary Corbett, who both retired.

Hort Innovation chief executive Matt Brand said there was a “high calibre” of nominees this year and those elected brought a diverse set of expertise, experience and skills to the board.

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