From the CEO: The National Soils Advocate

7 September 2020 Major General John Hartley AO, (Retd), FDI Institute Director and CEO

I am pleased to inform you of recent appointments that will have an impact on FDI and to report comments made by the Prime Minister regarding General Jeffery, our founder, former Chairman and current Patron.

Last week, the Prime Minister announced that a former Governor of Queensland and distinguished Australian diplomat, Hon. Penelope Wensley, AC, would be the next National Soils Advocate.

In doing so, he stated that Ms Wensley is highly suited to this position, having held many leadership roles, including Patron of Soil Science Australia since 2010.

In reply, Ms Wensley stated:

‘I’m very much looking forward to taking up the challenge of the role to raise awareness of the critical role of soils, to promote sustainable land management and to make a tangible difference to Australia’s agricultural landscape conditions.

As an independent voice for soil health, I will be engaging with stakeholders, listening to a variety of views across Australia and contributing to the National Soils Strategy which aims to set out the government’s priorities for conserving and improving Australia’s soils.’

In making the announcement, the Prime Minister also thanked General Jeffery for his tireless advocacy in promoting soil health across Australia and internationally.

He said:

‘We owe a great deal to our former Governor-General, Major General Michael Jeffery who, as our first National Soils Advocate, has been a champion for the sustainability and integrated management of our soils, water, vegetation and animals over many years. We owe this son of a stockman a great deal of thanks: for his advocacy, his passion and his patriotism – as our National Soils Advocate and over his lifetime of service to Australia.’

Finally, Soils for Life, of which I am a Board member and with which FDI has worked closely for many years, has appointed a new CEO.

Dr Elizabeth (Liz) Clarke, who has a lifetime of involvement in agriculture, sustainability and natural resource management, has managed projects and held leadership roles in Australia and internationally. She is a visiting lecturer at the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society and a Visiting Fellow at Charles Sturt University Institute of Land, Water and Society. She has broad experience across multiple roles, including researcher, educator, policy adviser and mentor. She holds a PhD in Human Ecology.

 

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