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Agricultural Scientist Awarded the Top Job

1 March 2006

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) today welcomed the appointment of Dr Jim Peacock AC, one of Australia’s pre-eminent agricultural researchers as Australia’s new Chief Scientist.

Dr Peacock, who is currently the President of the Australian Academy of Science and former head of CSIRO Plant Industry, has a proud track record of working with Australian agricultural industries in delivering the research and innovation required to remain competitive in challenging global markets.

While Dr Peacock has contributed to the advancement of a wide range of Australian cropping industries, undoubtedly his greatest research contribution has been to the Australian cotton industry, where he has played an instrumental role in the development of transgenic cotton varieties, which have ultimately lead to a 90 per cent reduction in the sector’s pesticide use.

Having achieved academic excellence in his field, Dr Peacock can also boast an excellent record of delivering outcomes in the paddock, ensuring that leading research is seen through to commercialisation, allowing farmers to realise the benefits.

“Dr Peacock has made an outstanding contribution to Australian science and particularly agriculture. He has a strong record of bringing together researchers and industry, and in building teams to ensure that research outcomes are delivered to agribusiness and other industries,” NFF CEO, Mr Ben Fargher said.

“NFF has enjoyed a strong working relationship with Dr Peacock in his role as President of the Australian Academy of Science, and has valued his frank and considered input into NFF’s policy development processes, particularly on challenging issues such as the commercialisation of GM crops,” Mr Fargher said.

In addition to being an esteemed scientist, Dr Peacock has a unique ability as a scientific communicator, a trait that will help ensure his success in his prominent new role.

Mr Fargher said Australian agriculture, particularly cropping industries, have consistently set the benchmark for industry productivity improvement across the entire Australian economy, and NFF is optimistic that Dr Peacock’s appointment will ensure that Government, from the Prime Minister down, are provided clear appreciation of the opportunities for continued improvement and growth in the agricultural sector.

“In his new role, NFF hopes that Dr Peacock will give his attention to a range of major agricultural research challenges such as climate change, natural resource management and broader productivity improvements,” Mr Fargher said.

“Dr Peacock has been a strong advocate for biotechnology, and has championed the role that GM crops and other biotechnologies can play in ensuring the future sustainability of Australian family farms. Hopefully, the appointment will provide Dr Peacock a further opportunity to advise Federal and State policy settings, and ultimately ensure Australian farmers can access GM technology in a safe and effective manner.

“NFF looks forward to continuing to work closely with Dr Peacock in his new role, and commends the Minister for Education, Science and Training, the Hon Julie Bishop MP, on recognising Dr Peacock’s unique experience and abilities, and in doing so reinforcing Australia’s world leading capability in agricultural sciences,” Mr Fargher concluded.

Media Enquiries: Emma Keogh, NFF Public Relations Officer, (02) 6273 3855 or 0408 448 250.

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