The Hon Josh Frydenberg MP

Taskforce Chair

Josh Frydenberg was elected to the Australian Parliament in 2010 as the Member for Kooyong. He is the seventh person since Federation to hold this seat.

In August 2018, he was appointed Treasurer, having previously served as Minister for the Environment and Energy, the Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia, Assistant Treasurer and Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister since the 2013 election.

Josh holds degrees in Law and Economics (with Honours) from Monash University. Following university, Josh undertook his articles of clerkship at the law firm Mallesons Stephen Jaques. He was offered both a Fulbright scholarship to the United States and a scholarship to Oxford University from the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the United Kingdom. He accepted the Commonwealth Scholarship to Oxford University where he completed a Master of Philosophy degree in International Relations.

Josh was admitted as a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria. From 1999-2004 Josh worked as a ministerial adviser in Canberra. He worked in succession as an assistant adviser for the then Attorney General, The Hon. Daryl Williams QC, as an adviser and later senior adviser to the Foreign Minister The Hon. Alexander Downer and finally as a senior adviser to the Prime Minister, The Hon. John Howard.

After leaving Canberra Josh spent a month as a jackaroo on a sheep station in South Australia before joining Deutsche Bank as a Director of Global Banking in January 2005. Later that year Josh took leave to complete a Masters of Public Administration (MPA) at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, before returning in 2006 to Deutsche Bank in Melbourne.

The Hon David Littleproud MP

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources
Taskforce Deputy Chair

David was born and raised in Chinchilla.  He was educated at Chinchilla State High School before finishing secondary education at Toowoomba Grammar School.

Over the past 20 years he has owned a small business in Warwick and forged a career in agribusiness while living and working in towns such as Miles, Nanango, Charleville, St George, Stanthorpe and Warwick.

This background provides David with an acute understanding of the important role small business and agriculture plays in creating jobs and promoting economic growth in Maranoa. He understands the importance of economic development as a means of building a prosperous future for younger generations and developing the capacity of health, education, agriculture, telecommunications and small business sectors.

Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash

Minister for Small and Family Business, Skills and Vocational Education

Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash is Minister for Small and Family Business, Skills and Vocational Education, and has held this portfolio since August 2018.

Senator Cash was previously the Minister for Jobs and Innovation and prior to this was the Minister for Employment, Minister for Women and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public service between September 2015 and December 2017, and Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection and the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women from September 2013 to September 2015.

Senator Cash has also been actively involved in several Senate committees including as the Deputy Chairman of the Joint Statutory: Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity.

Prior to entering Parliament, Senator Cash was a senior lawyer practicing in employee relations with Freehills in their Perth office.

Senator Cash holds an Honours Degree in Law from the University of London and a Bachelor of Arts (Social Science) from Curtin University in Perth, graduating with a triple major in public relations, politics and journalism.  In addition, she holds a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the University of Western Australia.

The Hon Dr John McVeigh MP

Federal Member for Groom

John McVeigh was declared as the Federal Member for Groom on 22 July, 2016. John was sworn in as the Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government on December 20, 2017.

Before his elevation to Cabinet he was a member of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade; the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit; and the Standing Committees on Industry, Innovation Science and Resources; and Agriculture and Water Resources.

John also chaired the Coalition’s Policy Committee for Industry, Innovation, Science and Northern Australia and was the chair of the Federal Government’s Select Committee on Regional Development and Decentralisation.

John was the Member for Toowoomba South in the Queensland Parliament (2012 – 2016) during which time he served as the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and as a member of the four-minister Cabinet Budget Review Committee.

He was previously a Councillor on the Toowoomba Regional Council from 2008 to 2012 where he held the Corporate Services Portfolio and Chaired the Audit Committee.

John has a Bachelor of Business (Marketing & Economics) (University of Southern Queensland), Master of Business Administration (Bond University) and a PhD in Agribusiness Management (University of Queensland).

His commercial career prior to politics included administrative, marketing and management positions with the Bank of Queensland, Elders Pastoral, Cargill Australia, Department of Primary Industries, Fisheries Research And Development Corporation and the International Food Institute of QLD.

In 1996, John established a management consulting practice based in Toowoomba and went on to manage projects covering aquaculture, beef, cotton, dairy, grains, horticulture, timber, wool and food processing throughout Australia and New Zealand and in America, Brazil, China, Europe and South Africa.

Ms Fiona Simson

National Farmers’ Federation

Fiona Simson is a farmer from the Liverpool Plains in NSW where she, husband Ed and family run a mixed farming enterprise including broad acre farming and breeding commercial poll Hereford cattle.

With tertiary qualifications in business and education, Fiona’s passion for local food production and the growth and sustainability of rural and regional Australia led to a career in local government as an elected Councillor in Liverpool Plains Shire Council and an elected representative of NSW Farmers' Association. In 2011, she became the first woman President of the Association retaining that position for a full four year term.

Passionate about the power of a unified voice for agriculture, Fiona also believes in its role in a strong and vibrant future for regional Australia.

Fiona sits on the Board of NRMA (NSW), the Australian Made Campaign Ltd, AgStewardship Australia and the Australian Farmers Fighting Fund.

Fiona was elected President of the National Farmers' Federation in November 2016.

Mr Mark Bennett

Head of Agribusiness and Specialised Commercial
ANZ Bank

Mark currently leads ANZ Agribusiness in Australia with a focus on strategy and industry insights that are designed to deliver information and promote positive change for our industry. He also has direct accountability for our portfolio of large or complex commercial businesses in regional Australia that together with Agri make a significant contribution to our regional economy.

Mark has worked in Agribusiness for 25 years with previous senior business management roles at Rabobank that exposed him to agribusiness in Australia and around the world.

His family continue to farm on a dry land cropping property at Waitchie, Northwest Victoria where he was brought up.

Mr Grant Cairns

Executive General Manager, Regional Agribusiness Banking
Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Grant’s team is responsible for serving and meeting the financial services needs of our rural commercial and agribusiness customers in over 70 locations across Australia.

Grant joined the Commonwealth Bank in 2005 and has broad experience across the Business and Private Banking (BPB) division. He has held senior leadership roles in Corporate Business Development, Transaction Banking, Asset Finance and Property Finance.  He has also held executive roles managing the Bank's Commercial Lending and Asset Finance products and portfolio.

Prior to joining the Commonwealth Bank, Grant worked as a General Manager with McCarrolls Automotive Group. He started his career as an accountant at KPMG.

Grant has completed Australia's flagship Asia Leadership Program and holds a Bachelor of Commerce, Accounting and Finance as well as a Master of Applied Finance.  He is also a Chartered Accountant.   Grant is also a member of the Agricultural Industry Advisory Council (AIAC).

Mr Mark Cox

Chief Risk Officer

Mark Cox was appointed Chief Risk Officer Rabobank Australia & New Zealand Group in December 2016, responsible for maintaining a comprehensive regional view of all material risks and a solid risk management framework and culture. Mark is a member of the Australian and New Zealand Group Executive and Rabobank’s International Risk Management team (comprising all activities outside of the Netherlands).

Mark joined Rabobank in May 2000 as Director of Corporate Banking managing many of Rabobank’s Australia and New Zealand institutional Food and Agribusiness clients. Mark moved to Risk into the role of Head of Credit Risk for Australia in 2010, with responsibilities for credit across all Rabobank Australian business lines. Prior to this, Mark commenced his career in Banking with the State Bank of NSW in the 1980’s. There he followed a traditional banking career path, his final role being the Head of Corporate and Agribusiness Banking for Colonial State Bank based in Sydney before joining Rabobank.

Mark holds a Bachelor of Business, a Masters of Applied of Finance, and is a member of the Australian Risk Management Association.

Mr Steve Hannan

National Manager, Agribusiness
Westpac Bank

Steve is the National Manager for Westpac Agribusiness in Australia and he is filled with both pride and humility to lead this important role for Westpac.

He is deeply passionate about people leadership, innovation and regional, rural and remote Australia.

Steve is a strong advocate of leadership by authenticity, trust and humility. He has a long standing track record of creating high performing and deeply passionate teams based on these attributes.

He is a visionary in the field of agribusiness and unique opportunities that arise for Australia and constantly questions the implications of new trends and developments in this field to set up Westpac Agribusiness for the next 100 years.

Steve has dedicated the majority of his career (spanning almost 30 years) to his vision of creating “vibrant and sustainable communities for our children and their children's children so that they have a bright future should they choose to raise their families in regional, rural or remote Australia".

He is a Sports Science Graduate of Southern Cross University, Graduate/Fellow of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation, Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Australian School of Management.

Ms Julie Rynski

Customer Executive, Nab Partners, Regional & Agribusiness and Private Bank
National Australia Bank

Julie Rynski is a career banker joining NAB Business Banking in October 2017.

Julie leads NAB’s team of dedicated bankers in Agribusiness and diversified banking including Health, Education, Government, Community and Property across Regional Australia, inclusive of ACT, Tasmania and NT Metropolitan areas. She is a passionate advocate for Regional Australia and works hard to ensure that broader Australia understand the importance and contribution they make to the country.

Ms Rynski grew up in country WA and joined NAB from Westpac where she was Executive General Manager of several divisions, including Commercial Banking, Agri, Small- Medium Enterprises and Connect NOW and Retail Banking. She has also worked as chief of staff for the Westpac CEO, Head of HR for Pacific Islands, Country Head Fiji and lead many turnaround projects. Her banking career has been across Westpac, Bankwest and HBOS - UK.

Julie holds an MBA from the University of Sydney, completed the Snr Execuitve program at the London Business School,The Snr Executive Breakthrough Programme at IMD, Lausanne - Switzerland and the Australian Rural Leadership Program. Accredited Coach from IECL.