‘Food, fibre or fuel’: NSW Farmers President to talk on land use

Published 23 August 2012

Fiona Simson, President of the NSW Farmers’ Association, will speak about the challenges associated with balancing agricultural and mining land uses in the New England North West Region at a public lecture in Armidale.

The occasion, on Tuesday 28 August, will be the 2012 Rural Focus Lecture at the University of New England’s Robb College.

“Fiona Simson’s presentation, titled ‘Food, fibre or fuel – the great land use debate’, promises to be a thought-provoking examination of this critical issue,” said Dr Glenn Wilson from Robb College’s Senior Common Room. “Robb College is very pleased to be hosting Ms Simson at this event, and to be able to continue providing a forum for the constructive discussion of important issues facing rural and regional Australia.”

Fiona Simson (pictured here) helps run a 5,500-hectare mixed family farming enterprise near Premer on the Liverpool Plains in NSW.  She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Arts/Business, and has tertiary qualifications in workplace training and adult education.  She was elected President of NSW Farmers in 2011 on a platform of renewal, excellence and inclusiveness, and is the first woman to fill this role.  She is passionate about ensuring a strong future for agriculture, and maintaining a strong and united voice to ensure that farmers are heard and taken into account at all levels of government.

“The annual Rural Focus Dinner and Lecture, now in its eleventh year at Robb College, is an important part of the College calendar,” said Michael Barton, Dean of Robb College.  “It provides a valuable opportunity for the University and the general public to come together to learn about critical issues facing rural and regional communities from industry leaders.”

Past Rural Focus Dinner speakers have included The Hon. John Anderson, then Deputy Prime Minister, and Professor Tim Flannery from Australia’s Climate Commission.

“Our College draws a large number of its resident students from across rural and regional Australia, and we have always maintained a strong interest in this area,” Mr Barton added.  “More importantly, many of our graduates will end up employed in rural or regional areas – whether as teachers, nurses, doctors or agronomists.  Ensuring that our College residents are as well-equipped as possible to face future challenges is a key part of our mission.”

He said that members of the public were invited to attend the dinner and lecture, which would be in the Robb College Dining Hall from 6 pm (for 6:30pm) on Tuesday.  Anyone interested in attending should contact the Robb College office on (02) 6773 1701 or email robb@une.edu.au to assist with catering.  A $25 donation to the College’s Rural Focus bursaries would be appreciated.