CEO’s Report

WATER allocation reduction will have a significant impact on producers, food security and prices for people of WA.
As I settle into the role as CEO of vegetablesWA, I must take this opportunity to thank Manus Stockdale for his time and efforts over the last 15 months as he sat in this role as Acting CEO, in addition to his other roles.

With Manus remaining with vegetablesWA, it has ensured a smooth transition for me and the Association as we continue to work on a number of issues that affect our members and their business.

Over the past three months I have endeavoured to attend as many functions and events as I can where I can meet members and discuss issues affecting them. In addition, I have met some of our members on farm for discussions on specific issues. As we lead into Christmas, I will maximise opportunities to meet as many members as possible, including an event in Carnarvon. As we move in to 2023, and January in particular, myself and the team at vegetablesWA will be planning and setting our program for the year. Once again, the focus will be on issues affecting our members and their business.

One of the issues we have been working on is the water allocation reduction announced by the State Government, due to be implemented from 2028. Whilst this is still six years away, we still have time work with affected growers and many others, including the City of Wanneroo, to convince the Government that this change has a significant impact on producers, food security and prices for people of Western Australia.

Currently, due to a significant number of factors outside of our control, growers are dealing with significant inflationary pressures on all input costs, adding pressure to margins and profitability. This is not helped by a recent comment on National television from Coles that they are wanting their suppliers to reduce their costs in an effort to keep retail prices under inflation. Add to these ongoing cost increases to producers, there is the issue with finding sufficient staff to operate their business. On a positive note, there is an increase in the number of backpackers entering WA from the Northern Hemisphere as their winter arrives. We are also slowly starting to see these people enter from the eastern states and those moving south from WA’s northwest as the off-season approaches there.

Some of the other areas where we have been representing growers over recent weeks and up until the end of the year are:
• The Worksafe Inquiry into workplace deaths in the agriculture industry
• Carnarvon Waste Management Committee
• Carnarvon Waste Management Committee
• Meet the Buyer — Buy West Eat Best
• NFF Horticulture Council Quarterly Meeting
• AUSVEG Quarterly Meeting and introduction to staff
• Department of Water and Environmental Regulation Reference Group
• APC and VPC meetings
• Numerous meetings in relation to the Pacific Workers schemes (PALM)
• Industry AGM’s
• “” platform — ongoing discussions to finalise this project for members
• Single Use Plastics Reference Group.

There is an increase in
the number of backpackers entering WA.

As growers, you all know there is a never-ending list of activities for your Association and staff to work on. Please feel free to ring me anytime for a discussion, specific or general in relation to your business or something we should be looking at for you.

By the time you read this article, we should have announced a replacement for Truyen Vo who left the Association after 10 years of employment and service to our members.

We thank Truyen for his significant contribution to vegetablesWA and the wider WA horticulture industry and wish him well in his new role.

We are hoping to have the new staff member as a part of our team commencing in January 2023.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish our members and everyone in the greater agricultural industry a Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous new year in 2023 and please, wherever you travel over the Christmas and holiday period, travel safely.


Contact Stephen Brown on 0409 448 108 or email