Our board

The GRDC Board is accountable to Australia's grain growers, through the industry peak organisation and to the Commonwealth Parliament, through the Minister for Agriculture. The GRDC Board normally has between seven and nine directors.

The Chairman is selected and appointed by the Minister.

The Managing Director is appointed by the Board of the Corporation.

Five to seven Directors are appointed by the Minister, on advice from a selection committee selected by the Minister.


Mr John Woods, Chair (NSW, non-executive)

  • Appointed Chairman of the GRDC from 1 October 2016

Mr Woods is partner and manager of a broadacre agribusiness based in Northern NSW and Southern Queensland. He has responsibility for all business aspects including financial management, production and crop husbandry, marketing and logistics, resource management and OH&S. Mr Woods has a history of working collaboratively with a range of both public and private organisations in the development, extension and adoption of new technology.

Mr Woods is also currently a Director and Chair of R&R Hire Services Qld.

Mr Woods was Chairman of the National Agricultural Monitoring System (NAMS) Science Advisory Group between 2005 and 2009 as well as a member of the NAMS Advisory Reference Group and the Steering Committee. He also spent six years to 2005, on the National Rural Advisory Council. Mr Woods was Chairman of Chemcert Training Queensland from 2002 to 2004 and has held positions with Cotton Australia and Farmsafe Queensland.

Dr Jeremy Burdon (ACT, non-executive)

  • Re-appointed: 4 November 2014, until 30 September 2017

Dr Burdon has an international reputation in evolutionary biology, particularly in plant – microbe interactions. He has led the Plant Industry Division of CSIRO for the past eight years with responsibility for the development of its scientific capability, for the strategic direction of the science, for its financial health and staff training. Through this role he has developed a strong interest in the application of molecular technologies to crop production. The Division has a strong reputation for the execution and delivery of high quality research to several industries, including the grains industry.

Dr Burdon has been involved in developing strong collaborative interactions among pre-breeding agencies in Australia; and in generating new opportunities and building strategic partnerships with national wheat breeding companies and major multi-national companies.

Mr Kim Halbert (WA, non-executive)

  • Re-appointed: 4 November 2014, until 30 September 2017

Mr Halbert is a wheat, lupin and sheep producer of 32 years from the mid-west region of Western Australia where he undertakes numerous production trials and engages in innovative farming practices. He has been a member of the management committee oversighting the Natural Heritage Trust project funding for the Arrowsmith Catchment Group.

Mr Halbert has been a director of the Geraldton Port Authority, the second largest grain exporting port in Australia, and the Grain Licensing Authority in WA. He is also a director of Wheat Exports Australia.

Mr Andrew Barr (SA, non-executive)

  • Appointed: 4 November 2014, until 30 September 2017

Adjunct Professor, School of Agriculture and Wine, University of Adelaide and director of the Australian Grain Growers Cooperative​​.

Dr Helen Garnett (NT, non-executive)

  • Appointed: 4 November 2014, until 30 September 2017

Director Sugar Research Australia and chair Delta Electricity.

Ms Roseanne Healy (SA, non-executive)

  • Appointed: 4 November 2014, until 30 September 2017

Former Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation director and current board adviser Central Australian Aboriginal Congress Aboriginal Corporation​.

Mr David Shannon (SA, non-executive)

  • Appointed: 4 November 2014, until 30 September 2017


The Board has three committees:

Finance, Risk and Audit Committee — assists the Board in fulfilling its corporate governance responsibilities and reviews the GRDC's:

  • financial reporting process
  • internal control system
  • risk management strategy and processes
  • internal and external audits
  • process for monitoring compliance with laws and regulations and the Board’s code of conduct
  • financial statements.

Remuneration Committee — reviews and makes recommendations to the Board on matters relating to the remuneration and performance policy of the GRDC and the remuneration and performance of the Managing Director.

Commercialisation Committee — reviews, evaluates and makes recommendations to the Board and management on matters relating to:

  • the strategic oversight of the GRDC in regard to its planning processes related to the integration of research, development, commercialisation and adoption processes
  • the commercial and R&D interaction between the GRDC and the private sector, including R&D partnerships, commercial structures and other joint ventures
  • the development of draft policies regarding ownership of project intellectual property, risk-sharing and licensing conditions with research and commercialisation partners to assist with the adoption of the results of R&D
  • corporate governance and risk management in the area of commercialisation and adoption of the results of R&D, including oversight of the GRDC’s role and investments in companies that undertake such commercialisation and adoption
  • intellectual property management, protection and enforcement as necessary for the commercialisation of the results of R&D.

All Board members except the Managing Director are paid at the rates set by the Remuneration Tribunal, in accordance with Schedule C of Determination: Remuneration and Allowances for Holders of Part-Time Public Office.

Governance review

The Board periodically commissions an external review of its performance. In late 2013 the board engaged Ashurst Australia (formerly Blake Dawson) to conduct a detailed review of the Board’s performance, including by testing the Board’s performance against the findings and recommendations of the reviews that were conducted by Blake Dawson in 2003, 2004, 2007 and 2010 (the earlier reviews are described in annual reports for those years).

In May 2013, Ashurst Australia provided its latest report which included a number of recommendations for ongoing improvement. The report concluded that:

It is evident from the 2013 Review that the GRDC places value on good governance, and implements a range of measures to achieve this. Similarly to previous reviews, the GRDC has strengthened its approach to and implementation of governance requirements since the 2010 Review.

The Board and GRDC management are implementing the recommendations of the review. The next review is scheduled for 2016.