Australian Government: Grains Research and Development CororationGRDC Annual Report 2006-2007

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Our people

Staff are important to the GRDC, and priority is given to looking after them. The GRDC acknowledges the importance of families, and is committed to helping staff maintain a balance between personal and family responsibilities and work responsibilities. Excellence is valued throughout the organisation, and staff take pride in their achievements as talent and hard work combine, through teamwork, to achieve the required organisational goals.


As at 30 June 2007, the GRDC had 52 full-time positions and employed 43 full-time staff members, including the Managing Director, as shown in Table 13. These staff were employed under s. 87 of the PIERD Act, which provides that the terms and conditions of employment are to be determined by the GRDC.

The GRDC also engaged four program consultants, under s. 88 of the PIERD Act.


Table 13 Staff as at 30 June 2007
  Position Occupant

Managing Director’s area

Managing Director
Manager Communications
Executive Assistant
Executive Manager, Communication & Customer Services

Peter Reading
Wynette Neil
Vic Dobos

Corporate Services

Executive Manager
General Counsel
Corporate Lawyer
Compliance Officer
Manager Finance
Contract Payments Officer
Accounts Payable Officer
Manager Human Resources
Records Management Coordinator
Travel Coordinator
Administrative Assistant
Manager IT Facilities
Network Administrator
Network Support Officer

Gavin Whiteley
Geoff Budd
Noelia Freitas
Danielle White
Nino Divito
Cathy Wells
Kylie McLay
Wendy Neil
Ross Thompson
Sarah Smith
Ros Walton
Tavis Hamer
Bhargav Prajapati

Corporate Strategy & Program Support

Executive Manager
Business Analyst
Corporate Strategist Evaluation and Reporting
Manager Procurement and Contracting
Contracts Coordinator
Administrative Assistant
Panel Coordinator (National and West)
Panel Support Officer
Panel Support Officer (North and South)

Iftikhar Mostafa
Vincent Fernandes
Zoltan Lukacs
Cathy Stewart
Klaudia Skazlic
Lauren Kennelly
Julia Polkinghorne
Janine Corcoran


Executive Manager
Administrative Coordinator
Administrative Coordinator
Administrative Assistant
Manager Gene Discovery
Manager Germplasm Enhancement
Project Manager Breeding
Project Manager Pre-Breeding
Manager Wheat and Barley Breeding
Manager Pulse/Oilseed Breeding

John Harvey
Merrilyn Baulman
Andreas Betzner
Richard Brettell
Sara Hely
Jody Higgins
Leecia Angus
Brondwen MacLean


Executive Manager
Administrative Coordinator
Administrative Coordinator
Manager Agronomy Soils and Environment
Project Manager Practices
Manager Crop Protection
Manager Validation and Adoption
Manager Extension and Grower Programs
Manager Publications

Greg Fraser
Angela Ditton
Martin Blumenthal
Rohan Rainbow
John Sandow
Stuart Kearns
Tom McCue
Maureen Cribb

New Products

Executive Manager
Administrative Coordinator
Manager New Farm Products and Services
Manager New Grain Products

Vince Logan
Bettina Garrett
Paul Meibusch
John de Majnik


Single Vision Grains Australia

In 2006-07, the GRDC funded two full-time positions and a part-time administrative position in Single Vision Grains Australia (as shown in Table 14), as well as an Interim Board consisting of five members.

Table 14 GRDC-funded staff of Single Vision Grains Australia as at 30 June 2007
Position Occupant
Chief Executive Officer Selwyn Snell
Business Development Officer Matt Kealley
Executive Assistant (part-time position) Michelle Fairbrother

Equal employment opportunity

Staff are employed under terms and conditions consistent with the Equal Employment Opportunity (Commonwealth Authorities) Act 1987 and the equal employment policy set out in the GRDC Operating Manual. Table 15 shows the age and gender profile of GRDC staff for the past two reporting periods.

Table 15 Breakdown of staff by age and gender
  20–30 yrs 30–40 yrs 40–50 yrs 50–60 yrs >60 yrs Female Male Total
2005–06 18
2006–07 11


Staff location

Six management groups, including the professional staff who manage research contracts and investment opportunities, are housed in offices at the following Canberra address:

Grains Research and Development Corporation

First Floor
40 Blackall Street

The GRDC owns one floor of Tourism House at 40 Blackall Street. The GRDC does not own any research facilities.

Until the end of its operations on 30 June 2007, Single Vision Grains Australia operated from a rented office at:

Suite 17
Level 2
2 Loraine Street

Code of conduct

The GRDC Code of Business Conduct and Ethical Behaviour is published as part of the GRDC Operating Manual, and copies of the code are publicly available upon request.

New staff members are introduced to the code during induction, and presentations on the code are made to staff at regular intervals. All staff have access to the code via the policies section on the GRDC intranet.

Performance management

The GRDC has a structured approach to reviewing, recognising and improving performance. Measures of performance are aligned with the strategic direction of the organisation, and individual performance is rewarded through the annual bonus scheme, in which performance is assessed against agreed key result areas and performance indicators twice each year.

Performance improvement and excellence is encouraged, and individual efforts and behaviour are identified and rewarded.

Recruitment, training, retention and succession management

In a climate of increasing labour shortages the GRDC is faced with strong local competition. Increasingly, the recruitment process looks for the relevant skills and the right people-organisation match. The GRDC aims for an honest and open exchange of information in order to find this.

New staff are given induction training during the first week, and induction information is available in hard copy as well as online for easy reference.

Training is an extra reward benefit which is highly valued by many GRDC staff members. Training and development opportunities are identified to challenge staff and develop their capacity to perform both in their current roles and in future roles in the organisation. Attention is paid to helping staff find career paths that add direction and a sense of achievement to their roles.

The GRDC values its people and seeks opportunities to demonstrate this. A formal succession management process takes place each year, and all staff are rated according to their potential to succeed in certain roles. Excellent performers may show potential to succeed other staff and be developed for that purpose. This allows retention of valuable industry knowledge across the organisation. All vacancies are advertised internally at first, which offers staff a chance to move up in new areas.

Occupational health and safety

The link between good health, enjoyment of work, productivity and excellence means the health and wellbeing of staff continue to be priorities at the GRDC.

Some ways in which health and safety support are provided to staff are:

During the year there were several instances of staff requiring extended sick leave. The GRDC was able to demonstrate its commitment to staff by an individual approach in each case, allowing in most cases a full and safe return to work. These instances showed a consistent application of policy, while allowing fairness and flexibility in accordance with the circumstances.

Table 16 summarises the key elements of the GRDC's occupational health and safety performance during the year.

Disability strategies

The GRDC implements the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and the Commonwealth Disability Strategy to an extent which relates to the size and functions of the corporation, and as the need arises.

If documents are presented on the internet, accessibility guidelines are followed and large print is available on request. The principle of 'reasonable adjustment' is recognised and every effort is made to deal with concerns fairly.

Table 16 GRDC occupational health and safety performance
Position Occupant
Chief Executive Officer Selwyn Snell
Business Development Officer Matt Kealley
Executive Assistant (part-time position) Michelle Fairbrother