Ag News

Australia’s rural industries must keep the innovating

  • By: Farm Tender "Prime"
  • Dec 15, 2017

AgriFutures Australia funded research has shown a variety of business benefits linked to diversity in senior leadership across rural industries, including increased profitability, productivity and innovation.

The Diversity in decision-making in rural industries research was conducted by Victoria University in 2016-17, and looked at diversity in gender, age, language, culture and the Indigenous status of decision-makers in a broad cross-section of rural enterprise types and sizes, as well as international research.

AgriFutures Australia Managing Director, John Harvey, said, “In today’s challenging production and trading environment, Australia’s rural industries must keep the innovative edge that they are renowned for.

“The nation’s workforce, and the way people work, is changing. Decisions made ‘the old way’ just won’t sustain our rural industries into the future.”

Mr Harvey said the image of a “white older male” as being typical of a farmer and rural decision-maker is rooted in data, with the 2011 ABS Census recording that 72 per cent of Australian farmers were male.

“We therefore tend to define ‘diversity’ as anyone not sharing this profile. Historically, Australian agriculture, fishing and forestry sectors have been characterised by low levels of diversity in its decision-making ranks,” he said.

“This research highlights how individual farms and agribusinesses, as well as industry organisations and corporate agriculture, can harness diverse groups in the Australian economy in leadership roles across all parts of the decision-making spectrum within their operations. By ‘diverse’, we mean in professional background, culture, gender and age.

“We know from this research that diverse decision makers have flow-on benefits, because as individual people and businesses benefit, so too do their rural and regional co...
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