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No stranger to the industry

The newly-elected chairman of Wine Grape Growers Australia, Alan Newton, is no stranger to the world of agribusiness.

And he is well-credentialed to take on the role of chairing the fledgling organisation.

The Canberra-based Newton has served as the senior adviser to the Australian Government on wine industry programs and policies, to the Minister and Government on Australia's cropping industries including wine, grains, sugar, cotton, tobacco, and horticulture in his 16 years as part of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry senior executive team.

He led the crucial talks on the Australian and European Union wine agreement, and served as a director of the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation (AWBC) and played a lead role in the establishment of the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation, and the Grape and Wine R&D Corporation.

He has until recently served as the executive manager of the Council of Rural Research and Development Chairs.

Newton has had an additional six years’ experience in other areas of public administration, around the defence, defence production, and technology policy areas, plus more than 10 years academic experience as a lecturer/consultant in business management. One of the key research projects he undertook was into employment issues arising from technological change.

Newton started his working life in sales and marketing then honed his skills at university. He has since completed the Stanford Senior Executive Program (USA), gained a Master of Business Administration (Cranfield, UK), a Bachelor of Science (Econ, Hons, London), and a Bachelor of Commerce (App Psych/Econ, UNSW).

He was the foundation president of the Sandhurst Wine and Food Society (Bendigo) and has been instrumental in the establishment of new sporting bodies (Rugby Union and Soccer in Victoria and the ACT).

He is married to Catherine, and they have three sons, Patrick, Christopher and Timothy. He lists his interests as family, jogging, walking, golf, rugby, wine appreciation, investment analysis. Newton replaced interim chairman Michael De Palma.

WGGA executive officer Mark McKenzie said he was pleased with the appointment of Newton and was looking forward to working with him.

“He certainly has a lot to offer the grapegrowers of Australia and indeed the industry as a whole,” he said.

Newton officially starts his role as chairman at the end of June.



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