30 October 2006
West Pennant Hills
EMSA hosted its first event in the NSW Government office in Cumberland State Forest, with speakers from South Africa (Harold Thornhill from the KwaZulu Natal Province’s Department of Agriculture and Environment), Victoria (Linda Nankervis – a beef farmer participant of the EMS Pilots), Steve Shaw (EMS manager Forests NSW), Tony Gleeson (Australian Landcare Management Systems) and Genevieve Carruthers (NSW DPI/EMSA President). The benefits of EMS were discussed, with Linda reporting in particular the development of business focus and building of improved community linkages occurring through collective use of EMS. Harold Thornhill described the growing recognition within South Africa that without an EMS, many products may lose access to markets, and how monitoring within an EMS can be utilised for area-wide management. Harold followed up his visit to Sydney with trips to a range of farms using an EMS in NSW and Queensland.
Linda and her husband Gary run a 675 ha beef farm, operating as a self-replacing herd. Their farm is on rising hill country in the Upper Murray. As beef producers, they are very aware of their vulnerability to an extremely competitive world market and the need to stay one step ahead of the game. They believe that Australia already has the cleanest agricultural produce in the world. They see their future in the world markets being reliant on the production of the clean green produce coupled together with a world recognised accountability which is an EMS based on ISO14001. Linda and Gary’s farm was one of the farms in the national EMS pilot program. Their project was conducted by a partnership of North Central, North East & Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authorities in Victoria, and funded by the Australian Government through its EMS National Pilot Programs.
Steve is Manager, Environmental Management Systems for Forest NSW. He has led the development and implementation of the EMS and the Australian Forestry Standard (AFS) for Forests NSW. He is the lead environmental auditor for FNSW and is accredited by RBAQSA International. His duties include management of projects to develop improved corporate systems in FNSW. He is chair of the Forest Management Systems Network - which is comprised of EMS and forest certification representatives from each State's forest management agencies; this network is a subcommittee of the national Sustainable Forest Management Committee. Steve’s talk is titled "All good things come........".
Harold is Deputy Manager of the Kwa-Zulu Natal Provincial Department of Agriculture & Environmental Affairs in South Africa. He has been tasked to establish a framework for environmental management in agriculture for this province. Harold has a background in conservation and environmental management, previously having responsiblity for EIA's and the auditing thereof. He is a qualified ISO 14001 auditor. Australia's east coast climate and agricultural issues are very similar to that of KZN province and has similar constraints ie. water, soil loss, climate change, consumer consciousness, air quality, energy efficiency. Harold will be conducting a study tour which is exploring the linkages between environmental practices and agriculture production/processing. He will talk about the use KZN hopes to make of EMS for their agricultural production.
Genevieve is the Environmental Systems Specialist with NSW DPI, located at Wollongbar on the Far North Coast of NSW. She has assisted diverse agricultural businesses to develop EMS, and has led several EMS research projects. Genevieve was recently elected as the inaugural President of the EMS Association. Genevieve will speak on the growth of the use of EMS in agriculture.