Industry Reference Committee

The Industry Reference Committee (IRC) was made up of people with experience, skills and knowledge in the agriculture and production horticulture industry, covering a breadth of experience from across relevant sectors.

The IRC acted as a conduit for industry to provide feedback to government about industry trends and skills needs, and has responsibility for overseeing the development of units of competency, skill sets and qualifications for the industry it services.

Throughout the duration of its role as a Skills Service Organisation, Skills Impact provided support services to a group of related IRCs so they could effectively connect and engage with industry about their skill needs. All IRCs were appointed by the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC). Nominees operated in the best interest of the industry sector.


Meeting Communiques

8 September 2022* Download Communique

12 April 2022*

5 August 2021*

22 April 2021*

24 February 2021*

2 December 2020*

23 September 2020*

4 August 2020*

15 May 2020* Download Communique

17 March 2020* Download Communique

16 October 2019 Download Communique

15 May 2019 Download Communique

28 February 2019  Download Communique

4 December 2018 Download Communique

21 June 2018  Download Communique

15 May 2018* Download Communique

28 February 2018

18 February 2018

12 October 2017  Download Communique

5 October 2017*

27 July 2017 – Induction and initial meeting


Note: the Rural and Related Industry Reference Committee was previously responsible for overseeing the development of units of competency, skill sets and qualifications for the agriculture and production horticulture sectors.

*Meeting held via video conference or teleconference.


Committee Membership

Organisation Represented
Organisation Overview
National Farmers’ FederationReginald KiddThe peak national body representing farmers and, more broadly, agriculture across Australia. It is one of Australia’s foremost and respected advocacy organisations.
Western Australian Farmers FederationJohn KargotichThe largest and most influential agricultural advocacy group in Western Australia. It represents the voice of farmers throughout Western Australia and is continually working towards a more viable, profitable and sustainable future for the agricultural industry.
NT Farmers AssociationGreg OwensThe peak body for the plant based industries in the Northern Territory and is an amalgam of the former Northern Territory Agricultural and Horticultural Associations.
Horticulture Innovation AustraliaJay CumminsHorticulture Innovation Australia strives for better results for growers by focusing on three priorities: research and development that has a positive short-term and long-term impact; marketing that grows industries; and building Australian competitiveness.
Australian Workers UnionShane RoulstoneThe nation’s oldest and largest blue-collar trade union representing over 100,000 working men and women and their families.
Individual Industry Experts
Required Expertise
Dianne FulleloveExpertise in production horticulture and agricultural chemicals

Dianne is currently the Owner Operator of Dianne Fullelove and Associates Pty Ltd.

Geoff Harvey
Expertise in agricultural irrigation

Geoff is currently the National Training and Marketing Manager at Irrigation Australia Limited.

 Gordon VerrallExpertise in agricultural business practice

Gordon is currently the Managing Director of Corporate Agriculture Australia Pty Ltd.

Jacqueline HeapExpertise in livestock and production horticulture

Jacqueline is currently a farmer and Teacher at Wollongbar TAFE.

Judi ForsythExpertise in livestock and broadacre farming

Judi is a currently Mixed Enterprise Farmer, a Board Member of Farmsafe WA and a Trainer and Assessor at AusChem WA.

Meg ParkinsonExpertise in livestock-poultry production

Meg is currently a Free Range Egg Farmer, Chair of the Victorian Farmers Federation Workplace Relations Committee and President of VFF Industrial Association.

Position vacantExpertise in broadacre – cotton and grain
Rick Whistler
(Deputy Chair)
Expertise in livestock and agricultural support services

Rick is currently the Manager Education Quality at the Queensland Agricultural Training Colleges.

Rob FentonExpertise in organic farming

Rob is currently the Head Teacher of the National Environment Centre, TAFE Region South (Riverina).

Ron PaynterExpertise in livestock – dairy production


Operating Framework for IRCs

IRCs provided the industry engagement mechanism at the centre of training package development (units of competency, skill sets and qualifications). They provided a conduit for industry feedback to government on industry trends and for promotion of VET. The primary purpose of the IRC was to provide advice to the AISC about the skills needs of their industry or sector, based on their experience and expertise.

IRCs performed the following functions, with support by Skills Impact:

  • Gathered general intelligence for their industry sectors to inform advice on training package development and review
  • Oversaw the development and review of training packages in accordance with the requirements of the AISC
  • Oversaw the development of the IRC work plan by the SSO, advising who should be included in the consultation and the type of information to include
  • Provided sign off on the work plan, business cases, cases for endorsement and other submissions for consideration by the AISC
  • Reported to the AISC on progress of its work
  • Promoted the use of VET in the sectors they represent.

Full details of the Operating Framework for Industry Reference Committees (IRCs) can be viewed here.