Rachel Mackenzie, chief advocate at Queensland horticulture peak body Growcom, will take up the role of Berries Australia chief executive in February.
Berries Australia chairman Peter McPherson said the organisation was delighted to welcome Ms Mackenzie as she had many years of experience in horticulture advocacy as well as a strong track record in project management and delivery.
The Australian Blueberry Growers Association, the Raspberry and Blackberries Association and Strawberries Australia Inc. united in 2018 to form Berries Australia Limited.
“The berry industry is moving into a new phase and we are excited to bring in an experienced advocate to ensure the $1.1 billion industry can meet its full potential,” Mr McPherson said.
“We are focused on developing the berry category as a whole and are confident that Ms Mackenzie’s experience in representing the full breadth of horticulture production will be an asset.
“Ms Mackenzie was awarded the Women in Horticulture Award at the 2018 Horticulture Connections conference in recognition of her contribution to the sector and we are pleased that she will be able to apply her skills to the berry category.”
Ms Mackenzie was instrumental in establishing Growcom’s Fair Farms Initiative to improve workplace standards across Australian horticulture, has instigated and managed several key projects aimed at implementing best management practices with respect to water quality and has been a strong voice for growers in relation to competition policy.
“Ms Mackenzie has shown herself to be a passionate supporter of growers through her sustained advocacy, including her tireless support for the strawberry industry during its challenges last year.
“Berries Australia would like to thank the former executive officer Alex Smith for his work in initiating Berries Australia and wish him well in his new appointment.”