Council Members

Georgina Gubbins – Chair

Georgina Gubbins is a red meat producer, farming near Heywood and Hamilton.  She has a positive vision for the Food & Fibre sector, and is a passionate advocate for the Great South Coast Region, which is one of the more reliable farming regions in Australia.  She has had a number of industry sector roles and holds a Master of Agribusiness which she concentrated on the global red meat industry.

Alistair McCosh

Alistair is Director of the Warrnambool Campus, Deakin University and has responsibility for the provision of leadership and oversight of the operations on campus. Deakin has introduced a new Agribusiness course which is directly aligned to addressing one of the critical gaps identified in the Great South Coast Food & Fibre Action Plan, that of workforce development. Alistair indicates that Deakin is committed to working with communities to positively contribute to growth and sustainability and this fits perfectly into what are the objectives of the Great South Coast Food & Fibre Action Plan and the work it wishes to undertake to ensure our region has a long term sustainable food & fibre sector.

Andrew Paton

Andrew is Director City Growth with Warrnambool City Council. Previously Andrew worked in a corporate finance role with PriceWaterhouseCoopers in London. Previous posts also included secondments to the United Kingdom’s Competition Commission and the Department of Trade and Industry. Andrew grew up in the City of Warrnambool and some twenty years later has returned to live in Warrnambool with his wife and two daughters.

Andrew believes our region has many comparative advantages to grow the value and capacity of our Food & Fibre industry. The challenge is to harness and maximise these opportunities. Strategic co-ordination and action across Food & Fibre commodities will generate better outcomes for our region.

Basil Ryan

Basil is a fifth generation dairy producer, operating a farm near Warrnambool in partnership with his son, and was instrumental in creating the Great South Coast Food & Fibre Council.

He believes this Action Plan is a unique opportunity for the Great South Coast Region to advance the production of food & fibre for the benefit of all commodity groups. The resultant economic flow to residents and all communities will be a major boost to the whole area. Working together will create a pathway for employment and careers.

Daker Pern

Daker Pern is Regional Manager Western Victoria at Rabobank.  He grew up on a farm in Western Victoria and has enjoyed a career in local Agri Banking for the last 23 years.  In this time Rabobank has opened four branches and now employ 20 staff in the region.  Daker has a passion for our productive and diverse agricultural region and has enjoyed working with many farming businesses to assist them in reaching their goals and aspirations.  He sees a very bright future for local food and fibre production and is proud to help in delivering strategic initiatives to promote the sustainable growth of our Great South Coast region.


Liz Duncan

Liz has more than 20 years’ experience working in financial services in Australia, having led teams of Agribusiness providing finance solutions to clients involved in agriculture, post farm gate and the production of food, fibre and beverages. Based in Warrnambool for the past five years, Liz has recently started her own Agribusiness Consulting firm. With postgraduate qualifications in Agribusiness and being a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Liz has experience backed with a commitment to learning. Liz grew up in South West Queensland on her parents’ beef cattle operation. This experience influenced and informed her world view and leadership ethos – the challenges that face Australian agriculture and small businesses, combined with the importance of looking at the long-term while working to build sustainable relationships and businesses.

Marie Thornton

Marie has been involved in Agricultural production in this region since 1971 on the family property Mount Myrtoon near Camperdown. Having seen the resilience of this area overcome drought, low prices and numerous other challenges, Marie believes the opportunities  rapidly opening up into the future are a welcome sign for the primary production sector. The Action plan identifies cooperative pathways for the future around education, training and jobs and currently great progress is being made in those areas using regional talent. It is important to foster and maintain this momentum in a fast changing trade environment which is why the Great South Coast Food & Fibre Action Plan is so important for the region.

Mark Gervis

Mark Gervis is the General Manager of Southern Ocean Mariculture, an abalone farm in Port Fairy. The farm grows and exports processed abalone products from the clean seas of the Great South Coast region into Asia. He  belives having a Food & Fibre Action Plan for the Great South Coast is important to bring recognition and coordination to build on the area’s agricultural, fisheries and aquaculture assets and increase the value of these resources within the region.

Michael Goldby

Michael Goldby is an owner operator of South West Farmers Livestock Pty Ltd, Parkview Limousins and A1 Real Estate Solutions.  He has been involved in farming all his life and in his roles as a livestock agent, stud cattle operator and real estate agent has gained a widespread reputation for his extensive rural-based knowledge, practical approach and integrity over some 30+ years.

Oonagh Kilpatrick
Oonagh was born & lived in Northern Ireland until 2006.  She boasts a 20 year career in taxation and trusts planning for individuals and small to medium enterprises, and from 2006 – 2011 lived and work as consultant with Saudi Arabia British Bank in Riyadh, specialising in project management, and training staff in customer service skills.  In 2011 she moved with her husband to run a dairy farm in the Great South Coast.  Oonagh is a United Dairyfarmers Victoria Policy Councillor for Wannon and Ireland Genetics Australian Manager.
Tony Ford | Executive Officer

Tony Ford has over 35 years’ experience in Australian and international agribusiness of which 25 years has been at senior executive level and on the boards of food manufacturing, horticultural and other institutions. He presently is Chair of Glenelg Hopkins CMA, Petuna Group and other NFP positions.

Jane Young | Project Officer

Jane is a strong advocate for encouraging young people to seek out careers in food & fibre, promoting animal welfare and educating the wider community about the progressive nature of farming in the Great South Coast region.  She and her husband have two young children and run a beef and prime lamb property at Macarthur.  She has a BA and Bachelor of Public Policy and Management (Hons) from Melbourne University, and has previously worked as Media Advisor to the Member for Wannon as well as running a freelance public relations business.