Duncan Bremner is the new Cattle Council Australia CEO.
Duncan Bremner is the new Cattle Council Australia CEO. Contributed

CEO returns to his rural roots

HE HAS served as CEO for Animal Medicines Australia, worked in the deputy prime minister's office as an advisor but Duncan Bremner said his time spent as a ringer on remote properties like Go Go and Wave Hill Stations were most formative to his character.

With strong foundations in rural Australia, Duncan in many ways is returning to his roots by stepping into the role as Cattle Council of Australia chief executive officer.

Or, in his words, he feels as though he is "coming home”.

"I feel as though I have done 20 years of work experience to come back for this role,” he joked.

Deeply passionate about the Australian beef industry, Duncan chatted to the Rural Weekly about his main focuses for 2017 as CEO.

Today marks his first week on the job.

Forming unity across the whole cattle industry was crucial, he said.

"I think a key thing is we have a wonderful industry we just need to bring it all together so everyone is pushing in the right direction,” he said.

Quarrels about which breeds were best were fruitless.

"We need to recognise that any division within the industry is occurring before we are getting to the starting line,” he said.

"The starting line is post farm gate.

"We have to be unified going up the supply chain, through processes right through to the consumer.”

As the disconnection between the city and bush slowly increases, Duncan said it was paramount the industry's message was reaching beef consumers, not just beef producers.

"We can't be scared of telling our story,” he said.

"We have to provide a bit of push back and say, 'look, animal welfare is paramount to what any producer does. If for no other reason, it's because it produces a better quality product, but primarily it's because it's what the consumer wants'.”

While Duncan has had a robust career in the corporate sector, in Australia as well as abroad, he spoke fondly of his days working in the northern beef industry.

"I think stock camp work is probably the most important, or defining, role I have had as far as formation of character,” he said.

The skills he learnt on the land have helped him navigate the corporate world.

"It has helped me immensely so,” he said.

"Unity, diplomacy, learning to work in a team and learning to motivate people are all skills I developed.”

Cattle Council president Howard Smith said the appointment of Mr Bremner signifies a new era for the Cattle Council.

"I have every confidence that he will do an exceptional job at leading the organisation into the future,” Mr Smith said.

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