What is your current job and what does it entail?
I’m executive officer of the South Australian Freight Council, the peak multimodal transport industry association in SA. My job is to secure the best possible outcomes for the freight and logistics industry – road, rail, sea and air – in SA, in terms of infrastructure, regulation and social licence. The job involves government and public relations, policy development, project and organisational management, customer relations and occasional journalism – but the core skill is adaptability to the issue or challenge of the day.
How did you get into the world of logistics?
A friend’s dad offered me a job taking minutes for the then SA Air and Sea Freight Council while I was studying – not exactly high-powered, but certainly eye-opening to a 19-year-old with little idea of the complexity of the worldwide logistics system. I then did a vacation traineeship with the state Department of Transport in the Logistics and Marine Policy group, and have been involved in freight related policy ever since.
What was your first job (of any kind)?
Collecting paper money door-to-door at age 15. Because teenagers walking the streets with hundreds of dollars in a bum bag is safe, right?
Does South Australia get overlooked when it comes to conversations about national infrastructure priorities?
Yes – one look at the Infrastructure Australia priorities list will clearly demonstrate that. The North South Corridor the spine of Adelaide’s transport network, and a multi-decade, multi-billion dollar project can’t make it onto the high priority list, whereas reserving a future fuel pipeline corridor to a secondary airport in New South Wales can.
It’s going to be tough to bring about change. We need our state governments – of whatever political persuasion – to do a better job of getting more projects on the IA list, and at higher levels. We need to work with customer industry bodies in areas like mining and grain to jointly make the case for infrastructure improvements (and we are getting better at this). And perhaps we need a little luck too – the recent electoral boundary redistribution in SA cut our number of marginal seats to just one, which makes the political case that much harder to make. We are over-represented on the Senate cross benches, which brings some opportunities.
Moving on from politics, what are some of the best aspects of living in Adelaide?
Low congestion, liveability and lifestyle, large housing blocks at (relatively) cheap prices, a great festival and cultural event calendar, three world class wine regions within an hour of the CBD, the Torrens Linear Park. My wife and I have a lot of friends who moved to Melbourne, Sydney or London when they finished university – but most have moved back to Adelaide to raise their families.
What is the best time of the year to be in Adelaide?
For the visitor, ‘Mad March’ is jam packed with events – Adelaide Festival, Fringe, Cellar Door Fest, Adelaide 500, WOMADelaide, Adelaide Cup plus a number of ‘foodie’ events – and the weather is perfect too. For locals, some would say the other eleven months of the year, but I’ve always been partial to beach or pool time over Christmas/New Year.
What is your favourite South Australian winery?
That’s a bit like asking which of your kids you love most! Kaesler, Saltrams, Pertaringa, Ashton Hills and Rockfords all certainly would be in the mix. There’s a fantastic craft gin movement here too, that seems to be spilling over to other states now.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I’ve always been a reader. It’s nice to escape to another world every now and again. Now I get to share that with my two young kids. I also enjoy walking in the Linear Park or in the local National Parks with the family and spending the occasional day trawling cellar doors for top drops.
Which South Australian (current or historic) do you most admire and why?
Nobel winner Howard Florey – one of the inventor/discoverers of penicillin – has probably had the greatest worldwide impact of any South Australian (or indeed any Australian) with his discovery saving hundreds of millions of lives across the world. Not a bad legacy to leave.
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This article appeared in the June 2019 edition of DCN Magazine