Our executive

Michelle Edge

Chief Executive

Michelle Edge was appointed Chief Executive of Primary Industries and Regions SA in April 2020. As CE Michelle guides strategic direction across the Department’s policies, programs and actions to support the State’s primary industries, agribusiness and regions to achieve the South Australian Government’s strong ‘Growth State’ plan for economic growth.

Before joining PIRSA, Michelle’s previous experience included CEO of industry-Government partnership organisation, Operational Solutions for Primary Industries New Zealand. In this role, Michelle led policy and industry program implementation in animal health, biosecurity, wildlife management, pest and disease management and livestock traceability as well as service delivery of national policy programs, research, technology development, regional engagement and extension.

Between 2010 and 2014 Michelle served as the CEO of Australian Meat Processor Corporation, the Rural Research and Development Corporation for that sector, where she was responsible for driving service delivery in areas of sustainability, market access, climate change, productivity, food safety, marketing, technology.

Michelle has also held various senior roles in the Victorian Government and operated as a consultant in areas of biosecurity, animal health/welfare, productivity, market access and commercial and industry development.

Michelle has been passionate about agriculture throughout her life and career, and holds a Bachelor Degree with Honours in Agricultural Science from University of Melbourne, where she also undertook research in her early career.


Professor Mehdi Doroudi

Professor Mehdi Doroudi

Deputy Chief Executive

As Deputy Chief Executive, Professor Mehdi Doroudi drives the achievement of legislative, policy, research, management and development outcomes to support the responsible and sustainable management of primary industries in South Australia.

Professor Doroudi ensures strategic priorities are developed, aligned with the State’s strategic plans, and consistent with other State or Commonwealth relevant legislations.

Professor Doroudi is responsible for the strategic management of Biosecurity SA, Fisheries and Aquaculture, Forestry, and the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI).

He oversees PIRSA’s objective and high-quality policy advice to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development and to the wider South Australian Government.

Overseeing the management of approximately 600 staff at PIRSA, Professor Doroudi brings more than 30 years’ experience in science, policy and management of primary industries and natural resource management.

In his previous role as Group Executive Director, he was responsible for the activities of the Department that support the responsible and sustainable growth of agriculture, food, fisheries and aquaculture sectors in South Australia.

During his time as Executive Director of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Professor Doroudi was responsible for sustainable management of the South Australian fisheries resources and also development of an internationally competitive aquaculture industry that is market-driven and environmentally and socially responsible.

From 2006 to 2009, Professor Doroudi held the position of Chief, Aquatic Sciences for the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), where he was responsible for providing clients with effective, innovative and coordinated services with an aquatic resource management focus.

In 2019, Professor Doroudi was awarded a Public Service Medal for his efforts in the advancement of science to inform policy, and for the management of primary industries in South Australia.

Professor Doroudi completed his degree of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at Tehran University and his PhD at the School of Marine Biology and Aquaculture, James Cook University. He also holds an affiliate professorial position with the University of Adelaide.


Jo Collins

Executive Director, Agriculture, Food and Wine

As Executive Director of Agriculture, Food and Wine within Primary Industries and Regions South Australia, Jo drives the strategic direction and priorities of the agency and leads policies, programs and projects that support the state's economy and jobs.

Appointed in 2013, Jo leads and manages the Agriculture, Food and Wine division, which aims to grow the economic contribution of primary industries and agribusinesses through a market-driven approach to industry development.

Jo provides industry and economic analysis; develops and coordinates policy, strategies and reform; and fosters partnerships with key stakeholder organisations.

She brings to the Department extensive experience in strategy development, organisational performance and reform, communications and community engagement and positioning government agency effort to best deliver strategic policy outcomes.

In 2016, Jo played a key part in securing Adelaide, South Australia’s membership to the Great Wine Capitals Global Network, for which she is currently elected Vice President and also chairs South Australia’s Steering Committee.

She has held leadership positions with the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources; the Premier’s Murray-Darling Basin Taskforce; the Department for Water and SA Health.

Jo served as a Board Director of both the South Australian Tourism Commission and Local Advisory Board for Economic Growth on Kangaroo Island from 2016 to 2019 and has been a Board Director for the Goyder Institute for Water Research since 2016 and a Board Member of the Rural Assistance Appeals Committee since 2015.

Jo spearheaded the Fight for the (River) Murray campaign, a cornerstone of the state’s ultimately successful strategy to secure an extra 450 gigalitres of water, and led the policy engagement underpinning Water for Good – South Australia’s plan to ensure water security to 2050 and beyond.

Jo holds a Master of Arts from the University of South Australia and is a Member of the Golden Key International Honour Society, validated by the University of South Australia.


Nathan Rhodes

Executive Director, Biosecurity SA

As Executive Director of Biosecurity SA, Nathan is responsible for leading and ensuring the efficient and coordinated delivery of South Australia’s biosecurity policy, strategies, legislation, procedures and activities.

Biosecurity SA’s priorities include ensuring market access for producers and protecting and improving South Australia's economic, environmental and social assets and public health.

Appointed to the role in August 2019, Nathan has wide-ranging experience in biosecurity regulation, policy development, operational service delivery, leading remote teams, and working collaboratively with a wide range of stakeholders from national policy makers to industry. He brings a wealth of experience in policy development including across international fisheries, trade and market access, food security, agricultural productivity, and R&D.

More than 14 years with the Australian Government Department of Agriculture included senior roles with biosecurity operations of the department, in import regulation and export certification. As Director of the Inspection, Audit and Assessment groups of the Commonwealth’s Biosecurity Operations Division, Nathan was responsible for the regulation of all international imports in South Australia and the Northern Territory, including air and sea passengers, cargo and shipping.

Nathan holds a Bachelor of Arts and an Honours degree in Marine Science from Flinders University, and formal qualifications in government management.


Daniel Casement

Daniel Casement

Executive Director, Rural Solutions SA

As Executive Director of Rural Solutions SA, Daniel Casement leads the success of the Division as it focuses on regional program delivery, and modern-day extension and knowledge transfer.

Daniel was appointed Executive Director of Rural Solutions SA in 2012.

Drawing on more than 25 years working across primary industries in Australia, he continues to deliver on outcomes that will see Rural Solutions SA become a preferred delivery partner, and the connection between new research, innovation and on-ground adoption.

With a strong background in working alongside regional businesses and communities, Daniel leads the agency towards achieving its key priorities and the delivery of major programs, including the $7.5 million Red Meat and Wool Growth Program and the $265 million South Australian River Murray Sustainability (SARMS) Program.

Rural Solutions SA is co-delivering the Northern Adelaide Irrigation Scheme alongside SA Water to make new water available for production, both on the Northern Adelaide Adelaide Plains and beyond to the Barossa and Eden Valley.

Daniel leads the development of a contemporary and adaptive framework for the management of pastoral lands in South Australia to reflect best regulatory practice.

Working with drought and bushfire affected areas of South Australia, Daniel leads the implementation of a range of recovery programs to benefit regional businesses and communities.

Daniel has been with Rural Solutions SA since 2001 and has fulfilled leadership roles in primary industries development and extension, agribusiness, regional development and social sciences.

Daniel previously worked in research roles with SARDI for the Australian seafood industry. He has experience in working in culturally sensitive areas through work with Indigenous communities across Australia.

Daniel holds a Master in Business Administration (MBA) and a Bachelor of Applied Science (Fisheries).


Dr Peter Appleford

Executive Director, South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI)

Dr Peter Appleford leads the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) and is responsible for the executive management and oversight of the South Australian Government’s principal primary industries research institute.

SARDI has a strong reputation for technical excellence, undertaking applied science for the benefit of increased productivity, sustainability and adaptability of South Australia’s primary industries and food and wine enterprises.

Dr Appleford – a highly respected public sector executive – was appointed to the role of Executive Director in 2017, bringing with him experience in implementing change while driving integrated and improved performance.

Since his appointment as Executive Director, he has driven the development and implementation of the SARDI Strategic Plan 2018–2023. Dr Appleford will oversee strategic actions including the renewal of research and investment framework, strengthening of commercialisation activities within SARDI, the building of infrastructure and capability and expansion of collaborative activities.

Dr Appleford applies decisive action and sound judgement to deliver value to SARDI’s objectives, their highly skilled people, stakeholders and the wider community. He brings an energetic leadership style to inspire and address barriers to growth and drive better business outcomes.

Dr Appleford has spent nearly two decades as a senior leader in key Victorian Government agencies including the Department of Primary Industries and the Department of Sustainability and Environment.

He is a science graduate of the University of Melbourne, holds a PhD (Science) from James Cook University and is a member of the Institute of Public Administration and Australian Institute of Company Directors.


Gavin Begg

Acting Executive Director, Fisheries and Aquaculture

Professor Gavin Begg is Acting Executive Director, Fisheries and Aquaculture Division, overseeing the delivery of legislative and regulatory outcomes to grow the commercial, recreational and Indigenous fishing and aquaculture industries and opportunities in South Australia.

Professor Begg is responsible for the collaboration with industry, other government departments and other divisions within PIRSA, such as the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), Agriculture, Food and wine, Rural Solutions SA and Biosecurity SA to deliver a range of fisheries and aquaculture related services.

He brings with him more than 20 years’ experience in research, policy, scientific management and leadership advice in the fisheries sector.

Prior to joining the Division, Professor Begg was Research Director at SARDI, and also worked in the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and the Australian Fisheries Management Authority in Camberra, the CRC Reef Research Centre at James Cook University Townsville, the Marine Research Institute Iceland, and the National Marine Fisheries Service USA.

Professor Begg has completed a Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Queensland, as well as a Bachelor of Science at the University of New South Wales.


Rob Robinson

Director, Forestry

Rob is the Director of Forestry and leads a team to support the development of South Australia’s forest and wood products industry, particularly those incorporating value adding and advanced manufacturing principles.

Appointed to the role in 2016, Rob has provided leadership and strategic policy advice to assist in securing the future of the industry.

Rob is Executive Officer to the Forest Industry Advisory Council of South Australia, which provides advice to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development to develop the forest and forestry products sector. He also drives the support of forestry research and development through the National Institute for Forest Products Innovation’s centre at Mt Gambier.

Rob has spent 10 years working in forest policy with an emphasis on achieving social and economic outcomes from the state’s forest and forest products industry. Previously he held senior positions in the Department as General Manager Agribusiness Development, General Manager Strategy, and earlier as Manager Community Forestry with ForestrySA. His achievements during this time included developing the state’s first forest industry strategy.

Rob is well known among the forestry sector and broader community, and is widely acknowledged for his skills and experience in deriving public value from government-owned forestry assets.

He holds tertiary qualifications in Physical Geography, a diploma in Wildlife and Park Management and is a graduate of the Public Sector Management program.

Rob is also a committed Executive Sponsor for White Ribbon Australia.


Michelle Griffiths

Executive Director, Corporate Services

As Executive Director of Corporate Services, Michelle Griffiths' primary focus is to work in partnership with the Department’s divisions to provide high quality, customer focussed corporate services, aligning with divisional needs and the Department’s directions.

Michelle joined the Department in January 2018 and brings diverse experience in corporate services.

Michelle represents PIRSA on the Across Government Facilities Management Arrangements led by the Department of Planning, Transport, and Infrastructure, as well as the State Emergency Relief Fund Committee, specifically for the SA Bushfire Appeal.

She has held roles as Director Finance and Business Services and Chief Financial Officer in the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) from 2012 to 2018.

While at DEWNR, Michelle worked on a large accommodation project, consolidating city and metropolitan sites, reducing the footprint for the agency and contributing towards the achievement of a five-star green star rating.

Michelle has previously held roles in the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, the Auditor-General's and the former Department for Water.

She leads a dynamic group of people in People and Culture, ICT, Asset Management and Facilities, Business Services, Procurement, Finance and Prudential Management.

Michelle holds a Bachelor degree in Economics (Accounting), a Master in Business Administration and is a Fellow CPA.

She is also a member of the South Australian Police Risk and Performance Committee.


Page Last Reviewed: 07 Jan 2015
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