New appointments add depth to regional NRM Board

News article |

Spalding farmer, Eric Sommerville, has been appointed as the new Presiding Member of the Northern and Yorke Natural Resource Management (NRM). Mr Sommerville had been acting in the role for eight months.

Northern and Yorke Regional Manager Trevor Naismith welcomed the appointment by the Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Ian Hunter.

"A long-serving Board member, Eric has done a first class job as the Interim Presiding Member since the resignation of Caroline Schaefer in September 2014," Mr Naismith said.

Two new members, Kay Matthias and Natalie Sommerville, were also appointed, filling vacancies and returning the Board to its full complement of nine community members.

Ms Matthias comes to the Board with considerable experience within both the government and business sectors. As Chief Executive of Rural Business Support which services agri-business, fisheries and small businesses in regional South Australia, Ms Matthias has spent almost a decade helping businesses to adapt to change and remain viable and sustainable.

A Mid North farmer and Chairperson of the Yacka-Moorundie Landcare Group, Ms Sommerville is a strong advocate for training and professional development as an important element of future-proofing the grains industry. Among other roles, Ms Sommerville sits as a volunteer on the Partners in Grain (SA) Reference Group, an organisation whose purpose is to build capacity for women and young people in the grains industry.

Mr Sommerville welcomed the new appointments. "There is already a lot of experience and wisdom in the N&Y NRM Board and our two new members will add to that with valuable new skill sets."

Board members, all of whom live and work in the region, are selected for their NRM experience and skills, and their understanding of the complexities of natural resource management in the Northern and Yorke region.

"We are responsible for identifying regional NRM issues, representing communities, providing advice to government about how NRM issues should be resolved and ensuring that the levy we collect is spent wisely," Mr Sommerville said.

"With more than eighty per cent of our region under agricultural production, the sustainable use of our soils and water assets is critical to our long-term prosperity as a region."

The N&Y NRM Board is currently developing a new regional NRM Plan, for which there will be extensive community consultation over the next two years. Further information about Board membership and responsibilities is available at

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