Our role is to ensure that:
We have been operating in the challenging environment of managing food safety risk since 2000. Collectively, we have hundreds of years of experience in dealing first hand with the business of food, the people, the processes and products and how these elements fit together to make food safe.
Safe Food funding comes from two sources: a shared funding agreement with the Queensland Government and charges for accreditations and other services.
Safe Food has a range of powers under the Food Production (Safety) Act 2000 that include:
It ensures the effectiveness of planning processes and governance practices and the integrity of reporting systems. It is also responsible for ensuring the organisation operates according to sound financial management strategies and practices.
The Board maintains an overview of the administration and policies of the organisation but it has no direct management responsibility nor does it play a regulatory role.
The Board has a specific role to:
Debra-Lee (Debbie) Best was appointed as Chair in 2019. Debbie has more than 36 years of executive leadership experience in the Queensland State Government in areas ranging from education, indigenous policy and programs, multicultural affairs, environmental management, community engagement and natural resource management.
Debbie currently serves as Chair of the Queensland Heritage Council, the Audit and Risk Committee for the Department of Resources, and the Electoral Commission of Queensland. Debbie is an independent member of the Audit and Risk Management Committee for the Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water.
Debbie is a member of the State Awards Committee for the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award and has previously held positions as Director-General, Deputy Director-General, Assistant Director-General, Regional Director and secondary Principal. She is also a former Board member and Trustee of QSuper and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Ms Sutherland is a senior executive who works with major auto manufacturers, banks, universities, travel companies and insurance companies in Australia to negotiate and provide assistance services for their customers in their times of need. She has extensive experience in leading large financial services teams, including store networks, financial planning, business banking, agribusiness banking, migrant banking and business partners across Australia, New Zealand and Asia.
Lynne joined the Board of Safe Food in July 2019 as a Non-Executive Director. She has previous directorships and board governance experience with Suncorp and ANZ NZ subsidiary Boards. She has completed the AICD’s Company Directors Course, holds a Bachelor of Horticulture Science, a Graduate Diploma in Management and has completed the INSEAD Advanced Management Program.
Mrs Homer has a strong background in primary production and manages the operations of a grazing property in Central Queensland. Her qualifications include a Bachelor of Science in Medical Microbiology from the University of Queensland. She is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has been named in the Top 100 Women in Agribusiness.
John Piispanen is currently the acting Executive Director of the Health Protection Branch of Queensland Health. For the 10 years previous, he was the Director of the Metro North Public Health Unit and has worked with Queensland Health for over 36 years. Prior to this, John spent much of his time working in far North Queensland as the Director of Environmental Health.
John is a qualified environmental health officer and has a Master of Public Health from James Cook University where he was awarded the Sidney Sax Medal for outstanding academic achievement. He has an Adjunct Appointment as Associate Professor with the University of Queensland.
John’s interests in public health include, food safety and standards, health risk assessment, regulatory interventions and also disaster and emergency response. He is a member of the Australian Medical Assistance Team (AusMat) and has also had the opportunity to undertake numerous international deployments including his contribution to the Ebola response in West Africa and COVID-19 response in Papua New Guinea.
As Deputy-Director General of Agriculture in the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Bernadette Ditchfield is responsible for leading the development of policies, research and initiatives that lift the productivity of Queensland’s food and fibre businesses. Bernadette has an extensive background in policy development and service delivery, coupled with a strong industry development focus. Bernadette has over 20 years’ experience in both the private and public sectors, holding senior roles in the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, Queensland Treasury and the Department of the Premier and Cabinet.