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Monday, 13 February 2012
Page: 965

Mrs PRENTICE (Ryan) (10:42): Last week in this place the member for Oxley abused the rights of privilege offered in this House to launch an attack not only on Campbell Newman but, in the process, on the company Campbell Newman previously worked for: Grainco. Needless to say, senior management and board members were less than impressed with this grubby attack on those who do not have the same opportunity as the member for Oxley to respond to those assertions.

At a function in Brisbane last Friday, Mr David Crombie, a former deputy chairman of Grainco, took the opportunity to refute the claims of the member for Oxley, and I now place his statement on record. It says:

Over the past few weeks I have been aware of comments about Mr Campbell Newman's involvement with Grainco. Mr Ripoll's comments—as recorded in Hansard—are neither accurate nor are they a true representation of Mr Newman's roles and responsibilities while at Grainco.

I served as an independent Director and Deputy Chairman of Grainco from 1995 to 2003. Grainco's shareholding was predominantly Queensland grain farmers.

A major challenge for Grainco was the seasonal nature of supply out of Queensland and the unreliable supply of grain due to rainfall variability.

If Grainco was to survive in competition with the major southern and east coast grain accumulators the Company needed to become more efficient in handling grain and it needed to expand its reach beyond Queensland. To deliver a new business model Grainco needed to recruit the appropriate new skills.

Mr Newman was initially employed by Grainco as a Project Manager. His initial responsibilities at Grainco were in logistics as part of a team reorganising grain supply and upgrading central depots. He handled his tasks effectively delivering more efficient chains that improved the operations of the Company and also delivered efficiencies for the grains industry in Queensland.

Mr Newman was General Manager Business Development when Grainco expanded into Victoria. In this role he was part of the team responsible for the design and construction of a new grain handling and ship loading facility within Melbourne Port. This facility was the first new loading facility to be constructed in Australia for decades and it incorporated the latest technologies and logistics and grain handling including up country linkages into Victoria and Southern New South Wales Grain growing regions.

The Terminal in Melbourne was built on time and within budget. This was no small feat given the busy and complex site adjacent to the Docklands Precinct and that construction cost blow-outs were not unusual at this time.

In his final year with Grainco Mr Newman was appointed General Manager Operations with responsibility for the management of the grain handling system for the company.

Mr Newman left Grainco in 2001 of his own free will. Throughout his time at Grainco Mr Newman was a hard worker, he was enthusiastic, he delivered outcomes and he had the support of his co-workers and of the Board.

That is exactly why Campbell Newman will be a great Premier of Queensland.