Field & Game Australia has welcomed two new board members in Jim Godden and Scott Mitchell. Both are active members and while some will know them well, we take this opportunity to introduce them to those who don’t.
Scott has more than 20 years’ experience in the fields of agriculture, international trade policy, communications, and general public policy at both State and Federal level in Australia.
He recently stepped down as Federal Director of The Nationals after five years and two successful election campaigns. Scott previously served as Chief of Staff to a senior Western Australian Minister, managed Trade and International Policy for the National Farmers Federation, and had several years’ experience with the Australian Trade Minister in the early 2000s.
Scott has strong and trusted relationships on all sides of Australian politics and is now advising major Australian companies. He maintains a strong interest in regional Australia.
Scott grew up on a farm at Lockington in Northern Victoria and was introduced to hunting at an early age by his grandfather. He purchased his first shotgun at about age 13 and became a keen fox, rabbit, hare and duck hunter with the occasional pig and goat hunting trips added in.
Scott first joined FGA around the time of the 1996 gun debate and then re-joined while working in Canberra in 2003, becoming a regular participant in the Canberra International Clay Target Club’s Simulated Field and 5-stand activities.
Scott has always been a passionate supporter of shooting issues and throughout his time in various government roles, and particularly as Federal Director of The Nationals, has worked hard to support FGA, the Australian Deer Association and the establishment of the Shooting Industry Foundation of Australia.
Scott hopes to be able to continue this work as a Board member.
I have a feeling the die was set when my dad took me on my first duck opening at the age of four; since then, bar the odd year of early marriage or newborn children, I have found myself in many wetlands watching the dawn rise.
I was born and raised in Adelaide, SA; my grandmother came off the land from the West Coast of SA, so my Dad was raised with a healthy dose of country living, camping, shooting and fishing, which he then passed on to me.
I attended Westminster College in Adelaide for my secondary schooling and commenced tertiary education at Adelaide University until the thirst for income and career overrode my desire for a degree. I was very fortunate to gain employment with Mobil Oil Australia at Adelaide Refinery and for the next 14 years developed a career in the oil industry in varied roles.
Concurrently to this, I started a family and now have three wonderful children (24, 21 and 16). In early 2003, my wife and I identified a job opportunity for me in the Riverland region of SA as an operations manager of a large winery. So, at the age of 33, we took a leap of faith and moved the family to the region.
Thirteen years on, I still work with wine, albeit now as a general manager — operations in a family owned company.
The now constant exposure to the River Murray, wetlands, fishing and camping rekindled a fire dampened by too much city living. I had been a member of Barmera Moorook Field & Game since 1998 and being local, it wasn’t long before I was dragged along to committee meetings. Before I knew it, I was elected into office bearer positions and now into my ninth year, I’m still going strong.
Operating as the secretary/treasurer and elected representative to the state council of SAFGA, I was the key architect of the transfer to FGA, although I must thank and acknowledge the assistance of David Rehn and Rod Drew. One of my greatest achievements has been the membership growth of the branch from low 60s when I commenced to nearly 160 in January this year.
I strongly believe in conservation, wetland and wildlife management and we practice what we preach at Loveday Wetlands. I feel drawn to the conservation component of FGA; while I enjoy my hunting I have never been a great shot (more practice would help) but you can always find me not far from a piece of scrub or wetlands, usually with a labrador in tow, checking out my surroundings. Secondary to this is my enjoyment in training and mentoring of new hunters, the exposure to the Waterfowl Training (WIT) material, and the commencement of these courses in the Riverland since early 2016 has shown the capability of what we can do.
The time training in WIT has definitely identified for me the lack of information/material for new hunters in South Australia. If we can link training with access to wetlands then I believe there is significant membership opportunities for FGA in the State.
My approach is one of collaboration and facilitation; people need to be heard and listened to, however they also need to be provided with honest feedback on what is achievable.
I am a passionate advocate and relish an opportunity to assist FGA in furthering the organisation’s objectives and goals.