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Dr Duncan Hall from Biologic Pty Ltd

From exotic pests to product quality issues, if an olive industry crisis was to occur there is currently no formal response framework in place to protect the reputation of the supply chain and those within it.

However, Risk and crisis management planning for the olive industry (OL16011), will seek to change this. A strategic investment of the Hort Innovation Olive Fund, the one-year project will result in the development of a risk management plan and crisis management plan for industry and, in doing so, will provide a framework, process and understanding of who is to do what, when and how should an issue arise.

The project is being led by Dr Duncan Hall from Biologic Pty Ltd, who has extensive experience in major corporate risk and crisis management in the food sector.

The first output of the project is the risk register, which aims to assist the industry in considering and reviewing major foreseeable risks on a national and regional level, such as exotic pests and disease, chemical use, processing operations and quality issues that may result in a recall of Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) from retail shelves.

Dr Hall recently hosted a project workshop in Adelaide with Australian Olive Association (AOA) and grower representatives, to gather their perspective on the risk register and practice responses to hypothetical crisis scenarios.

Michael Thomsett (L) and Peter O’Meara (R) prioritise risks on a “impact vs likelihood” risk matrix at the recent project workshop.

Greg Seymour, CEO of AOA attended the project workshop and believes the project plays an important role in preparing the industry to act in a unified, pragmatic way should a crisis occur.

“The workshop highlighted that the industry has a very lens inward view, and we need to change this to a lens outward view to ensure confidence in the market is maintained in the event of a crisis,” Mr Seymour said.

“This project is helping to ensure we have the capability to act professionally, in terms of having a clear and effective structure in place and the correct people to act as a voice for the industry.”

The next stages of the project are:

  • Develop a risk assessment detailing the options available to prepare the olive industry for a crisis and how to reduce, minimise or remove the agreed risks
  • Use the risk assessment to inform a crisis management plan tailored to address the needs of the industry and offer pragmatic ways to address issues should they prevail
  • Provide scenario based training of olive industry leaders on how best to respond in the event of crisis and communicate to the public, regulators, retailers and the wider olive industry.

The project is scheduled for completion in June 2018.

For more information on the project contact Dr Hall on 0402 696 805 or

This project has been funded by Hort Innovation, using the olive research and development levy and contributions from the Australian Government. Hort Innovation is the growerowned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australian horticulture.

Image caption: Dr Duncan Hall from Biologic Pty Ltd