Acting Chief Executive Officer

Director of Policy
Hardwood Processing Chamber

Senior Policy Manager
Growers Chamber

Policy Manager – Softwood Manufacturing Chamber

AFPA NSW Chief Executive Officer and Policy Manager


Forest Industry Safety Manager

Counsellor – International Affairs


National Forest Biosecurity Manager

Natasa Sikman

Acting Chief Executive Officer

Natasa Sikman is highly skilled in advocacy, strategy, and evidence-based policy development. Prior to commencing with AFPA she has spent 20 years in the Federal Parliament working initially in the Department of the House of Representatives and then in politics where she engaged with a diverse range of primary industry stakeholders delivering effective legislative and policy outcomes. A true born and bred Canberran she is a strong advocate for grassroots engagement and wants to provide a voice and opportunity to those who are not familiar with political and bureaucratic systems. Natasa has a true green thumb and is always happy to compare garden photos.

Richard Hyet

Director of Policy

Richard Hyett Joined AFPA in early 2021 and has 20 years’ experience in Agricultural and Natural Resource advocacy. Prior to Joining AFPA Richard had over a decade in Government and the Public Service including working for two Cabinet Ministers. Richard has a degree in politics and natural resource management from Monash University and has owned and run his own farm enterprise close to Echuca for 25 years. Richard lists Country of Origin Labelling as his favourite achievement when working in government.

Sara Bray

Senior Policy Manager

Sara Bray has over fifteen years’ experience in law, public policy and advocacy. Sara formally trained as a lawyer, and practiced in corporate law and governance, predominately working for international clients seeking to capital raise in Australia. More recently, she has worked as a political adviser for agriculture ministers in the Federal Parliament and the South Australian Parliament. Growing up in the South Australian Mallee region, Sara has always been passionate about good policy and ensuring communities are engaged in the decisions that affect them. Sara enjoys ParkRun, reading crime thriller novels and bingeing political drama series.

Joe Prevedello

Communications Director

Joe Prevedello has more than a decade’s experience as a communications professional. Prior to joining AFPA he held roles as a political and media adviser in the Federal, ACT and Northern Territory parliaments and as a radio journalist in both Sydney and Canberra. From regional NSW originally, Joe is passionate about Australia’s rural industries and their importance to the communities they underpin. Joe is also a big rugby league fan, has been a Canberra based tour operator and tour guide, and enjoys fishing trips!

Georgina Williams

Policy Manager - Softwood Manufacturing Chamber

Georgina joined AFPA in 2023 after working as a political adviser for regional ministers in the NSW Government. Georgina studied law at university in Australia and the US and was admitted to the Supreme Court roll in 2016. Growing up in the NSW Southern Highlands, Georgina is an advocate for the regions and loves all things outdoors.

James Jooste

AFPA NSW Chief Executive Officer and Policy Manager

James Jooste is a passionate advocate for regional Australia. He has spent a decade working in the media and senior government offices. From Bathurst in NSW, James has worked in newsrooms across the country from the Australian Outback to the Apple Isle in Tasmania. After a career in radio James worked as a senior advisor in the NSW Government including Chief of Staff to the NSW Agriculture Minister. James has worked across drought, flood and climate policy and is focused on unlocking the potential of regional industries. When he is not driving on country roads, he is usually in the saddle cycling on them.

Gordon Neil

Policy Officer

Gordon Neil had a long public service career working in a range of departments dealing with science, industry, communications and agriculture policy. Gordon served as a science counsellor in Paris and to the OECD; was a senior economic and industry advisor to the then Trade Minister; from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, led a team negotiating Regional Forest Agreements with NSW; advised on the implementation of digital TV and radio; and as a member of the Department of Agriculture represented Australia in the negotiation of international treaties for the management of fish stocks in the Indian, Southern and Pacific Oceans. Gordon is a lapsed economist, a keen bike rider who likes to take his holidays in the steeper parts of Europe and a long-suffering Canberra Raiders

Sandi Grant

Company Secretary & Finance Manager

Sandi Grant has been AFPA’s Finance Manager since 2019 and assumed the Company Secretary role in 2022. Prior to working with AFPA, Sandi held a number finance positions in Australia, the UK and South Africa, including with other industry associations and accounting businesses. Sandi enjoys trips to the south coast with her family, training her groodle, baking and watching her kids play sport. She’s also a big ACT Brumbies fan!

Fairlie Pearce

Creative Director

Fairlie Pearce has been a creative person her whole life and a professional artist/designer for the last 15 years. Her prior experience ranges from cultural institutions such as the National Library, War Memorial and Royal Australian Mint to working in design positions in government departments within the public service. With a background in print media and drawing Fairlie’s preferred art practice is relief printing with wood blocks and printing on paper. Gaining knowledge in the forest industries has broadened her inspiration and has harnessed this awareness to inform her practice. Fairlie an anime enthusiast, enjoys going to art exhibitions and aspires to travel to Japan as many times possible.

Amanda Bell

Forest Industry Safety Manager

Amanda Bell is a highly experienced health and safety professional, with experience across a broad
cross-section of blue and white-collar industries both in Australia and Overseas. Prior to joining AFPA,
she worked as a risk consultant for 9 years developing strong strategic planning, stakeholder
engagement and project management skills. When she’s not working, you’ll find Amanda at the
occasional half marathon, exploring country Victoria with her family or sitting in the sun enjoying a
good book.

Ross Hampton

Ross Hampton

Counsellor – International Affairs

Ross Hampton was Chief Executive Officer of AFPA from 2013 to 2023. He has a Master’s Degree in
Public Policy, is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has worked domestically and internationally, in and with Governments, in the area of public policy. Ross has specialised in developing and implementing policies in the areas of sustainable resource management, environmental protection, the circular economy, climate change and sustainable forest management. In 2023 Ross relocated to London and serves as AFPA’s Counsellor, International Affairs.

Paco Tovar

National Forest Biosecurity Manager

Paco Tovar has worked with the forest sector for over 20 years, including research and extension roles with the CRC for Forestry and the Industry Plantation Management Group working on issues relating to plantation health, productivity or biosecurity. Prior to joining AFPA, he was the forest biosecurity coordinator at Plant Health Australia, charged with brokering the agreement between governments and the plantation forest sector that successfully established the National Forest Pest Surveillance Program. Growing up next to a national park instilled a lifelong love of the outdoors and forests. Keen to pass on this love, Paco is often out with family and friends bushwalking, camping or four-wheel driving. When not out and about, he enjoys cooking, attending live music, coaching soccer and being involved with Rotary.

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