Agriculture Victoria Services Pty Ltd


Our Team

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Dr Clive Noble


BAgrSci (Hons), PhD, GAICD


Clive is managing director of AgInsight Pty Ltd, a consulting firm that provides science and technology advice to government, industry, the university and private sectors. Clive spent over 30 years working in the public sector in agriculture and primary industries, most of this period as a senior executive. Clive’s background is in research conduct, research and development strategy and management, corporate strategy, governance and technology commercialisation.


Clive joined the AVS Board in 1998 and was appointed chairman of the Company on 1 August 2008. Clive is also a director of AVS subsidiary entity Phytogene Pty Ltd.




Peter Turvey




Peter is a member of the AVS Audit and Risk Management Committee and is chairman of the AVS subsidiary Phytogene Pty Ltd.
Peter is the former Group General Counsel, Company Secretary and Executive Vice-President Licensing of specialty biopharmaceutical company CSL Ltd, having retired in 2011. He is currently a principal of Foursight Associates Pty Ltd, and a non-executive director of Starpharma Holdings Ltd, and Viralytics Ltd.
Peter played a key role in the transformation of CSL from a government-owned entity through Australian Securities Exchange listing in 1994 to the global plasma and biopharmaceutical company that it is today. He was also responsible for the protection and licensing of CSL’s intellectual property and for risk management within CSL.




Kathryn Adams


BSc.Agr (Hons), LLM, M.Bus, M.Env.Stud, Prof Cert Arbitration, FAICD 


Kathryn is an agricultural scientist and a lawyer.  She has extensive experience in industry-focussed R&D investment for agribusiness, having held senior executive and board positions in the public and private sectors, including chief executive officer of two R&D corporations and director of the Queensland Horticulture Institute.


Kathryn was the first registrar of Plant Breeder’s Rights in Australia and an executive director with the Queensland Environment Protection Authority.  After retiring she became a part-time senior research fellow with the Australian Centre for Intellectual Property in Agriculture (ACIPA) at Griffith University and is on a number of agribusiness boards. Kathryn is also a fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.





Dr Richard Aldous


BSc (Hons), PhD, GAIDC


Richard’s background is in energy, resources, public policy and research management in both the public and private sectors. For 10 years he was a senior ececutive and then Deputy Secretary, Energy and Earth Resources at the Victorian Department of Primary Industires. He has also held senior executive roles in resource companies focused on exploration, research and development.


Richard has been a director of the Cooperative Research Center (CRC) Association, chief executive officer of the CO2CRC and chairman of the CRC for Clean Power from Lignite. At present, he is chairing the Ministerial Advisory Council for Earth Resources in Victoria.




Sandra (Sam) Andersen




Sam is the chair of the AVS Audit and Risk Management Committee.


Sam has held senior executive positions at theANZ Bank, Commonwealth Bank and National Australia Bank.  Sam has been chief financial officer and chief operating officer at several ASX-listed IT companies leading transformation initiatives, as well as managing director of a listed allied health services company. She currently serves as a director for a number of government, public unlisted corporations and member-owned organisations. 


Sam is chair of the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation Limited; a director of the Chisholm Institute, Beyond Bank Australia, Australian Hearing Services, and Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Trust; and chair of the Audit and Risk Management Committee for the Department of Premier and Cabinet, Victoria.



Dr Amanda Caples


BSc (Hons), PhD, GAIDC


Dr Amanda Caples is Victoria’s Lead Scientist with broad experience in technology commercialisation (including intellectual property management, licensing and joint ventures), public policy development and governance of public and private entities.


Most recently she has been Deputy Secretary, Sector Development and Programs, at DEDJTR, responsible for developing the Future Industries sector strategies and growth plan, and for supporting the Victorian science, innovation and entrepreneurial sectors.  


Amanda has delivered research-led health initiatives, regulatory and legislative scientific reforms and has established international collaborative technology alliances.





AVS is accountable for the delivery of DEDJTR’s intellectual property protection and commercialisation program.  The Company provides an effective portal through which DEDJTR technologies and capabilities are taken to the marketplace via a means that maximises the economic benefit to Victoria. The executive and operational structure that has been developed recognises the commonality of goals between AVS and DEDJTR and seeks to provide a seamless progression for a technology as it follows its route-to-market.


Employees of AVS responsible for enabling and delivering the Company's strategic objectives are as follows:




Agriculture Victoria Services Pty Ltd






David Liesegang

Chief Executive Officer


B Bus (Marketing), GAICD


David leads the AVS team of 15 professional and support staff, prior to which he served as AVS’s Chief Operating Officer (from September 2014) and as Director of the Technology Commercialisation Branch within the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (from 2011).   David is responsible for leading an experienced team of AVS technology commercialisation, intellectual property and legal professionals and ensuring effective delivery of AVS services for the transfer of commercially valuable research inventions and science capability of the Department to the private sector.


He has extensive expertise in the protection and commercialisation of agbio technologies; the negotiation, establishment and commercial management of contract and collaborative R&D agreements; the investment of company funds to accelerate the transfer and adoption of commercially-valuable research outputs; and intellectual property and commercial risk management and compliance.  


David assumed responsibility as company CEO on 30 November 2015 (following the retirement of Bruce Lang).





Shane Cagney

Chief Financial Officer and Company Secretary




As company CFO, Shane is responsible for AVS financial planning and performance which includes budget preparation, management and reporting, financial systems, human resources, and information technology.  As Company Secretary he is responsible for AVS's governance, risk management and corporate compliance frameworks and procedures, and for providing board secretariat services to AVS and Phytogene.  Shane has over 20 years’ experience in private and public sector financial and governance leadership positions and is a qualified accountant and member of CPA Australia.





Jarett K Abramson

Chief Operating Officer


BA,  MSc Chemistry (Biological), JD (Law)


Jarett is responsible for leading AVS's operations team of specialist commercialisation, intellectual property (IP) and legal professionals with responsibility for delivering effective protection and commercialisation of DEDJTR created technologies to maximise industry adoption and economic benefits to Victoria.  Prior to joining AVS, Jarett led IP management and global public-private partnerships for Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maiz y Trigo (CIMMYT) and has managed IP commercialisation strategies, commercial seeds and traits, related seed policies and procedures, patents, trade secrets, freedom to operate opinions, and plant variety protections in working for both private agbio industry and patent boutique law firms.





Andrew Grace

Senior Commercialisation Manager


B.App Sc (Agriculture), MBT, GAICD


Andrew is responsible for managing a broad range of plant-based licences including barley, canola, lentils, field peas, pears and pasture seeds, as well as technologies including Livestock Tag & Trace.  Andrew has worked in the private and public sectors within the environmental and agricultural industries.  Andrew has responsibility for the commercialisation of intellectual property generated within Agriculture Research & Development.



Dr Ernesto Vargas

Senior Commercialisation Manager




Ernesto has experience in IP commercialisation and early stage investments. He worked at University of Melbourne Commercial Ltd (UoMC), where he was responsible for managing the protection and development of IP across a range of technologies (e.g. biotechnology, biomaterials and medical devices), and for managing valuations, marketing initiatives and IP licence negotiations. Ernesto also worked at Trans-Tasman Commercialisation Fund Pty Ltd, assessing investments in early stage technologies. Before working in technology transfer, Ernesto worked as a scientist at the University of Melbourne and the Howard Florey Institute.














Senior Commercialisation Manager




Jane Banovac

Commercialisation Manager


BSc, Hons


Jane is responsible for the commercialisation of DEPI-created intellectual property and the ongoing management of licensed plant-based intellectual property. Jane has developed a broad range of experience in plant research and agribusiness. 







Raelene Harrison

General Counsel


BComm LLB (Hons), LLM, MBank&FinLaw, BEqSci, GDipLegalPrac, GDipCorpGov, GDipCorpSecLaw, GDipSportsLaw

Since being admitted in 2000, Raelene has practised as a lawyer specialising in corporate, commercial and financial services. Most recently, Raelene has been Managing Director and Principal of her own legal practice that specialises in legal and governance services for the animal, equine, veterinary and agriculture sectors.

Raelene is a Senior Fellow in the Melbourne Law Masters Program. She has a number of undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in law and governance. Raelene has completed an undergraduate degree in equine science. Raelene is finalising postgraduate study at the University of Melbourne in agricultural science. Raelene will complete her major research project this year.

Raelene is a director and committee member on a number of boards and committees in the animal and veterinary sectors.



Dr Ian McCauley

Intellectual Property Officer


BSc (Hons), PhD, LLM


Ian administers the Company’s intellectual property portfolio including patents, Plant Breeder’s Rights and trademark registrations. Ian has an extensive background as a research scientist and a Master’s Degree in Intellectual Property Law.





Elisse Buchlak

Legal Counsel 


LLB, BSc, GradDipLegPrac


Elisse provides specialist legal advice on contract development and intellectual property issues for matters ranging from scientific research and development through to commercial licences.


Tenille Saffin

Human Resources Manager

BSc, GradDip EnvSci, MIR&ER

Tenille supports and provides advice on a broad range of company human resource policies, procedures and frameworks which include advising on AVS employment agreements, recruitment, occupational health and safety, learning and development, workplace culture and performance and key stakeholder engagement.





Helen Liu



B Com (Acc), CPA


Helen is responsible for providing a broad range of financial services, management reports and the company’s consolidated Annual Financial Statements to ensure compliance with applicable Accounting Standards.


Jodie Holmes

Executive Assistant


Dip Bus


Jodie provides executive support to the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer / Company Secretary and Executive Team.













Jasmine Maguire

Contracts Administrator


Jasmine is responsible for supporting the design and delivery of AVS’s contract and IP administrative processes and systems, as well as providing general administrative support to AVS's commercial operations, clients and stakeholders.


Rosanna Mastrolorito

Finance Officer


Cert Accounting


Rosanna assists the AVS Accountant to deliver AVS financial reports and provides general office support services, including accounts payable/receivable records management and payroll.









Yoges Pillai

Commercialisation Officer


B Bus (Business Information Systems)


Yoges provides research, analysis and technology licence evaluation support to strengthen the delivery of AVS core services in the areas of technology commercialisation, IP protection and licience negotiation and management.