The inaugural Tony Coote AM Memorial Lecture was delivered by Major General Michael Jeffery AC, AO (Mil), CVO, MC (Retd) on 5 August 2019 in NSW Parliament House before an audience of Members of Parliament and supporters.
The Mulloon Institute (TMI) has established this annual event to honour the legacy left by its founder, Tony Coote AM and to maintain the public’s attention of the need to repair and rehydrate Australia’s degraded and eroded landscapes.
“Tony Coote left the nation a substantial legacy by bequeathing his farms to The Mulloon Institute, a not-for-profit charity, to ensure our research to improve agricultural productivity, through a repaired and rehydrated environment, will occur in perpetuity,” TMI’s Chairman Gary Nairn AO explained.
“Besides getting this work done on the ground TMI has a crucial role in advocating for greater awareness and action across Australia’s catchments plus educating and training people to do this work. So the annual Tony Coote AM Lecture will be just one of the ways to achieve these goals.
“TMI’s Patron and Soils For Life Chairman, Major General Jeffery, was the obvious person to deliver the inaugural Lecture. He worked closely with Tony Coote and he has been the loudest voice in advocating to government the need for change,” he added.
In his lecture Major General Jeffery recognised Tony’s vision and contribution both as a farmer and with his establishment of The Mulloon Institute.
He said, “Tony quickly realised that as food is a product of the environment in which it is grown, it can only ever be sustainable and nutritious if the soil, water, plant and animal components of that environment are properly managed through well informed and adequately resourced farmers and graziers.”
Michael Jeffery’s advocacy to government recently culminated in his reappointment as the National Advocate for Soil Health and the establishment of a drought fund that will be used to ensure farmers are more resilient during dry periods.
He recognized the role of TMI in these government decisions when he said “Mulloon Creek was visited by the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister Littleproud, just prior to the election where the concept made a big impression on the group.”
Michael Jeffery ended the inaugural Tony Coote AM Lecture by saying:
“I feel that we are at a turning point for soils, catchments and the health of our agricultural landscapes. So much is owed to Tony Coote, the great team at The Mulloon Institute, and others across the country who have led the need for change; change that is now being strongly supported by federal government policy.
Because of Tony’s passion, his foresight, his courage under adversity and his philanthropic generosity, our nation will lead the world in guaranteeing its long term food security, through inspired farmers and graziers practicing Tony’s regenerative landscape principles.
There can be no more important or finer legacy.”