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Lydia Buchtmann is a communication consultant specialising in risk and crisis communication. She headed the communication area, and was media spokesperson, for the government regulator Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) from 1997 to 2010. At FSANZ she worked on complex issues such as consumer concerns about chemicals in food and genetically modified food, as well as major food emergencies such as the melamine milk contamination in China. She established and chaired the Government Food Communicators Group of communicators from state and territory governments and New Zealand food regulators and was a member of a similar group linking communication experts from Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian food regulators. Since leaving FSANZ she has established a small consultancy doing work for a number of government agencies, including being on the Executive and providing pro bono communication work for the not-for-profit organisation the Food Safety Information Council.
She has almost 20 years experience in crisis communication including working on major exercises on animal and human health including avian influenza and the flu pandemic. She also headed communications for the national anti-terrorism exercises at the Federal Attorney-General’s Department.
Lydia has over 25 years experience heading communications sections in Federal Government agencies including the Attorney General’s Department from 1995 to 1997 (which included responsibility for the Gun Buyback scheme education campaign), the Child Support Agency from 1990 to 1995 and the Australian Taxation Office from 1988 to 1990. She has a Masters in Communication (by research) from the University of Canberra 2001 and a BA (Hons) in Anthropology from the ANU 1984. She is a member of the Public Relations Institute of Australia and a life member of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance.