Patrick McClelland

Managing Partner

Porter Novelli

Patrick is Porter Novelli’s stakeholder engagement specialist with 15 years of consulting experience across the agribusiness, health, Government, environment, and energy sectors.

A media and politics devotee, Patrick has a knack for connecting the dots between stories and stakeholders, creating meaningful relationships for his clients.

His knowledge and passion for agriculture and rural communities is built upon his deep family roots in grain and livestock farming in northwest Victoria. This enabled him to establish a specialist team of consultants who offer an unmatched working knowledge of agricultural industries and a network of engaged stakeholders across Australia.

Lydia Bilton

Senior Consultant

Porter Novelli

Lydia is a Senior Consultant at Public relations firm, Porter Novelli. At Porter Novelli, Lydia works across a diverse portfolio with clients in agriculture, financial services and government agencies. Lydia, and her colleague, Patrick recently guided the Australian Mushroom Growers Association through a challenging media crisis, following the deaths of three people in Leongatha from a suspected mushroom poisoning. As well as specialist in crisis communications and issues management, Lydia is a savvy media-minded professional, who is dedicated to helping her clients achieve the best outcomes. Prior to joining Porter Novelli, Lydia was a Senior Producer at Australia’s longest running Breakfast TV program, the Today Show.

Mushrooms and alleged murder: Defending industry reputation in the face of scandal

In August 2023, by no fault of its own, Australia’s mushroom industry faced its biggest reputational risk to date, following the mysterious deaths of three people who had ingested ‘death cap’ mushrooms in regional Victoria. Following this unprecedented incident, the intense whodunnit scrutiny and ultimate charging of Gippsland local Erin Patterson, AMGA and Porter Novelli adopted a malleable communications approach, monitoring events closely and engaging several tiers of stakeholders and media. We will discuss how we uphold and continue to protect the reputation of the industry through our strategic issues engagement heading into the murder trial through 2024.