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The Board

Governance

RDAFN is governed by a Board of 10 members including the Chair and Deputy Chair. Board Members are appointed via an application process through the Commonwealth, State and Local Government Association. Board members are committed volunteers appointed from the region and represent the community, business and Local Government.

The Board meets on the third Thursday of each month with every second meeting being a Finance Meeting.

Board Members

Dr Jennifer Cleary

Chair

Jen is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Centacare Catholic Family services, Country South Australia. Centacare provides social services across regional South Australia from 11 sites in Whyalla, Port Augusta, Port Lincoln, Port Pirie, Ceduna and Coober Pedy. She holds and adjunct Associate Professorship with the University of Adelaide, in the Centre for Global Food and Resources. Jen currently chairs the national Regional Development Australia Reference Group, and is Deputy Chair of Regional Development SA.

Prior to taking up her role with Centacare, Jen worked in academia holding positions at the Centre for Global Food and Resources at the University of Adelaide and within the School of Commerce and Centre for Regional Engagement, at the University of South Australia.

Jen has a passion for regional, rural and remote communities and economic development and the contributions regions make to the rest of Australia and has development national and international networks in these fields.

Mark Sutton

Deputy Chair

Mark is the General Manager of the Outback Communities Authority, a State Government of South Australia Statutory Authority responsible for community development and limited “local government” function in the out-of-councils area of the state.

Mark has a deep seeded passion for the outback, developed over a period of eighteen years living and working in the region. Mark first arrived in the Outback in 1993 as a young Constable with the South Australia Police stationed at Leigh Creek Police Station. Over the ensuing nine years until 2002, he lived and/or worked at Marree, Innamincka, Marla and the Pitjantjatjara Lands, Coober Pedy, Woomera, Roxby Downs, Andamooka, William Creek and finally at Oodnadatta.

It was at Oodnadatta where his passion for the outback manifested into a more formal community development direction. Mark served as the Chair of the Oodnadatta Progress Association from 1999 until 2002, a position, likened to a town Mayor, which oversaw all municipal activity in the town. This position allowed Mark to work closely with the Outback Areas Community Development Trust (the predecessor to the Outback Communities Authority). When the opportunity to take up a new role with the Trust as a Community Development Officer, Mark resigned from the South Australia Police and moved to Port Augusta in 2002.

Initially employed as a Community Development Officer, the premature departure of the Trust’s Manager provided an opportunity for Mark to relieve and ultimately confirm himself in that position in 2003. Since that time Mark has overseen a significant increase in the local government function of the Trust brought about by significant change in economic, social and environmental activity in the region. These changes culminated in July 2010 with the creation of the Outback Communities Authority, of which Mark is the inaugural General Manager.

Mark’s knowledge of the region and its people is widely acknowledged and his input is widely sought in the development of regional policy ranging from economic development to drought response to infrastructure provision. Mark is the Chair of the Far North Emergency Management Committee, Member of the Far North Regional Coordination Network, Member of the Outback Bushfire Management Committee, Member of the Rangelands Drought Task Force and inaugural Member of the Outback SA Community Alliance.


Tony Mitchell

Tony moved to Port Augusta in 1994 and after working for several businesses formed the company Crossroads Concepts Pty Ltd with Business partner Shane Packard, they purchased an existing business Rossigns and established Multi Print SA.

Tony has a background of 30+ years in the printing trade and has seen many changes over the course of this time. Soon after moving to Port Augusta he joined the Port Augusta Tourist Committee and saw the formation of Port Augusta focus, which is now Business Port Augusta, a member based business association that represents business in Port Augusta. He was a founding member of the Original Afghan Express Committee which successfully campaigned and raised funds for the extension of the Pichi Richi Railway line into Port Augusta.

For several years he was a Board Member of Global Maintenance Upper Spencer Gulf (GMUSG) as the representative for businesses with up to 10 employees.

He was an Inaugural member, and then Chairperson, of the Upper Spencer Gulf Business Incubator Network (USGBIN). Tony has been a member on the newly formed Community Development Assessment Panel, and is an Elected Member (Councillor) of the City of Port Augusta, starting his 4th term in this role. He has a strong passion for economic development, tourism and small business and believes he is good representation to Council on these issues.

Colin Davies

Colin is the Chief Executive Officer of The Flinders Ranges Council responsible for a large portion (4,198 sq kms) of an iconic area of the state that is an Australian National Landscape. The Flinders Ranges Council area includes the towns of Quorn, Hawker and Cradock.

Colin has worked in local government for the last 11 years, starting at the District Council of Orroroo Carrieton in March 2003 as Director of Finance. Colin then moved to the District Council of Peterborough as Director of Finance (including several periods as Acting CEO) late that same year. This was followed by a move to the Northern Areas Council based in Jamestown as Manager Finance and Administration before the most recent move to The Flinders Ranges Council in 2008, initially as Manager of Finance and Administration with the appointment as Chief Executive Officer in April 2009. Colin has worked as Chief Financial Officer in various other industries including mining, manufacturing, health and the not-for-profit sector and is a Fellow of the Institute of Financial Accountants (UK). Colin is also a Fellow of Local Government Professionals.

Colin also has qualifications as a travel agent, having spent 8 years as a Travel Manager in various travel agencies, and has travelled to many parts of Australia and the world. Colin therefore understands the huge benefit of tourism to the Flinders Ranges and Outback region. Colin also owns a fully hosted bed and breakfast in the Flinders Ranges which is managed by his wife Helen.

Colin has a huge dedication to the community, both local and worldwide which is evidenced by the number of committees on which he sits outside of the Council committees. They include Far North Zone Emergency Management Committee, National Landscapes Committee, Rotary Port Augusta, Rotary District 9500 Executive (Treasurer), North Eastern Rural Group of Justices, Flinders Group of Justices & Regional Development Australia Far North Board. Colin is a Justice of the Peace. Colin was also a volunteer South Australian Ambulance Services Ambulance Officer for 7 years in Peterborough, Jamestown and Quorn.

Rob Gibb

Rob operates his own business consultancy and management services company (GIBBRAC Pty Ltd) which sees him providing services to a number of clients around the Upper Spencer Gulf and far north of South Australia, and across the regional and remote areas of Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Regional and remote communities, their business and their people are Rob's passion.

Prior to his current occupation, Rob held positions as Business Advisor and CEO of Regional Development Australia Far North, and previously, owned and operated businesses in the north of South Australia for over fifteen years. He has experienced the mining industry first hand, with a brief period spent working underground in BHP Billiton's Olympic Dam mine at Roxby Downs. His earlier employment history included time in commercial management roles within in the Cooper Basin Gas industry, and positions of Operations Manager and Administrator for a private electricity undertaking in northern South Australia.

Following his schooling, Rob studies a Bachelor of Business degree and more recently has undertaken his APEC Accreditation as a business advisor. Travelling the world extensively in 1990 and again in 2005, broadened his horizons and convinced him that he did still live in the land of most opportunity.

Rob is currently a Board member of both Global Maintenance Upper Spencer Gulf, and Regional Development Australia Far north, and has recently been appointed to the Board of A.M.Y Nominees Pty Ltd, the commercial arm of Antakirinja Matu Yankunytjatjara Aboriginal Corporation (AMYAC). He holds various positions in volunteer organisations and service clubs in his own community, and aims to maintain his passion for regional and remote Australia, through his current roles.

Debbie Alexander

Debbie Alexander presently hold the position of Stakeholder Engagement Coordination with OZ Minerals and has been with the company since October 2004.

Debbie has played a significant role in stakeholder engagement and community relations with OZ Minerals since 2004 and managed and coordinated the award winning OZ Minerals' Pre-Employment Training Programs from 2006 to 2012.

She plays a key role in the coordination of stakeholder engagement activities with all OZ Minerals' external stakeholders, both in Adelaide and the local communities of Prominent Hill and Carrapateena and is presently actively involved in the coordination of permitting activities with Government agencies for the Carrapateena project.

Debbie holds a Diploma in Project Management.

John Gavin

John has over 20 years' experience in Natural Resource Management and operates his own business specialising in natural resource management services and solutions. John has a broad and practical work history with community based natural resource management through a number of positions across Australia including as General Manager to the SA Arid Lands NRM Board and more recently with the emerging carbon economy and its opportunities for the rangelands. John has extensive expertise in this field and demonstrated experience within the Australian Rangeland's community.

John has extensive organisational governance experience through his previous work history and through the development and support of small community based groups. He has completed formal training through the Australian Institute of Company Directors and is currently engaged to provide organisational performance excellence reviews to regional NRM organisations across the country.

His interest in the region is ensuing people living in the region, live in sustainable communities through developing profitable industries. He has worked with Pastoralists, Progress Associations, community groups and individuals across the region over the last 12 years to assist them in utilising and caring for natural resources while developing the future they desire. This experience has provided the background and knowledge to assist the RDA achieve its goals and to assist the people working and living in the region.

Ross Sawers

Ross has a long history of involvement in regional South Australia, having been raised on a sheep and cattle station in the States northeast. Prior to managing that property for twenty years, he ran a contracting business in the Northern Territory and earlier still was involved in geological exploration throughout South Australia, the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

Upon leaving farming he spent seven years with OZ Minerals in South Australia working on the Prominent Hill project from start up and construction through to production, overseeing and managing the External Relations and Environment Departments, and ultimately became Manager, Land Access and Community Engagement for that company. His role encompassed managing community relations, pastoralist and Government liaison, and environmental compliance related to Prominent Hill, as well as ensuring local suppliers and Indigenous and local people benefitted from the opportunities the project provided. He also worked on the project management team for OZ Minerals newly acquired Carrapateena project, managing land access and community engagement.

Upon leaving OZ Minerals he then spent some time working for Santos Ltd as Team Leader Landholder Relations, responsible for land access throughout Santos’ Eastern Australian Business Unit, covering their operations throughout the Cooper Basin, the Northern Territory and Victoria.

Ross has been very involved in community development initiatives including working as a facilitator for the Community Builders program across northern South Australia, and being employed as Economic Development Officer for the Northern Regional Development Board based in Coober Pedy in the states remote far north.

Currently working as a consultant to the resources industry, Ross is also a board member on the South Australian Arid Lands Natural Resource Management Board.

Catherine Way

Catherine is the Development Manager for DP Energy. 

A specialist in renewable energy and sustainable development, Catherine has facilitated policy and programs to support investment including the passage through Parliament of new legislation to enable renewable energy investment, the implementation of strong targets, and the introduction of a package of land-use planning reforms to support wind energy development. Catherine has previously worked in both the NGO and private sectors, with RenewablesSA in the South Australian Government with responsibility for renewable energy and low carbon investment and notably for BHP Billiton on their Olympic Dam Expansion Project where she provided technical assistance and policy advice in relation to the sustainability aspects of the Olympic Dam Expansion project.

With qualifications in environmental management, business and leadership, Catherine has the background to deliver vision, authoritative leadership and expert advice leading to outcomes which reflect a strong balance between regional requirements, the economic imperative and environmental and social sustainability. 

Greg Flint

(Local Government Representative)

Councillor Greg Flint lives in Hawker and is an elected member of The Flinders Ranges Council. 

Greg also holds a Bachelor of Laws, a Bachelor of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, a Certificate of Conservation and Business, Natural Resource Based Enterprise Development and Local Livelihoods.  

Greg was formerly with the SA Police, is qualified as a Community Conference Facilitator, Transformative Justice Australia and is completing his Masters in Community Development. Greg also brings extensive experience working with Aboriginal Organisations and Communities within South Australia and the Northern Territory.