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The Board


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

The Board meets every 6 weeks with every second meeting being a Finance Meeting.

Board Members

Mark Sutton


Mark is the Director 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.

Colin Davies

Deputy Chair

Colin has had a long career in local government, 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, until his retirement in mid 2019. 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.

Craig Cresp

Craig is a senior Project Manager and the Port Augusta Office Manager for McMahon Services with a wealth of experience in the mining, heavy industry, oil and gas and energy sectors both in Australia and the United Kingdom. Prior to working for McMahon Services Craig worked for BHP at its Olympic Dam operations in varied roles associated with the Smelter Campaign Maintenance projects (2012, 2014, 2017).

Craig is a proud Port Augusta born and bred local, who undertook his education at Caritas College. Post completion of this schooling, he studied engineering in Adelaide, where between his studies he worked for an engineering firm in Whyalla undertaking design works for the steelworks. The following years saw him return to Adelaide to work for larger engineering firm who also undertook design works for the Whyalla steelworks and also for the Port Pirie Smelters, amongst other projects. The following decade saw Craig live and work in London, Adelaide and then finally return to Port Augusta, where he currently lives with his wife and young family. Living in Port Augusta brings all of the perks of living on the water and adjacent the Flinders Ranges, where Craig often finds himself on the water, at best, catching fish or in the Flinders Ranges amongst the walking trails and natural surrounds

His passion, pride and experience in the local region provides the RDAFN board and individual who brings broad construction management and engineering experience with qualifications in Project Management and Engineering.

Philip "Phil" Turner

Born in Tasmania a few years ago, Phil has many years’ worth of experience in various areas of business including owning, running and working for high profile businesses in Tasmania and Canberra. He even claims to have put “Tasmania back on the map” with his position of Director at Leo Burnett. After winning numerous awards nationally and internationally for marketing Tasmania he sold up and moved to Canberra to start his own consultancy business and held contracts consulting with Government. Some of this projects included reshaping of the Royal Australian Air Force; Business Migration Program for the Department of Immigration and rolling out of the international Electronic Travel Authority system. He worked extensively on Indigenous issues with ATSIC and the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and won a Gold Public Relations Institute of Australia Award for the national campaign “Aboriginal Australia”. Phil was appointed a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors in 1993.

Whilst being based in city areas, Phil’s passion has always been the outback and the desert. After studying Journalism and later becoming qualified as a Travel Writer and Photojournalist with international accreditation, Phil and his wife Maz decided the only way to really experience the outback was to immerse themselves in outback life. So the consulting business closed; Maz resigned as a career public servant and they bought the Marree Hotel business.

After a lot of hard work getting the business running the way they wanted to, in 2017 they won “GOLD” in the SA Tourism awards for South Australia’s best Standard Accommodation. They also won “BRONZE” in the national Qantas Tourism Awards for the same year. Phil’s passion for the outback remains and he has been a driver for many regional initiative and now wants to help capitalise on the opportunities that identify ‘potential’ and bring those opportunities to fruition.

Lucy Morphett

Sam Johnson

Mark Fennell