New Directors Join RDA Board

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regional development australia
New Directors Join RDA Board

Sonja Johnson
: (07) 4041 1729
Chief Executive Officer
Regional Development Australia
Tropical North (RDA)

Three new directors with a strong background in local government have joined the Regional Development Australia (RDA) Tropical North Board, bringing diverse skills and networks to our independent organisation.

Cairns Regional Council Chief Executive Officer Mica Martin, Queensland Government Advisor and former Cairns Regional Councillor Richie Bates, and Weipa Town Authority elected member Jaime Gane were welcomed at the February meeting.

RDA Tropical North was overwhelmed with the quantity of high calibre applications received for limited board seats and are delighted to retain previous members who have delivered substantial expertise to the region.

Cr Brett Moller (Cairns Regional Council), Carolyn Eagle (Partner Pacifica Accountants), Joe Moro (FNQ Growers President and mango farmer) and Jodie Duignan-George (Associate Vice President CQUniversity Cairns) were returned to the Board after their terms expired. Noeleen Selke, Stirling Tavener and Mike Chiodo have ongoing terms.

We farewell one of the longest serving members of the Board, Bill Shannon, who is retiring after a tenure of 11 years. The Board thanks him for his significant contribution to RDA Tropical North and wish Bill and his wife Sue an enjoyable retirement.

RDA Tropical North celebrates its 15th year in 2024 and our expanded Board of community leaders will meet each month to broker regional development solutions that will create jobs and grow the Far North Queensland economy.

Our independent organisation has a strong history of advocating for projects to grow and diversify the Far North’s economy such as the Tropical North Queensland Plastics Industry Proposal. This proposal was supported by all three levels of government and resulted in the establishment of a plastics recycling facility in Mareeba.

We have advocated for investment opportunities in the Tropical North’s tourism, innovation and agriculture sectors with a Business Investment Roadshow for newly arrived business migrants.

Most recently we worked with the FNQ Regional Organisation of Councils, the Torres Cape Indigenous Councils Alliance, the State Government, industry and community to deliver the Tropical North Queensland Economic Development Strategy 2024-2029. The document sets out six goals to transform the region with regional pathways to achieve them and the steps that RDA Tropical North needs to take to assist.

The goals are:
• A dynamic economy, adapting to 21st century challenges and transitioning in the face of climate change.
• Northern Australia’s most productive region.
• A resilient community with an abundant and healthy natural environment.
• The north’s most liveable region.
• A safe, effective and connected region.
• A strong collaborative, integrated region.

RDA Tropical North is integral to the delivery of the Regional Investment Framework and the Federal Government’s vision for a strong, connected, economically prosperous and resilient regional Australia and our activities have focused on this shared vision.
The Lakeland Irrigation Area Scheme is an example of such a project with RDA Tropical North delivering a Detailed Business Case to the State Government. This project included extensive First Nations engagement to create employment, business opportunities and the prospect of being able to live and work on Country for the Western Yalanji people.

We look forward to supporting Cook Shire Council in driving this game changing project for Cape York Peninsula and the wider region. Lakeland has been included as a priority agricultural area within the FNQ Regional Plan and our
advocacy work with the State Government for it continues.

Regional Development Australia Tropical North Inc is an independent organisation driven by community leaders to broker regional development solutions that will create jobs and grow the Far North Queensland economy.