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New Chair for RDA Northern Inland

The Australian Government has today announced the Chair and Deputy Chair appointments to Regional Development Australia (RDA) committees across New South Wales. In the Northern Inland region, Narrabri’s Russell Stewart has been appointed Chair, while Inverell’s Les Parsons is continuing as Deputy Chair.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the three-year appointments will provide leadership to RDA committees to drive economic growth and make the most of the potential capability of their region. “The committees will assist local community stakeholders to develop project proposals and direct them to appropriate public and/or private funding sources—including the $1 billion National Stronger Regions Fund.”

The new leadership of RDA Northern Inland met in Armidale with Executive Officer Nathan Axelsson this morning and are primed to hit the ground running. Mr Stewart is a prominent champion for the Narrabri community and described his appointment as Chair of RDA Northern Inland is an honour that he is excited about. “This region is home for my family. I’ve got a real passion for the people and communities who live in the bush.”

The RDA Northern Inland Committee comprises members from throughout the New England and North West and Mr Stewart said he sees strength in their diversity, as he does with the region. “I think that working with the diversity and strengths in the Northern Inland region, we can be unbeatable.
I am keen to help achieve positive change, with a regional approach. I wouldn’t have put my hand up if I didn’t think I, my fellow Committee members and staff could make a difference.”

“My focus is that we, as a region, need to take pro-active steps to not only attract quality people but also to retain them. We need to create opportunities and practical on the ground tools which encourage them to stay. By sharing knowledge about successful local initiatives on a regional level, we can improve how our communities remain attractive prospects for quality people who want to work, live and contribute,” Mr Stewart said.

Mr Truss said that the national network of 55 regional committees can play a key role in growing stronger regions across the nation and ensure all three tiers of government work together. “The committees will advise on priority activities that will unlock regional economic development and improve the productivity of their region.

“RDA committees will provide advice to the Government on critical issues affecting each region and are an important mechanism to increase access to Australian Government programmes in their communities.”

Media Contact: Russell Stewart 0457 922878

Caption: (L to R) Executive Officer Nathan Axelsson, Deputy Chair Les Parsons, Chair Russell Stewart

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