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Strong RDANI Performance Sees Chair Re-Appointed

Re-appointed Chair of Regional Development Australian Northern Inland Russell Stewart of Narrabri
Re-appointed Chair of Regional Development Australian Northern Inland Russell Stewart of Narrabri

Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI) is the peak regional body for business growth, new jobs, skills development and business investment within the Northern Inland region. The Australian Government’s Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government John McVeigh has announced the re-appointment of RDANI’s Narrabri-based Chair Russell Stewart for a second three-year term to lead the organisation.

“I am delighted to reappoint Mr Russell Stewart as Chair of RDANI. Mr Stewart’s extensive experience in local business and working across all three levels of Government, paired with his strong commitment to the Northern Inland region through his ongoing work in the area make him the perfect candidate to continue to lead RDANI,” Dr McVeigh said.

“I would also like to acknowledge and thank the 500-plus volunteer board members that serve on our 52 RDA committees across Australia for their ongoing support.”

Member for Parkes and Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, the Hon. Mark Coulton has congratulated Mr. Stewart on the re-appointment. “Russell and the RDANI Committee have achieved a great deal and I look forward to seeing that continue. RDANI is part of a national network that is ideally placed at the grass-roots level to help inform our Government about major projects and assist proponents to access funds for those projects,” he said.

The re-appointment to the role of Chair of RDANI is about the Australian Government backing a winner, according to Mr. Stewart. “Our team has proven to be one of the top performing RDA Regions in Australia over the past three years. This was recognised by Maxine Loynd, General Manager of the RDA Program with the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities, when our Executive Director, Nathan Axelsson and I met with her in Canberra in February.”

“For me, this is recognition of the positive, can-do approach by our voluntary committee of eight and our hard-working and talented staff,” Mr. Stewart said.

“I regard our entire team as outstanding operators and above all, great people. Our continuity is one big advantage we have in supporting the development of the Northern Inland. Our Committee members really know the region and its challenges. They and our staff have a wealth of broad experience in the region. None are Johnny-come-latelies; the expertise and experience in RDANI sees us stand very tall among our counterparts. Like the businesses and Local Government bodies they are here to support, our team are part of the Northern Inland and passionate about its economic development and holistic growth,” he said.

“RDANI research, analysis and consulting has advanced the business case for many different projects of regional significance in recent years. It has been great to see our Local Councils increasingly tapping into our expertise and impartial regional outlook.

RDANI has facilitated the development of the Wool Works Shearing School, which will nurture interest in a skill of important to rural Australia among high school students. This followed on from RDANI’s support of the Agribusiness Careers and Professions (AGCAP) program, which saw its growth snowball.”

“We have conducted a highly successful digital upskilling project called Go Digital, which benefitted over 100 local business people throughout the region and still has course content available online. Our regional portal website Come On Inland is comprehensive and ever evolving,” Mr. Stewart said.

“RDANI is helping local employers to grow their businesses and organisations to maintain or expand services through facilitating skilled migration. RDANI is one of the most efficient and innovative Regional Certifying Bodies (for skilled migration) nationally. Not only have we been successful as an assessing authority, we have also developed resources to assist and inspire skilled migrants, employers and the wider community, such as case study videos and a popular Skilled Migration Northern Inland Facebook Group,” he said.

Russell Stewart is a recognised champion for his home-town of Narrabri but his re-appointment shows how he has broadened his perspective to a regional level. “This region is home for my family. I’ve got a real passion for the people and communities who live in the bush. I think that working with the diversity and strengths in the Northern Inland region, we can be unbeatable. I am excited about the next three years,” he said.

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