Narrabri’s Russell Stewart has been appointed for a further term as chair of Regional Development Australia Northern Inland.
Assistant Minister for Regional Development, Nola Marino, said the appointment is in place until June 30, 2025.
“Russell Stewart has provided strong leadership for RDA Northern Inland during his time as chair, having successfully steered the committee through the challenges of 2020 and, along with the members and staff, provided great support for the region’s business community and future economic development,” she said.
“I look forward to working with Russell and the RDA Northern Inland members and staff over the coming years and encourage the community to reach out to their RDA to discuss how it can help communities and businesses succeed.”
Over 500 volunteer board members serve on the 52 RDA committees across Australia.
This is the second time Mr Stewart has been reappointed as chair of RDA Northern Inland, having first taken the role on in 2015.
The reappointment puts Russell Stewart on track to be one of the longest currently serving RDA chairs in Australia, a role that the government initially intended to be regularly refreshed.
“This is really an endorsement of our RDA’s performance,” Mr Stewart said.
“We have such a great track record that we regularly provide advice to other regions, as well as the government. Continuity is a big win for the organisation and our region,” he said.
“RDA Northern Inland has helped develop successful funding applications, business cases, cost-benefit analysis and regional data for local government, not-for-profits and businesses across our region.
“In just three years, we helped to attract over $50 million in funding to this region, towards projects totalling over $70 million, but worth so much more to our economic and social wellbeing.
“Over the past 12 months those figures have increased substantially.
“To recover from the triple whammy of unprecedented drought, bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic and to strive for sustainable growth, our region’s employers need skilled staff.
“Helping to address skill shortages through skilled migration is a vital role of RDA Northern Inland. We have brought hundreds of skilled visa recipients to our region in recent years.
“Our expertise and follow-up support is nationally recognised,” Mr Stewart said.
RDA Northern Inland executive director Nathan Axelsson said he and his Armidale-based team were grateful for the leadership and support provided by their governing committee.
“Russell leads a volunteer committee that is representative of our region.
“They come together from the Liverpool Plains to Tenterfield and across to Mungindi to serve as champions of the region and its economic development.
“Through the holistic, big-picture vision of our chair, his team and the federal government, our six-member workforce kept working hard throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr Axelsson said.
“Russell is a very proud Narrabri local but he is also a passionate advocate for Northern Inland (AKA New England North West) NSW.
“Nobody takes on a regional approach better,” he said.