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Albany and Great Southern Region SEGRA 20 year anniversary

26 - 28 October 2016, Albany, WA


Keynote Speakers

Anthony Bertini Show + Hide -

Chairman, Thumper One Pty Ltd


Anthony Bertini has had a long career in business, holding senior positions with Australian and international publishing groups, global technology companies and in 1996 started his own internet business, BMC Media, listed it on the Australian Stock Exchange and at its peak had 10 international offices, a market cap of $1b and employed 500 people.

Anthony is the Chairman of Thumper One Pty ltd. Founded over 10 years ago to concentrate on the development and commercialisation of new ideas and business models. Working with Scientists and Inventors predominately in the recycling and reuse sector Thumper One focuses on global food security, value added products, clean water and renewable energy. Anthony also founded of ARCA Group Investments in 2010 to take advantage of the growing interest in Clean Tech opportunities.

Anthony has previously worked for the British Government as a Deal Maker for their Global Entrepreneur Program and currently sits on the Board of TBSx3, a block chain technology business that establishes and verifies the provenance of goods from origination to destination. Anthony is a Non-Executive Director of the Australian Copyright Agency, a founder of Australia and The Climate hub and is a past director of The Sydney Biennale.

Anthony currently a Co- Founder and Chairman of Organic Technology Holdings and Chairman of Australian Omega Oils.

OTH finds new ways to extract high value products from organic materials The company’s propriety technology uses enzyme and microbial formulas and associated processes to break down organic raw material quickly, under 30 minutes and at low temperatures, under 60 degrees. OTH has entered into Joint ventures in Australasia to produce and meet the demand for:

  • Pharmaceutical grade Omega Oils
  • Agricultural products
  • New sources of protein rich ingredients for Stock feed, aqua feed and pet food

Australian Omega Oils is a joint venture between OTH and Mantzaris Fisheries and currently produces Omega 3 Calamari oil in Geelong Victoria.

Stephen Birkbeck Show + Hide -

Regional Entrepreneur and Farmer

Indigenous Regional Wealth Creation

Listen to how the founder of the sandalwood industry penetrated the world of luxury and pioneered Australia’s first exports of luxury raw materials.

Learn how he was able to inspire world leaders of luxury multi-national brands to form the NRSC, a body chartered to respect mother earth and Indigenous communities.

Understand the cultural significance of 2nd contact Indigenous traditional desert people approaching him to seek his help to build a new equity for Indigenous people in sandalwood

Appreciate how much they have achieved without ANY Government support.

Assist their journey, this is a story that must be told.

The following has been achieved without ANY Government support.

We seek your consideration to out on the table the most significant Indigenous economic development in Regional Australia that we are aware of.

Kado Muir and Stephen Birkbeck


Stephen’s early international trade business began in the early 1990’s; when he Mt Romance on an isolated cattle farm in the Denmark Shire on the south west coast of Australia. Despite such an isolated environment he launched the world’s first range of emu oil based body care products and against the tyranny of distance Mount Romance became Australia’s first exporter of cosmetics to France, a bit like selling ice to Eskimos!

In 1997, Steve sold the cosmetic brand to a French company and used the capital to explore a new frontier, the luxury perfume sector. Steve built an extensive perfume extraction facility and within five years of establishing this he pioneered Australia’s footprint into the luxury perfume sector. In 2002 he by-passed seven layers of traders and barriers and started to export direct to the end of the supply chain and the world’s largest supplier of luxury perfume compounds - Givaudan.

In 2005, Steve sold Mt Romance and was shortly after diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. He was in intensive care for 4 months and as a testament to courage he survived and 18 months after selling Mt Romance the company was facing insolvency. Steve, stepped in restructured the group and rebuilding the company before selling 14 months later for a considerable profit.

Throughout Steve’s journey he has always sought to support the indigenous community and he is a strong advocate of supply chains joining forces to use their collective resources to improve regional communities’ socio-economic prospects around the world. He has been asked to present in front of world leaders which led to establishing The President’s Circle, supported by the United Nations Convention on Bio-Diversity. Steve uses these networks he has established over 20 years to support new emerging global industry standards that generate export demand for regional communities and builds transparency into the ethical practices in the global supply chain. In February 2015 Steve resigned as executive Chairman of ASX pearling and perfume company Atlas South Sea Pearls and Perfumes Pty Ltd, where he undertook a large investment and reconstruction of this farming enterprise, introducing product innovation and a marketing culture to build a new, dynamic export industry for Australia.

“Over the years, Stephen Birkbeck has successfully built a strong working relationship with our City and the broader global perfume sector, assisting us in promoting a new way of doing business, particular with local communities and indigenous populations.”- Jean- Pierre Leleux, Senator-Major of Grasse

Prof. Ken Dillon Show + Hide -

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice President (Administration), Charles Sturt University


Professor Ken Dillon is Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice President (Administration) at Charles Sturt University. Professor Dillon previously held the position of Dean of Studies as well as senior academic positions in each of the four Faculties at CSU including three at the level of Executive Dean. As DVC (Administration), Professor Dillon is a member of the University’s Senior Executive Committee and his responsibilities include leadership of two key plans in support of the University Strategy 2015-2016 (Markets, Service and Support, Physical and Virtual Infrastructure) and oversight of five professional Divisions across multiple campuses which focus on student support, services to staff and the provision of high quality physical and virtual infrastructure.

Professor Dillon has worked for CSU for more than 25 years. He has always been passionate about student experience leading to individual and collective success and takes great pride in the achievements of CSU students and the role the University’s graduates play in making a difference regionally, nationally and internationally.

Laura Egan Show + Hide -

Founder/CEO, Enterprise Learning Projects


Laura’s passion is creating opportunities for people to achieve their aspirations through business. In October 2010, she established Enterprise Learning Projects (ELP), a social enterprise that works in partnership with remote Aboriginal communities to develop inclusive, creative and sustainable enterprise-based initiatives that support family and community goals. Some of the businesses ELP has incubated include Gulbarn Tea, Ngarinyman Bush Soap and Speargrass Bike Tours. Laura holds a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Commerce, a Postgraduate Certificate in Indigenous Studies and a Certificate IV in Small Business Management. She was awarded 2010 Social Entrepreneur of the Year by the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE), was selected as a Young Social Pioneer by the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) in 2012, and was recently awarded a scholarship to attend the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Conference in Silicon Valley by the US Department of State.

Prof. Fiona Haslam McKenzie Show + Hide -

Co-Director, Centre for Regional Development, University of Western Australia


The Socio-Economic Benefits of Long Distance Commuting

Long distance commuting (LDC) is growing in Australia as an entrenched workforce practice. Work force mobility is not limited to the mining sector and there are diverse workforce supply, logistical, and employee preference reasons throughout Australia in a varied range of industry sectors which have contributed to why LDC arrangements exist. Consequently, the economic and social consequences of LDC are also varied and complex. This presentation will report on research with five case study communities in rural, regional and remote locations where local residents regularly work long periods of time away from home (source communities). The research team has analysed the socio-economic impacts on the workers, families, community organisations, local businesses, community leaders and volunteer organisations from source communities. The results show that for many, the arrangements have many advantages, but there is a requirement that all involved are willing to address the challenges while also enjoying the benefits. This presentation will present some of the findings from the case study sites and synthesise the key learnings for maximising the benefits for regional and community development.


Interdisciplinary and Collaborative Learning in the Regions: innovation and knowledge sharing

In a unique collaboration between academic staff at the University of Western Australia and staff at the Wheatbelt Development Commission, postgraduate level students from diverse disciplinary backgrounds are working with communities from the Wheatbelt on semester-long projects. High performing students from the Engineering, Business, Arts, Law and Science (Regional/Urban Planning) faculties are selected to participate in the program. ‘Working groups’ of students (with a maximum of two from each discipline), are allocated a community from the Wheatbelt which has identified itself as having a ‘complex challenge.’ With the support of Wheatbelt Development Commission staff, the professoriate and weekly seminars, the students work with the community, with regular visits, to resolve the issues, or develop strategies to address them. At the end of the semester, the students present their projects to a public forum including community members, public policy officers and local government representatives.

The outcomes from this innovative initiative have been the opportunity for students, staff and community members to share knowledge, information and understandings. In particular, it has given students experience utilising their academic skills to address real world problems while also gaining useful insights to inter-related and often complex regional issues. In addition, students from different academic disciplines learn to appreciate and capitalise on multi-disciplinary strengths. At the same time, it has given regional communities access to students from a diversity of backgrounds and skill sets to which the community is unlikely to otherwise have access.


Professor Fiona Haslam Mckenzie has a varied academic background, including a Ph.D. in political geography, researching the socio-economic impacts of the restructuring of the agricultural industry. Fiona has extensive experience in population and socio-economic change, housing, regional economic development and analysis of remote, regional and urban socio-economic indicators. She is currently researching the socio-economic impact of different regional workforce arrangements and uneven economic development in Western Australia. Fiona was the Western Australian Director of the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, served as the Principal Research Leader of the Regional Economies Enduring Community Value from Mining program from 2012 to 2015 and subsequently appointed as Co-Director of the Centre for Regional Development at the University of Western Australia. Fiona has served on several government and private sector boards, undertaken work for corporate and small business sectors and has published widely.

Prof. Stephen D. Hopper AC Show + Hide -

Winthrop Professor of Biodiversity, Centre of Excellence in Natural Resource Management and School of Plant Biology, University of Western Australia


Sustainability of Land, Water and Community: a sense of place.

The sustainability agenda for economic growth affords a vital cross-disciplinary link between financial, political and environmental studies. Land, water and community are not uniformly distributed across the Earth. Sustainable economic growth recognises this truism, and makes necessary local adjustments to achieve democratic goals. Here, I will explore the importance of Australia’s ancient landscapes to the sustainability agenda. Differentiating old, climatically-buffered infertile landscapes (Ocbils) from young, often disturbed, fertile landscapes (Yodfels) is of fundamental importance to realising the potential for SEGRA. Sustainable living with biodiversity, with clean water, and by healthy communities stands to benefit invaluably from an enlightened economic growth agenda attuned to ancient and young landscapes, and a well-developed sense of place. Case studies from Perth (Kings Park), Sydney (water supply) and Albany (rich cultural and biological diversity) will be used to exemplify these principles.


Steve Hopper is a field-active conservation biologist, widely travelled, and a well-published scientific author. Currently, as UWA’s Professor of Biodiversity, he leads a program on sustainable living with biodiversity at the Albany campus. His focus is on old, climatically-buffered, infertile landscapes (Ocbils), such as granite outcrops, and on cross-cultural studies with Aboriginal people. A graduate from UWA (1974), with a PhD awarded in 1980, Professor Hopper has named some 300 plants new to science.

He was employed as the WA government’s first Flora Conservation Research Officer in 1977. Following overseas study in 1990 in Georgia (USA) and California, Professor Hopper served as Director Kings Park and Botanic Garden in Perth (1992-2004) and Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in London (2006-2012).

In 2012 he was awarded Australia’s highest civilian honour (Companion of the Order of Australia) and inducted into the Western Australian Science Hall of Fame.

Michael Kitzelmann Show + Hide -

CEO, Etheridge Shire Council


Michael is the Chief Executive Officer at Etheridge Shire Council in far north Queensland. With over 24 years’ experience in Government, Michael is well versed in the challenges associated with negotiating the systems, policies and priorities of Government in order to achieve local objectives. Being a proactive leader, Michael is a strong believer in driving positive change rather than working within the norm and reacting to situational driven change. Michael is passionate about the delivery of services and value adding to the Community, his enthusiastic approach to leadership has resulted in the development of numerous strategies for the growth Etheridge Shire. Recent changes to the methods of service delivery have renewed the linkages between Council, Industry and the Local Community in driving future growth for the Shire

Prof. Peter Klinken Show + Hide -

Chief Scientist of Western Australia


Prof. Peter Klinken was appointed the Chief Scientist of Western Australia in June 2014 after stepping down as Executive Director of the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research (formerly the Western Australian Institute for Medical Research - WAIMR) in March 2014.

He obtained my PhD in Biochemistry from The University of Western Australia in 1982 and was a Fogarty International Fellow at the US National Institutes of Health in Washington, between 1984 and 1986. From there he returned to work at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne as an NHMRC Postdoctoral Fellow between 1987 and 1988. In 1989, he became a Lecturer in Biochemistry at the University of Western Australia, then Senior Lecturer before being appointed Professor in Clinical Biochemistry in 1994. Between 2000 and 2002 Prof. Klinken was the Director of Research at Royal Perth Hospital.

His research interests encompass the regulation of red blood cell formation and ability of leukemic cells to develop different features and functions. He also has a long-standing interest in identifying genes which can cause cancer or leukaemia.

Kristian Kolding Show + Hide -

Director, Macroeconomic Policy and Forecasting, Deloitte Access Economics


Navigating Uncertainty in Regional Australia

Economic uncertainty is not new. Decision makers in business and the community have always faced uncertainty in their everyday decision making. The decision to hire a worker, or expand into a new product line has always involved striking the right balance between risk and reward.

Despite this, in a recent global survey of 1,600 audit committee members across 35 countries, 52% of respondents indicated that the greatest challenge facing their company is economic, regulatory and political uncertainty and volatility. Similarly, global economic uncertainty was deemed to be the greatest influence on pursuing, financing and closing deals in the coming year according to Deloitte’s M&A Trends Report 2016. Closer to home, 80% of survey respondents in Deloitte’s recent CFO Sentiment indicated that the current levels of uncertainty are holding back business investment.

In this presentation, Kristian Kolding will discuss the current sources of economic uncertainty, how it affects the broader economy and assist decision makers distinguish the truly concerning from business-as-usual from a macroeconomic perspective.


Kristian Kolding joined Deloitte through the acquisition of Access Economics in 2011. He is a Director in Deloitte Access Economics’ and leads the Macroeconomic Policy and Forecasting team in Sydney where he oversees much of the economic forecasting underlying publications such as Business Outlook and Building the Lucky Country. Kristian’s economic consulting experience covers a wide range of areas, including industrial relations, infrastructure privatisations, and corporate strategy and policy formation. Kristian is an experienced public speaker, regularly presenting on the topic of the Australian economy for large audiences. Prior to joining Access Economics, Kristian completed a Masters of Economics in Denmark and spent time working in India. He is currently undertaking his MBA at the Australian Graduate School of Management.

Simon Lyas Show + Hide -

Executive Officer, RDA Great Southern WA


Simon is the executive officer of Albany-based Regional Development Australia Great Southern (RDA-GS) and manages the office team, provides secretariat support and coordination to the RDA GS committee and is primarily responsible for planning and delivering on RDA’s strategic direction and operations.

Executive officer since 2009, Simon takes pride in achieving economic and regional development outcomes for the Great Southern by establishing and managing working partnerships and strategic alliances across all levels of government and with numerous community stakeholders in the region.

Simon’s previous employment includes senior executive positions in government and the private sector in tourism, communications and marketing, project development and business management.

This extensive experience has involved work in most Australian states and territories and several early years studying and working in Canada, the United States and Indonesia.

Simon moved to the Great Southern with his family in 2009 who enjoy the region’s magnificent natural attractions and rural lifestyle.

Simon enjoys a wide network of contacts within the regional development portfolio and is a volunteer member on several lower Great Southern community groups’ boards of management.

Idris Mootee Show + Hide -

CEO, Idea Couture


Idris is a highly acclaimed strategic innovation expert with a long history of working as an advisor to top executives of Fortune 500 companies. Recognising that many organisations understand the importance of innovation but fall short when it comes to execution, Idris partners with global clients across sectors to identify and implement strategic innovation processes, address critical challenges in innovation program design, and develop new-game strategies.

The author of five books on strategic innovation, marketing, and branding — including his most recent, Design Thinking and Strategic Innovation (Wiley and Sons, 2013) — he is a visiting lecturer on strategy, innovation, and design thinking at several graduate programs and frequently speaks on these subjects at business conferences and executive retreats.

Prior to founding Idea Couture, Idris held a number of senior and executive management positions, including Global Chief Strategist with Blast Radius (WPP), Global Head of Strategy with Organic (OMC), President and Chief Strategy Officer with Live Lowe and Partners (IPG), and Chief Strategy Officer with CBIZ E-solutions (CBIZ).

Idris received his management education from the London Business School (Management Science), Harvard Business School (Marketing Management), and London Brunel Graduate School (Technology Management).

Angus M. Robinson Show + Hide -

Managing Partner, Leisure Solutions®


Geotourism: the key driver of tourism for regional Australia

There is currently no collaborative, nation-wide strategy to maximise and realise the potential for nature-based tourism by bringing key stakeholders together to build on current state and territory based plans, previous successes, lessons and learnings.

Ecotourism Australia’s stated vision is that Australia should realise the potential of nature-based tourism to make a major contribution to the development of more diverse, sustainable and resilient regions. Regional Australia is suffering from declining resource sector jobs and investment, a dwindling revenue base and demographic shifts as people move to seek employment opportunities in cities. Whilst nature-based tourism is offered as part of the solution with the recognition that a focused, co-ordinated, innovative and co-operative approach can make a meaningful difference to many regional communities, this strategy does need to embrace geotourism as a key delivery mechanism.

Geotourism inspired initiatives, detailed in this presentation, are now emerging throughout regional Australia and globally.


Angus is an exploration geologist by profession and training. After 20 years recently in hi-tech industry development roles, including as the General Manager of The Warren Centre for Advanced Engineering, as the inaugural General Manager of the Australian Technology Park and Chief Executive of a manufacturing industry association, he is now developing new experiential tourism packages in his business, Leisure Solutions®.

With a passion for industry development, Angus currently serves as both Chair of the Geotourism Standing Committee of the Geological Society of Australia and as a member of the Geotourism Forum of Ecotourism Australia Ltd.

He has previously served in an executive role with Sydney’s Taronga Zoo, as the inaugural Director of Sydney’s former redeveloped Geological and Mining Museum (The Earth Exchange), and has managed the Mt Hotham Alpine Resort in Victoria. He also worked for the then NSW Department of Mineral Resources in coal and mineral resource development during the 1980s following mineral exploration roles working throughout Australia.

Peter Ryan Show + Hide -

Senior Business Correspondent


With more than 30 years experience, he contributes to a range of ABC News programs including the flagship radio current affairs programs AM and The World Today in addition to ABC News 24 and ABC News Online. As a former ABC Business editor he established Lateline Business (now The Business) and Business Today in 2006 and oversaw the ABC’s business and economics coverage across all platforms. After working in the corporate sector, Peter rejoined the ABC in 2003 as Executive Producer of ABC Television’s Business Breakfast program. Peter’s previous journalism career includes three years as the ABC’s Head of TV News and Current Affairs in Melbourne; almost five years as Bureau Chief and television correspondent at the ABC’s Washington Bureau; a year as a producer at the BBC in London and a range of ABC reporting and producing roles in Melbourne, Sydney, Darwin and the South Pacific. Peter began his journalism career in newspapers at Sydney’s Daily Mirror in 1980 and he worked in Sydney commercial radio before joining the ABC in 1984.

Andrew Sharpe Show + Hide -

Chief Executive Officer, City of Albany


Partnering for Maximum Impact and Efficiency

Modern society encourages constant competition, pitching neighbour against neighbour, friends turning to foe. Whilst a certain level of competition might be considered healthy, the final outcome often results in very tight margins or low profitability for all concerned with ultimately a winner of small gain and a loser.

Recognising the value of working together and the many benefits it brings, three neighbouring councils (City of Albany and Shires of Denmark and Plantagenet) in Western Australia have joined together to form the Lower Great Southern Economic Alliance.

The focus of this partnership is to use the strength of numbers through collaboration to build a prosperous and resilient region, attracting industry and investment by working together to provide an enabling environment for economic development.

Although in its infancy, the Lower Great Southern Economic Alliance has already stepped up to address the fractured and fragmented local tourism sector. The Lower Great Southern region has some of Australia’s most unique and iconic landscapes, food and wine experiences and outdoor adventures, however a fragmented and competitive approach to destination marketing and tourism development has meant the region has not realised on its potential.

The Alliance has brought together three local governments; two local tourism organisations; chambers of commerce and industry’s; regional tourism operators, together with Tourism Western Australia and the Great Southern Development Commission to develop a sub-regional brand and destination marketing strategy and jointly fund campaigns that will increase visitation to the region.

The Destination Marketing Strategy will be finalised in July of 2016 at which time the Alliance and stakeholders have agreed to jointly deliver the completion of a sub-regional Tourism Development Strategy which will provide a recommendation on a new governance model for visitor servicing and tourism development for the sub-region.


Advantage Albany: regional hotspot for growth and innovation

This is a community that leads by example, showing character, resilience, toughness, and tenderness. It’s a grown-up kind of place. It feels confident, real. It has a heart.

Lynda Dorrington, Executive Director, FORM

Albany is both geographically and historically unique in Australia.

Situated at the heart of a globally-recognised biodiversity hotspot, Western Australia’s first settlement has a vibrant living cultural heritage. Stunning natural assets, high-yield agricultural land and close proximity to Asian markets present Albany as a contemporary regional growth opportunity.

The diversifying Australian economy combined with a turning point within Western Australia beyond resources, positions Albany to leverage its advantage for sustained growth within an economy in transition.

This Keynote Address by City of Albany Chief Executive Officer Andrew Sharpe will explore the challenges and opportunities for a region undergoing fundamental transformation.

Albany’s regional competitive advantage will be explored in the context of:

  • Innovation, Research & Education;
  • The Visitor Economy.
  • Urban Renewal;
  • Sustainable Agriculture Production;
  • Creative Industries;
  • Regional City Liveability;
  • Unique Natural Resources;
  • Stakeholder Calibration; and
  • The Visitor Economy.

A new paradigm for local government is now required to foster long-term regional growth within the global and national context.

Advantage Albany explores diversification, change, collaborative models and pioneering leadership to seize these opportunities and realise regional potential on the world stage.


Andrew Sharpe was appointed Chief Executive Officer with the City of Albany in August 2015 and brings a wealth of experience and local knowledge to the position.

His skill set and leadership style is focused on ensuring the Organisation’s objectives are achieved by understanding the importance of people, stakeholder relationships and building stronger communities.

Andrew grew up in the Great Southern region and has more than 20 years’ experience in Local Government management.

He has worked in both the private and public sector, predominantly in the areas of taxation, small business (agriculture), financial management, administration and leadership.

His tertiary qualifications include a Bachelor of Business, Diploma of Project Management and he is a Certified Practicing Accountant. He has also held various Board positions with organisations specialising in Local Government Insurance, Small Business service delivery and Community Services.

Ross Thornton Show + Hide -

Chair, Great Southern Development Commission


Mr Thornton is the Chair of the Great Southern Development Commission. He is a qualified town planner, registered builder, has been involved in property development and is currently farming. He is a member of the Western Australian Planning Commission. Mr Thornton is a former Councillor and President of the Shire of Denmark.

Rhys Williams Show + Hide -

CEO, The Makers

Igniting Change Makers in Regional Australia

Igniting change makers and engaging them in leadership roles is a crucial part of the growth of Regional Australia.

As CEO of The Makers, I have overseen the development of several high level regional leadership projects, including Make Place- a Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Peel Region, YOH Fest - a health promotion project engaging more than 5000 West Australian young people in health education, and Youth on Leadership, a project focused on building the capacity of future leaders in Regional areas.

In these initiatives, the same message is always consistent - our regions’ capacity is only limited by the capacity of the people in our regions.

Through building the skills of our future regional change makers, connecting them to their community and creating meaningful engagement opportunities for them, we ensure that the future challenges of our regions have the best opportunity to be addressed in the most contemporary and innovative ways possible.

We need to re-imagine the way we solve our regional challenges, and this starts with empowering new change makers who are ready to step up and play their part.


Rhys Williams is the 2015 West Australian of the Year and CEO at The Makers, a social innovation charity finding new ways to tackle big challenges in Regional WA.

Rhys was one of the youngest Australians to serve a term as a Local Government Councillor, when he was elected to the City of Mandurah Council in 2009.

He is an ambassador to the One Young World Global Leaders Summit, and is Chairman of the award winning Mandurah Performing Arts Centre and of John Tonkin College, a secondary school based in the Peel Region.

Rhys is a board member of Regional Development Australia Peel, and has previously served two terms as Board Director of the Peel Development Commission.

Rhys has worked internationally on a number of community and economic development initiatives, including the development of a culture and creativity strategy for a regional area of the United Arab Emirates

Rhys is currently studying a Masters in Business, and is passionate about regional leadership and innovation.

Claire Wiseman Show + Hide -

CEO, RDA Far North SA


Claire grew up on a pastoral property in Northern SA and attended boarding school in Adelaide where she completed her schooling and went on to University to gain an Associate Diploma in Applied Science and Agricultural Production.

The majority of Claire’s early career was in the Tourism Industry, which allowed Claire to travel around Australia working in Queensland, the Northern Territory and in many tourism businesses around the Flinders Ranges. After 10 years in the tourism industry, Claire decided it was time for a change and commenced working for the Regional Ministerial Office located in Port Augusta. This role was a great introduction and understanding to the Government system but still allowed Claire to follow her passion of working with regional communities.

It was this passion that led Claire to the then Northern Regional Development Board in 2005, where she was employed as an Economic Development Officer. Claire has undertaken a variety of different roles within the organisation and has was appointed as Chief Executive Officer in early 2012, a position she still holds.

Jim Wyatt Show + Hide -

Principal, Optimi Digital


Jim works with Governments, industry and communities across Australia, to help improve social and economic amenity through the exploitation of digital technologies and practices. He has worked in both the public and private sectors over the past three decades, promoting digital and technology driven outcomes across three different States and the national arena. He has over 20 years as an Economic Development practitioner with a focus on regional economies.

Jim is a key contributor in driving the Australian digital economy agenda. He is regularly asked to provide advice on strategic ways in which to exploit digital, to achieve economic and social transformation. He is a trusted advisor on the transformation of Smart Communities and innovative industry practices based on integration of digital technologies and the online world.

Jim holds qualifications in workplace training and assessment, Direct Marketing and telecommunications network design and operations. He is a graduate of the Public Sector Management Program and the Company Directors Course. He is the Deputy Chair of the national Industry Reference Committee, advising on ICT and Digital VET qualifications and skills development.