Meet Regional Development Australia for MIW

RDA Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday is proud to have a diverse and knowledgeable team with extensive experience in business, industry and community involvement.

 

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Ben Wearmouth

CEO

A Mackay local for more almost 12 years, Ben has been employed in the banking and finance industry specialising in agribusiness and commercial banking. He has also undertaken independent consultant roles in business management and managed the commercial operations of a coal exploration company.

Ben has a Bachelor of Business and is passionate about working with all levels of Government, business and community to further grow our region.

The sustainable development of the Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday region is fundamental to the success of developing both Northern Queensland and Northern Australia.

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Graham Smith

Chair

Graham is a long time Mackay local and was born in the Mackay region. For over 35 years, he has built successful businesses in the resource and energy market providing construction and support of major blue-chip assets.

Not one to shy away from a challenge, Graham has achieved his professional achievements by recognising and developing opportunities within the market.

Graham supports several business and strategic volunteer community organisations as a Director or Chairperson.

I have learnt that fostering exceptional communication, engagement and passion, brings about success in our endeavours whether business or everyday life.

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Darryl Camilleri

Deputy Chair

A Chartered Accountant and Senior Partner of Bennett Partners Chartered Accounts in Mackay, Darryl has strong ties to the region. He is heavily involved with the community and industry focused initiatives, including:

  • Deputy Chair of Mackay Hospital & Health Service

  • Director of C-Res (BMA’s local buying entity)

  • Chairman of TTM Group (national traffic consultancy business)

Darryl has also been Deputy Mayor for Mackay Regional Council, and past Chairman for the Mackay Whitsunday Regional Economic Development Corporation, Mackay Chamber of Commerce and Mackay & District Health Council.

Economic Development initiatives are often unheralded and unsung, so silently underpin the prosperity of a region.

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Kylie Porter

Secretary

Kylie is Greater Whitsunday Alliance's Manager of Development and Innovation.  She joined GW3 after owning her own successful marketing and communications business for more than 20 years and during this time, held a range of community and business leadership roles including President and Vice-President of the Mackay Region Chamber.  She is currently the Board Chairman of C-RES (Community Resourcing) which in partnership with BHP, delivers the Local Buying Program in Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and West Australia.  She is also a committee member of Whitsunday Voices Youth Literature Festival, the biggest youth literature event outside of South East Queensland attracting some 5000 children annually.  Kylie is a passionate voice for the region and is committed to seeing the region grow and thrive through strategic connections with government and industry.

This region has it all: liveability, opportunities, natural assets.  Our role at RDA is to make sure we tell the story of our amazing region at every opportunity, to every influencer or decision maker.  This is how we will continue to thrive.

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Robert Cocco

Treasurer

Robert brings a wealth of knowledge relating to agriculture, natural resources management, economic development, corporate governance and finances, research and development and political advocacy. Robert currently provides consulting support services to government, business and NGO's both domestically and globally through his own business.  Roberts previous roles include Board Directorships, CEO, executive level management and research and development management roles within the natural resources, agriculture, and research and development sectors.

Robert is passionate advocate for sustainable development and growth and the role of innovation and partnerships in overcoming challenges and barriers. 

Robert has qualifications in Applied Science Biology and Chemistry and post graduate qualifications in Business Management and Administration.

Looking after our planet, its people and advancing economic growth... these are one and the same.  Our regional focus must be to connect the dots between the environment, social health and wellbeing and economic prosperity.  Solutions to one problem must be solutions for all.

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Professor Pierre Viljoen

COMMITTEE Member

As Deputy Vice-Chancellor at CQUniversity Pierre leads the University’s engagement and campuses agenda in pursuit of its interests and strategic priorities. He has executive responsibility for the University’s 13 Associate Vice-Chancellors, as well as its engagement portfolio which takes in the Engagement Office, the Office of Social Innovation and the Office of Indigenous Engagement. As such, his role extends across the University’s extensive geographical footprint with the ultimate aim of supporting the development of sustainable communities and an equally sustainable university.  

He serves on a number of external boards, including Reef Catchments and the Mackay Hospital Foundation. He holds a PhD in Industrial Psychology, has a passion for organisational development, and is highly committed to using CQUniversity as a vehicle to support the development of sustainable communities through engagement, social innovation and giving back.

I am involved with RDA because I believe it to be a valuable mechanism to advocate for the Mackay-Whitsunday Region.

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Amanda Camm

COMMITTEE Member

Deputy Mayor Amanda Camm has a strong background in economic development and professional experience in executive roles for many not-for-profit and community organisations. Throughout her career, Amanda has worked for a diverse range of industries including agriculture, tourism, mining and engineering, health and regional development.

Amanda holds director positions on the boards of Connect Housing, Mackay Tourism Ltd and Resource Industry Network.


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Barry Omundson

COMMITTEE Member

Barry commenced his career as an apprentice with the Royal Australian Navy, and his strong work ethic and drive for success enabled him to work his way through the ranks to senior executive roles in local government and publicly listed multi-national companies.

He is currently the CEO of Whitsunday Regional Council and has previously held the CEO role at Mackay Regional Council.

Barry is currently undertaking doctorate studies in leadership and first held a board member position with RDA in 2015.

Leaders get things done.  You are not judged on what is intended, rather on action.  Our wider region needs action from its leaders if we are to fully grasp the opportunities and manage the risks such a wonderfully diverse region has to offer.  I am happy to be judged by my actions.

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Mitchell Flor

COMMITTEE Member

For more than a decade, Mitchell has been the General Manager of the Tandy Group, responsible for the operations and integration of thirteen different business entities and 90 staff. His lateral thinking and diverse knowledge of a broad range of industries are useful assets, along with his determination and drive.

Mitchell completed his MBA in 2016, is a member of GAICD and a fellow of IQA and IML. He is also a director of a number of private companies.

As a local, I have a desire to ensure the region continues to prosper so future generations can enjoy the prospects of employment and community life.

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Geoff Bethel

COMMITTEE MembeR

Geoff is Deputy Mayor and Division 8 Councillor at Isaac Regional Council and has been an active agricultural and community advocate for many years. As a landholder and grazier in the Isaac region, Geoff has been involved in the cattle and grain industries since the 1973 Brigalow Scheme Ballot and supports land care and related initiatives.

Geoff is married to Ruth and they have four children, who all live and work in the Isaac region.


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Jeff Stewart-Harris

COMMITTEE Member

Jeff is a highly respected Director, CEO and COO with deep expertise in the Infrastructure, Regional and Economic Development, Community, Port, Airport and Transport sectors. Jeff is a strategic and expansive thinker, ethical and trusted leader of people and powerful communicator. His high tolerance of ambiguity, natural curiosity and ability to connect the dots enables me to remain cool under pressure and to create meaning for all stakeholders and context for sustainable futures.