Non-profit Committee Volunteers
RDA committees are non profit community based organisations. Committee members are committed volunteers appointed from the region and represent the community, business and local government. Each RDA committee has a broad and diverse skills base and demonstrated networks and alliances. The committee of RDA Darling Downs and South West Inc comprises ten members, all of whom were jointly appointed via application by the Commonwealth and State Governments.
Chair - Fiona Gaske
With an extensive background in government, business, health and the creative industries, as an elected Councillor and Deputy Mayor for Balonne Shire between 2012 and 2020, with a wide array of portfolios and a range of appointments to regional boards and committees across health, regional economic development, creative industries and technology, Fiona maintains a strong presence in the creative landscape, and has established networks across all levels of government, as well as within and between a number of industry sectors.
With a strong history of generating and advancing organisational visibility to compete for political funding and support for innovative strategies, Fiona seeks prospects to grow and leverage opportunities to attract investment, partnerships and alliances, developing coalitions with business and not-for-profits, and establishing bipartisan relationships throughout government.
All her leadership roles have offered opportunities to proactively contribute and invest her energy, business acumen, governance, and expertise in strategic planning, to help organisations establish strategic priorities, meet organisational challenges, and access economic investment opportunities.
Fiona brings robust interpersonal communication skills to all her roles, is able to skilfully influence, persuade and constructively shape policy, and is an energetic advocate for working collaboratively across government, industry and education sectors. She is passionate about building bridges between education and employment, developing highly skilled and educated communities and economies that help diversify, innovate and build capacity for sustainable futures in metropolitan, rural and regional Australia.
Deputy Chair - Stuart Mackenzie
Peter Wilson is Managing Director of Wilson International Trade, a business focused on providing superior services to global trade, logistics and agribusiness.
Peter has held Board, Executive Management and Senior Trading positions for listed and private International Trading and Logistics companies in Australia and Canada. Peter is Immediate Past Chair and current Board Member of Pulse Australia Limited and he is also a member of the Global Pulse Confederation’s Executive Committee.
Peter is a Board Member of Regional Development Australia, which is responsible for determining strategy for the region in the areas of development, sustainability and resilience. He is also an Executive Committee Member of the Royal Agricultural Society of Queensland.
Peter holds post-graduate qualifications in Agribusiness from Monash University and has lectured in agribusiness and risk management subjects at the University of Queensland.
Peter maintains a keen interest in a family farming business on the Darling Downs in Southern Queensland. He is married to Sonja and has 3 children.
Marco Otaola is Managing Director of Ago Vires. A regionally based construction company in Thargomindah working extensively throughout regional Australia and specialising in the delivery of Oil and Gas related projects in remote areas and supplying trades and services for local communities in far west Queensland. He has been working in the building, construction and manufacturing industry for two decades. Throughout his career, Marco has strengthened his ability firstly, as a tradesman and then later as an experienced Construction m=Manager, Project Manager and now Managing Director. He has extensive experience with community services and is strongly involved in community groups. He is an avid businessman whose approach is to build relationships that customers can trust. Marco has always had a strong focus on family and community and is looking to help better the region within his capabilities.
Kate Venables, Executive Director of CatholicCare Social Services SW QLD, has spent the last 20 years working history in the social services sector across Central QLD and the Darling Downs and South West Queensland. Working with teams who provide services to families and individuals needing support, refugees and migrants, our first nation peoples and separated parents, Kate is aware of the many vulnerabilities and complexities of our varied communities in SW Qld as well as the enormous resilience they are able to develop.
Covering more than 450,000 km2 in her executive role, she is aware of the invaluable benefits of collaboration and partnership across many sectors in our part of the world.
Married to Cam, and mother of three adult children (26, 21 and 19), Kate is also committed to family and her local church community at St Barts, and squeezes in a bit of exercise, some baking and reading in her down time.
Rouz is an experienced industry consultant and relationships manager with a demonstrated history of working in skills development to build a future ready workforce in collaboration with industries.
He is highly skilled in Learning Management, Higher Education, Industry Linkage, Business Development, and consulting with great passion for regional Queensland.
Rouz holds a number of professional memberships, including:
- Australian Association of Graduate Employers
- Australian Computer Society
- Australian Collaborative Education Network
- Graduate Management Association of Australia
- National Association of Graduate Careers Advisory
Michele is Director, Corporate Solutions and Industry Engagement at TAFE Queensland South West with responsibility for developing, promoting and facilitating relationships between TAFE Queensland, Industry, various levels of government and community representatives and groups.
Michele is a catalyst for creating and mobilising integrated, customer-focused strategies that deliver brand-aligned values-driven market growth through effective customer experience management. Michele has a bias for action and a focus on uncovering business value at the intersect of people and their conversations and the data and technology to support these conversations.
Michele’s current projects include whole of organisation digital transformation and innovation, B2B and B2C marketing automation; customer journey mapping and customer experience management, customer-facing business process improvement, database management, data analysis and dashboard reporting enablement. Change management to reorganise around the customer, focus on business solutions and help organisations transition their workforce through automation and digital disruption.
Robyn is Managing Board Member for the Chinchilla Chamber of Commerce and Industry and previously held roles in CSG Drilling and Civil Construction in the Surat Basin. Originally from outside of Eulo in the Paroo Shire Robyn has previously worked for Queensland Government Departments of Natural Resources and Primary Industries, Regional Natural Resource Management, Landcare and Local Government (Tourism & Community Development) in Cunnamulla, Charleville and Quilpie areas.
Robyn brings experience in community consultation and strategic planning through to delivery and is dedicated to working to ensure the long-term strength of regional economy and community.
Driven by the strength of energy projects in the Surat Basin she has experience with Liveability impacts of large scale projects and has experience working with them to deliver positive outcomes for local community, such as business and workforce programs, community events and legacy projects. She has a particular focus on procurement and ensuring local content for major projects in the region along with building local business capacity and resilience.
When not working at the Chamber of Commerce or in a regional representative capacity Robyn, her husband Damien and their two children operate a small beef cattle grazing property outside Chinchilla in the Western Downs.
A fourth generation local, Rob and his 3 children have grown up and educated in Goondiwindi. He has vast experience in Agriculture as well as volunteering on various boards and committees across the region including several sporting clubs.
Rob is a founding member of “Think the drink” a program aimed at educating pre 18 year olds the pitfalls of being a legal aged drinker and social etiquette whilst out in licensed venues, the Local drug action team, and the local liquor accord.
Rob is a member of the regional waste group steering committee, a fourth term elected member of Local government, representing both Waggamba shire and now Goondiwindi Regional Council.
Deputy Mayor of Goondiwindi regional council, Rob is a strong advocate for encouraging investment and retaining families in rural and regional Queensland with a strong focus on making sure our communities are livable for long-term sustainability. He and his wife Stacey love entertaining at home and travelling the region looking for food and beverage experiences.