24 December 2023

Former Yass mayor to lead new-look local Rural Development Association board

| Sally Hopman
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Woman with scarf around her neck.

Former Yass Valley mayor Rowena Abbey will take up her new role as chair of the expanded local Regional Development Australia board early next year. Photo: Supplied.

The former mayor of the Yass Valley, Rowena Abbey OAM, has been appointed chair of the newly merged Rural Development Association (RDA) board for the southern NSW region and the ACT.

The Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territories, Kristy McBain, announced the appointment last week, describing Mrs Abbey as a passionate advocate for the region.

Currently, the RDA Southern Inland (RDASI) represents the Wingecarribee, Goulburn Mulwaree, Upper Lachlan, Hilltops, Yass Valley, Queanbeyan-Palerang and Snowy Monaro local government areas. Ms McBain announced that it was to expand to include Eurobodalla, Bega Valley and the ACT from next year and would be known as RDA Southern NSW and ACT (RDASNA).

Along with the boundary restructure, which was the result of a recent review, Ms McBain said the position of chairperson for the newly amalgamated group was recruited openly, with the current chair Mrs Abbey, to chair the new joint southern NSW and ACT body from April next year.

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Mrs Abbey said she was “honoured” to take up the new appointment, adding that she was looking forward to continuing to focus the organisation on building strong, vibrant, regional communities.

She said she was keen to also focus her attention on finding enthusiastic people to join her on the new board.

“With the boundary expansion we will need dedicated advocates to help drive the economic and social outcomes RDASI has been so successfully delivering in our current region,” she said.

“We are looking for energetic, connected leaders to join our team to expand our work across a much larger footprint.”

The RDA is a national network which is made up of local leaders across government, business and community groups who work together to improve their regions. They do so through supporting economic and workforce development, local procurement, strategic regional planning and spreading the word about government programs and infrastructure investments.

The local board covering southern NSW and the ACT is responsible for providing independent advice to the Federal Government on critical issues affecting the area. It also works to collaborate with relevant stakeholders to identify economic opportunities for the region and to help connect regional businesses, councils and industry with potential trade partners, nationally and internationally. It also works closely with community leaders advising on potential funding sources for local projects.

People interested in finding out more about the RDASI and board positions are invited to go to the website.

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