At Regional Development Australia Murraylands and Riverland, our vision for the next decade is that the Murraylands and Riverland is recognised internationally as a vibrant, world leading circular economy with high-performing businesses, resilient communities and individuals with a deep sense of wellbeing and connection with the world around us.

We are part of a national network of 52 organisations aiming to grow and strengthen Australia’s regions, through advocacy, facilitation and funded service delivery.

We raise organisational capabilities, enable more targeted and productive collaboration, encourage priority infrastructure investment to be brought forward through government support, advocate to address regional constraints, and help to close the gap on workforce planning needs.

Our Board

Our board of local businesses and community leaders brings specialised skills and regional expertise in economic development. With their insight, passion and support we are well poised to deliver relevant and tangible outcomes for the region.

Jodie Hawkes, Chair

Jodie has been a member of the RDAMR Board since 2018 and is the co-owner and Chief Finance Officer at Bowhill Engineering, one of the largest manufacturing businesses in the region. Jodie is passionate about our region and enjoys advocating for regional living and working.  She shares her skills with a number of different community groups, including the Karoonda Area School Governing Council and the Bowhill Progress Association.

Trevor Norton

RDAMR Board - Trevor Norton

A Riverland based horticultural consultant specialising in water management, biosecurity and environmental issues, Trevor is the Deputy Mayor of the Loxton Waikerie District Council and Co-chair of the Yatco Wetland Landcare Group.

Elaine Bensted

Elected to the RDMAR board in 2018 and the Chief Executive Officer of Zoos SA, Elaine is committed to conservation projects across our region and state, having Monarto Zoological Park as an asset for the Murraylands region. Elaine is an elected member of a number of different Boards including the Children’s University Board and UniSA Undergraduate Advisory Board.

Garry Hansen

Director of Hansen Farms and Chairman of the Australia Growers Direct Garry has a long lived passion and wealth of knowledge for primary production.

Margaret Howie

Margaret owns and operates Nelwood Estate and Nursery, is an Export Advisor for Tradestart and is the Chairperson of the SA Rural Women Gathering Riverland.

Jerry Wilson, Deputy Chair

RDAMR Board - Jerry Wilson

An avid entrepreneur, Jerry has started and oversees several small businesses. Jerry is also actively involved in numerous community organisations including Rotary and the Community Wetlands.

Andrew Kassebaum

RDAMR Board - Andrew Kassebaum

Since retiring from the Royal Australian Air Force, Andrew has invested in two vineyards and now serves on the Berri Barmera Council. He is a member of the South Australian Murray Darling Basin NRM Board and the Berri Hotel group.

Peter Walker

RDAMR Board - Peter Walker

A Riverland horticulturalist, Peter is passionate about water security and the sustainable development of regional food and wine production. Peter is Chair of Destination Riverland and Board member of the Murray River Lakes & Coorong Tourism Alliance.

Danny Macmahon

Danny is an experienced wine and spirit industry leader currently working as the CEO of Byrne Vineyards in the Riverland region bringing significant interest and experience in the international business and exporting markets to the RDAMR board.

Our Staff

Our staff are highly skilled professionals who are passionate about the future of our region. We strive to provide timely information and assistance to industry, business and the local community on a range of topics and issues with the aim to create a region that is resilient, forward thinking and prosperous.

We encourage you to contact is to find out how we can assist you to get the most out of your region.

Ben Fee, Chief Executive

With a strong background and extensive understanding of the region, built throughout his twelve-year career in South Australian Government, Ben is passionate about sustainable development throughout the regions. 

In addition to roles in State Government, Ben has run his own business, commenced a PhD in resources economics focusing on Murray-Darling Basin water recovery programs and took on the role of Acting CEO of RDAMR in February/March of 2018.

Spencer Hameister, Executive Assistant to the Board and Chief Executive

Spencer Hameister

Spencer joined the RDAMR team in August 2019, initially as an Administration and Marketing Support Trainee. 18 months later, after successfully completing her studies locally, she took on an exciting new challenge as Executive Assistant to the Board and Chief Executive where her skills in customer service and team support flourished.

Growing up and living in the Murraylands, Spencer is passionate about her local community and helping the region thrive. Spencer has a bright future ahead with RDAMR.

Kathy Stringer, Finance and Operations Manager

RDAMR Staff Kathy Stringer

Kathy started with the RDA in September 2015, bringing over three decades of experience in administration roles, mostly within the farming and agribusiness sector. Kathy uses her broad knowledge of bookkeeping to keep our financial systems running smoothly, while implementing continuous improvement measures to contribute to the organisation’s efficiency.

Having lived in Murray Bridge all of her life, Kathy has a keen interest in and passion for the local community, and enjoys working with RDA to build a better and brighter regional future.

Analise Gates, Marketing and Communications Manager

Analise joined the RDA team in July 2019 bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience in practical business operations and event management having owned and operated her own small business and a range of community events across the Murraylands.

Growing up in a farming family and now raising her own family in Murray Bridge, Analise is passionate about showcasing the many benefits generated from living, working and enjoying the region.

Vanessa Leigh, Regional Manager - Skills

Vanessa joined the RDA team in April 2016, and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in practical business operations having owned and operated her own small business in regional South Australia.

Qualified in International Business and International Trade, she is passionate about building regional capability and assisting business to grow and be sustainable in a competitive market.

Shaun Harris, Strategic Policy Advisor

RDAMR Staff Shaun Harris

Commencing in August 2016 in both Project Support and Career Connections Practitioner roles, Shaun has now taken the lead of our employment and training projects. Shaun is excited about fostering community development and running initiatives that bring positive results for our community and economy.

Shaun started his career as a printing apprentice and worked his way into management, and has run his own successful café and catering business. With a Bachelor of Social Work, Shaun has been fortunate to work with Aboriginal communities on the APY lands for the SANFL.

Jarrod Bielby, Regional Manager - Infrastructure

RDAMR staff Jarrod Bielby

Jarrod joined the team in February 2017. With a strong work history in personal and business banking, real estate, management and sales, Jarrod provides a high level of quality business advisory services.

Jarrod has a wealth of experience in helping established businesses to grow, and has a keen passion for assisting start-up and small businesses. Jarrod is excited about delivering sustainable initiatives that create positive and transformative change in the region.

Julie Bates, Regional Manager - Business

RDAMR Staff Julie Bates

Joining the team in May 2016, Julie is passionate about representing the region and supporting regional businesses.

With previous experience in management roles including the South Australian Tourism Commission, School & Beyond, Majestic Apartments and Bridge Aluminium, Julie has expertise in tourism, community engagement, business and local government.

Lorena Lyon, Programs Manager

Joining the team in January 2021, Lorena has a keen interest in working to support and develop the indigenous community and a passion for assisting business.

With 22 years in media and advertising, coupled with her most recent experience in the employment services sector and her own small hobby business, Lorena has a solid understanding of regional business needs and requirements, both right now and for future planning.

Living in Waikerie with her family, Lorena is looking forward to using her skills to support and assist local businesses to grow and develop.

Sheree Cameron, Regional Manager

Sheree Cameron

Sheree has been an integral part of many RDAMR successful past programs as a consultant and permanently joined the team in 2020 bringing with her 20 years experience within the Employment, Property Investment, Accommodation and Coaching industries.

Business Management and farming are in Sheree’s genetic makeup. As a small business owner and qualified personal and business coaching practitioner, Sheree flourishes when given opportunities to help businesses reach their potential and strengthen business relationships.

We are delighted that her skills and passion for the Murraylands & Riverland now form part of our dynamic team.

Rachel Butterworth, Project Manager

RDAMR staff Rachel Thiele

Rachel is a qualified Career Development Practitioner and has qualifications in Career Development Practice, Front Line Management and Training and Assessment. She recognises each client has different needs, strengths and ambitions, and enjoys helping people achieve their career goals.

Rachel works with the community to identify training gaps and trends, and advocates for clients to have their skills formally recognised. She is passionate about helping clients to promote their transferable skills for application in other sectors and roles, creating new pathways for people who never thought a change in direction was possible.

Emma Gwiazda, Project Manager

Emma Gwiazda

Emma joined the RDA Team in May 2018. Emma brings experience from starting and continuing to run a small local business in the Riverland with her husband, and is passionate about small businesses and expanding local business owners knowledge to help them grow to achieve their goals. Emma has come with experience working in the Federal Government Human Services Department, as well as working for a national company in a coordinating and Project Managing role with subcontractors and building supervisors in the Building Industry. Emma’s interests include Horse Riding and helping her husband make their leather products in the workshop.

Daniel Gutteridge, Project Officer

Daniel Gutteridge

Daniel joined the team in October 2020, bringing experience from the education and retail sectors. Qualified in Project Management and I.T, Daniel’s experience involves a wide array of projects including the implementation of digital workflows, infrastructure master planning, community engagement, and media technology.

Growing up in the Murraylands, Daniel knows the importance of community and the strength in local knowledge. He hopes to use his skills along with the strengths of the community to help shape a prosperous region.

Tish Reynolds, Project Officer

Tish Reynolds

Tish joined the team in October 2020 with a wealth of experience in the tertiary education sector and a passion for supporting regional students.

Moving back to the Riverland with her young family in 2020, her biggest driving force is to bridge the gap between tertiary education and regional South Australia to grow and retain a skilled workforce across the region.  Tish is dedicated to supporting locals as they learn and grow both individually, and, within their businesses to ensure a thriving and prosperous region now and into the future.

Alissa Thompson, Administration and Project Support Officer

Alissa Thompson

Alissa joined the RDA team in October 2019. Born and raised in the Riverland Alissa has a love and admiration for the region and seeing it blossom to its fullest potential.

Alissa has extensive hospitality and customer service experience having worked at iconic Riverland winery, Berri Estates, the largest winery in the southern hemisphere.

Her passion, drive, and local knowledge means Alissa understands how important it is to support local businesses and local producers. She is dedicated to helping the region thrive.

Bill Nehmy, Tourism Development Manager - Murray River, Lakes & Coorong

Joining the team in late 2020, Bill is responsible for the overall growth of tourism in the Murray River, Lakes & Coorong region, including marketing, destination development and strategic direction for the tourism industry.

Growing up in Mannum, Bill has great knowledge of our region’s tourism offerings and with decades of experience in national tourism, transport and wine marketing industries, Bill is a strong advocate for the region.

Our Partners

We have earned a reputation for delivering exceptional outcomes through productive partnerships.

To get the best results for our region, we are working closely with leadership organisations like:

• Industry and business associations

• Community groups and organisations

• All eight local councils in our region

• Murraylands and Riverland Local Government Association

• Australian Government agencies

• South Australian Government agencies, including:

– Department of Primary Industries and Regions SA

– Department of State Development

– Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure

– Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources

– South Australian Tourism Commission

Our partners value our extensive regional knowledge and networks, our ability to deliver services that exceed expectations, and our creative approach to enabling economic development. If you need a trusted partner in the Murraylands and Riverland, contact our team today.

An Australian Government Initiative
Government of South Australia
Renmark Paringa District Council
District Council of Loxton Wailerie
Southern Mallee District Council
Karoonda East Murray District Council
Rural City of Murray Bridge
Mid Murray Council
Coorong District Council
Berri Barmera Council
RDA Murraylands Riverland South Australia

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RDA Murraylands Riverland South Australia