At Regional Development Australia Murraylands and Riverland, our vision is to create a vibrant, resilient region that capitalises on change, embraces economic development and prosperity, and provides an inspirational living, investment and working environment.

We are part of a national network of 55 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.

RDAMR Disability Hub
RDAMR Murray Lands - On your table

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.

Mayor Neil Martinson, Chair

RDAMR Board - Neil Martinson

Inaugural Chair of RDAMR and Mayor of Renmark Paringa District Council, Neil has a proud history of service within local government, is passionate about regional development, and is a dedicated member of his local community.

Mayor David Burgess, Deputy Chair

RDAMR Board - David Burgess

Mayor of Mid Murray Council and President of the Local Government Association of SA. With a strong history in small business and tourism, Dave manages his own B&B and is a member of the Mannum Dock Museum and local progress association.

Kate Daniels, Secretary

RDAMR Board - Kate Daniels

Kate has a strong interest in fostering regional jobs and increasing skills and allied training for employers and residents. She is a former member of the Murray Mallee Local Government Association and Regional Transport Strategy Committee.

Judd Smith, Treasurer

RDAMR Board - Judd Smith

Judd is an Agribusiness Manager for the National Australia Bank, with an economics degree and farming background. Originally from Karoonda, Judd has a strong affiliation with the region and is passionate about building strong agribusinesses.

Trevor Norton

RDAMR Board - Trevor Norton

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

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.

Jerry Wilson

RDAMR Board - Jerry Wilson

An avid entrepreneur, Jerry has started and oversees several small businesses. A councillor at the Rural City of Murray Bridge, Jerry is actively involved in numerous community organisations including Rotary and the Community Wetlands.

Corey Blacksell

Corey is Director of Blacksell Farms based at Pinnaroo. A keen entrepreneur, Corey has developed grain storage and handling marketing businesses to accompany the farming enterprise.

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.

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.

RDA Murraylands and Riverland

Jo Podoliak, Chief Executive

RDAMR Staff Jo Podoliak

Appointed in July 2015, Jo brings significant leadership skills and strong commercial acumen to RDA Murraylands and Riverland, backed by extensive experience in both public and private sectors across Australia.

Jo’s experience and knowledge gleaned from her past Board and Executive roles, including for the South Australian Tourism Commission and Coca-Cola Amatil, are an invaluable asset to the Murraylands and Riverland region. With a strong focus on strategic partnerships, Jo is eager to work with businesses and stakeholders to capitalise on the countless opportunities arising from the continued positive growth of our diverse region.

Sheryl Caston, Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive

RDAMR Staff Sheryl Caston

Sheryl joined the team in July 2016. A dedicated professional, Sheryl enjoys helping people achieve their goals. With extensive experience in administration in private and local government roles, her aim is to build strong relationships with the RDAMR Board, staff and collaborators in the region.

With a passion for the environment, biodiversity, and farming and production businesses, Sheryl is keen to support RDA in building business growth and sustainability in the region. She also enjoys supporting the RDA in providing productive employment pathways for the next generation.

Vanessa Liebelt, Regional Development Manager, Innovation and Growth

RDAMR Staff Vanessa Lielbelt

Vanessa joined the RDA team in April 2016, and has since taken on her current role based in the Murray Bridge office. Previously, Vanessa operated a small business with her husband for 10 years, which offered strategic planning and implementation, business development, and skills and training services to private enterprises and Indigenous organisations.

With a Diploma in International Business and International Trade, Vanessa has also consulted overseas. Vanessa loves providing business and industry with sound and practical assistance to capitalise on the wealth of opportunities available in this region.

Jarrod Bielby, Regional Development Manager, Logistics and 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.

Bruce Mellett, Regional Development Manager, Capability

RDAMR staff Bruce Mellett

Bruce started with RDAMR in October 2016, bringing more than 30 years of media and leadership experience as the former Regional Manager of the ABC in the Riverland. Bruce is passionate about enabling long-term positive change in the community through elevating individual and regional capabilities.

Bruce is an Australia Day Ambassador for South Australia. He has won national awards for innovation and mentoring, South Australian awards for community involvement, and has long associations with schools, service and sporting clubs in the region.

Sandy Iosefellis, Regional Development Manager, Value Added Agriculture and Services

RDAMR Staff Sandy Iosofellas

Sandy joined RDAMR in January 2017, bringing experience across private and government-funded sectors in the wine, horticulture, tourism, hospitality, and social service industries. As a partner in a local horticulture property, Autumn Fruits, Sandy is well-versed in the challenges and opportunities of our region.

With experience in the SARMS Irrigation Industry Improvement Program and Adelaide University’s Agrifood & Wine eChallenge, Sandy has a wealth of knowledge and passion for developing innovative solutions with regional business that add value, access markets, use collaborative models, and apply new technologies.

Sue Heward, Farm to Fork Program Coordinator

RDAMR Sue Heward - Farm to Fork

Starting in July 2017, Sue is responsible for the coordination of the Farm-to-Fork Networking group, #themurrayonyourtable instagram account and a range of other value added food projects. Having worked in various roles across the neuroscience and public health sector, Sue has experience in government liaison, program management and marketing campaigns, and she is keen to utilise these skills to advance the region.

Sue is a passionate foodie. She is keen to promote our region’s produce and connect the producers behind the stories with consumers who care where their food comes from.

Julie Bates, Tourism Development Manager

RDAMR Staff Julie Bates

Joining the team in May 2016, Julie 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.

Julie’s previous experience in management roles includes the South Australian Tourism Commission, School & Beyond, Majestic Apartments and Bridge Aluminium. Julie has expertise in tourism, community engagement, business and local government. She is passionate about growing the tourism industry and representing the region to the world.

Melissa Taylor, NDIS Workforce Project Manager

RDAMR Staff Melissa Taylor

Melissa brings 14 years of experience and qualifications in mental health, case management and management, with a strong humanitarian focus. Having worked across disability, drug and alcohol, and youth residential settings, Melissa is passionate about improving individuals’ quality of life.

Melissa works collaboratively with the community, service providers and stakeholders to upskill our workforce, facilitate employment pathways and workforce development, and maximise the economic benefit our region can gain from the NDIS, while improving access to services for people with a disability.

Kathy Stringer, Finance Officer

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.

Sonia Hein, Business/Project Support Officer

RDAMR Staff Sonia Hein

Sonia joined RDAMR in November 2016. Gaining a grounding in business with a 12-month traineeship with RDAMR in 2012, Sonia left to seek further education opportunities and has returned five years later, having achieved qualifications in business, animal technology and marketing. Sonia also gained experience in administration, IT and finance while implementing various projects throughout the region, including the 2015/16 Murraylands Careers Expo.

Sonia’s passion and knowledge of the region as a life-long local are a key part of the RDA team, where she aims to assist in the region’s development and prosperity.

Joni Drogemuller, Customer Service Officer

Joni joined the RDAMR team in Januray 2018 and provides customer service, administration and project support to the Riverland office. Previously Joni has worked and gained qualifications in banking, frontline management and insurance services as well as volunteering for the Barmera SES for nine years. Joni has called the Riverland home her whole life, now raising her young family there and is committed to her seeing her local community and economy continue to grow. Joni will strive to provide exceptional services to the RDAMR team and clients to build a stronger, resilient Riverland region.

Career Connections

Shaun Harris, Employment and Training Manager

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.

Rachel Thiele, Career Connections 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.

Kerryn Van Dyk, Career Connections Practitioner

RDAMR Staff Kerryn Van Dyke

Kerryn has worked with RDA since June 2012, in Career Connections Riverland. With 11 years of experience in the disability employment sector and a qualification in Career Development Practice, Kerryn brings valued knowledge in career planning and customer service.

Kerryn works with clients to establish their career pathway. This includes providing the knowledge and guidance they need to update and tailor their resumes to suit employment opportunities, helping them to get job ready, and linking them with training opportunities.

Cathy Clemow, Career Connections Practitioner

RDAMR staff Cathy Clemow

Cathy has a passion for education, having worked in the sector for decades across roles including promotion and marketing, fundraising and development, and Vocational Education and Training (VET). Cathy coordinated Alice Spring’s VET Youth2Work programme, before taking on the Regional Industry Career Advisor role, servicing a huge region from the border up to Katherine.

Having returned to Mannum and gained additional skills and qualifications, Cathy started with the Murraylands CDC in December 2015. With a love for the River and all that the region has to offer, Cathy is focused on helping this region reach its potential.

Janette Size, Career Connections Practitioner

RDAMR staff Janette Size

Starting with RDAMR in August 2017, Janette has over 7 years of experience in the employment services industry, including candidate assessment, resume advice and critique, staff appraisals, skills testing, HR consulting and delivering workshops. Janette has also run her own successful business for two decades.

Janette enthusiastically assists individuals to find the right career or training pathway through discovering their strengths, skills and passions. Her passion for job seekers and strong skillset makes her a valuable part of the team, and means she is keen to see clients flourish in their chosen field.

Annette Thiel, Career Connections Admin Support

RDAMR staff Annette Thiel

Annette is a qualified Career Practitioner with qualifications in Career Development and Project Management. She has worked with the RDA since 2004, and was previously employed by its predecessor, the Riverland Development Corporation.

Annette provides project support and administration for the Riverland Career Connections, making sure the centre runs smoothly. With an understanding of local industry, employment services and training providers, Annette successfully links clients with the services they need.

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