Meet our Committee
Our Committee is comprised of local leaders with broad and diverse skills and experience, who understand the challenges, opportunities and priorities in their local community. They are local people developing local solutions to local issues.
Our 11 dedicated members have a strong understanding of Federal, State and Local government policies and initiatives, and the ways in which local communities can engage with them.
The Chair and Deputy Chair positions to date have been appointed jointly by the Australian and State Government Ministers responsible for regional development.
Opportunities exist from time to time for new appointments to the Committee. Should you be interested in joining the Committee please refer to the following link for more information. Join your local RDA.
Ruth Fagan, Chair
Ruth Fagan has extensive advisory board experience, in a State and regional capacity. She has been involved in a range of industries, including tourism, agriculture, planning and retail. Ruth is presently a State appointed member of the Joint Regional Planning Panel for the Western Region, a Cowra Shire Councillor for 16 years and a Board Member of Local Government NSW.
Trained as a journalist and a resident of Cowra for 37 years, Ruth has worked as a journalist, Tourism Manager and operated a number of businesses in Cowra including a gift shop, a motel, a vineyard and a dress shop. She is a member of the Cowra Showground, Paceway and Race Course Trust, the Cowra Business Chamber and various local committees. Ruth holds a Bachelor of Business Studies from Charles Sturt University, she is the Director of a Marketing Business and the Business Development Manager and partner of a real estate agency in Cowra.
Reg Kidd, Deputy Chair
Reg is an agricultural consultant and holds a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, Graduate Diploma in Education and a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.
He is currently the Mayor of Orange City Council and has been a Councillor for 24 years. Reg has represented NSW Local Government on a number of State Committees including; Landcare, the Catchment Authority, Biodiversity and is the longest serving chairman of the Infrastructure Council committee.
Reg presents ABC Radio’s Gardening Talkback segment on Saturday mornings and is a Board Member on numerous government committees regarding weed control and pesticide use. He has been involved with the Orange Botanic Gardens and National Field Days at Borenore for almost 40 years.
Reg is passionate about sustainable farming practices and educating younger generations about how they can grow their own vegetables and help improve the health of the environment.
He enjoys spending time with his wife Kerry, their three adult sons and their young families.
David Sherley, Member
David is currently employed as the General Manager of Bathurst Regional Council. He has an interest in the facilitation of regional growth to ensure the future sustainability of rural Australia, in particular the areas of infrastructure development, cultural and sports tourism and regional planning.
David is a member of Central NSW Joint Organisation. He has a Bachelor Ec (Sydney University), M Bus (CSU), a Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies (Deakin) and holds a membership of the ASCPA.
As the General Manager of Bathurst Regional Council, David has been involved in a wide range of matters such as; operations of the Mount Panorama Racing Circuit, the development of museum facilities in Bathurst, community strategic planning, economic and infrastructure development and overseeing the implementation of Council’s Community Strategic Plan.
Christine Weston, Member
Christine is an accomplished Direct Marketing Executive with 20 years international experience working in Australia, New Zealand, UK, Germany and throughout Asia Pacific.
Christine has been involved with Boards for over 10 years in both the not-for-profit and community sector. Her experience extends from executive roles to reporting to the Board of multi-national companies. Christine’s positive nature, marketing passion, fundraising expertise and strong activism for regional living has delivered social and economic outcomes to both communities and companies.
Christine was awarded NSW Woman of the Year 2010 for her dedication to regional development, community and tourism. These local initiatives include ‘Rent-a-farmhouse for $1 a week’, ‘Animals on Bikes’ paddock art trail and ‘Opera in the Woolshed’.
Christine was born in Parkes and now lives in nearby Cumnock with her husband and 3 highschool children on a grazing and farming enterprise. Christine has a strong sense of commitment to the Central West, and is very passionate about job creation and investment to improve communities in the regional area.
Tracie Robertson, Member
Tracie is the Managing Director of Ray White Real Estate in Parkes, Forbes and Condobolin employing 20 staff. She successfully started an online holiday booking service within Ray White, Parkes in order to provide additional accommodation options for Elvis Festival attendees.
Tracie is a graduate of Charles Sturt University and the Australian Institute of Business having completed a Bachelor of Business Management, a Graduate Diploma in Business Administration and a Master of Business Administration.
Tracie is a past Vice President of the Parkes Regional Development Association which evolved to become the Parkes Chamber of Commerce, and was a forming member of the Condobolin Chamber of Commerce, the Forbes Economic Development group and the Parkes Business Awards.
Tracie is currently involved in CSU’s CenWest Next Stage Growth program and completing a Cert 4 in Training and Assessment with the intention of being at the forefront of legislative change to training requirements for Real Estate Agents.
Diana Fear, Member
Diana is CEO of Central West Farming systems leading the direction of projects through overseeing the financial management, administration, project delivery and reporting on project KPIs. Critical to the success of these projects is identifying suitable collaborators, effective stakeholder engagement, and ensuring efficient operational systems.
In 2016, Diana presented a paper on CWFS Women in Agriculture Project at the 2nd Symposium on Transformation for Rural Development in Delhi, India. In 2018, Diana participated in the National Rural Women’s Coalition Leadership program. A recent CWFS success was the Grain Research Development Corporation funded Overdependence on Agrochemicals Project (2014-2017) with a consortium of four farming systems groups and CSU Wagga. Diana has also completed the Women on Boards 2019 Next Generation of Female Leaders program.
The CWFS AgMarketing Project is another success that identified new market opportunities to add value to agricultural commodities. This project delivered a series of hands on workshops to target on-farm women decision makers to increase profitability of farm businesses through capacity building. Diana has a BA (Hons) International Relations and a Diploma of Agribusiness. She also completed Governance Essentials for Not for Profits last year and was successful in the 2018 Community Directors Award Program, Institute of Community Directors Australia to do a Diploma of Business (Governance) this year.
Diana is an active community member and has wide experience on local and regional committees.
Rich Evans, Member
Rich is the CEO and Editor in Chief of Central West Media, publishers of the Lithgow Village Voice and Bathurst City Life. CWM also operates a number of soon to be launched regional focused portals such as Central West Jobs.
Rich is also the Chief Reactivation Officer at The Foundations in Portland where he is using his marketing and events experience to reactivate the old Portland Cement Works site. Rich has enjoyed a long career in marketing and technology and is still involved in a software startup in the building industry. He is also a hard working member of a number of community based organisations and committees, most recently working with Lithgow City Council on their economic transition planning.
Rich is a businessman, author, speaker, consultant – but most of all he identifies as a designer.
Rich is also an advocate for the Mental Health movement and has recently launched a podcast – The Uncommon.
Ricky Puata, Member
Ricky is the Deputy Director, Regional Coordination & Delivery for the Department of Regional NSW. He brings a wealth of experience working with regional people and realising better outcomes for those living in the Central West NSW. In his role with the Department of Regional NSW, he works across Central West NSW to improve social and economic outcomes through working with all levels of government, industry and business. Before this, he worked in the health and community engagement space and was the Cancer Council NSW Regional Manager covering Western NSW. In this role, Ricky was responsible for community engagement and the efficient, effective and timely operations of the Western NSW region.
Ricky is a Board Director for the Upstairs Regional Incubator Hub, the first regional startup hub in Central West NSW, and is motivated by promoting emerging businesses in his local community. He is also committed to promoting public health in regional communities and is a Council Member for the Western NSW Primary Health Network Community Council and Member of the Orange Health Liaison Committee. Ricky is also the Chair of Cancer Care Western NSW, a NFP focussed on improving cancer outcomes for people living in Central West NSW. He holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) and is studying a Master of Business Law.
Ricky is married with three children living in Orange, NSW.
Owen Williams, Member
Owen has a background in superannuation portfolio management and investment banking.
For the past 15 years he has held Project Director roles in projects including LNG, gas chemicals and HV electricity transmission. Owen has served extended terms on the Boards of airports, ports and retail finance entities.
Owen has a keen interest in providing support to practical initiatives that advance the region as a centre of excellence for medical, education, wine/food, tourism, minerals extraction and particularly new industries that will build skill bases in advanced and emerging industries and technologies not dependent on capital city location.
Eleanor Falkiner, Member
Eleanor Falkiner is an agribusiness and public sector major projects specialist with over 15 year’s experience working for some of Australia’s biggest agribusinesses including AACo and infrastructure projects including ARTC Inland Rail.
Eleanor is currently a non-executive Director of Haddon Rig, a sheep and dryland cropping enterprise at Warren, NSW and the co-owner of Boridgeree, a lucerne farm at Canowindra. Eleanor is also vice-president of the Canowindra Preschool and Kindergarten.
Eleanor holds a double degree in Communications and International Relations from University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and is interested in regional development and community capacity building, particularly for women and First Nations communities.
Joshua Devitt, Member
Josh is a regionally based civil engineer, with over 20 years of experience in the public works and higher education sectors. Josh has lived and worked in regional NSW for most of his life, and currently resides in Orange with his wife and two sons. Josh is committed to the ongoing growth of the central west, by delivering practical solutions to improve outcomes for local communities, as well as ensuring the long term development of the region is secure.
Josh currently serves as the Chief Engineer of the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) NSW & ACT Division. In this role he oversees research and development into best practice engineering techniques and advocates to State and Federal Government on improved outcomes for public works professionals and the local communities they support.
Josh serves on numerous State and Federal technical committees and panels; including the Austroads Freight Task Force, Australasian College of Road Safety NSW Committee, NSW Roadside Environment Committee, TfNSW Level Crossing Working Group and the Streets Opening Coordination Council. Josh holds degrees in Engineering, Management, Higher Education, Sociology and Urban and Regional Studies.