- 5 April 2018
The Federal Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government John McVeigh, has announced the appointment of Mr Hugh Cooke of Yass as the new Chairman of Regional Development Australia Southern Inland (RDASI).
Dr McVeigh said Mr Cooke would bring valuable experience and knowledge to the role.
“I welcome the appointment of Mr Hugh Cooke as Chair of RDA Southern Inland. Mr Cooke brings with him over 29 years of experience from both the public and private sectors. Mr Cooke’s Agribusiness expertise coupled with his knowledge in the financial and governance areas makes him the perfect candidate to lead RDA Southern Inland” Dr McVeigh said.
“RDAs are key contributors to regional economic development. RDA committees are highly valued facilitators of initiatives that grow local economies, promote opportunities and attract investment; this in turn provides confidence to regional areas.”
Hugh Cooke is a Director with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources having previously worked as a Director and CFO of Wheat Exports Australia. These positions involved communication with Agricultural businesses and producers all over Australia. Mr Cooke has productive experience with property development and the hospitality industry.
Mr Cooke holds a Bachelor of Economics from Sydney University and a Diploma in Financial Services and has had extensive experience in agricultural finance providing advice to cropping and grazing corporates throughout eastern Australia. He is a qualified accountant having trained at Pricewaterhouse and is a member and graduate of the Institute of Directors.
Mr Cooke was born in Temora and now lives at Yass running a cattle, sheep and wool production operation.
He has a passion for rural communities and experience with local councils. Mr Cooke is looking forward to this opportunity to make a significant contribution to building stronger and more prosperous rural and regional businesses.
"It's a great honour to have been selected to lead such an important group to our region's economic future," said Mr Cooke, "I'm really looking forward to the challenge and moving forward under the new charter focussing on growing strong and confident regional economies.”
Mr Cooke advised his goal is to ensure all the Southern Inland local government areas take advantage of their competitive advantages and drive economic growth within those areas.
Mr Cooke takes over from Councillor Mark Schweikert of Bungendore who has served for over three years as RDASI's Chairman.
During his time as Chairman, Cr. Schweikert focused on reprioritising expenditure and projects and centralising RDASI administration in Goulburn. He continued to ensure Board members travel the region to meet business owners and members of local government to understand the real issues at hand. As an extension of that policy, RDASI currently has three Board members and its CEO touring China to explore opportunities and connections for Southern Inland producers.
Mr Cooke praised Cr. Schweikert for his dedication and leadership over the three years and putting RDASI into a position where it's now well known in the region and ready for the next chapter of its future.
Cr.Schweikert said "I wish the new Chairman every success and hope he finds this role as interesting, illuminating and rewarding as I have. This region has a lot to offer Australia and the growing Asian market".
RDASI’s role is to promote economic development in the region by attracting investment, supporting local businesses to grow and develop, linking businesses and community organisations with government grants and programs, creating jobs and encouraging prosperity for the region.
More information on RDASI can be found at www.rdasi.org.au