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The Board

Governance

RDAFN is governed by a Board of members including a Chair and Deputy Chair. Board Members are appointed via an application process through the Commonwealth Government, State Government and Local Government Association. Board members are committed volunteers appointed from the region and represent the community, business and Local Government.

The Board meets every 6 weeks with every second meeting being a Finance Meeting.

Board Members

Mark Sutton

Chair

Mark is the Director of the Outback Communities Authority, a State Government of South Australia Statutory Authority responsible for community development and limited “local government” function in the out-of-councils area of the state.

Mark has a deep seeded passion for the outback, developed over a period of eighteen years living and working in the region. Mark first arrived in the Outback in 1993 as a young Constable with the South Australia Police stationed at Leigh Creek Police Station. Over the ensuing nine years until 2002, he lived and/or worked at Marree, Innamincka, Marla and the Pitjantjatjara Lands, Coober Pedy, Woomera, Roxby Downs, Andamooka, William Creek and finally at Oodnadatta.

It was at Oodnadatta where his passion for the outback manifested into a more formal community development direction. Mark served as the Chair of the Oodnadatta Progress Association from 1999 until 2002, a position, likened to a town Mayor, which oversaw all municipal activity in the town. This position allowed Mark to work closely with the Outback Areas Community Development Trust (the predecessor to the Outback Communities Authority). When the opportunity to take up a new role with the Trust as a Community Development Officer, Mark resigned from the South Australia Police and moved to Port Augusta in 2002.

Initially employed as a Community Development Officer, the premature departure of the Trust’s Manager provided an opportunity for Mark to relieve and ultimately confirm himself in that position in 2003. Since that time Mark has overseen a significant increase in the local government function of the Trust brought about by significant change in economic, social and environmental activity in the region. These changes culminated in July 2010 with the creation of the Outback Communities Authority, of which Mark is the inaugural General Manager.

Mark’s knowledge of the region and its people is widely acknowledged and his input is widely sought in the development of regional policy ranging from economic development to drought response to infrastructure provision. Mark is the Chair of the Far North Emergency Management Committee, Member of the Far North Regional Coordination Network, Member of the Outback Bushfire Management Committee, Member of the Rangelands Drought Task Force and inaugural Member of the Outback SA Community Alliance.

Colin Davies

Deputy Chair

Colin is the Chief Executive Officer of The Flinders Ranges Council responsible for a large portion (4,198 sq kms) of an iconic area of the state that is an Australian National Landscape. The Flinders Ranges Council area includes the towns of Quorn, Hawker and Cradock.

Colin has worked in local government for the last 11 years, starting at the District Council of Orroroo Carrieton in March 2003 as Director of Finance. Colin then moved to the District Council of Peterborough as Director of Finance (including several periods as Acting CEO) late that same year. This was followed by a move to the Northern Areas Council based in Jamestown as Manager Finance and Administration before the most recent move to The Flinders Ranges Council in 2008, initially as Manager of Finance and Administration with the appointment as Chief Executive Officer in April 2009. Colin has worked as Chief Financial Officer in various other industries including mining, manufacturing, health and the not-for-profit sector and is a Fellow of the Institute of Financial Accountants (UK). Colin is also a Fellow of Local Government Professionals.

Colin also has qualifications as a travel agent, having spent 8 years as a Travel Manager in various travel agencies, and has travelled to many parts of Australia and the world. Colin therefore understands the huge benefit of tourism to the Flinders Ranges and Outback region. Colin also owns a fully hosted bed and breakfast in the Flinders Ranges which is managed by his wife Helen.

Colin has a huge dedication to the community, both local and worldwide which is evidenced by the number of committees on which he sits outside of the Council committees. They include Far North Zone Emergency Management Committee, National Landscapes Committee, Rotary Port Augusta, Rotary District 9500 Executive (Treasurer), North Eastern Rural Group of Justices, Flinders Group of Justices & Regional Development Australia Far North Board. Colin is a Justice of the Peace. Colin was also a volunteer South Australian Ambulance Services Ambulance Officer for 7 years in Peterborough, Jamestown and Quorn.

Greg Flint

Councillor Greg Flint lives in Hawker and is an elected member of The Flinders Ranges Council.

Greg also holds a Bachelor of Laws, a Bachelor of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, a Certificate of Conservation and Business, Natural Resource Based Enterprise Development and Local Livelihoods.

Greg was formerly with the SA Police, is qualified as a Community Conference Facilitator, Transformative Justice Australia and is completing his Masters in Community Development. Greg also brings extensive experience working with Aboriginal Organisations and Communities within South Australia and the Northern Territory.

Tony Mitchell

Tony moved to Port Augusta in 1994 and after working for several businesses formed the company Crossroads Concepts Pty Ltd with Business partner Shane Packard, they purchased an existing business Rossigns and established Multi Print SA.

Tony has a background of 30+ years in the printing trade and has seen many changes over the course of this time. Soon after moving to Port Augusta he joined the Port Augusta Tourist Committee and saw the formation of Port Augusta focus, which is now Business Port Augusta, a member based business association that represents business in Port Augusta. He was a founding member of the Original Afghan Express Committee which successfully campaigned and raised funds for the extension of the Pichi Richi Railway line into Port Augusta.

For several years he was a Board Member of Global Maintenance Upper Spencer Gulf (GMUSG) as the representative for businesses with up to 10 employees.

He was an Inaugural member, and then Chairperson, of the Upper Spencer Gulf Business Incubator Network (USGBIN). Tony has been a member on the newly formed Community Development Assessment Panel, and is an Elected Member (Councillor) of the City of Port Augusta, starting his 4th term in this role. He has a strong passion for economic development, tourism and small business and believes he is good representation to Council on these issues.

Graham Elliot

Graham has an extensive career history as a CEO across a number of sectors such as Industrial Equipment, Television Broadcast, Produce and Finance. These appointments have been doing long-term leadership roles, or under contract for the structuring growth, investment, transition, or turn around.

This broad background enables Graham to converse with Boards, Colleagues and Clients effectively at both business and personal level, while bringing relatable experience and understanding.

Graham's capabilities have been fortified with an Australian Master's Degree (MBA) and Advanced Business Management (ABM) studied at Harvard Business School, adn demonstrated across his senior appointment.

A Graduate of The Australian Institute of Company Directors and a registered Justice of the Peace, Graham is also well traveled internationally, conducting business in Asia, USA, Europe and the Middle East.

Graham is currently a Director of Max Cranes which operates throughout South Australia with Branches located in Port Augusta, Whyalla, Port Pirie, Moomba and Adelaide, while functioning predominantly across the Oil, Gas, Mining, Engineering and Construction Segments.

Craig Cresp

Craig is a senior Project Manager and the Port Augusta Office Manager for McMahon Services with a wealth of experience in the mining, heavy industry, oil and gas and energy sectors both in Australia and the United Kingdom. Prior to working for McMahon Services Craig worked for BHP at its Olympic Dam operations in varied roles associated with the Smelter Campaign Maintenance projects (2012, 2014, 2017).

Craig is a proud Port Augusta born and bred local, who undertook his education at Caritas College. Post completion of this schooling, he studied engineering in Adelaide, where between his studies he worked for an engineering firm in Whyalla undertaking design works for the steelworks. The following years saw him return to Adelaide to work for larger engineering firm who also undertook design works for the Whyalla steelworks and also for the Port Pirie Smelters, amongst other projects. The following decade saw Craig live and work in London, Adelaide and they finally return to Port Augusta, where he currently lives with his wife and young family. Living in Port Augusta brings all of the perks of living on the water and adjacent the Flinders Ranges, where Craig often finds himself on the water, at best, catching fish or in the Flinders Ranges amongst the walking trails and natural surrounds

His passion, pride and experience in the local region provides the RDAFN board and individual who brings broad construction management and engineering experience with qualifications in Project Management and Engineering.

Brett Benbow

Brett was born and raised Port Augusta, being a local resident since 1962 and is now married with 3 children that were all raised and educated in Port Augusta.

Brett has been employed since leaving school in 1978 and has an employment career varying from sales assistance, site labourer, road transport, bar attendant in early years to a career in rail industry since 1983 with Australian National Railway including workshop environment, rigger, crane driver union delegate organiser, then rail transport and logistics in position of Terminal Operations Manager 2006 to 2010. Brett is currently a Terminal Manager which involved management of budgets and ground staff in Whyalla, Port Augusta and the Cook train crew facility positioned on the Nullarbor for Pacific National Freight.

Brett is a Proud Passionate local, with an open mind and in depth history of Port Augusta it's community and the region having witnessed the resilience first hand of community members and business owners both large and small during down turns in the economy and employment to the current climate where there is a revitalisation in the both of these areas in Port August and the region. Brett has a strong belief there is great opportunity available fro growth through a number of areas in tourism, art, history, transport mining, renewables and the human resource sector moving forward for the region.


Brett was an elected Port Augusta Council member from 2010 - 2018 and is currently the Deputy Mayor, a position which he has held since 2015. He is the current chair of the Marine Advisory Committee and the Far North Industry Leaders Group and was previous chair of the Council Operations committee and Strategic Management and Policy Committee.

Philip "Phil" Turner

Born in Tasmania a few years ago, Phil has many years’ worth of experience in various areas of business including owning, running and working for high profile businesses in Tasmania and Canberra. He even claims to have put “Tasmania back on the map” with his position of Director at Leo Burnett. After winning numerous awards nationally and internationally for marketing Tasmania he sold up and moved to Canberra to start his own consultancy business and held contracts consulting with Government. Some of this projects included reshaping of the Royal Australian Air Force; Business Migration Program for the Department of Immigration and rolling out of the international Electronic Travel Authority system. He worked extensively on Indigenous issues with ATSIC and the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and won a Gold Public Relations Institute of Australia Award for the national campaign “Aboriginal Australia”. Phil was appointed a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors in 1993.

Whilst being based in city areas, Phil’s passion has always been the outback and the desert. After studying Journalism and later becoming qualified as a Travel Writer and Photojournalist with international accreditation, Phil and his wife Maz decided the only way to really experience the outback was to immerse themselves in outback life. So the consulting business closed; Maz resigned as a career public servant and they bought the Marree Hotel business.

After a lot of hard work getting the business running the way they wanted to, in 2017 they won “GOLD” in the SA Tourism awards for South Australia’s best Standard Accommodation. They also won “BRONZE” in the national Qantas Tourism Awards for the same year. Phil’s passion for the outback remains and he has been a driver for many regional initiative and now wants to help capitalise on the opportunities that identify ‘potential’ and bring those opportunities to fruition.

Catherine Way

Catherine is the Australian Business Development Manager for the global renewable energy developer, DP Energy.

A specialist in renewable energy and sustainable development, Catherine has facilitated policy and programs to support investment including the passage through Parliament of new legislation to support renewable energy investment, the implementation of strong targets, and the introduction of a package of land-use planning reforms to support wind energy development. Catherine has also worked in the mining sector advising BHP Billiton on greenhouse gas abatement strategies, and more generally in the not for profit sector in areas related to anthropogenic climate change.

With qualifications in environmental management, business, company directorship and leadership, Catherine has the background to deliver vision, authoritative leadership and expert advice leading to outcomes which reflect a strong balance between regional requirements, the economic imperative and environmental and social sustainability.