Russell Stewart re-elected as chair of Regional Development Australia Northern Inland

GOING AGAIN: Russell Stewart of Narrabri was delighted to get the news of his reappointed as Chair of Regional Development Australia Northern Inland. Photo courtesy of RDANI.
GOING AGAIN: Russell Stewart of Narrabri was delighted to get the news of his reappointed as Chair of Regional Development Australia Northern Inland. Photo courtesy of RDANI.

REGIONAL Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI) has locked in Russell Stewart as their chair until June 30 2025.

The Narrabri local first took the role in 2015, and has since helped the group advocate for more than $50 million in funds for local government, not-for-profits and businesses.

The Australian Government's assistant minister for Regional Development, the Hon. Nola Marino, awarded Mr Stewart the continuity of his chair on Tuesday - it is the second time he has be reappointed.

"Russell Stewart has provided strong leadership for RDA Northern Inland during his time as Chair, having successfully steered the committee through the challenges of 2020 and, along with the members and staff, provided great support for the region's business community and future economic development," she said.

"I look forward to working with Russell and the RDA Northern Inland members and staff over the coming years and encourage the community to reach out to their RDA to discuss how it can help communities and businesses succeed."

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Guiding the region through the drought, bushfires and COVID-19, which Mr Stewart described as a "triple whammy" has been one of his toughest tasks, but he is confident there is significant potential for recovery.

"To recover... our region's employers need skilled staff," he said.

"Helping to address skill shortages through skilled migration is a vital role of RDA Northern Inland.

"We have brought hundreds of skilled visa recipients to our region in recent years, our expertise and follow-up support is nationally recognised."

He also stated the region's track record is so impressive they often lend advice to other areas, who reach out for help.

"RDA Northern Inland has helped develop successful funding applications, business cases, cost-benefit analysis and regional data for Local Government, not-for-profits and businesses across our region," Mr Stewart said.

"In just three years, we helped to attract over $50million in funding to this region, towards projects totalling over $70million, but worth so much more to our economic and social wellbeing.

"Over the past 12 months those figures have increased substantially."

Mr Stewart has the backing of RDANI executive director Nathan Axelsson, who threw his full support behind the Narrabri and District Chamber of Commerce president.

"Russell leads a volunteer committee that is representative of our region," said Mr Axelsson.

"They come together from the Liverpool Plains to Tenterfield and across to Mungindi to serve as champions of the region and its economic development.

"Through the holistic, big-picture vision of our Chair, his team and the Federal Government, our six-member workforce kept working hard throughout the COVID-19 pandemic."

This story Regional leader reappointed following strong performance first appeared on The Armidale Express.