Regional Development VictoriaRDA Grampians

State Government of Victoria

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Grampians RDA Committee

The committee is a community based advisory body delivering services on behalf of the Commonwealth and State Governments. Membership comprises of representatives from business, higher education, industry, government and the community.


Stuart BenjaminStuart Benjamin was born and raised in Regional Victoria. Stuart studied and worked around Australia before settling in Ballarat to start a family. He has four children and runs a business group operating across the State. Stuart is currently a Director of Elmstone, a multi-faceted land and construction group operating in Western Victoria. Other positions include: Director of Aviation Accommodation Australia, a specialised residential and commercial accommodation provider to the aviation industry; Director of au Domain Authority (auDA) the regulator of the domain name space in Australia on behalf of the Federal Government; Board Member with Enterprising Communities Inc. who aim is to strengthen the connections between the community, families and schools.

Deputy Chairperson

Justine LinleyJustine Linley began as Chief Executive Officer with the Northern Grampians Shire Council in October 2010. Justine has held senior roles in higher education, local government, and regional development, starting her career in local government with the City of Melbourne in the mid 1980's. Justine moved to Stawell in 2003 after living and working in Melbourne’s Western Region. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and post-graduate qualifications in Museum & Art Gallery Management and Communications Law from the University of Melbourne. Prior to commencing with Northern Grampians Shire Council, Justine was the Regional Director for the Grampians Region, Regional Development Victoria, working with 11 councils, businesses and organisations from Bacchus Marsh to the South Australian border. Justine has a commitment to regional co-operation and strategic planning and has been a board member of: Grampians Regional Health Alliance Network; Treasurer of the Economic Development Association of Victoria. Justine is currently a member of: Grampians Regional Management Forum; Wimmera Development Association; and Central Highlands Mayors and CEOs Forum.

Committee Members

Doctor Judy VerlinDr. Judy Verlin AM is a board member of the Ballarat General Cemeteries Trust, a board member of Sovereign Hill Museum Association and was recently the Chair of Committee of Ballarat until October 2015. Judy’s past experience included small business owner and director, Executive Officer of the Central Highlands Area Consultative Committee and Manager of Small Business Development at BRACE. Judy has served in local government as a Ballarat Councillor first beginning in 1996 to 2002 and then again in 2008 to 2012. During her terms Judy was Ballarat’s Mayor in 1998, 1999, 2009 and 2010. During her time with local government, Judy was Chair of Regional Cities of Victoria, Chair of Central Highlands Regional Mayors and CEO’s Forum and Board Member of the International League of Historical Cities Network. Judy has received recognition for her service with the Municipal Association of Victoria Mayor Emeritus Award and awarded a Paul Harris Fellow for community service by the Ballarat South Rotary Club. In January 2013, Judy was recognised in the Australia Day honours being made a member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her significant service to the Ballarat community. In May that year, Judy was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Ballarat (now Federation University Australia) for her services to the Ballarat community.

Craig FletcherCraig Fletcher for more than 23 years has been involved in both private practice and government in the provision of engineering and building surveying services . Craig’s professional qualifications include Graduate Diploma in Management, Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) and he is a Registered Building Practitioner. In 2008 Craig was elected to Ballarat Council and elected as Mayor in 2010 and served until 2011. Craig is involved in the local community as a life member of the Wendouree Apex Club, Inaugural Chair of the Delacombe Enterprising Communities , Executive Member of Lead on Ballarat and President of the Ballarat Turf Club.

David MillerDavid Miller has a long held interest in regional economic development. With an education background in politics, sociology and urban studies, David’s career has largely been working in government policy and economic, cultural and community development roles within both State and Local Government. Until 2007 David held the position of Deputy Chief of Staff to Premier of Victoria, Steve Bracks, and prior to that, whilst working in a senior role with the City of Ballarat, was appointed as a member of the then State Government’s Regional Development Advisory Group. David is currently a member of the boards of both Ballarat Health Services and the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka.

Justin GilbertJustin Gilbert was born, raised, and educated in Ballarat, and now resides here choosing to raise his own family in his home community. He is currently employed by Federation University Australia as Manager Data Analysis & Reporting in the Strategic Planning Directorate. With tertiary qualifications majoring in accounting and management, and also in corporate governance, he has a career spanning over 25 years in business administration, finance and budgeting, information technology, revenue and strategic planning. Justin has worked extensively with small businesses, non-profit community organisations, corporate enterprises, and educational institutions, all based in Ballarat but with a strong presence throughout the Grampians region. Justin also has 5 years’ Board experience in both tourism and small business, focusing on financial and corporate governance.

Robyn GullineRobyn Gulline is a director of Gulline Farms Pty Ltd, her family’s mixed farming operation at Longerenong. She has been involved in all aspect of the business for 20 years. In 2012, Robyn established St Monan’s Emporium, an online shopping business. Robyn’s career in education has been very diverse. She has taught from preschool and primary to TAFE and University, including many years teaching accounting and business management subjects to students at Longerenong College and the University of Ballarat (now Federation University Australia). Robyn is Vice-Chair of Partners in Grain Victoria/Tasmania and a member of the Wimmera Machinery Field Days committee.

Paul HooperPaul Hooper is currently the Mayor of Ararat Rural City. Paul's past experience includes owning and operating a large full scale independent supermarket, commercial and housing property development, co-ownership of a chain of fresh produce outlets, retail consultancy and work in both the education and training sectors, and as a company director. Paul has also chaired the Victorian IGA committee and has many years’ experience in chairing independent supermarket marketing and fresh foods committees. Paul is currently serving his fourth term as Mayor of the Ararat Rural City and is a fourth term Councillor. In addition, Paul is completing his second term of chairing the Central Highlands Regional Mayors and CEO's forum. He has also been recognised with the Municipal Association of Victoria Mayor Emeritus Award.

Shelly GreenShelly Green has been in primary production for 35 years, the egg industry for 15 years and has been a partner in the strategic development of the business to grow and market all eggs produced as GreenEggs. Her family farms 1000 hectares at Great Western and Lake Fyans in Western Victoria producing free range eggs from 35,000 birds and also producing first cross lambs. This is run concurrently with a commitment to the environmental sustainability of the property. Shelley has a background as a Midwife implementing women’s health programs in the region and assisted medical practices with their accreditation program. Shelley is also a volunteer on the East Grampians Health Service Auxiliary, Great Western Landcare and founding member of Grampians Produce.

Peter BrownPeter Brown is a long standing resident in the Wimmera. He commenced his current role as Chief Executive of Horsham Rural City Council in 2010. He has previously worked at Warrnambool City Council, Horsham Rural City Council and as Chief Executive at Wimmera Uniting Care. Peter has qualifications in economics, accounting and management and has a keen interest in the economic and social development of the Wimmera and its place in the world.

John AcklandJohn Ackland is the CEO of Skillinvest Limited (incorporating Longerenong College), a leading provider of education, training and employment services in Victoria. Based in Horsham, John has worked in the group training industry for nearly 30 years and is passionate about improving education and employment opportunities for young people. John is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow of the Group Training Association of Victoria. John is currently Chair of the Wimmera Settlement Committee.

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Last Updated: 26 July 2016