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About RDA Gippsland

Wooden Trestle Bridge in West Gippsland

RDA Gippsland is a committee of local business and community leaders who work together to strengthen the Gippsland economy and local communities.

The region continues to be one of Victoria’s fastest growing and is forecast to grow to over 346,000 by 2036.

RDA Gippsland works with all levels of business, industry, government and community organisations to harness diversity and create an economically confident Gippsland into the future.

Rowing in East Gippsland

Who We Are

Established in 2010, RDA Gippsland supports regional initiatives to drive economic development, accelerate capabilities and leverage sector strengths.

RDA Gippsland is committed to advocating for projects, initiatives and industries that prioritise economic prosperity across the region.

Backed by both the State and Federal Governments, RDA Gippsland is supported by Regional Development Victoria - the Victorian Government’s lead agency responsible for rural and regional economic development.

Leveraging their unique position, RDA Gippsland acts as a conduit between the region, local business and all levels of government to identify gaps where they exist and ensure investment aligns with regional priorities.

Our Committee members

RDA Gippsland Committee Chair

Richard Elkington

Richard ElkingtonRichard Elkington is Chair of Regional Development Australia Gippsland and Director of Paradise Consulting. Richard has also been an Executive Councillor of the Victorian Chamber of Commerce since 1999 and has vast governance experience and knowledge of the energy sector having previously been a General Manager of Loy Yang Power Ltd. Richard is passionate about Gippsland and the continued use of its vast energy resources.

RDA Gippsland Committee

Tim Weight - Deputy Chair

Tim WeightTim holds Bachelor of Agricultural Science and has built a broad raft of experience in agribusiness, property development and regional economic development.

He is Director of East Gippsland Water; Deputy Chair of Regional Development Australia - Gippsland; Director of Committee for Gippsland; Chairman of Kings Cove Club Limited; Chairman of Australian Institute of Company Directors Gippsland Committee; and Director of The Rural Foundation Limited.

Tim was also instrumental in the growth the growth of East Gippsland Institute of TAFE, where he previously held the role of Board Director.

Enhancing Gippsland’s investment appeal and strategising on sustainable emerging industry opportunities are his fields of expertise.

Michelle Dowsett

Michelle DowsettBorn in Sale, Michelle has lived at Longford for the past 25 years on a hobby farm.

As a Certified Practicing Accountant (CPA), Michelle runs her own business, CFO Assist, which provides business management, financial accounting and company secretary services from East Gippsland through to Melbourne. Michelle was CEO of Sale Elderly Citizens Village, a community based, NFP, residential aged care and retirement living service provider between April 2016 and August 2020. The Australian Institute of Company Directors graduate is Board Director of Rural Financial Counselling Service (Gippsland) and TAFE Gippsland.

Recently, Michelle served on the Board of East Gippsland Water (eight years) and as the Audit/Risk Chair for four years. She also sat on the Municipal Association of Victoria Audit/Risk Committee as an independent member for six years, four years as Chair.

In addition, Michelle is an independent member of the Audit and Risk Committees of Gippsland Ports and Gunaikurnai Traditional Land Owners Management Board.

Raelene Hanratty

Raelene HanrattyBorn in Yallourn, new committee member Raelene has been dairy farming since 1986 in the Macalister Irrigation District.

An Australian Institute of Company Directors member, she chairs the Heyfield Hospital Board and the Macalister Customer Committee (Southern Rural Water).

On top of those duties, she also finds time to be Director of Rural Financial Counselling Gippsland, a mentor with Farmer’s Friend (Lifeline Gippsland) and Treasurer with Nambrok Football Club, Newry Football Club and Newry Junior Football Club

On the committee, Raelene will encourage investment and development in the agriculture sector. She envisages a sustainable and profitable agricultural district aligned to a common brand – ‘Gippsland’, and sees a strong, emerging market for farm products that have trustworthy provenance.

Paul Buckley

Paul BuckleyPaul has spent 41 years in local government in Gippsland, including 10 years as CEO of Latrobe City Council and five as CEO of Bass Coast Shire Council.

No surprise, then, that he was Awarded the Public Service Medal in the 2012 Queen’s Birthday Honours for outstanding public service and sustained leadership to the local community.

Paul provided leadership for the Gippsland Regional Plan, Gippsland Regional Growth Plan, Latrobe Valley Transition Plan and Phillip Island Visitor Economy Strategy.

He was also responsible for the development of the first Gippsland Low Carbon Economy Transition Plan and is adept at exploring ways to support the region’s transition to a more diverse economic base.

Angela Hutson

Angela HutsonAn inaugural committee member, Angela has helped shape the past two Gippsland Regional Plans, including chairing the Health and Well Being Strategy group for three years.

She is a member of the East Gippsland Shire Creative Communities and Economic Development Advisory Board and Advancing Country Towns Project (Lakes Entrance).

A Fellow of the Australian Institute of company Directors, Angela holds a Masters in Organisational Leadership and a Graduate Diploma of Business in Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Board roles in Water, Employment Services and TAFE give her a cross industry perspective and she has a strong connection with Gunai Kurnai networks through her role on the Traditional Owner Land Management Board (TOLMB).

Salad leaf crops

What We Do

Working across local, state and federal government, RDA Gippsland collaborates with business, not-for-profits and advocacy groups to foster valuable partnerships that can respond to regional challenges and create opportunities for growth.

With a long-term view, RDA Gippsland is dedicated to identifying and prioritising key regional level infrastructure that will be required to support economic development, job creation and growth.

Latrobe City building

Who We Work With

The RDA Gippsland committee understands the regional needs of Gippsland, which encompasses six local government areas including Bass Coast Shire, Baw Baw Shire, East Gippsland Shire, Latrobe City, South Gippsland and Wellington Shire.

One of six committees that operate within Victoria, RDA Gippsland borders RDA Hume and RDA Melbourne, along with RDA South Coast and RDA Southern Inland in New South Wales.

Collaborating with these neighbouring borders, throughout Victoria’s RDA committees and One Gippsland, RDA Gippsland is committed to identifying synergistic opportunities to leverage regional effort and boost economic activity.

Aerial view of Lakes Entrance

Our Region

Fast Facts

  • 2.03 billion litres of milk produced in Gippsland per year
  • 97 per cent of Victoria’s natural gas comes from Gippsland
  • 85 per cent of Victoria’s electricity is produced in Gippsland
  • 1.32 per cent average population growth between 2008 - 2018 in Gippsland

RDA Gippsland region map

Gippsland is home to approximately 283,000 people and stretches across the south-eastern corner of the state. Its footprint is so vast it can take five hours to drive the 412 kilometres from north to south and six hours to drive the 495 kilometres from east to west.

The region continues to be one of Victoria’s fastest growing municipalities and is forecast to grow to over 346,000 by 2036.

With diverse landscapes, Gippsland is home to spectacular regional attractions including the Gippsland Lakes, Wilson’s Promontory and the Penguin Parade at the Phillip Island Nature Park. Other icons in the region include Mount Baw Baw, Tarra Bulga, Croajingolong and Morwell National Park.

As a major food producer and food manufacturer specialising in dairy and vegetable processing, Gippsland farms account for at least one quarter of Victoria’s milk, vegetable and beef production with a number of Gippsland’s businesses exporting food across the world.

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