Media Releases

RDA Murray Launch 2019-2021 Strategic Plan

25 November 2019

Regional Development Australia Murray Inc (RDA Murray) are pleased to announce the launch of their new 2019-2021 Strategic Plan. The plan outlines four key strategies:

  1. Business Adaptation and Development
  2. Workforce Development and Population Growth
  3. Network Development
  4. Contemporary Governance

These four strategies will combine to achieve the overall RDA Murray strategic goal that by June 2021, the Murray Region will be better connected, further resourced (financial and human capital) and have made measurable impacts toward improving economic, environmental and social prosperity.

RDA Murray are clear about the direction of the organisation and why they exist. Director of RDA Murray, Edwina Hayes said "RDA Murray exist because the people in our region in southern NSW, deserve equal access to opportunities in business and life as all Australians.”

This Strategic Plan was prepared by the Committee and staff in consultation with stakeholders throughout the Murray Region. RDA Murray would like to thank all those who contributed; their thoughts, ideas and insights have been invaluable in forming a clear and robust path of action for the duration of the plan.

RDA Murray Visit Australian Parliament House for Agriculture Week

14 Novemeber 2019

Picture 1

L-R The Hon. Nola Marino, MP, Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories, RDA Murray Chair Mary Hoodless, RDA Murray Director Edwina Hayes and Communications and Projects Manager Casey Bootsma.

The first engagement for Mary Hoodless as the new Chair of RDA Murray, saw her travel to Canberra with the Director of RDA Murray, Edwina Hayes and Communications and Projects Manager, Casey Bootsma, to discuss with Ministers the challenges and opportunities that exist in the Murray region. 

The visit involved meetings with:

-      The Hon. Sussan Ley MP, Minister for the Environment 

-      The Hon. Nola Marino MP, Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories

-      Advisor to The Hon. Michael McCormack MP, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development

-      Regional Australia Institute

-      Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development

-      The Hon. David Coleman MP, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs

-      Advisor to The Hon. Alan Tudge MP, Minister for Population, Cities and Urban Infrastructure

In addition to meetings with Minister’s, RDA Murray represented the Murray region at the Farrer Food Fair, an opportunity created by the Hon. Sussan Ley MP, Member for Farrer, to showcase the very best in food, wine and fibre from the Farrer region on a national stage. 

RDA Murray’s annual visit to Australian Parliament House in Agriculture Week helps to keep the critical economic development issues of the region at the forefront. We were pleased to connect with Murray Irrigation Limited, Rice Growers Association, local food producers and Departmental representatives to advocate for our region.

Mary Hoodless appointed as the new Chair of Regional Development Australia Murray

30 October 2019 

Mary and Edwina

L-R The Hon. Nola Marino, MP, Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories, RDA Murray Chair Mary Hoodless, RDA Murray Director Edwina Hayes.

Regional Development Australia Murray (RDA Murray) are pleased to announce the appointment of Mary Hoodless as Chair of the Committee by The Hon. Nola Marino, MP, Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories.

In appointing Mary, Assistant Minister Marino said that she was pleased to offer Mary the role of Chair, especially considering her extensive business management experience and connections into the local community.

“RDA committees play an important role in building strong, confident and vibrant regions.

“The focus of RDA committees is to work with all levels of government, business and community groups to create jobs, attract investment and stimulate economic growth and under Mary’s leadership, RDA Murray is well placed to make a real difference in the region.”

Mary has been on the RDA Murray committee since 2018 and brings a wealth of experience to the role of Chair, including over 35 years in management, project management and senior management/CEO positions in rural health services. Mary is also the Director of Karoo Consultancy where she has undertaken a broad range of organisational development consultancies across a variety of sectors including local government, public health, not for profit and private business.

In addition, Mary is a Director of P&M Hoodless Pty Ltd and shares responsibility for managing a 400 cow Angus herd and Embryo Transfer enterprise on her home property at Jingellic in the Upper Murray. She is an active volunteer and community leader that has shown a deep commitment to the region.

“My commitment to business/industry and the local community is to work with the changing socio-demographics and economic landscape to sustain a sense of community, seizing opportunities for sustainable growth, prosperity and health.” Said Mary.

Director of RDA Murray Edwina Hayes said, “Mary’s leadership, corporate governance skills and community development network will be real assets to RDA Murray and the region.”

Visit Deni scoops up another gold

21 June 2019

Edward River Council’s Visit Deni has scooped up another award, receiving the Local Economic Contribution prize at the 2019 Local Government Excellence Awards, just months after taking out gold at the NSW Regional Tourism Awards.

Mayor Norm Brennan credited the campaign with helping to boost visitation to Deniliquin by using a variety of marketing mediums tailored to focus on key visitor experiences across each of the campaign’s target markets.

“The Visit Deni campaign has gone from strength to strength over the past few years, putting Deniliquin and the wider Edward River region on the map, and we’re thrilled that our efforts have been recognised through this award,” Cr Brennan said.

“The campaign has proved to be enormously successful in promoting Deniliquin and the Edward River region an attractive family holiday and water sports destination, particularly to our key target markets in Melbourne, Ballarat, Bendigo and Shepparton,” he said.

“While originally designed as an intensive two-year campaign, running from December 2016 to May 2018; Council has been very impressed with the results we’re seeing and are working closely with local tourism operators to continue the campaign.”

Council’s General Manager, Adam McSwain, acknowledged the Edward River Promotions Advisory Committee members for providing strategic guidance to Council’s staff involved in delivering the campaign.

“We are fortunate to have a dedicated and innovative Community and Economic Development team who are passionate about working collaboratively with our local businesses, tourism operators and industry bodies to promote all the exciting visitor experiences our region has to offer,” Mr McSwain said.

“Edward River Council beat out several other very strong finalists, including metropolitan and regional councils, for this award, and that’s a real credit to the energy and enthusiasm with which our staff have implemented this campaign,” he said.

“We’re looking forward to continuing the Visit Deni campaign over the coming financial year and have allocated funding in our 2019/20 Budget to undertake further tourism promotions initiatives, including developing a three-year tourism strategy, producing new promotional content for the Visit Deni website and publishing a new visitor guide.”

Drought funding for Edward River region

25 March 2019

The Federal Member for Farrer, the Hon. Sussan Ley MP, has announced a $1,000,000 funding boost for Edward River Council to assist the region through the current dry.

Ms Ley said the money will provide a significant shot in the arm to council’s budget, and is intended to provide short-term local employment and procurement, while also addressing any specific social or local community needs.   

“Importantly, this announcement also triggers extra personal household assistance for farmers, farm workers and suppliers or contractors facing hardship, with up to $3000 available to spend in the community to cover urgent bills such as food, petrol and utilities," she said. 

“This is not a handout, it is simply offering a help during an exceptional dry period, and I  urge anyone struggling locally to take advantage of this by calling St Vinnies on 13 18 12.”   

Mayor Norm Brennan welcomed the funding, which will be invested in projects that stimulate local spending and provide a long-lasting benefit to the Edward River community.

“Like all other drought-affected communities, the Edward River region is doing it tough and needs all the support it can get, and I am sure this funding will go a long way towards boosting our local economy and lifting community spirits,” he said.

“This funding is designed to help get us through these challenging times, and Council will be investing it into projects that stimulate local spending by using local resources, businesses, suppliers and workers.”

The Drought Communities Programme (DCP) supports the most drought-affected areas of Australia and builds on more than $5.7 billion in additional Australian Government drought support measures already announced. 

A local government region is assessed using rainfall deficiency data from the Bureau of Meteorology, in conjunction with population and industry data (reliance on agriculture) to  assess the overall economic impact of the drought in a particular region. 

Further information: Click Here  

For personal assistance information: Click Here  

Regional Deal for Albury Wodonga

20 March 2019

The Australian Government has today announced the Albury Wodonga region will pilot a Regional Deal, with the Government committed to working with state and local governments to identify regional development opportunities.

Minister for Regional Services, Sport, Local Government and Decentralisation Bridget McKenzie said like existing City Deals, the Albury Wodonga Regional Deal will bring together all levels of government to capitalise on the opportunities for the region and make the most of local strengths to foster economic development.

“The Regional Deal approach provides a unique opportunity to get all three levels of government on the same page and working together towards the common goal of ensuring a region can reach its maximum potential,” Minister McKenzie said.

“Working together will help governments develop a shared vision for our region, which will identify and consider key investments and reforms that are required in that area.

“This will be the first cross-border deal ever made and will look at harmonising some of the regulatory barriers faced by these two cities to drive more growth and productivity locally.

“To address the challenges and make good on the opportunities, I believe we need all levels of government working together with the community to develop a plan that will support Albury Wodonga region to prosper over the next decade.”

This includes an initial investment of $3.1 million to undertake Strategic Planning with the community which will help to form the basis for the deal moving forward.

In addition our collective vision and commitment will be formalised by signing a Statement of Intent. This will involve both Local, State and Federal Governments in conjunction with the business sector. This will be an important first step in commencing the Regional Deal.

Welcoming the announcement Federal Member for Farrer Sussan Ley said this important deal for the ‘two cities’ will go a long way to removing some of the unnecessary obstacles preventing Albury-Wodonga reaching its unique and unlimited potential as a region.

“I want this initial funding to give local businesses and industry a seat at the decision-making table, allowing our community a clear voice to grow this next exciting chapter for the Border. I am very proud we've been able to deliver this agreement.”

Combined, Albury-Wodonga is the 17th largest Australian city and projections show strong growth for the future.

Federal Funding for Cressy Street, riverfront revitalisation 

18 March 2019

Edward River Council is set to deliver a $3.3 million revitalisation of Cressy Street and Deniliquin’s riverfront, after securing $1.6 million from the Federal Government through its Regional Growth Fund to carry out a suite of improvement works aimed at boosting tourism and stimulating economic growth across the region.

Mayor Norm Brennan joined Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the Hon. Michael McCormack MP, for the funding announcement in Swan Hill today.

“The Federal Government’s funding commitment is the result of Edward River Council partnering with six other local governments from across south-west New South Wales and northern Victoria to develop the Our Region, Our Rivers program; a terrific collaboration which will see each council deliver assets in their communities aimed at enhancing the attractiveness of the region’s natural water features,” Cr Brennan said.

“The Regional Growth Fund aims to support major projects that create jobs, drive economic growth and build stronger regional communities, and Council’s revitalisation of the Deniliquin CBD and the riverfront certainly ticks all three of those boxes,” he said.

“This funding will enable Council to continue the revitalisation of Deniliquin’s CBD beyond the Napier Street reconstruction works, which are due to commence after Easter, and better integrate Cressy Street with Waring Gardens.

“Through streetscape upgrades, tree planting, new hardscaping, all-abilities access improvements, laneway activations and urban art elements, we will transform Cressy Street into a green, welcoming environment for locals and visitors alike and ensure that everyone can enjoy relaxing, shopping and dining in our CBD.”

Cr Brennan said the riverfront revitalisation will focus on improving the relationship between the river and CBD, clearly positioning Deniliquin as a ‘River Town’.

“The riverfront revitalisation will see new pontoons and moorings, pathways and seating installed along the riverfront, as well as an amphitheatre beside the Peppin Heritage Centre, which will mean the riverfront can be better utilised for small and medium events and community gatherings,” he said.

“These works will be complemented by new hardscaping and soft-scaping and improvements to the public amenities in that precinct.”

Both projects are scheduled to commence following completion of the Napier Street reconstruction works.

For further information: Click Here 

Building Better Regions Fund Infrastructure Projects stream funding offers - Round 3

8th March 2019

 Round 3 offers have been announced with two projects in the Murray region

East Albury NSW 

Fight Cancer Foundation Limited expanding regional Hilltop accommodation has been approved for $1,903,344

For more than five years Fight Cancer Foundations patient accommodation centre, Hilltop in Albury, has delivered high quality, affordable accommodation just 50 metres from the Albury Base Hospital and Albury Wodonga Regional Cancer Centre. In line with planned increases in the Cancer Centre s services, Hilltop needs to expand to meet the growing demand for accommodation during peak treatment and rehabilitation periods. The Stage 2 expansion of Hilltop is proposed, with construction of a new wing of 10 additional guest rooms and associated facilities. This will increase the capacity of this unique and vital service by 3,650 guest nights each year while also creating jobs, providing community social benefits and improving patient outcomes.

Berrigan Shire Council NSW

Revitalization of the Jersey Street Industrial Estate has been approved for $484,380

Upgrades to power, sewer and road pavement will transform Tocumwal's Jersey Street industrial estate. The proposed works will create during and immediately post construction up to 10 new jobs in the region's light manufacturing industries. Improving the competitiveness and productivity of existing business. It is expected that an additional 60 new jobs will be created as the remaining vacant lots are developed.


For more information: Click Here

RDA Murray appoint a new and diverse committee 

21 November 2018

Regional Development Australia Murray have just completed a full and open, region wide, recruitment process for a new committee to join current members Deputy Chair Brian Millar and Treasurer Alexandra Anthony. For the first time in a number of years the new committee of ten consists of representatives from the far east and far west of the Murray region, confirming our accountability to the whole region.

The new committee has been recruited using a skills-based approach with representation from the financial, economic, manufacturing, social, business development and local government sectors, as well as achieving gender balance and a broad geographic spread. 

The new committee consists of the following members:

Brian Millar, Deputy Chair - Director of the TAFE NSW Riverina Institute Business, Arts, and Service Industry

Alexandra Anthony, Treasurer - Partnerships and Engagement team at the Murray Darling Basin Authority

Leigh Byron - Mayor and Councillor of Balranald Shire Council/Owner Life Power financial services

Adam McSwain - General Manager Edward River Council

Andrew de Graaff - Chief Customer Officer at Hume Bank

Belinda Anderson - CEO Henty Machinery Field Days

Frank Zaknich - General Manager Albury City Council

Geoff Lowe - Managing Director Proven Products Pty Ltd

Mary Hoodless - Organisational development consultant and Director of a progressive Angus beef enterprise 

Nina O’Brien - Chief Executive Officer of Committee for Echuca Moama

Further details can be found at

The first committee meeting was held on the 21stNovember 2018 which highlighted opportunities and challenges from across the region and formed a strong directional foundation for the coming three-year term. 

RDA Murray welcomes you to contact any of their Committee members with regional issues or feedback as they are open for business. 

Left to right:
Back Row: Mary Hoodless, Geoff Lowe, Belinda Anderson, Nina O’Brien, Andrew de Graaff
Front Row: Director RDA Murray Edwina Hayes, Chair Perin Davey, Adam McSwain.

RDA Murray Networks Nationally

24 August 2018

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PHOTO: Denis Wager, Chairman Wagners, with RDA-Murray Chair Perin Davey and DRD Edwina Hayes.

The Regional Development Australia (RDA) National Forum held in Canberra last week was the perfect opportunity for the new leadership team to build networks and develop partnerships with like minded RDAs from across Australia.

RDA-Murray Chair, Perin Davey, and newly appointed Director of Regional Development, Edwina Hayes, attended the forum where the focus was on facilitating innovation and using networks to attract investment.

“The forum was an opportunity for us to meet people from other RDAs and hear about what others are doing to see what may work for us or look for opportunities to partner on initiatives where there is common benefit,” Ms Davey said.

“We sat down with our immediate neighbours, RDA-Riverina and Hume RDA from Victoria and it is clear there is a lot that we can be doing together to promote our region and to get positive outcomes.

“It was also an opportunity for us to discuss our priority issues such as skilled migration, employment, new industries and transport.

“Coincidentally the keynote speaker for the forum dinner was Denis Wagner from Wagners, owners of the Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport so I got the opportunity to speak to him about the Deniliquin airport proposal,” she said.

Mrs Hayes said the forum gave her the opportunity to speak to key stakeholders including Austrade to discuss how they can support trade and investment opportunities in our region.

“The forum was really positive and very timely in informing our priorities and being able to express fresh ideas and new thinking from the Murray Region amongst our federal colleagues,” she said.

“I took so much out of it, the focus now is to sit down and prioritise what we can do to make sure that what we do has purpose, represents our stakeholders and will build our regional capacity.”

Rail Would Lift Farmers, Communities

4 August 2018

Southern NSW region needs to get on board the approaching inland rail project, which would be a boon for communities and the agriculture sector.

New Regional Development Australia – Murray chief executive Edwina Hayes said works on the Hume Highway bought hundreds of workers and income to the Holbrook community when it was being built and the same was likely for rail and road upgrades when the project rolled out.

Mrs Hayes, who started in the RDA position this week said agriculture was among the few main industries across the entire Murray region and targeting issues around the inland rail construction to benefit the region would be a key challenge in her role.

“In the longer term inland rail is going to have a lot of opportunities,” she said.

“Working out what they are and how to engage the right networks to benefit the region is a vital challenge.”

RDA – Murray chair Perin Davey believed the rail system would require better networks across the region to deliver produce to the North-South rail link.

“You’ve got horticulture and intensive agriculture out west around Gol Gol and Buronga, and then you’ve got dry-land and broad-acre agriculture in the centre and industry here in the east,” Ms Davey said, “... from the RDA perspective, it’s about maximising the opportunities.

“The inland rail will be on the eastern side but there is the opportunity right across our footprint, it’s just about how we harness that and maximise it and make sure we take advantage of it.”

Mrs Hayes spent several years at the Holbrook Landcare Network office as the Murray Regional Land- care facilitator before joining RDA.