About Us » RDA Southern Inland Committee

RDA Southern Inland Committee

About Us » RDA Southern Inland Committee

RDA Southern Inland Committee

Mark Schweikert

Cr Mark Schweikert


Councillor Mark Schweikert was elected as a Councillor to Queanbeyan-Palernag Council in 2017. He has spent over 16 years in the Australian Public Service and is currently a Director in the Department of Defence. In this role he has undertaken and led a significant number of overseas strategic-diplomatic activities designed to enhance Australia’s international cooperation and access in a number of operations and test and evaluation areas.

Before that he was a freelance journalist, self-employed PR consultant and has a Bachelors and Masters Degree.

He was elected as Councillor to Palerang Council in September 2012 and has spearheaded a number of tourism and community/council information activities in his shire using a consultative, networked ‘cost neutral to the community’ approach. He regularly consults with members of the local Chamber of Commerce to understand their needs into the future and how better to place infrastructure to enable the community to access more goods and services.

He is the Chairman of the Palerang Traffic committee and has a unique understanding of the importance of the local road infrastructure and the pressures placed on it. Before Council he successfully lobbied the ACT Government for remediation of the problematic Kings Highway Southern Deviation project as well as the granting of compensation for drivers whose vehicles were damaged by the poor road surface.

He is the Chairman of the Bungendore Flood Plain Committee and an active participant in the Bungendore War Memorial Community Committee.

He is a former Army Reserve officer of 13 years and former aerobatics pilot.

Sue Whelan

Sue Whelan, OAM

Deputy Co-Chair

Sue Whelan served as a Councillor on Queanbeyan City Council for many years. Sue has served as Deputy Mayor, most recently September 2008 til September 2011. Sue is Chair of Council’s Heritage Committee and Chair of the Queanbeyan/Palerang Library Committee.

Sue's lifetime of community service was recognized when she was honoured with an Order of Australia Medal in January 2014.

At a State level Sue was Chair and Deputy Chair of Country Public Libraries now Public Libraries NSW and was presented with Life Membership of Public Libraries NSW in November 2011.

Sue is Deputy Chair of the Queanbeyan Development Board and Chairs a sub-committee organising the Annual Queanbeyan Business Excellence Awards.

Getting women involved in Local Government is one of Sue’s passions. Since 1984, Sue has been a member of the Australian Local Government Women’s Association NSW Branch and served as President and Country Vice-President. Sue was Vice-President of the National Body of the Australian Local Government Women’s Association and was awarded Life membership of ALGWA in 1997.

In the local community Sue is involved with the BEC and the Queanbeyan YMCA being Chair of both these organisations. Sue is also a committee member of the Queanbeyan Branch of the Red Cross.

Regional Development has been a long term interest. Sue was appointed to the Australian Capital Region Development Council (ACRDC) as Deputy Chair in 1998 and Chair in 2001. In October 2003 Sue was appointed the inaugural Chair of the NSW Regional Development Advisory Council (RDAC) by NSW Minister David Campbell.

During her involvement with the ACRDC and the Capital Region Development Board (CRDB) Sue chaired the sub-committee which formed Southern Phone, a telecommunications company which is still flourishing. Sue was involved in the Regional Leadership program and the establishment of Broadband Transaction centres in the region and other projects.

Sue was Chair of the South East Australian Transport Strategy (SEATS) for many years. SEATS provides highly co-ordinated and influential advocacy for the development of transport infrastructure in the South Eastern Australia region that supports economic development and the prosperity of its constituents.

Sue was appointed interim Chair of the RDA Southern Inland and was involved in the initial setup of the current organisation.

John Bell1

John Bell

John Bell is the General Manager of the Upper Lachlan Shire Council based at Crookwell. John has 40 years experience in Local Government working with a number of local government authorities, that all fell, coincidentally, within the current Southern Inland RDA area footprint. He continues to employ his considerable local government skill base, expertise and experience in working closely with associated community groups and organisations, in the fields of district health, tourism and economic development for the betterment of the region.

John was born in Marulan, raised in Goulburn and lives at Breadalbane.

He is currently the Chair of the General Managers Advisory Committee for the Canberra Region Joint Organisation of Councils (CBRJO). The CBRJO membership comprises 12 Councils in the South East of NSW, together with the ACT Government. The region covers communities located in the diverse sub-regions of the Sydney-Canberra Corridor, South Coast and Snowy Mountains. The membership of CBRJO includes the Councils of Bombala, Boorowa, Cooma-Monaro, Eurobodalla, Goulburn-Mulwaree, Harden, Palerang, Queanbeyan, Snowy River, Upper Lachlan, Yass Valley, Young and ACT Government.

A close interest in regional development has always been evident in John’s work history. As far back as 2007 he was appointed as a member of the Capital Region Area Consultative Committee (Capital Region ACC), an independent, incorporated association that operated in the ACT and the five surrounding local government areas of Upper Lachlan, Goulburn Mulwaree, Palerang, Queanbeyan City and Yass Valley, with the objective of enabling the Government to respond to each region’s needs and to encourage the community to take up Government programmes designed to assist them to achieve their developmental goals.

The ongoing development of practices to achieve economic growth through the promotion and distribution of information relating to Government programs that can benefit both local businesses and the local community has long been a major belief. To this end he has developed extremely effective working relationships and networks with other Australian, State and Local Government agencies.

Allan Carpenter

Allan Carpenter

Allan Carpenter is a facilitator of Chinese investment and exporter of primary produce to China, and is the NSW/ACT President of Australia China Friendship Development Association.

Allan has been the operator of a large hotel in Queanbeyan for the past twelve years; and has thirty years underground experience in Illawarra coal fields.

Anthony Goonan 1

Anthony Goonan

Anthony’s working life started as a corporate auditor with Price Waterhouse. However, the rapidly developing IT field beckoned - so after further study he commenced developing domestic and international business systems for the airline, mining and banking sectors. As the bits and bytes became the new 21st century railways - he combined his IT skills with his lifetime interest in telecommunications and joined Telstra’s corporate and government divisions.

Anthony held various senior management positions in sales, marketing and product development before taking up a two year secondment as the Telecommunications Assistant Secretary to the Federal Office of Government Information Technology. During this period he chaired the Commonwealth State Telecommunications Advisory Group.

Since 2004, Anthony has provided telecommunications consulting services and oversees the operation of a fixed wireless high speed broadband network in rural/remote SE NSW which provides bespoke telecommunications data link solutions (> 400mbps) for rural and remote health and international research applications.

Andrew Heath

Andrew Heath

Andrew Heath is a management and corporate governance professional who has expertise and experience built over the last fifteen years, principally in the higher education sector. For almost 10 years he has been working at the Australian National University across a variety of higher education roles. He has experience in corporate and academic governance, strategic and business planning, change management, team development, leadership, policy development, stakeholder engagement and consultation. He is a passionate believer in the value of education to transform and build the economic and social wealth of our community and nation. 

Beyond his professional work, Andrew is a committed community advocate and volunteer, with a strong personal commitment to giving back to the community through service. In addition to his service on the RDA Southern Inland Board, he presently undertakes voluntary work focusing principally on organisations that support cancer patients and community health causes, being a survivor of cancer himself, using his experiences to assist others.

Some of the organisations he is currently active in include the Queanbeyan District Health Service Community Consultative Committee, the Cancer Support Group – ACT Eden-Monaro’s own and the NSW Cancer Council (through Queanbeyan Relay for Life). Until recently has spent the last eight years working one-on-one with adolescent boys as a mentor through the Barnados Kid’s Friends program, supporting young men who have grown up in disadvantaged circumstances. He has also served as a member of the Council of the University of New England, Armidale, and is a Justice of the Peace. 

Andrew holds Bachelor’s degrees on law and commerce from the University of New England, a Diploma of Project Management, and is currently finishing a Master of Business Administration at the Australian National University.

Barry McDonald 1

Barry McDonald

Barry McDonald has had a varied career spanning 38 years over 7 NSW Government Agencies, including 15 years (1997– 2012) as Business Development Manager at the Department of Trade and Investment South East Region based at Goulburn, which closely mirrors the RDA Southern Inland area.. He has extensive knowledge of the region and its business and industries as well as Local Government and other stakeholders.

He was the first State Returning Officer for the electorate of Smithfield from 1986 – 1997 and he still manages Polling Places for Commonwealth, State and Local Government elections.

Barry has also held positions as a member of several regional organisations and committees including the Regional Manager’s Network of the Dept of Premier and Cabinet (Deputy Chair from 1999-2007), a member of Essential Energy’s South East Regional Advisory Board (1999-2012) and has recently been appointed to Goulburn Mulwaree Council’s CBD Future Car Parking Working Group and secretary of the West Goulburn Bushland Reserve Group Inc. He is also a Rural Fire Service volunteer.

Regional Economic and Business Development are Barry’s priorities and he is keen to support the region to further its economic future. He holds a Diploma of Commerce (Accounting).

Terry Oaks Ash

Terry Oakes-Ash FAICD, FIQ

Terry has been re-elected for his second term.

As a civil engineer he has had wide ranging managerial experience, with extensive knowledge of the construction materials industry in Australia ,South East Asia and the USA.

He worked for Boral for 24 years (10 years of which as CEO of Boral Resources Ltd ) and 15 years as a consulting business advisor.

As a member of RDA Southern Inland he will utilise his knowledge and expertise for the benefit of the whole of the Southern Inland NSW.

Regional development is his passion with an active interest in the economic viability of the Sydney Canberra Corridor, establishment of Trade Learning Centres to develop upskilling, apprentiships and trade learning at high schools.

He is a passionate advocate of the Very Fast Train, innovation, and the building of relationships across the region.

He is an active member volunteer across the Wingecarribee Shire and the Regional Community as:

  • Chairman - Southern Highlands Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal
  • Chairman - MVH - FM Inc, Youth Radio 92.5 FM
  • Chairman - Oxley Partners
  • Board Member - Interchange Australia
  • Board Member - Southern Region Business Enterprise Centre
  • Member - Economic Development and Tourism Committee of Wingecarribee Shire Council.

All in all Terry is an active participant in Regional Development Activities.