Rowena Abbey appointed as new RDA Southern Inland Chair


  • Date
    22 January 2021
  • Category
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Rowena Abbey 

The Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories Nola Marino has announced the appointment of Rowena Abbey of Yass as the new Chair of Regional Development Australia Southern Inland (RDASI).

“I am pleased to announce the appointment of Rowena Abbey to 30 June 2025,” said Ms Marino.

“Mrs Abbey will lead RDASI under a refreshed Charter that focuses their role on driving investment and local procurement opportunities and through this, creating jobs and economic growth for our regions.”

“I look forward to working with Mrs Abbey and the RDASI members and staff over the coming years and encourage the community to reach out to their RDA to discuss how it can help business succeed.”

Rowena Abbey has over 35 years’ experience in finance, risk management, governance and leadership in various industries in both the public and private sectors.

She is currently the Mayor of Yass Valley Council, Chair of the Canberra Region Joint Organisation and the Chair of the SELX, which runs saleyards in Yass NSW and Mortlake in Victoria.

Rowena has previously been Treasurer at Ampolex Ltd and Optus Vision Ltd and was the Director of Syndications at ANZ Investment Bank.

Mrs Abbey has also held a number of Directorships throughout her career, including with Essential Energy, Cue Energy Resources Ltd, Australian Inland Energy and Water Infrastructure, Emmlink Pty Ltd, Yass Valley Aged Care Ltd and Optus Superannuation Fund.

Rowena and her husband run their sheep and cattle operation in Yass and she is passionate about regional NSW and Australia.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to lead the RDASI board and team, to drive opportunities for development across our whole region”, said Mrs Abbey.

Mrs Abbey takes over from fellow Yass local, Hugh Cooke who has served for three years as RDASI’s Chair.

During his time as Chair, Mr Cooke has focused on lobbying all levels of Government to utilise the expertise of RDAs and encouraged a more collaborative region.

Mrs Abbey thanked Mr Cooke for his leadership and dedication during his role and hopes to build on his successes.

Mr Cooke described his role as Chair as a privilege and welcomed Rowena Abbey as the new Chair. 

“There are always challenges for each new Chair and the next chapter with Rowena Abbey is no different. RDASI is in very good hands with Rowena who has the experience and competence to oversee the growth of jobs and investment in our Southern Inland communities.”

“It has been rewarding under my leadership to see the uptake of RDASI recognition from the excellent work being done by a new CEO and revitalised team. We have worked hard to lobby Government on their actions to help the businesses and initiatives of Southern Inland prosper.”

Hugh was particularly appreciative of the hard work from RDA Minister Nola Marino in listening and directing regional issues to relevant departments to assist in the growth of regional Australia.

The 52 RDA Committees across Australia have recently received confirmation of funding from the Federal Government for a further 4.5 years.

Carisa Wells, CEO of RDASI, is looking forward to working closely with Mrs Abbey during her tenure, under the updated RDA charter.

“I wish to extend my congratulations to Rowena on her appointment. I look forward to working with Rowena and the rest of our Committee to continue to be a lead advocate and promoter of growth for our region.”

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RDA Board and staff with Rowena Abbey last year

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RDA Southern Inland
PO Box 775
Goulburn NSW 2580