Our Team

The Regional Australia Institute team have a wealth of experience in regional research, policy-making and community consultation.

The RAI team works under the strategic direction of the Board and in conjunction with input from the Research Advisory Committee and Research Fellows.

Our Team

LIZ RITCHIE
CEO

BArts(PubRel), MAppSc(OrgDyn)

Liz’s primary purpose at the RAI is to make a difference through providing leadership, engagement, information and connectivity. Heralding from country NSW, she understands the issues impacting regional Australia and has designed and executed programs across Australia to engage in economic and social issues affecting our regions.

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Our Team

KIM HOUGHTON
Chief Economist

BSc(Hons), PhD(Econ)

Kim manages the RAI’s policy and research portfolio to ensure the Institute’s work has practical application and supports a better policy environment and more vibrant regional economies. Having worked on regional economic development in Australia for almost 20 years, Kim has a passion for engaging, motivating, informing and connecting entrepreneurial business owners.

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Our Team

AMANDA BARWICK
Corporate Affairs Director

BBus (Major in Journalism)

Amanda is a media professional with more than 20 years industry experience across Australia. Having worked for media organisations, government, industry groups and agri-political organisations, Amanda has a true passion for, and understands, regional Australia.

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Shyla Vohra

SHYLA VOHRA
Policy Director

B.A, LL.B, LL.M

Shyla Vohra is a committed and passionate legal and policy professional with over 25 years national and international experience in the public sector. With a background in senior management at the United Nations, Shyla has also worked as a government adviser. Shyla has a Masters degree in Public International Law and particular specialisation in human rights, development and migration. Shyla joined the RAI in 2019 as its first Migration Director and has now become its Policy Director, working on a range of regionalisation issues.

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Our Team

DOMINIQUE SCHWARTZ
Associate Director Communications


As a foreign correspondent for the ABC, Dominique reported from more than fifty countries across the globe and was also a primetime TV news presenter and radio current affairs host.
Most recently Dominique was the ABC’s national rural and regional correspondent, and she’s delighted that with RAI, she can continue to fight for, and be inspired by, the people and places of regional Australia.

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Our Team

DIWA HOPKINS
Senior Economist

BA(Dev), BEc

Diwa has worked as an economist for nearly a decade, focussing on Australia’s residential construction sector and housing markets, at the Housing Industry Association. She joined RAI at the beginning of 2021 and contributes to the Institute’s research and economic analysis.

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Our Team

KATIE BASSETT
Senior Researcher
BSocWk, MEcRegDev

Katie is a Senior Researcher at the RAI and is passionate about supporting the economic and psychosocial wellbeing of rural and remote communities. She recently joined the Institute from KPMG, and has previously worked in various policy and project roles for local, state and federal governments.

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Our Team

GERALDYNE HOW
Researcher

BComm, BSc(Hons), MEnv

Geraldyne provides research support and contributes to work across a range of RAI’s research and policy projects.

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Our Team

NINA DAVIS
Digital Communications Advisor

BGraphicDes, BA(Hons)

Nina is passionate about communication and the power of distilling content into easy-to-digest graphics and text. She creates visual materials to complement RAI’s research and ensures everything is visually on-brand and presented in a memorable format, from research reports to social media content.

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Our Team

EMILIE MACISAAC
Events and Projects Coordinator
BA (Int Dev), MSc (Project Management)

With a vision of creating engaging learning and experience-sharing platforms for all Regional Australians, Emilie develops and oversees the Regions Rising events series and other RAI projects. Trained in project management, she has a vast range of experience working for community development initiatives in Australia, Canada, Jordan, Mongolia and Bolivia. 

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