Mal Peters (Chairman)

Mal is a beef producer, former Mayor of Inverell in Northern NSW, Chair of Regional Development Australia Northern Inland and former NSW Farmers’ Association President. Mal is a passionate advocate for regional Australian issues, with a particular focus on improving the opportunities and services for people in regional areas.

Christian Zahra

Christian is the Principal of specialist policy and strategy consulting firm Impact Partners Australia and a long time champion of rural and regional Australia. He is former Chairman of the Federal Government’s $1B Regional Development Australia Fund Advisory Panel and a former Member of the Ministerial Council on Regional Australia (MACRA). Christian has twice served as the CEO of major regional Indigenous organisations, leading significant reforms in both roles. Christian represented a country electorate in the Federal Parliament between 1998 and 2004 during which time he served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Shadow Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Regional Development. He is widely regarded for his ability to link rural and regional issues to national policy debates. Christian holds a Bachelor of Economics (La Trobe), a Master of Assessment and Evaluation (Melb.) and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Professor Annabelle Duncan

Emeritus Professor Annabelle Duncan is an Independent Director and Chair of  Sydney School of Entrepreneurship’s (SSE’s) Board of Directors. 

Prior to this, she was Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer of the University of New England (UNE) from 2014 until 2019. She joined the University in September 2010, initially as Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and then as Deputy Vice-Chancellor before being appointed as Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer.

Prior to joining UNE, Professor Duncan spent 16 years in the CSIRO, including 6 years as Chief of the Division of Molecular Science. She has also served in managerial roles within the Bio21 Institute at University of Melbourne and AgriBio Institute at La Trobe University.

Professor Duncan acted as an advisor to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on biological weapons control, representing Australia at international arms control meetings and acting as a biological weapons inspector with the United Nations in Iraq.

She was awarded a Public Service Medal in 1996, and Honorary Doctor of Science (DSc) from Murdoch University in 2005 for her work in arms control. 

Grahame Morris

Grahame is the Chairman and Federal Director of Barton Deakin Government Relations based in Canberra. Grahame’s career has focused on shaping public policy; notable roles include Chief of Staff to former Prime Minister John Howard, Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, CEO of leading issues management firm Jackson Wells Morris and Strategy Policy Director for News Ltd. He has previously worked as a journalist at The Australian and regional newspapers The Daily Advertiser and The Irrigator.

Rebecca Tomkinson

Rebecca Tomkinson is the Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Western Operation), appointed to this role in January 2018. Rebecca is accountable for the sustainability and success of the 84 year old iconic WA business that provides life-saving aero medical health services to the people of Western Australia.

Rebecca brings a highly strategic, broad sector lens and strong executive experience to her role. Her professional experience includes leading transformational change, building sustainable business models, government relations, strategic policy development and stakeholder engagement.

Rebecca has held advisory roles across a number of sectors and is deeply committed to the development of regional Western Australia – where she was raised and educated.

Rebecca is the Chair of the Wheatbelt Development Commission and serves on the Board of Perth Zoo and the Senate of Murdoch University. Her qualifications includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Community Development, Post Graduate Diploma in Public Policy and a Post Graduate Certificate in Social Impact.