The Regional Development Australia Fitzroy and Central West Committee is comprised of local leaders from across Central Queensland.

A “liveable and sustainable Central Queensland” is the key focus of the Regional Development Australia Fitzroy and Central West Inc. (RDAFCW) committee. This vision was created by the newly endorsed committee members through wide-ranging networking and joint meetings with local key stakeholders and by drawing upon regional evidence and statistics to support the vision with Australian and Queensland State priorities.

Mr Grant Cassidy | Chair

Mr Grant Cassidy


Grant serves as Managing Director of The Cassidy Hospitality Group and is a Director of the Gladstone Ports Corporation.  He is a Fellow of The Australian Institute of Company Directors and sits on the Central Queensland AICD committee and holds a full Real Estate Agents License. Grant has had a long involvement in various community organisations including: 10 years as Chair of Capricorn Enterprise – the Capricorn region’s peak Tourism and Economic Development Organisation; a former board member of Tourism Queensland (chaired the TQ Audit and Risk committee); and previously held board positions with a number of other local organisations such as Rockhampton Girls Grammar School and CQ University Australia.

John Abbott | Deputy Chair

John Abbott

Deputy Chair

John is the Chancellor of CQUniversity and is an experienced Company Director of both Australian and Asian companies, including: Council of CQUniversity for the four years; several not-for-profit organisations for the past 16 years; and commercial entities for 12 years. In addition, John has been a member of a number Board committees.

John Lever | Treasurer

John Lever


John is the Owner/Manager of Koorana Crocodile Farm.  After gaining a Diploma in Agricultural Science, he gained experience in a variety of jobs (including a teacher; CSIRO agricultural officer) John worked in Papua New Guinea as a wildlife officer, managing stations that included a Bird of Paradise sanctuary, a deer research station and a crocodile farm.

Gai Sypher | Committee

Gai Sypher


Gai is a Councillor at the Central Highlands Regional Council and was previously the Emerald Campus Coordinator for CQUniversity.  Gai has a passion for community engagement and is heavily involved in community groups that advance education in regional and rural Queensland. Gai is a board director of the Central Highlands Regional Resource Use Planning Cooperative (CHRRUP) and the Patron of the Central Highlands Science Centre.

Cr. Neville Ferrier | Committee

Cr. Neville Ferrier


Neville is the Mayor of Banana Shire Council.  At 19 Neville purchased his first truck, he owned and operated a transport business in the Central Queensland region for over 30 years. Neville was first elected to Banana Shire Council in 2004, and was re-elected in 2008 and 2012. In the 2016 election he was successfully elected as Mayor.  Neville represents Banana Shire Council on many community committees and associations, as well as being an active member on a large number of local community organisations.

Graham McDonald | Committee

Graham McDonald


Graham was a long standing elected representative at Gladstone Regional Council and the former Calliope Shire Council where he chaired and represented Council on numerous Boards and Committees around Land Protection, Aerodromes, Pest Management and Waste Management. In addition to his Councillor career, Graham was self-employed in his Electrical Contractor business. Today Graham is retired however continues to contribute to the community through his representation on the RDA Fitzroy and Central West Committee.

Cr. Andrew Martin  | Committee

Cr. Andrew Martin


Andrew is the Mayor of Blackall-Tambo Regional Council. Andrew is a fourth generation grazier and is an Executive Member of the National Farmers Federation. In addition to his role as Mayor, Andrew has extensive experience in rural and remote business operations and it currently Chair of Red Ridge Interior and a Committee Member of the Outback Queensland Tourism Association.

Sandra Hobbs | Committee

Sandra Hobbs


Sandra is the General Manager at Central Highlands Development Corporation. Sandra has extensive experience in public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Sandra holds a number of Committee positions such as the Central Queensland Regional Planning Committee, Central Highlands Regional Resource Use Planning Cooperative, Disaster Recovery Committee, and Regional Engagement Committee.

David Arnold | Committee

David Arnold


David is the General Manager of Central Western Queensland Remote Area Planning and Development Board (RAPAD) and Deputy Chair of the Central West Hospital and Health Service (CWHHS). Additionally, David is the Director of RAPAD Employment Services Queensland, Chair of RAPAD Employment Services Queensland Plus, and Chair of the Executive Committee, Member of Finance and Audit and Risk Committee, CWHHS.

Patrick Hastings | Committee

Patrick Hastings


Patrick is the CEO of the Gladstone Industry Leadership Group and sits on several Boards including, the Education Queensland Industry Partnership, CQUniversity Regional Engagement Committee, Gladstone Healthy Harbours Partnership, and Here For Health Committee.

Business Plans

Vision – a shared vision to strengthen the perspective of regional Australia in government decision making, including bottom-up regional thinking as an integral part of government policy development processes, to create a sense of community ownership.

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