What is Inland Growth Summit - 2022?

RDA Orana is hosting the fifth Inland Growth Summit, in February 2022, which will have a focus on collaboration and working together.

A wise man (Henry Ford) once said "coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, working together is success". Working in the regional development space, successful collaborations are essential.

The Summit will examine why inland areas are in crisis, what can be done to resolve the problem and who is responsible for addressing the issue. The program will include keynotes, research and case study presentations; as well as session workshops.

The agenda will include 5 sessions, with speakers on each of the topics above. The event will be organised as in-person and live streaming to combat COVID restrictions if in play.

Rebound & Resilience

This session will be centring around the economic contribution of Inland Australia in the face of the COVID pandemic and its integral role in the rebound for the benefit of all Australians. It will also include rebound and resilience through natural disasters, fire, flood and drought, liveability, and planning for the future.

Workforce of the Future

Inland Australia is experiencing critical labour shortages and is in most cases the number one barrier to business expansion and growth across the industry. How do we work together to plan and secure long-term solutions for population growth and the concept of growing our own?

Infrastructure for Development

In this session we will ask the question, how do we invest in infrastructure for impact? What security and investment are required to build Inland Australia, our industries and communities require for a prosperous future and capitalise on opportunities?

Industry & Innovation

Inland Australia is the place of opportunity! In this session, we want to look at how we can continue to develop a resilient, diverse, and strong industrial base. Successful case studies on innovation within industry and harnessing opportunities will be spotlighted, so we can celebrate those who are leading the way.

Collaboration for Success

How do we work together to create a strong and united voice for Inland Australia? What does true collaboration mean in real life between government policy, infrastructure plans, and the great divide between our coastal counterparts? How can we truly collaborate to highlight and differentiate Inland Australia as the powerhouse it is? These are the questions we are looking to explore in this session of the event.

There’s never been a better time for our Inland regional communities to come together to discuss this important issue.


Why you should participate

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Connect with your peers virtually and learn how organisations just like yours are helping to solve the issues

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Government Strategy

Choose from a host of different sessions to understand the outlook and issues and how they can impact your business.


Regional Projects

We've put together a great list of speakers who will also present solutions. Find out how you can contribute to the change.

Genevieve Jacobs

Genevieve Jacobs is the Group Editor for Region Media, Australia's fastest-growing digital news platform. Genevieve chairs the ACT arts minister's Creative Advisory Council and co-chairs the ACT Reconciliation Council. She sits on the boards of the Cultural Facilities Corporation, the National Folk Festival, and is deputy chair of the Canberra International Music Festival. She is also a director of the Conflict Resolution Service and the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture. She was made an AM in the Australia Day honours list for her service to public broadcasting and the community. Genevieve has an enduring interest in building community engagement and is a partner in the family farming enterprise.

Jessica Brown

Jess Brown is a regionally based strategist, who has worked in many of our key industries employment, training, agriculture, and now health. She excels at bringing people together to innovate and solve problems. Currently, with Marathon Health, Jess is working on strategies to address health workforce shortages, so that regional and remote communities have access to the services they need to enjoy the same health and wellbeing outcomes as their city counterparts. Her efforts to date have contributed to Marathon Health being recognised as the largest not-for-profit employer of allied health staff in regional NSW. Jess is committed to breaking down the barriers for public, not-for-profit, and private health providers to work together – and in partnership – to build on strengths that will ultimately benefit regional people.

Murray Feddersen

Murray Feddersen graduated as a mechanical engineer from the University of Melbourne in 1972. In 1992, Murray and his wife Linda, elected to relocate their principal office to Dubbo and employed local consulting, administrative staff, and Accountancy and Legal advisors. In 1998, Murray won a consultancy with a plantation operator in PNG, his first export job, to develop and implement an environmental management program to the ISO 14001 Environmental Standard. That was successful and followed by a Quality management system to the ISO 9001 Standard and then extended to other operations of the client organisation in Indonesia and Malaysia. It even extended to work in Africa. Export income continues to be a significant supplement to our Australian revenue base. Murray continues to oversee the ongoing development and diversification of the business with the establishment of a Gold Coast Office. His son Andrew who attended school in Dubbo is working with Murray to continue to move the consultancy business forward

IGS - Speaker (10)

Marnie Ogg

With a 30 year history in all aspects of tourism, Marnie returned from an astrotourism event she was hosting in Europe, when she realised how truly special the Australian dark night sky was and that it is a natural asset that needs to be preserved. Seeing the designation of Australia’s first Dark Sky Place, managing Sydney Observatory, and Founding the Australian Dark Sky Alliance, has seen her receive two International Dark Sky Defender awards for her personal and board efforts, and strengthens her commitment to creating inspirational places and experiences for human connection in the world, both day and night.

Ben Hughes

Ben Hughes

Ben Hughes, local content specialist and founder of Hughes et al, sees the beneficial impact of strategic local content every day. His 14 years of experience designing, implementing, and managing local content strategy for major projects and regional economies, has created a deep passion within him. Ben has worked with some of Australia’s biggest developers such as Shell, Clough, Downer, Bravus, and CPB Contractors. Along with various projects including Project Energy Connect, Snowy 2.0, Shoalwater Bay, and QCLNG Upstream Compression and Operations. Ben digs deep and helps clients solve their toughest problems by implementing astute business processes to make a difference through people, technology, and culture. His vast experience and deep-set passion enable him to deliver results. He is also an advocate for teaching ‘why local content matters’ and how everyone involved in projects, from investors, project directors, to the local population, can develop win-win scenarios that result in commercial, economic, and social benefits. Ben is also determined to educate project stakeholders such as the government, industry groups, investors, and the local community, on how to increase Australian industrial participation for major projects. Regional communities should receive the most benefit, by optimising the way investors can have maximum economic impact through sustainable and smarter market engagement. As part of his advocacy, Ben authored the ‘Project Directors Local Content Guidance Note’ and speaks at various industry functions. He is also a member of the Queensland Local Content Leaders Network and a Board Director of Infrastructure Australia Queensland. Ben is a proud father of two independent young women and spends much of his spare time gardening, beekeeping, or watching documentaries about living off the grid in Alaska.

Dominic Letts

Dominic Letts

Dominic Letts was appointed as Chief Operating Officer of Accommodation Solutions in January 2018 and has previously held senior appointments at Fleetwood since joining in 2008. He has been responsible for the significant commercial transactions and operational performance of Accommodation Solutions and has deep insight into accommodation drivers for construction and residential workforces. He has been a consistent advocate for the role of modular housing in supporting rapid solutions to address shortages, particularly in regional areas. He also is passionate about the design and operation of developments to generate community wellness. Prior to joining Fleetwood, Dominic served as a Special Forces Army Officer and led operations and training in the Middle East and Asia Pacific. Dominic holds a Master of Human Resources Management and Industrial Relations, a Bachelor of Arts (History/Politics), and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Dan Winson

Dan Winson

Dan Winson is the founder and CEO of Zetifi, a wireless networking company that builds devices to provide connectivity solutions in rural and remote areas.


Copy of IGS - Speaker

Mandi Randell

Mandi first came to Dubbo in high school on Rotary youth exchange and attended Dubbo High School where she met her husband Fred Randell. Mandi returned to the US and completed her BA in Theatre and English. Mandi became a teacher through Teach for America and taught in inner city NYC schools for four years while completing her two Master’s degrees (Master of Science in Secondary Education and Master of Arts in English).
In 2005 Mandi emigrated to Australia and worked for Links to Learning, a DET program for at risk high schoolers and The American International School before gaining a position at Newington College. Mandi worked at Newington for 8 years as Assistant Head of English, Coordinator of Teacher Accreditation and Head of Sustainability. She then secured the position of Director of Teaching at Learning at MAGS in Dubbo in 2014 and completed 2 years in the role before leaving to found the Academy. Mandi is dedicated to regionally equity and developing regional communities through school-community partnerships.

Tom O'Dea

Tom has over 25 years of experience in predominantly executive people leadership roles across multiple industry verticals and geographies. Tom is an accomplished leader in the ICT industry, for the last 9 years, with Telstra, Optus and now NBN and was also the co-founder and CEO of a “profit for purpose” tech start-up - Croppz - The Surplus Food Marketplace. This has given him a unique perspective on all things tech, with a focus on the consumer and SMB segments and in particular, connection to the National Broadband Network. As a leader, he has a strong focus on people development and our customers’ experience. This, in unison with sound business management skills from P&L, EBITDA delivery and the whole of business/end to end strategies has been key to my career success to date. Over recent years he has dedicated himself to bridging the digital divide, in Regional, Rural and Remote Australia. This focus and dedication have driven him to become an evangelist on the power of technology in being able to unlock happiness, connectedness, transformation and improve user lives, with a special concentration on communities in the bush. Nothing excites him more than seeing people thrive, succeed and go on to achieve the goals that ignite them.


Hon. Mark Coulton

Mark was first elected to the House of Representatives for the seat of Parkes, New South Wales, in 2007. He has since been re-elected in 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2019. Mark served as the Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government from February 2020 until July 2021. He was first appointed to the Coalition Government Ministry on 26 May 2019 by Prime Minister Scott Morrison as the Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government, and Assistant Trade and Investment Minister, and was officially sworn-in on 29 May 2019. From March 2018 to May 2019, Mark was the Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment. During his time in the Federal Parliament, Mark has also held the positions of Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, National Party’s Chief Whip, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Ageing and the Voluntary Sector, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Water and Conservation and Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Development and Emerging Trade Markets.

Ken Gillespie

Ken Gillespie retired from the Army in June 20011 after a 43.5 year career. Born in Brisbane, he enlisted in the Army as an apprentice at the ripe old age of 15.5 years. After his apprenticeship he graduated from the Officer Cadet School, Portsea in 1972 and was commissioned into the corps of the Royal Australian Engineers.
He enjoyed a diverse and unique career, rising from the Army’s most junior rank and retiring as the Chief of Army. He is a graduate of several institutions - the Australian Command and Staff College, Queenscliff in 1985; the Australian Joint Services Staff College in Canberra in 1991; and the Royal College of Defence Studies in the United Kingdom in 1998. At the RCDS he excelled in his international relations studies and along the way developed the College’s first substantial website.
Since his departure from the Service, Ken has been busy. He runs his own small consultancy business which supports government departments, corporations and small companies on strategy, leadership, culture and change management. For two years he was an independent adviser to the NSW Premier on Regional Infrastructure delivery. He is, or has been a director of several listed and not for profit boards. He is Chair of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute Council. He is a successful corporate speaker, and he has a passion for leading Australian tour groups to the battlefields of World War One. He remains very supportive of Ex-Service organisations and Legacy.
Ken has a strong network of international contacts in the fields of politics, defence, security, industry and diplomacy.


IGS - Speaker (14)

Cindy Cassidy

Executive Director - Southern NSW Drought Innovation Resilience and Adoption Hub. Cindy is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and she has graduate and post-graduate. qualifications in science and agriculture. Her 25+year career includes research and business management at some of Australia’s largest agribusinesses along with working in regional NSW as CEO of a not for profit farming systems group – Temora based, FarmLink Research. In 2015 Cindy received the RIRDC (Agrifutures) NSW/ACT Rural Women’s award and used the award to explore national and international approaches to
agricultural innovation and on-farm adoption of change.
Cindy is currently a Director and member of the Audit Committee for Agrifutures. She was recently appointed as the Director of the Southern NSW Drought Resilience and Innovation Hub, where her extensive networks and long history in agriculture are being called on to help shape this next phase of innovation
in the sector.


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Newsletter 150 (1)-1
2nd February
9:00 AM
Session 1 - Collaboration for Success
10:30 AM
11:00 AM
Session 2 - Industry Innovation
12:30 PM
1:15 PM
Session 4: Infrastructure Development
2:30 PM
3:00 PM
Session 3: Workforce of the Future
4:00 PM
6:30 PM
Gala Dinner


       Our Event Partners      




                   Sponsor (2)                       ESE20-0421 Local Jobs Program Branding_RGB_300dpi



Interested in showcasing your brand?

We have limited spaces available for businesses to sponsor the event and get their company name in front of an engaged audience. Sponsors will receive logo placement on all material and more.


Each year RDA Orana host the annual Inland Growth Summit to highlight important topics that affect the growth of inland Australia. In 2019 the focus was on population growth and in 2020 the focus was on the water for the future.

Learn more about past events HERE


If you're interested in our sponsorship options opportunities you can email us at  admin@rdaorana.org.au

Who is RDA Orana

Regional Development Australia Orana helps businesses large and small succeed in the Orana region. Led by business and community representatives, RDA Orana is strongly focused on diversifying the economic base of the region, workforce planning and development, business investment, infrastructure, and whole of government planning.

We recruit new businesses to the region, support the growth of existing Orana businesses, help manufacturers sell into international markets, provide start-up assistance to entrepreneurs and market the Orana as a premier travel destination. We also undertake extensive industry and market research to provide regional intelligence on critical regional development issues and find solutions to improve the Orana region for the future.

Our Mission is to build the region together, by providing regional intelligence that:

  • creates connections & partnerships

  • facilitates public & private sector investment

  • that supports the development of our workforce

To discover more about our initiatives visit www.rdaorana.org.au. For general inquiries, you can contact the office on 02 6885 1488 or email admin@rdaorana.org.au


Stay tuned for event updates