In terms of an advocacy voice for our Far North Queensland and Cape York region, there has been none stronger, more consistent and respected than Councillor Brett Moller, Deputy Chair and longest serving member of the Regional Development Australia Far North Queensland & Torres Strait committee, who clocks up 10 years of continuous service in the role this month.

Brett and the inaugural committee were appointed by the Rudd Government on 29th October 2009. He has served under three Chairs in that time, inaugural Chair Andrew Griffiths (2009 – 2011), followed by Professor Allan Dale (2011-2018) and current Chair, David Kempton (2018 – current).

Brett said he “was fortunate to have served under three strong Chairs, with talented CEO’s and skilled committee members, all of whom were and are passionate about our region, where we live, where we are bringing up our families and where we want to provide for opportunities now and into the future”.

“Andrew Griffiths as our first Chair directed our governance structure and established a good working relationship with the Federal Minister and government, to get our committee up and running. Back then, it was about developing a Regional Road Map, identifying pillars around enabling infrastructure, water and energy security, connectivity both digital and through transport networks, as well as assisting in grant applications for businesses and organisations with projects that would contribute to developing our region,” said Brett.

Professor Allan Dale was Chair when RDAs were directed toward infrastructure projects under the Abbott Government. “This saw us focus on place-based policy formation,” said Brett. “We had a big part to play in securing funding for the final part of the Bruce Highway upgrade from Cairns to Edmonton and the Peninsular Development Road funding package; working with Federal, State and Local Government to deliver $200M to that next stage of works”.

Allan Dale says, “one of the things I most enjoyed in my role of Chair of RDA FNQ&TS was having a strong committee of passionate far northerners fully dedicated to the betterment of our region. Brett has been a strong advocate for the agricultural sector and for the sugar communities south of Cairns, as well as industry and small business development, infrastructure and good regional governance. Of equal importance has been Brett’s excellent and dedicated contribution to the executive of the Committee. He has been a particularly strong contributor to the corporate governance of the organisation and constitutional development and refinement; that solid legal background never goes astray. Strongly supported by his partner Beth and family, I greatly appreciated every minute of Brett’s contribution and friendship along the journey. Ten years is a great achievement!”

Andrew Griffith remembers being “constantly impressed by Brett’s integrity, rational thinking and absolute and total commitment to the people of this region”.

“When I think of the work we did on the RDA FNQ&TS board, the results achieved, and the reputation we established from day one, Brett was integral in this, and clearly, he continues to live up to his reputation in the various regional roles that he currently holds. On top of this, Brett is a delightful human being that I always enjoy spending time with,” said Andrew.

Under current Chair, David Kempton, and having put RDA FNQ&TS’ governance structure and policy settings in place, it is exciting to see the organisation move into supporting the implementation of projects such as the feasibility study and business case for the Lakeland Irrigation Area and research/analysis and the undertaking of a feasibility study and business case into the production of green-waste compost on a commercial scale for use in agriculture along the east coast of Queensland to bring benefit to our agricultural industry, dispose of green-waste and reduce run-off to the Great Barrier reef.

“I have always been a strong supporter of regional Queensland and Australia.” says Brett, “I love working with regional, rural and remote towns and communities and our regional city of Cairns to rejuvenate, revitalise and develop these areas and their economies to ensure we get our fair share of funding and support from State and Federal Governments to improve our liveability and the well-being of our residents.”

A highly active member of the community, Brett has been a Director and Chair of numerous regional boards over the years:

  • RDA FNQTS Committee and Deputy Chair (current) 2009 – current;
  • Chamber of Commerce and Industry Qld
    • FNQ Policy Chair 2009 – 2015
    • State Director 2009 – 2015
    • State Policy Chair 2012 – 2015
    • State President 2013 – 2015
  • Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Director 2012 – 2013
  • Ports North Chair 2012 – 2015
  • Mulgrave Mill Co Limited – Director/Deputy Chair 1999 – 2008
  • MSF Sugar – Director 2008 – 2012
  • Cairns Regional Councillor 2016 – current

“Since the commencement of the current committee in 2018, drawn from leaders and experts from across the region, we have sought to position ourselves as an umbrella organisation, connecting other regional economic development organisations,” says current Chair David Kempton.

“The organisation’s current focus is on regional economic projects and the appropriateness of new infrastructure and industry to our region. All points required to keep economy strong as a whole,” said David.

RDA actively establishes linkages, facilitates engagement and opens conversations regarding the future planning and development of our region. It seeks to encourage regional collaboration towards a common regional vision, working to ensure FNQ projects and programmes are inclusive, connected and considerate of their social, cultural and environmental impacts.

RDA’s nine member committee has an active and facilitative role in the community and a clear focus on growing a strong and confident regional economy that harnesses its competitive advantages, seizes on economic opportunity and attracts investment.