RDA Tropical North Board announces new Board Members

Three new Board Members with a strong background in local government have joined the Regional Development Australia (RDA) Tropical North Board and will be introduced at their first Board meeting tomorrow (February 22).

RDA Tropical North Chair Professor Hurriyet Babacan welcomed Cairns Regional Council CEO Mica Martin, Queensland Government Advisor and former Cairns Regional Councillor Richie Bates, and Weipa Town Authority elected member Jaime Gane.

RDA Tropical North’s Board also welcomes back members whose tenures expired in 2023 including Cr Brett Moller (Cairns Regional Council), Carolyn Eagle (Partner Pacifica Accountants), Joe Moro (FNQ Growers President and mango farmer) and Jodie Duignan-George (Associate Vice President CQUniversity Cairns).  Ongoing board members include Noeleen Selke, Stirling Tavener and Mike Chiodo.

One of the longest serving members of the Board, Bill Shannon, is retiring after a tenure of 11 years.

“I thank Bill for his significant contribution to RDA Tropical North and wish him and his wife Sue a splendid retirement,” Professor Babacan said.

“We were overwhelmed with the quantity of high calibre applications received for limited board seats and were delighted to retain previous members who have delivered substantial expertise to the region.

“RDA Tropical North celebrates its 15th year in 2024 and it is fitting that we have an expanded Board to broker regional development solutions that will create jobs and grow the Far North Queensland economy.

“Each Director brings diverse skills and networks to our independent organisation which has a strong history of advocating for projects to grow and diversify the Far North’s economy such as the Tropical North Queensland Plastics Industry Proposal.

“This proposal was supported by all three levels of government and resulted in the establishment of a plastics recycling facility in Mareeba.

“Most recently we worked with the FNQ Regional Organisation of Councils, the Torres Cape Indigenous Councils Alliance, the State Government, industry, and community to deliver the Tropical North Queensland Economic Development Strategy 2024-2029.”

New Board member profiles:

Mica Martin

The CEO of Cairns Regional Council, Mica Martin is a highly motivated, values-based, and outcome focused leader with extensive experience at the senior executive level leading substantial organisational change, reform and improvement. Through her leadership roles focusing on strategic planning and human resource management, business development and innovation, Ms Martin has developed a solid reputation for building strong and capable teams who are focused, flexible and highly responsive to organisational direction. She holds a Bachelor of Business (Tourism), Associate Diplomas in Neuroscience in Leadership and Competitive Systems and Practices (Lean) and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Ms Martin moved to Cairns in March 2021 following 29 years with the country’s largest local government authority, Brisbane City Council.  She spent 16 years in senior management and, as Executive Manager of Field Services, was tasked with the construction and maintenance of civil and green assets across the city with an annual budget of $800 million and more than 1800 employees. During her time with Brisbane City Council, she notably led the formation of a new branch with more than 500 employees and a budget of over $80 million to achieve integrated service delivery with a commercial focus.

Richie Bates

Richie Bates is an Advisor to the Queensland Minister for Tourism and Sport with strong ties to the State Government and external stakeholders in Brisbane and expertise in business and community advocacy with government and non-government organisations. He was previously the elected Councillor for the Cairns CBD and inner suburbs with portfolio responsibilities including Chair of the Water and Waste Committee and Cairns Townsville Mackay Water Alliance, while being a foundation member of the Cairns Water Security Advisory Group.

Mr Bates was part of the CBD steering committee that began the significant transformation of the Cairns city centre including the re-opening of Lake Street to vehicular traffic, installation of new public transport bus stations, re-development of the Cairns Museum, Abbott Street Courthouse, Grafton Street Chinese Heritage Precinct, Munro Martin Parklands and Cairns Performing Arts Centre. He has a background in the telecommunications industry and served in the not-for-profit sector as a sporting club president and executive member for more than a decade.

Jaime Gane

Jaime Gane is an elected member of the Weipa Town Authority, and passionate advocate for her community and region.  Weipa is the largest town and economy on Cape York Peninsula and serves as the hub for critical services such as health and education.  Having grown up and raised a family in Weipa, as well as being a small tourism business owner, Mrs Gane has a great insight into the challenges of living on Cape York, but also sees the immense opportunity for sustainable growth and development in the region.

Lived experience and a close connection to her community brings an important perspective to the regional development conversation and enables greater consultation with the Western Cape communities.  Mrs Gane is driven by the aspiration of the Western Cape communities, to become self-sufficient, with a long-term sustainable economy.  As a well-respected representative, she has established unprecedented collaboration between key stakeholders and peak bodies in her region, to discuss difficult issues, and create positive change.

Regional Development Australia Tropical North Inc is an independent organisation driven by community leaders to broker regional development solutions that will create jobs and grow the Far North Queensland economy.


Media contact

RDATN CEO, Sonja Johnson  |  Ph  0493 080 143  | ceo@rdatropicalnorth.org.au

RDATN Chair Prof Hurriyet Babacan  |  Ph 0413 819 884  |  chair@rdatropicalnorth.org.au