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Committee Members

Dr Robert Lang     Dr Jim Taggart     Barry Alchin     Karin Bishop     Ross Fowler     Frank Gelonesi     Tony Higgins     Narelle Kennedy     Jan Murrell     Gerry O'Sullivan     Charlotte Stanfield     Jonathon Wolfe



As per our new funding agreements and constitution, the RDA Sydney Committee membership is currently undertaking a process of renewal. The Appointment process for new members for the committee is currently in progress in consultation with both the Commonwealth and NSW governments. Once new appointments have been made, we will be updating this page.


Dr Robert Lang, Chair

With Dr Lang’s background as CEO for Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority and Parramatta City Council, he firmly believes in the need for a long-term vision for Sydney with more aligned policy settings and that by working together with all levels of Government, significant changes can be made within the Sydney Region.

“Having developed a new vision for Parramatta as the Sydney’s 2nd CBD and initiated the Barangaroo project, I look forward to working with the RDA Sydney Committee to bring about the next phase of change and growth required to keep Sydney at the cutting edge of the global economy,” says Dr Robert Lang. He is currently the Chairman of Regional Development Australia, Sydney.





Dr Jim Taggart OAM, Deputy Chair

As a business/education leader and motivational speaker, Dr Jim Taggart has a strong focus on creating and delivering excellence to inspire people to live at their peak. Community has always been an important part of Dr Taggarts career and he is involved with a range of organisations such as Charities, Chamber of Commerce and The Education Sector.

Dr Taggart is a recipient of awards such as: the Medal of the Order of Australia, the Baulkham Hills Shire Australia Day Community Service Award and the Association of Financial Advisors of The Year awards.

He is the co author of two books and regularly writes for industry publications.





Frank Gelonesi, Committee Member

Frank was Chairman of the Greater Western Sydney Economic Development Board for the first two years of the Board's four year term.

He has a Masters of Economics Degree from Macquarie University, is a Partner in the chartered accounting firm GDC TAX PTY LTD, located in the Fairfield Local Government Area.

He has an employment background with the Australian Taxation Office, and since establishing a practice in Fairfield, has practiced in the district for the past 38 years.

Mr Gelonesi has tutored and lectured at Macquarie University and the University of Western Sydney. His past community involvement included Director of the Western Sydney Credit Union at Liverpool and Director/Treasurer for the Abbruzi Sports Club and Wetherill Park. 

He is currently the Chairman of the Penrith City Council Audit Committee.


 Gerry O'Sullivan, Committee Member

Gerry O’Sullivan migrated from Ireland to Australia in 1986.

Gerry is a board director, consultant and writer with 30 years’ experience in adult vocational education and workplace/corporate training. His experience ranges from training small and large groups up to executive management and ownership of a Registered Training Organisation providing vocational business courses to 1,000 students per year. Gerry holds a Bachelor of Business Studies with a major in HRM, a Graduate Diploma in Education with a major in Business Education, a Diploma in Public Relations, a Diploma in Psychotherapy and a Certificate IV in Workplace Training & Assessment. He has also completed training courses in creative writing, e-publishing, social media and TV presenting.

Gerry is an Associate Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, a member of the International Institute of Complementary Therapists, and a member of the Australian Society of Authors.

He is a regular speaker at conferences and workshops and a published author.



Jonathon Wolfe, Committee Member

Jonathon has worked for 25 years in industry as the CEO of start up and fast growth businesses and is very familiar with the start up ecosystem. In the last 5 years he has applied this experience and general business expertise in a variety of consulting roles and a number of new ventures. He works in an innovation consultancy which is based on the principles of LEAN transformations for large organisations. He works internationally and across Australia in advising senior leadership teams on organisational transformation focussed on developing innovation systems, meeting market disruptions, the development of leadership capacity.

Jonathon is the Chair of Midnight Basketball Australia a national charity focussed on building community resilience and capacity to assist socially excluded and disadvantaged 12 – 18 yo girls and boys to build the skills and networks for a productive and good life. He is very interested in new models and ideas for solving the “wicked problems” by finding opportunities where financial investments can provide commercial returns and deliver social impact.



 Narelle Kennedy AM, Committee Member

Narelle Kennedy AM is a pioneer of research into the realities of business innovation, particularly its human dimensions. Her work has provided the evidence to allow all organisations to innovate, not just high tech elites. Narelle operates her own research and consulting company, The Kennedy Company Pty Ltd. She founded and led the pioneering, business-backed research think tank, the Australian Business Foundation as CEO for over 15 years. Narelle is a recognised thought leader and commentator on economic development and social issues, particularly on innovation, manufacturing, entrepreneurship and regions.

Narelle is Adjunct Professor with the School of Business at the University of Technology Sydney, continuing a longstanding commitment to close collaboration, problem-solving and knowledge-sharing between the higher education sector and the business community.

Narelle is a member of various Boards, advisory councils and public interest organisations, such as Chief Executive Women and the Enterprise Workshop. Narelle has a first class Honours Degree in Social Studies from the University of Sydney. Narelle was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the 2014 Australia Day Honours awards for significant service to business in Australia through a range of policy development and advisory roles.


Barry A 2

Barry Alchin, Committee Member

Barry Alchin founded & operated Austin Chemical which supplied local manufactures with a wide range of chemistry & metallurgy. Past president of State Chamber of Commerce & Industry (NSW) & vice president Australian Chamber. Dedicated to the development of a new age of manufacturing in southern Sydney.







Tony Higgins, Committee Member

Tony has a graduate diploma of Valuation and Bachelor of Commerce degree from New South Wales University. He is also a Fellow of the 'Royal Institute of Surveyors London' and a Fellow of the 'Property Institute Australia'.

Tony has over 35 years’ experience in the Property Development industry and has held senior management positions in the industry, both here and overseas.

Up to its recent re-organisation, Tony was vice chairman of Trainworks Pty Ltd, a body tasked with developing the commercial structure of the not-for-profit Train Museum at Thirlmere.





Ross Fowler OAM, Committee Member

Ross holds qualifications in Accounting (Bachelor of Commerce), is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, a Registered Company Auditor and Tax Agent and is the Principal of a Chartered Accountancy Firm based in Penrith. A long term resident of the Penrith area, Ross is in his sixth consecutive term on Penrith City Council being first elected in 1991. He has served three terms as Mayor of Penrith City Council and is currently Deputy Mayor.

Since 1991, Ross has represented Penrith Council on Westpool the local government and insurance risk management mutual and has been Chairman of the Board of Directors since 1994. He was instrumental in securing the Whitewater venue for Penrith in the lead up the 2000 Olympics and has been Chairman of the Board of Directors of the company, which operates the facility since its incorporation in 1999. He is also a Director of the Australian Foundation for Disability (AFFORD) a registered charity that supports more than 2000 people to find meaningful purpose, and work, for a richer positive lifestyle.


Jan Murrell, Committee Member

Jan Murrell has a Masters Degree from Sydney University and has practiced as a town planner in Sydney for over 35 years.  She commenced her career with the Department of Planning and gained wide experience in State and regional strategic planning and in the environmental assessment of state significant urban developments.

Jan also has senior local government experience as the corporate manager of the built environment at Liverpool City Council in the 1990s. She was then appointed to the NSW Land and Environment Court in 1998 until her retirement from full time work in 2012.  Her main role with the Court was to make determinations on development application appeals.

Since 2012 Jan served on the NSW Planning Assessment Commission as a member for three years, and is currently the chair of the North Sydney Independent Planning Panel that meets monthly to determine significant development applications.  She is also a member of several other independent planning panels including: Waverley, Leichhardt and Sutherland. Jan is a keen advocate of comprehensive strategic planning to achieve well connected communities with sustainable built environment outcomes.


Karin Bishop, Committee Member

Karin Bishop is a former CEO of the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) and has worked closely with numerous State and Federal government agencies on behalf of local government to improve liveability, services and planning for the region.

She previously worked for the NSW Government following a long and extensive career as a journalist working in Sydney, Hong Kong and London.

She has a strong interest in creating liveable and sustainable cities, and is an advocate for long term, big picture thinking and the importance of integrated planning and good governance in creating a prosperous and inclusive community.





Charlotte Stanfield, Committee Member

Charlotte has over 25 years international experience providing strategic, business development and project development services in London, Hong Kong and Sydney. Her expertise is in major transport infrastructure, land use, transport planning and property development, gained in both the public and private sector on multi billion dollar programs.

Recent roles include the project establishment of Wynyard Walk part of the Barangaroo development, Inland Rail the Federal Government's proposed 1,700km rail line from Melbourne to Brisbane and the NSW State Government's Parramatta Light Rail project. 

Charlotte is a Chartered Surveyor (General Practice), and Chartered Town Planner and a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.







Information on Regional Development Australia - Sydney, mission.

Strategic Priorities

RDA Sydney strategic priorities.

Management Team

Regional Development Australia Management Team Members.

Open Access Information

RDA Sydney is required to publish a range of open access information relating to our operations..


Last Updated: 13 Mar 2018