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New regional leaders to drive positive local change from across the border, NSW Riverina and northern Victoria

February 8 2023

An upskilled cohort of regional leaders will graduate tomorrow in the NSW/VIC border region.

Graduates have successfully completed the pilot program Leading Australian Resilient Communities (LARC), co-designed and delivered by the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation (ARLF) and Regional Australia Institute (RAI).

Participants of the program took part in place-based multi-day leadership sessions where they identified local challenges and opportunities to work on community-led projects.

The program involved attending an introductory forum, five-day intensive leadership workshops, webinars, and individual coaching.

Twenty current and emerging leaders from across the region addressed local issues such as mental health and social media impact on youth; youth engagement and education; bridging the country-city divide especially digital connectivity; and lifestyle security focusing on housing, food and water.

Each group will present their projects at the graduation event.

Alumni of the inaugural program will become part of a national network of leaders for regional Australia.

Event Details

 Title:  LARC Graduation – Cross border, Riverina NSW and northern VIC
 Where:  De Bortoli Rutherglen Estate 13-35 Drummond Street, Rutherglen, VIC
 Date:   Friday, 10 February 2023
 Time:  10:00am-12noon


The LARC program is part of the Australian Government’s Building Resilient Regional Leaders Initiative (Pilot) grant.

This is the first of ten graduations across the country for the LARC program.

Media are invited to attend the graduation.

Graduates – Rivers to Plains

 First Name  Last Name Organisation 
 Angelique  Bennett  Cuillen Hills Partnership
 Nathan  Bibby  Goulburn Murray Community Leadership
 Daniel  Brear  NSW Farmers
 Julia  Brown  Upstream Communication
 Troy  Coburn  Watters Electrical
 Erika  Cross  Charles Sturt University
 Ross  de Clifford  R & R Agriculture Pty Ltd
 Scott  Fullerton  New south Wales Police Force
 Andrew  Hannaford  Suncorp
 Sally  Hughes  Rural City of Wangaratta
 Amanda  McClaren  Seymour College
 Cheryl  Penrith  Wired Lab
 Meg  Pethybridge  Watters Electrical
 Brenton  Smith  Riverina Fresh
 Samantha  Star  National Emergency Management Agency
 Sykes  North East Water
 Kelly  Tapiolas  Gateway Health
 Lisa  Turner  Jacqui Hawkins State Election Campaign
 Edwina  Willett  Albury Wodonga Volunteer Resource Bureau
 Lana  Young  Australian Government


For media interviews on the day please contact Nicky McMillan, ALRF, who will be on the ground.

For media enquiries contact:

Regional Australia Institute 
Alexandra Macaulay
Ph: 0409 652 465
E: [email protected]

Australian Rural Leadership Foundation 
Nicky McMillan
Ph: 0439 438 500
E: [email protected]