New RDA Chair to energise Gippsland's future

As part of the Albanese and Allan Governments’ commitment to elevating local expertise to activate regional communities, Kellie O’Callaghan has been appointed as the new chair of Regional Development Australia (RDA) Gippsland.

An experienced community leader in the Gippsland region, Ms O’Callaghan is an experienced health service Board Chair and has been a Latrobe City Councillor since 2008, serving as Mayor for four terms.

She is currently Chair of the Mental Health & Wellbeing Interim Body Gippsland – providing ground-up advice to assist the Victorian Government improve local mental health and wellbeing services.

In addition to this, Ms O’Callaghan served as the Chair of One Gippsland – a peak regional advocacy body representing the Gippsland region, and she previously served as the Victorian Representative for Regional Capitals Australia and Deputy Chair of Regional Cities Victoria.

RDAs are an Australian Government initiative that brings together all levels of government to support the development of infrastructure and industry and regional economic growth.

RDA Gippsland’s key strategic priorities include collaboration with key regional development bodies in the region, moving to clean energy and the closure of native timber harvesting, and growing key industries across food and fibre, advanced manufacturing, defence, the circular economy, and health and knowledge services.

In Victoria, the RDA program is funded by the Australian and Victorian Governments.

For more information on the national RDA network, visit:  

Quotes attributable to Federal Minister for Regional Development, Kristy McBain MP:

“Kellie O’Callaghan brings vast experience to this role - and understands how to activate a whole-of-region approach to regional development and investment, through proactive planning and collaboration across all levels of government and the community.

“Kellie has led the Latrobe Valley and broader Gippsland region through some of its biggest events over the last two decades - from natural disasters, to workforce diversification as the region transitions to renewables.

“This practical and hands on approach will ensure that RDA Gippsland continues to play a key role in identifying place-based solutions that improve the liveability and productivity of Gippsland.”

Quotes attributable to Victorian Minister for Regional Development, Gayle Tierney MP:

“Kellie O’Callaghan is an accomplished local leader with a strong track-record of forging meaningful partnerships across government and the community to grow the economy and create opportunity for people in Gippsland.

“I congratulate Kellie on her appointment and look forward to the unique expertise she will bring to our shared commitment of economic diversification and infrastructure and community development in the Gippsland region.”

Quotes attributable to Senator for Victoria, Raff Ciccone:

“The key to reshaping how we develop the Gippsland region starts with listening to the voices of community leaders, which is why I congratulate Kellie O’Callaghan on her appointment.

“From diversifying jobs and making the most of the energy transition, to improving connectivity and community infrastructure, RDA Gippsland plays a leading role in bridging our priorities together – and I welcome the local expertise Kellie brings.”

Quotes attributable to RDA Gippsland Chair, Kellie O’Callaghan:

“Gippsland is wonderfully diverse and our capacity to actively engage in a whole-of-region approach to regional development, economic growth and creating investment opportunities is essential now and into the future.

“By working in partnership and focusing on our collective strengths we will be well prepared to identify place-based solutions and continue our shared work to improve liveability and opportunities for our region.

“I thank Minister McBain and Minister Tierney for the opportunity to guide this collaboration with the RDA Gippsland members, partners and community stakeholders.”