A Taskforce for Rural Communities Not Mining Giants

A few weeks ago Matt Canavan announced a taxpayer-funded “resources taskforce” to come up with recommendations for how Government can make it easier for new mines to open in rural and regional Australia. 

In response, ordinary Australians like us set up our own taskforce, to come up with recommendations for how Government can help diversify regional economies in ways that don’t rely on boom-and-bust mining cycles, and that don’t destroy our land, water and climate.We’ve recruited some of regional Australia’s most well-respected movers-and-shakers to be part of our taskforce.

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So, we thought you’d like to meet our amazing lead researcher and taskforce members! Here’s a list below:

Meet Our Lead Researcher


Dr Amanda Cahill will be the project’s lead researcher. Amanda has been working on community development projects for 23 years. After five years leading the Centre for Social Change in Brisbane, she recently established The Next Economy to support the emergence of more resilient, socially just and ecologically viable local economies. She is also a founding partner of the Zero Emissions Byron project, and is on the steering committee of the New Economy Network of Australia. Amanda has a PhD in Human Geography from ANU and an adjunct position at the University of Queensland.

Meet our Taskforce Members


Liz Brennan, a citrus farmer and leader in community and agricultural development programs from the Western Australian wheatbelt, will Chair the taskforce. Elizabeth is past President of Australian Women in Agriculture, Commissioner for the Agricultural Produce Commission, and Fellow with the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation. She was awarded the Most Outstanding Emerging Leader Award at the inaugural Women in Australian Agribusiness awards and is former WA Young Achiever of the Year.


Bruce Scott OAM, is the Mayor of Barcoo Shire in Queensland’s Channel Country. Bruce has been a Local Councillor for over 18 years, including 12 years as Mayor and has a strong background in community development, small business and economic diversification.


Charlie Prell is a fourth generation sheep farmer from Crookwell NSW, former councilor on the Upper Lachlan Shire Council, former director on the Goulburn Rural Lands Protection Board, co-founder of the Regional Renewables Alliance, regional organiser with the Australian Wind Alliance and Deputy Chair for Farmers for Climate Action.


Jim McDonald farms on the Liverpool Plains and is a member of the CSIRO Land and Water Flagship Advisory Committee. He was the inaugural Chairman of the Namoi Catchment Management Authority, is a past member of the Federal Independent Expert Scientific Committee for Coal Seam Gas and large scale Coal Mining and has a long history in natural resource management.


David Mailler is a director of Meralli Projects, a solar construction enterprise revolutionising the Australian Solar industry. He was part of the successful installation of Australia’s first privately funded, award winning solar farm, a Fellow of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation and an active farmer with interests in regional socio-economic sustainability who believes that renewables provide significant business opportunities for regional Australia.


Bruce Brown, from the Riverina region of NSW, is a Director of Coleambally Irrigation Co-operative Ltd and Coleambally Mutual Co-operative Ltd. Bruce has served as both Director and Member of a number of Government committees and has held a number of senior management roles with major agribusiness and finance entities including Elders.


Meriel Chamberlin is Founder of Full Circle Fibres, Australia's only single origin paddock to product cotton supply chain, collaborating with Australian Super Cotton TM, St George, QLD. Meriel has 20 years international experience in the Textile and Clothing Industry, with experience spanning 4 continents and is passionate about the opportunities for regional diversification through textile processing.


Stuart McAlpine is a Western Australian wheatbelt farmer with 35 + years experience in agriculture. He is co-founder of the Liebe Group, instigated the WA Regional Repopulation Plan, is former chair of the Regional Repopulation Advisory Committee and a non-executive Director of Wide Open Agriculture.

And a few more to be announced soon.

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Farmers for Climate Action
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Account number 160092177