Who we are

ABOUT US

Central Highlands Development Corporation (CHDC) is the lead economic and tourism development agency for the Central Highlands in Queensland, Australia.

We’re a not-for-profit organisation that advocates for a sustainable region and economic growth by:

  • Enhancing the region’s workforce
  • Promoting the Central Highlands as a ‘region of choice’
  • Supporting our region’s businesses

For more than 25 years, CHDC has partnered with industry, business, government and communities to drive growth and empower businesses.

Our rich understanding of the local economic landscape has allowed us to deliver insights and strategic action plans for the region.

In turn, this has contributed to building strong, capable businesses and industries that are supply-chain ready and optimised for expansion.

2023-2028

CORPORATE STRATEGY

CHDC has a three-year vision to drive economic opportunities to support the Central Highlands as a dynamic region of choice.

Our Corporate Strategy 2023-2028 defines CHDC’s purpose and values, and identifies seven priorities and objectives, including business growth, workforce development, and advocacy and promotion.

This important document maps out a clear direction forward for CHDC and underpins all the work we do in our role as the region’s key economic and tourism development organisation.

Staff and Board

Our Team

CHDC’s dedicated staff members are committed to facilitating a wide range of projects and initiatives across the Central Highlands and providing relevant advice, statistical information, workshops and networks to support business, industry, government and community.

Staff

PETER DOWLING CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Peter’s an experienced senior leader in regional development and community relations. He has worked across urban, regional and rural settings for private, public and not-for-profit organisations. People, communities and regions are very important to Peter.
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ASHLEIGH VANN BUSINESS FACILITATOR
Ashleigh's a long-time local and former small business operator who's dedicated to fostering growth and collaboration within our region's business community. Whether it's through events, networking, or one-on-one chats, Ashleigh has a knack for bringing people together and making meaningful connections. She's a proud parent to two amazing teenagers and finds joy in family adventures and hitting the gym.
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KYLIE HAWKINS BOARD AND EVENTS COORDINATOR
Born with a natural flair for organisation and an unbridled enthusiasm for creating seamless events, Kylie has become a go-to professional in the events industry. She also specialises in board coordination. Her proficiency in coordinating and documenting Board meetings, drafting agendas, and ensuring compliance with governance protocols has positioned her as a trusted resource in the corporate world.
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ROGER JOHN VISITOR ECONOMY COORDINATOR
Roger is an experienced tourism, events, and marketing coordinator, with a background in regional development, vocational education, and event management. Originally from the UK, he has travelled extensively and values the freedom that the Central Queensland Highlands has to offer.
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DEB BARNS REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR
Marketing and real estate professional Deb, a dedicated parent of two, relocated to the Central Highlands for family reasons. Committed to community growth, she collaborates with various stakeholders to uplift the region, fostering strategic investments. Passionate about connecting with others, Deb supports industry professionals, innovators, and entrepreneurs in building a prosperous future for the Central Highlands community.
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KELLY CORBISHLEY FINANCE AND HR COORDINATOR
With over 25 years’ experience in admin, Kelly’s experience and best practices were strengthened serving Education QLD. Kelly is extremely passionate about yoga and mindfulness, spending her free time teaching to create community and connections as well as discovering all things yoga! Other interests include time away at the beach with her husband Michael and cattle dog Red.
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LISA FERGUSON ADMINISTRATION OFFICER
With over 20 years' experience in business and corporate operations, Lisa's explored and expressed her passion for people all over Australia and the world. Lisa is all about a human-first approach to life and business, and brings an unrivalled energy and conviction to her role as CHDC's administration rockstar. Like the oil in a machine, things work better when she’s around!
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ROWENA DAVIES RESEARCH AND COLLATERAL OFFICER
A proud Clermont native, Rowena channels her passion for the region into her role at CHDC, creating impactful, research-driven collateral. She holds a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) and has worked across the finance, education, and social enterprise sectors.
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NICKY FISHER COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER
Nicky clocked than 15 years' experience as a journalist, mainly in radio, before joining CHDC when she moved to Emerald in 2013. The mum-of-two now mostly works from her home in QLD's far north but her heart and mind remain in the Central Highlands, with a passion for spreading the word about CHDC's many projects and events.
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PAMELA GANGADOO VISITOR INFORMATION CENTRE COORDINATOR
Born and raised in Mauritius, Pamela worked in various administration and financial roles before moving to Australia with her husband and two daughters in 2007. The fluent French, Creole and English speaker holds qualifications in Practice Management and Sales and Marketing Management. Volunteering at the Visitor Information Centre led to Pamela discovering a passion for welcoming tourists and she has been in her current role since 2019.
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CAROL FERGUSON CASUAL + VOLUNTEER
Carol has volunteered at the Visitor Information Centre (VIC) since it opened in 1991 and has also donated her time to the QCWA for 26 years and Lifeline for 10 years. The former merchandiser has seen many changes in Emerald since moving here from Victoria in 1976. She's met many lovely people while working at the VIC and recommends volunteering for anyone with a bit of spare time.
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MARION EDWARDS CASUAL + VOLUNTEER
Marion began volunteering at the Visitor Information Centre in 2021 about six months after moving to Emerald. She's also an active member of the QCWA's Emerald Branch and her hobbies include hide tanning, sewing, antiquing, family history, jigsaw puzzling, and herpetology. When Marion and her husband have time off, they enjoy travelling both in our region and further afield.
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BARRY RUMPF CASUAL + VOLUNTEER
After working on the land and in the coal industry, and being involved in underground mine rescues and the SES for many years, Barry says it's a satisfying experience volunteering at the Visitor Information Centre in Emerald, meeting and talking to different people travelling through the region.
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GLEN WASS VOLUNTEER
Glen is a volunteer at the Visitor Information Centre in Emerald.
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JEANETTE WASS VOLUNTEER
Jeanette is a volunteer at the Visitor Information Centre in Emerald.
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JEAN BOURNE VOLUNTEER
Jean is a volunteer at the Visitor Information Centre in Emerald.
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GEORGE BOURNE VOLUNTEER
George is a volunteer at the Visitor Information Centre in Emerald.
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DELMA WINTEN VOLUNTEER
Delma spent 40 years on a cattle property at Alpha, just west of the Central Highlands, before relocating to Emerald in 2007. Since then, Delma and her husband have travelled extensively in their van. Delma enjoys working voluntarily in the community and particularly enjoys her time at the Visitor Information Centre meeting the travelling public.
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ELIZABETH WRIGHT VOLUNTEER
Elizabeth is a volunteer at the Visitor Information Centre in Emerald.
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SHARYN HEISKARI VOLUNTEER
Sharyn has lived in Emerald for 40 years and she and her husband have raised three daughters. Sharyn spends a lot of time with her now-grown children and their families, who still live in Emerald, and she also enjoys running and walking the many trails in the area – Emerald Botanical Gardens being her favourite spot. Sharyn loves to share her local knowledge with tourists in her volunteer role at the Visitor Information Centre.
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BOARD

COUNCILLOR
GAI SYPHER
CHAIR
COUNCILLOR
RACHAEL CRUWYS
DEPUTY CHAIR
COUNCILLOR
KAREN NEWMAN
DIRECTOR
CIARÁN HALLINAN INDEPENDENT DIRECTOR
Mr Hallinan is Chief Executive Officer of CST Hire, a specialised vehicle hire company. The experienced senior executive and company director holds qualifications in engineering and business and has a history of achievement in several public and private sector organisations.
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THE HONOURABLE PAUL LUCAS INDEPENDENT DIRECTOR
Mr Lucas was a Queensland Minister for 11 years including Deputy Premier from 2007 to 2011. He is a consultant to a major eastern seaboard law firm, and a non-executive Director of Energy Queensland and several First Nations corporations. Mr Lucas holds qualifications in economics, law, business administration and urban planning.
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BRONWYN ROBERTS INDEPENDENT DIRECTOR
Ms Roberts has 20 years' experience as a regional professional, with skills in livestock production, regenerative agriculture, environment, project management and governance. She is an active member of the Central Highlands community, holding board directorship roles with social enterprises, charities, and not-for-profits.
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PETER DOWLING COMPANY SECRETARY
Peter’s an experienced senior leader in regional development and community relations. He has worked across urban, regional and rural settings for private, public and not-for-profit organisations. People, communities and regions are very important to Peter.
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COUNCILLOR
JOSEPH BURNS
ALTERNATE DIRECTOR
Thank you

Our Partners

Collaboration is what makes CHDC’s projects and events possible. We thank our 2023 Partners for their generous support!

Career opportunities

JOIN OUR TEAM

There are currently no vacancies at CHDC but if you’re looking for work, tap the blue button to check out our free and local job search site.

In the heart of Central Queensland

OUR REGION

The Central Highlands is a robust and diverse region situated at the heart of Australia’s resource and agricultural sectors.

Spanning almost 60,000km2, the region encompasses a significant portion of the Bowen Basin, Australia’s largest coal reserve, and is home to eight metallurgical and four thermal mines.

With the largest cattle inventory in Australia, the Central Highlands stands as a beef powerhouse. It is also characterised by thriving broadacre cropping and horticultural industries, sustained by irrigation sourced from water storage on the Nogoa and Comet Rivers

Our region is a three-hour drive west of Rockhampton and a 1.5-hour flight from Brisbane, and includes the communities of Arcadia Valley, Bauhinia, Blackwater, Bluff, Capella, Comet, Dingo, Duaringa, Emerald, Rolleston, Sapphire Gemfields, Springsure and Tieri.

2047 CENTRAL HIGHLANDS ECONOMIC MASTER PLAN – ACTION PLAN 2023-2028
CENTRAL HIGHLANDS ECONOMIC PROFILE – DYNAMIC
WATCH: WORK, PLAY, DISCOVER CENTRAL HIGHLANDS