14 May 2024

A new era of governance and leadership has dawned on the Central Highlands Development Corporation (CHDC), with four new local government appointments to its Board of Directors.

Councillors Gai Sypher, Racheal Cruwys and Karen Newman have been selected as CHDC Board Directors, and Councillor Joseph Burns as Alternate Director.

The appointments were decided at a Central Highlands Regional Council (CHRC) general meeting in April.

CHDC CEO Peter Dowling formally welcomed the incoming Directors at the Board’s latest meeting, at which Cr Sypher was elected as Chair and Cr Cruwys Deputy Chair.

“The mixed backgrounds and skillsets of each of the Councillors is going to inject the Board with a renewed commitment and enthusiasm,” Mr Dowling says.

“The team at CHDC is passionate about what we do, and we’re excited to share our projects and plans with the new Directors and get their fresh perspectives.

“It’s also important to note that the Board’s Independent Directors offer a level of continuity in these early days of transition.”

Cr Sypher is looking forward to working with CHDC, its partners and supporters to deliver positive outcomes for the region.

“I’ve always held CHDC close to my heart and value the work it does for the Central Highlands,” the new Board Chair says.

“I’m especially excited about collaborating with the Independent Directors, who bring a high level of experience and expertise to the governance and leadership of CHDC.”

The new members replace CHRC’s previous representatives on the Board – then Mayor Kerry Hayes, Deputy Mayor Christine Rolfe, and Councillors Megan Daniels and Anne Carpenter – whose tenures ended at the March local government election.

“We wish them well and thank them for the incredible support and guidance they gave us over the years,” Mr Dowling says.

“Kerry, Chris and Megan were on our board since 2016 so their departure is keenly felt by the CHDC team.”

The Board’s role is to set the strategy and direction in partnership with the CHDC team, to ensure leadership and governance are in order, and to advocate for the region.

The Councillors’ Board positions will span the four-year term of Council.

The full list of CHDC Board Members can be found on

The CHDC Board’s Ciarán Hallinan; Councillor Karen Newman; Bronwyn Roberts; and Councillors Gai Sypher, Rachael Cruwys and Joseph Burns. (Board member not pictured: Paul Lucas).