Western Australian Regional Development Trust

An independent statutory advisory body providing advice to the Minister for Regional Development on the operation and application of the Royalties for Regions Fund and other matters referred to it by the Minister.

The Western Australian Regional Development Trust (Trust) is an independent statutory advisory body established under the Royalties for Regions Act 2009 (the Act), which provides advice to the Minister for Regional Development on the operation of the Royalties for Regions Fund and any other matters referred to it by the Hon Alannah MacTiernan, MLC, Minister for Regional Development.

The Trust has an important role in providing independent and impartial advice and recommendations on the allocation of funds from the Royalties for Regions Fund and in the management of the Fund, which was established to promote and facilitate economic, business and social development in regional Western Australia. 

In addition to its monitoring and advisory role, the Trust provides system governance and oversight of the Fund and the Regional Development Portfolio. The Trust also works to engage and enhance relationships with key regional stakeholders and influencers to promote greater collaboration and innovation in the delivery of regional development in Western Australia.

The Trust regularly visits the regions and consults widely with individuals, industry and the broader community to raise awareness, increase knowledge and promote sustainable economic development in regional Western Australia.

The Trust formally meets approximately every two-months and on other occasions as required.

Trust Membership

The Minister for Regional Development appoints Trust members under section 13 of the Royalties for Regions Act 2009 (the Act) to include:

  • The Chairperson of a Regional Development Commission
  • At least three, but not more than five other people.

The current members of the Trust are:

Brendan Hammond, Chair 

Brendan Hammond

Appointed as Chair on 1 November 2017 under sections 13(1)(b) and 14 of the Act.

Brendan is a skilled executive and senior leader with almost 25 years' experience in senior roles across the energy, water, ports and resources sectors, including as Managing Director of Rio Tinto Argyle Diamonds. He has extensive experience as a board Chair of listed businesses and government trading enterprises, including Horizon Power and the Dampier Port Authority.

Brendan has worked with regional communities, in Western Australia and around the world, to drive economic and social change. He is the owner of Seymour Associates Pty Ltd, Head of Australia for InterContinental Energy and was appointed as Chair of the Western Green Energy Hub Pty Ltd in April 2021.

Contributing widely in the not for-profit sector, Brendan actively imparts his experience and knowledge to next generation leaders, most recently as an Adjunct Professor of Sustainability with the Curtin University of Technology Sustainability Policy Institute. Brendan is also a recipient of the Western Australian Citizen of the Year Award for his contribution to regional development.

Anita Ratcliffe GAICD, Deputy Chair 

Kate Ratcliffe

Appointed as Deputy Chair on 1 January 2022 under sections 13(1)(b) and 14 of the Act. 

Anita has extensive experience in agribusiness, having led Westpac's Agribusiness division in Western Australia from 2018 to 2022. Prior to her role as Westpac Regional general Manager, Anita was State Director of Export Finance Australia in Western Australia, the Australian Government's export credit agency. Anita also has a broad range of banking experience in international trade and foreign exchange.

Anita is Commissioner of the Agricultural produce Commission, a Member of the Guildford Grammar School Foundation Board and operates her own consultancy business.

Anita holds a Bachelor of Business (Accounting), a Diploma of Financial Markets and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She is a member of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation and has completed a Certificate of Executive Leadership through the Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM).

Hon. Tom Stephens OAM JP BA GAICD, Trust Member

Tom Stephens

Appointed as a Trust Member on 1 August 2019 under sections 13(1)(a) and 15(2) of the Act.

Formerly a member of State Parliament (1982-2013), Tom served as a Minister in both Dr Carmen Lawrence and Dr Geoff Gallop's Governments, where he held the portfolios of Housing and Works, Local Government, Heritage and Regional Development.

Since retiring from the State Parliament, Tom has served on a number of Boards and Committees, drawing on his many years of experience and involvement across regional western Australia generally and with Aboriginal communities in particular. These include the Dyslexia-SPELD Foundation of WA, Lost and Found Opera, MG Aboriginal Corporation, and the Western Desert lands Aboriginal Corporation.

Tom is also Chair of the Kimberley Development Commission, a Director of the Pilbara Ports Authority and continues to maintain an active involvement across regional Western Australia.


Kate George GAICD, Trust Member

Kate George

Appointed as a Trust Member on 1 January 2022 under sections 13(1)(b) of the Act.

Kate has extensive experience working with and for Aboriginal organisations and communities across Australia, including writing the first employment and training strategies for major contractors to the resources sector and working as a Ministerial advisor at a Federal and State level in Victoria.

Born at the 4949 mile peg of the Rabbit Proof Fence in the Murchison region of Western Australia, Kate is a Putejurra woman and part of the Martu of the Western Desert. She is the first Aboriginal graduate from the Australian National University Law School and the first Aboriginal woman to be admitted to practice law in Western Australia.

With substantial Board experience, Kate is currently a Director on the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund (NAIF) Board, Indigenous Business Australia Asset Management Pty Ltd, Marputu Aboriginal Corporation PBC and Marlba Maya Pty Ltd.

Kate was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws from Edith Down University for her long contribution to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs.

Kate is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and presently the Western Australian Director of PwC's Indigenous Consulting.


Paula Hickey, Trust Member

Paula Hickey

Appointed as a Trust Member on 1 January 2022 under sections 13(1)(b) of the Act.

Paula has extensive experience in providing advice and working directly with executive government at both a State and Federal level for over 20 years. her roles have included principal Private Secretary and Principal Policy Advisor to several State Government Ministers. During this time Paula gained key strengths in the areas of Local Government and Regional Development, Sport and Recreation, and Agriculture and Food.

After working with Woodside Energy for 10-years, Paula undertook the role of Manager Government Relations at DUG Technology, a West Australian technology company involved in high-performance computing (HPC), before recently retiring.

Paula brings substantial experience of working in government and international relations, the resource sector and operating her own small business, supporting community development in regional and remote communities.


Oral McGuire MAICD, Trust Member

Oral MacGuire

Appointed as a Trust Member on 1 January 2022 under sections 13(1)(b) of the Act.

Oral is a prominent Noongar community leader, entrepreneur, landholder and long-term champion of Aboriginal economic empowerment and capacity building, with specific experience in Noongar traditional land and fire management practices and cultural governance.

Born in Beverly and having grown up in Northam, Oral continues to live and work in the Wheatbelt, and brings strong cultural knowledge, community networks and business experience to the Trust.

Oral is a Director of the Noongar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Board member of the Noongar Landholder Enterprise Inc. and Chair of Yaraguia Enterprises Incorporated. he is also Deputy Chair of the Wheatbelt Development Commission.

Oral is a Member of the Australian institute of Company Directors and is the Principal Consultant for Gundi Consulting Pty Ltd, which specialises in facilitating the development of strong relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal businesses.

Contact the Western Australian Regional Development Trust
Email:  secretariat@wardt.wa.gov.au
Phone: +61 8 6552 1875
Address: Locked Bag 4, Bentley Delivery Centre  WA  6983


Page reviewed 3 October 2022