The Board

Our Board is made up of economic development industry practitioners from around Australia who volunteer their time and expertise to oversee our strategic direction.

The Board Directors

Chairman

Jason McFarlane (WA) Founder & Managing Director – FAR Lane

Jason McFarlane has spent over a decade working with entrepreneurs, communities, government agencies, and investors to deliver transformative economic development projects and initiatives for local benefit. His work focuses on delivering evidence-based analytics and strategy that realises real-world outcomes.

Jason has a Masters of Business Administration (California State University East Bay) and a Bachelor of Science (UWA), a Certificate in Strategic Foresight (University of Houston) and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Jason is founder and Managing Director of FAR Lane and serves as a Director with Pollinators and Economic Development Australia.

Deputy Chair

Jennifer Mathews (WA)

Jennifer has extensive experience in government policy and advocacy, having served for over 9 years as the Director General of the Department of Local Government in Western Australia. Under her leadership, the agency introduced a new integrated planning and reporting framework for local governments in Western Australia, underpinned by strategic planning and community engagement.   As Director General of the Department of Local Government and Communities, Jennifer focussed on building collaboration between the local government and not for profit sectors to strengthen service delivery outcomes within local communities.

Jennifer has specialist expertise in international trade and diplomacy, having served as a Diplomat and Trade Commissioner in South East Asia. Jennifer was First Secretary at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta before taking up senior roles in WA as State Director of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and State Manager of the Australian Investment and Trade Commission (Austrade).  She has also worked as a lawyer and business consultant in Indonesia and is proficient in both Indonesian and Thai languages.

With this background, Jennifer has worked actively to support trade and economic development outcomes at the commonwealth, state and local government level. She undertook her tertiary studies in Law and Indonesian studies at the University of Melbourne.

Secretary

Paula Brennan ACEcD (VIC)

23 years Local Government experience including roles in Risk and Facility management before a move to Economic Development in 2002. With prior experience in corporate policy development, project and event management, Paula developed the most recent Local Economic & Employment Development Strategy for the City of Greater Dandenong. This was closely aligned with her previous project, “Economic Resilience for Greater Dandenong”, undertaken in collaboration with the Centre for Local Economic Strategies in Manchester.

Paula has previously been a representative on the Victorian State Practitioner Network of EDA, and looks forward to further representing the sector through her position on the National Board.

With previous roles as an estimator in a small engineering business, risk manager and facility manager with Local Government prior to the move to Economic Development, her range of skills and expertise have allowed her to connect effectively with both Government and business people alike.

Erin McGoldrick (Tas)

Erin is an economist with experience working in both New Zealand and Australian local government; developing policy, devising and monitoring development strategies and providing economic analysis for decision makers. Since 2013 her work has focussed on the areas of local economic development, city shaping and infrastructure investment.

A passionate advocate of economic empowerment, Erin brings a dynamic combination of analytical, creative and interpersonal skills to her economic development practise. Prior to gaining her Bachelor of Applied Economics, Erin freelanced in the performing arts sector, managing operations, venues and technical aspects of production. This early introduction to the ‘gig economy’ focussed Erin’s interest in business and economic forces that influence business decision making, success and failures.

Her current interests lie in the use of ‘big data’ and analytics as a tool for understanding the functioning of city economies and to identify opportunities to increase productivity through innovation, while still ensuring citizen’s prosperity and environmental sustainability.

Shaun Miller (NSW)

Shaun Miller has developed strong advocacy and lobbying skills across private, government and educational sectors with more than 15 years experience in commercial and government roles both in Australia and overseas.  He has a proven track record of political and business outcomes supporting and leading start-ups, Fortune 500 companies and government at local, state and federal levels.

Shaun has a Graduate Certificate in Business Administration (Griffith University) and is currently studying a Masters of Global Development (Griffith University) which looks to address the world’s most pressing challenges – including ending poverty and bringing economic prosperity, social inclusion, environmental sustainability and peace and good governance to all countries and all people by 2030.

Shaun is currently Head of Partnerships with Acusensus Limited which was founded in 2018 with a mission to utilise advanced imaging and AI-enabled solutions to tackle difficult societal challenges.

Donald Luscombe (NSW) 

Donald Luscombe is a practising Chartered Accountant with over 50 years’ experience and operates a professional practice from Springwood in the lower Blue Mountains, NSW. Don joins EDA with strong financial and governance knowledge and a passion for local economic development. Donald was the Chair of Blue Mountains Economic Development, the peak economic development agency for the Blue Mountains from 2012-2020.

Donald has served as a Board member (current Chair) of DARE Disability Service since 1992. Donald maintains his role as a Group Captain (Retired) of the NSW Rural Fire Service, was awarded the Australian Fire Service Medal in the 2007 Australia Day Awards and is a Founder and Director of the Coffee for Kids Foundation.

Simon Massey (NSW)

Simon Massey has 10+ years of professional experience across both state and local governments. Simon is currently the Economic Strategy and Government Relations Manager at the City of Newcastle where he developed the city’s new people-centred Economic Development Strategy and leads the innovative New Move campaign.

Simon holds a First Class Honours degree in Economics and a Masters in Public Administration, which was supported by a NSW Public Sector Commission leadership scholarship. His research has largely been in the field of demography, where he has analysed the contribution of international migrants to regional Australia. Simon is also the Northern Districts Education Centre Churchill Fellowship Recipient for 2018. He is passionate about enabling economic opportunities for all, particularly in regional Australia.

Matt Grant (SA)

Matt has a long standing success record in the field of Economic Development in a local government context since 2009.

Matt is currently the General Manager of Growth at the Alexandrina Council where he commenced shortly before COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic. The Growth division is responsible for Economic Development through industry development and business support, growing the Visitor Economy, Strategic Planning and Development, Marketing and Communications and external funding attraction and delivery. The Division is leading a new approach to support sustainable economic growth across the diverse 1,800 km2 region and its ten townships. Recent achievements include the establishment of Business Alexandrina as a business support and advancement program and the development of an innovative new Economic Development Strategy, underpinned by the principle of regeneration in response to the community’s aspirations.

Previously he held the role of Associate Director Economic Development & Innovation at the City of Adelaide. The Economic Development & Innovation Program’s purpose was to grow a prosperous and progressive Adelaide by working with State Government to accelerate growth by leveraging International Relations, focusing on the City’s liveability and visitor experience.

Matt has a strong interest in embracing the digital economy and its practical application to improve the community’s standard of living and wellbeing. He is renowned for authentic leadership, consistent performance and demonstrated excellence across a wide range of management skills and leadership capabilities. This is backed with comprehensive practical experience in implementing effective Economic Development strategies for well managed growth.

Greg Bowden (QLD)

Greg Bowden was appointed Executive Manager of Advance Rockhampton in 2020 and brings a diverse range of experience in Mining, Construction, Agriculture, Manufacturing, Local Government, Economic Development, Mediation and Stakeholder Engagement.

He had spent the previous 15 years working as the Director of Strategy, Communication and Economic Development to the Lord Mayor of Brisbane. Brisbane City Council is Australia’s largest local government with a budget of $3B and over 8,000 employees. This follows a Procurement and Negotiation career in mining and industrial construction working in operational and project environments.

Greg’s role at Advance Rockhampton sees him lead a Rockhampton Regional Council team focussed on Tourism, Marketing, Events, Economic and Industry Development and Investment Attraction.

Greg also has an interest in data science, sustainable supply chains, circular economy and renewable energy projects and he is lucky enough to spend his working life using these skills to bolster and grow the Central Queensland economy.