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.

Virginia Miller ACEcD (SA) Business Development Partner – City of Holdfast Bay

Prior to her role at Holdfast Bay, Virginia had taken a leading role in the review of the Local Government Victoria Performance Reporting for economic development, resulting in an extensive survey of ED Practitioners across Victoria informing a revised reporting model. Virginia previously held the role of Manager, Business Advisory Services at the Northern Adelaide Business Enterprise Centre and maintains an international Business Counsellor accreditation through the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation.

As a current business owner she values the importance of key agencies and organisations that foster business development and resources that enhance the capacity of business and economic growth. Virginia is taking a leading role in developing and implementing a range of economic development related projects that focus on industry investment, business engagement and enhancing core industry sectors in the City of Port Phillip. Building on a recent study into the Creative Industries sector, the findings have paved an appetite to undertake a study in Urban Manufacturers within the five Inner Melbourne Councils (IMAP) and surrounds. The project will inform decisions about rezoning of urban commercial and industrial zoned land and aims to examine the competing needs for industrial and commercial land in central cities.

Holly Walton (QLD) Logan City Council

Holly is an experienced and enthusiastic marketing and economic & business development professional with extensive management and Board experience. She is currently the Senior Business Development Executive  – Local Connections for Logan City Council.

Previously, Holly ran her own marketing and business advisory consultancy, MarketingWest, and assisted businesses through the Australian Government’s Australian Small Business Advisory Services (ASBAS) and the WA State Government’s Business Local Programmes.

Holly has held an Associate membership with the Australian Marketing Institute (AMI) since July 2008 and was awarded their Certified Practising Marketer (CPM) qualification in 2016.

Holly has sat on the Boards of the West Australian Music Association (WAM), the Shire of Mundaring’s Economic Development Business Advisory Committee, and was Vice President of the Central Eastern Business Association (CEBA).

Holly i the past State Marketing & Business Development Manager for AusIndustry, the Australian Government’s business agency, and have held positions with some of Australia’s biggest brands, including Australia Post and HBF, over my 15-year career. My particular areas of interest are developing businesses at a regional level and developing business development strategies for businesses.

Holly is very well connected within the WA and Queensland government and business communities and her networks include some of WA and Qld’s most influential business people and government representatives.

Shaun Miller (NSW) Acusensus Limited

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.