FRRR’s Board of Directors is made up of a group of experienced and knowledgeable individuals who have strong backgrounds in both rural affairs and in the practice of philanthropy.
The Board is responsible for providing strategic direction, maintaining appropriate governance structures and monitoring the organisation's performance, financial and otherwise. The Board is actively involved in all FRRR programs and we’re appreciative of their voluntary guidance and support provided throughout the year.
The Board, who all serve voluntarily, provide FRRR with a wide variety of experience and networks. We are very fortunate and grateful to them for their time and shared commitment to rural, regional and remote Australia.
Meet the Board
The Rt Hon Ian Sinclair AC, Chairman
With a distinguished political career spanning more than 37 years, The Rt Hon Ian Sinclair has spent most of his life advocating for rural and regional communities. Ian assumed the role of Chair of the FRRR Board on its formation in 2000, and has since demonstrated exceptional leadership in challenging economic circumstances. Ian is a member of the Rural Education Australia Program (REAPing Rewards) and Culture, Arts, Tourism and Community Heritage (CATCH) assessment committees.
Ian Allen OAM
Ian brings considerable experience from philanthropy, the arts, international marketing, corporate citizenship, major corporate entertainment, property management, aviation, recycling, and cost reduction programs. He is a board member of many charitable and community entities, including The Pratt Foundation, the Global Poverty Project, the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Entertainment Assist and the Australian Jewish Funders. Ian has been an FRRR board member since 2001 and chairs the Small Grants for Rural Communities (SGRC), Goulburn Valley McEwen Foundation and Repair-Restore-Renew 2013 (RRR) assessment committees and is a member of the Skills, Training, Education and Practical Support (STEPS) assessment committee.
Margaret Smith AO
Margaret Smith has had a long involvement in rural Australia, and particularly the iconic Country Women’s Association (CWA). She was National President from 1997-2000, and New South Wales State President from 1992-1995. Margaret brings wide networks and strong knowledge to the Board of FRRR, which she has been part of since 2000. Margaret is a member of the Small Grants for Rural Communities (SGRC) and Caring for Ageing Rural Australians (CARA) assessment committees.
Bill Kelty AC
Bill Kelty was a prominent figure in Australian industrial relations during a formative phase in Australia’s trade union movement. Significantly, Bill was responsible for helping to negotiate national fiscal policy, including the introduction of compulsory superannuation for the Australian workforce. He joined FRRR on its formation in 2000 and chairs the Finance & Audit Committee and the ANZ Seeds of Renewal assessment committee.
Tim Fairfax AC
Tim Fairfax is a businessman, pastoralist and philanthropist. He is chairman of various foundations and holds a number of other directorships. Tim’s business interests extend to ten rural properties in Queensland and New South Wales involving beef cattle, fine wool and grain, and has equipped him with extensive knowledge of agricultural and regional affairs. Tim chairs the Caring for Ageing Rural Australians (CARA) assessment committee and also lends his time as a member of the Finance & Audit Committee.
Paddy Handbury has a long history of working in rural and regional Australia, with a deep commitment to education. More recently his interests have diversified into property development. Paddy has served as a Director of the FRRR Board since 2009 and this year he chaired the Skills, Training, Education & Practical Support (STEPS) program for 2009 Victorian bushfire affected communities, Culture, Arts, Tourism and Community Heritage (CATCH), Grants for Resilience and Wellness (GR&W) and Tackling Tough Times Together assessment committees.
Fred Grimwade grew up on a sheep and cattle property in central Victoria before studying law and working briefly as a commercial lawyer and then as an investment banker in New York and Sydney. Fred has continued his involvement in agriculture and mining, holding directorships with a leading Australian almond producer, Select Harvests, and FRRR, which he joined in 2011. Fred is Chair of the Caring for Ageing Rural Australians (CARA) assessment committee and a member of FRRR’s Finance & Audit Committee.
Mike Mrdak is the Federal Government's representative on FRRR's board. Mike is the Secretary of the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, which supports a strong and liveable Australia by focusing on regional development and enabling communities to achieve economic and social development. He started his Australian Public Service career in 1988 has held a number of senior positions across the portfolio and with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Mike is a member of the Small Grants for Rural Communities (SGRC) Assessment Committee.
Patrick Myer joined the FRRR Board in September 2013, as the representative of the Sidney Myer Fund. Patrick has been involved with the Myer Foundation for many years and has a strong commitment to rural and regional Australia, having been involved in cropping and horticulture, particularly the emerging Australian olive industry. He has also studied in the field of Geosciences at the University of Tasmania and Monash University. Patrick is a member of the ANZ Seeds of Renewal, Repair-Restore-Renew 2013 (RRR) and FRRR/ABC Heywire Youth Innovation Grants assessment committees.