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SEGRA Foundation

SEGRA is a professional and inclusive network of 'doers' that provides relevant information, leadership and national events to empower and promote rural, regional and remote communities.

The SEGRA Foundation is a not for profit public company whose objective is to advance rural, remote and regional Australia. The Foundation is an independent and non-partisan network of Australians who connect, promote and empower rural communities and their leaders to advance their long-term interests.

Members of the SEGRA Foundation Board include:

Ashley Bland, Director, NSW

After a decade of developing environmental programs for NGO’s, Ashley Bland established Constructive Energy in Bathurst in 2018 for the purpose of accelerating the uptake of renewable energy technologies – specifically in regional Australia.

Ashley is an Associate Partner and Business Development Manager for Green Homes International and was prior to Constructive Energy, the Sustainability Manager for Skillset and an Environment Officer for a remote mine in north west Queensland.

Ashley is a graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation, has completed a Bachelor of Engineering as well as a Graduate Certificate in Socially Responsible Rural Leadership.

Simon Boughey, Director, TAS

Simon was the Chief of Staff to Minister Madeleine Ogilvie, when she was an independent member of the Tasmanian Parliament from September 2019 to July 2021. 

Prior to that he had been the Chief Executive Officer for Cherry Growers Australia for 5 years and is now consulting, specialising in local, community and regional development projects.

He has worked and had an involvement in community and regional development since 1981 and from 2004-2009 he was the Regional Director of Area Consultative Committee Tasmania before they set up the Tasmanian RDA.

Simon also has a strong interest in environmental issues and has an active involvement in Landcare  as the State Landcare Coordinator, was the National President of Greening Australia from 2000 to 2003 and has also been a Senior Environment and Agriculture Adviser to the Minister for Primary Industries and Water in Tasmania.

Simon holds a BA in Geography and Psychology, a Graduate Diploma of Recreation Planning in Natural Resources Management and Graduate Diploma with Honours in Antarctic and Southern Ocean Studies.

Caroline Robinson, Director and Company Secretary, WA

Caroline is an enthusiastic advocate for rural communities and the leaders and organisations within them. With a passion for assisting not-for-profits, government, and member-based institutions through governance and strategy, Caroline combines extensive experience with a broad-thinking, strategic approach to produce creative, people-centred solutions.

Connecting the people, services and information rural organisations need to help them expand and thrive in their community. Caroline is the founder and former CEO of the Wheatbelt Business Network, the region’s largest business association.

She has held the EO position of the North Eastern Wheatbelt Regional Organisation of Councils for 10yrs and has also held board positions on state government boards, rural not-for-profits, sports clubs and the was the Secretary/Treasurer for the Regional Chambers of Commerce and Industry WA.

In 2011 Caroline was awarded the Agrifutures National and WA Rural Woman of the Year, as well as the Shire of Narembeen Citizen of the Year in 2018.Caroline is a graduate of the AICD, holds a Bachelor of Commerce, Diploma of Education and Cert IV in Human Resources. She is currently on the Advisory Board (WA) for FRRR, Bettongia Pty Ltd and Eastern Districts Hockey Association.

Charles Jenkinson, Director, WA

Charles is the Director of Regional Development for RDA South West. Prior to this Charles was the Executive Officer for the Mid West Gascoyne Area Consultative Committee.

He has also completed editorial roles with state-wide and regional newspapers in Victoria and Western Australia. Highlights of his work include bringing together State and Commonwealth processes and working with others to achieve a singular Regional Blueprint – now updated as South West Regional Futures and overcoming a deep disconnection to integrate RDASWs work with the South West Development Commission to provide improved regional outcomes.

Charles holds a Masters in Planning and Environment (10 HD and two Distinctions from 12 units) Graduate Certificate Regional Development, Certificate of Competency as a Justice of the Peace, Certificate IV Business Governance and BA (Honours) Applied Social Science.

Dr Sara Hely, Director NSW

Dr Sara Hely lives and works in the Riverine Region of NSW. She is currently the Chief Operations Officer for Riverine Plains Inc and has also held positions with Field Applied Research, the  Food Agility Cooperative Research Centre and Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions.

Over the last 20 years, Sara has held management roles in agricultural research in state and federal government as well as large investors in rural research, development and extension within the agricultural science and rural industries.

Sara has a PhD in climate change research and specific knowledge in the grains industry, agrotechnology, digital agriculture and organisational performance. She has also worked extensively in program and project management roles, as well as in strategy development and implementation.

Nadine Connelly, Director QLD

Nadine is currently the Principal Economic Development Officer at the Mackay Regional Council. She has experience in economic development, communications and has held roles with AECOM and the Department of State Development.


Each year following the national event, the Foundation releases a communique ‘Speaking up for Regional Australia.’ This Communique considers the event theme and responds to key action agendas including identifying potential policy and practice actions. It is a summary of discussions at SEGRA and does not purport to represent a shared view by the Foundation or delegates.

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Summit Jobs and Workforce Paper 2024
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Summit Influence and Engage Discussion Paper 2024
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Special Edition
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SEGRA Communique 2022
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SEGRA Communique 2021