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The Kimberley Development Commission Board is established under the Regional Development Commissions Act 1993 (WA) and comprises the following membership:

  • 2 members representing the regional community;
  • 2 members representing Local Government;
  • 2 members appointed at the Minister’s discretion;
  • Chief Executive.

The Board is appointed by and responsible to the Minister for Regional Development; Agriculture and Food; Ports; Minister assisting the Minister for State Development, Jobs and Trade; the HON Alannah MacTiernan MLC.

The Board is an accountable authority and advises the Minister on matters affecting the development of the region and sets the primary directions for the Commission.

Appointments to the Board are made for terms of up to three years following an appointment process in accordance with the Regional Development Commissions Act 1993 (WA).

Board Members

Mr James Brown

Mr James Brown

Community representative, appointed 2016

A third generation Pearler, James was raised at Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm village on the Kimberley Coast, 240km north of Broome and his education spans from Cygnet Bay Primary School to gaining a Bachelor of Science, Marine Biology from James Cook University.

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Since 2000, James has honed his skills in all facets of the pearling industry, learned the intricacies of aquaculture, marine research, commercial marine operations, jewellery wholesale and retail, and remote tourism, while overseeing the adaptation, survival and diversification of his historic family business – the oldest operating pearl farm in Australia.

He is the Managing Director of Cygnet Bay Pearls and Pearls of Australia, and the founder/lead field scientist of the Kimberley Marine Research Station (KMRS) that facilitates broad scale independent marine research on the Kimberley Coast and has contributed to the State governments 30M Kimberley Marine Research Project and the establishment of the Kimberley Aquaculture Zone in Cone Bay.

James has served on the Board of the Broome Shire Economic Development and Advisory Committee, Broome Visitors Centre, Broome Tourism Leadership Group and he is a current Board Member of Cruise Broome and an active member of several Pearling and Fisheries advisory committees. He is also an Ambassador for WA Save the Children.

Mr Brown offers strong leadership, experience and ‘change management’ gained from his involvement and transformation of his family owned pearling business and from his active involvement in the broader pearling and tourism industries and community. He is committed to economic development in the Kimberley, driven through strategies created and embraced by the people of the Kimberley.

Cr Desiree Male

Cr Desiree Male

Local Government representative, appointed 2020

Cr Male and her family are long term residents of Broome where she is the Director and Proprietor of three separate businesses; Male & Co Pty Ltd; Male & Co Financial Services & Male & Co Accounting Services since 2008. Further to serving as a Councillor, Shire of Broome since 2009, Desiree was appointed to the position of Deputy President, Shire of Broome in 2018.

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With qualifications including a Bachelor of Business (Accounting & Information Systems) and Diploma of Financial Services (RG 146), Desiree has completed CPA and CFP programs, holds an Australian Taxation License and has substantial experience in both the public practice and commercial environments. She has a diverse range of skills from taxation specialisation to staff and client management and her business focus is on providing better advice for clients on tax, superannuation and insurance.

In her various roles, Cr Male hopes to assist Kimberley businesses reach their full potential and is committed to working with the Kimberley Community to shape the future of the region.

Cr David Menzel

Cr David Menzel

Local Government representative appointed 2021

Cr Menzel moved to the Kimberley from western Victoria in 1992 with his family. He is the current President, Shire of Wyndham East Kimberley and an established Grower in the Ord River Irrigation Area.

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With a background in farming in Victoria (mixed farming and wool) and the Kimberley (irrigated agriculture) and pastoral industry in the Pilbara, Cr Menzel has both farming and leadership qualifications and considerable leadership experience gained through a range of appointments. These include Managing Director, Barradale Farm since 1996; Board Member, Ord River District Co-operative since 2014; Board Member, Cambridge Gulf Limited since 2010; Chairman Ord River Irrigation Co-operative since 2010; and Councillor and President, Shire of Wyndham East Kimberley since 2017.

Former appointments held include: member of the Prime Minister’s Northern Australia Advisory Board (2014) and member the Ord East Kimberley Expansion Project (2008-2013) Community Reference Group.

In terms of his contribution to the Commission’s Board and regional development of the Kimberley, as a progressive thinker Cr Menzel is especially interested in using his experience to assist with the socio-economic development of the region. This, with the aim of maximising positive outcomes and enabling a stronger level of self-determination for the Community.

Ms Cissy Gore-Birch

Ms Cissy Gore-Birch

Ministerial representative, appointed 2018

Ms Cissy Gore-Birch is a Jaru/Kija woman with connection to Balanggarra, Nyikina and Bunuba country. She holds a Graduate Diploma in Natural Resource Management and has worked in the Aboriginal land management and community development sectors for the past twenty years.

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Currently, Ms Gore-Birch is employed as the National Aboriginal Engagement Manager at Bush Heritage Australia.

With a strong leadership background in the Kimberley and Australia, Ms Gore Birch’s current appointments include; Chairperson, Aarnja Pty Ltd, Chairperson of the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management (NAILSMA), recently appointed member of the Threatened Species Scientific Committee, Committee member of the Northern Environment Scientific Programme (NESP) – Northern & Threatened Species Recovery Hub – Indigenous Reference Group and former appointments held include: Chairperson, Balanggarra Aboriginal Corporation (2010-2014), Director, Kimberley Land Council and Councillor, Shire of Wyndham East Kimberley.

Ms Gore-Birch has been and continues to advocate for the social, cultural, environmental and economic advancement and well-being of Aboriginal people through a fair and equitable process.

Mrs Kalyn Fletcher

Mrs Kalyn Fletcher

Community representative, appointed 2018

Mrs Fletcher brings a strong business understanding and experience in both tourism and agriculture to the Board. With a background in agriculture and tourism, she has held the position of Managing Director, RB Dessert Seed Company/Hoochery Distillery in the Ord River Irrigation Area since 2005.

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She has Bachelor degrees in Agribusiness and also Environmental Production Horticulture. In 2014, Kalyn received the prestigious RIRDC Rural Women’s Award WA and in 2015 was a runner up in the RIRDC Rural Women’s Award National Finals. She has completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors Company Director Course.

Focusing on the development of a strong regional economy based on tourism, agriculture and mining, Mrs Fletcher is keen to see a balanced approach achieved through consultation and collaboration that will benefit the entire regional community. She considers that long term strategic planning and direction is paramount to successful development which leads to strong job prospects and efficient education and health services.

Ms Kira Fong

Ms Kira Fong

Ministerial representative, appointed 2019

Ms Fong is the Chief Operations Officer at Goolarri Media Enterprises, Broome. With an overarching interest in leadership and advancing young people, Ms Fong has served as Secretary, Country Arts WA (2011-2014), Chairperson Cable Beach Primary School (2015-2019), Chairperson Broome Cluster of Independent Public Schools (2018-2019) and has a history of achievements in promoting Aboriginal well being. Kira has also received the Order of Australia (General Division) in the 2020 Australia Day Honours List for service to the Indigenous community of the Kimberley.

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Ms Fong has a background in events management and leadership development with qualifications in management and accredited training. She owned and operated niche events between 1997 and 2003. Building on her early experience Ms Fong founded the high profile Kimberley Girl program in 2004 designed to build confidence and capacity in young Aboriginal women. As the program has expanded beyond the Kimberley as the Young Indigenous Women’s Pathways Project, Ms Fong continues to maintain a strong involvement in her current position with Goolarri Media.

Mr Jeff Gooding

Mr Jeff Gooding

Chief Executive

Mr Gooding has held the position of Chief Executive of the Kimberley Development Commission since the Commission’s establishment and is a Member of the Board of the Commission. He is a long term resident of Kununurra and the Kimberley, has qualifications in town and regional planning, is a graduate and fellow of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation, Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and is Justice of the Peace and former Councillor for the Shire of Wyndham East Kimberley.

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Having participated in the negotiation process which culminated in several key Native Title Agreements, Mr Gooding continues to be substantially involved in related implementation including as a Director of the Miriuwung Gajerrong Community Foundation. He has been closely involved in the development, and initial implementation, of the Ord/East Kimberley Expansion Project and associated Land Releases.

Other strategic regional leadership roles include membership of a range of Regional Planning processes and Chairman or member of various regional steering and coordinating groups, including the Northwest Aboriginal Housing Steering Committee, the Kimberley Schools Project Regional Leadership Group and the Chinatown Revitalisation Steering Committee. Mr Gooding is also a member of the WA Regional Development Alliance.

Most recently Mr Gooding has worked with the State Government and other regional leaders to plan the Kimberley regional response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and regional economic recovery.

Page last updated: Wed Mar 31 2021 1:16:08 PM

Contact Us

Don't hesitate to call the Kimberley Development Commission with any queries or comments.

Send an Enquiry

7 Ebony Street (PO Box 620)
Kununurra Western Australia 6743

T: +61 8 9148 2100

Upstairs: Cnr Napier & Dampier Terrace (PO Box 172)
Broome, Western Australia 6725

T: +61 8 9194 3000

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