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Northern Australia Advisory Council

The Northern Australia Advisory Council is a direct link between the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia and key northern Australia sectors such as Indigenous affairs; local government; small business; and the resources, tourism and agricultural industries.

“The members of this council know what makes northern Australia tick and they represent a wide range of industries that are essential for the jobs and economic wellbeing of the north,” Minister Canavan said at the council’s first meeting in July 2017.

The council advises the Minister on priority developing northern Australia issues including industry development, Indigenous employment, infrastructure and long-term planning.


17 April 2018, Kununurra, Western Australia  
20 July 2017, Townsville, Queensland


The Australian Government’s appointees to the Northern Australia Advisory Council are:

Nicole Roocke, Western Australia

Having been appointed Deputy Chief Executive of the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia in May 2014, Ms Roocke has responsibility for all of the chamber’s policy portfolios including the regions of the Kimberley, north-west, mid-west and south-west.

Ms Roocke has been with the Chamber of Minerals and Energy for eleven years where she has been responsible for coordinating industry input on a variety of government regulatory and policy issues and facilitating communication within the minerals and resources sector.

Ms Roocke has a Masters of Science in Industrial and Organisational Psychology from the University of Western Australia and a Masters in Risk Management from the University of New South Wales.

Peter Long, Western Australia

Peter Long has been the Mayor of Karratha since 2014, where he has lived since 1985. In 2011, he served as a councillor and Deputy President of the Shire of Roebourne; became Shire President in 2013; and when the sire became a city was elected mayor.

Before settling in Karratha, Councillor Long worked and travelled in Europe, Asia, South Africa and the USA.

A professional engineer and environmental scientist, he founded the Astron Group of Companies in Karratha in 1985 and was the company’s Managing Director. He and his business partners grew the Astron group to a staffing of nearly 100 and a turnover of $14m per annum. Astron is still represented in Karratha and now has offices in Perth and Margaret River.

Councillor Long has worked extensively across the Pilbara and the islands of the north-west shelf on major projects such as the Harriet Oil and Gas Field Developments, the Goldfields Gas Transmission Pipeline, the Mount Newman Iron Ore Beneficiation Project, the Griffin Gas Project, the Gorgon, Wheatstone and Pluto LNG Projects, plus projects for Rio Tinto, BHP, Dampier Salt, Robe River Iron, Dampier Port Authority, Chevron, Western Mining and Woodside.

Nigel Browne, Northern Territory

Nigel Browne, a Larrakia and Wulna man, is the CEO of the Darwin-based Larrakia Development Corporation. He was previously a director on the corporation’s board for over a decade; and board chair from 2010 to 2013.

Mr Browne studied at Northern Territory University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Laws in 2001. His professional roles include Crown Prosecutor in the Northern Territory’s Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, working on Aboriginal Lands for the Solicitor for the Northern Territory, and as a Policy Advisor in the Chief Minister’s Office.

Mr Browne has held board positions with the Aboriginal Justice Agency, Law Society (NT) and Australia Day Council (NT). He was awarded National Indigenous Legal Professional of the Year in 2011 and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Colleen Costello, Northern Territory

Colleen Costello is a pastoralist from the Northern Territory. She and her husband own four properties, which cover approximately 27,000 square kilometres in the south-east of the Northern Territory.

In 2009, Mrs Costello and her husband took over Andado Station, the largest privately held station in Australia, after selling Mount Ebenezer Station. The Costellos also acquired New Crown and Lilla Creek Stations which together occupy an area of 22,000 square kilometres. Colleen lives on New Crown Station.

Mrs Costello has lived in the Northern Territory her whole life and is passionate about ensuring a sustainable pastoral industry that can be passed onto future generations. She is strongly engaged in her local community and has a strong interest in ensuring services and conditions are the best they can be for northern communities.

She was a member of the Northern Territory Pastoral Land Board for nine years (2009–2017) and is on the Centralian Land Management Association which is the pastoral industry’s Landcare group in central Australia.

Mrs Costello was a Regional Winner (Alice Springs, Northern Territory) of the ABC Rural Woman of the Year Award in 1996.

Jane McNamara, Queensland

Jane McNamara has a “passion for the north” and was elected as Mayor of the Flinders Shire in 2016. She was born in Hughenden in Far North Queensland, and from 1976 to 1983 ran three northern properties with her mother. She now lives with her husband on the 35,000 acres Abbotsford Station property which has been in the family since 1912, primarily producing merino wool and beef.

Councillor McNamara understands the north’s potential and is open to new ideas and different projects to support the north.

She is Deputy Chair-Elect of Inland Queensland Roads Action Plan, Deputy Chairm of North West Regional Organisation of Councils, a representative on the Mt Isa Townsville Economic Zone Board and since 2017 has been a National Australia Day Council board member.

Her community service roles include: serving as Secretary of Stamford Race Club since 1977, being head coach for Hughenden gymnastics club since 1994, and a member of the Hughenden show society and Wool Steward since 2000.  She is chair of the Community Advisory Network for the Hughenden multi-purpose health service (hospital) and a Lions club member.

Kathy Holmes, Queensland

Kathy Holmes is a Rockhampton-based, Senior Partner with Morgans Financial Limited, a retail stockbroking and wealth management firm.

Ms Holmes was born in Rockhampton and her family has been living in Central Queensland for three generations. She graduated from the Range College in Rockhampton in 1978 and undertook further professional development with the Securities Institute of Australia and the Australian Stock Exchange.

Ms Holmes spent two years working in London before returning to her roots where she has built a high-profile career providing financial services and advice to clients from Central Queensland, throughout Australia and internationally for more than 30 years. She was the first female to be appointed as Manager of an Australian branch of Morgans Financial Services.

Ms Holmes is a great networker and has contributed generously to her community, co-founding several not-for-profit and holding management, CEO and leadership roles. She has served as president of the Rotary Club of Rockhampton.

Col McKenzie, Queensland

Col McKenzie is CEO of the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators and sits on a total of 38 industry boards concerned with the management of the Great Barrier Reef, environmental conservation, training and marine safety.

He plays a pivotal role in the development of legislation which effects business operations within Queensland’s parks both land and sea based.

Mr McKenzie has been a member of the marine tourism industry for 32 years. He has owned his own scuba diving business, was instrumental in bringing Scuba Schools International to Australia and South East Asia, has started successful businesses in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines and now owns a marine tourism consulting company.

A strong believer in Australia’s marine tourism industry, Col has been active in the two main industry associations for many years. He was Executive Director of the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators for more than 10 years and represents the marine tourism industry on 38 different boards, forums and committees. He previously was the President of Dive Queensland for three years and its Treasurer for four years.

Mr McKenzie is a qualified fire engineer, medic first aid trainer, industry trainer and assessor and holds a Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety.