Stuart Hicks AO Appointed Chair-Elect of MRBTA   

By September 2, 2021 September 7th, 2021 What's new from the MRBTA?

The Margaret River Region’s peak tourism body and Local Tourism Organisation, Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association (MRBTA), is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Stuart Hicks as its new Chair-Elect.

Mr. Hicks brings to the role over 40 years’ experience as a pre-eminent state and national leader in planning, policy, management and reform.

In a distinguished public sector career he variously led the Department of Transport, Marine & Harbours Department, Transperth, the State Shipping Service and the National Transport Commission, as well as serving as a Commissioner of the WA Planning Commission.

In 2006, Mr. Hicks was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for services to industry, government and the community.

Since moving to Margaret River in 2011, Mr. Hicks has been active in contributing to the economic and social development of the region, serving for six years as Chair of the South West Development Commission.

In 2020 Mr. Hicks instigated and chaired Mindful Margaret River, a community group to provide support and guidance in mental wellbeing issues in the Shire of Augusta Margaret River. Mr. Hicks is currently Executive Board member of Nature Conservation Margaret River Region.

Mr. Hicks will assume the role of MRBTA Chair when Inaugural Chair Trent Bartlett, who has held the position since the organisation’s incorporation in November 2014, stands down at the Association’s Annual General Meeting on 14 October 2021. The role is for an initial term of three years.

Mr. Hicks assumes responsibility for the strategic direction of the not-for-profit organisation, with its 700+ members across the Margaret River Region, seven managed attractions and ground handling operations at Busselton Margaret River Airport.

The appointment takes place as the local tourism industry navigates the ongoing impacts of the pandemic crisis, and MRBTA seeks to deliver on its vision to be the leader in regenerative tourism for the benefit of the people of the Margaret River Region – economically, environmentally, socially and culturally.

“The role of the MRBTA Board in shaping the long-term vision for the region is absolutely crucial at this time. As we eventually emerge from the pandemic crisis the world will look different, and so will our visitors – we will need to embrace the opportunity for tourism to improve the region, not just sell it,” Mr Hicks says.

“At heart, this celebrates our region as a beautiful, fragile and loved place and not merely a tourist destination. This distinction pays respect to the unique environment, its heritage, and the aspirations and future of its people.”

“It recognises over 60,000 years of continuous Wadandi habitation and the traditions and learnings which have helped sustain and nourish the place.”

“Working closely with local tourism businesses will be of the utmost importance in paving the way forward.”

“I look forward to strengthening our relationships with businesses across the region, and to the opportunity to meet with MRBTA members in person to hear their views and discuss their vision for the region’s future.”

Retiring MRBTA Chair, Trent Bartlett, says the Board undertook an extensive search for a new Chair and the calibre of applicants was exceptional.

“I am delighted Mr Hicks has accepted the challenge and wish him well at this pivotal time of change.”

Mr. Hicks will lead the team of MRBTA Board Directors, with positions currently held by Janine Carter, The Landsmith Collection/Voyager Estate; Glenn Callegari, Hillzeez Down South Surf Shops; David Willcox, Common Ground Trails; Keith Warrick, Eagle Bay Brewing Co.; Evan Lewis, Broadwater Beach Resort; Jodie Darragh, Jodie Darragh Communications and Barry House, Busselton Jetty.

MRBTA leadership is delivered through a joint CEO model, with the position shared by Steve Harrison, Cinde Fisher and Sharna Kearney, who also assume responsibilities of Group Managers.