TNQ Hub Team

The TNQ Hub team will help deliver drought resilience and preparedness activities across the TNQ region.

Operations Team

David Phelps


David Phelps was appointed to the role of Director of the Tropical North Queensland Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub (the TNQ Hub) in March 2022.

David has a lifetime of professional and lived experience in agriculture and rural communities, and in addressing the impacts of drought within variable climates. He has initiated and led agricultural research, extension and adoption projects across northern Australia and has written numerous grazing management training packages.

During extended drought conditions from 2013 to the present day, David has contributed to practical measures to help increase resilience across western Queensland through voluntary community roles in the Rotary Club of Longreach and as the founding Chair of the Western Queensland Drought Appeal.

David seeks to enhance drought resilience and preparedness by linking the resources of the TNQ Drought Resilience Adoption and and Innovation hub with the needs of the agricultural industries and rural communities across northern Queensland.

Rachel Hay

Rachel Hay

Knowledge Broker

Rachel is Social Scientist and Senior Lecturer in Marketing for the College of Business, Law and Governance at James Cook University.  Her recent PhD focussed on ‘The engagement of women and technology in agriculture’.  Her research interests centre on trans-disciplinary approaches to sustained behaviour change in social marketing and environmental protection interventions and on various other projects including the Digital Homestead Project, improving water quality on the Great Barrier Reef, media narratives and rural regional and remote internet connectivity. 

Simon Page

Simon Page

Program manager

Simon was born and bred in Townsville and has many years’ experience working in complex, large and geographically dispersed organisations based from both Townsville and Brisbane. Simon’s previous experience includes working with JCU Connect, Queensland Country Health Fund and many years with the Department of Health. Simon brings a wide range of skills to the TNQHub and is looking forward to being involved in a program that will help Australian farmers and communities prepare for, and become more resilient to, the impacts of drought.

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Emily Harrington


 Emily grew up on a cattle and sheep station near Richmond, North West Queensland and has worked in communications and administration roles across the non-for-profit, ag tech, transport and health care industries since graduating from James Cook University in 2011. Bringing her professional skills and lived experience of growing up on the land to her role as the Hub Coordinator, Emily is passionate about agriculture and enjoys working with a diverse range stakeholders.

Anneli Haipola

Anneli Haipola

Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Officer

Anneli, supports the delivery of data collection and analysis of the hub’s activities through the Monitoring, Evaluating and Learning reports. 

Program Leads

The Program Leads are experts in complex project design and deployment, with specific experience in agriculture, drought, rural communities and tropical environments. Each Program Lead has developed overarching activities that seek to improve decision-making; encourage new technologies and practices adoption; offer innovative financing and insurance options; support diversification; and enrich human capital within the TNQ region.

Allan Dale

Sustainable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Enterprise

Tony Matchett

Agricultural Innovation

Jane Oorschot

Building Human Capacity


Yvette Everingham

Transformational Agricultural Systems


Coming Soon

Coordination and Outreach


Coming Soon

Innovation and Commercialisation

Drought Resilience Coordinators

Our Node Drought Resilience Coordinators (DRC) are working closely with the Program Leads to support the delivery of localized program activities and events. The DRC are also the key point of contact for drought resilience queries within each of their region.

Adoption Officers

Our Adoption Officers are working together with the DRCs to advise on and improve land holders’ awareness and uptake of existing and innovative drought resilience tools/platforms.

Keerah Steele

Technical Adoption Officer

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Carrie-Ann Wilson

Knowledge Adoption Officer

Regional Soils Coordinator

The role of the Regional Soils Coordinator is to increase the adoption of best practice-sustainable agriculture through soil workshops and seminars.

Dhiraj Gajera

regional soils coordinator

Dhiraj is an experienced Agronomist with a demonstrated history of working in the farming industry. Dhiraj is highly skilled in Negotiation, Business Planning, Sales, Agronomy, product innovation and Food Safety and Quality management. Dhiraj has a Bachelor degree in Agricultural Science, Majoring in Entomology and Plant Pathology from Gujarat Agricultural University, India.

As the Regional Soils Coordinator, Dhiraj will provide networks for researchers, primary producers and community groups to work together to enhance drought resilience practices, as well as work with service providers to deliver more integrated and targeted soils services to communities, broker partnerships with industry and stakeholders to build capability, and to coordinate service delivery and share the latest soil science and tools to support the Smart Farms Small Grants: Soil Extension Activities program and the Communities of Practice (CoP).

Steering Committee

The TNQ Hub Steering Committee’s role is to provide advice, ensure delivery of the project outputs and achievement of project outcomes. The Steering Committee will be responsible and accountable for the strategic prioritisation of the TNQ Hub. 

The TNQ Hub is led by a Director with solid project management experience who also has geographic familiarity and relevant domain expertise. A Specialist Knowledge Broker supports the Director and the Program Lead’s will help drive the Hub’s mission. 

The TNQ Hub Steering Committee will guide the TNQ Hub’s establishment and operations in line with the goals and desired outcomes of the project.

Chair: Glenys Schuntner


Scott Crawford, Melinda Eades, Stewart Lockie, Geoff Penton, Zoe Williams, Jenny Seddon, Laura Smith, JCU College Dean’s (rotating membership)