Who are we


Who is

A vibrant, not-for-profit organisation NWRH has evolved over a proud history. From a small incorporated association on commencement in 1993; to the present form as a large company that has grown in both size and scope. Today distinguished as a significant Commonwealth and State Government contracted primary health care organisation, servicing 40 communities across remote, rural and regional areas of Australia.

Download a copy of NWRH’s Strategic Directions Summary 2017

Click below to view more information.


At NWRH our people make a real difference as they:

  • ensure quality care with creative leadership
  • respect and recognise others
  • always deliver cultural and competent service
  • are accountable


Healthier people in remote, rural and regional communities.


We deliver comprehensive, high-quality and cost-efficient packages of primary health care and support that enables healthy living in remote, rural and regional areas of Australia.


We believe that our best work is done when:

  • People own their own health
  • Communities control their own health services where possible
  • Staff are employed locally, and assisted to build their skills and capabilities
  • Flexibility and responsiveness is possible because staff live where they work
  • We have firm connections with communities based on ongoing relationships, and genuine understanding of needs and cultural sensitivities

    Mr Phil Barwick GAICD

    Chair – Non-executive director

    Experience and expertise

    Non Executive Director since May 31, 2012 and is the currently elected Chair of the Central and North West Queensland Medicare Local.

    Mr Barwick has extensive experience in a leadership role in the community sector, commercial, and local government sector, in North West and Central West Queensland. He holds formal qualifications in management including a post graduate diploma in Community Sector Management, a Post Graduate Certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

    Mr Barwick has previously held board and chair positions for a city council enterprise, listed company, and a nationally significant employment services company and other not-for-profit companies.

        Mrs Debra Burden BBus FAICD FAIM

        Deputy Chair – Non-executive director

        Experience and expertise

        Non-executive director, Chair of the Audit and Finance Committee since 31 March 2012 and appointed Deputy Chair of the Board in November 2012.

        Mrs Burden, a degree qualified accountant, is the Chief Executive Officer of SOLAS and a current Board member of Townsville Hospital and Health Service.

        Mrs Burden has previously held CEO and Executive Management positions with Canegrowers Burdekin, Queensland Country Credit Union and Health Fund and ASX listed dental services company 1300SMILES. Mrs Burden’s business management expertise has been recognised with her being awarded the 2007 QLD Business Review Women in Business Award Winner (Business & Prof Services) and the 2005 Queensland Telstra Business Women’s Award Winner (Corporate Sector).

        Mrs Burden has extensive board level experience having successfully completed the AICD course twice and held Board positions in numerous companies as Chair, Deputy Chair, Treasurer, Chair of Audit & Risk Committee and Company Secretary.

            Mrs Annie Clarke MAICD

            Non-executive director

            Experience and expertise

            Non-executive director since 31 March 2012.

            Mrs Annie Clarke has extensive experience in leadership positions in Local Government as Mayor, Burke Shire Council (15 years), Councillor and Deputy Mayor (18 years), Chair and Board Member of North Queensland Area Consultative Committee (5 years), a nationally significant economic development organisation, Chair of the Local Disaster Committee, Gulf Savannah Development; Burke Shire Council’s representative on Regional Arts committee, Energy Board, Regional Roads Group, North-Western Mineral Province Leadership Group, Native Title and Cultural Heritage Matters; State Advisory Committee for education including T.A.F.E. and distance education. Annie is also a Director of the North West Hospital and Health Services Board, a position held since 2012, and an advisory committee member of Mount Isa Centre for Rural and Remote Health.

            Mrs Annie Clarke has previously held executive positions with community groups such as, Isolate Children Parent’s Association, Gregory and Burketown Turf Clubs, Queensland Country Women’s Association (Gregory Branch) and other not-for-profit organisations.

                Hon. Mike Reynolds AM, BSW

                Non-executive director

                Experience and expertise

                Non-executive director and Chair of the Strategic Development and Stakeholder Engagement Committee since 31 March 2012.

                Mr Reynolds was a Councillor with the Townsville City Council from 1973 to 1989, serving as Mayor of Townsville (1980-1989) and Deputy Mayor (1976-1980) and was State Member for Townsville (1998-2009), serving as Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier (1998-2001), Minister for Emergency Services and Minister Assisting the Premier in North Queensland (2001-2004), Minister for Child Safety (2004-2006) and Speaker of Queensland Parliament (2006-2009).

                Mr Reynolds has extensive experience as a Chairman, Deputy Chairman and Director of the Boards of Corporations, Statutory Authorities and not-for-profit Companies and is the former Chairman of a professional dance company Dancenorth (2010-2013), Chairman of Townsville Port Authority (1990-1996), Chairman of ACT Vocational Training Authority (1992-1995) and Deputy Chairman of North Queensland Electricity Board (1979-1988).

                Mr Reynolds was an Adjunct Professor at the Public Policy Institute at the Canberra Campus of the Australian Catholic University (2012-2013) and is the Australian Patron of Youth With A Mission Medical Ships Australia (2009-2014).

                    Emeritus Professor Robert Stable AM, M.B.B.S (Qld), D Univ (QUT), M.H.P. (NSW), F.R.A.C.G.P., F.R.A.C.M.A., F.A.I.C.D.

                    Non-executive director

                    Experience and expertise

                    Non-executive director since 31 March 2012 and Chair of the Clinical Governance Committee.

                    Emeritus Professor Stable’s former roles include Vice-Chancellor and President of Bond University, Director-General of Queensland Health, Chair of the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council, Hospital Medical Superintendent, Rural General Practitioner and Flying Doctor. Currently, he is a Fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He has a Masters in Health Planning degree from the University of New South Wales and an undergraduate degree in Medicine from the University of Queensland.

                    Professor Stable was awarded the title of Adjunct Professor by the University of Queensland in 1997, and by the James Cook University, Townsville in 2001. He was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the Queensland University of Technology in 2002. The Council of Bond University conferred the title of Emeritus Professor in December 2011. An award in the Order of Australia was received in 2013.

                        Mr Edward Fewings

                        Non-executive director

                        Experience and expertise

                        Non-executive director appointed 30 May 2013 and Chair of the Cultural Advisory Committee.

                        Mr Fewings has extensive experience in non-government and government agencies. He has worked across a range of sectors in a variety of roles at national, state, regional and local levels. The sectors he has worked in include child protection and juvenile justice, economic and community development, natural and cultural resource management, housing and is currently engaged in the health sector.

                        Currently Mr Fewings is leading the development of regional governance reform structures for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community control health sector in North and North West Queensland region. He was previously a director (state and national) for the Secretariat National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Care (SNAICC) and held positions on a number of local registered and unregistered Boards.

                        Mr Fewings holds an Associate Diploma in Community Welfare from James Cook University 1990 and a Certificate in Governance for Not-for-profits: Governance Essentials from the Chartered Secretaries Australia 2012.


                            Evelyn Edwards

                            Chief Executive Officer

                            Graduate Member Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD);

                            Over 30 years’ experience in financial and business management companies; 20 years’ experience with the organisation including 18 years in senior management roles.

                                John Cain

                                Executive Manager - Finance and Corporate Services

                                Certified Practicing Accountant; Bachelor Economics (Hons); Bachelor Commerce (Accounting); GAICD;

                                Over 17 years’ commercial experience including 7 audit and accounting experience with PricewaterhouseCoopers.

                                    Dominic Sandilands

                                    Executive Manager - Primary Health Care and Human Resources

                                    Bachelor Applied Science (Podiatry); Masters Business Management; Graduate Certificate in Advancing Clinical Education; AICD foundations training; Fellow Australasian College of Health Service Managers; AHPRA registered;

                                    14 years’ experience in tertiary and regional hospitals, primary and community healthcare centres.

                                        Trina Matthews

                                        Human Resources Advisor

                                        Bachelor of Commerce; Diploma in Business (Human Resources); Certified Professional with Australian Human Resources Institute

                                        20 years’ experience in business and State Government positions; 14 years’ experience with the organisation in support roles including human resources legislation and industrial instruments, extensive experience in managing finance, payroll and general administrative requirements.

                                            Heidi Bliesner

                                            Quality Manager

                                            10 years’ experience with the organisation including solid experience in Practice Support, Program and Project Management and Quality Improvement Management.

                                            Diploma Practice Management, Diploma Project Management.

                                                Randal Ross “Bunbari”

                                                Senior Lore/Law Man, Juru Nation – Birrigubba Language Group, Manager Cultural & Community Relations

                                                An original inhabitant of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Island and Australian South Sea Island descent.

                                                Former Co-founder of Internationally Recognised Red Dust Healing; Indigenous Advisory Member Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Young Men’s Research Lowitja Institute; Co-Author “Garbutt Magpies: Boys to Men: 25 years on”; Building Indigenous Research Scholar (BIRC) James Cook University. Randal was appointed by the Prime Minister Mr John Howard to the Jezzine Barracks Community Trust Member with the development of the Jezzine Barracks Development in Townsville. Randal’s ongoing work is focused on rebuilding families through healing across Australia.

                                                    Helen Ruddy

                                                    Board and Executive Secretariat

                                                    Over 16 years experience in the field of executive support

                                                    Extensive experience in both the corporate and Not-for-profit sectors, including 8 years Board Secretariat experience.

                                                      Currently operating in a footprint that encompasses 40 communities in Central, North and West Queensland, Coastal Areas and the Gulf; across numerous service areas, NWRH adopts an area specific model to Program and Corporate Management.

                                                      An ideal model for managing the requirements and challenges that vast distances and varying service areas present; NWRH recruit a diverse array of Team Leaders with the necessary professional skills and experience to form a stand out Management Team.

                                                      NWRH has a strong-track record in delivering quality services to the communities in which we work.

                                                      This is underpinned by:

                                                      • High degrees of flexibility and responsiveness, with staff permanently located in many of our regional and remote communities
                                                      • Firm connections with our communities based on solid ongoing relationships, and a genuine understanding of needs and cultural sensitivities
                                                      • A solutions-focused approach to addressing local needs and dedication to getting the best outcomes for our clients
                                                      • Commitment to employing staff locally, building skill and capability within indigenous communities
                                                      • Extensive experience in complex and difficult social environments impacted by geographic, cultural and political isolation

                                                      Services operating in Indigenous communities or with Indigenous clients must be culturally competent to promote mutuality in respectful relationships with the community.

                                                      NWRH have developed in house processes that support the organisation to develop and embed this competence. These include:

                                                      • Cultural induction: This induction occurs when staff commence work or visit a new location. The induction varies according to the protocols of each community but consists of staff being introduced to the community and its culture by local staff promoting culturally respectful delivery and safe care
                                                      • Development of flexible service delivery models: This includes a mix of facility-based consultations, home visits, family sessions and informal assistance. This flexible mode of delivery along with our ‘no wrong door’ method of receiving referrals removes access barriers that people experience in traditional medical service models.
                                                      • Employment of cultural liaison officers: This bridges some of the cultural differences that may be present when non-local staff are engaging with Indigenous clients.
                                                      • Cultural audit: Whilst these practices are embedded, a Senior Indigenous Project Officer is currently undertaking a cultural audit to look for improvements that can be made in the cultural appropriateness of NWRH service delivery. The RAP is now endorsed by and registered with Reconciliation Australia.
                                                      • Supportive Human Resource practices that encourage retention and career progression of Indigenous staff.
                                                      • Continuing development of our now endorsed and registered Reconciliation Action Plan including culturally informed training frameworks
                                                      • Career path articulation and advancement opportunities for Indigenous staff.

                                                      View a copy of the NWRH REFLECT Reconciliation Action Plan 2015 – 2016