Dr Chris Capel

management committee chris capel

Dr Chris Capel

Chris Capel lived for 30 years in Central Western Queensland on her family’s property “Evesham”. She has been a partner in their sheep/wool and beef production enterprise since 1985. She resides with her husband David in South West Rocks NSW but visits “Evesham” on a regular basis and is involved in planning and management.

Initially a high school teacher Chris had a career change in the late 90s when the advent of the internet provided an opportunity to lobby for and then telework from “Evesham” for the State Government’s Brisbane based Office of Rural Communities. She became a passionate advocate of rural teleworking to government and other potential employers and spoke at a number of conferences on this new flexible way of working.

In 1996-2001 she wrote the initial Networking the Nation funding application, chaired the advisory committee and led the development of the $3.3 million BridgIT project for Queensland Rural Women’s Network – an in the home rural internet training project. This project provided low cost in the home/on farm training via 10 trainers in rural/remote regions in Queensland.

After working in policy advice and project management for the Office of Rural Communities she then went onto work for the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) in a number of roles including community development, project management, public relations and policy advice. Her final role in DPI was Manager of Communication and Information for Western Queensland.

She completed the prestigious two year Australian Rural Leadership Program in 2001 having received a scholarship from DPI Queensland.

In 2008 she established Chris Capel Consulting and has worked for a range of rural/remote clients including the Remote Area Planning and Development Board (RAPAD), Barcoo Shire Council, North West Queensland Primary Health Care, Condamine Alliance, Desert Channels Queensland. Queensland Rural Women’s Network and Central West Health and Hospital Service. Typical work includes: scoping/feasibility studies, corporate planning, community engagement and consultation, communications strategies, group process design and facilitation, report writing and project management.

Having an interest in how people in remote areas influence government policy she completed a PhD based on work she had done for RAPAD to design and facilitate stakeholder forums in order to try to influence Wild Rivers policy. She designed and facilitated two forums in 2009-10 to enable the wide range of stakeholders to go to the Queensland Government with a combined view on the wild rivers policy. She also coordinated a Wild Rivers communiqué/submission for RAPAD to the Minister in May 2010 and coordinated a potential funding package submission 2010. She focussed her PhD on this project as RAPAD was exemplary as a remote regional body in proactively bringing together diverse stakeholders with a wide range of opinions to influence government policy prior to official government consultation. Her thesis is still being used to influence opinion on Wild Rivers policy.

She is a casual marker for Monash University (Social Work/Leadership subjects) and the University of Queensland (Rural Development) marking Masters Students University assignments.

She has been an active member of the Mid North Coast (NSW) Regional Development Australia Advisory Committee since 2015.


  • PhD – Monash University, Gender, Leadership and Social Sustainability (GLASS) unit, Department of Social Work, Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

    Thesis title – ‘Power, policy and remote community activism – a case study of the Lake Eyre Basin Wild Rivers policy’

  • Master of Public Relations (MPubRel), USQ, 2009
  • Graduate Diploma (Teacher-Librarianship) QUT, 1995
  • Bachelor of Arts, Dip Ed, UNE, 1982
  • Certificate of Achievement Australian Rural Leadership Program 2000-1, Awarded to 30 people in Australia each year. QDPI scholarship.

Professional affiliations/memberships

  • Mid North Coast Regional Development Australia advisory committee member 2015 - current
  • Rotary Club of South West Rocks – Secretary 2015-2016
  • Australian Rural Leadership Foundation Graduates Association – Life member/Fellow C7 2008- current
  • Agforce – member