Independent Appeals Panel

Special Disaster Bushfire Program

The RAA has established an Independent Appeals Panel (IAP) to hear appeals related to the Special Disaster Bushfire Loans and Grants programs.

The Panel’s functions are to:

  • review refusals of Special Disaster Bushfire loans and grants against the eligibility criteria, where an appeal of a refusal decision has been sought;
  • provide a recommendation to the RAA CEO on whether to uphold or overturn a decision, based on the evidence presented to the appeal and;
  • report to the RAA CEO any information on trends or clusters of appeal cases that could assist the RAA in delivering efficient, transparent and fair assessment of applications.

The Panel includes members with suitable agribusiness, financial management, accounting or grant management experience. The Panel has three members and one may be from the Public Service provided they were not involved in the assessment or processing of assistance applications subject to appeal or the supervision of this work.

Current panel members

Mrs Annemarie Jones OAM , FIPA, FFA has over 40 years experience as a Public Accountant, having managed the Liverpool Office of Arthur Young & Co in Sydney. She moved to Wellington, New South Wales in 1986 and commenced her own accountancy practice which she subsequently sold in 2002 to the Investor Group, now known as Findex. Anne continues to service long standing clients from her home office.

In 1995 she was elected to Wellington Council holding the positions of Deputy Mayor for 7 years and Mayor for 8 years. Following the amalgamation of Dubbo City Council and Wellington Council in 2016 Anne was appointed as an advisor to the Administrator of the new council. On 9 September, 2017 she was elected to the new Council – Dubbo Regional Council and held the position of Deputy Mayor for 2 years and is currently a councillor on Dubbo Regional Council.

She is a committee member on a number of Dubbo Regional Council committees, including the Audit and Risk Management Committee.

Anne has been involved in many community volunteer organisations over the past 30 years in Wellington and Dubbo.

She is a member of the International Association of Lions Clubs, a Past District Governor of Lions District 201N4 and the District Disaster Chairperson since 2011, which covers 1/3 of the state of New South Wales.


Mrs Joanna Balcomb B. Business (Accounting), FCA, GAICD is a partner with her husband in a mixed farming enterprise in Cudal in Central West NSW. Joanna has over 20 years’ experience in governance, risk management, compliance and accounting. Joanna is currently Chief Risk Officer for First Choice Credit Union located in Orange and its local surrounds. Joanna sits on the NSW Council for the Institute of Chartered accountants Australia and New Zealand (ICAANZ) and is also a member of the NSW Western Region ICAANZ Committee. Joanna is a member of the Customer Owned Banking Association’s, Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority and Australian Securities Institute Commission advisory panels.

Joanna has a practical understanding of the unique challenges that primary producers faces and champions the resilience of Australian agriculture and the opportunity for its continued ingenuity, growth and sustainable success.


RAA Assessment Officer - the third member is an RAA assessment officer who is not involved in the assessment or processing of bushfire assistance applications or the supervision of this work.