Organisational structure

The RAA’s organisational structure allows for a flexible and responsive customer service focus and ensures assistance is provided to rural communities and small businesses effectively and efficiently.

RAA Board

The NSW Rural Assistance Authority Board is accountable to the Minister for Primary Industries and is responsible for: reporting to the Minister on the effectiveness of programs of assistance; the performance of the Authority in the delivery of assistance; and determining the general policies of the Authority. In undertaking these functions, the Board aims to ensure that the activities of the Authority are carried out properly and efficiently.

The RAA Board charter is in place to guide the activity and focus of the Board and set out how the Board will operate.

Chief Executive

Chief Executive of the RAA, Ms Kate Lorimer-Ward is the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Deputy Director General, Agriculture and is responsible for leading the organisation. Ms Lorimer-Ward provides a link between the Board members who are independent, and the Government.


Mr Sean O'Connell, acting Director leads the RAA team and provides the overall direction and priorities for the organisation. He manages the day-to-day operations of the RAA and provides a link between the RAA Board, senior members of the public service and central government agencies.

The RAA has 3 business units

Policy & Governance

Mr Tim Gippel, acting Manager, leads policy development and delivery, and with his team provides advice to the RAA’s Director and Board, Ministers and Department on programs, financial assistance and rural adjustment schemes. Tim also manages the Board secretariat, oversees the Farm Debt Mediation Unit and the RAA Audit and Risk Committee.

Program Administration

Ms Alli Gartrell leads and manages the delivery of the RAA’s program portfolio including loans, grants and other funding programs. Alli is also responsible for leading and developing her team to embed best practice operational tools and processes to support efficient program delivery aligned to governance and risk frameworks.

Financial Administration

Ms Lisa Southwood is responsible for maintaining effective business systems and reporting tools for the RAA for all operations including the delivery of finance and accounting functions, financial systems and reporting requirements. Lisa is also responsible for implementing tools and practices to manage fraud and business systems failure.