Businesses across Northern Australia will gain stronger advocacy and support with a new Ai Group appointment announced today.  

Dean Deighton, Ai Group’s Acting Head of Queensland and Regional Manager – North Queensland, has been appointed Head – Northern Australia. 

Within the inaugural role, Mr Deighton will build and strengthen relationships and partnerships with Ai Group members, industry and government north of Gladstone in Queensland, across to the Northern Territory and further west, north of the Pilbara. 

“People tend to underestimate the economic powerhouses that exist across the north of Australia — you’ve got resources, critical minerals and defence,” Mr Deighton said.  

“There’s so much happening in this region, and much of it drives economies further south. 

“Being a truly national organisation, we’re putting in a lot of effort into being an advocate for the north.” 

It’s not the first time Townsville-based Mr Deighton has landed an inaugural role within The Australian Industry Group. 

Nearly two years ago, he was appointed Regional Manager – North Queensland in a major vote of confidence in the growing importance of the region. 

“Dean is already well known to many local businesses and is familiar with all the issues and opportunities employers face in the north,” Ai Group Chief Executive Innes Willox said.  

“He will continue to work to drive business success by linking employers with the local support they need and ensuring their issues are heard by all levels of government.”  

Mr Deighton is looking forward to rolling up his shirt sleeves to support businesses as they face challenges unique to the north.  

“Regional businesses want to see you in their environments,” he said. 

“They want to see boots on the ground in the Pilbara and in the Northern Territory.  

“Living in the north myself, I understand the challenges. 

“There’s the tyranny of distance, tropical weather events — we've had two cyclones in the past two months — and increasing costs for a variety of things: housing, insurance, transport logistics and labour. 

“Even though some of these issues are national crises, the more regional you get, the worse it is.” 

The creation of Mr Deighton’s new role follows the appointment of Michelle Farquhar as Ai Group’s new Head of Queensland. 

Michelle joins Ai Group as Head of Queensland  

Wendy Larter

Wendy Larter is Communications Manager at the Australian Industry Group. She has more than 20 years’ experience as a reporter, features writer, contributor and sub-editor for newspapers and magazines including The Courier-Mail in Brisbane and Metro, the News of the World, The Times and Elle in the UK.