Leading the region

Formed in 2018, the Creative Arts Alliance (CAA) works across the South East Queensland North region from Gympie to Somerset through the Sunshine Coast, Noosa, Moreton and Redlands regions.

CAA’s vision is for an innovative, connected and sustainable arts sector in regional Queensland and beyond that provides value for the community, businesses, government and creative professionals.

Our focus is to:

+ Improve career sustainability and opportunities for creative professionals and emerging artists;

+ Ensure regional communities have the opportunity to develop their own arts and cultural experiences to tell their own stories and drive social change;

+ Increase recognition, capacity and local Leadership of First Nations arts and culture through cultural retrieval, maintenance and evolution;

+ Foster a collegial arts network and

+ Sustain CAA as a strong and influential regional arts organisation.

Board of Directors

Phil Smith – Chair

Phil is a co-founding director of CAA. He is an energetic arts advocate, architect and urban designer with a wide range of expertise in community, private sector and government projects. Phil has worked extensively with local government clients and within a local authority. He has 25 years of experience in implementation of key urban design projects, community consultation, planning scheme policy formation, visioning and workshop facilitation. Phil runs his own consultancy company and currently serves on Moreton Bay Regional Council’s Urban Design Advisory Panel and Sunshine Coast Council’s Community Strategy Leadership Group. He is past president and Life-Member of the Sunshine Coast Creative Alliance Inc (SCCA).

Debra Bennet

Debra Bennet is a ‘Goorie Woman’, a direct descendant of the Kullali Peoples (of South Western QLD) and Wakka Wakka and Gubbi Gubbi Peoples (of South East Queensland). With 28 years of successful community and cultural development experience, Debra has held various roles in the arts sector, disability sector, correctional centres and adult education arenas. Debra is currently employed as Director of Indigenous Services with Relationships Australia (Qld), was previously Manager of the Indigenous Arts and Community Cultural Development Program with QLD Community Arts Network (QCAN), a partner in Nuthakine Consultancy, serves as a member of QLD Museums and Regional Galleries Indigenous Advisory Board, chairs the QLD Indigenous Arts Marketing and Export Agency (QIAMEA) within the Department of Premier and Cabinet, and is a founding member and director of the National Foundation for Indigenous Recovery and Development. Aunty Deb is also a member of the University of the Sunshine Coast’s Indigenous Advisory Committee.

See statement from Debra Bennet here

Libby Anstis

Libby Anstis has had more than 20 years experience in the performing arts industry with a variety of executive roles at Queensland Theatre Company, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Brisbane Festival and Centenary of Federation Queensland. She currently works as a non-executive director and management/cultural consultant. Board positions include the Conservatorium Industry Advisory Board, Brisbane Powerhouse (current), Camerata –Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra (current), Fraser Coast Tourism and Events, Creative Arts Alliance and various funding assessment panels for state and federal governments.She holds a Bachelor of Business – Communication from Queensland University of Technology. She was also awarded a National Endowment of the Arts Scholarship to attend a Not For Profit Executive Leadership Program at Stanford University, USA.

Sue Davis

Dr Sue Davis a co-founding director of CAA and has particular experience and expertise in arts education, arts research, project and event management, drama and scriptwriting and was formerly Deputy Dean Research in the School of Education at CQUniversity (Sunshine Coast) and manager of CQ RASN. Sue was previously a drama teacher and performing arts Head of Department and has created many youth theatre projects in collaboration with various partners such as Contact Youth Theatre, Brisbane Powerhouse, QPAC, Sydney Theatre Company, Patch Theatre and JUTE theatre. Sue is a past president and Life Member of the Sunshine Coast Creative Alliance and is Founder of Wildflower Women.

Ant McKenna

Ant has worked in creativity for 30 years and has gained a reputation as a dynamic and forward-thinking artist, worker, producer, project developer, fund sourcing specialist and manager. He is employed by Central Qld University as a Creative Business Mentor for the Regional Arts Services Network program, funded by Arts Qld.  Most recently he was Program Manager of Brisbane Multicultural Art Centre (BEMAC), where he oversaw programs at the Qld Multicultural Art Centre (QMC) and across South East Queensland, including Arts Queensland’s Regional Arts Services Network in Logan & Ipswich as well as partnering with District Studios to produce the QUBE Effect project for Brisbane City Council. Previously he worked with Arts Queensland and Sunshine Coast Council as well as Q Music. He continues to work as a musician.


Mandi McIntyre

Originally from Brisbane, Mandi has spent the majority of her career living regionally and working across the cultural sector intersecting tourism and events, education and economic development in Tasmania and South East Queensland.

Particularly passionate about major events and festivals, Mandi has held senior roles in program management, creative producing and media and marketing. She has a longstanding relationship with Woodfordia Inc (producers of the Woodford Folk Festival) and contributed significantly to the development of The Planting Festival and Artisan Camp as major events on the Queensland calendar.

Having worked within all tiers of government, Mandi has held industry development roles and led programs with Arts Tasmania and Creative Partnerships Australia (formerly AbaF) and numerous SEQ local councils. She has recently led the state-wide programming for young people and families at the State Library of Queensland.

Mandi believes strong community leads to resilient industry. She continues to produce creative participatory projects for young people and family audiences. Mandi is enthusiastic to continue the exceptional work achieved by the Creative Arts Alliance in its first 4 years of leading strategic partnerships across the region to deliver Arts Queensland’s Regional Arts Services Network (RASN).

Lisa Fuller

Originally from the Northern Territory, Lisa has made South East Queensland her home for the past ten years, completing degrees in Fine Arts and Education. Since university, Lisa has worked in Arts engagement and events in the Museum and Gallery sector in Brisbane and brings to the role a wealth of experience working collaboratively with artists and organisations to deliver events, programs and activations. Lisa is current study Fashion Design at TAFE

Local government partnerships

The Creative Arts Alliance works in close partnership with six local councils:

Industry networks

Local creative leaders are part of a series of region wide Industry Networks that provide input and advice for the design and delivery of the South East Queensland North (SEQN) RASN program.

These include:

  • Local Government Steering Committee
  • First Nations Arts Collective
  • Music Industry Network
  • Performing Arts Venues and Presenters Network
  • Regional Galleries Network

Strategic Thinking

CAA has grown to become a nimble and flexible organisation that is able to foster and sustain collaboration across Council, cultural and community boundaries. The organisation is both catalyst and conduit for arts development that connects artists, audiences, government and community in the regions.

Unique to SE Queensland, CAA operates as the only independent cross-regional arts / sector development organisation.

Chair Phil Smith says,

“Our work over the last four years has proved our capacity to break new ground, develop lucrative partnerships and engage with communities in meaningful ways.

CAA is ready to grow our organisation, expand our influence, cultivate new relationships and most importantly, elevate regional arts in Queensland on a state, national and international level.

Our work over the following four years will focus on cross sector partnerships to concurrently build commercial opportunities for the organisation alongside best-practise outcomes with and for First Nations artists and groups as well as artists, arts workers and arts organisations in general.”


The following goals will allow CAA to deliver value for the community, businesses, government and creative professionals.

1. Flourishing arts careers for regional artists

2. Regional communities with access to meaningful, inclusive arts experiences and activated places that nurture creativity and share local stories

3. Elevate First Nations arts through increased recognition, development and local leadership of First Nations arts and culture

4. A collegial arts network that is well equipped to share, collaborate and advocate.

5. A sustainable, informed and influential arts organisation that continues to grow sustainably.

Annual Reports

Annual Report (2019-2020 financial year)  2020 Annual Report

“We strongly value our working relationship with CAA through the SEQN Live and Local project, which has allowed us to engage with local councils in the SEQN region to deliver a much-needed recovery project for local live music communities. We simply could not have achieved this without the tireless efforts of CAA and their unique relationship with the key stakeholders of this region. We believe it is crucial to the recovery and growth of the SEQN music community that CAA is able to continue the valuable work they have delivered thus far.”

Live Music Office