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Mount Gambier, South Australia, 22–24 September 2020 2020

2018 Keynote Speakers

Keynote Speakers Bios & Abstract

SEGRA 2018 Printable Keynote speakers Bios & Abstracts

Ian Aitken

Chief Executive Officer, Unisono Pty Ltd

Ian Aitken


Ian Aitken, recently appointed CEO of Unisono Pty Ltd which is primarily focused on the Sofihub Behavioural Learning platform. Unisono has developed Sofi to allow people to live empowered, independent lives in their own homes. Layered on IoT based sensor technology Sofi is enabling people to stay in their homes longer through the use of this AI based Digital Assisted Living technology. The Sofi AI platform has been developed over the last 19 years with industry leading experts and is applicable in multiple markets including Assisted Living, Aged Care and many other markets.

An industry veteran, Ian brings with him over 24 years of ICT (Information and Communication Technology) experience with global companies including Samsung Electronics, Cisco Systems, Lucent Technologies and Concerto.

Mr. Aitken studied (badly) electronic engineering in Australia at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University (RMIT) and is a passionate technology evangelist and avid listener of good quality music. Informally studied human psychology and early childhood development. Ian is keenly interested in helping and developing people communicate better, interact better and develop deep human relationships.

Simon Boughey

Consultant, Boughey and Associates & SEGRA National Steering Committee

Presentation: Evolving Jigsaws

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Simon Boughey was the Chief Executive Officer for Cherry Growers Australia and is now consulting through his company Boughey and Associates. He has worked and been involved in community and regional development since 1981. He was the National President of Greening Australia from 2000 to 2003. He was the Senior Adviser to the Minister for Primary Industries and Water in Tasmania for several years. He holds a BA in Geography and Psychology, a Graduate Diploma of Recreation Planning in Natural Resources Management and Honours in Antarctic and Southern Ocean Studies He has been involved with SEGRA since the Kalgoorlie conference in 2009 and is a member of the SEGRA National Committee.


A jigsaw is made up of many pieces, some are complicated to put together, some take forever to complete, some can be completed very easily but are they ever really completed? Communities, towns, cities, landscapes and regions across Australia are their own jigsaw puzzles, made up of many pieces that put them together. 

In all communities they are being put together and are constantly being reworked by several factors be they economic, social, environmental and cultural, hence the term “Evolving Jigsaws”.

These jigsaws are put together through the history and development of the community and region, the changes that occur over time and factors that will evolve in the future that can be planned and could occur through many factors that influence their location and culture.

Jigsaws can also be seen as a compilation of layers that go to make up a community and region in a vertical and horizontal axis. These can include:

Cr Amanda Camm

Deputy Mayor of Mackay Regional Council

Amanda Camm


Deputy Mayor Amanda Camm was also chair of council’s Economic Development and Planning Committee before council moved to twice-monthly ordinary meetings in February, 2018. Key achievements during 2016-2017 ranged from signing off on a new, single planning scheme for the region to the success of economic stimulus measures, including the Facilitating Development in the Mackay Region Policy and Invest Mackay Events Attraction Program. Cr Camm also played a key role on the Mackay Local Disaster Management Group during Cyclone Debbie, providing back-up support for chair of the group, Mayor Greg Williamson. Prior to joining council, Cr Camm had a strong background in economic development and professional experience as an executive in roles across many not-for-profit and community organisations, including Mackay Whitsunday REDC, Mackay Regional Council and Local Government Association of Queensland. Throughout her career, she has worked for a diverse range of industries, including travel and tourism, business development workforce solutions for the mining and engineering sector, corporate and community philanthropic partnerships across Central Queensland. As a former primary producer, she is also committed to promoting opportunities for agriculture.

Dr Jen Cleary

Chief Executive Officer, Centacare Port Augusta SA

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Dr Jen Cleary is the CEO of Centacare Catholic Country SA, a social services agency providing services across regional, rural and remote South Australia.She holds an honorary position as Associate Professor in the Centre for Global Food and Resources at the University of Adelaide.

Jen is recognised for her leadership in regional Australia and joined the SEGRA National Steering Committee in 2013.

Michael Campbell

Principal Consultant, Lucid Economies

Presentation: Overcoming Challenges: navigating government and business for economic development

Michael campbell


Michael has over 15-years’ experience across economics, property, economic development and tourism. Michael’s experience spans three continents and includes significant time working with corporate management teams in regards to capital investments and site selection as well as working with governments at all levels to generate new jobs and investment through economic development and tourism. Throughout his career, Michael has advised corporate clients on over $1 billion of capital investment and located 54 corporate operations representing $425 million in capital expenditure and almost 4,000 new jobs.

Over the last seven years in Australia, Michael has provided a range of advice and analysis to both public and private sector clients. He has become a trusted adviser to many local and state governments in economic development, investment attraction, planning and tourism matters. Michael also provides valuable advice and analysis to some of Australia’s largest property developers and investors.


Who wants some cash? Anyone interested to attract some government funding into their community? Anyone want to attract new businesses and jobs?

Its getting harder or potentially better, depending on your perspective.

The presentation will delve into the two very different worlds of government funding and private sector business investment. While potentially worlds apart on the surface, the reality will reveal processes that have similar, yet different drivers. Understanding these drivers can help to overcome the numerous challenges that exist in recruiting public or private sector investment. The presentation will provide an overview of the decision criteria used by both public and private sector investment decision makers as well as how to practically address these criteria. Bridging public and private spheres through creating partnerships will also be discussed. Various case studies will be used to highlight the practical solutions to overcoming challenges for economic development.

Emeritus Prof Darryl Low Choy

Griffith University

Presentation: Science Informed Regional Planning: opportunities for the future

D Low Choy 3


Dr Low Choy is Professor Emeritus (Environmental and Landscape Planning) and the former Head of Planning in the School of Environment & Science, Griffith University, Australia. He is a Visiting Professor of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He has been a member of the writing group of the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists for their Blueprint for a Healthy Environment and a Productive Economy initiative.

His research is focused on growth management for developing regions; values led planning and indigenous landscape values; resilience and peri-urbanisation of the landscape; company owned towns; climate change adaptation for human settlements, planning for natural resource management and invasive species management; design of water sensitive cities, strategic post disaster recovery and the relationship between science and planning.

He is a qualified professional town planner and a Registered Planner and Fellow of the Planning Institute of Australia with extensive industry experience before and during his academic career. He is a Fellow of the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand. He has completed a number of major secondments to State Government planning initiatives. He serves on a number of state and national government boards and committees that deal with environmental planning and NRM matters.


Australia has led the way for many decades now in the design and development of scientific information systems to support natural resource management. However, there has been surprisingly disappointing uptake of these systems and their content into the land use planning sector, especially at the regional scale, where most landscape scale decisions are made that impact the environment and can lead to significant landscape modifications.

Not surprisingly, conventional land use planners have not come from a scientific background and have had limited experience in dealing with scientists. Conversely, scientists have not traditionally collaborated with land use planners. Very rarely has a science informed planning paradigm been advanced in the past but where it has, it has led to more robust and sustainable outcomes.

This paper will provide an overview of selected Australian regional land use policies and planning initiatives and discuss what has worked and why and identify lessons for the future.

Teona Cousin

Manager Economic Development and Tourism, Mackay Regional Council

Teona Cousin Headshot


Teona Cousin is an experienced economic development practitioner with roles in community development, federal and local government.

Following graduation from the University of Newcastle with a Bachelor of Economics, Teona completed the Economic Specialist Graduate Program with the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations in Canberra. Teona has spent most of her career working in the Hunter Region with roles at Lake Macquarie City Council, CatholicCare and Singleton Council.

Teona is currently Manager Economic Development and Tourism at Mackay Regional Council, ensuring the responsive and effective delivery of Council responsibilities in the areas of economic development, tourism, industry engagement, investment facilitation and events attraction.

Kerry Doss

Deputy Director General, Planning Group, Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning

Kerry Doss


Kerry Doss is the Deputy Director-General of the Planning Group in the Queensland Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning. He joined the Queensland Government in late 2017, where he is responsible for managing planning legislation, an ongoing process of planning reform, regional planning, managing the State Assessment & Referral Agency, planning policy and strategy development and advice on planning matters across State Government and to Queensland’s 77 local government Authorities.

Kerry Doss has in excess of 30 years’ experience in planning & urban development in QLD & NSW. He has also worked on planning projects across QLD as a senior manager and leader, planner & as a consultant to all levels of government & private industry. Kerry’s experience covers the full range of activities — leadership, management, project management, research, policy, strategy, local area planning, statutory planning, master planning, & development application lodgement & assessment, development facilitation and capital project implementation.

Prior to this Kerry held the role of Brisbane City Council’s Manager of City Planning & Economic Development from 2008 to 2017. As Brisbane’s most senior planner he was responsible for overseeing the planning for the majority of the Brisbane metropolitan area a rapidly growing population (over 1.1 million) & employment base. In this role, he was responsible the management of more than 150 staff. This role oversaw urban design, infrastructure planning, regional & strategic planning, neighbourhood planning & urban renewal, heritage and economic development.

Kerry has also held various roles with Brisbane City Council, Queensland State government, NSW local government and in private consultancy.

Kerry is a Fellow and Registered Planner of the Planning Institute of Australia, a Griffith University Adjunct Industry Fellow and member of the South Bank Board. He holds qualifications in coastal management, urban and regional planning, business management and project management.

Ange Elson

Founder and Director of Practice Innovation at Stand-Up Collaboration

Presentation: Collaborative Place-Based Solutions

Ange Elson


Ange Elson is the founder and Director, Practice Innovation at Stand Up Collaboration.

Ange is an expert in working directly with people and the communities they live in to create new solutions to the issues they face, and things they want to change. Her most recent work with Aboriginal communities in Victoria has been described as ‘trail blazing’ by the Australian and New Zealand School of Government.

She also brings over 20 years of experience in the public service where her roles included planning, project management, policy development, and industry engagement across health, human services, agriculture, education, Aboriginal health and wellbeing, disability and sport and recreation.

Ange is a passionate advocate for reconciliation, upholding the voice of people to inform the design of systems and services and building capacity for people to design for themselves.


Collaborative Place Based Solutions: the case for regional and rural leadership in collaborative design and innovation.

Regional and rural Australia has long been recognised as fertile ground for demonstrating what is possible through successful collaborative place- based solutions. The arguments for focusing on place are based in robust research, but the pre-conditions that enable transformative collaborative change are often undermined by changes of government policy, failure to fund promising long-term activities over short election cycles, and the need for more disruptive changes to enable all regional and rural Australians to live their best lives.

Into this high pressure mix also comes the curse of buzz words, often picked up by central government departments and expensive consultants based in big cities. People often say they’re innovating and co-designing, but in reality design tools and frameworks are absent, people are still being designed for, and a reliance on the same old processes lead to missed opportunities for new insights and opportunities.

This key note sets out the case for investing in regional and rural Australia to develop local capacity for collaborative design and innovation efforts. It will provide recent examples of successful collaborative design approaches with Aboriginal communities in Victoria, as well as practical ways that people who live and work in regional and rural communities can step into a new future by design.

Alexandra Gartmann

Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Rural Bank

Presentation: Investment: unlocking regions potential

Alexandra Gartmann


Alexandra joined Rural Bank as Chief Executive Officer in October 2015, having been a member of the Board since November 2014. Before joining Rural Bank, Alexandra was CEO of the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR), a charitable foundation based on a partnership between philanthropy, community, government and business supporting the economic prosperity of rural, regional and remote communities across Australia. Prior to this, Ms Gartmann held the position of CEO of the Birchip Cropping Group for 10 years — a not-for-profit agricultural research organisation based in the Mallee Wimmera region. Alexandra was previously a member of the Board of the Rural Finance Corporation of Victoria, Chair of the CSIRO Agriculture Advisory Council, a member of the Crawford Fund, National Rural Advisory Council and RIRDC National Rural Issues Consultative Group. She is a current member of the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership and a member of the Victorian Agriculture Advisory Council.


Australia’s agricultural industries have historically underpinned the economic sustainability and success of rural, regional and remote Australia.

While perceptions may exist that communities outside Australia’s capital cities are slowly dying, Alexandra will discuss how continuing growth in the value of agricultural production has flow-on benefits to rural and regional communities. Be this via the need for stronger connectivity to ensure appropriate data services are available, to improved transport and infrastructure, growth in this sector continues to build those communities.

There are regions that make the most of any opportunities that are available – with some interesting case studies of how using knowledge as a commodity can leverage the prosperity of agriculture. Other regions are building off new forms of agriculture being available to their area to create a range of new skilled and non-skilled employment opportunities. This helps to encourage both population growth and retention.

Alexandra will explore some case studies that highlight where investing in regional Australia has brought shared value to communities and sustain their economies.

Stuart George

Digital Creative Director/Founder, CKP Creative Digital Solutions

Stuart George


A pilot at just 15 and starting his first business at 19, Stuart George is a serial entrepreneur, with an adventurous spirit and a passion for video, music and technology. Across his diverse range of experiences he has remained at the coal face of emerging technology, building a range of successful businesses, loyal clients and solid relationships. He is a video, music and film producer/director, photographer, digital marketer and Apple Certified Trainer. A singer and saxophonist since 13, Stuart is also a talented musician and composer. His business, CKP Creative, which offers full service digital marketing, is the culmination of his portfolio of skills and depth of creative experience.


Video, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are the largest, fastest and most effective tactics in digital marketing today. This is a platform that is growing exponentially and every business and government department - local state and federal - must immediately consider the implications of being ‘late to the party’.

With millions of views on new mobile platforms and desktops daily, Video, VR and AR educates, informs, delights and creates loyal fans and customers. Learn how to easily generate leads and convert them to sales, as well as influence and inform, with Stuart George from CKP Creative.

Kelly Heaton

Associate Director, Deloitte Access Economics

Kelly Heaton


Kelly is passionate about place-based approaches to economic development and growth. Her research interests lie at the nexus of economic policy, econometrics and human geography and she has a particular focus on the spatial spillovers of economic and employment growth. However, she also believes that, while important, headline economic statistics fail to account for what makes a place thrive – its people, its culture, its liveability, its history, its environment and its resources.

For the past decade Kelly has worked at Access Economics (now Deloitte Access Economics) assisting clients across government, industry and not-for-profits with complex economic and policy challenges. She has a Masters in Economic and Regional Development from the University of New England and First Class Honours in Econometrics from the University of Queensland.

Prof Sohail Inayatullah

Chair in Futures Studies, UNESCO

Presentation: Four Futures for Regional, Rural and Remote Australia

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Professor Sohail Inayatullah is the first Unesco Chair in Futures Studies held at USIM, Malaysia. He is an associate at Melbourne Business School, the University of Melbourne, and adjunct professor at the University of the Sunshine Coast. He is the Director of, an international think-tank focused on creating alternative and preferred futures.

Professor Inayatullah has authored/edited thirty books, journal special issues and cdroms and over 350 journal articles and book chapters as well contributed to the Oxford Encyclopedia of Peace, the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, The Macmillan Encyclopedia of the Future and the Unesco Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems.


Can rural, regional, and remote Australia be change makers? Or are they likely to be “Kodaked” to use a corporate metaphor.

In this interactive presentation, the speaker will explore alternative futures of rural, regional, and remote Australia. Participants will work with the presenter to offer their innovative strategies.

Andrew Jones

Co-Founder, G2 Innovation

Presentation: Design Thinking in the Age of Disruption

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At the age of 9, just moments after being given it, Andrew took apart his first remote control car - he wanted to build something even better. At the age of 13, Andrew’s first business was pimping up old BMX’s for his brother’s friends. By 18, there was little doubt his path would involve design and entrepreneurship, and so began a degree in Industrial Design Engineering.

It was during his first professional role as a Design Engineer at Parker Pen, when he was charged with improving processes on the frontline, that he discovered another passion – that of transformation through innovation.

Ever since, Andrew has focused his career on supporting others to grow, change and thrive through innovation. In 2009 he co-founded G2 Innovation, a Design Thinking and Innovation Firm in the UK, expanding it to Australia in 2014. G2’s mission is “To deliver growth through innovation” and they achieve this through dynamic training workshops, co-design programs and coaching. G2 Innovation work with teams all over the world and are recognised globally as a leading provider of design thinking and innovation training.


It is universally recognised that the speed and rate of change has never been higher, and as a result traditional markets are being disrupted by new business models and exciting technologies every day. However, recognising that disruption is all around us and knowing how to survive and thrive, are two very different things. In fact, in many cases an awareness of disruption results in a paralysis to act.

Design Thinking is a mindset, a skill-set and a toolset that enables individuals, teams and enterprises to avoid paralysis, embrace change and deliver creativity with impact.

At the heart of Design Thinking is understanding and empathising with humans, their problems and unmet needs. By driving all activity through this beating heart, design thinkers innovate with clarity and purpose, simplifying innovation into a series of iterative steps that remain focussed on adding value to their most important stake-holder - the end-user.

During this keynote, you’ll learn the What, Why and How of Design Thinking and discover how to lead innovation in the age of disruption.

Stephen Jones MP

Shadow Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government

Presentation: A Vision for Regional Australia

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Stephen Jones is the Federal Member for Whitlam and Shadow Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government and Regional Communications.

Stephen was first elected to the Federal Parliament in 2010 representing the Southern Illawarra seat of Throsby. He was re-elected at the 2013 election and elected to the re-named seat of Whitlam in the 2016 election.

Stephen holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Wollongong and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Macquarie University.

Prior to entering the Federal Parliament he worked as a community worker for various front line disability services, youth and health services and as a lawyer with the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) and as the Secretary of the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU).

Hon Michael McCormack MP

Deputy Prime Minister & Minister for Infrastructure,Transport and Regional Development

Michael McCormack


Michael has lived and worked in the Riverina all his life. He was raised on family farms at Marrar and Brucedale and went to school at Saint Michael’s Regional and Trinity Senior High Schools in Wagga Wagga. Michael was elected as The Nationals’ Member for Riverina on 21 August 2010.

Following the 2013 Federal Election, Michael was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance. Michael was then appointed Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister in September 2015. In this role, Michael worked alongside The Nationals’ Leader and Deputy Prime Minister, Warren Truss, in the administration of regional development programmes. A reshuffle in February 2016 following the retirement of Mr Truss saw Michael become the Assistant Minister for Defence – a portfolio with key ties to the Riverina, which has two major defence bases – RAAF Base Wagga and the Home of the Solider at Kapooka.

Michael became the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel as well as the Minister assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC in December 2017. He also was appointed Deputy Leader of the House. On 26 February 2018 Michael was elected the 14th Leader of The Nationals and was sworn in as Australia’s 18th Deputy Prime Minister as well as the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport.

Robert Prestipino

Director, Vital Places Pty Ltd

Presentation: Collaborative Innovation in Regional Economic Development / Place-Based Economic Development: three case studies

Robert Prestipino


Robert Prestipino is a trusted authority & strategic advisor for the development of rural and regional Catalyst Projects. He is a qualified Urban Designer, Registered Landscape Architect, corporate member of the Planning Institute and a Certified Economic Developer. He has received national and international awards for his best practice approach to creating better places for people and business.

Robert has been responsible for the development of multi-million dollar projects ranging from mainstreet improvements to integrated town centre projects.

Abstract - Collaborative Innovation in Regional Economic Development

The recent House of Representatives Select Committee on Regional Development & Decentralisation highlighted the need for enabling infrastructure that supports place-based approaches and collaborative investment to secure sustainable regional development.

There are no arguments that the one-size-fits-all approach does not work for Regional Australia. The challenge is how do we move forward into this place-based and collaborative space to create economically viable solutions for regional communities.

Clearly, we need to embrace new ways of delivering economic development within our regions. We need a practical approach for local leaders to identify and drive regionally significant catalyst projects that strengthen local identity and lifestyle.

In the last few years, a new framework has emerged in direct response to this challenge. It provides a systematic approach for collaborative innovation in the multi-stakeholder network of place-based projects. A key to the success of this new approach has been the provision of a collaborative pathway that remains values focused and investment attractive. This innovative response to the complex challenges of sustainable regional development has delivered outcomes that have exceeded expectations.

Insights, and learnings from recent case study applications will provide useful tips for regional leaders who are interested in attracting funding for growth that delivers local employment and lifestyle.

Abstract - Place-Based Economic Development: three case studies

Regions are increasingly being asked to identify regional development projects that deliver local jobs and investment as well as raising the funding for the all or a substantial part of the costs of the project. This place-based approach to regional economic development requires collaboration between public, private, community and social institutions. Whilst collaboration can be fostered through a range of innovative joint learning processes, it is important for regions to be able to move from collaboration around ideas and sectors to the funding of an investible business case for identified projects. This can be a complex process. Research presented in this paper identifies a number of constraints in the collaborative investment ideal including: conflict of interest between authorised compliance officers, decision makers and investors; conflicts around information sharing between businesses; individual business profit obligations to shareholders as well as questions regarding delivering fiduciary duty in a co-investment model. The Regional Solutions Framework (RSF) provides a model for building place-based catalyst regional economic development projects through a collaborative investment model. This paper reports on the experiences of applying the RSF framework in two different regions and how the Framework served as a means of organising collaboration, creating advocacy coalitions and building collective agency. The potential of RSF for designing and implementing more effective institutional arrangements, catalysing institutional reform and bringing about more collaborative modes of governance in collaborative investment should be further explored.

Jonathan Wheaton

A/Director, NSW Regional Infrastructure – Department of Premier & Cabinet

Jonathan Wheaton1


Jonathan is the acting Director of Economic Activation Programs in the Regional NSW Group of NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet. Jonathan has over 13 years experience working across social and economic programs in the NSW Government, specialising in regional economic development. Jonathan is currently responsible for administering $1 billion of economic infrastructure funding programs under the NSW Government’s flagship Regional Growth Fund. This unprecedented investment in regional infrastructure has seen the convergence of local, state and federal governments working closer together to support growing centres, activate local economies and improve services in regional NSW.

Cr Greg Williamson

Mayor of Mackay Regional Council

Greg Williamson


A fifth generation Mackay local, Mayor Greg Williamson has a genuine enthusiasm for the region. He has returned to the top job, having been mayor of the then Mackay City Council from 1991 to 1994 prior to amalgamation with the former Pioneer Shire Council. Since then he has gained vast management experience in large businesses and brings that skillset back to the role. Cr Williamson has a long history of service to the community, ranging from Rotary to the then Small Business Association and Mackay Tourism and more than 35 years of service with the Australian Air Force Cadets.

James Wright

Director & Chief Executive Officer, Future Business Council

Presentation: Australia's Opportunity in World 4.0: the next boom

James Wright


James has held a number of senior corporate roles in the professional services and engineering construction industries and more recently led an advisory firm supporting businesses to position themselves in changing markets, from start-ups to large established organisations. James holds an MBA from the AGSM, is a past Co-op Scholar from the UNSW, has been a director of 3 start-ups, is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and is a passionate advocate for a sustainable business future.


The world is rapidly changing - the exponential advancement of technology, significant demographic shafts, increased globalisation, a de-carbonising world economy and climate change - collectively the context of World4.0. The impacts are and will be profound across our economies and communities.

The drivers of our prosperity in the future won’t be the same as those in the past. Exploring the future of energy, heavy industry, transport, agriculture and services – all key sectors for regions that are facing profound transition. How is Australia placed to seize the opportunities of these changes, how do we position ourselves to thrive in the years and decades to come.

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