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Barooga, New South Wales, 20–22 August 2019 2019

Concurrent Speakers

Cr Barbara Alexander AO

Councillor, Benalla Rural City

Abstract

Advancing Benalla

In 2007 the small rural community of Benalla was shocked to learn that they were rated in the top 40 most disadvantaged postcodes in Victoria. Their response was to initiate a whole-of community approach with a major focus on education that has seen a dramatic improvement in local social and economic outcomes. In 2011 the revitalisation was aided by a comparatively modest State Government investment of $800,000 over three years. The grant was an acknowledgement of the important work already undertaken and enabled the community to implement innovative locally developed solutions. Seven years on, many of these initiatives are still in operation and are having a lasting impact on improving health, wellbeing and prosperity for local citizens.

Almost as remarkable as the successful outcomes achieved is the capacity building that has occurred. The level of collaboration across the community is astonishing with links and partnerships between hundreds of organisations from all sectors – Government, Not-For-Profits, education, health, business and community. The silo mentality so often perpetuated by competitive funding processes has been demolished, and partnerships and funding alliances are the norm rather than the exception. A ‘can-do’ attitude prevails.

Key to the transformation has been the trusting and mutually-reinforcing relationships developed between the lead partners, Benalla Rural City Council, Benalla Health, NE Tracks LLEN and Tomorrow Today, Benalla’s community foundation. Benalla’s whole-of-community approach, particularly championed by the Community Foundation, has attracted millions of dollars in philanthropic funding. Benalla is a shining example of collective impact.

Biography

Barbara Alexander was a force for change in the disability sector from the 90’s onwards. A parent of two children with significant disabilities, Barbara fought for the integration of her children into mainstream schools. She was a founding member of a local support group for parents of children with disabilities that fostered many similar groups over Victoria. Their mantra was “Support the parents with information and services, so they can look after their children.”

Barbara was elected to Benalla Rural City Council in 2008 and has been a champion for positive change, advocating for funding to put into place sustainable systems to address areas of disadvantage. She was Chair of the Advancing Country Towns Implementation Committee and participates in many committees aimed at improving Benalla’s socioeconomic outlook. Barbara is the current Chair of the Benalla Early Years Network and of the Benalla Rural City Community Plan Implementation Committee.

Richard Barwick

Chief Executive Officer, Campervan & Motorhome Club of Australia Ltd

Abstract

Don’t Let RV Tourism Pass You By

With over 679,000 registered RVs in Australia in 2018 and growing at 30,000 units per year, what is your region doing to attract this demographic?

As the Baby Boomer generation retires and hits the road looking for unique and genuine experiences, the traveller accommodation model needs to be questioned. More RVs are fully self-contained, so there is less reliance on a traditional powered tourist park site. Councils are dealing with unregulated camping on road sides, residential streets and car parks. And those travellers in self-contained RVs on a budget have limited funds to spend on facilities they don’t need.

Case Study 1 CMCA RV Park Bundaberg, established by CMCA on surplus council land through a lease, opened in June 2018. Park residents have spent over $700,000 directly within the local economy in the first ten months of operation, plus several have purchased houses or traded their RVs whilst in town (over $2million injection to the local economy). All of this at no cost to the Bundaberg Regional Council or ratepayers. Key learning: Sustainable low-cost accommodation is possible, but it is not going to be delivered through the traditional caravan park model.

Case Study 2 CMCA has developed an app which asks its members where they are travelling, how long they are staying and how much they spend whilst in a region. This data can be interrogated at a national, state and LGA level to provide live information to councils and other levels of government. Key learning: Understand the importance of the road based traveller to your region.

Biography

Richard Barwick is currently the Chief Executive Officer & Company Secretary of the largest RV Club in Australia, CMCA.

Richard was previously the Manager of Economic Development & Tourism with Forbes Council, a position he held for over 13 years. Richard has extensive experience in the tourism and media sector. He was Chairman of the Newell Highway Promotions Committee for over 10 years, along with positions on road based regional tourism organisations in the Central West and Lachlan Region of NSW.

Richard has been able to engage the RV community to provide economic, environmental and social benefits to regional and rural areas around Australia. As CEO of CMCA, with over 70,000 members, Richard is actively promoting RV tourism to communities who wish to attract this market by sheer patronage and spend.

Susan Benedyka

Chair, Regional Development Australia Hume

Abstract

Regional Planning Delivers Catalytic Investment in the Hume Region

The Regions at the Ready report identified the role and importance of catalytic investment for regional Australia. This paper will argue the need for strong regional and integrated planning to unlock regional investment (including catalytic investment) and capacity building, service design and delivery in rural communities. It will also argue that RDAs are well placed to lead the regional strategic planning process to guide Federal and State government investment and regional development policy.

Susan will outline the Hume RDA Committee’s experiences with the nationally acclaimed Hume Sustainable Communities Regional Plan 2010-2020. The Plan has been of paramount importance in unlocking investment from all tiers of government, such as:

Specifically, Susan will highlight three examples of catalytic investment: Junction Square in Wodonga; Nagambie tourism infrastructure; and greenfield industrial land creation at Benalla.

The Hume RDA is currently developing the scope for the next 10-year regional plan and there are insightful lessons learnt from the previous decade that will be shared in this presentation.

Biography

Susan is an experienced Director and CEO with a rich mix of community, industry and business development across rural and regional Australia. She established her consulting practice, The Regional Development Company in 1997.

As Executive Officer for the Riverina Regional Development Board, she was part of the development of NSW’s first regional economic development strategy in 1991. From 1994-1997, her role as inaugural CEO for Dubbo City Development Corporation was to deliver on the ambitious 10-year Dubbo 21 Plan. In her consulting capacity, and now as Chair of the Hume RDA, Susan has been closely associated with both the North East Regional Plan (2004) and the subsequent Hume Strategy for Sustainable Communities (2010-2020).

Susan is a regional development practitioner and community leader with both a practical hands-on approach to regional strategic planning, and a long-term legacy view about the impacts of implementing strategy and achieving great results from collaborative endeavours.

Rui Bi

Senior Lecturer, Charles Sturt University

Abstract

Digital Business Value Creation in Australian Small-to-Medium Enterprises

This study evaluates digital business value creation in the Australian small-to-medium enterprise (SME) context. We propose that digital business value depends on how Australian SMEs deploy IT resources, IT planning, culture, and business partnerships to develop digital capability and competences which help these companies to achieve outstanding business performance. The data analysis confirmed the hypothesized relationships. This study provides an empirical evidence to understand the relationship between digital technology and Australian SME performance. The findings have important implications for research and business practices.

Biography

Rui Bi is a Senior Lecturer in Management at Charles Sturt University, Australia. Her research interests include IT business value, e-business and supply chain management, and small-to-medium enterprise development and growth. Her publications have appeared in such journals as Journal of Global Information Management, Journal of Small Business Management, Pacific Asia Journal of the Association for Information Systems, Small Business Economics: An Entrepreneurship Journal, and Small Enterprise Research Journal.

A/Prof Mark Boughey

Director of Palliative Medicine, St Vincent’s Hospital

Abstract

Australia has been rated as having one of the most developed service systems to provide palliative and end of life care for people at the right time and in the right place. Although most Australians desire to focus care on and die at home, on their own country, we have one of the lowest rates of home deaths in the world. What can those living in regional, rural and remote locations expect and how can one learn from the stories of success to understand what needs to be looked at and have in place to maximise one’s chance of making the desire to die at home a reality.

Biography

A/Prof Mark Boughey, Director of Palliative Medicine, St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne & Victorian Clinical Lead for Palliative care, Safer Care Victoria is a strong advocate for the promotion and incorporation of palliative care principles and practices across all illness/disease trajectories. He hopes his work will influence key platforms & organizations within the Australian healthcare system working through the many levels of government and health care network strategic planning and policy development through to on the ground curriculum development, training and teaching. Whilst still finding time to maintain clinical care, he particularly enjoys his work with education and program implementation as well as service development initiatives within Australia’s rural, regional and remotes indigenous communities.

Dr Kylie Bourne

Leader, Major Research Projects, Regional Australia Institute

Biography

Evidence to policy entrepreneur who is passionate about fairness and equality in regional Australia. I work to cultivate relationships and develop institutions through with knowledge can flow. In turn this supports critical thinking and evidence-based decision making to improve the lives of people in regions.

I have extensive experience in research, business improvement, knowledge management and in facilitation, especially of communities of practice.

My experience has culminated in being awarded a Commended PhD in Philosophy in which I gave an account of how seemingly unorganised groups used informal knowledge to make decisions.

I have worked across sectors including in government, not-for-profit and higher education. I have published academic research and media commentary on a variety of social and public policy related issues.

Barbara Cernovskis

General Manager Community Wellbeing, City of Mount Gambier

Abstract

Major Funding Applications by Local Government: what to do and what not to do

Local Government in regional locations need support from all three levels of government to secure funding necessary for major infrastructure projects. Opportunities for funding can arrive unexpectedly and understanding what needs to be done, who the key stakeholders are and the role they can play in a successful funding bid is important. In particular, the importance of proactively engaging with the community cannot be underestimated. A case study of the City of Mount Gambier’s journey to securing $15 Million from the Federal Government and $10 million from the State Government for a $40 million project is a little like a line from a nursery rhyme, ‘Jack be nibble and Jack be quick’. It can be done but comes with significant challenges.

As a consolidated year round facility the key outcomes this project will bring to our community include: enhanced community wellbeing through recreation and leisure pursuits in the form of music, expos and youth engagement activities, facilitation of events tourism, and contributions to economic development through construction, operations and workforce retention and attraction strategies.

Our project started as an aquatic centre, evolved into a sport and recreation facility and quickly became a community and recreation hub after significant community feedback. In a period of 12 months the project was conceived, designed, funded and commenced in April 2019 for completion January 2022. The journey was in many ways a ‘how to make it happen’ example and also a ‘when not to do’ such a major project.

Biography

Barbara is General Manager Community Wellbeing at the City of Mount Gambier. Her portfolio includes library services, the Riddoch Art Gallery, sustainability, environmental health and community development and engagement. With 10 years experience in local government and former regional roles in economic development, Barbara has a rich experience base in regional economies.

With a strong focus on community engagement Barbara has played a significant role in securing community support for the Community and Recreation Hub project ensuring social inclusion through diversity in community input whilst managing challenging stakeholder needs.

Pat Claridge

Executive Officer, Tomorrow Today Foundation

Abstract

Advancing Benalla

In 2007 the small rural community of Benalla was shocked to learn that they were rated in the top 40 most disadvantaged postcodes in Victoria. Their response was to initiate a whole-of community approach with a major focus on education that has seen a dramatic improvement in local social and economic outcomes. In 2011 the revitalisation was aided by a comparatively modest State Government investment of $800,000 over three years. The grant was an acknowledgement of the important work already undertaken and enabled the community to implement innovative locally developed solutions. Seven years on, many of these initiatives are still in operation and are having a lasting impact on improving health, wellbeing and prosperity for local citizens.

Almost as remarkable as the successful outcomes achieved is the capacity building that has occurred. The level of collaboration across the community is astonishing with links and partnerships between hundreds of organisations from all sectors – Government, Not-For-Profits, education, health, business and community. The silo mentality so often perpetuated by competitive funding processes has been demolished, and partnerships and funding alliances are the norm rather than the exception. A ‘can-do’ attitude prevails.

Key to the transformation has been the trusting and mutually-reinforcing relationships developed between the lead partners, Benalla Rural City Council, Benalla Health, NE Tracks LLEN and Tomorrow Today, Benalla’s community foundation. Benalla’s whole-of-community approach, particularly championed by the Community Foundation, has attracted millions of dollars in philanthropic funding. Benalla is a shining example of collective impact.

Biography

After commencing her working career in Melbourne as a primary school teacher, Pat left teaching and the city to become a small business operator in rural Victoria. Pat was a Benalla Rural City Councillor for eight years, holding the position of Mayor from 2006 to 2008. She has served and held executive positions on numerous boards and committees including the High Country Library Corporation and the MAV Small Towns Victoria Development Committee. In June 2011 Pat joined Tomorrow Today Foundation as Program Manager for Education Benalla an ambitious project that aims to lift educational attainment levels for all Benalla students. Pat now fulfils the role of Executive Officer for the Foundation and coordinates their activity across Benalla.

Pip Close

Chief Executive Officer, Tourism Tropical North Queensland

Abstract

Sustainability of Tourism in a Disruptive Digital Age

This presentation explores how the industry can implement change sustainably in the digital era to ensure social, cultural, economic and natural environments continue to benefit. The presentation explores innovative approaches and the strategic thinking needed to adapt and implement processes and practices in order to achieve such sustainability within the digital expansion around tourism. Cairns is at the heart of Tropical North Queensland which boasts rainforest tourism, natural tourism, Indigenous tourism, rural and remote tourism, and tropical and island tourism. More so, the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef is at our doorstep, which contributes an estimated 6 billion to the Australian tourism industry annually.

The CEO of Tourism Tropical North Queensland (TTNQ) and will seek to draw out thought and discussion around the theme ‘Sustainability of Tourism in an Age of Digital Disruption’. This pivotal presentation will draw on success stories from Far North Queensland tourism experiences and products, and highlighting future development goals for the region. The presentation will specifically focus on the impact of the digital economy on the tourism and hospitality industries in Far North Queensland as it continues to grow and emerge into a mature, sustainable, international destination with a specific focus on China.

Biography

Pip Close is a senior practitioner with over 35 years’ experience in tourism and hospitality businesses.

Key positions include Chief Executive Officer of Regional Tourism Organisations in Fraser Coast and Margaret River Regions, Regional Manager & General Manager of numerous hotels including Global & National brands such as Marriott, Ritz Carlton, Hyatt, Mirvac and Peppers resorts. These roles have enabled a broad management background to develop at a senior level along with an in-depth knowledge of tourism practices and marketing strategies.

Pip is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors , is a past Board member of RDA , current Board member of the Australian Association of Convention Bureaux and is currently CEO of Tourism Tropical North Queensland, the lead Regional Tourism Organisation in Far North Queensland.

Teona Cousin

Manager Economic Development and Tourism, Mackay Regional Council

Abstract

Diversification of a Resources Economy Through Tourism

Historically, Mackay served as a popular domestic holiday destination with access to the Great Barrier Reef and tropical sandy beaches being a major draw card and part of the region’s culture. Fast forward to 2015 and Mackay’s reputation was predominately related to the resources sector.

This shift was predominately due to visitors during the mining boom being unable to find accommodation with all hotels, motels and tourist parks booked out by the mining workforce. Should accommodation become available, nightly room rates were often exorbitantly overpriced and short-term accommodation was commonly replaced with long-term residents. The damage this caused to our region’s reputation has been challenging to overcome.

Council’s response has come in the form of proactively working towards diversifying the region’s economic base by prioritising new opportunities in the tourism sector. In the past two years Council has prepared three tourism related Strategies – the Mackay Recreational Fishing Strategy, Mackay Region Mountain Bike Strategy and the Mackay Recreational Vehicle Strategy.

The approach taken to diversify Mackay’s economy through growth in the tourism industry has been undertaken in a coordinated and strategic fashion. Our approach has demonstrated the importance of playing to a region’s natural strengths.

The quantitative benefits derived from investing in our natural strengths in the tourism industry will be more measurable in the longer-term. Nevertheless, the green-shoots from the strategic direction that Council has taken are starting to become evident with the region attracting positive visitation growth for the sixth quarter in a row.

Biography

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.

Gerard Davies

Manager Resources Management, Primary Industries and Resouces SA

Abstract

Pathways for Collaborative Action: the Northern Adelaide Plains integrated management framework

The Northern Adelaide Plains (NAP) region is a nationally significant irrigated horticulture district in the Virginia area, soon to be substantially expanded by the 12 gigalitre, reclaimed water Northern Adelaide Irrigation Scheme.

In irrigated agriculture areas, there are many complex interactions spanning land, water and agribusiness systems which need to be identified and addressed to ensure the schemes are both resilient and sustainable. History shows that we have struggled with understanding and dealing with this system complexity with unintended impacts leading to declining productivity and environmental sustainability.

These lessons point to the critical need for integrated, rather than fragmented planning and management of irrigation areas, based on a shared understanding of the goals and issues; broader, systems thinking models; collaborative, integrated solutions and; a degree of co-management between key players. Yet there are few working models to help regional stakeholders apply systems thinking across institutional boundaries for public and private good outcomes.

Development of the NAP Integrated Management Framework (IMF) began late in 2017 and has pioneered an integrated approach to planning and management of the Land, Water and Agribusiness systems across an irrigation district. The three-phase process involved identifying the key system issues where collaborative solutions are most needed, developing shared goals and preferred solutions to address these issues and thirdly, a mobilisation phase to encourage and support collaborative actions. The process has helped galvanise commitment regional stakeholders, councils, government agencies and irrigators, to collaborative responses to complex regional challenges.

Biography

Gerry Davies has worked as a researcher and program manager in horticulture industry development, land and water management and regional community support with the South Australian Primary Industries Department for over 30 years.

Juliet Duffy

Director, Regional EnviroScience

Abstract

Not in our Backyard: research detailing how clandestine laboratories may further impact the health and environment of our regional communities

This presentation will detail the findings of research undertaken by the Western Research Institute and Regional EnviroScience Pty Ltd regarding the impacts on regional communities in relation to Clandestine Laboratories. The presentation will touch on some of the health, social, environmental and financial impacts that these laboratories are having on our communities. From a practitioners and research perspective the insights will aim to promote awareness and to encourage the development of regional policies and support to continue to sustain vibrant and healthy communities in regional Australia.

Biography

Juliet is the founding Director of Regional EnviroScience and is the current the Chair of the Western Research Institute. Juliet has been involved in Regional Development for over 15 years when she and her daughter returned to the Orana Region after an absence of 19 years. Juliet was then the CEO of the Orana Regional Development Board and has been a Director for the WRI since 2005. Relocating from Sydney, she noticed the disparities between the city and the bush, particularly in telecommunications and the disconnect between city procurement and the regional supply chain.

Ten years ago, she founded Regional EnviroScience, a startup company with their head office and laboratory based in Dubbo, which now employs over 30 people in scientific, technology, mathematics and engineering disciplines. She is an advocate for women in STEM and was named NSW Regional Woman of the Year 2018. Regional EnviroScience was listed in the Australian Financial Reviews fastest growing companies in 2017 and 2018. Juliet holds a Masters in Sustainable Management from Sydney University.

Guy Fleming

Geologist, Geological Survey of NSW

Abstract

Geotales and Geotrails: collaborative geotourism initiatives and implications for regional NSW

Geotourism focuses on an area’s geology and landscape as the basis for visitor engagement, learning and enjoyment. Geotrails are one way to experience a journey linked by an area’s geological features. They are relatively easy to establish and a cost-effective means of enhancing regional development that has minimal impact on land management issues. Featuring walking tracks and driving routes, lookouts, points of interest, and supporting information, they encourage an appreciation of our environment. The Geological Survey of NSW (GSNSW) has embraced outreach in recent years, benefiting greatly from relationships with the Geological Society of Australia, universities, local councils, schools, museums, libraries, other government agencies, amateur geology clubs, indigenous groups, historical societies, tourism offices and local science hubs. GSNSW plans to produce several self-guided geotrails at key geological locations across NSW in the next few years. A recent successful collaborative project is the Port Macquarie Coastal Geotrail, which opened in May 2018. GSNSW played an important role by developing signage, a brochure and a free NSWGeoTours app. This location-aware mobile phone app offers a great opportunity to interact directly with the site information.

Work is underway to develop several other collaborative geotrails. The Warrumbungle Volcanic Geotrail will showcase the world-famous volcanic landscapes of the Warrumbungle National Park and surrounding areas. The Newcastle Coastal Geotrail will explain the geological processes that have created the local landscape. Discussions are underway to develop geotrails in far western NSW also, to attract visitors to the region and thereby help boost the regional economy.

Biography

Guy Fleming is a geologist who has been working for the Geological Survey of NSW since the mid 1990s. During that time he has worked in a variety of roles including geological mapping, GIS, database development, graphic design, promotions, and online portal development. In 2002, he became manager of the Geospatial Information & Visualisation unit. Geospatial is responsible for providing advanced GIS, map production, graphics and multimedia services for the Geological Survey. The unit also supports many public outreach activities including the design and production of geotrails. Guy has a keen interest in effective visual and user-centric design and takes a collaborative approach to all aspects of internal and external projects. Guy also led the design and build of the highly innovative Common Ground web application, which was the result of extensive collaboration with community, industry and government. He is leading much of the collaboration for geotrails currently in production.

Dr Alexander Fullarton

Adjunct Professor, Curtin Law School, Curtin University

Abstract

Legislating Climate Change

The overarching philosophy of this paper is that for human development to be sustainable the ‘three pillars’ of the triple bottom line (TBL): the social, economic and environmental impacts must be interrelated as one, balanced concept.

To illustrate how that can be achieved the paper examines the experience of the Solex solar farming project in Carnarvon Western Australia. The Solex project is renewable energy based and competes directly with fossil fuelled industry to manufacture and market its products.

The supporting research is conducted in the context of the Solex project which receives economic benefits at the expense of the fossil fuelled energy generation industry. It provides a demonstration of how a transition away from fossil fuels can not only have environmental benefits, by reducing Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, but also to do that profitably while creating new forms of employment.

Biography

Lex Fullarton is an adjunct professor of the Curtin Law School; a Fellow of the Institute of Public Accountants and was twice WA member of the year. He was a rural tax practitioner for 25 years and holds a PhD in taxation law from the UNSW. He has championed the cause of solar energy for many years.

In 2005 he built Australia’s first privately owned solar farm in Carnarvon. The Solex project has developed into an example of innovative practice encompassing an ice-works to demonstrate an alternative use for alternative energy.

The story has been published in his book Watts in the Desert: Pioneering Solar Farming in Australia’s Outback.

Lex shares his knowledge and experience as a solar farmer along with his knowledge as a public accountant and legal academic in his background to the accounting and taxation treatment of Australia’s carbon trading legislation – the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000.

Laticia Gibson

Managing Director, Blue Clay Marketing and Video Creatives

Abstract

The Greatest Quest: synergies, collaboration and success

Over the past 12 months, Blue Clay has worked on several high-end marketing strategies that focus on one major factor - putting the region’s community first through collaboration.

Whether it’s collaboration of councils, non-for-profit organisations, private business or local doctors, these campaigns have seen huge success because of this approach. Identifying and maximising synergies has been key, along with working together ‘for the greater good’.

We will profile the Country Change initiative for RDA Riverina, and its focus on putting the needs, wants and desires of re-locators at the top of its agenda. While also working with LGA’s to take into account their communities’ needs and vision for the future, to create strong content that pulls at the heart and sensibilities of people seeking a tree change. It’s revealed a myriad of benefits for all stakeholders, and of course, especially for those people who have relocated to the region because of the project.

Temora’s infamous Great Quack Quest - the search that pulled at the nation’s heart and got people tapping their feet. We will look at the town’s people’s influence on its success, and showcase how a private business and council worked together to pull it off.

And the search for skilled workers - how the above partners and many more from across the private, government and NFP sectors in the region are embarking on a new collaborative project. It’s like nothing done before.

Biography

Growing up in the country, Laticia’s heart and soul is for regional Australia.

After years working as a global journalist, Laticia decided it was time to move away from the news industry and start telling stories her own way.

Laticia founded Blue Clay Productions in 2010 with the desire to share her knowledge and experience by creating powerful media and marketing strategies for regional businesses.

The agency know operates in the Riverina, Canberra and the Sunshine Coast.

Prof John Hicks

Professor, Charles Sturt University

Abstract

Europe’s Adoption of Smart Specialisation and the Implications for Australian Regional Development Policy

Is smart specialisation just a ‘buzz’ term or does it offer a viable way forward for regional development policy? In attempting to answer this question, we first consider the key issue confronting regional development policy in Australia – the reluctance of government to pursue non-market intervention. We then define the concept of smart specialisation and place it in its theoretical setting in order to generate testable hypotheses. We review the extensive application of the concept throughout Europe and conclude that, although smart specialisation policy can take many guises, there is sufficient merit in the concept to warrant its further investigation and application to settings that differ from those found in the European context for which it was developed. Finally, we turn our attention to regional development in Australia and draw out the potential for the application of smart specialisation policies here. We note, in particular, the need for labour market development strategies that complement the entrepreneurial initiatives to which the successful application of a smart specialisation strategy will give rise and the role that can be played by local educational institutions in nurturing appropriate workforce development. Further, we note that the participation of local government in all aspects of a smart specialisation policy is essential, as is their willingness to network with other local governments when initiatives must draw on pooled resources to be effective.

Biography

John has lived and worked in regional Australia for over quarter of a century. He has previously been a Regional Development Board member in the Central West of NSW and a director of the Western Research Institute. Prior to joining CSU John taught at Monash University, the University of Melbourne and Massey University, New Zealand. He has published on a range of regional, national and international issues in labour economics, industrial relations, disaster management, macroeconomics and China. John has been the recipient of internal and external grants for research and an award for research excellence. As a member of the Institute for Land Water and Society and a recipient of several ILWS Research Fellowships, John is now engaged in a number of projects with a regional and sustainability orientation (including issues of flooding in Australia and Bangladesh, regional growth in Australia and regional labour market issues).

Brett Hudson

Chief Executive Officer, Peddle Thorp Architects

Abstract

A Case Study of Community Buildings: designing for community cohesion and engagement in regional QLD

Community buildings in regional areas offer locals a myriad of opportunities, from socialisation to empowerment for fledgling local businesses. In the case of the Caboolture Hub, located in the Caboolture CBD in Queensland, it has enabled the engagement and cohesion of a variety of community stakeholders. At its’ inception, community engagement was pivotal to the design and delivery of the social infrastructure. The building comprises a Regional Art Gallery, Caboolture library, learning and business centre with 18 dedicated hire spaces. With it now being in operation for over 7 years, the building continues to stand the test of time and has enabled a variety of locals to capitalise on the services and spaces offered in this building.

This presentation explores the success of a key piece of social infrastructure in contributing to a more cohesive and engaged local community in Caboolture. Insights into the operations and usage of the building have been captured through post occupancy feedback, metrics of business usage, and survey of local usage. This data has highlighted that the building and its’ spaces have enhanced library usage, increased learning and upskilling, attracted visitation from other regions, enabled small local businesses and even correlated with business growth and local employment. A number of stakeholders have commended the buildings’ placemaking outcomes and the revitalization that this building has injected into the once forlorn local town centre. This is a testament to the success of the capital expenditure in regional areas; with the right investment into key social infrastructure, urban revitalization can renew and reinvigorate communities and even stimulate job creation.

Abstract

The Insights that Social Media Data can Deliver to Inform the Design of Healthier Place-Based Buildings

Place-based development is critical, particularly in regional areas where context and identity are important for local recognition, branding and tourism attraction. However, what is just as important is understanding people’s needs and wants for their local area. In order to deliver better infrastructure, that can assist in social cohesion and meet the needs of the community and region, an improved understanding of community values and needs is required. In this presentation we look at the ways in which people perceive their existing local environment through social media analysis. We propose that social media data can inform the design of more human centred, place-based buildings that are shaped by community value and needs. The methods include social media data collection from Twitter and Instagram.

By leveraging social media data and using analytics to derive insight into stakeholder sentiment this uncovers how people feel about their current environment within their community. What is found is that there are ways to gather new data about community wants and needs by utilising social media platforms, which capture a large audience base, and understand more of what people want and need. By using geo-located tweets from Twitter and Instagram we are able to understand in real time what types of design elements people want to see more of in their local community. Improvements to the both natural and urban environment settings has strong correlations to enhanced happiness and well-being.

Biography

With over 30 years’ experience in a range of complex civic and education projects, Brett has been involved in several award-winning projects. Some of which include the State Library of Queensland redevelopment, as well as public libraries and galleries in Queensland. He has worked on projects throughout Australia and Internationally in China, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Brett has also been a design tutor at universities and is an architectural practice examiner. He is currently the project leader for the new $200m Supreme Courts development in Papua New Guinea.

Working in a collaborative manner he brings together design teams to develop creative and responsible design solutions often with complex and demanding briefs. He is guided by principles that architectural spaces gain meaning through an understanding and appreciation of their cultural context, geographic location and that projects are passionately embraced by their community through an inclusive design process.

Brett was the project leader and designer for the awarded Caboolture Hub project that integrated a major public library, regional art gallery and community learning centre into one building which has been a catalyst in the process of reinvigorating the town centre of Caboolture.

Dr Angela Lehmann

Leader Major Research Projects, Regional Australia Institute

Abstract

The Future of Regional Jobs: liveability and the new work of towns

The future of work in regional Australia is looking bright. Research shows that in the next 5 years, there will be more than 85,000 jobs in the health care and social assistance sector and more than 32,000 in education. The future regional workforce will need high levels of qualifications and skills to fill these vacancies. With this phenomenon projected to occur across Australia, our towns and communities will increasingly compete with each other for this skilled workforce of the future. The building of sustainable, vibrant places will become part of the new work of towns. The health and social assistance sector has a unique position in this context of competitive liveability, with the presence of this sector contributing to a place’s attractiveness. This paper will outline the relationship between creating liveable communities and attracting and retaining this future workforce and their families.

Biography

Dr Angela Lehmann is a social scientist (PhD, Sociology, Australian National University) with expertise in communities, mobility and diversity. Angela worked in public policy research in London before spending ten years researching urban development and migration in mainland China. She has published two books ‘Transnational Lives in China: Expatriates in a Globalising City’ and ‘Destination China: Immigration to China in the Post-Reform Era’. Angela was brought up in rural NSW and bring her experience and expertise in community development and change to the Regional Australia Institute where she is leading the intergovernmental research inquiry in the future of jobs in regional Australia.

Dr Teresa Lewis

Sessional Academic, Australian Catholic University

Abstract

Healthcare Organisations Dispensing with the Traditional Business as Usual Approach to Embrace Innovative Sustainable Practices

Recent reporting from organisations such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change show that unequivocally our climate is changing. In 2009 the World Health Organization (WHO) together with Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) affirmed that one of the largest contributors to climate change is hospitals. Healthcare sectors spanning across the globe are noted as being energy intensive, large consumers of water and generate substantial amounts of waste. In order to help rectify this vast climate impact by healthcare organisations, implementing key elements to aid abatement is slowly increasing. For example elements introduced by the WHO and HCWH such as energy efficiency, alternative energy generation, green building designs, food, water, waste and transportation are becoming a factor of daily operational activities of healthcare organisations. Therefore health professionals are being identified as possible leaders in aiding the abatement of climate change. This onerous responsibility placed on healthcare professionals is showing to be problematic especially within the Australian healthcare context. Australia remains embryonic in educating healthcare professionals to embrace and understand the value of sustainability, especially within nursing practice. Despite the lack of Education for Sustainability (EfS), healthcare organisations are maintaining a slow but steady momentum in operational changes. This paper showcases how one Australian Regional Healthcare Organisation through sheer determination and resilience has transformed its traditional way of practice into a more sustainable mode of operation. Furthermore this Regional Healthcare provider has carried its innovative sustainable practices to include its surrounding community, strengthening the bond between provider, humans and the environment.

Biography

Dr Teresa Lewis is a Registered Nurse/Registered Midwife and holds a PhD from the University of Wollongong and a Masters Degree in Environmental Change Management from the University of the Sunshine Coast. Teresa’s PhD was centred on the Australian healthcare context examining what it is like for health professionals to work in healthcare organisations that are transferring from a business as usual approach to an environmentally friendly mode of operation. Teresa also holds an online position with a panel of advisors for the project Global Green and Healthy Hospitals (GGHH) Connect, Washington, D.C. The project provides current information and successful case studies to healthcare organisations worldwide on various aspects of sustainability.
Teresa’s diverse employment intersects through health, education and business. Currently working as a sessional academic to three universities, Teresa has a deep interest in Anthropogeography especially researching into issues affecting the symbiotic relationship between humans and their environment.

Dr Andrew Manning

Senior Manager Infrastructure, Planning & Development, North East Water

Abstract

What have the Romans Ever Done for us? Innovation in Water Infrastructure Planning

Land use planning in Victoria is a key to facilitating economic opportunity through development of land. Planning accepts that amenity and quality of life may be reduced due to the incidence of odour, dust, noise, hazard or aesthetic reasons. To achieve good development, land uses which conflict should be separated from each other.

Treating waste from human activity is a critical community service. It ensures communities are healthy and it enables residential, commercial and industrial land to be developed and used for productive economic and social purposes. Its importance is reflected in that the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 6.2 is concerned to ensure all human beings have access to sewerage sanitation.

To minimise development conflicts near waste treatment facilities, North East Water has developed a model for land and water planning that addresses development encroachment. Criteria for separation distances set by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), were investigated and an innovative, robust model developed.

Spatial mapping techniques are combined with other data to determine separation distances. Amendments to Council planning schemes are possible via the adaptation of the Environment Significance Overlay (ESO). The relevance to conference theme #3 (distribution services) is the Benalla, Moira, Wodonga and Indigo Shire Council planning schemes incorporate an ESO to protect these important community facilities. A series of case studies will illustrate how the overlay achieves sound planning outcomes. This presentation is timely given a current review by the Victorian Government’s Department of Environment Land Water and Planning into planning controls for critical infrastructure.

Biography

Dr Andrew Manning has a Master’s degree in public policy as well as a PhD from Monash University with a specialisation in Sociology. Andrew has worked in local government as a manager in metropolitan and rural settings and is the former Victorian Community Advocate on Gambling. He has worked in a range of policy and planning roles with Victorian government departments including Regional Development Victoria and is currently a senior planning manager at North East Water. Andrew has over a decade of academic teaching experience at Charles Sturt University and is an Adjunct Research Fellow at CSU’s Institute for Land, Water and Society.

Simone Meakin

Acting Director Geoscience Information, Geological Survey of NSW

Abstract

Geotales and Geotrails: collaborative geotourism initiatives and implications for regional NSW

Geotourism focuses on an area’s geology and landscape as the basis for visitor engagement, learning and enjoyment. Geotrails are one way to experience a journey linked by an area’s geological features. They are relatively easy to establish and a cost-effective means of enhancing regional development that has minimal impact on land management issues. Featuring walking tracks and driving routes, lookouts, points of interest, and supporting information, they encourage an appreciation of our environment. The Geological Survey of NSW (GSNSW) has embraced outreach in recent years, benefiting greatly from relationships with the Geological Society of Australia, universities, local councils, schools, museums, libraries, other government agencies, amateur geology clubs, indigenous groups, historical societies, tourism offices and local science hubs. GSNSW plans to produce several self-guided geotrails at key geological locations across NSW in the next few years. A recent successful collaborative project is the Port Macquarie Coastal Geotrail, which opened in May 2018. GSNSW played an important role by developing signage, a brochure and a free NSWGeoTours app. This location-aware mobile phone app offers a great opportunity to interact directly with the site information.

Work is underway to develop several other collaborative geotrails. The Warrumbungle Volcanic Geotrail will showcase the world-famous volcanic landscapes of the Warrumbungle National Park and surrounding areas. The Newcastle Coastal Geotrail will explain the geological processes that have created the local landscape. Discussions are underway to develop geotrails in far western NSW also, to attract visitors to the region and thereby help boost the regional economy.

Biography

Since obtaining a 1st class Honours degree in Geology at the University of Adelaide, Simone Meakin has spent many years with the Geological Survey of NSW mapping rocks and soils around the state, then presenting this information to a wide audience. With an abounding interest and enthusiasm for a wide range of geological topics, she has worked become increasingly involved with outreach to the community, especially through events and geotourism initiatives, and enjoys spreading the word of geoscience to all who will listen. She currently manages a group that delivers a range of geoscience products including maps, books, brochures, databases and apps.

Dr Jennifer Moffatt

Research Consultant, Jennifer Moffatt Consulting

Abstract

Learning in the Regions: the case of cotton

Introduction: The Australian cotton industry’s investment in training has reaped rewards for the industry nationally, the agriculture sector and at the community level. A program including professional and academic scholarships is offered annually. The project from which this work is drawn is an evaluation of the Cotton Research and Development Corporation’s scholarship program from 2008 to 2016. This presentation examines a sub-sample of these scholarship recipients, and what they have given back, because of the scholarship.

Methods: Data was collected via two online surveys with follow-up. The sample consists of the 47 scholarship recipients who in were professional occupations and living in regional communities at the time of the surveys.

Results: The results reported are thematically analysed open-ended survey responses. They reveal the breadth and depth of how these scholarship recipients used their new knowledge and skills to give back to their local communities, their industry and more broadly to agriculture. The breadth of their contribution included the audiences they accessed, their geographical and sector reach and the various roles they undertook. The depth covered the skills they used, the methods and their use of knowledge.

Conclusion: This study illustrates how the learning from formal training accessed through a competitive process was applied. Through a scholarship program this aspirational group are activating their potential and accessing what some have found to be rivers of opportunity. A take-home message for SEGRA delegates is that industry-funded training is available in agriculture, and as for cotton, has the potential to make a difference.

Biography

Dr Moffatt’s experience working in rural, regional and remote communities in her current consulting and earlier academic and professional careers, informs her perspective and approach. This work has been in content areas that include agriculture, mining, health and disability, in research positions in government, consultancies and in universities.

Jennifer currently practices as a social science research and evaluation consultant in Queensland. She recently won the 2018 John Oxley Library Fellowship a State Library of Queensland award. This is to conduct historical research on land policy which reflects her ongoing interest in regional Australia.

Dr Judy Nagy

General Manager City Growth, City of Mount Gambier

Abstract

Major Funding Applications by Local Government: what to do and what not to do

Local Government in regional locations need support from all three levels of government to secure funding necessary for major infrastructure projects. Opportunities for funding can arrive unexpectedly and understanding what needs to be done, who the key stakeholders are and the role they can play in a successful funding bid is important. In particular, the importance of proactively engaging with the community cannot be underestimated. A case study of the City of Mount Gambier’s journey to securing $15 Million from the Federal Government and $10 million from the State Government for a $40 million project is a little like a line from a nursery rhyme, ‘Jack be nibble and Jack be quick’. It can be done but comes with significant challenges.

As a consolidated year round facility the key outcomes this project will bring to our community include: enhanced community wellbeing through recreation and leisure pursuits in the form of music, expos and youth engagement activities, facilitation of events tourism, and contributions to economic development through construction, operations and workforce retention and attraction strategies.

Our project started as an aquatic centre, evolved into a sport and recreation facility and quickly became a community and recreation hub after significant community feedback. In a period of 12 months the project was conceived, designed, funded and commenced in April 2019 for completion January 2022. The journey was in many ways a ‘how to make it happen’ example and also a ‘when not to do’ such a major project.

Biography

Judy is General Manager City Growth at the City of Mount Gambier. Her portfolio includes planning, building regulation, tourism, visitor services, events and economic development. She has been in local government for 2 years with experience in earlier appointments including a mixture of business and academic roles specializing in MBA studies with national teaching excellence awards, numerous large and small grants and across university collaborations that focused on leadership and Communities of Practice.

Former campus development roles that included building and program expansion have been very useful for her role in local government and, in particular, for the topic of the conference presentation by the City of Mount Gambier speaking about securing grant funding for a major infrastructure project.

Robert Prestipino

Director, Vital Places

Abstract

How to Turn Collaboration into a Money Magnet for Regional Economic Development

There is no argument that we need collaboration to solve the wicked problems of 21st century regional economic development. But moving beyond design thinking sticky notes and butcher paper summaries of the first multi stakeholder workshop, what do you do?

Is a well edited and graphically presented report with the mobile phone snaps and raw video footage of the day with supporting posts on twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook really going to help attract government and corporate investors to your regional economic development project?

Or is it a distraction?

Building a convincing business case for place-based investment requires a clear and concise collaborative plan. An approach that avoids the easy, but unsuccessful, pathway of specialist silos where the essence of the communities values are traded off to meet technical milestones.

To achieve successful collaboration, a region will have to also develop a meaningful sense of collective agency, frequently built through joint learning and iterative innovation.

Catalysing sustainable economic development requires a fresh place-based approach that anchors ideas in local values but shapes a business case that is attractive to outside investors. Unless the pathway is transparent and structured, the journey from local inspiration to genuine place-based economic development remains an academic fantasy and a local leaders day dream.

Discover what several recent regional projects have revealed with regard to collaborative pathways that support the financing of place-based economic development.

Biography

Robert Prestipino is a Trusted Authority & Strategic Advisor for Regional Leaders seeking to create places that will thrive in the future.

He is a qualified Urban Designer, Registered Landscape Architect, corporate member of the Planning Institute of Australia and an Australian Certified Economic Developer and has received national and international awards for his best practice approach to creating better places for people and business. With over 25 years of working with urban and regional leaders to develop place-based growth, Robert’s advice on project design and business case development is highly regarded.

Sofie Pringle

Project Leader, Peddle Thorp Architects

Abstract

A Case Study of Community Buildings: designing for community cohesion and engagement in regional QLD

Community buildings in regional areas offer locals a myriad of opportunities, from socialisation to empowerment for fledgling local businesses. In the case of the Caboolture Hub, located in the Caboolture CBD in Queensland, it has enabled the engagement and cohesion of a variety of community stakeholders. At its’ inception, community engagement was pivotal to the design and delivery of the social infrastructure. The building comprises a Regional Art Gallery, Caboolture library, learning and business centre with 18 dedicated hire spaces. With it now being in operation for over 7 years, the building continues to stand the test of time and has enabled a variety of locals to capitalise on the services and spaces offered in this building.

This presentation explores the success of a key piece of social infrastructure in contributing to a more cohesive and engaged local community in Caboolture. Insights into the operations and usage of the building have been captured through post occupancy feedback, metrics of business usage, and survey of local usage. This data has highlighted that the building and its’ spaces have enhanced library usage, increased learning and upskilling, attracted visitation from other regions, enabled small local businesses and even correlated with business growth and local employment. A number of stakeholders have commended the buildings’ placemaking outcomes and the revitalization that this building has injected into the once forlorn local town centre. This is a testament to the success of the capital expenditure in regional areas; with the right investment into key social infrastructure, urban revitalization can renew and reinvigorate communities and even stimulate job creation.

Abstract

The Insights that Social Media Data can Deliver to Inform the Design of Healthier Place-Based Buildings

Place-based development is critical, particularly in regional areas where context and identity are important for local recognition, branding and tourism attraction. However, what is just as important is understanding people’s needs and wants for their local area. In order to deliver better infrastructure, that can assist in social cohesion and meet the needs of the community and region, an improved understanding of community values and needs is required. In this presentation we look at the ways in which people perceive their existing local environment through social media analysis. We propose that social media data can inform the design of more human centred, place-based buildings that are shaped by community value and needs. The methods include social media data collection from Twitter and Instagram.

By leveraging social media data and using analytics to derive insight into stakeholder sentiment this uncovers how people feel about their current environment within their community. What is found is that there are ways to gather new data about community wants and needs by utilising social media platforms, which capture a large audience base, and understand more of what people want and need. By using geo-located tweets from Twitter and Instagram we are able to understand in real time what types of design elements people want to see more of in their local community. Improvements to the both natural and urban environment settings has strong correlations to enhanced happiness and well-being.

Biography

Sofie is a project leader at Peddle Thorp Architects, where she focuses on the project areas of residential, retail, retirement living and urban design. She has a range of experience in master planning, residential, retail, mixed use and education projects and is adept at site analysis and master planning. She has a passion for place making and creating environments that increase user happiness, well-being, and improve the activation and use of the space. She seeks the best outcomes for the client and the end user, with a commercial and community view toward the process. Currently undertaking a PhD at Queensland University of Technology, her research focuses on the relationship between user happiness, well-being and the urban environment.

Through her research ‘urban happiness’, she explores the linkages between planning, design and happiness in the built environment. Her recently published pilot study explores the self-representation of happiness in urban spaces. This uncovered that there are particular urban environment features that users associate with their happiness. This research was recently shortlisted for the 2018 Australian Urban Design Awards and 2019 Minister’s Award for Urban Design. The research project is in the process of developing further research, which aims to develop an assessment tool for the retrofitting of the urban environment to increase user happiness.

Cr Anita Rank

RDA Board Member & Mayor Glenelg Shire, Regional Development Australia

Abstract

Building a Better Life in Australia: adopting a population distribution policy

Increased resettlement of migrants and refugees in regional Australia has been an ongoing focus of the policies of successive governments for many years but with Australia’s population now at 25 million, it is time we reconsidered the way we distribute people across the nation by developing a National Population Distribution Policy. Our regional cities, and more importantly rural towns, are crying out for more people but as a country we need to have a mature debate about population that includes a range of elements: population size, migration rates, social and cultural issues and the way we deal with temporary and permanent visas.

Many people and some politicians have supported the concept of a ‘Big Australia’ and recognised that population growth has been good for the country’s long-term prosperity and economic success. However, the majority of these people live in our capital cities with most of the growth in Melbourne and Sydney. This has led to congestion and housing problems that is affecting liveability of those cities.

It is time to change the narrative about living in Regional Australia and promote the opportunities that do exist. Availability of jobs, high quality education and training and communities that welcome and embrace people is what’s on offer and with eight million people living outside our capital cities there is room to grow. Community leaders in South West Victoria are offering up real solutions to address the population decline in regional and rural Australia and we want to share our story.

Biography

Anita Rank has been the Mayor of the Glenelg Shire (Gunditjmara Country), Victoria since 2016 and is serving her second term as a councillor. Prior to that she was the Chief Executive Officer at the Committee for Portland and EO of the Portland YMCA for 15 years.

The development of rural and regional areas, population attraction and retention, and the availability of high quality essential services including digital connective sits at the heart of her political ideology as is health and well-being of her community, hence the various number of board positions she holds.

Chair of Headspace Portland, which focuses on youth mental health; Chair of Portland’s GP SuperClinic, Active Health; the Chair of Barwon South West Suicide Prevention Taskforce, board member of Portland District Health as well as Barwon South Coast Regional Development Australia and Southwest Regional Partnerships.

Anita has developed and sharpened her ideological outlook through the experience of being a hands-on councillor and Mayor, and undertaking a Masters in Politics and Policy, with a focus on Regional and Rural Development.

Leigh Roberts

Senior Project Manager, South West TAFE

Abstract

Preparing our Local Workforces for the Future: putting the New Work mindset into action

The exponential change to work is unlike anything we’ve experienced and has significant impacts on how Australians are training and reskilling for work. How can we support our workforce to prepare for a lifetime of careers, particularly in a regional context where opportunities may be scarce or unknown?

The Foundation for Young Australians’ (FYA) and South West TAFE’s (SWTAFE) New Work Mindset in Action: South West Victoria report identifies how the South West Victorian region can support their workforce to navigate this changing landscape.

The research underpins a new ambitious place-based project between SWTAFE, FYA and Aged Care Providers in the region that aims to shift mindsets from linear careers to a world where a portfolio of skills will be crucial.

The project showcases and demonstrates a new learning model and a series of tools to better meet industry and training needs of the future: a series of micro credentials to meet identified skills gaps, a new approach to workforce planning and an online career tool that provides users with a real-time data-driven skills profile and accurate, future-focussed information on jobs in the region. An innovation hub on SWTAFE’s campus will offer peer-to-peer, immersive learning to build a culture of entrepreneurship in the region; ensuring people can be job creators as well as job seekers.

The presentation will reveal the unique findings from the research together with insights into the efficacy and impact of the tools.

Biography

Leigh is the Senior Project Manager at South West TAFE and is currently leading the ‘Applying the New Work Mindset in South West Victoria’ Project.

Leigh is an experienced project manager with over 20 years of experience working in the financial and education sectors both in Regional Victoria and Melbourne, where she moved from with her family over 16 years ago. As well as being passionate about study (Leigh is currently studying a Bachelor of Business at Deakin University), she is a strong proponent of local industry and education working together to create responsive and future-focused training.

Angus M Robinson

Managing Director, Leisure Solutions®

Abstract

Strategic Directions for Geotourism Development in Australia

Geotourism, a holistic form of nature-based tourism, is a significant emerging and growing global phenomenon. Geotourism focuses on an area’s geology and landscape as the basis for providing visitor engagement, learning and enjoyment’. Geotourism is increasingly seen as a valuable tool for regional development. The Australian Geoscience Council is currently consulting with state/territory government agencies with the aim of developing a national strategy predicated on consideration of a number of broad topics which include.

  1. Geotourism as a means of celebrating geoheritage by expansion of the Geotourism map concept progressively across Australia on a ‘state by state’ basis, as well as consideration of new ICTs (e.g. smartphones, 3D visualisation, AR & VR) and GIS technologies as a cost effective means of accessing and better communicating geological content for travellers and residents in regional Australia
  2. Enhanced coordination nationally of geoheritage data bases with the objective of highlighting areas of both geotourism value and geosites that need to be protected.
  3. Consideration of establishing a national set of administrative procedures for ‘georegional’ assessment to provide for potential geopark nomination at state and national levels.
  4. New Geotrail development – local, regional and national engagement to open up dialogue with existing walking, biking and rail trail interest groups and operators to highlight the availability of quality geoscience data.
  5. Mechanisms for collaboration with providers of other areas of natural (bioregion) and cultural heritage content inclusive of mining heritage.
  6. Using geotourism to strengthen Australia’s international geoscience standing.

This presentation will discuss these topics.

Biography

An exploration geologist by profession and training, Angus established his business, Leisure Solutions®, in 1993 and is now engaged in ecotourism/geotourism activities. In recent years he has served as the inaugural Chair of the Geotourism Standing Committee of the Geological Society of Australia, and has recently been appointed as the Coordinator, National Geotourism Strategy (and designated spokesperson on geotourism) for the Australian Geoscience Council that represents Australia’s eight main geoscience societies. Over the past 25 years, Angus has been engaged in leadership roles relating to technology diffusion through The Warren Centre of Advanced Engineering, technology park development, and as Chief Executive of a major manufacturing industry association. His work has focused on national strategy development, particularly in developing industry linkages in the Greater China Region. In earlier years he has enjoyed various leadership roles in major Sydney tourist attractions and at the Mt Hotham Alpine Resort in Victoria.

Caroline Robinson

Executive Officer, North Eastern Wheatbelt Regional Organisation of Councils

Abstract

Super Fast Internet For Rural Growth

The North Eastern Wheatbelt Regional Organisation of Councils (NEWROC) is a voluntary regional group of 6 local governments. They recognised in 2017 that in a global economy their rural businesses and residents could not afford to sit waiting for an internet connection to either start or catch up with the job they were asking it to do, while people in other parts of the world were six jobs ahead. They could not continue to remain hamstrung by unreliable and substandard internet services that erode productivity and eliminate economic opportunities. Access to internet services that are fit for purpose and up to business standards in a global economy is absolutely essential, not optional.
The NEWROC and Crisp Wireless telecommunications solution was built in 2018 and is a local government and private business partnership. The solution delivers a self-sustaining network that provides ongoing super-fast internet speeds of 100 megabytes per second and unlimited download capacity to businesses across seven local government areas. It is a unique partnership, supported by a BBRF successful application in 2018. The network was activated in 2018 and has opened up many business, health, education and tourism opportunities to the north eastern Wheatbelt communities.

Biography

Caroline Robinson is a consultant in the Wheatbelt specialising in strategic planning, governance and community facilitation. Caroline is the NEWROC EO (sub contract role) and Wheatbelt Business Network CEO, 2011 WA and Australian RIRDC (now AGriFutures) Rural Woman of the Year.

NEWROC is a voluntary organisation of six Councils in the eastern and northern Wheatbelt of WA. The NEWROC has been in operation for more than 20yrs and its goal is economic prosperity for each community.

Caroline Robinson was responsible for the project management of the telecommunications solution

Jo Ruffin

Strategic and Social Planning Coordinator, Berrigan Shire Council

Abstract

Integrated Planning and Reporting: advancing the co-production of place-based services in New South Wales local government

This presentation will present PhD research investigating how knowledge of the language used and reproduced in the Community Strategic Plans (CSPs) published by NSW Councils influences organisational investment in community engagement. Community engagement, which in rural communities is analogous to the co-production of place-based services.

Conceptually coproduction builds on notions of the public value of civic governance, community engagement and participation by service users in the design and delivery of services.

The presentation will include this study’s research findings.

  1. Engaging communities in the development of a CSP creates the space within Councils for conversations about the co-production of local services.
  2. The language of ‘community engagement’ evident in sampled CSPs supports the proposition that community engagement in strategic plan making is within Councils’ a political process or management tool.
  3. The language of co-production evident in sampled CSPs supports the proposition that co-production adds value to and improves the delivery of place-based or local public services.
  4. Community engagement is a normative expectation of state, regional and local level strategic planners charged with implementing and monitoring the NSW Government’s program of services and or legislative requirements.
  5. The challenge going forward is how these findings about how language is used/reproduced advances or constrains in rural and small regional communities, organisational and community investment in the co-production of local services: e.g., emergency, social support, sport and recreation services.

Biography

Jo Ruffin is a PhD student at Torrens University and when not studying is also employed by the Berrigan Shire Council NSW as its Strategic and Social Planning Coordinator. Jo has over 30-years’ experience in State and Local Government in Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales working in a variety of roles in metropolitan, regional and small communities. Since her employment (2010) by the Berrigan Shire Council Jo has been responsible for coordinating the engagement of the local community, which includes Barooga the location of this year’s conference, in the development of the Council’s suite of integrated plans. Jo will present the findings of her PhD research investigating how the language used and reproduced in the Integrated Plans published by NSW Councils influences organisational investment in the strategic plans developed by NSW Councils and the implications of this for community engagement and the co-production of local services.

Steve Semmens

Director, The Persuader

Abstract

The Positive Impact of Business Accelerators in the Central West

Many regional towns are struggling to survive, feeling the effects of the drought and Government policies that are intended to help but are city centric. Most regional business owners have been successful in the past, but get stuck in a rut working in the business, and not on it. Business Accelerators gives them the opportunity to learn leading edge knowledge and skills, to instantly implement into their businesses, and start gaining solid results within 6 to 12 months after the completion of the program.

This paper describes the positive effects and amazing results that business accelerator programs have in regional NSW. Business accelerators are aimed at enhancing the entrepreneurial and innovative spirit of experienced business owners running established businesses. The results of the Cenwest Innovate Next Stage Program and The Persuader Retail Business Accelerator Program have been outstanding, with the participants experiencing a marked increase in customer numbers, revenue, and profits. The development of new products and services, improved efficiencies in processes, and a revitalization of the owners motivation, passion and confidence to continue their enterprise in often tough circumstances. The rippling effect has resulted in more employment and more money being spend in the regions where these accelerators are run.

Biography

Steve Semmens, The Persuader, is a successful and experienced Business Coach who covers the Central West region. He has spent the last decade teaching business owners and senior executives to embrace change and evolve their businesses incrementally, through innovative continuous improvement and adopting the latest technological advances, to increase their productivity and efficiency. Steve helps business owners implement strategies ensuring their organisations run leanly and agilely, minimising costs, and maximising opportunities that bring the most return.

Steve has a Bachelor of Business (Honours), is a Sessional Lecturer at Charles Sturt University, in the School of Management and Marketing, and is a Professional Member of Professional Speakers Australia. Steve is the Industry Advisor for Cenwest Innovate. He has a strong interest in the development and growth of entrepreneurial leaders, especially in regional areas.

Michael Shillabeer

Economic Development Planner, Rural City of Murray Bridge

Abstract

Addressing the Structural Issues in Regional South Australia: how one rural locality is creating and growing a sustainable community and economy

Murray Bridge, with some 22,000 people, is one of the few regional centres in South Australia experiencing population growth through natural increase and in-migration – attracting residents from throughout Australia and overseas. The growth is reflected in both residential and (primarily) non-residential development, with 485 development applications assessed with an estimated worth of $135,773,232 in the 2017/2018 financial year.

There are indeed challenges. The City has a SEIFA index of disadvantage of 894, placing is at as one of the most disadvantaged areas in the State. In comparison with Greater Adelaide, Murray Bridge has a higher than average unemployment rate; has lower educational outcomes; there is an older population; higher levels of rentals; lower levels of home ownership; lower levels of couples with children; a higher number of lone person households and a lower median household income.

But there are also a number of contradictions; the City supplies affordable housing; we have hundreds of unfilled job vacancies; the community, while the majority is Australian born, is rapidly embracing migrant communities, with 54 separate nationalities represented.

The Rural City of Murray Bridge has implemented a number of programs and projects internally and we have changed the way we do business. We have an outcomes focussed Development policy. We engage externally with our stakeholders to build capacity. We have enabled a staff culture that welcomes challenges and is able to work across council without a “silo” mentality who have the freedom to innovate in order to meet our community’s strategic goals.

Biography

With roles in both State and Local Government including development assessment; planning policy; strategic planning; and industry and economic development, Michael believes that true economic development involves creating a sustainable community that is engaged as part of the process and involves not only business and regulators, but community services, educational institutions and other stakeholders.

In his current role as Economic Development Planner with the Rural City of Murray Bridge, Michael provides a bridge between development assessment and business looking to grow within Murray Bridge. Michael works across all Council portfolios and external bodies to deliver solutions that impact on economic and community development. This includes developing and delivering high level strategic positions and advice on key issues of importance to the community and conceiving and delivering space activation and programs to ensure that Murray Bridge is a vibrant and welcoming city for existing and incoming residents.

Alex Snow

Head of Research, The Foundation for Young Australians

Abstract

Preparing our Local Workforces for the Future: putting the New Work mindset into action

The exponential change to work is unlike anything we’ve experienced and has significant impacts on how Australians are training and reskilling for work. How can we support our workforce to prepare for a lifetime of careers, particularly in a regional context where opportunities may be scarce or unknown?

The Foundation for Young Australians’ (FYA) and South West TAFE’s (SWTAFE) New Work Mindset in Action: South West Victoria report identifies how the South West Victorian region can support their workforce to navigate this changing landscape.

The research underpins a new ambitious place-based project between SWTAFE, FYA and Aged Care Providers in the region that aims to shift mindsets from linear careers to a world where a portfolio of skills will be crucial.

The project showcases and demonstrates a new learning model and a series of tools to better meet industry and training needs of the future: a series of micro credentials to meet identified skills gaps, a new approach to workforce planning and an online career tool that provides users with a real-time data-driven skills profile and accurate, future-focussed information on jobs in the region. An innovation hub on SWTAFE’s campus will offer peer-to-peer, immersive learning to build a culture of entrepreneurship in the region; ensuring people can be job creators as well as job seekers.

The presentation will reveal the unique findings from the research together with insights into the efficacy and impact of the tools.

Biography

Alex is a researcher, solution designer, strategic communicator and all round people person with over 15 years experience in education and social change across South East Asia and Australia. His focus and passion at FYA is leading the direction and management of FYA’s leading research projects supporting the organisation’s five year strategic plan and Theory of Change core objectives. In his spare time Alex is a workshop facilitator, lecturer and published author in the Masters of International Development program at RMIT University, a friend to a good electronic tune and a mildly obsessive Hawthorn FC fan.

Ricky Storer

Abstract

42 Shires: a case study of place-based regional collaboration

Agriculture in Western Australia’s Wheatbelt region is a significant contributor to the State’s economy ($6.66 billion GRP, 2017). An increased reliance on road transportation of grain freight led the Wheatbelt Regional Road Groups to identify a network of Local Government Authority (LGA) managed roads linking freight to the primary network throughout the region.

These “Secondary Freight Routes” include 4,400km of road assets across 42 individual Local Government Areas. Many of these LGA’s don’t have the capacity to maintain or improve the sections of the network within their boundaries. The Wheatbelt Secondary Freight Network (WSFN) was not designed for the current or future freight transport task demand and with the lowest condition rated assets in the state, the network is not fit to safely or efficiently accommodate user needs. It became clear a collaborative place-based solution to this regional development challenge is required.

This case study showcases the collaboration of 42 LGAs to develop a project which aims to deliver a strategic network upgrade plan through structured and collaborative investigation. The long-term goal is to secure funding for a capital works program tailored to deliver a safe, efficient, sustainable and cost-effective transport network throughout the Wheatbelt region.

In addition to improving safety, the scale of the project and range of direct and indirect benefits contributes to boosting economic competitiveness by reducing freight costs and optimising cost-effective expenditure of funds. The WSFN working group model is believed to be the largest place based regional collaboration of LGAs in Australia.

Biography

Coming soon.

Hayley Trott

Peterborough Community Development Officer, Regional Development Australia Yorke and Mid North

Abstract

Changing the Face of Peterborough

Peterborough is a historic railway town located on the western edge of the Flinders Ranges in South Australia’s mid north. The closure of the railways in the late 1970’s had a significant adverse effect on the employment prospects and economic viability of the area, and as a consequence the population declined significantly. Tourism is an important industry for Peterborough, the revitalisation of the main street was vital for the growth of this sector. While the beauty of the existing historical architecture had always been a feature for Peterborough, years of neglect and hardship left the town with a perception of declining vitality.

Funding was awarded to upgrade the main street, to put life back into the historic buildings, hide exposed powerline cabling, encourage use of outdoor dining facilities, and implement free access Wi-Fi.

The project was a collaboration between main street business owners, the District Council of Peterborough, RDAYMN and Regions SA. The community was also significantly engaged, creating strong community buy-in and development of town pride. Peterborough had a high level of community support and volunteerism. The Peterborough History Group assisted with images which enabled buildings to be restored with historical accuracy and significance. Local builders and suppliers were contracted for building and Wi-Fi works, and worked together with the steering committee to ensure the economic benefits were 100% benefiting the business community of Peterborough.

Peterborough now has an attractive, technologically capable, and historically restored Main Street with 25 upgraded business facades.

Biography

Hayley is the Peterborough Community Development Officer with RDAYMN. Ms Trott is an experienced Officer with a demonstrated history of working in Local Government, Community Engagement and project management. Skilled in Engagement, Grant Writing, Event Management, Communication and Leadership. Strong professional with a Bachelor of Tourism and Event Management at the University of South Australia.

Hayley’s previous experience ranges from facilitating workshops, forums and events, grant writing, assisting with community infrastructure projects from funding through to completion, public art projects and branding and marketing from small campaigns to the rebranding of a Council.

In addition Hayley has a strong passion for volunteering. This includes the Ram and Ewe Ball Committee a regional event which is an opportunity for local drought-stricken farmers to dress up, socialise and meet new people; and the Mid North Local Health Cluster who play a role in identifying primary health needs and building community capacity.

Mandy Walker

Director, Regional Development Australia Wheatbelt

Abstract

42 Shires: a case study of place-based regional collaboration

Agriculture in Western Australia’s Wheatbelt region is a significant contributor to the State’s economy ($6.66 billion GRP, 2017). An increased reliance on road transportation of grain freight led the Wheatbelt Regional Road Groups to identify a network of Local Government Authority (LGA) managed roads linking freight to the primary network throughout the region.

These “Secondary Freight Routes” include 4,400km of road assets across 42 individual Local Government Areas. Many of these LGA’s don’t have the capacity to maintain or improve the sections of the network within their boundaries. The Wheatbelt Secondary Freight Network (WSFN) was not designed for the current or future freight transport task demand and with the lowest condition rated assets in the state, the network is not fit to safely or efficiently accommodate user needs. It became clear a collaborative place-based solution to this regional development challenge is required.

This case study showcases the collaboration of 42 LGAs to develop a project which aims to deliver a strategic network upgrade plan through structured and collaborative investigation. The long-term goal is to secure funding for a capital works program tailored to deliver a safe, efficient, sustainable and cost-effective transport network throughout the Wheatbelt region.

In addition to improving safety, the scale of the project and range of direct and indirect benefits contributes to boosting economic competitiveness by reducing freight costs and optimising cost-effective expenditure of funds. The WSFN working group model is believed to be the largest place based regional collaboration of LGAs in Australia.

Biography

Mandy Walker Director Regional Development, Regional Development Australia Wheatbelt (RDAW). Responsible for operational management of RDAW, identification of economic opportunities, leveraging private and public sector investment to the region and implementing activities aligned with the RDAW Business Plan.

Mandy’s background is in natural resource management with specialist skills in managing teams, emergency management and small business development. She has a keen sense of emotional intelligence, thrives in complex, ever changing environments and use a systems approach to solving problems.

Rachel Whiting

Chief Executive Officer and Director of Regional Development, Regional Development Australia Riverina

Abstract

Grow Our Own: from people’s choice to people’s need

In early 2015, Bendigo and Adelaide Bank and Deakin University announced Griffith as one of only two communities throughout Australia for their partnership pilot to build regional prosperity by promoting and supporting improved access to education. The local community was invited to partner with Bendigo Bank and Deakin University to develop a local Community Education Plan to improve the level of education participation and skills retention in the Griffith region. The education plan was branded as “Grow our own”. In 2016, the then chair of RDA Riverina Diana Gibbs and Deakin University’s Jacqui Bramwell presented Grow our Own at SEGRA and won the ‘people’s choice award’ with this project. Now 2019, we reflect on where we have come from and are going, the successes and goals for the future.

Biography

Rachel Whiting is CEO and Director of Regional Development for RDA Riverina. Previously she has held similar roles in other Not-For-Profits with a focus on assisting business development. Rachel has lived and worked in various regional locations in 3 states of Australia and understands the issues and benefits of living, working and raising a family in regional Australia. Rachel has a strong interest in transferable skills and educating applicants and employers how to look for these skills and use them to the benefit of the organisation and the employee. Rachel holds a Bachelor of Education (Secondary) from QUT, a Graduate Certificate in Animal Studies from UQ and a Master of Communications from CSU.

Kathy Woolley

Chief Executive Officer, Western Research Institute

Abstract

Not in our Backyard: research detailing how clandestine laboratories may further impact the health and environment of our regional communities

This presentation will detail the findings of research undertaken by the Western Research Institute and Regional EnviroScience Pty Ltd regarding the impacts on regional communities in relation to Clandestine Laboratories. The presentation will touch on some of the health, social, environmental and financial impacts that these laboratories are having on our communities. From a practitioners and research perspective the insights will aim to promote awareness and to encourage the development of regional policies and support to continue to sustain vibrant and healthy communities in regional Australia.

Biography

Kathy has had a distinguished career in the public and private sector. She has worked in senior management roles in strategic development positions for 35 years. She has applied her skills in general management, governance, change management, financial and governance management across a number of industry sectors including media, economic research, events management and local government. She ran her own consultancy assisting business and government in change management and strategic planning for a number of years.

Kathy is currently the CEO of Western Research Institute.

An active community participant, Kathy is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has sat on several regional boards with organisations in the regional development, education and health sectors.

Kathy holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Economics), Change Management qualification from AGSM, public participation certification from IAP2 and is a member of the Australian Institute of Internal Auditors.

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