Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Western Australia, 16–18 November 2021 2021

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2019 Keynote Speakers

Cr John Beitzel

Acting Mayor, Moira Shire Council


Cr Beitzel is a born and bred Numurkah resident and small business owner.

He attended the local schools and was an avid football player and is a keen sports enthusiast.

He has had three very different businesses in Numurkah – a butcher, owner of a childcare centre and now a rural plumbing business.

Cr Beitzel believes the residents are the shire’s greatest strength with people always willing to participate and volunteer in community groups, “we all get behind one another”.

His passion for economic development has led him to advocate for a business voice as well as a younger voice be heard during the decision making process in all levels of government.

Cr Beitzel’s aim while on council is to ensure Moira Shire continues to be a great place to live with a thriving local economy and a well run council.

Susan Benedyka

Chair, Regional Development Australia Hume


Leadership: inspiring and fostering our next generation of leaders is the key to successful regions

The cornerstone of success to optimising the strategic value of a regional plan is community leadership. Our 10-year regional plan, the Hume Strategy for Sustainable Communities, has a commitment to “Leadership (as) fundamental to delivering a strategic plan that has positive long- lasting impacts for the region.”

Over the past decade, our region’s success in achieving the goals of the Hume Strategy has been enhanced by the commitment of leaders from across our diverse community and business sectors. Leadership is observed through formal structures such as the Hume RDA Committee as well as community leadership programs at a regional scale and at a local level. The decade from 2010 when the Hume Strategy was developed has seen regional leadership flourish. It has been strengthened because governments have recognised the value leaders provide as partners when making decisions about communities, and value their input about what to spend, where and why.

Leadership in the Hume region is a success story that continues to play out at the highest levels – and it is this difference that will be highlighted, and the links between leadership and the success of the Hume Strategy.

The presentation aims to respond to the Regional Australia and National Agenda theme by discussing the impacts of on ground investment and delivery in leadership in the Hume region. Innovation and entrepreneurship will be seen as a unique factor of our region’s leadership model. The network of regional leadership programs will also be highlighted as a significant resource when engaging in strategic planning.


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:

  • $235 million in rail upgrades to link with Inland Rail for the North East line
  • $350 million in rail infrastructure for the Goulburn Valley line
  • $208 million for the Goulburn Valley Highway bypass
  • $4.4 million Wangaratta Aquatic Centre
  • $10 million for the redevelopment of the Wodonga Central Business District
  • $20 million for the Goulburn Valley Infrastructure and Investment Program
  • $10 million Greater Shepparton Sports Precinct
  • In excess of $20 million for cycle tourism infrastructure projects across the Hume region

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.


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.

Ashley Bland

Director, Constructive Energy


The Regional Energy Revolution: a case study in limitations and opportunities at scale

A Renewable Energy boom is currently underway in the electricity sector with the number and capacity of proposed and possible wind, solar and pumped-hydro projects far outstripping the capacity of the energy network, or grid. While it is pleasing that around 20% of grid connected generation is renewably sourced at the time of writing, it is also true that the percentage of renewably sourced energy consumed across all sectors of the economy is less than 1%. This represents both a wake-up-call for the challenge in front of Australians to decarbonize the economy, and also an extraordinary opportunity for the socio-economic transformation of Regional Australia.

The absence of political leadership and comprehensive policy has led to an opportunistic, market driven scramble which has not optimized economic, social or environmental outcomes for the Regions to-date and is very unlikely to do so in the future. This paper studies 3 examples of regional-scale projects to highlight the extraordinary level of opportunity for regional development that a low-carbon economy offers and suggests the sorts of leadership required at all levels of government and within communities to enable the transition.

This session will be valuable to delegates unsure about the renewable energy transition and/or concerned with the impacts and opportunities in their regions. It’s not all about electricity!


Applying his skills, knowledge, networks and passion for environmental stewardship, his best work days are spent inspiring and assisting others to improve their environmental impact. He looks for win-win scenarios that deliver benefits to people, the planet and the local economy. Operating predominantly in the energy space at present, he also has ecological knowledge and a history of self-improvement with the aim of being an effective leader.

Ashley grew up on an organic farm in central NSW which is where he learned to observe the natural world and the impacts that human choices have on it. Ashley left the farm to complete a B. E. (Natural Resources) and landed a role as Environment Officer at a remote mine in NW Queensland. This became a pivotal experience for him learning about both landscape rehabilitation and Aboriginal culture. It was while working for CVA as Regional Manager for Canberra and SE NSW that he met his life partner and they decided to travel the world.

Returning to Australia he again worked with CVA at a more strategic level and then took on a role with Skillset to co-manage construction of the Flannery Centre - an $8.5 million training centre and office complex built to highest sustainable design principles. During this time Ashley was also selected to complete the Australian Rural Leadership Program, an awesome, 18 month, life enhancing program aimed at developing leadership skills for Regional Australia. After that was done he stayed on with Skillset to build a business out of sustainability, providing services to clients and communities that helped them with everything from energy efficiency to culture change. Ashley now runs his own company, Constructive Energy, which is the vehicle for a range of consulting and business services, a major core of which is to support the growth of the Green Homes Group. He looks forward to the day when building green is the norm, right around the world.

Kent Boyd

General Manager, Parkes Shire Council


Kent commenced employment at Parkes Shire Council in 1992 as a Design Engineer and held the position of Director Infrastructure since 2001. He was appointed General Manager Parkes Shire Council on 1 November 2010 and is a strong advocate of long-term strategic planning.

Kent has a Bachelor of Civil Engineering (First Class Hons), a Graduate Diploma in Management, an MBA, Masters of Government and Commercial Law and is a graduate of the Institute of Company Directors. He has worked both in the public and private sector.

Kent’s professional affiliations include, CPEng NPER-3, Fellow Engineers Australia, Fellow IPWEA, Member APESMA, Member AWA, Member IWA, Member Red R Aust, Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Member of the Local Government Managers Australia.

Emma Bradbury

Chief Executive Officer, Murray Darling Association


Emma Bradbury is a social scientist with extensive experience in business management across the agricultural, mining and education sectors. Emma has also owned a mixed farming enterprise and served as a councillor with the Shire of Campaspe. Emma is an experienced facilitator within the community leadership and local government space, and strongly believes in creating a respectful and engaging environment for all participants involved in her workshops. Emma is also a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Michael Campbell

Director, Lucid Economics


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

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

Dr Jen Cleary

Chief Executive Officer, Centacare Catholic Country SA


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

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

Laticia Gibson

Managing Director, Blue Clay Marketing and Video Creatives


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.


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.

Cr Matthew Hannan

Mayor, Berrigan Shire Council


Cr Matthew Hannan is serving his second term as Mayor and third term as a Berrigan Shire Councillor. Matt’s day job is as a student learning support officer at the local primary school - a role he has enjoyed for the last 16 years.

Since being elected to Council, Matt has championed the role of a local councillor and the benefits of being involved in decision making for the future of the local community. He is a strong advocate for community involvement in section 355 Committees and volunteers in many local organisations himself. Matt participates in a variety of sports and is a State representative lawn bowler.

Matt also enjoys being part of the Finley community gym and was recently successful in securing a substantial grant that will provide free classes, twice a week for the next 12 months, for women affected by drought. Matt is passionate about the communities of the Berrigan Shire and is a constant campaigner for the region as a wonderful place to Live, Work and Invest.

Rod Hillman

Chief Executive Officer, Ecotourism Australia


Rod has a life-long involvement in tourism, protected areas management and education with lengthy stints as a tour operator, National Park Manager and teacher all over Australia, and many years overseas. He has been involved with Ecotourism Australia since 2001 when he was elected as a Board member (then Deputy Chair) for six years where he created the ‘Tourism in Protected Areas Forum’ (TAPAF) and managed the Annual Conference program. After four years in Papua New Guinea, managing the Kokoda Track, he returned to Ecotourism Australia as its Chief Executive.

Maxine Loynd

General Manager, Regional Policy, Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities


Place-Based Approaches to Regional Development

This presentation will explore international best practice in regional development policy and how it may be translated to the Australian context. It will consider the work being undertaken in other countries and by OECD Regional Development Policy Committee on issues including the merits of place-based policy, the need for effective partnerships, and the major long-term trends impacting regional communities and economies.


Maxine Loynd is the General Manager of Regional Policy in the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development and is the Australian delegate to the OECD’s Regional Development Policy Committee. She has also worked on Indigenous economic development policy, and led the international engagement team in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet when Australia hosted the G20 in 2014.

Dr Catherine Mackenzie

Research Fellow, University of South Australia


The Social and Economic Value of Country-Based Community Service Organisations

The non-government community services sector is a major source of employment in regional South Australia, yet little research has explored the social and economic value of country NGOs to their local communities beyond the outcomes attributable to the services which they provide.

This paper explores the extent to which the presence of country NGOs contributes to the social and economic fabric of country communities. The paper provides estimates of the social, civic and economic value of country NGOs to their local communities, beyond that directly associated with service provision.

The study was undertaken by a project team including University of South Australia researchers and staff from each of two case study NGOs. The university researchers analysed organisational financial and volunteering data and staff survey data to estimate the economic and social impact of the case study NGOs within the communities in which they provide services.

The paper concludes that there is a clear and quantifiable multiplier effect of having an NGO presence in the country. Understanding this effect allows NGOs to articulate their direct and indirect social and economic benefits to their communities, beyond those of service delivery.


Dr Catherine Mackenzie is a Research Fellow at The Australian Alliance for Social Enterprise (TAASE) within UniSA’s Business School. She has a 15-year track record of social science research with a focus on social justice and holds a PhD in Public Health. Catherine’s current research focusses on the experience of people living in regional, rural and remote areas and the experience of young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds in Australia. Catherine previously ran an outback tourism enterprise and worked in dive tourism in far north Queensland, having grown up in regional and remote Australia.

Catherine’s colleagues also contributed to the authorship of this presentation:

  • Dr Jonathon Louth, a Research Fellow at TAASE who has worked across government, the community sector and academia in Australia and the UK.
  • Professor Ian-Goodwin-Smith, the Director of TAASE and a leading social policy researcher, with a long track record of NGO and other partnerships.

James McTavish

New South Wales' Cross Border Commissioner


James McTavish was appointed NSW Cross Border Commissioner in July 2014. As the Commissioner, he advocates for businesses, organisations and residents in border communities. In Feburary 2019, he was appointed in the additional role as the NSW Regional Town Water Supply Coordinator.

Mr McTavish has held appointments as Infantry Officer in the Australian Regular Army and the Murrumbidgee Region Controller for the NSW State Emergency Service. He is a graduate of the Australian Defence Force Academy, the Royal Military College Duntroon, and the Australian Command and Staff College. Mr McTavish holds a diverse range of qualifications including a Bachelor’s degree in Science (Geography) from the University of New South Wales, a Bachelor’s degree in Science (Animal Production) from Charles Sturt University and a Graduate Diploma in Strategic Studies (Business) from the University of New South Wales. He is also a registered woolclasser.

Mr McTavish was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross (CSC) for outstanding service as the Chief of Staff Army Recruit Training Centre (Kapooka) in the Australia Day Honours List in 2010. He was also awarded the Emergency Services Medal (ESM) for outstanding service as Murrumbidgee Region Controller, NSW State Emergency Service in the Australia Day Honours List in 2013.

Dr Tom Measham

Research Group Leader, CSIRO


Dr Tom Measham leads the Adaptive Communities and Industries Group at CSIRO which brings together 30 social scientists and economists focused on how regional communities and economies are affected by and engage with the social and economic opportunities and challenges which face them. Tom has over 20 years’ experience spanning diverse industries and communities throughout regional Australia. He has contributed as an expert adviser to several national and international committees and serves as Associate Editor for two international academic journals. He holds a PhD from Australian National University where he continues to perform the role of Adjunct Associate Professor in the Fenner School of Environment and Society.

Jan Owen AM Hon DLitt, DUniv

Chief Executive Officer, Foundation for Young Australians


Lifelong Learning and Employment in Australia

Career trajectories used to be so simple.

Pick a job, figure out what course you need to study or training you need to get under your belt, graduate, get a job and work your way up the industry food chain. People used to spend years, decades even in the same jobs – do the miles, get the gold watch and then retire.

The Foundation for Young Australians’ (FYA) New Work Order report series shows that we’re facing the most significant disruption to the world of work since the industrial revolution. Globalisation and automation have radically altered where, what and how we are working.

In this new, dynamic world of work, these traditional, linear pathways to work are less common. So as a young person how do you equip yourself with the right skills to be successful in such an uncertain future? And what does this mean for regional communities?

It begins with changing the way we think about our working lives - from ‘jobs’ to ‘skills’.


Jan Owen is a social entrepreneur, innovator, influencer and author.

As CEO of the Foundation for Young Australians for the past 8 years, Jan has led the organisation’s strategic mission to equip young people to create, lead and thrive into the future. This focus has included ground-breaking research regarding the future of work and education for young Australians; the largest in-school entrepreneurship and youth social enterprise programs in the nation; and the development and launch of several new initiatives including YLab, FYA’s youth-led social enterprise.

Jan’s lifelong work and commitment to unleashing the talent of young people, driving social innovation and entrepreneurship, and transforming education has seen her recognised as one of Australia’s ‘True Leaders’ in 2018 and the Inaugural Australian Financial Review and Westpac ‘Woman of Influence’ in 2012.

Jan has been awarded honorary Doctorates from the University of Sydney and Murdoch University in Perth and membership to the Order of Australia in 2000 for services to the Australian community.

Jan is the author of Every Childhood Lasts a Lifetime (1996) and The Future Chasers (2014).

Prof Lee Pugalis

Professor of Urban Studies, Institute for Public Policy and Governance, University of Technology Sydney


Delivering Place-Based Regional Development

Place-based regional development is widely advocated, but misunderstandings abound. As a result, the treatment of place and place-based thinking in many regional development policies and strategies remains rather superficial, and outdated practises persist that are increasingly unsuitable to the challenges of the twenty-first century.

This presentation departs from the premise that all places offer growth potential, as it outlines the defining features of place-based regional development.

A key tenet of place-based thinking is to combat persistent inefficiency and inequality in specific places. Indeed, a place-based approach to regional development aims to maximise returns on public and private investment, which can be realised from lagging areas as well as more economically strong areas.

Honing in on the practical difficulties of delivering place-based regional development, the presentation formulates some key lessons to help navigate the numerous hazards, risks and traps.


Lee specialises in local and regional economic development with significant national and international experience in this field. He is Professor of Urban Studies at the Institute for Public Policy and Governance, University of Technology Sydney and a Visiting Professor at Leeds Beckett University. As a chartered town planner and accredited economic development officer, he has practical experience of devising economic development strategies, establishing public-private partnerships and development companies, undertaking statutory economic assessments, and evaluating investment programs. Before taking up an academic position, Lee directed a sub-regional economic partnership and was a regeneration specialist advisor to an English Regional Development Agency. He has also worked for local, regional and national government in the UK including the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. He is currently editor of the journals Regional Studies, Regional Science and Local Economy, and is an expert advisor to global institutions, governments, business and professional associations.

Liz Ritchie

Co-Chief Executive Officer, Regional Australia Institute

In February 2019, Liz Ritchie became the co-CEO of the Regional Australia Institute, after joining in 2018 as the General Manager Strategy and Partnerships. For almost 20 years, Liz has worked across the corporate, government and the not for profit sector, and she specialises in leading organisational transformation to build a sustainable future. Liz is a change agent, a marketer, a researcher and an extremely passionate advocate for regional Australia, heralding from Deniliquin, in NSW.

Most recently Liz has held leadership role of Regional General Manager with Westpac Commercial Bank (2016-18) where she managed a team of 20 people. Previously, Liz was the State Director for CEDA, in Western Australia from late 2011, and before that, held a range of leadership roles with CEDA since 2008 in Victoria.

In October 2018, Liz was appointed by The Hon David Littleproud MP, Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources to be a non-government independent member of the Indonesian – Australia partnership on Food Security in the Red Meat and Cattle Sector (Partnership).

Liz is also a gender advocate promoting the significance of women in our society, as such she was a founding Director of the Australian Gender Equality Council (AGEC) and has recently stepped down but remains a National Ambassador.

In 2015, Liz was a Business News 40 Under 40 Winner in WA, recognised for her contribution to business and the community. In the same year, Liz became a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Liz also holds a Master of Applied Science (Organisational Dynamics) from RMIT, and a Bachelor of Public Relations, RMIT. Most recently, Liz has completed the Institute of Executive Leadership and Coaching Certificate in 2017.

Paul Rosair

Principal, NAJA Business Consultancy Services


From Creating Bureaucracy to Battling it: a personal insight

Author, Paul Rosair, spent over 40 years working in the WA State Government as an Administrator and Regulator across many Sectors including Aboriginal Affairs, Water Management and Regulation, Environmental Regulation, Agriculture, Land Management, Native Title, Regional Development, Tourism, Community Development, Transport and Infrastructure. He has since established and runs his own consultancy business and over the past 5 years has assisted clients to navigate the bureaucracy that he says he unwittingly created.

This presentation will outline numerous examples of the way policy, regulation, legislation and rules are established, often with good intent, that make it exceedingly difficult for Industry, Not for Profits, Businesses and Individuals to go about their daily lives and conduct their business, particularly those located in Regional localities.

Paul will delve into the factors, often politically motivated and naively developed, that impact public policy and legislation and will provide numerous examples where policy and legislation is flawed as a result and often almost impossible to comply with. Red tape reduction initiatives have now been developed over many years by nearly all Local, State and Commonwealth Agencies, with little if no effect. Under the new focus on compliance and accountability, the risk adverse nature of Governments and Public Servants is also impacting on the opportunities that may otherwise have previously been realised.

This has the impact of inhibiting growth and development in Regional Australia whilst adding exorbitant costs and overheads making many growth opportunities prohibitive. Is there an answer?


The Ord River Irrigation Scheme Journey

This presentation will outline the history of the Ord Irrigation Scheme and the challenges it has faced over the years. For the people of Kununurra, the water storage of Lake Argyle is its defining point of difference and opportunity for prosperity. Broad acre cropping in the 1960’s and 1970’s proved problematic, but mixed crops grown in the 1980’s proved successful.

The 1990’s saw mixed results: sugar cane become the major crop over 14,000 hectares of irrigated land: the introduction of the Native Title Act in 1993 bought new challenges, whilst in 1997, the doubling of the storage of Lake Argyle in order to install a Hydropower plant created an opportunity to expand the Scheme.

In 2005 the Ord Final Agreement was signed, a key milestone in the history of the Scheme.
With the closure of the sugar mill in 2007 the need for government funding to expand the irrigation district was identified by the WA government. The WA Royalties for Region fund (Est. 2008) provided the necessary investment to establish the infrastructure, roads and irrigation channels to support the Scheme, just as governments did in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

The value of the irrigated agriculture in the Ord, is in the order of $133 million per year, and employs around 400 people in the East Kimberley region, yet today the Ord Irrigation Cooperative is facing yet another challenge in endeavouring to retain its full water licence entitlement to ensure its future business security in light of outside pressures to have it reduced.


Paul Rosair leads NAJA Business Consulting Services which is a consultancy focused on working with organisations on strategic development projects and supporting them to navigate government planning, funding and approvals processes.

Prior to establishing NAJA in 2014, Paul held high level state government positions, overseeing significant state programs – most notably Paul, as Director General, lead the establishment and administration of the State’s $10.5 billion Royalties for Regions Program in his role as Director General of the Department of Regional Development and Lands. Paul brings with him a background of having worked at the most senior levels in Regional Development, Lands Management, Aboriginal Affairs and Native Title, Local Government, Water Management, Natural Resource Management, Community Development, Tourism, Environment Regulation, Planning, Transport and Infrastructure.

Paul offers his experience in conceptualising, leading and implementing major state projects in unique combination with his connections with key influencers and decision makers at the highest levels of government. This is complemented by his strong understanding of the nuances of government and the complexities of many of the processes that proponents need to negotiate to implement their projects. Paul’s specialty is working with clients on key projects that require the development of strong proposals, along with strategic advice, to assist their projects gain traction.

With an engaging and open style, Paul works effectively to connect with stakeholders and understand their needs and priorities. With many years’ experience negotiating and brokering agreement on major projects, Paul is adept at driving projects to implementation.

Dr Daniel Terrill

Partner, Deloitte Access Economics Pty Ltd


Drivers and Constraints to Regional Economic Development

Our regions are of critical importance to Australia’s economic prosperity. But our regional economies face a myriad of constant challenges; new and innovative technology disrupting traditional processes and services, changing regional economic structures, increasing community expectations relating to service access and quality, in additional to ever present global macroeconomic challenges posing headwinds for regional economies unable to adapt. In the face of such challenges, current drivers of economic activity may not be what drives future economic prosperity. Ultimately, the sustained, long-term economic prosperity of our regions requires us understanding both what our regions do well, combined with what the world wants. Finding that sweet spot in an increasingly globalised world will lead necessarily lead different regions down very different paths.


Dr Terrill is an economist who is passionate about the economic prosperity of Australia and its regions. He specializes in agribusiness, natural resources and urban and regional planning - all topics bound together through the common theme of economic geography, and the challenges of using scarce resources like land and water most efficiently to promote regional economic welfare. He has over fifteen years economic consulting experience throughout regional Australia and internationally, where his work often involves understanding the role of primary production and natural resource management in sustaining economies. He has a PhD. in agricultural and environmental economics, and he is the Agribusiness Group Lead Partner for Deloitte Australia. He is intimately familiar with the Northern Victoria and Riverina regions, by virtue a family farming (livestock and cropping) background in northeast Victoria.

Peter Waterman

Adjunct Professor, Institute for Land, Water and Society (ILWS), Charles Sturt University


Peter Waterman has professional qualifications in geography, social science, urban planning and environmental management. Over the past 55 years he has gained professional experience as: a secondary school teacher; military officer; officer of government; academic; advisor to governments and boards of commercial enterprises; consultant and lobbyist; and a research director and managing director of private companies. In 1970, Peter co-founded one of the first environmental consultancy companies in Australia. Since then he has provided a wide range of consultant services across the land use planning and environmental management fields for public and private sector clients in Australia and overseas.

Currently, Peter is the Managing Director of Environmental Management Services (EMS) a boutique consulting company that he established in 1977 and incorporated in 1984. Operationally, EMS integrates engineering, management and science in seeking innovative solutions for sustainable regional and local development. In this capacity, Peter provides services to clients from business, industry, governments and community based organisations. Additionally, Peter is an Adjunct Professor-Institute for Land Water and Society, Charles Stuart University (ILWS-CSU) and an Adjunct Associate Professor-Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering. University of the Sunshine Coast (USC).

Current collaborative activities with ILWS-CSU and SEGRA include:

  • Sustainability Technologies, especially in relation to adapting to changing climatic conditions and fostering decentralised development. • Murray Darling Basin, with a focus on catchment scale management of water resources and the delivery of ecosystem services at regional and local scales.
  • Secure Safe Domestic Water, with the aim of establishing community based collaborations to support the sustainable provision of adequate safe domestic water from private supplies (surface, ground water, rainwater tanks in rural and remote regional Australia.

Luke Wilson

Victoria’s Cross Border Commissioner


Luke Wilson commenced as Victoria’s Cross Border Commissioner in October 2018.

Luke had led the Agriculture, Resources, Energy and Corporate Services portfolios in Victoria’s Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources. This included the biosecurity, fisheries, game, animal welfare and mining regulators as well as regulatory practice, policy, research and service delivery teams.

Luke previously led similar teams in the former Department of Primary Industries and the Department of Environment and Primary Industries. In each of these roles, Luke has led policy development on many of the key issues facing Victoria’s rural and regional industries, including productivity growth, land use planning, drought, urban water, social licence and other drivers of value and adjustment.

Luke has worked as an energy and transport access regulator in South Australia, in economic consulting with PricewaterhouseCoopers, in policy analysis with the Commonwealth, and originally as a forester in Myrtleford, Victoria as well as Alabama, USA and Nova Scotia, Canada.

Luke holds a Bachelor of Forest Science from the University of Melbourne; a Graduate Diploma in Economics from La Trobe University and a Graduate Diploma in Management from the Australian Catholic University.

Dr Chris Yeats

Executive Director, Geological Survey of NSW, Department of Planning and Environment, NSW Government


Understanding what’s Beneath our Feet: the role of the Geological Survey of NSW in strategic land use planning

The geology of NSW is literally the bedrock of the state. The rich and varied landscape we enjoy today is the product of almost 2 billion years of geological evolution, which has seen massive shifts in climate, huge variations in sea level, and periods of intense volcanic and earthquake activity. The rocks beneath our feet provide the mineral and energy resources required to sustain our modern lifestyles, many of the raw construction materials required to build roads, housing and other vital infrastructure, and the minerals that make up our soils, which are essential for both agriculture and native biodiversity.

The Geological Survey of NSW (GSNSW) was established in 1875 and is the state’s premier geoscientific agency. GSNSW’s primary purpose, which has remained unchanged for over 140 years, is to collect, interpret and deliver geoscientific information to inform the government, resource industry and community about the state’s geology and its renewable, mineral, coal and petroleum resources.

GSNSW plays a key role in support of balanced land use planning, through provision of expert advice on geological and resource potential to support decisions by planners, consent authorities and other statutory authorities. The diverse range of referrals considered by GSNSW includes proposals for rezoning of land, applications for development (including mines, quarries and renewable energy projects, among others), and proposals to increase the area of the NSW Reserve Estate (National Parks and State Conservation Areas). The Branch also provides advice with regard to Aboriginal Land Claims, biodiversity stewardship agreements, agricultural land mapping, mine subsidence zoning, and closure of Crown roads.


Chris Yeats is an ore deposit geologist and geochemist with almost 30 years’ experience in precious and base metal exploration and research, in terranes ranging in age from the some of the world’s oldest rocks to modern active seafloor hydrothermal systems.

Chris joined the Geological Survey of NSW (GSNSW) as Executive Director in June 2015. Prior to this, he spent 17 years as a researcher and manager at CSIRO, where his work focused on the formation of and exploration for gold and base metal deposits in ancient and modern terranes. He has published extensively on gold and base metal systems, and has approximately 500 career citations. In October 2018, he was named a Fellow of the Geological Society of Australia for his significant scientific contribution and service to Australian geoscience.

As head of GSNSW, Chris leads a multidisciplinary team of approximately 100 geoscientists who collect, synthesise, manage and deliver geological, geophysical, geochemical and geospatial data to inform all levels of government, the resource industry and the community about the state’s geology, and mineral, coal, petroleum and renewable energy resources. GSNSW also plays a key role in strategic land use planning on a local, regional and statewide scale, through the provision of expert geoscientific adviceto local and state government agencies.

GSNSW has also begun working with local councils and other organizations to develop geotrails and other tourism opportunities based around geological features and landscape. Free geotourism brochures have been produced for Broken Hill, Cobar and the Newcastle Coast, and a mobile app-based geotrail has been developed for the coast at Port Macquarie. Further geotrails are currently in development for Newcastle and the Warrumbungle National Park, with more to follow.