National Summit unites “doers” of regional Australia
By Caitlin Crowley, Country Caller
Some of the best and brightest minds from across rural, regional and remote Australia will join forces in Toowoomba next month to chart a path towards sustainable economic growth outside the nation’s capital cities. The inaugural National Regional and Economic Development Summit will explore innovative solutions to the complex challenges facing regional Australia, over two days of thought provoking discussions, workshops and networking opportunities. From why local government should get out of its own way to unlock growth and prosperity, to the impact of “childcare deserts” on local economies and why some regions “spiral up” after natural disasters, the program champions what’s possible in country communities with the right frameworks and community engagement.
The summit will be hosted by the Sustainable Economic Growth for Regional Australia or SEGRA Foundation, in partnership with Toowoomba Regional Council.
The SEGRA Foundation is now in its 27th year and its values of inclusivity and being bi-partisan, evidence based and solutions focused will guide the national event, which has replaced the group’s long-running annual conference.
The new format was designed to maximise participation and interactivity between guests and generate practical solutions they can take back to their communities and use to lobby local, state and federal governments. Day one of the Summit will follow a format of “Think, Discuss, Act” as attendees gather on the main stage of Toowoomba’s iconic Empire Theatre to engage directly with speakers, panellists and peers. They’ll unpack four key themes; influence and engagement, jobs and skills, digital connectivity and economic development.
SEGRA Foundation directors Caroline Robinson (WA), Ashley Bland (NSW), Simon Boughey (TAS) and Charles Jenkinson (WA) told the Caller they had bought together the “doers” from rural Australia, from government, academia, not-for-profits and industry to present at the Summit.
Caroline Robinson said she wanted attendees to feel energised and connected after the two days, and like their voices had been heard, having contributed to discussions of national significance. “We will formulate a pre-Summit survey seeking attendees’ input to help guide the program and we
believe it will be an opportunity to listen to different perspectives and work collaboratively across geographical boundaries,” Robinson said.
“The challenge for policymakers, politicians and foundations such as ours is that no two regions in Australia are alike. “However, what is consistent is that people make the difference.
“This year’s summit will be investing in the people who lead and activate rural, remote and regional Australia.”
Registrations for the National Regional and Economic Development Summit are now open.