Back to SEGRA

SEGRA Walks the Talk

July 2018 – Edition 32

SEGRA 2018 – Beyond the Boom: Opportunities for growth and vitality

Mackay, QLD

22-25 October 2018

SEGRA 2018 Latest News

Four Possible Futures for Regional, Rural and Remote Australia

SEGRA provides a meeting place for people from across regional, rural and remote Australia to discuss the top issues facing regional Australia and what might be done to further drive sustainable regional economic development.

Delegates will have the opportunity to discuss five of the top issues facing regional Australia from 22-25 October, when the conference meets in Mackay.  

Political scientist and futurist Prof Sohail Inayutullah will be travelling to Mackay to share his ideas on four possible futures for regional, rural and remote Australia on 23 October 2018.

“Sohail is a leader in Future Studies and he will draw on his unique understanding of strategic foresight in exploring how to change a community‘s narrative to be more co-operative, dispersed and strategic” said Ms Kate Charters, Convenor of this year’s SEGRA conference.

“We are thrilled to be bringing Prof Inayatullah to Mackay” said Ms Kate Charters. “Sohail pioneered Causal Layered Analysis which helps organisations discern the possibilities for their future and to understand how they are going to negotiate getting there. Mackay is already thinking ahead, planning for future generations. It will be a wonderful opportunity to have someone of such international standing visiting our region”.  

Prof Darryl Low Choy, a member of the esteemed Wentworth Group of Scientist and Head of Planning at Griffith University will also be speaking in the program. Prof Low Choy has particular expertise in land use planning natural resource management. “Prof Low Choy ‘s deep understating around  growth in developing regions will be addressing delegates at the upcoming SEGRA conference on the importance of retaining local values and appropriate landscape and community transitioning” said Cr Williamson. 

“You need to design and plan for good growth” said Prof Low Choy.

“It is an exciting program” said Ms Charters at the conclusion of the recent Local Steering Committee meeting. Our keynote speakers will be firmly addressing the opportunities for growth and vitality into the next century. Other headline speakers include Kelly Heaton, Associate Director at Deloittes Access Economics, who will be briefing delegates on the conditions for investment, innovation and growth for Australia.

Click here to view the program for SEGRA 2018.

SEGRA 2017 Communique

At SEGRA this year we are focused very much on the future – new businesses, economic trends, investment trends, social trends and new ways of thinking about our place and its landscape. This month, our social media has been directed at Businesses of Tomorrow, Four Futures for Regional Australia and Future Trends with Social Capital. To this end it is pertinent that the SEGRA National Steering Committee has just released the latest SEGRA Communique “Speaking up for Regional Australia”. To read the 2017 Communique, please click here.

As the most credible independent voice on issues affecting regional, rural and remote Australia, this SEGRA Communiques captures not only the key themes and action agendas from the conference, but also propose a number of possible policy actions as well as a host of ideas regions can tailor and implement in their own regions.

SEGRA can proudly boast of a number of regional projects that have come directly from ideas developed at the SEGRA Conference. One of our most high profile has been the Highfields Lifestyle Enterprise Precinct that was reported in the final document Regions at the Ready submitted by the Select Committee for Regional Development and Decentralisation. If you have a success story arising out of a SEGRA experience please let us know – we would love to share it.

To learn more about the SEGRA story please click here.

SEGRA 2018 Registration Brochure Now Live

Have your say on regional, rural and remote economic development by registering to attend SEGRA 2018.

Delegates have the opportunity to hear from experts and share their own expertise through keynote speakers, spotlight sessions, panels and challenges. SEGRA is focused on practical outcomes with a focus on skill sets for the future, which include a greater focus on people, solving strategic problems and thinking creatively.

SEGRA testimonials from previous delegates:

  • “It is a great conference that has so many levels of people attending and mixing into a single melting pot for the betterment of Regional Australia”, SEGRA delegate
  • “It was a powerful and positive event where it was possible to interact with keynote speakers”, State Government
  • “The conference was exceptional and I found it very beneficial to my role as a Member of Parliament”, Member of Parliament
  • “I found plenty of value in the conference topics, presentations and networking. Finding out about what is happening at regional levels across Australia was really important to me”, Academic

To view the registration brochure, please click here.

Back to top

Business Insights

Using Pre-Mortems to Anticipate Problems

We are all familiar with post-mortems and forensic examinations from all the TV crime series. Post-mortems are good for telling you what went wrong, why it went wrong, and the consequences of things going wrong (death in this instance) – but it does not change the fact that the individual is still dead. It is case of being wise after the event but being wise after the event doesn’t stop or prevent things happening.

Pre-mortems are different.  Pre-mortems are a great way to assess and think through a potential strategy or a negotiation. It is about being wise before the event. Click on the link below to read the article about the five steps in carrying out a pre-mortem.

Using Premortems to Anticipate Problems

Alternative Headshot1

Contribution by Andrew Cooke, Director, Blue Sky GPS

Phone: 0401 842 673 Email:

For a free 15-minute Growth Strategy Session with Andrew to identify 3 actions to grow your business please click here.

Back to top

Around the Regions

Lake Mackay's Billion-Dollar Potash Potential to Cash in on Global Fertiliser Shortage

One of Australia’s largest salt lakes might hold the key to helping with a worldwide shortage of a high-grade fertiliser that can be extracted from the salty crust. 

Potash is used as an agricultural fertiliser because it is a source of soluble potassium, one of the three primary plant nutrients, helping plants grow faster, stronger and healthier.

Lake Mackay’s salty water contains one of the largest deposits of sulphate of potash in the world, and, if all goes to plan, will be Australia’s first mine. Read the full article here.

What Residents Really Think about Mackay Council

This year’s SEGRA conference will be held in Mackay, QLD. Mackay delivers a unique regional economy, which was forged on the back of the sugar industry and has in recent years diversified and matured into the resource service hub of Australia. The region’s proximity to the resource rich Bowen Basin has transformed Mackay into a powerhouse of the nation’s economy, ensuring unprecedented rapid economic growth that has helped it evolve into a thriving regional city.

An insight into what residents think of council services has confirmed one of the region’s worst-kept secrets - Mackay is a top place to live. Residents were asked to rate their agreement with 11 statements relating to liveability, and results showed residents were generally content with life in Mackay. Overall, 86 per cent of residents agreed with the statement “I believe Mackay is a good place to live”, with just seven per cent disagreeing, resulting in a rating of 7.8 out of 10. To read the full article, please click here

To read the full result of Mackay Regional Council’s 2018 Community Attitude Survey, please click here.

Back to top

Regional Development Resources

Making the Leap to Interagency Collaboration

An ANZSOG-funded project with the Brotherhood of St Laurence has produced a how-to guide for collaborative commissioning in interagency partnerships.

The Making the Leap guide will be a helpful resource for organisations in the public and non-profit sectors which are increasingly required to collaborate in order to tackle complex social problems and deliver public value.

While there is a growing academic literature on collaborations, there is a shortage of practical guides for organisations that want to improve their performance. The guide aims to fill this gap by sharing practical insights drawn from interviews with public service and community sector managers with recent experience of collaboration. Read the full report here.

Global Human Capital Trends 2018 - The Rise of the Social Enterprise

A profound shift is facing business leaders worldwide: the rapid rise of the social enterprise, reflecting the growing importance of social capital in shaping an organisation’s purpose, guiding its relationships with stakeholders, and influencing its ultimate success or failure.

Now in its sixth year, the 2018 Global Human Capital Trends report is based on survey responses from more than 11,000 HR and business leaders, from 124 countries including Australia. The report shows how the world of work is changing to become more personalised and connected, with formal hierarchies breaking down and being replaced by networks of teams. Read the report and key findings here.

Regions at the Ready: investing in Australia's future

Nearly 9 million people live in rural and regional Australia. Employing around one third of Australia’s workforce, Australia’s regions produce approximately 40 per cent of the national economic output.

Undoubtedly, the economic success of Australia relies on the economic success of Australia’s regional areas. Australia’s national economic prosperity is underwritten by investment in rural and regional economies. This government investment must be informed by well-coordinated national and regional development strategies.

With increasing pressures on Australia’s capital cities, investment in rural and regional economies may also help to address many of the problems experienced in metropolitan areas. This includes population growth, congestion, and high cost-of living expenses. Read the report and key findings here.

Technological Entanglement: cooperation, competition and the dual-use dilemma in artificial intelligence

Despite frequent allusions to a race—or even an ‘arms race’—in artificial intelligence (AI), US leadership and China’s rapid emergence as an AI powerhouse also reflect the reality of cooperation and engagement that extend across the boundaries of strategic competition. Even as China and the US, the world’s emergent ‘AI superpowers’, are increasingly competing in AI at the national level, their business, technology and research sectors are also deeply ‘entangled’ through a range of linkages and collaborations. That dynamic stems from and reflects the nature of AI research and commercialization—despite active competition, it is open and often quite collaborative. 

These engagements can, of course, be mutually beneficial, but they can also be exploited through licit and illicit means to further China’s indigenous innovation and provide an asymmetric advantage. The core dilemma is that the Chinese party-state has demonstrated the capacity and intention to co-opt private tech companies and academic research to advance national and defence objectives in ways that are far from transparent. Read the report and key findings here.

Back to top

Why I love Regional Australia

Can you identify this location?

The prize for our ‘Why I love Regional Australia’-competition is still unclaimed. We have received many qualified responses to the possible location of the photo in the previous edition of SEGRA Walks the Talk, but no one guessed correctly.

Let’s give it another go! Can you identify this location?

The winner will receive a copy of the SEGRA book Innovation in Regional Australia (valued $84). If you have a photo you would like to submit for future editions, please send it to

Photo by Nicholas McIntyre.

Back to top