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SEGRA Walks the Talk

August 2018 – Edition 33

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

Mackay, QLD

22-25 October 2018

SEGRA 2018 Latest News

What does good decentralisation look like?

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.

There has been much discussion about decentralisation of government entities to boost regional growth. Some decentralisation of organisations has been a success in the long term, though understandably disruptive in the short term. Other decentralisation attempts have been less than optimal and severely disruptive. From as early as 1964 when the Premiers’ Conference set up the Commonwealth/State Officials’ Committee on Decentralisation, governments have been establishing committees to look at decentralisation to resolve basically the same problem – urban sprawl in capital cities, declining rural populations and a desire to halt these losses or at least a belief these losses were not in the national interest. This debate is then not only about whether decentralisation is desirable or not, but also as to whether decentralisation should be dispersed or selective and concentrated in particular areas.

If, however, you accept the idea that in principle it is good to have decentralisation, then you also need to have a clear idea of what good decentralisation looks like. “Too often governments conflate ‘regional economic growth and jobs with better regional services,’ said Dr Jen Cleary, a leading expert on regional economic development in rural, regional and remote economic development. “This is a regally important point because one doesn’t necessarily deliver the other.”

The House of Representatives Select Committee on Regional Development and Decentralisation report released in June 2018 stated “the decentralisation of Commonwealth entities must balance the benefits of decentralisation with the requirement for efficient government….. it must not take away from an agency ability to perform its functions and need to be a ‘good fit’ for the new location ….. for example, the presence of existing industry or business or the availability of a skilled workforce.”

This part of the debate is clearly about decentralisation of government entities. However, decentralisation can take on other forms. Another way of talking about decentralisation is “to talk about fundamentally shifting choice from central authorities to local authorities.” Using this definition the conversation shifts to scale, accountability and capacity.  

Can decentralisation be disaggregated in this way and what might a functional analysis look like? Elements of decentralisation might be broken up into financing, service delivery, human resources and governance.

To read the full press release on decentralisation, please click this link: What does good decentralisation look like?

Click here to view the program for SEGRA 2018.

SEGRA 2018 Pre-Conference Forums - Acquire new skills for economic growth in your region

If you live and work in regional Australia you probably find you are expected to multi – skill across a range of project requirements – procurement, design thinking, attracting investment, growing community capacity to name a few.

Each year, SEGRA hosts a series of forums with professional development opportunities. This year, SEGRA is conducting three forums, which will be facilitated by experts in their fields accompanied by practitioners with experience in the relevant topics.

Industry Forum The Industry Forum will include a tour of the revitalised City Centre and a number of visits to value adding industries.

Delegates can expect to: 

  • Learn about turning constraints around regional economic development into opportunities
  • Understand the role government and the private sector in business development regional economic development
  • Look at collaborative approaches to industry development that are driving diversification through partnerships

View the Industry Forum flyer by clicking on the following link: Industry Forum flyer.

Building Regional Startups & Innovation Ecosystems Forum The Start-ups and Innovation Ecosystems Forum, led by highly regarded entrepreneur Troy Haines, will provide very practical examples of how to create entrepreneurs of the future. He will be joined by three regional start-up organisations who will share the success stories of their own regions (and share some of the pain as well!) Delegates will learn a lot about the ecosystem around successful start-ups. 

Delegates can expect to:

  • Learning the how, what when and why of building innovative ecosystems
  • Hear from regions who have embarked on developing young entrepreneurs

View the Start-ups and Innovation Ecosystems Forum flyer by clicking on the following link: Building Regional Startups Forum flyer.

Place-Based Solutions for Stronger Regional communities and Economies The third forum Place-Based Solutions for Stronger Regional communities and Economies, will be exploring the role of social infrastructure and collaborative practice to deliver social development through collaboration. This Forum will highlight the interconnectedness of the social and the economic and look at the important steps through the lens of the Whitsunday Isaac and Mackay case study.

Delegates can expect to:

  • Hear strategies for enhancing community leadership and cohesion
  • Define the elements of Social Infrastructure and the link between collaborative practice and social infrastructure
  • Learn how “place-based” local solutions build capacity and sustainability in regional communities
  • Understand the role of small not for profit organisations in community engagement and support
  • Hear examples of facilitated collaborative partnerships
  • Lean about community advocacy 

View the Place-Based Solutions Forum flyer by clicking on the following link: Place-Based Solutions Forum flyer

To register for one of the pre-conference forums, please click here.

SEGRA Turns 22

SEGRA is proud to have been speaking up for regional Australia for 22 years. During this time we have promoted key issues affecting regional Australia. To see how things have changed (and sometimes how things have stayed the same), the National Steering Committee has collated all the themes and key issues over our 22 year history.

To view the key issues and themes at SEGRA from 1997 to 2018, please click here.

If you have a topic you would like to see included in next year’s program please email us at

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Business Insights

3 Simple Steps to Building Trust - Make, Keep and Repeat

“Trust takes years to build, seconds to lose, and forever to repair” – Anon

There are three key steps involved in building trust. These include:

  1. Make – making public a clear, defined commitment that is specific, measurable and has a clear date set to it. This removes ambiguity and holds you to a commitment to which you can be held accountable.  Yes, you as the manager or leader are making yourself accountable to your reports or peers. Making a commitment builds hope.

  2. Keep – demonstrating the fact that you have met your clearly articulated commitment as previously defined. You need to actively publicize this.  People need to know that you have done this, you cannot assume that they will know because you have done it.  Furthermore, proving that you are keeping your commitments gives you right to expect them to reciprocate i.e. they will make, keep and repeat in terms of their own commitments.

  3. Repeat – this develops consistency, belief in you, and proof that your actions mirror your words. When people see a discrepancy between what you say and what you do, they will always follow what you do.  By repeating this process you are establishing and creating an avatar for others to model their behaviours on.

Demonstrate these three behaviours on a regular basis so that you can not only create trust, but you are seen to be more trustworthy.

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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.

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Around the Regions

City and Country Unite

In a first for Western Australia, the Town of Victoria Park in metropolitan Perth, and the Shire of Morawa 400 km to the north, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to recognise the importance of an effective working relationship between the two councils.

Morawa Shire President, Karen Chappel, said, “This gives us an exciting future, with an opportunity for both local governments to work and grow together.”

Town of Victoria Park Mayor, Trevor Vaughan, said, “The MOU in a visionary approach between local governments to support each other, share knowledge, resources and the experience of staff.” 

To read the full article, please click here.

Library’s Language Cafe Celebrates

Language is often a barrier for people from different backgrounds, but a Wagga Wagga City Library program is bringing the New South Wales (NSW) community closer together through the power of conversation. There have been more than a thousand visits to the Language Cafe, which marks its first anniversary this week.

Library Manager, Claire Campbell, said with Wagga Wagga being a both a Refugee Welcome City and resettlement area, there is a growing Cultural and Linguistic Diverse (CALD) community that now makes up six percent of the city’s population. “The Wagga Wagga community has 99 language groups and through the Language Cafe we are assisting everyone from new arrivals to Australia and skilled migrants.

“The first Language Cafe in July 2017 had 13 people from nine language backgrounds with five volunteers. Over the past year there have been 1038 visits and we now have 40 volunteers.

To read the full article, please click here.

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Regional Development Resources

The purpose of place: Reconsidered

Place has always mattered for human prosperity. The direct influence of place on our material wellbeing is obvious, with physical attributes like climate, geology, topography and accessibility clearly affecting the material living standards of people who live there. Place affects our prosperity indirectly as well. The activities, attitudes and character of the people who live in a place – rather than its physical attributes – make it rs to live there too. We also value the experience of living in a place, independently of our material needs. Relationships we form with our neighbours and with the surrounding landscape nourish our sense of belonging. When conflict and discord mar these relationships, we feel displaced.

People congregate in particular places because place matters for their prosperity. It matters directly and indirectly, materially and non-materially, and for better or worse. Human beings flourish or languish in place.

Read the full report from Deliotte here.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution: the implications of technological disruption for Australian VET

Much discussion has occurred about the impact that technological disruption will have on the Australian workforce. Despite uncertainty about the scale and nature of the effect, there is a growing consensus that Australia’s tertiary education system needs to change to meet the requirements of a future labour force focused on innovation and creativity.

This research examines the relationship between emerging - or disruptive - technologies and the skills required, with a focus on the anticipated necessary skills from the perspective of both the innovators (technology producers) and industry (technology users). In this research the term ‘disruptive technologies’ refers to large-scale technology/market changes occurring through technological advances such as automation, advanced robotics and virtualisation. Read the report and key findings here.

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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.

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