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SEGRA Walks the Talk

September 2018 – Edition 34

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

Mackay, QLD

22-25 October 2018

SEGRA 2018 Latest News

Place-based leadership in regional, rural and remote Australia

Local leadership is increasingly seen as a significant contributor to the achievement of economic and social objectives at a city, regional or local scale. This is based on the hypothesis that people on the ground are best placed to bringing about economic and social objectives at the local scale. Implied in this is the capacity of local leaders to influence their local institutions and society more broadly. To follow this to its logical end is to conclude that devolution of power to local areas is also an essential prerequisite to local change. Without this, the local leadership is at worst excluded from any involvement decision making or at best an altruistic advisor.    This devolution of decision making then brings up a range of significant issues such as who has local authority, where does accountability sit and how do leaders interact with agencies such as local, state and federal government and public servants.   Many of the current policy frameworks require co-funding of many government programs targeting regional Australia. This has accelerated the interest in the underpinning theory of place-based leadership and calls for a more focussed discussion into concepts of scale and agency as well as institutional collaboration to understand how place-based leadership leads to endogenous economic growth in regional Australia. For example, some of the key outcomes attributed to place-based leadership include:

  • Incorporation of a wider range of interests in decision making
  • Local values will inform the bases decision making
  • Investment in business development as well as community amenity
  • Strong high-skill employment outcomes
  • More access to central decision makers
  • More power or independence for local communities
  • Some of these outcomes described are also seen as counter-intuitive to federal systems of government and neoliberal economies and in-fact imply a significant restructuring of institutional arrangements to truly deliver against place-based values.   Place-based leadership may also look very different depending on its location, at least in Australia where we have such wide diversity of place - urban, regional, rural and remote Australia.   “Many of the outcomes of place-based leadership are relational rather than transactional so we need to become highly skilled in working across agencies and the private sector as well as the community. It is critical that place-based leaders are well networked into their community” said keynote speaker Robert Prestipino the co-founder of Regional Solutions Framework.   SEGRA 2018 will be looking at how well the concepts of place-based leadership translate into rural, regional and remote Australia.

Click here to view the program for SEGRA 2018.

The Count Down to SEGRA 2018 is on

SEGRA is about assisting regional, rural and remote Australia to source and identify the techniques, skills and issues they need to address to achieve successful economic growth and development. There are only six weeks to register for the premier regional, rural and remote Australia conference. Focused on increasing regional capacity, it is the must attend event of the year.

SEGRA is about regions:

  • Taking the initiative and control of their own economic development destinies;
  • Identifying their positions – economic, social and cultural – and maximising their worth in the new global economy;
  • Identifying and exploiting emerging issues and trends to maximise benefits;
  • Developing innovative strategies and implementation processes to ensure community support and relevant action to meet regional needs;
  • Identifying key decision makers, processes and points of access in government and the corporate sector;
  • Identifying the issues essential for regional sustainability;
  • Actioning strategies for real influence and impact;
  • Raising regional profiles; and
  • Setting the policy agenda and changing the choices and present options

To register for the conference, please click here.

SEGRA Webinar Series

Our guest speaker for our webinar this month was Dr Jim Taggart OAM, Principal, Taggart Consulting, who spoke about ‘Building Home-Based Business Networks’. Home-based businesses, micro business and start ups represent a business group of 2 million in Australia.

During this webinar, Jim shared his insights into the dynamics of social, political and economic components of these businesses and the ecosystem they operate in.

If you missed out on our webinar, you can watch it on youtube here.

Do you have a big idea? Pitch it at SEGRA

Every day in regional Australia we are faced with challenges: 

  • How do we respond to..?
  • How can we deal with….?
  • How might we be better at …?
  • What we need is…….?

Equally we all have solutions:

  • Why don’t we ….. ?
  • Lets ….
  • I know what might work?
  • I know what is needed.

On 24 October 2018 from 4:00pm-5:00pm you will have the opportunity to pitch your big idea at the national Sustainable Economic Growth for Regional Australia Conference and be in the running to win some great prizes. Pitches are a maximum of 5 minutes.

If you are interested, please contact Mette at and submit your Big Idea.

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Business Insights

Five Ways to Make Better Decisions Faster

How to make effective decisions at speed…

Speed to market is increasingly important when you need to respond to business, competitive or market changes.  Making a poor decision, implementing a decision poorly or taking too long can cost you money and time, and create stress and frustration. Here are five steps for deciding at speed:

  1. Make decisions faster. Often this is about making a choice to decide.  Do you need more information, or are you using this as an excuse to procrastinate?
  2. Sequence your decisions. Make them in the right order.  Stat with those with the most expensive and time-consuming dependencies first. You don’t drive to the airport to catch a flight until you have decided where and when you are going to fly.
  3. Only make decisions once. If you continually revisit decisions then you will create confusion and frustration. As Scott McNealy, co-founder of Sun Microsystems and CEO for twenty-two years, said: “I spend much less time and energy worrying about “making the right decision” and much more time and energy ensuring that any decision I make turns out right’.
  4. Don’t ask everyone to help you decide. You only want to include those whose involvement will improve the decision or who have input that will make it more likely you won’t get vetoed later.
  5. Triage decisions. Some decisions don’t matter. Some decisions are so unimportant that they are trumped by speed. And a few decisions are worth focusing on.

Use these guidelines to help you improve your speed to market.  Don’t try to do everything at once in speeding up your decisions, build up and include that which you are comfortable with. As you become comfortable going faster so your decisions will speed up. Share this with your peers, teams, and colleagues and work on these five steps together!

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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

Hydrogen power plant pilot, a first for Queensland, highlights resurgence of humble chemical element

It is often associated with nuclear bombs and overzealous hype in the 1970s, but now the idea of hydrogen as a clean energy source is making a comeback in Australia.

In central Queensland, there are now several hydrogen energy projects in the pipeline.

The Australian company Northern Oil is set to build the first hydrogen fuel cell of its kind in Queensland at its pilot biofuels refinery in Gladstone in early 2019.

To read the full article, please click here.

Farm education investment in hope of future bumper crop of agricultural innovators

The Tasmanian agriculture sector is celebrating a resurgence in farm education as the Government moves to shore up its long-term vision for one of the island’s most valuable industries.

The Government has pledged to cement Tasmania’s reputation as an “agricultural powerhouse” worth $2 billion a year by 2050 and has announced funding for extra full and part-time farm teachers in all of the state’s 15 school farms.

To read the full article, please click here.

Migration overhaul: Regional needs to guide population policy

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has cleared the ground for a migration overhaul that confronts surging growth in Sydney and Melbourne, using regional rules to set a different approach for each part of the country.

Mr Morrison said there “could be a case” for tougher rules that slowed the intake of some temporary migrants into congested cities, but he warned against simplistic changes that would hurt areas that needed more workers.

To read the full article, please click here.

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Regional Development Resources

Building up and moving out

Australia is undergoing rapid change. Population growth, urbanisation, the ageing of the population and the transformation of the economy towards service and knowledge based industries are causing profound changes in the urban and regional landscape. The outcome of these changes will depend on how they are managed. In recent decades, there has been no plan for how to accommodate the growth in our cities and population. The scope and complexity of the challenges of growth require a reconfiguration of our understanding of our cities and their relationship with surrounding regions. Managing these challenges requires a national vision—a national plan of settlement.

To read the full report, please click here.

Highfields Lifestyle Enterprise Precinct Update

Since 2003 Highfields has doubled its population with today’s figure estimated to be nearly 13,500. Over the next 18 years it is projected to grow by 63% to approx 22,000. This growth has been great for the region and council has done it’s best to plan for this expansion.

However, the evidence is, that due to the proximity of Highfields to the Toowoomba CBD, strong growth and good local planning has not been able to shift the markets-pressure that has now shaped the commercial heart of Highfields into a dormitory suburb, with restricted business opportunity, limited services and small numbers of, generally low skilled, local employment.

Read the report 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

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