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SEGRA Walks the Talk

August 2016 – Edition 19

SEGRA 2016 – Naturally Stronger Regions: realising the potential


26–28 OCTOBER 2016

Spotlight Sessions at SEGRA

SEGRA is designed as a highly networked interactive conference.

Each day, themes are explored through panels, case studies, group discussions and Q & A,

Day one of the conference features 1- 6 of our Spotlight Sessions.

Spotlight 1 - Creating 21st Century Organisations

The 21st Century organisation needs to be able to constantly create new value for its customers/clients. However the meaning of value- economic and cultural has become more complex and uncertain. This is driven by compressed attention span, self-interest, increasing recognition and acceptance of diversity. This has particular implications for markets but also for government as drivers of policy. How to deliver predictable, stable, effective and consistent government policy, programs and services that are also flexible, client-centred and professionally driven has become a significant conundrum. This session examines the dynamics of flexibility, critical thinking, collaboration and applied learning in the organisational. Inter-agency and cross- jurisdictional contexts. The session will feature a breakthrough initiative based on multi- agency alignment, purposeful collaboration. There will also be discussion on the leadership and governance challenges of relentless innovating, connecting multiple groups, rapid movement and speedy decision making in the 21st Century organisation including stakeholder engagement.

Idris Mootee, CEO, Idea Couture

Spotlight 2 - Entrepreneurship and Investment in Regional Australia

As government policy increasingly looks to co investment models rather than grants, one of the more significant opportunities for economic development practitioners is to provide user friendly and effective processes of testing new and existing ideas for strategic investment initiatives. There now is the potential to develop simple and robust methodologies to allow project proponents to develop better ideas before investing their increasingly scarce resources in the completion of the projects business case. Spotlight 2 will examine Entrepreneurship and investment in the regional context including common challenges, diverse solutions and successful case studies. The session concludes with a presentation from entrepreneur and philanthropist Anthony Bertini, CEO, ThumperOne Pty Ltd about pitching for investment.

Anthony Bertini, CEO, ThumperOne Pty Ltd

Spotlight 3 - Free Trade Agreements: maximising the benefits

High-quality, comprehensive free trade agreements are playing an important role in supporting global trade liberalisation. FTAs have opened opportunities for Australian exporters and investors to expand their businesses into key overseas markets. By improving market access for goods, services and delivering more business and investment opportunities, FTAs will help to maintain and stimulate the competitiveness of Australian firms.

Australia's FTA negotiations are increasingly focused on the so-called 'behind the border' issues including factors such as standards, professional qualifications, intellectual property rights and competition policies, in addition to addressing tariff barriers.

Australia has ten FTAs currently in force with New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, US, Chile, the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) (with New Zealand), Malaysia, Korea, Japan and China. The countries covered by these FTAs account for 70 per cent of Australia's total trade.

Australia is currently engaged in seven other FTA negotiations - two bilateral FTA negotiations: India and Indonesia; and five plural lateral FTA negotiations: the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the Pacific Trade and Economic Agreement (PACER Plus), the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) and the European Commission. The additional countries covered by these negotiations account for a further 15-20 per cent of Australia's total trade.

There is much debate about the relative advantages and disadvantages of FTAs. It is important for regional businesses to have the capacity to take advantage of the opportunities. This Free Trade Agreement workshop will give you practical, up to date information about the benefits of our newest FTAs with China, Japan and Korea and how to use them.

Spotlight 4 - Innovation and Technology: opportunities for regional Australia

Innovation is the result of the application of knowledge and technology and as such it is not surprising patterns of innovation vary across different technology systems. What does this mean for regional Australia?

This session brings together leaders in the fields of technology and in particular that of digital and electronic to discuss the opportunities for innovation in regional Australia. The presence of both the Prof. Peter Klinkin, Chief Scientist of Western Australia and Ian Aitken, CTO of Samsung Electronics will ensure ideas and applications will be top of the discussion. Additionally, Matt Ritchie the CEO of IoT International, who brings decades of experience in IT, Electronics, and ICT in urban, regional, and remote areas, from Brisbane to the Torres Straits, and Normanton; will talk about the way the internet enables technologies that allow such things as smart grids, smart homes, intelligent transportation and smart cities to emerge in regional Australia.

Spotlight 5 - Regional Labour Markets: future prospects

Regional Labour Markets measures include a range of indices: unemployment rates, participation rates, periods of time in unemployment, proportions of skilled and unskilled labour and workforce requirements, welfare dependency levels and so on. Labour market outcomes vary considerably from region to region. Some areas of regional Australia are doing well, whilst others are consistently poorer than the national average. The growth in the industries in regional Australia require employees with higher levels of skills and experience than the industries in decline. This session will look at what the data is telling us and how best to develop regional labour markets with particular focus on successful strategies for the most vulnerable groups.

Spotlight 6 - Rendezvousing with Sustainable Economic Futures

To be successful economic development requires vision, active participation and commitment to managing changing social and economic conditions. Critical to this is engagement of communities of space and interest. For example, these can reflect geographic realities as providing opportunities for active, participative recreation; port visitation and geotourism. Challenges to be addressed including vocal unwillingness to accept change, poor participation by affected communities, inadequate use of the range of available engagement techniques.

This session will present an overview and case examples of big picture of engaging communities in new economic development opportunities. An in depth look at the issues relating to regions transitioning towards low carbon economies and emerging opportunities. The session will conclude with a discussion about appropriate techniques to identify opportunities and harness community commitment to rendezvous with their sustainable economic future.

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Around the Regions

Connecting the Dots at Resilient Regions Week

By Institute for Resilient Regions

At the University of Southern Queensland (USQ), a growing team of regional researchers at the Institute for Resilient Regions is helping regional communities build resilience and adapt successfully to change.

Led by Professor John Cole OAM, the Institute focusses on people, culture, and innovation which can help communities build their social and economic capital, sustain their communities and improve their health and well-being through applied research.

USQ hosted the inaugural Resilient Regions Week in June in Toowoomba where delegates from research and industry supported USQ’s initiatives in helping to build resilience pathways with regional and rural communities. The Connecting the Dots Research Forum was supported by The University of Queensland (UQ), CSIRO, Toowoomba Regional Council, RDA (Ipswich West Moreton), RDA (Darling Downs SouthWest), Central Qld Remote Area Planning and Development Board and Qld Country Life.

In several forums across Resilient Regions Week (hyperlinked), prominent Australian social scientist and international chair of the Regional Studies Association, Professor Andrew Beer, challenged participants to think and act to build initiatives and a narrative for regional Australia that countered the historic theme of decline and de-population.

Professor Beer delivered keynotes on Rural Australia in 2041 and Successful Regional Communities – how does it happen? Professor Jim Cavaye, the Institutes’ recent appointment as Program Director of Regional Community Development, spoke on Community Resilience – Setting the Scene. Social scientists from USQ, UQ, Qld Institute of Technology, Central Qld University and CSIRO deliberated on the regional topics of economic transition and community change and resilience during the Ideas Bazaar.

Across forums and events, community stakeholders with social scientists, voiced a need for greater emphasis by researchers on understanding the systems nature of regional social, economic and human well-being issues. Participants identified a number of subjects that should be of focus to social sciences research going forward. These included building social capacity and leadership; achieving higher levels of community integration of existing bodies of knowledge; achieving better personal lifestyles and health management; and regional immigration and building complex communities.

USQ is hosting the next free Connecting the Dots regional forum with researchers from across Queensland and community including regional and community planners, on 22 September 2016 with Professor Frank Vanclay, a rural sociologist and expert on social impact assessment, from the University of Groningen The Netherlands. As part of USQ’s Research Week, a keynote on “Social science research and community change – what difference can research truly make?” will be delivered on 27 September.

Professor Andrew Beer at USQ’s Resilient Regions Week, in Toowoomba, at the Connecting the Dots Research Forum
Professor Jim Cavaye - new Professor (Regional Community Development) with the Institute for Resilient Regions at USQ

Blueprint Video Online

A quick and easy video overview of the Great Southern Regional Investment Blueprint is now available online.

The Blueprint video can be viewed on Vimeo through the Great Southern Development Commission (GSDC) website at

GSDC Chair Ross Thornton said the video gave a concise outline of the strategy behind the major regional planning document, which was launched in October 2015.

“The Blueprint takes a long-term look at the potential for development in the Great Southern, as far ahead as 2040,” Mr Thornton said.

“It identifies opportunities for growth in the region, and the challenges that may have to be addressed to achieve that growth.

“The vision behind the Blueprint is to continue to build the Great Southern into a natural choice for opportunity and lifestyle.

“People who share that vision are invited to take a look at the video, and to find out more by downloading the full Blueprint or the short overview document,” Mr Thornton said.

Seven major transformational project areas are identified in the Blueprint, encompassing a host of prospective projects to build opportunity and lifestyle in the region through strategic public and/or private investments.

Projects aligned with the Blueprint that have recently received significant public funding include Affordable Student Housing Stages 1 and 2 in Albany, the Katanning Early Childhood Hub, accommodation for seniors in Kojonup and Mount Barker, and the Denmark East Development Precinct.

The Great Southern Regional Investment Blueprint was developed over two years of research, analysis and extensive consultation.

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