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SEGRA Walks the Talk

April 2017 – Edition 23

SEGRA 2017 – Disruption: a catalyst for change

Upper Spencer Gulf, SA

24-27 October 2017

SEGRA 2017 search on for regional best practice papers

Call for Papers Now Open

The SEGRA National Steering Committee is seeking submissions to participate in a range of speaking positions in this years’ program.

SEGRA this year is being held in the Upper Spencer Gulf, a region of diversity and convergence, focused around the tri-city alliance of Port Augusta, Whyalla and Port Pirie.

The Upper Spencer Gulf has experienced its fair share of economic shocks and negative perceptions, the reality is we have a lot of new, exciting growth opportunities that are taking advantage of our strengths. This is reflected in this year's theme - Disruption: a catalyst for change.

For further information and to submit your abstract, please visit the link below.

Submissions close on Friday, 19 May 2017.

Disruption: a catalyst for change

Action Agendas

  • Politics and the regions – government, political and business leadership
  • What will the market want into the future?
  • Are growth regions born or made?
  • Funding the regions – let’s compare
  • The Great Energy Debate – fossil fuels, renewables, nuclear, gas
  • Future of Food Supply Regions
  • Innovation and Technology: opportunities for regional Australia
  • Entrepreneurship and Investment in Regional Australia
  • Geotourism

Speakers are being considered for expert panels, case studies, conversation pits and applied research. A small number of papers will also be accepted for concurrent sessions.

About the Upper Spencer Gulf Common Purpose Group

The Upper Spencer Gulf Common Purpose Group was established in 1998 as an alliance between the cities of Whyalla (23,000) – university of SA campus, Port Pirie (17,000) – smelter single employer and Port Augusta – diverse transport hub (13,000).

…First fulltime CEO - Anita Crisp…appointed April 2014

The four main purposes of the group are to:

- Foster the development of the Upper Spencer Gulf cities

- Promote advantages of improving the Upper Spencer Gulf economy

- Facilitate the expansion of business within the Upper Spencer Gulf

- Implement strategies to improve the Upper Spencer Gulf economy.

The Upper Spencer Gulf has a strong pioneering and industrial history and is where the Flinders Ranges and outback meet the sea. The region has developed on the extraction and processing of a range of rich mineral resources of northern South Australia and as a staging post for north-south and east-west journeys and freight movements across the Australian continent.

The region has progressed to become a vibrant industrial centre with a developing emphasis on lifestyle, tourism and the spectacular natural environment.

The region's cities - Port Augusta, Port Pirie and Whyalla - each have their own identity but share a common culture. The principal strengths of the region for investment include:

An existing set of enterprises providing a major source of demand for a wide range of goods and services. Major enterprises include OneSteel, NRG Flinders, DownerEDi Rail, Nyrstar and BHP Billiton.

An extensive transport infrastructure including bulk cargo ports and well-appointed regional airports, as well as transcontinental road and railways.

A skilled labour-force with a positive track record in handling major projects, supported by a highly responsive training and skills development infrastructure and an harmonious industrial climate.

A unique and vibrant natural environment including the sparkling waters of the Spencer Gulf and the majestic Flinders and Gawler Ranges that support a wide range of recreational pursuits.

Image: Provided by the USGCPG
Members of the Upper Spencer Gulf Common Purpose Group (from left) Robin O'Dea, Terry Reichelt, Brenton Vanstone, Anita Crisp, Sam Johnson, Jim Pollock, Claire Wiseman

SEGRA Location & Venue

Port Augusta is situated on the quiet waterways at the head of the Spencer Gulf, in close proximity to the spectacular Flinders Ranges. Off to the west and south-west lie a range of hills which once marked the territory of the Nukunu Aboriginal tribe, and to the north-west are two remarkable flat-topped mounts, peacefully lying underneath the sky's vast blue canopy.

Whyalla is one of the largest regional centres in South Australia and is located on the western shores of the Spencer Gulf. Originally founded in 1901 as the town of Hummock Hill, Whyalla has a rich historical history, especially in the Australian steel industry.

Port Pirie is nestled in the Southern Flinders Ranges, part of the amazing National Landscape, as well as being situated on the Spencer Gulf. It plays an important role as a regional service centre, with many of the surrounding smaller towns relying on Port Pirie for education, healthcare, retail and employment.

The Central Oval complex was completed in December, 2014 and has been embraced by the community. The facility boasts meeting rooms, change rooms, and upstairs viewing platform and function spaces. Central Oval has quickly become a central meeting place for both the Port Augusta community and for visitors from the region, and is a state-of-the-art facility that will serve the community well for generations to come.

Image: Port Augusta
Image: Whyalla
Image: Port Pirie
Image: Central Oval - Conference Venue

Port Pirie Regional Council - transitioning to the new economy


Drone filming the largest crane in the Southern Hemisphere. For 5 months Kim Mavromatis has been drone filming the Nyrstar Redevelopment in Port Pirie, South Australia.

It’s an amazing engineering achievement, transporting and lifting the huge modules into place. Check out the short 6 minute drone video of the Redevelopment (from Aug 2016 to Jan 2017). It includes ships carrying the huge modules coming down the Pirie river, ship cranes offloading the modules onto the wharf, trailers transporting the modules to site and the largest crane in the Southern Hemisphere lifting the modules into place.

Filming this inspiring event with a drone, there is a sense of awe and history in the making - we will never see this again in our lifetime – securing the community’s future and significance of the Port Pirie Smelter in the history of this nation.

Port Pirie is transforming – visit the “Port Pirie Come See Change” website below for more info.

Story provided by the Port Pirie Regional Council

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Around the Regions

Investing in the future of the regions

Read Senator Fiona Nash's address at the National Press Club on 19 April 2017 - championing regional Australia.

Image: Senator the Hon Fiona Nash

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Regional Development Forum

On 20 March, the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development had a rare opportunity to host Dr Joaquim Oliveira Martins for a series of senior executive workshops. Dr Martins is the head of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Regional Development Policy Division, based in Paris.

Dr Martins met with senior executives from the Department and across Government, as well as a number of non-government stakeholders. Dr Martins was also joined on a panel discussion by Professor Andrew Beer (Dean, University of South Australia Business School) and Kate Charters (Convenor, Sustainable Economic Growth for Regional Australia). The sessions were a great opportunity to discuss the OECD’s recent findings in regional policy and apply them in the Australian context. Dr Martins emphasised the importance of supporting low growth regions, maintaining a role for central policy coordination and investing in partnerships with the community across all three levels of Government.

We are pleased to partner with the OECD and make the most of their valuable international, comparative perspective on regional policy.

Image: OECD Regional Development Forum
Image: Dr. Martins at the OECD Regional Development Forum
Image: OECD panel discussion

Entrepreneurship is Alive and Well in Regional Australia

Charters Towers entrepreneur Jodie Pollock is proof remote living is no boundary to achieving dreams.

Jodie lives on Victoria Downs, a 25,899 hectare (64,000 acres) cattle property, 70km south of Charters Towers, which her husband Michael manages for his parents.

With the region still gripped in drought, Jodie fills many roles – home teacher for daughter Hannah, 8, (son Shaun is a boarder at Blackhealth and Thornburgh College), cook, cleaner, gardener and general rousabout – but her great love is cooking.

After a chance batch of lemon butter, made from an oversupply of lemons from her mother’s Charters Towers backyard tree, impressed family and friends, and sold like hotcakes, Jodie decided to establish Vicky D’s Kitchen in June last year.

Attribution: this article first appeared in Queensland Country Life on 25 January 2017.

Jodie Pollock's new Vicky D's Kitchen condiments and jams has been a hit with the Charters Towers community

Upper Spencer Gulf Focuses on Events

The potential for the Upper Spencer Gulf to grow as a destination for major events is continuing to gather momentum.

The region is preparing to host a number of statewide and national conferences later this year.

Whyalla will kick off the 2017 conference season, hosting the Global Maintenance Trade and Resources expo in late August.

This will be followed by the Australian Rangelands Society national conference in Port Augusta late September.

Port Pirie will also join Port Augusta and Whyalla in hosting the national ‘Sustainable Economic Growth for Regional Australia’ (SEGRA) national conference from October 24-27.

Port Pirie is also hosting the South Australian Local Government Association board in November.

Chair of Spencer Gulf Cities, Port Augusta Mayor Sam Johnson, said the number of state and national conferences being hosted in the region this year is a strong indication of the growth potential.

“The Upper Spencer Gulf is the largest population base outside of Adelaide, making the three cities ideally placed to grow our collective capabilities in ‘Event Tourism’ …,” he said.

“And build on our existing history of hosting successful sporting and cultural events.”

“Not only does event tourism inject a significant amount into the local economy, it also brings people into the Upper Spencer Gulf who may never otherwise visit.

“Once they are here, visitors usually form a very different, and much more positive view of the area.”

Mayor Johnson said all three cities have major infrastructure in place such as transport options and conference facilities.

Attribution: this article first appeared in The Transcontinental Port Augusta

Upper Spencer Gulf SEGRA Conference Local Planning Team

Congratulations to Kate Peake from RDANT

The amazing Kate Peake from RDANT was announced as the WINNER of the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) Rural Women’s Award.

Apparently no sash or tiara but huge accolades and an awards event at NT Parliament House as well as a $10,000 bursary to help promote the need for water management in the Top End.

Kate will now be competing for the National 2017 Rural Women’s Award title in September.

Go Kate- and biggest congratulations!

Attribution: Northern Regional Development Australia Alliance

RV Futures Forum - 16 May 2017

An essential for destinations wanting to optimise the returns from the RV travel market, the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia (CMCA) is hosting an RV Futures Forum on 16 May 2017 at the Hilton Hotel, Brisbane QLD.

A group of outstanding speakers will provide a briefing on the latest research growth, sustainability and directions of the sector and include:

  • Prof Philip Pearce of James Cook Uni;
  • Con Tsobanopoulas of Ken Tame & Assoc;
  • Stewart Lamont of the Caravan Industry Association of Australia;
  • Mary Brown of Hinchinbrook Regional Council;
  • Richard Barwick, CEO of CMCA;
  • Gary Lee, Chair of CMCA; and
  • Tony Charters AM

The program will commence at 10:00am and will include a Q&A session and a number of case studies followed by a networking lunch. The Forum is free of charge.

The RV Futures Forum will:

Outline the growth and scale of RV travel;

Highlight the community, conservation and economic benefits of supporting this market;

Update attendees on the sustainability initiatives of CMCA and its future priorities; and

Identify priority policy, infrastructure and other support services required to foster continued growth.

To register: Contact Racheli Evanson, Events Assistant via email below or call +61 4 74 747 773

Image: provided by the CMCA
Image: provided by the CMCA

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New Publications

Businesses of Tomorrow - report by Deloitte

Australian business leaders reaching their potential would significantly grow Australia’s economy. An increase in GDP of around $70 billion would result from halving the gap in management effectiveness between Australia and leading nations on this measure – more significant than the estimated productivity benefit of the internet.

This report for Westpac outlines what it takes to be a prosperous business in an ever-changing, competitive marketplace and why having prosperous businesses matters for Australia’s future.

For more information about Westpac's Businesses of Tomorrow Programme visit the link below:

Attribution: this article first appeared on the Deloitte website.

Image: Deloitte Access Economics

The Importance of Place: Geographical Indications as a Tool for Local and Regional Development

This book explores the potential benefits and disadvantages of geographical indication (GIs) registration schemes, analysing the utility of GI registrations for the development and promotion of regional economies, both in national and international markets. The book draws on the van Caenegem, Cleary & Drahos Australian Provenance Report, along with the valuable empirical data collected in connection with it. Jen Cleary is a member of the National Steering Committee of SEGRA.

The book situates the rural development question in an international context, presenting several case studies from Italy, France and Morocco, New Zealand and Australia. The book contains various chapters focused on comparing regulatory structures in various relevant jurisdictions and drawing on other countries’ experiences. It contains significant contributions from industry actors with extensive experience in regional branding initiatives and GI-related policy issues.

Progressive in structure, the book starts from the ‘big picture’ level before moving down to the local and concrete scale. Geographical indications of Australian products are vital both in domestic and overseas markets by accurately representing the origin and quality of niche agricultural products. Thus, with a particular focus on Australia, the book promotes the assessment of geographical indications as potential regional assets that will help producers develop local quality indicators that will serve as public goods for successive generations of producers.

Image: The Importance of Place front cover

SEGRA Resource Centre

Have you visited the SEGRA Resource centre which contains previous conference papers, conference communiqués and recent publications about Regional Australia from institutions including the Productivity Commission, Deloitte, ABS and APO?

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Celebrating 20 Years of SEGRA

Hear what people say about SEGRA

SEGRA Turns 20

Click on the link below to view the SEGRA Turns 20 document.

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