SEGRA National Conference in Upper Spencer Gulf a Success
The Sustainable Economic Growth for Regional Australia (SEGRA) National Conference brought 175 delegates from around the country together in the Upper Spencer Gulf from October 24-27 2017.
The Upper Spencer Gulf became a meeting point for people passionate about regional Australia, with the theme of the week being, ‘Disruption: a catalyst for change’.
The forum focused on using new knowledge and technology to adapt to changes in traditional industry bases, with Head of KPMG James Mabbott, Regional Minister Geoff Brock and author Dave Clare among a long list of keynote speakers.
With the event held in South Australia for the first time, SEGRA Convenor Kate Charters said she has received ‘fabulous feedback’ from both delegates within the region and those who had travelled.
“They were really happy with the content of the conference, but also they’ve enjoyed being here and the hospitality that we’ve received,” she said.
“They certainly valued the opportunity to hear from people like Steve Marafiote from Sundrop Farms and Brad Alderson, who spoke about SolarReserve.”
Prior to the speakers and workshops hosted in the three cities, Port Augusta played host to the Mayoral Welcome Cocktail Reception on the Tuesday to officially open the event. A Networking Dinner was held on the Wednesday night at the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden, while the Port Augusta Golf Club played host to the Conference Dinner on Thursday night.
Delegates participated in a Flinders Ranges Study Tour on the final day of the conference, visiting several sites including the Wilpena Pound Resort, Jeff Morgan Gallery and Great Northern Lodge.
Mrs Charters said that with 30 per cent of delegates bringing their partners to the conference, it is estimated that over $250,000 has been injected into the economy in the Upper Spencer Gulf.
Port Augusta City Mayor Sam Johnson said the conference exceeded his expectations.
“This was SEGRA’s 21st year and it’s the first time ever in South Australia and SEGRA have advised us that this is the biggest uptake they’ve ever had for the study tours,” he said.
“Aside from that, there was some great feedback. It’s nice that people who have never ever been to this region or to Port Augusta have come and given their first impression and it was all positive, which was really reassuring.”
Mayor Johnson said that while it was a great networking opportunity for local leaders, it also proved to be a very successful week for local businesses.
“All the local accommodation was booked out and not just in Port Augusta, but there was an overflow in Port Pirie and Whyalla as well,” he said.
“I give credit to small business owners and their staff because we got some really amazing feedback from conference delegates about some of our businesses here – from the taxi drivers, to the baristas, to the waitresses.”
Attribution: this article first appeared in The Transcontinental Port Augusta.