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SEGRA Walks the Talk

March 2017 – Edition 22

SEGRA 2017 – Disruption: a catalyst for change

Upper Spencer Gulf, SA

24 - 27 October 2017

SEGRA 2016 Highlights

What People Said About SEGRA 2016

SEGRA was formed to provide a forum for people passionate about the future of regional Australia and a place where new ideas could be formed and shared.

20 years later, SEGRA continues to Speak up for Regional Australia. Throughout this time, SEGRA has strived to raise the profile of regions as essential to Australia’s national agenda and empower regions to be responsible for their own destinies. It has done this by identifying ideas, regional issues and opportunities; influencing policy by encouraging evidence-based responses; supporting practice-based research and projects and actively promoting regional connectivity and networks.

Hear what some of the 2016 delegate’s had to say about SEGRA.Click on the following video to see what people said about SEGRA 2016:

Testimonials from SEGRA 2016:

I believe that the SEGRA conference is ideal for anyone with an interest in regional economic development - Regional Development Leader

I found plenty of value in the conference topics, presentations and networking. Finding out about what is happening at regional level across Australia was really important to me - Academic

It is a great conference that has so many levels of people attending and mixing into a single melting pot for the betterment of Regional Australia - SEGRA Delegate

It was a powerful and positive event where it was possible to integrate with keynote speakers - State Government

I believe it is important that these conferences have a representation from across the NFP sector as it is often these organisations that are on the ground and doing the grass roots service delivery in regional communities - Not Disclosed

It is the best Regional Development Conference in Australia...the hard part about the planning profession is getting them to think past the metropolitan areas, and I don't recall seeing any of the regionally based WA State Govt agency management/staff at the conference - that's my impression - Business Director

This was my first SEGRA conference, I found it an excellent way to network with regional colleagues and great to have such a diversity of economic development people in one place. I thought the calibre of speakers was excellent - Not Disclosed

I find that there is not a comparable Conference on the National circuit and the content and networking opportunities presented are highly relevant to my work, therefore if a colleague was working in a similar field I would recommend it to them - Peak Body

The best SEGRA I have been to, but our corporate partnership ensured that we milked the opportunity in our home patch - which I think we achieved in spades! My decision to manage and produce the WA RDA Newsletter linked to the conference on top of the National Forum, followed by my keynote presentation on Collaboration on day 2 was deliberately targeted to send a message - Thank You - SEGRA Delegate

SEGRA offers strong support for RDA. SEGRA visits the regions. SEGRA has a good format with diversity, excellent speakers and broad networking - Regional Development Leader

For more information on past Issue Papers, Communiqués and Past Conferences Proceedings click on the link below:

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SEGRA 2017 Upper Spencer Gulf, South Australia

Mark Your Diaries!

SEGRA is headed to Port Augusta in the Upper Spencer Gulf region, South Australia from 24 - 27 October 2017. The theme is Disruption: a catalyst for change. The program will include industry and research forums at Port Pirie and Whyalla.

SEGRA 2017 Upper Spencer Gulf, SA.

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Around the Regions

Highfields and District Business Connections

Located to the north of Toowoomba, the Highfields area is growing at a rapid rate due to its semi-rural lifestyle, the relative affordability of housing and close proximity to the large business centre of Toowoomba. At the 2011 census, the population of Highfields was more than 8,000.

The business group in Highfields – Highfields and District Business Connections (HDBC) – exists to support local business and advocate on their behalf. HDBC has a strong and on-going commitment to the creation of a vibrant business economy in Highfields with robust and sustainable community networks and a diverse membership base.

HDBC believes that the economic vitality of our own town centre is critical to building a local, self-sufficient and progressive community and business sector. To enable Highfields to achieve this level of maturity, and to sustain its current rate of growth, its ‘city heart’ needs to keep pace with its current boom in residential housing and educational facilities.

HDBC has taken the initiative to identify and lobby for a catalytic project as a key part of an economic growth centre for Highfields. With the specialist advice of Mr Robert Prestipino (Director of Vital Places), HDBC is developing a process to accelerate the creation of a regional economic precinct centre for Highfields. In doing so, HDBC have engaged with their community leaders to understand the real needs of the wider community. They are partnering with organisations such as SEGRA and Wholesale Investor to advance the project (called Highfields Community Heart: Project 2020) as a national best practice in collaborative investment funding for regional catalytic infrastructure projects.

On the 7th February, HDBC welcomed Ms Kate Charters from SEGRA at their monthly members’ breakfast meeting to discuss the role of SEGRA in supporting a national framework for the growth of regional communities and in particular, SEGRA’s support for the Highfields Community Heart: Project 2020.

As part of their commitment to engage and communicate back to our community, on 8th March, HDBC held a community update to all interested members of the general public. At this event, they had all 3 levels of government represented in Dr John McVeigh MP, Mr Trevor Watts, MP and the Mayor of Toowoomba Regional Council, Cr Paul Antonio. All three spoke in support of HDBC and the process that they are undertaking to develop the catalytic infrastructure needed for the centre of Highfields to grow sustainably, socially and economically

At this event Kate Charters spoke about the direction for regional infrastructure development and funding as SEGRA sees it, from the national perspective. The Highfields Community Heart: Project 2020 was launched as the first Catalyst Infrastructure Project listed on a new national platform for connecting collaborative capital to economic growth and jobs in regional Australia. This new platform an initiative of Wholesale Investor, Australasia’s leading private investment platform connecting innovative private, pre-IPO & listed companies with high net worth and professional investors looking for investment opportunities. Wholesale Investor and Paul Niederer, founder of Raiseworth, has been working with the HDBC from the start of the Highfields Community Heart initiative in July 2016. The idea for a new investment platform for Catalyst Infrastructure to assist regional communities in attracting investment for economic development and local employment growth came out of the 2013 Sustainable Economic Growth for Regional Australia (SEGRA) conference. The investment platform and has developed over the last four years in collaboration with Southern Cross University and regional economic development practitioners leading to tonight’s launch.

The key objective of the Highfields project is to effectively demonstrate that real action and a push towards sustainable growth in regional communities can be led through inclusive community engagement. For more information about the Highfields Community Heart: Project 2020 or HDBC, please contact the President of HDBC, Mr Jim O’Dea at or visit their webpage below:

Kate Charters, Chairperson of SEGRA speaking at the HDBC Breakfast on 7th February.
Expert speakers at the Highfields Project Update on 8th March, from left Kate Charters, Chairperson of Sustainable Economic Growth for Regional Australia (SEGRA); Paul Niederer, CEO Raiseworth Capital; and Robert Prestipino, managing director, Vital Places. Photos courtesy of High Country Herald.

The WiRE Program

The WiRE Program assist and support rural, regional and remote women entrepreneurs progressing their business and career dreams. The aim of the WiRE program is to promote and cultivate women entrepreneurship and innovation in rural, regional and remote (RRR) Australia, and particularly Queensland, through delivering an integrated capacity building program. The objective of the WiRE program is to promote entrepreneurship through enhancing individual and organisational awareness, participation, skills, entrepreneurial behaviour, competencies and capacity, building support networks, sharing knowledge, growing resilient communities and creating sustainable change in particularly the Queensland region.

Director of SEGRA, Kate Charters, was a panellist at the Ipswich Regional Innovation Pop-up on 15 March 2017. Amazingly talented participants with innovative and creative ideas and journeys gathered in Ipswich. Thank you Chad Renando, Anne-Marie Walton and Fire Station 101, WiRE Program partners for hosting this exciting event. These are exciting times in the WiRE Program's intensive development phase.

Click on the link below to visit the WiRE Program website:

Kate Charters and fellow panellists at the Ipswich WiRE pop-up.
Kate Charters and other WiRE Program participants at the Ipswich pop-up.

Muradel – Black to Green – a Whyalla success story

Muradel is a proprietary Company limited by shares, founded in December 2010 by the University of Adelaide, Murdoch University and the majority shareholder SQC Pty Ltd, which is solely funded by Aban Australia Pty Ltd (part of the Ausker Group of Companies).

Muradel’s vision is to bring to commercial reality an integrated profitable large scale bio-oil business that sustainably extracts energy and other resources from renewable feedstocks.

The Muradel Demonstration Plant (MDP) at Whyalla, South Australia, was constructed during the first half of 2014, and commissioned in July 2014. The MDP was officially opened on the 31 October 2014 by the Hon Geoff Brock, Member for Frome, Minister for Regional Development and Minister for Local Government in South Australia, and the Whyalla City Council Mayor Jim Pollock.

Muradel provides a unique approach to sludge and biosolids management for the wastewater treatment industry. Our Green2Black™ solution combines proprietary technologies to sustainably manage sludges and biosolids producing a unique range of marketable products. Green2Black™ has a small footprint and can be co-located at wastewater treatment plants where sludge can be continuously fed through the process and converted into sustainable oils, inorganics and water. The available market for Green2Black's products is dependent on the composition of the sludge and will be evaluated on a case by case basis.

The technology developed and deployed by Muradel is innovative and provides a novel pathway for production of renewable biofuel; a pathway that does not compete with agriculture for nutrients or water and does not involve land-use change.

A site visit to Muradel is planned as part of the SEGRA Researchers’ Forum on 24 October 2017

Muradel is an advanced biofuels Company that utilises sustainable and renewable biomass as feedstock. Photo courtesy of Muradel
Muradel’s continuous flow sub-critical water reactor. Photo courtesy of Muradel.

The RED Toolbox Launched to Assist Regional Economic Development

COLLABORATORS in regional economic development across Australia are now able to use a unique ‘digital toolbox’ launched with the assistance of SEGRA.

The Regional Economic Development (RED) Toolbox is a meeting place, business information resource and collaboration platform created to link regional business, three levels of government, business growth services, educators, researchers, financiers and project developers in ways that have not been seen before.

The RED Toolbox is the culmination of more than 15 years work by Brisbane-based Digital Business insights (DBi), researching and mapping the adoption of technology by Australian business, government and not-for-profit organisations.

The RED Toolbox went live in March. It can be used now and featured a business resource of more than 100 video presentations by Australia experts in business development and the adoption of business technologies.

There is also a rapidly-growing blog area featuring regional economic development leaders across Australia, discussing projects and projects in their regions. Among those bloggers are project leaders, experts in infrastructure project finance, brand licensing, product marketing, regional planning and digital technologies.

Another potentially interesting area of the RED Toolbox for SEGRA members is the Projects collaboration section of the platform. This is an area in which projects can be announced, discussed and their progress viewed, drawing involvement and engagement Australia-wide.

DBi chief executive John Sheridan said the Projects area was likely to become one of the most popular and powerful areas of the RED Toolbox for driving regional development.

“This Project collaboration part of the platform is taking shape right now and is being driven by the regions themselves,” Mr Sheridan said. “We have made the toolbox so that is malleable and it can change to meet the needs of Australian regional economic development.”

From DBi’s research, involving deep surveys of more than 50,000 Australian businesses over 15 years, industry-specific digital toolboxes have been created to assist the development of Australian manufacturing, agriculture and mining/resources businesses.

Now the RED Toolbox has been engineered across the top of those sites, as an ‘umbrella’ platform to help facilitate, energise and connect economic development Australia-wide.

“The Regional Economic Development (RED) Toolbox was developed as a national, web-based, change management platform targeted at productive industry growth – across agriculture, creative industries, defence, health industries, indigenous business, manufacturing, METS and tourism,” Mr Sheridan said.

“The RED Toolbox links to the Manufacturing Toolbox, the Agriculture Toolbox and the Mining and Energy Toolbox, as well as the Australian Trade Showcase and the Taiwan-Australia Export Showcase.

“The RED Toolbox is the “umbrella platform” connecting the others, and incorporates additional functionality – Groups, Projects and Partnership Options – allowing all partners including government, corporate, SME, NFP and individuals to collaborate across regions, sectors and issues.”

SEGRA is a partner in the development of the RED Toolbox, along with Regional Development Australia, CSIRO, ACS, Outsource Institute of Technology, the State Library of Queensland and the Queensland Government.

National business magazine, Business Acumen, is a founding partner providing editorial support for organisations involved with the RED Toolbox, including articles online, through it business and industry e-newsletters and in the print magazine.

Partnerships are rapidly developing with regional councils and business organisations supporting regional economic development.

Click on the following links to visit the RED Toolbox website and to view the RED Toolbox Partner Program 2017-18 brochure:

RED Toolbox Partner Program 2017-18 brochure.

Cluster Development Handbook Launched

Cluster Navigators Ltd are a niche economic development consultancy, taking a cluster approach to the nurturing and upgrading of competitiveness agendas. They support economic development agencies in developing the competitiveness of their regions. Cluster Navigators launched the Cluster Development Handbook in February 2017 at TCI Network’s Global Conference in Eindhoven, Netherlands.

The Handbook provides a comprehensive guide to the logic and practicalities of cluster development, with guidance for experienced cluster practitioners, for those new to cluster development experience and for policy agencies. The handbook is based on two decades of hands-on cluster development experience, covering six continents. It includes sixty-four invited contributions from twenty-seven countries, many from experienced practitioners who are members of TCI Network.

The 240-page Handbook draws on an extensive range of external material. Over 300 quotations are used, identifying further information sources. It includes examples from around the world, drawing on Ifor Ffowcs-Williams’ (CEO and Founder, Cluster Navigators) cluster development involvement in over fifty countries.

The Handbook is available as an e-book, a pdf and in hard copy. Click on the following links to order a copy and visit their website:

Cluster Development Handbook. Photo courtesy Cluster Navigators.

RV Futures Forum

The Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia (CMCA) is hosting an RV Futures Forum on 16 May 2017 at the Hilton Hotel, Brisbane QLD.

The program will commence at 10:00am and include the latest research, trends and industry intelligence on the RV sector. The session will include a Q&A session and a number of case studies followed by a networking lunch.

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.

This event is free of charge. To register, please email the contact below or call 0474 747 773.

Photo courtesy of CMCA.

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