Call for Abstracts ends soon for Regional Development Conference

Call for Abstracts ends soon – we invite you to submit an abstract for the Australian Regional Development Conference which is being held in Albury, 15-16 October, 2014.

The theme of the conference is “Where to from Here?” will provide equal focus to the advancement of economic and social outcomes for regional Australia.

The aim of the conference is to advance economic and social outcomes for regional Australia. The conference provides the opportunity to discuss the challenges, opportunities and future of regional Australia.

The Australian Regional Development Conference streams for 2014 include the following;

  • Economic Development
  • Planning and Building
  • Environment and Sustainability
  • Community Development

Call for Abstracts – topics to-date

  • Renewable energy and energy supply
  • Natural resource management including water management
  • Planning and Building with focus on small inland town, regional cities and coastal developments
  • Social and recreation developments – cultural, sporting, historic precincts and services
  • Economic development of major and smaller regional industries
  • Community Service Delivery with a focus on health, housing affordability/access and special attention to aged care services
  • Employment –  job creation, skilled migration and unemployment
  • Education and Training – regional universities and vocational training
  • Government – policy, funding and evaluation
  • Infrastructure and Transport stream – Road Freight, Rail, shipping and ports, regional airports/airlines, passengers services,
  • Digital – broadband technology

Important Dates Abstracts Close 30th May

RDA ConferenceTo submit your abstract online, please visit the conference website or for further information, please email [email protected]

Sustainability and Environment in Regional Australia

The Australian Regional Development Conference is being held in Albury, 15-16 October, 2014.

This conference “Where to from Here?” will provide equal focus to the advancement of economic and social outcomes for regional Australia.

RDA ConferenceThe conference provides the opportunity to discuss the challenges, opportunities and future of regional Australia.

Call for Abstracts for The Australian Regional Development Conference, Albury.

There will be a stream on Sustainability and Environment in Regional Australia and keynote speakers on Environment and Sustainability issues.

Authors or organisations interested in submitting a paper or presenting a workshop are invited to submit an abstract of no more than 300 words outlining the aims, contents and conclusions of their paper or presentation; or about their intended role in a workshop.

Sustainability and Environment in Regional Australia

Topics being presented include Rural and Regional Sustainability, Natural resource management, Murray Basin, Solar, Wind Farms, Waste Management, Environment and Energy, Climate, Land Use and Management

Oral Presentations

Oral presentations should be of 30 minutes duration (20-25 minute presentations with 5-10 minute discussion). Papers not selected for oral presentation might be given the option of poster presentation instead.


Workshops will require an interactive format to facilitate active learning, such as discussion, activities, small group role plays.

Workshops will be delivered for 90 minutes. The format should focus on offering participants an interactive information session. Presenters will be entirely responsible for the workshop facilitation. Submissions should include an outline of the workshop objectives:

  • Background
  • Who should attend
  • Structure of workshop
  • Intended outcomes

Poster Presentations

Poster presentations are visual displays of material to be presented and constitute an interactive and communicative medium, usually combining text and graphics information. Posters may be on any topic relevant to the conference themes.

Posters will be displayed in the exhibition area and for the duration of the conference. It is expected that presenter should be available during meal breaks to discuss it with conference participants. Specific information regarding size and mounting requirements will be provided with the notice of acceptance.

Peer Review

All accepted presenters will have the opportunity to have their full paper peer reviewed published in the Conference Proceedings with an ISBN. Please indicate if you will be presenting an academically oriented, professional paper for consideration for publication in the conference proceedings for which you request peer refereeing on the submission form.

Important Dates

28th April 2014 – Abstracts Close

To submit your abstract online, please visit the conference website or for further information, please email [email protected]


Is remote and rural Australia being dudded by the NBN? NBN and rural Australia

Rural and remote Australia and telecommunications and digital services

Is remote and rural Australia being dudded by the NBN?

Remote and rural Australia are contributing to GDP, are they receiving equity in telecommunication and digital services. Lagging essential services impact on economic and community development for rural and regional Australia.

By Mark A Gregory, RMIT University

The National Broadband Network (NBN) is an important nation-building project that’s being implemented at a time of fundamental change in the way we utilise services over the digital network.

For most Australians – those of us in big cities – the NBN will be a big improvement over the existing access network, thanks to fibre connections.

But for the 7% of Australians in regional and remote areas, the NBN will take the form of either fixed wireless or satellite services.

These services will provide customers with download speeds of 12MB/s compared to the 100MB/s fibre customers will enjoy. The disparity in upload speeds is even greater.

So are these wireless and satellite services really good enough? Are Australians in rural areas being dudded of appropriate infrastructure?

And should there be flexibility in the NBN roll-out plan to allow remote shires to contribute to bringing fibre to their communities?

Remote control

The remote Barcoo Shire in western Queensland is a pertinent example of a region that will miss out on the best of the NBN.

Bruce Scott, former mayor of Barcoo Shire told ABC Radio’s AM in late September:

The national information superhighway is so critically important and if we’ve got a second-rate service coming into these communities what reason is there for people to stay?

Scott said that while satellite services planned for Barcoo are a great solution for domestic broadband, they won’t support communities that need real-time, high-bandwidth services – services such as health care, education and government services.

Satellites will not provide video links for hospital clinics, for access to school curriculums – it won’t provide what is needed for these towns to function.

Current Barcoo Shire mayor Julie Groves and Geoffrey Morton, mayor of Diamantina Shire – to the west of Barcoo Shire – proposed earlier this year that 700km of optic fibre, costing A$22 million, should be laid to connect five towns in their shires to the NBN.

Julie Groves told AAP and Suzanne Tindal in July:

We also need our residents and visitors to be able to access mobile communication for safety, business and social media.

Our younger generation will not stay if they are not connected.

In Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory remote towns and communities are sure to have similar concerns to those voiced in the Barcoo and Diamantina Shires.

Design flaw

As well as dudding residents of rural Australian towns, the current NBN design fails to take into account the more than two million Australians and international tourists that take to the roads every year during winter and journey into the outback.

In 2011 outback Queensland had an estimated 381,000 international and domestic visitors who stayed for more than two million nights.

As mentioned, the NBN makes provision for fixed wireless and satellite services yet caravans and motor homes are often moved into remote Australia and reside in one or more locations for months on end.

The NBN will not cater for caravans and motor homes and so for many tourists, WiFi is the only low-cost option.

Unfortunately, for many regional and remote towns – such as those in the Barcoo and Diamantina shires – WiFi hot-spots are not available. Nor are they likely to become available if business is forced to use the NBN fixed wireless and satellite services.

We have already reached the point where travellers need and expect to have internet access. This, in turn, means WiFi is a fundamental service that travellers demand.

Fibre is needed to help support businesses such as caravan parks, hotels and motels so they can provide WiFi to their customers.

Mobile cellular services are also very limited in rural areas. At the Birdsville horse races held every September, only Telstra and Optus provide (limited) mobile service and there is a only limited cellular data available.

As a result, holiday-makers in rural areas have little or no opportunity to utilise the digital network on their journeys.

Quite simply, without fibre connections to regional towns and communities, rural and remote Australia will be left behind.


As is ever the problem with large infrastructure projects, cost is one of the driving factors. While it would be unfeasible to lay enough fibre to connect all Australians to the NBN, it would certainly be possible to increase fibre coverage.

Barcoo and Diamantina shires have committed A$5.5 million to extending fibre coverage into their jurisdictions, calling for state and federal funding to make the plans a reality.

The new Queensland government is in cost-cutting mode and is therefore unlikely to be keen to participate until the budget is an improved position.

But the previous Queensland state government had committed A$2.8 million and indicated it would consider dollar-for-dollar matching.

While the federal government has provided more than A$350 million to fund regional broadband-related projects – including the Digital Regions Initiative, Clever Networks, Indigenous Communications Program and the Regional Backbone Blackspots Program – it is yet to respond to the Barcoo and Diamantina proposal.

It is unlikely the federal government will want to contribute to a fibre network in one area of remote Australia, given the risk of other remote shires calling for similar funding.

Furthermore, efforts to increase fibre roll-out in rural areas are likely to undermine the NBN Co. business case and invite concern about whether or not the NBN satellites are needed.

Is there room for flexibility?

Regional and remote Australia fulfils an important and valuable role in many aspects of Australian business, society and culture.

As Australians we need to ask ourselves the question: are the people that live in remote areas any less important than those that live in urban areas?

Should the government and NBN Co be flexible with the proposed NBN roll-out? More specifically, should remote shires be able to contribute towards fibre network connections if there is demand and a willingness among the community?

The answer should be a resounding yes.

The federal government needs to positively respond to the Barcoo and Diamantina proposal so the project can move ahead. Other regional and remote councils are likely to follow the Barcoo and Diamantina shires with their own proposals and those too should be supported.

Remote and rural Australia

Rural Telecommunications
Rural Telecommunications


The need for flexibility with the NBN roll-out should not be a political football: it should be an opportunity for all Australians to participate equally in the digital revolution, irrespective of where they live or travel around this nation.

Mark A Gregory does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations. The ConversationThis article was originally published at The Conversation.  Read the original article.

NBN and rural Australia

Have your say about Mobile, broadband and technology at the Australian Regional Development Conference.

NBN Co will be presenting at Australian Regional Development Conference in October in Albury.

Coworking an opportunity for Regional Australia

The creation of collaborative workspaces, “coworking” is being promoted in Australian capital cities following successful experiences overseas.

When space may not be at such a premium what is the case for coworking in regional Australia? If high rent is not such an issue in regional Australia, what are the other drivers that would make coworking in rural and regional Australia attractive.

coworkingThe urge to be creative and live more sustainably is common in communities from Bryon Bay to Bellingen from Maleny to Monto.

Supporting sustainability through sharing resources, cutting road congestion, and promoting collaboration and creativity enjoying inspirations.

Hear from local companies, government and communities at Australian Regional Development Conference on coworking, work hubs, teleworking, sustainability,  collaboration and community development.

coworking 2Contact the conference secretariat for more information on the call for abstracts or conference registration for this conference via the website

 Australian Regional Development Conference,
15-16 October Albury 2014
Abstracts close: 28th April 2014
End of Early Bird 4th September 2014

Regional housing markets that are likely to be the best suited for family living

Thursday, 6 March 2014 The Aussie/RPData Top 100 list provides a statistical view on the suburbs across Australia’s metropolitan housing markets and regional housing markets that are likely to be the best suited for family living.

The results show a great deal of variability from region to region, however it is those suburbs that show a blend of housing affordability, large block sizes and amenity that rise to the top of the list.

rural community developmentWhile many families may aspire to live close to the city or coastline, the reality is that across the capital cities, it is generally those suburbs located in the middle to outer ring housing markets where the large proportion of results fall. These markets tend to offer more affordable housing options that are located on larger blocks of land compared with suburbs closer to the CBD. The level of amenity and proximity to essential services such as schools and health care also play a large role in the analysis.

Top 10 regional suburbs for family living

The list is the rank of suburb, council and median house prices 

1 ORANGE NSW, Orange Central West $333,500 851 3.4
2 WALLAN VIC, Mitchell Goulburn $322,500 806 3.4
3 BACCHUS MARSH VIC, Moorabool Central Highlands $332,000 841 3.4
4 DUBBO NSW, Dubbo North Western $280,000 857 3.4
5 WARRAGUL VIC, Baw Baw Gippsland $306,000 878 3.3
6 MUSWELLBROOK NSW, Muswellbrook Hunter $334,000 876 3.4
7 ROMA QLD, Maranoa South West $330,000 1,124 3.2
8 GOULBURN NSW, Goulburn Mulwaree South Eastern $295,000 827 3.2
9 SCONE NSW, Upper Hunter Shire Hunter $350,000 1,532 3.4
10 LEONGATHA VIC, South Gippsland Gippsland $300,000 901 3.2

Read More

Australian Regional Development Conference will feature presentations on planning, building, housing and construction in Regional Australia.
15-16 October Albury 2014
Abstracts close: 28th April 2014
End of Early Bird 4th September 2014