ARDC 2014 Conference Wrap Up

Regional Development ConferenceThe Australian Regional Development Conference was held in Albury NSW on  15 & 16 October with optional workshops on Friday 17 October 2014.

Thank you to our speakers, delegates, session chairs, sponsors and supporters for contributing to a very successful Australian Regional Development Conference held at the Commercial Club.

Albury proved a fabulous destination to host the Conference from 15 – 17 October 2014.

Regional Development ConferenceMore than 220 delegates attended over the three days with the program including 9 keynote presenters, 56 session presenters, a panel discussion, 4 workshops, poster and trade display along with the Innovation Awards Presentation Dinner.

Our presenters focused on the issues of Economic Development, Planning & Building, Sustainability and Community Development with the aim of advancing economic and social outcomes for regional Australia.

Regional Development ConferenceThe conference provided an opportunity to discuss the challenges, opportunities and future of regional Australia.

Conference highlights were notably the Innovation Awards presented during the Conference Dinner, as well as the Panel discussion facilitated by Professor Kate Auty on the Thursday afternoon discussing the Future of the Regions.

Audio recordings of the presentations will be made available to delegates in the coming weeks along with the book of proceedings.

View the Conference Photo Gallery here.

A special thank you to our 2014 Keynote Speakers:

  • Associate Professor Trevor Budge AM, Manager, Strategy City of Greater Bendigo and La Trobe University
  • Professor John Cole, Executive Director, Institute for Resilient Regions, University of Southern Queensland
  • Professor Max Finlayson, Professor for Ecology & Biodiversity, Director, Institute for Land, Water & Society, Charles Sturt University
  • Ms Alexandra Gartman, CEO, Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal
  • Mr Mark Glover, Principal, Renewed Carbon
  • Adjunct Professor Tony Sorensen, School of Behavioural, Cognitive and Social Sciences, University of New England
  • Dr Hajime Suzuki, Project Leader, Rural Broadband Access Project, Digital Productivity Flagship, CSIRO
  • Professor Andrew Vann, Vice-Chancellor and President, Charles Sturt University
  • Mr Innes Willox, Chief Executive, Ai Group

Feedback from 2014 Attendees:

Great to see so many great ideas from regional Australia – more creative and energetic than ever.
It was one of the best conferences I have attended.
The topics were very relevant to me and I gained a lot of useful information and ideas.
A good mix of academic presentations and ‘on the ground’ working presentations.

2015 Event

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We look forward to your involvement and support of the 2015 Conference.

Investing In What Works for America’s Communities

Investing In What Works for America’s Communities » Community Development in Rural America: Collaborative, Regional, and Comprehensive.

This is an excellent article and could have been written with many Australian Rural areas in mind… I hope conference delegates find it thought provoking…. Peter Sugg

Growth and liveability in the Australian regional towns: A Case Study of Mackay, Queensland

Growth and liveability in the Australian regional towns: MackayThe main driver behind the growth of Australian regional towns, especially of those in Queensland and Western Australia, is the continuous development of resources such as coal industry boom.  This study undertook three growth indicators such as population trend, labour force movement and gross state products to characterise the growth of a regional city in Queensland, Mackay, which has been affected by coal mining boom in the central Queensland region since 2000.  Then the study undertook a large scale survey to understand the regional liveability, including the liveability of Mackay. The study found that the liveability of Mackay did not match with the level of growth in and around the city, and the condition of economic and environmental capitals is better than that of human and social capitals.  Therefore, the priority areas to increase the liveability within this city are to increase the human development services such as education, training and health facilities and to improve social cohesion and community empowerment.

The findings from this study are replicable to other similar regional towns in Australia or internationally where the city has a mix of mining services, agricultural trading and tourism activities.

The main driver behind the growth of Australian regional towns, especially of those in Queensland and Western Australia, is the continuous development of resources such as coal industry boom. The characterisation of these regional towns is important for planning and development of respective region. Mackay is one of the regional towns in Queensland, which has been affected by the resource booms in the northern Bowen Basin region . The purpose of this paper is to present a growth scenario of Mackay and relate this scenario with the regional liveability.

The paper “Growth and liveability in the Australian regional towns” has been peer reviewed and was published in the Book of Proceedings.  It was authored by Delwar Akbar, Lindsay Greer and John Rolfe from the Centre for Environmental Management, CQ University.

You can download the full paper here: Growth and liveability in the Australian regional towns

A long term sustainable approach to the preservation of rural areas through higher density residential development.

A long term sustainable approachDevelopment of rural land should focus on retaining and enhancing productive agricultural farm land. Increasing residential density tied to facilitating the agricultural capacity of the land could provide a solution for long term sustainability of rural landscapes, addressing demand for ‘rural living’ close to centres of significant population and locking in the majority ‘remnant land’ for genuine, sustainable agricultural purposes. Population growth and demand for ‘rural living’ in proximity to capital cities and regional centres places pressure on rurally zoned land. Maintaining land for agricultural is critical to ensure a sustainable future. Cultural and aesthetic qualities of ‘farming’ must be considered alongside food security, environmental preservation and energy conservation.

A long term sustainable approach to the preservation of rural areas through higher density residential development.

‘Cultural’ factors remain important but it can be argued they have overridden other considerations and encouraged subdivisions that fail to “…provide for the use of land for agriculture” or “…encourage the retention of productive agricultural land.” 1 Minimum lot sizes down to 20ha result in ‘nonproductive rural lifestyle properties’ dominating rural landscapes.

Priorities appear to be ‘to be seen to be rural’ rather than the ability to be capable of sustaining genuine agriculture. A case study on a 150ha farm on the Bellarine Peninsula explores the development of the land with a significantly increased residential yield while preserving the majority of the land for productive agricultural purposes.

The proposal provides a closed loop for waste and water, energy production and integrates a primary end user for the agricultural output, a high end restaurant reflecting the Bellarine Peninsula’s strategic vision. The components are tied through covenants and a common ownership and managed by the restaurant. Capital funding would be gained through residential sales. Master planning would address cultural aspects through tools such as clustering, environmental landscaping and design guidelines.

The paper was presented at the Australian Regional Development Conference in Albury this month by Leon Eyck M.Arch, Director, DE atelier Architects.  While it has been chosen as a published paper in the “Book of Proceedings” you can download an advance copy here.  Preservation of Rural Areas…

National Stronger Regions Fund Now Open

SetWidth741-National-Stronger-Regions-FundThe Hon. Warren Truss MP, Minister for Infrastructure & Regional Development has announced that the Australian Government is getting on with delivering priority economic infrastructure across Australia with Round One of the National Stronger Regions Fund now open.

The new fund will invest $1 billion over five years and support priority economic and infrastructure areas – from freight and transport projects to convention centres and major multi-purpose sports facilities.

These investments will have a major focus on strengthening economies in our regions by improving the productivity, employment, and workforce skills of Australians.

The fund will enhance the economic growth, activity and output of our regions and sustain these gains into the future, with a particular focus on assisting disadvantaged areas to achieve long term economic prosperity.

The fund will invest in crucial infrastructure projects nominated by local communities, ensuring Australia’s regions are investing in their own future.

As well as providing direct investment in major projects that deliver economic and social benefits, the fund will have flow on benefits of improving the capacity of organisations to deliver projects.

The fund encourages the formation of strong partnerships that engage project proponents with the private sector, and local, state and territory governments.

Projects seeking funding will be considered in consultation with the Australian Government’s National Infrastructure Committee, which has a strong interest in, and commitment to, harnessing the potential of Australia’s regions.

The Guidelines for the National Stronger Regions Fund detail the type of project proposals sought, how to lodge an application, how assessments will be conducted, and critical programme dates.

To access the guidelines, and to lodge a Round One application, visit