Book your spot at the Australian Regional Development Conference!

The 3rd Australian Regional Development Conference is on again this September and will this year have a theme of ‘Regional Australia – Planning, Participation and Progress’ –  exploring opportunities for innovation in regional Australia. With its rich resources, diversity, and value, regional Australia is the catalyst for the future.

Attending the Australian Regional Development Conference this year so far, we have 24 local councils from throughout Australia along with representatives from 5 branches of Regional Development Australia.

Concurrent session themes include:

  • Agribusiness
  • Community Development
  • Digital Economies
  • Employment
  • Innovation
  • Investment
  • Land use Planning
  • Regional environmental sustainability
  • Sustainable Development and Urban Planning
  • Regional Tourism Development
  • Water

The conference will be held in Canberra on 5-6 September 2016 and is designed for individuals and representatives from organisations with an academic, business or professional interest in regional development.RD Small

Full registration will include all conference sessions and keynotes, morning teas, lunches, afternoon teas, conference dinner, conference materials including handbook and the on-line book of abstracts. It also includes access to the book of proceedings and presenter podcasts, post conference.

Click here to register for the conference today.







Metallica Minerals discovers rare graphite in north Queensland

ABC Rural

Metallica Minerals has discovered graphite at Croydon in north Queensland. Graphite is used in batteries, laptops, lubricants, construction materials, medicine and pencils.

Graphene, which is produced from graphite, is being lauded as having huge potential in the development of computers, mobile phones and aviation materials. Currently there is only one operating graphite mine in Australia, at Port Lincoln in South Australia.

The graphite was found in Metallica’s first graphite-focused core drill hole at the Esmeralda Graphite Project, south of Croydon. The company is yet to receive laboratory results about the quality of the graphite, but Metallica CEO Simon Slesarewich said visual assessments had been positive.

“Visually it looks like the grade is very encouraging, but the proof in the pudding will be when we get these assays back in November sometime,” he said.

“I don’t think it is too early to be excited. A very large intercept like that is very rare globally, so it has the potential to be world class.

“Graphite, unlike many other metals, you can actually visually see it in the core, so it is reasonable to look at that and make an informed assumption of what the grade may be.”

The drill hole intersected more than 120 metres of graphite, and visual inspection indicated the majority of the core could contain more than 10 per cent graphite, up to 20 per cent in places.

Mr Slesarewich said the graphite discovered was a pure hydrothermal mineralisation, which is very rare. While he was excited about the discovery, he said there was a long road ahead. “This is the first drill hole and we’re drilling the second one as we speak, so although it’s exciting and encouraging, a lot of work and questions need to be answered prior to us even thinking about any sort of development.”

Read more.

Big potential for growth in East Arnhem Land

ABC Rural

The head of a development body in Nhulunbuy believes the region is well poised to capitalise on potential agriculture and aquaculture ventures.

Rio Tinto’s decision to curtail the local alumina refinery in 2014 meant more than 1,000 people lost their jobs and the town took a huge economic hit.

Developing East Arnhem Land, which was created last year as a result of the curtailment, has been pitching to the major projects conference in Darwin this week.

CEO Carley Scott said there were a number of opportunities for investment in projects beyond mining.

“There’s been a big move in East Arnhem Land where we’ve seen people go through a really tough period and now come out the other side to a large degree,” she said.

“We can look at the port infrastructure that we’ve got there and what we can do with aquaculture in particular, agriculture as well.

“Whether it’s beef product that we already have there or… the crocodile industry, which is of interest to us.”

Ms Scott said there were a number of challenges that needed to be overcome to achieve the development sought, including access to land.

“If you’re looking to access land to develop, there is certainly commercial land available so that’s a real positive,” she said.

“You’re looking to build those partnerships… so you’ve got those really strong networks and the ability to really work well in the region.”

Read more.

Director of AURIN, Andrew Dingjan to present on ‘Harnessing Data to Support Regional Development’

Andrew Dingjan, Director of AURIN to present at the Australian Regional Development Conference being held at the Commercial Club Albury on the 26– 27 August 2015.

The Conference is an initiative of the Association for Sustainability in Business Inc., a non-Government ‘not-for-profit’ organisation.

Andrew Dingjan

Andrew Dingjan

Speaker Introduction: Andrew was appointed Director of AURIN in March 2015.

He joined from CSIRO where he worked for 9 years in executive level business, technology commercialisation and research management leadership positions. Having worked across CSIRO’s Digital Productivity and Health Flagships and led a research team within CSIRO’s Mathematics and Statistics Division, Andrew’s contributions were substantial. Most recently as CSIRO Senior Technical Advisor to Boeing where he successfully negotiated and executed a $25million/5 year strategic research alliance, in the process, identifying an opportunity for a new line of business for CSIRO in network enabled manufacturing. Prior to that, as Research Theme Leader for the Decision Technologies Theme, Andrew successfully led the first forays for CSIRO’s decision sciences into the business & government ‘services economy’ resulting in the $20 million/ 3 year Department of Human Services (Centrelink) contract and the $6 million/3 year CSIRO-Monash Superannuation Research Cluster. In 2012 Andrew was corecipient of the CSIRO Medal for Research Achievement for his role in the successful commercialisation and licensing of a new aerospace technology.

Prior to joining CSIRO Andrew held Group Executive Level Marketing roles with a number of Australia’s largest financial institutions, including ANZ. His passion for R&D driven innovation was reinforced early on as Communications and Policy advisor to Australia’s original applied R&D business, Invetech Vision Systems. During this time Andrew was active in re-focussing debate in Australian industry on R&D investment levels as a percentage of revenue turnover and encouraging increased expenditure on product and process innovation as a means of achieving business advantage.

Andrew attended the University of Melbourne, was a resident of Trinity College, and graduated with a BA (Hons). He earned his MBA from RMIT University’s Graduate School of Management. He holds a Diploma in Corporate Management from the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators/Australian Graduate School of Management and is a 2013 graduate from the Boeing Executive leadership Program at the Boeing Leadership Centre in St Louis, Missouri.

Presentation Title: Harnessing Data to Support Regional Development: An Australian Case Study
Co-Author: John Barton, Urban Data and eResearch Officerat AURIN

Overview: As the environmental and demographic pressures are placed on our rural and regional communities, there is need for ambitious approaches to provide the right data and analytical tools to support smart regional growth and planning. This paper introduces the Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network which is currently enabling a network of researchers, planners and policy-makers from across Australia in evidence-based decision making, via access to an online workbench of data and tools. The workbench comprises of almost 2,000 datasets, over 100 spatial statistical routines, and a select number of planning support systems and geodesign tools. We will outline the data and analytical capability the online workbench, introduce a couple of the PSS tools and spatial statistical capabilities through a case-study approach which can be applied to the Australian regional context. We also discuss the user outreach and capacity building capability program which is a critical component to assist with user adoption. We conclude with some thoughts and suggestions on how previously urban-focussed research programs can be re-prioritised to support excellent decision making in our peri-urban, regional and remote communities.

About the Conference
The Australian Regional Development Conference is an initiative of the Association for Sustainability in Business Inc., a non-Government ‘not-for-profit’ organisation. The 2015 theme is “Redefining the Future of Regional Australia”, it will explore the issues and opportunities facing Regional Australia today and into the future.

Concurrent streams will focus on the following topics:

  • Sustainability / Renewables
  • Population Movements
  • Community Development
  • Government Policy
  • Innovation
  • Infrastructure
  • Cultural Tourism / Regional Tourism Development
  • Free Trade Agreements
  • Transport and Logistics
  • NBN / Broadband Communication
  • Banking / Finance

To view and/or download the Australian Regional Development Conference program please click here.

Preparing for growth in Australia’s cities and regions

Media Release

Investment in urban and regional infrastructure will be better informed with the release of the Progress in Australian Regions—State of Regional Australia 2015 and State of Australian Cities 2014-15 publications today.

The publications provide an understanding of the nation’s overall economic and social wellbeing.

The economic output of our major cities has grown and their national importance remains extremely high, although mining activity in regional Australia has seen the overall percentage contribution by major cities to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) dip slightly. [Page 1, State of the Cities 2014-15].

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the release of both reports provides a deeper, more complete picture of the population, employment, economic and transport trends that are occurring across Australia.

“Building the infrastructure Australia needs for the future is best informed by a thorough understanding of the challenges ahead, and these publications will provide vital information for infrastructure planners and communities,” Mr Truss said.

“The Australian Government released both the State of Australian Cities and State of Regional Australia reports concurrently to provide a nationwide view of Australia’s progress.”

Mr Truss said the release of the publications recognised the interrelated nature of cities and their surrounding regions.

“State of Australian Cities 2014-15 is an important tool for all levels of government in understanding where our cities are performing well and where there are opportunities for improvement,” he said.

“While there is no doubt our cities are vitally important for the nation’s prosperity they cannot be considered in isolation from their surrounding regions.

“The Progress in Australia’s Regions—State of Regional Australia 2015 report illustrates the different ways that regions change and takes into account aspects like population growth, economic wellbeing and social progress.

“This report shows that infrastructure continues to support the economies of regional Australian by promoting the efficient flow of people and resources while also providing regional Australians with access to essential services such as education and health.

“In December 2014, my Department released the Progress in Australian Regions—Yearbook 2014 to provide a statistical resource that can help answer the question of how regions are progressing against economic, social, environmental and governance indicators.

“This publication will enable governments, private investors and the community to identify trends that are important for policy development and investment decisions.

“The Government will continue to provide detailed analysis of the challenges facing the nation—inclusive of regional Australia.”

Mr Truss said the Australian Government had been investing widely in urban and regional infrastructure since being elected.

“Our commitment to delivering national prosperity begins with delivering the infrastructure Australia needs, and we have embarked on a nationwide programme of investment to achieve this end,” he said.

“Commitments such as the $8.5 billion upgrade of the Bruce Highway and the $1.6 billion Toowoomba Second Range Crossing—the largest commitment to a single regional road project in Queensland’s history—will support the continued movement of goods to domestic and international markets.

“Likewise, the Perth Freight Link will create a new world class freight connection between the Roe Highway and the Fremantle Port, and we are expecting a business case and delivery plan for the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail project soon.

“The announcement of Badgerys Creek as the preferred site for Western Sydney’s airport is a significant commitment, and we are investing $2.9 billion towards key road upgrades to support the region through the $3.6 billion Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan.

“The $5 billion Asset Recycling Initiative is helping states build major urban public transport projects, such as the Second Harbour Rail Crossing in Sydney.

“When projects like these are combined with our other initiatives such as the Black Spot, Bridges Renewal and Roads to Recovery programmes—with Roads to Recovery receiving over $1.1 billion in extra funding in the past fortnight—Australia’s infrastructure future looks very promising indeed.”

The publications can be found online at: and

Australian Regional Development Conference (ARDC)
26 – 28 August 2015 | Albury, New South Wales

Conference sponsored by La Trobe University, The Regional Development Company, Vertel, EJ Australia, REMPLAN, .id the population experts and the Association for Sustainability in Business Inc.