Catherine Crowden on Collaborative Area Management

Catherine Crowden on Regional Area Management

Catherine Crowden on Regional Area Management

Regional Area Management: We are pleased to announce Mrs Catherine Crowden, Project Officer, South West NRM as a session speaker at The 3rd Australian Regional Development Conference; Participation and Progress will be held in Canberra on 5 – 6 September 2016.

Catherine Crowden will be speaking on ‘Who Fenced the Dogs Out? Collaborative Area Management: Working Together to Support the Grazing Industries of South West Queensland’ in the Regional environmental sustainability stream.

Regional Area Management: The Collaborative Area Management (CAM) project is a cost-efficient, pest exclusion and total grazing pressure management model developed by South West NRM, with funding support provided by the Australian and Queensland Governments. This innovative concept involves land managers working cooperatively to build and maintain an exclusion fence around a group of properties.

Through a collaborative approach that presents strong economies of scale, projects can be implemented with significantly less private and public investment. Following fence construction, land managers continue to work as a group to manage invasive pest animals inside the cluster. Outcomes of this project include a reduction in the environmental and economic impacts of pest animals and an improvement in livestock production and profitability. A decrease in predation allows land managers the choice to return to, or continue working in the sheep industry, a class of production closely correlated with the sustainability of rural townships. A decrease in total grazing pressure, through a reduction in pest animal numbers, enables land managers to implement pasture management practices resulting in improved pasture health.

Catherine Crowden is the Project Officer for the Collaborative Area Management Project through South West NRM where she has worked for the past two years. Catherine completed a Bachelor of Science in 2013 with Majors in Conservation and Wildlife Biology and Environmental Management through Murdoch University in Western Australia where she lived for seven years. Catherine is responsible for the on-ground monitoring and evaluation of the project, reporting to the QLD State Government and working closely with the land managers involved both inside and outside of the cluster groups.

Regional Area Management will be discussed at The 3rd Australian Regional Development Conference; Participation and Progress to be held in Canberra on 5 – 6 September 2016 to register for the conference CLICK HERE.

With over 60 speakers and 7 keynote speakers, it is the Regional Development Conference to be sure to attend. To view the 2016 Conference Program CLICK HERE.

Director of MRA Consulting, Mike Ritchie to present on Waste Trends and Regionalisation

Mike Ritchie, Director of MRA Consulting will present at the Australian Regional Development Conference being held in Albury on the 26– 27 August 2015.

Mike Ritchie

Mike Ritchie

Speaker Introduction: Mike Ritchie is the Director of MRA consulting where his 20 years experience in environmental policy and business development has facilitated the company’s growth in waste, resource recovery and carbon management.

Prior to launching MRA, he was National General Manager – Business Development and Marketing with SITA, General Manager of Services at Waste Service NSW and State Manager of VISY. He has worked in local government as senior advisor to the Mayor of Brisbane and as a Director of Liverpool City Council.

He was National Vice President of the Waste Management Association of Australia (WMAA), past President of WMAA NSW, Chair of the Carbon Division of WMAA, and is current Chair of the AWT Division.

He was a member of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Waste and Resource Recovery Governance Reform appointed by the Victorian Minister for Environment and Climate Change. He was a contributor to the national “Climate Change Risks to Australia’s Coast” Assessment Report.

Mike works with governments and businesses across Australia to develop innovative and cost effective waste and recycling strategies, technologies and services.

Presentation Title: Waste Trends and Regionalisation

Overview: Australia generates 46.8 MT of waste. Despite steady increases in the rate of recovery (av. 52%), the waste generated between 2002/03 and 2008/09 grew by 40%, while population increased by only 10% (SoE Report NSW, 2013). There are more of us but we are consuming proportionally more each year per person.

Waste generation has been growing at a historic average of 4-7% per year and still is. That means the amount of waste the industry has to process is doubling every ten to eighteen years. Generally, recycling is not growing at a rate fast enough to reduce waste to landfill by much.

Overall, pricing landfills, driving recycling initiatives and diverting waste back to the productive economy is neither easy nor cheap. Ultimately, it is the role of Government to decide the extent and speed of the transition from landfill to resource recovery, or not. It is the function of government to weigh the competing interests of resources, sustainability and cost. The industry is there to assist and invest where it can, once the direction is set.

One method to improve resource recovery is to consolidate regional landfills via conversion into transfer stations. Significant cost savings and environmental benefit can be realised through this process. Consolidation of these landfill assets is an easy win in terms of cost reduction and environmental improvement, including higher resource recovery rates.

The rationalisation of regional landfills can also benefit from assistance under Waste Less, Recycle More. The NSW EPA put aside $7 million to fund consolidation, closure and environmental improvements of landfills under the program.

Rationalisation of small landfill assets may also avoid the additional cost of licencing facilities under the updated NSW POEO Waste Regulations 2014, effective from November 1, 2014. Under the updated Regulations sites which accept more than 12,000 tonnes of material a year or have on site at any time more than 2,500 tonnes or 2,500 cubic metres of material will require a licence.

Beyond the cost, environmental and legal benefits of rural landfill consolidation, this rationalisation process will also centralise material volumes at larger sites. This also provides an opportunity to build new recovery infrastructure or improve the costs effectiveness of existing infrastructure via economies of scale.

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 Conference program, please click here.  For information on registration or to book your delegate pass, visit the website 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.


Helen Knight form Planisphere to present on ‘Landscape Character and Significance’

Helen Knight, Associate Senior Planner and Urban Designer at Planisphere to present at the Australian Regional Development Conference being held in Albury on the 26– 27 August 2015.

Helen Knight

Helen Knight

Speaker Introduction: Helen is a senior strategic planner and urban designer with extensive experience in both consulting and local government in Australia and overseas. Helen’s experience encompasses urban design, heritage planning, landscape assessment, structure planning, urban regeneration and strategic and statutory planning, in a variety of urban, regional and rural settings.

She has a keen appreciation of the built environment and a desire to better utilise the planning system to create urban places that are sustainable, memorable and people-focused. She brings a thoughtful and conscientious approach to her work, and produces high quality written and visual products.

Helen enjoys the process of working collaboratively with clients, the community and other consultants to develop a broad strategic vision for each project. She is skilled in translating this vision into detailed built form and public realm recommendations which can be readily implemented in the planning scheme or through ongoing management practices. Her training in architecture is evident in her work and her ability to reflect this in writing is a rare talent. Helen has been actively involved in the profession previously serving as the Urban Design Convenor on the PIA (Vic) Committee.

Presentation Title: Landscape Character and Significance, affecting policy
Co-Author: Isobel Maginn, Planner and Landscape Architect at Planisphere

Overview: The presentation will focus on the Landscape Character and Significance work prepared by Planisphere for a large proportion of rural and regional Victoria including the Victorian Coastline and the majority of Western and Northern Victoria, including the many varied landscapes of desert, agricultural plains and rugged uplands.

A methodology will be presented that has been pioneered over many years involving over twenty months of comprehensive research, extensive field survey work and a broad and inclusive consultation program which presents a thorough assessment of landscape character, areas and views of significance across Victoria.

The outputs of the Study will be used by a range of councils and key government agencies to better inform decision making through a more detailed consideration of impacts, opportunities and approaches to achieve improved siting and design outcomes for development within these important landscapes.

To view and/or download the Conference program, please click here.  For information on registration or to book your delegate pass, visit the website here.

A/Prof Leanne Piggott to present on developing an Australia-GCC Fair Trade Agreement

A/Prof Leanne Piggott, Director of Business Education at The University of Sydney Business School will present at the Australian Regional Development Conference will be held at the Commercial Club Albury on the 26– 27 August 2015.

Leanne Piggott

Leanne Piggott

Speaker Introduction: Associate Professor Leanne Piggott is a graduate of the University of Oxford and the University of Sydney. She is the Director of Business Education at The University of Sydney Business School where she teaches political risk management and related topics on the global business environment including a course on energy and environmental sustainability.

Leanne’s research interests focus on the nexus between energy, food, and water security, with a particular focus on supply and demand fundamentals, the geopolitics of oil markets, and off-shore investment as a strategy for food security. In relation to the latter topic, she is currently consulting for a Middle East Gulf country in developing their food security strategy and multi-billion dollar food security investment strategy.

Leanne is a regular contributor to the executive education program on national security at the Australian National Security College, speaking mainly on energy security and the challenges of Australia’s liquid fuel insecurity.

Leanne is a member of the Business 20 (B20), which leads engagement with G20 governments on behalf of the international business community. She is also a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. She is currently co-editing a volume in DFAT’s series of Documents on Australia on Australian Foreign Policy, on Australia and the Middle East in the post-1950 period.

Abstract Title: Towards an Australia-GCC FTA: strategies and frameworks to facilitate long-term and mutually beneficial partnerships between GCC importers and regional Australia’s agriculture exporters
Co-Author: Michael Katz, Associate Lecturer at The University of Sydney Business School

Abstract Overview: The States of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), comprising Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, provide an important market for Australian agribusiness. In 2013, GCC trade with Australia was AU$12.307 billion, of which Australian exports of live animals and other agricultural and food products comprised around AU$2 billion (DFAT 2015). With rapidly growing populations but minimal arable land and potable water, GCC countries are increasingly turning to trade and investment to underpin their national food security strategies. Having learned lessons from failed investments in food in developing countries, often food insecure themselves, GCC countries are now looking for export and investment opportunities in low-risk, net food exporting countries such as Australia. Whilst negotiations for an Australia-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) FTA remain suspended pending the GCC’s review of its trade agreement policy, the resumption and successful outcome of talks leading to an FTA between Australia and the GCC would provide invaluable opportunities for the development of regional agriculture in Australia.

The aim of this paper is to identify possible opportunities for agribusinesses in regional Australia by examining the needs of GCC countries to secure long-term, sustainable food imports and explore how regional businesses might best align with these opportunities, both in the short-term and in the future as trade relations are further enhanced by the prospect of an Australia-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) FTA. In doing so, the authors will draw on work they recently concluded for a GCC sovereign wealth fund in developing a food security investment strategy. Discussion will include the methodology developed for devising what the authors have called a dual mandate investment strategy that delivers on a food security mandate and also achieves a minimum expected financial return. As will be argued, GCC-based investors who have a specific food security perspective differ in approach to traditional capital investments or offtake agreements. This in turn points the way to significant opportunities for Australian businesses in the agricultural sector to pursue long-term, engaged and mutually beneficial partnerships.

To view and/or download the Conference program, please click here.  For information on registration or to book your delegate pass, visit the website here.