GM of Industry Strategy & Public Policy at Vodafone Hutchison Australia to present at Australian Regional Development Conference

Matthew Lobb, General Manager, Industry Strategy & Public Policy at Vodafone Hutchison Australia will present at the Australian Regional Development Conference will be 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.

Speaker Introduction: Matthew Lobb has overall responsibility for Vodafone’s government and stakeholder relations, regulatory affairs and public policy reform agenda. A key focus of this work is to advocate the need for a level competitive playing field in Australian telecommunications that fosters innovation and drives improvements to customer service.

Matthew joined Vodafone in 2011 after working as General Manager for Industry Engagement at NBN Co from 2009. Prior to this Matthew had an eight year stint in Telstra and held a range of roles including Director, Telstra Consumer Pricing, Group Manager, Commercial Development and Group Regulatory Manager, Telstra Wholesale.

Matthew also has extensive experience within Government having worked as an advisor to the Minister for Transport and Roads in NSW and to the Minister for Competition and Consumer Affairs in the Federal Government.

Matthew is a Rhodes Scholar and has Honours degrees in Economics and in Law from the Australian National University, a MA from Oxford University and a MSc (International Relations) from the London School of Economics.

Presentation Title: Utilising the NBN to deliver improved regional mobile telecommunications coverage and choice


Regional consumers are demanding mobile coverage and 83 percent of regional consumers agree that being able to choose their mobile provider is important.

Overcoming the roadblocks to mobile competition in regional areas will ensure consumers and businesses receive more coverage, better value, better service, choice and innovation.

Australia’s telecommunications market has undergone a profound change in the last 15 years and Australian consumers have become some of the most technologically savvy in the world. These changes and the rapid uptake of new technology have fundamentally changed our lives and benefited our economy.

In many places in regional Australia the economy and consumers are being denied access to reliable mobile phone coverage and the benefits that flow from mobility. The Australian telecommunications market is not driving sufficient investment in regional mobile infrastructure to deliver the benefits of the mobility to all Australians. Incentivising investment and removing the roadblocks to coverage expansion is a policy challenge that must be overcome.

In many areas of Australia it is only economically viable to build one set of mobile infrastructure. The best approach to deliver improved mobile coverage and increase consumer choice is for Government to facilitate telecommunications industry collaboration that reduces costs by better sharing infrastructure.

This includes leveraging the substantial investments that the NBN is undertaking in regional Australia. There are also a range of other policy levers that can be used to encourage infrastructure sharing. This includes better utilisation of the $300m per annum Universal Service Obligation payments that are currently not directed to mobile infrastructure.

The needs of mobile networks are technically similar to other uses of the NBN. In regional areas the NBN can reduce the costs of building mobile networks to expand coverage by utilising the NBN’s fixed-line network for ‘access backhaul’ services. NBN’s fixed-wireless network which is currently being built can also provide a foundation for the expansion of mobile coverage across Australia.

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

Approval for major new Chinese owned coal mine on Liverpool Plains


(ABC Four Corners – ABC TV)

The Planning Assessment Commission decides a major new open cut coal mine can go ahead on some of the most fertile farm land in Australia.

The NSW Planning Assessment Commission give the green light for a major new Chinese owned coal mine on the Liverpool Plains.

The Liverpool Plains near Gunnedah are often described as the food-bowl of Australia, with some of the nation’s most fertile agricultural land.

The Shenhua Watermark Coal project includes developing a new open cut coal mine that will extract up to 10-million tonnes of coal a year for 30 years.

For more than eight years farmers in the region have been campaigning to stop the project, expressing concern about the impact on the underground water system and soils.

Shenhua paid the former NSW Labor Government $300 million for the exploration licence.

The project has been through the Department of Planning and reviewed by the Planning Assessment Commission.

The PAC’s final determination give the green light for the project subject to comprehensive conditions and management requirements.

It’s outlined six key points including protecting the Black Soil Plains.

The PAC says it believes the mine will be in the hills above the black soil plains and will not directly disturb those fertile soils.

It says it will generate dust, noise and blasting impacts on land around the mine, but it says those impacts can be managed.

The PAC has found the mine will have ‘modest impacts on groundwater’ in the hard rock aquifers, rather than the Upper Naomi alluvial aquifers relied on by the agricultural sector.

It’s found groundwater draw downs are well within the levels permitted by the NSW Aquifer Interference Policy.

Traditional owners have expressed deep concern about the project’s impact on three ‘grinding groove’ sites and Shenhua’s plans to have them relocated, but the PAC believes the sacred objects can be relocated and preserved.

A known Koala habitat, the PAC has also found that the mining company’s Koala Plan of Management will ensure that koalas are given the best chance of survival both in any translocation programs.

The PAC says it is satisfied that the proposal will generate significant employment, royalties and other economic benefits to the community.

The Caroona Coal Action Group has been involved in a campaign against the mine for the last eight years, it’s CEO Tim Duddy is angry.

“As this progressively moves, the water resources will be destroyed the agricultural region will be die, the towns will be harmed and in the short term there will be a boom, then there will be a huge bust leaving a legacy where there is nothing forever. And basically the PAC has signed the warrant for that to happen today.”

An emotional Mr Duddy says the fight will continue.

“This is not the end of it, but this is a very, very black day for our region.”

“This whole process, the whole thing that is being contemplated here, is based on things that have been shown that in other places they do not work. We are being left with the same crap, that the miners are being allowed to get away with time and time again things that there isn’t another industry alive which would be able to get away with it.”

“People are so tied to this place and people are so angry about these processes that we have participated in for the last eight years in good faith, [believing} that our assets would be protected, and clearly with what the Planning and Assessment has signed today, they are not.”

He says he is very concerned about the impact the decision may have on the mental health of the community who’ve fought for almost a decade.

“I can’t imagine what this will do to the community, and I expect that something awful will happen as a result of this. Someone will lose it because of this and something awful will happen.”

Sheuhua has welcomed the decision. The Project Manager, Paul Jackson says the result is the final step in a long journey…

Read more by Kelly Fuller, ABC New England North West 29 January 2015

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Great South Coast group’s housing plan outlines challenges

Priority_Projects-2014A STRATEGIC plan predicting demand for housing will outpace population growth in the south-west will be taken to state government ministers soon in the hope of getting funding and policy support.

The Great South Coast group’s new regional strategic plan shows the region’s overall population growth will be barely half the projected state level, but Warrnambool will be a stand-out performer with a 34 per cent growth in the 20 years to 2031 and about half the region’s population.

Its 2014-19 strategic plan list the main challenges as the decline of small towns, an ageing population, managing growth, protecting natural and cultural heritage, boosting education attainment, better access to services, tackling regional disadvantages, economic growth and improving health.

Group executive officer Karen Foster told The Standard her team would approach all state ministers seeking meetings to brief them on the plan as soon as possible.

“We want to give them a sense of what’s important in our region,” Ms Foster said.

The Great South Coast Group, an alliance of government, industry and community across six municipalities, advocates on key issues and promotes the potential of the region, which already produces a quarter of the nation’s milk.

Ms Foster said the strategic plan was developed over four years and expanded on goals set by an earlier regional alliance. It also incorporates priorities outlined in a 30-year regional growth plan unveiled by the former state government in July.

The strategic plan shows Warr-nambool is expected to have about 44,000 residents by 2031, including a 25 per cent growth spurt by 2026…

Read more by Peter Collins, The Standard 20 January 2015


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Rural Health Care and regional development are mutually supportive

Rural Health Care in Australia is part of a rural urban divide discussion. People living in rural areas tend to have shorter lives and higher levels of illness and disease risk factors than those in major cities.

It is also true that, on average, people living in rural Australia do not always have the same opportunities for good health as those living in major cities.For example, residents of more inaccessible areas of Australia are generally disadvantaged in their access to good and services, educational and employment opportunities and income.

In contrast, rural Australians generally have higher levels of social cohesiveness, for example, higher rates of participation in volunteer work and feelings of safety in their community. (Australian Institute of Health Welfare)

Rural Health Care

Impact of rurality on health status – Health outcomes, as exemplified by higher rates of death, tend to be poorer outside major cities. The main contributors to higher death rates in regional and remote areas are coronary heart disease, other circulatory diseases, motor vehicle accidents and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (e.g. emphysema). These higher death rates may relate to differences in access to services, risk factors and the regional/remote environment. (Australian Institute of Health Welfare)

Data quality issues, the limited nature of available data-sets, poor identification of Indigenous people in data collections and differences between the operation of health systems in major cities and regional and remote areas, can often make comparison difficult.

Australian Regional Development Conference will feature discussions on Rural, Remote and Regional health care. It will be held in Albury NSW on the 15 – 16 October 2014. The conference with a focus on the broad issues of economic, planning, environment and community development. The conference will focus on the improvement of economic and social outcomes for regional Australia.

“Regional development and good health are mutually supportive. By providing jobs, services and infrastructure, regional development contributes to the social determinants of good health. In return, a healthy community provides one of the bases for successful local businesses.” National Rural Health Alliance

rural urban divide for healthcare
rural urban divide for healthcare

Call for papers – rural, remote and regional health care, would you like to speak at this conference

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.


RDA ConferenceAustralian Regional Development Conference

15-16 October 2014, The Commercial Club Albury Secretariat: (T) 61 7 5502 2068 (F) 07 5527 3298 Email: URL:


Transport Hubs for Australia:

Transport Hubs for Australia, the intermodal issues for road, rail, ports and airports represents a challenge and opportunity for regional Australia. An intermodal logistics hub can be an economic asset for a regional community when they become a regional service centre.

Parkes has a long-standing plan to become a transport hub for all of Australia. It’s on the Newell Highway and the Sydney to Perth Rail line and it’s hoped an extension of the Melbourne to Brisbane rail line would mean freight companies could use Parkes as a distribution point to warehouse goods and then send them anywhere in the country.


Parkes, plans to be the transport hub for Australia

Parkes, plans to be the transport hub for Australia

70% of the Australian population can be
reached in one day from Parkes

Australian Regional Development  Conference, will be held in Albury NSW on the 15 – 16 October 2014 with a focus on the broad issues of economic, planning, environment and community development.

Call for papers – would you like to speak on transport and logistics hubs in regional Australia?

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.

Australian Regional Development Conference

RDA Conference15-16 October 2014, The Commercial Club Albury
Secretariat (T) 61 7 5502 2068 (F) 07 5527 3298
Email: URL: