The 2018 Australian Regional Development Conference was held at Twin Towns Services Club, Tweed Heads, over 17 and 18 September.

The conference theme for 2018 was Uncovering Regional Possibilities, which aimed to encourage out of the box thinking and spread learning from passionate advocates about the great things that are being done to develop sustainable communities.

The 2018 Australian Regional Development Conference continued to provide a unified platform to network and be part of the conversation on the learnings, solutions and challenges of Australia’s regional and rural areas.

Dates for 2019 will be announced soon.

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Who Should Attend – our diverse audience includes:

  • Local Government: General Manager, Councillors, Mayor, Economic Development Officer, Sector Development Coordinator
  • State Government: Researcher, Regional Manager
  • Federal Government: Economic and Social Integration
  • Corporate: Managers, Directors, CEO, Project Officer, Consultants, Executive Officer, Principal, Founder, Associate
  • Academic: Researcher, Lecturer, PHD Student
  • Association/NFP/Charity: Regional Development Manager, Senior Economist, Chair
Draft program available 27 June 2018
Presentation amendments 6 July 2018
Innovation Awards Submission 23 July 2018
Presenter registration and payment 27 July 2018
Full papers for peer review 3 August 2018
Full paper for non-peer review 10 September 2018
Early bird registrations close 3 August 2018

Conference Topics

  • Federal and state or local council
  • Decentralisation of government offices, opportunities
  • Facilitating program transition, local involvement
  • Flexibility of programs and policy implementation
  • Renewable energy and energy supply
  • Natural resource management including water management
  • Food and agriculture, farming
  • Fisheries, ports, offshore
  • Transport logistics, road, freight rail, shipping ports and regional airports
  • Telecommunications, increase connectivity
  • Digital Economy
  • Job creation and skilled migration, telecommuting, working age population
  • Supporting the younger working population
  • Service delivery provision – health (NDIS), housing, aged care
  • Housing affordability and urbanisation
  • International and domestic education, universities and vocational training
  • Cultural and entertainment, libraries
  • Banking and finance, liveable and investable, domestic superannuation
  • Is growing bigger towns the solution?
  • Developing training, supporting upskilling
  • Engaging industry sector opportunity – tourism, education, creative industries, defence force
  • Leadership; influence
  • Initiatives in structuring a vibrant community
  • Placemaking case studies
  • Engagement and innovation, person centred
  • Futuristic view
  • Trends in relation to industry, innovation and entrepreneurship decline, solutions
  • Population decline and shift in demographics
  • Challenges associated with economic development for aged care
  • Infrastructure, engagement, development and planning
  • Long term sustainability
  • Attracting investment, economic growth strategy
  • Retention and increase of job availability
  • Embracing entrepreneurship

Program Committee

Mr Tony McBurney, Director, Integrated Design Group (Chair)

Ms Kerry Grace, CEO, RDA Mid North Coast

Ms Natalie Egleton, CEO, Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR)

Mr David Spear, General Manager Partnerships & Communication, Regional Australia Institute

Nicole Pearson, General Manager, Regional and Dams Policy Branch, Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities, Australian Government

Ms Narelle Pearse, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Finance & Planning), CQUniversity

Ms Susan Benedyka, Chair of Hume Regional Development Australia

Confirmed Featured Speakers

Adjunct Professor Tony Sorensen, University of New England.

Dr Sandra Phillips, Associate Professor and Coordinator, Indigenous Higher Degree by Research in the Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research (JIIER), University of Technology Sydney

Dr Kim Houghton, General Manager of Policy and Research, Regional Australia Institute

Ms Fiona Nash, Strategic Advisor, Regional Development, Charles Sturt University

Hon Ben Franklin MLC, Parliamentary Secretary for Renewable Energy and Northern NSW, NSW Government

Mr Nick Cleary, Chairman & CEO, Consolidated Land and Rail Australia (CLARA)

Ms Jillian Kilby,CEO & Founder, The Infrastructure Collaborative

Mr Chris Adams, CEO, City of Karratha

Cr Katie Milne, Mayor, Tweed Shire Council

Important Dates

Abstracts close
1 June 2018
Notification to authors
8 June 2018
Author acceptances
18 June 2018
Draft program available
27 June 2018
Presentation amendments
6 July 2018
Innovation Awards Submission Close
23 July 2018
Presenter registration and payment
27 July 2018
Full papers for peer review
3 August 2018
Full paper for non-peer review
10 September 2018
Early bird registrations close
3 August 2018

Conference Highlights 2017

Mr Jack Archer, CEO, Regional Australia Institute

Jack Archer has been with the Regional Australia Institute (RAI) since its inception in 2012, and developed the RAI’s policy and research program including major products such as [In]Sight: Australia’s Regional Competitiveness Index and [In]Form: Australia’s Online Library of Regional Research. Jack took up the role as Chief Executive Officer on 1 July 2015.

In previous roles as a consultant and public servant, Jack contributed to major regional reforms in water, climate change, indigenous issues and industry. Jack’s 2017 presentation focused on regional population trends and how regional communities are responding.

Ms Lorraine Gordon, Project Director, Farm Co-operatives & Collaboration

Lorraine Gordon is the director of the Federal Government’s Farm Co-operatives and Collaboration Pilot Program, known as Farming Together. The national, two-year $13.8m program is developing and supporting co-operatives, collective bargaining groups and collaborations among Australia’s primary producers. The co-initiator of the successful Ebor Beef Co-operative, Lorraine is the former NSW Rural Woman of the Year and CEO of Regional Development Australia (RDA) Mid North Coast.

Lorraine’s 2017 presentation had an emphasis on developing self-sustaining collaborative groups among Australian primary producers.

Cr Col Murray, Deputy Chair, Regional Capitals Australia & Mayor, Tamworth Regional Council

Cr Murray is in his fourth term on Tamworth Regional Council and his seventh term as Mayor. He served as Deputy Mayor for two years prior to becoming Mayor. He is the Deputy Chair of Regional Capitals Australia – an alliance of local government associations advocating for continued growth and sustainable development of regional capitals around the nation. His presentation in 2017 discussed the importance of regional capital cities to the regional development agenda.

Mr Will Rayner, CFO, Rural Bank

Will joined Bendigo’s specialist agricultural offering, Rural Bank, in September 2013, and was appointed Chief Financial Officer in October 2015. Will is a non-executive director of Community Insurance Solutions Pty Ltd, and non-executive director of the SA Dairy Industry Fund. Will has spent his life immersed in Australian rural and regional affairs. He grew up as a fifth-generation farmer on his family’s wheat and sheep farm in the mid-north of South Australia.

In 2017, Will presented on Agriculture as a growth engine for regional Australia.

Conference Partners 2017 - 2018

Mail to: PO Box 29, Nerang, 4211
+(61 7) 5502 2068