Case Study B1: The Third Regional Perspectives conference, 'Understanding Sustainable Regions'
Understanding the social and economic dynamics in Australia's regions is an essential starting point for progressing regional sustainability.
To increase understanding through open discussion and knowledge sharing between groups with an interest in regional Australia, the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) held its third Regional Perspectives conference at Parliament House, Canberra, on 17 June 2008.
The conference provided a forum for the latest research on Australia's regions and aired issues vital to regional wellbeing and sustainability. Delegates included government officers, academics and regional practitioners.
The keynote speaker, Professor Philip McCann from the University of Waikato, New Zealand, talked about Australia's need to facilitate knowledge transactions between cities and surrounding regions to compete in the knowledge-focused global economy.
The Hon Gary Gray AO MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Development and Northern Australia, addressed the delegates, launching BITRE's annual About Australia's regions booklet, an accessible introduction to social, economic and environmental statistics for Australia's regions. The Parliamentary Secretary encouraged the attendees, particularly those from Northern Australia, to engage with government.
BITRE presented findings from several current regional research projects, in areas such as income support, household wealth and the costs of remoteness. Other topics discussed at the conference included social inclusion, remote Australia's two-speed economy, resource sector engagement in the Pilbara, structural adjustment in the farm sector, perspectives from primary producers on climate change and adaptation, and community recovery from disaster.
The latest BITRE research findings, including About Australia's regions June 2008, can be found on the BITRE website <www.bitre.gov.au>.
Cover of the About Australia's regions booklet (Image DITRDLG)