Archive for August, 2009

Newfie in the frame

August 20, 2009

 Hi Rod,

For my sins I’m now the ANZRSAI Council member for South Australia and editor of the Newsletter.

My collaboration project is for a network of regional practitioners and researchers for ANZRSAI in SA which chews the fat 4-5 times a year and develops projects.

I’m hoping to engage EDA, local government, the RDAs, consultants and State government. We’ve just had an excellent seminar from Professor Rob Greenwood (Harris Centre at Memorial University Newfoundland who spoke to us courtesy of Professor Neil Otway at University of SA’s Centre for Regional Engagement.

 A possible project which arises from my network-building talks is a state-wide community of practice for practitioners to build local skills in regional development.  I’ve got some ideas on how this might work based on my own experience in facilitating best practice conversations across industry. Just in case my infallible instincts have for some reason failed, can you point me to examples elsewhere? (Can u help Tony?)

 Your INSEAD notes on networks are important for building and sustaining a strong and durable local constituency for regional development capable of winning battles with the powers in Canberra and other capitals. However, important to remember

1. that the opportunities which strong local networks must convert into growth flow through weak linkages to the external world, and

2. the strong local network also has the capacity to resist change and destroy local networks of change-makers. It’s all in the local governance.

 Kind regards, Tony O’Malley OAM

Outlook Management, Henley Beach, SA 5022


Green Jobs – relevant to many members

August 20, 2009

Cockatoo members should note the 30 July announcement of 50,000 new green jobs and training opportunities for a greener Australian economy – involves $94 million pump-priming exercise as a ‘major reform of Australia’s training system to help support jobs and communities being hit by the local consequence of a severe global recession’.

Leaving aside the hyperbole, there is an opportunity for readers to access some of this funding, and to leverage federal support for other submissions to the feds. The components are:

  • 10,000 member National Green Jobs Corps – long term unemployed youth take part in 26 weeks of green job training and work experience.
  • 30,000 apprentices trained with new Green Skills -tradies complete their training with practical job-ready green skills.
  • 4,000 training places for insulation installers – to help long term unemployed or disadvantaged people into the workforce (Shudder at this waste of public funds!)
  • 6,000 new local green jobs – focus on environmental sustainability in priority local economies.

The National Green Jobs Corps is most relevant to local government because it involves a 26-week environmental training program for 18-24 year-olds in bush regeneration and planting native trees; wildlife and fish habitat protection; walking and nature track construction/restoration.

We have made some preliminary enquiries – no Department has yet put their hand up, but DEEWR is the obvious candidate. Contact us at for more details.

Make ‘em come, make ‘em stay

August 20, 2009

We have uncovered a gem – at a conference in Victoria in July.

It was about a regional agritourism project in a northern Italian region, that saw agritourism ventures almost double in about five years.

Hospitality and tourism teacher Pauline Porcaro noted that, between 1999-2007, the area saw a 223% increase in arrivals and a 207% increase in visitor nights. Pauline, recently returned from an overseas fellowship, described the Gallo Rosso (Red Rooster) accreditation system as very exacting for business operators e.g. top ranking requires that all soft furnishings are made of natural fibres; operators are not to give up farming; tight restrictions on accommodation size.

In exchange, there is government aid, especially for training. “Marketing, enhanced by the government funding, is certainly the way to go,” she said. Pauline spoke of the lack of such a consolidated push in Australia. “We need to define agritourism. Let’s join the rest of the world. I want funding for farmers and a good strategic plan and good signposting in every town. Industry has to help to lobby government, tourism networks must work with farmers and we need to start to use agritourism as a term. Nobody stands alone to create a good movement. Let’s grab them get them off the bus on their way down to the penguin parade and let’s keep them here!”

She described the typical set-up as the men running the farm and women the tourism businesses. Operators sell local products, for example wine to visitors. Among the variations is a teaching farm for city schoolchildren. At a cost of about $5-6 per child, operators provided a home-made snack and insights into farming life. Another farm ran an ‘adopt a sheep’ program. “You visit farm, adopt a sheep and take home a photo of the sheep…you get regular updates and once a year they get a bit of fleece or cheese … what a great way of raising revenue!” or (We figure there is a great opportunity for some Cockatoo members to join forces and make a funding submission. We will keep a look-out for the right program. Contact us if you are interested – Editor.)