Outback Conversations

The Outback Alliance members and key stakeholders from diverse sectors discuss issues and challenges that have been identified following the first outbreak of COVID-19:

  • How has Covid-19 hit the Outback? What happens now?
  • What are the differences in service delivery between urban Australia and Outback Australia?
  • What policy change is necessary to ensure Outback communities are supported to thrive?
  • What can we learn from the Outback and remote communities?
  • Shared themes, opportunities and lessons emerge as the series progresses, enabling deeper cross-sectoral understanding, and identification of future Outback-appropriate policy development.

Conversation #1 – The Outback at the time of the pandemic.

What lessons can be learned from how Outback communities handled the crisis? How has the Covid-19 response affected remote/outback towns, communities, industries and people? Presenters: Leanne Kohler – CEO, Desert Channels QLD & Emma Jackson, Chair of Cape York NRM and NRM Regions Australia.

Conversation #2 – Health

What have been the big issues in health provision? How has the disruption in supply chains, personnel or internet access impacted remote communities? How do we continue to protect people in the Outback?Presenters: Frank Quinlan – Federation Executive, Royal Flying Doctor Service & John Paterson Chief Executive Officer of the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the Northern Territory.

Conversation #3 – Housing

What are the big issues in Housing? How has Covid-19 impacted ? What needs to be in place to allow Outback communities to thrive? Presenters: Rod Reeve, Managing Director & Tammy Abbott, Senior Researcher – Ninti One.

Conversation #4 – Conservation during recovery

How can we create opportunities for jobs in the Outback through stimulus recovery efforts? What are the opportunities that are created through environmental conservation, natural resource management, land management and farming? Presenters: Dr Barry Traill – Director, The Pew Charitable Trusts & Jimmy Cocking – Director, Arid Lands Environment Centre.

Conversation # 5 – Education

As the rest of Australia learns to cope with an entire education system operating remotely, what can be learnt from the Outback’s existing approach ? What has worked, what hasn’t and what were some compounding challenges in the bush? Presenter: Alana Moller – President, Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association.

Conversation #6 – Economic Recovery

What is needed for remote regional economic development after COVID-19? How do we reform policy delivery to support Outback communities? Presenters: David ArnoldRAPAD & Fran Kilgariff.

Conversation # 7 – Where to for the Outback?

Reflecting on previous conversations, what is needed at the national and local level to ensure that the Outback can survive and thrive in a post-Covid world? What learning and lessons can the Outback offer the rest of Australia? Presenters: Tyronne GarstoneKimberley Land Council & Liz RitchieRegional Australia Institute & Mark Stafford-SmithCSIRO.

Conversation # 8 – Joining the Dots – Policy Pathways for the Future

The Outback Alliance members reflect on the themes and messages that emerged from the diverse experiences described through the webinar series as a whole.  What are the commonalities?  What are the opportunities for the Outback that cut across sectors?  Do we need collective lobbying on these? 

Edwina Cameron (Pew), Frank Quinlan (RFDS), Andy Bubb (Ninti-One), Mark Stafford-Smith (CSIRO), Barry Traill (Pew), Jimmy Cocking (Arid Lands Environment Group), Alana Moller (ICPA), Andrew Drysdale (Alsajad NRM) and Kim Houghton (Regional Australia Institute) discuss the challenges and opportunities that have been identified through the series of Outback Conversations.