August 2, 2022
What will the South Burnett look like in 2060? Murgon Town Hall was filled with community leaders last Thursday to discuss ideas and contemplate the future of the region.
The inaugural Red Earth Leadership Forum, with the theme “Cultivating Our Future”, featured guest speakers, panel discussions and workshops.
Local community members Misty Neilsen, Amiel Nubaha, Amanda Wenck and Scott McLennan – all graduates of the annual Red Earth Community Leadership Program – shared their leadership journeys and the actions they have been taking to strengthen their communities.
The event concluded with a panel of national “thought leaders”: Natalie Egleton, from the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal; former State and Federal MP Prof Dr John McVeigh, the executive director of the Institute for Resilient Regions; Bega Cheese executive chairman Barry Irvin and Dr Chad Renando, from the Rural Economies Centre of Excellence.
Dr Renando also shared the recently released Burnett Inland Futures research report.
(The Burnett Inland includes the local government areas of South Burnett, North Burnett and Cherbourg plus parts of Gympie and Toowoomba council areas).
He said the Burnett Inland was “often described as the hole in the donut where investment happens around us. It may be the expectations of funders that the benefits of the investment reach the Burnett Inland, but it rarely does”.
The forum attendees broke into eight groups to “workshop” what food systems, tourism, industrial development, innovation and entrepreneurship, liveable communities, workforce capability, natural resources and connectivity could look like in 2060.
The attendees were asked to put forward “big ideas for a better Burnett Inland for all”.
A highlight on the day was the keynote speech by Barry Irvin who shared his personal and professional insights on what makes up successful leadership and thriving regions.
Red Earth Community Foundation chair Georgie Somerset said there was much change happening across the region.
“Red Earth is working hard to facilitate for the Burnett Inland an opportunity to be involved now and in an ongoing way what the future might look like in the next 20,30 and 50 years,” she said.
“We are highly skilled at adapting to the environment around us, and we have many industries managing change effectively. It is Red Earth’s mission that the people of the Burnett Inland are the catalyst and fully able to co-design their future.”
- External link: Burnett Inland Futures Report (4.1Mb PDF)