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From the ground up: Economic diversification in regional Australia

Blueprint Institute’s latest report From the ground up: A Blueprint for economic diversification in regional Australia heralds a plan to manage structural shifts in Australia’s energy economy, and empower the communities most affected. To celebrate the report’s launch, we have gathered leaders with first-hand experience of community regional diversification.

Please join us as we ask the question: How can communities lead economic diversification in regional Australia?

A Q&A session will follow the panel discussion.

Please follow the Zoom link below to register.

Note: This event is at 5pm AEDT.

Meet our great panellists:

Alice Thompson, Chief Executive Officer, Committee for the Hunter

Alice commenced as CEO for the Committee for the Hunter in March 2020. Alice is a leader in public policy, with a focus on infrastructure, industry development and attraction, urban planning and regional development. Her career spans the public and private sectors including as the National Lead on Cities and Regions with global Big 4 firm, KPMG, and as senior advisor on cities and infrastructure to former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Through her career, Alice has championed new approaches to regional development. This includes the ambitious Western Sydney City Deal, which involved eight councils partnering with the Commonwealth and NSW governments in a long-term plan for growth and investment.


Will Rifkin, Emeritus Professor at the University of Newcastle

Will says that he was once a social scientist trapped in the body of an engineer.  Through many years of hard work, he has become an engineer trapped in the body of a social scientist.  His career focus is on decision-making involving experts and non-experts, and his most recent academic appointment was as chair in ‘applied regional economics’.  He led development of the Boomtown Indicators to enable communities, government and industry to track changes in the Darling Downs during the construction boom of coal seam gas development.  More recently, he was director of the Hunter Research Foundation Centre at the University of Newcastle, addressing tensions and opportunities in the ‘energy capital’ of New South Wales.  He has academic degrees from MIT, the University of California-Berkeley, and Stanford University.


Karen Cain, Chief Executive Officer, Latrobe Valley Authority

Karen leads a diverse and community-minded team at the Latrobe Valley Authority who are helping to strengthen collaborative networks and provide opportunity for everyone in the community to contribute and participate. Karen has significant senior experience working across government, leading strategic innovation, and developing and implementing policy in the public sector. Her experience in developing and delivering on issues that reflect what matters to community and government led to her appointment as Chief Executive Officer at the Latrobe Valley Authority, which she has held since April 2017. Karen is a fellow of Leadership Victoria’s Williamson Community Leadership Program and was also a member of the Gippsland Regional Managers Forum for six years. She was awarded the Institute for Public Administration Australia Victorian Top 50 Public Sector Women Award in 2018.


Josh Steinert, Senior Energy Researcher, Blueprint Institute

Josh has contributed to Blueprint Institute’s energy and climate research since April 2020.  Josh graduated from the University of Oxford with a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE). There he specialised in Political Theory and Ethics, with a particular focus on the limits of traditional social contract theory. He is currently studying an MSc in Resource Economics at the Bartlett School, part of University College London. His research focus is risk management in natural resource projects. His work has appeared in numerous publications including The Conversation and The Mandarin, among others.


If you haven't yet, sign up here for the event.

We look forward to seeing you there.

October 12, 2021 at 5:00pm - 6:15pm
Sydney, NSW
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Blueprint Institute ·

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