Stronger community connection and wellbeing, emphasis on sustainability and the environment, and opportunities for Indigenous youth are among the priority issues identified by regional leaders participating in the Leading Australian Resilient Communities (LARC) program in northern Queensland.
Eighteen current and emerging leaders from Charters Towers, Townsville and surrounding areas recently came together for the first leadership development session as part of the program, delivered by the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation (ARLF) and the Regional Australia Institute (RAI).
LARC is funded by the Australian Government’s Building Resilient Regional Leaders Initiative (Pilot) grant on the back of recent challenges faced by regions such as drought, bushfires, COVID and floods.
“LARC aims to support regional communities in meeting challenges and collectively drive the positive changes they want to see. This is effectively done through a collaborative network of individuals committed and invested in where they live,” ARLF chief executive Matt Linnegar said.
RAI CEO Liz Ritchie said the program includes place-based multi-day leadership sessions held locally to identify challenges and opportunities.
“Region-specific data from the RAI underpins the program. The group will receive coaching and support for practical, community led projects they decide to pursue.”
The participants come from diverse backgrounds and experience including small business, agriculture, local government, health, academia, engineering, and community. All had a common interest in connecting with the community.
Ngaire Trigg, works in youth community development at the Townsville City Council. Her vision is for a more sustainable Townsville and building capacity within the community.
“My leadership strength is building connections. So much growth can come from building relationships and making the community stronger.”
Rachelle Brown, a marine scientist, originally from the USA, will use her new skills try to live more sustainably.
“Change is inevitable. We need to act now on what we know but we need to be proactive and change our behaviours to ensure the best outcomes going forward.”
Reuben Richardson, director of a small engineering firm in Hermit Park, is keen to develop his leadership skills as his business grows.
“The impact of this program will change the way I work with my team. I value the connections with the other attendees and I hope to build upon them to help sustain our region.”
Frank Dallmeyer, an engineer hailing from Germany, says he wants to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
“It is important that we come together as a community to bring diverse skills, strategies, creativity and values to look forward.”
The common interest among the group was understanding how the region could progress and grow connections with the community to support each other.
The group will come together again in March 2023 to continue deep conversations about leadership and resilience in the context of their local region.
Australian Rural Leadership Foundation
0439 438 500
Regional Australia Institute
0409 652 465