Planning future at edge of Australia

Planning for the future of a vast area of remote Australia begins as the Western Cape Futures Symposium starts today in Weipa.

Professor Allan Dale and Professor Hurriyet Babacan from James Cook University’s Cairns Institute will play a prominent part in proceedings, which will map out possible futures for the Western Part of Cape York Peninsula bordering the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Professor Dale said the focus was on bringing communities together for a regional dialogue on the future. He said the region of fewer than 5000 people contributed $2 billion to Australia’s national economy.

“The region is rich in culture, natural beauty and resources. It boasts many strategic and logistical assets, including a deep-water port, plenty of water and previously developed land,” he said.

The symposium will feature over 45 speakers including James Palmer, the CEO of Space Centre Australia, which is aiming to start launches of cargo rockets near Weipa; Ergon Energy; Rio Tinto; Federal and State governments; and Dr John Coyne from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

“Challenges we face in this part of the country include land use and infrastructure planning for the future, and strengthening new and emerging industries. This symposium will provide a roadmap over or around those challenges and start us towards unlocking more of the potential of this fabulous part of the world,” Professor Dale said.

Individual seminars at the symposium will include discussion on freight, trade and supply chains, land use planning, access to capital and new industries and opportunities.

The symposium will take place over two days.

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