COOBER PEDY News & Events



Bronco Branding William Creek

Bronco Branding William Creek Photo: Helen Williams

Coober Pedy and William Creek were the venues this year for the eighth annual Regional Development SA (RDSA) Conference held on 3, 4 and 5 September with approximately 100 delegates, some having their first experience in the remote areas of the Far North.  
Each year RDSA presents a Regional Development Conference in a different area of the State, based around a topical theme. Attendees ranged from regional development practitioners, Local, State and Federal Government representatives and interested industry and business leaders. 
William Creek was a true outback experience which the delegates thoroughly enjoyed, commencing with a bush welcome by Randall Crozier of Anna Creek Station followed by a Bronco Branding event.
Randall Crozier Anna Creek Station

Randall Crozier Anna Creek Station

“Under the Stars” was the theme as guests dined at the William Creek Gymkana Pavillion then enjoyed the wonderful outback atmosphere at the William Creek pub.  Delegates then camped out over night in swags and safari tents before heading off to Coober Pedy on Thursday morning after an early rise for a 6.30am breakfast in the outback.
Apart from familiarising the many key planners and decision
makers with the outback, the main aims of the Annual Conference were to:
Jerry Johnson CEO - NRDB

Jerry Johnson CEO - NRDB

* promote the work of the Regional Development Boards;
* address topics of critical importance to the regional economy; and provide a vehicle for networking, interaction and sharing of regional intelligence by all those with a keen interest in regional economic development.
Jerry Johnson – CEO, Northern Regional Development Board launched the Conferance at William Creek,  “Showcasing Outback SA – Centre for Sustainable Excellence Project (funded through the Regional Project Fund).

Mayor Steve Baines Coober Pedy

Mayor Steve Baines Coober Pedy

Themed sessions included:
* Regions Mining the Boom
* Growing Regional Economies through Infrastructure Development
* Essential Tools for Regional Development Personnel
The Northern Regional Development Board co-ordinated the conference and while there was obviously a focus on “mining the boom”, the NRDB succeeded in making the conference a showcase of the best examples of regional development throughout the state.
Mayor Steve Baines officially welcomed the delegates to the conference, held at the Desert Cave in Coober Pedy on Thursday 4 September, enthusiastic that Coober Pedy was set to become a major service centre for the industries of Outback South Australia, particularly the resource and tourism sectors.  Mayor Baines highlighted that the airport upgrade will assist greatly in the economic and social life of outback communities as the projected mining boom evolves.

Ian O'Loan Chairman RDSA

Ian O'Loan Chairman RDSA

Ian O’Loan – Chairman, Regional Development South Australia introduced the Conference speakers on “Regions Mining the Boom”
Hon Paul Holloway MP, Minister for Mineral Resources Development commenced by updating delegates on Mining in SA.  Mr. Holloway placed an emphasis on South Australias potential for geothermal energy production.  “Our geothermal resources are world class, and have the potential to become a significant part of Australia’s portfolio of secure, environmentally sustainable and competitively-priced energy supplies.  Twenty-three companies have so far applied for 237 Geothermal Exploration Licences areas in South Australia covering more than 110,844 square kilometres.

Hon Paul Holloway MP

Hon Paul Holloway MP Minister for Minerals & Resources

South Australia boasts 74% of all geothermal exploration licences in this country. The hot rocks in SA are ideally situated more than three kilometres beneath the surface,” Minister Holloway told the conference. Beverley uranium mine in the Flinders Ranges was cited as an example of geothermal electricity being supplied to its mine by geothermal energy developer Petratherm.  “These resources are fundamentally aligned to the South Australian Strategic Plan target of a 60% reduction in greenhouse emissions by 2050.”
Other speakers at the conference included Kym Winter-Dewhirst, Vice President, Government and Community Relations Olympic Dam -BHP Billiton, addressed “Building regional capacity” by nuturing communities in which their mining operations were active by way of putting back as well as taking out.

Kym Winter-Dewhirst BHP

Kym Winter-Dewhirst BHP

Barry Taylor, Managing Director – Ngarda Civil spoke on “Developing successful Indigenous business through mining the boom”
Mick Wilkes, Managing Director, Prominent Hill – Oz Mineral (Previously Oxiana Ltd.) discussed “Driving Local Aboriginal Employment – Prominent Hill – A Case Study”.
Mick Wilkes GM Prominent Hill

Mick Wilkes GM Prominent Hill

Prominent Hill at present, Coober Pedy’s nearest mining operation has embraced the region with employment and training consideration.  Oz Minerals through its history of excellence in employee training and work principals recently became National Finalists in the 2008 NESA (National Employment) Awards.

Geoff Hood, Chairperson of Global Maintenance USG adressed “Clustering for Growth of SMEs” citing an example of success.
Malcolm May, Managing Director of BALCO covered “How infrastructure can grow a regional economy.”
Phil Tyler, Executive Director, Small Business and Regional Affairs – Office for Regional Affairs took on the important task of explaining “Developing an Application for Infrastructure Development” along with examples of “Regional Development Infrastructure Fund” success stories”.
Hon John Dawkins MLC - Chairman, Australian Qualifications Framework Council

Hon John Dawkins MLC - Chairman, Australian Qualifications Framework Council

Phil Baker, Managing Director – Adelaide Airport, unveiled the Adelaide airport update and regional aspiration plans.

Joanne Podoliak, Executive General Manager Destination Development – South Australian Tourism Commission, addressed the combination of “Infrastructure and Tourism.”

Hon Rory McEwan MP

Hon Rory McEwan MP, SA Minister for Regional Development

The Hon Rory McEwen MP, South Australian Minister for Regional Development was the Guest Dinner Presenter at the Conference dinner held at the Desert Cave Hotel Coober Pedy on Thursday evening 4th September.
Friday 5th September at the Desert Cave Hotel Function Room, Coober Pedy – concurrent workshops were held in “Cluster Development” and “Nurturing Competitiveness through Cooperation”.
Desert Knowledge Australia facilitated with SA case studies: “Aboriginal Economic Development” and “Successes and Failures in Aboriginal Economic Development” as a joint presentation.
John Angley, Executive Director, Local Government & Regional – DOTARS discussed: “Regional Development Australia – what will this mean on the ground”.

Delegates settle in at RDSA Annual Conference Coober Pedy

Delegates settle in at RDSA Annual Conference Coober Pedy

Margaret Rasa, State Coordinator, WA, SA and VIC spoke on “Indigenous Business Australia and Building Successful Partnerships”.
Simon Millcock – Economic Development – “the practitioner’s forum”.
Mark Goldsmith, State Manager – BankSA-Financial Markets presented “It’s the economy stupid” – an update on the state of the economy.
Ian O’Loan – Chairman, Regional Development South Australia closed the Forum at midday. 
The delegates had a great deal to think about over lunch before taking in tours which were optional, then another dinner, with night golf or bowls afterwards. 
Painted Desert Arkaringa

Painted Desert Arkaringa

Newcomers visiting the Opal Capital for the first or even second time, marvelled at the fascinating appeal of the underground town and spoke with amazement of their experience at the beautiful step back in time at William Creek.  A reminder that the outback is indeed one of South Australia most precious assets with a need for careful planning and preservation.

Margaret Mackay
Coober Pedy Regional Times