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Communities in Transition 

for Queensland Communities
Water Stewardship
Circular Economy
Carbon Farming
Regen Ag
Individual Action
2019 Webinar Series

The Clean Growth Choices Consortium is pleased to present the

Communities in Transition Webinar Series.

This webinar series presents topics of interest to regional Queensland communities to help consider and take advantage of new economic opportunities and manage the changes that will arise from new digital technologies, climate impacts, new energy systems and global economics.

Water Stewardship – an internationally recognised framework for water management – the Renmark Irrigation Trust Case Study


Date: Wednesday 31st July

Time: 1.00 pm

Presenter: Jane Gaffel (Clean Growth Choices Consortium)

Guest speakers:  Megan McLeod, Humphrey Howie and James John


Water stewards use water in a way that is socially and culturally equitable, environmentally sustainable and economically beneficial. Join Megan McLeod, Humphrey Howie and James John as they discuss Water Stewardship and the Renmark Irrigation Trust.

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A hydrogeologist by training, Megan is the Chief Operating Officer and Technical Manager of the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) Asia-Pacific.  She has advised on world-leading water stewardship projects, including the Renmark Irrigation Trust and the Western Port programs, and across a range of industry sectors and regions; agricultural, industrial, rural, peri-urban and urban.

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Humphrey is the Deputy Presiding Member of the Renmark Irrigation Trust and the proprietor of an organic citrus-growing and packing enterprise. Humphrey has a degree in Agricultural Science and a Diploma in Permaculture Design. Humphrey’s family business has been growing fruit on the same land for over 100 years. Humphrey’s orchard began converting to organic management in 1994 and is certified organic with NASAA (National Association of Sustainable Agriculture Australia). Humphrey is an advocate for good water stewardship, and a participant in piloting the exploration of AWS group certification in the Renmark region.

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James is the Legal and Project Manager at the Renmark Irrigation Trust. James has a strong interest in the local community, relocating home to Renmark after working as a mergers and acquisitions solicitor at the Brisbane offices of Herbert Smith Freehills. James has been involved in water stewardship since joining the Trust in 2018, particularly in maintaining the Trust’s AWS gold certification and exploring opportunities for Trust Member growers to access benefits of this certification.

Paddock to Plate  - Successfully transforming agricultural resources into food tourism experiences.


“There is growing demand for food tourism globally and from a farmer’s or regional town’s perspective it’s about transforming their products into something that people can come and experience”


Date: Wednesday 7th August

Time: 1.00 pm

Presenter: Nicole Price (Clean Growth Choices Consortium)

Guest speaker:  Dr. Michelle Thompson (CQU)

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Dr Michelle Thompson is a lecturer in Tourism at Central Queensland University, Cairns. Her research interests focus on aspects of regional tourism, particularly the development of natural, agricultural, food and cultural tourism experiences in regional areas.

The webinar will be discussing the keys for regional communities wishing to successfully transform agricultural resources into food tourism experiences. In particular the six critical steps in that transition: understanding the local geography and what the landscape can provide both agriculturally and for tourism, as well as proximity to target markets; ability to adopt innovation; passionate and motivated people; a community culture that supports change; developing a regional brand that appeals to tourists; and tapping into a collaborative network that can provide the specialist skills and expertise needed.

How regional communities can engage in the Circular Economy


Date: Wednesday 14th August

Time: 1.00 pm

Presenter: Penny Prasad (Clean Growth Choices Consortium)

Guest speaker:  Ashleigh Morris (Coreo)

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Ashleigh Morris is the CEO of Coreo, a company actioning circular economy in Australasia.  She is widely recognised as a circular economy visionary, with the skills, experience and ability to not only inform future strategy but to also lead the much needed action required to achieve real impact. Ashleigh was recently appointed as a 'Circular Economy Pioneer' by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in London and was invited to represent Australia as a speaker at the 2019 World Circular Economy Forum in Finland.

Ashleigh will discuss her experience incorporating circular economy initiatives at a Sunshine Coast business strip (Ocean St) as well as her work with Queensland’s Circular Economy Lab Food-Agri Value Chain project.

Carbon Farming - the business case


Date: Wednesday 21st August

Time: 1.00 pm

Presenter: Don Parry (Clean Growth Choices Consortium)

Guest speakers:     Mark Lincoln (Green Collar), Don Butler & Megan Surawski (Land Restoration Fund)  

There are many opportunities for regional businesses to obtain additional income through Carbon Farming. Hear from Mark Lincoln, Don Butler and Megan Surawski as they discuss how landholders can be paid for establishing carbon farming projects on their property. How does it work, who is doing it and what are the risks and benefits?  

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Mark Lincoln is Queensland Business Manager for GreenCollar – a markets investor, natural resource manager and conservation-for-profit organisation. Mark has over 20 years’ experience in environment and resource management. He has a background in both the public and private sector, having worked for the Queensland Government, corporate entities and small businesses. He is well versed in legislation, negotiating mutually beneficial outcomes for complex land matters and managing contracts. Mark takes the time to truly understand what is important to landholders and provides support to those getting involved in the carbon industry.

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Megan Surawski is leading the establishment of the Land Restoration Fund, which will invest in Queensland-based land sector carbon farming projects. She has more than 14 years working in environmental policy for the Queensland Government with experience driving climate change adaptation and mitigation actions across energy, transport and infrastructure sectors. Megan has a keen interest in fostering new environmental commodities such as natural capital, carbon credits and trade-able co-benefits that will support a commercially and environmentally sustainable agricultural sector.


Don Butler is Chief Scientific Officer for the Land Restoration Fund, Department of Environment and Science, Queensland Government. He is a plant ecologist with a background in biodiversity information systems and their application to outcomes through incentives and regulation. Don’s experience includes provision of mapping and foundational data on the regional ecosystems, wetlands and groundwater dependent ecosystems across Queensland. He has also been at the interface of science and policy in the development of Australia’s carbon farming industry.

Making Regenerative Agriculture Work -  Learning from longer term practitioners of regenerative agriculture


Date: Wednesday 28th August

Time: 1.00 pm

Presenter: Nicole Price (Clean Growth Choices Consortium)

Guest speaker:  Rod Chisholm and Dr Richard Thackway 

For the last 12 years the not-for-profit organisation Soils for Life has been supporting a growing number of innovative producers who are successfully regenerating their landscapes. This has included developing detailed field studies. What works, why, and to what extent? How communities can promote and increase skills and knowledge in regenerative agriculture techniques will also be discussed.

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Soils for Life’s CEO Rod Chisholm is using his qualifications in management and strategy and extensive experience working with large multi-nationals to strengthen Soils for Life’s ability to support greater understanding and adoption of regenerative agriculture practices by producers, educators and policy makers.


Soils for Life’s, Dr Richard Thackway is a research scientist with over 30 years’ experience in classifying, assessing and reporting on Australia's landscapes and natural resources. His research has been adopted by regional, state and national land use policy and planners and land managers. Richard is Visiting Fellow at ANU, UNSW ADFA and an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Qld.

Positive Action - what individuals and community groups can do to save money and help the environment


Date: Tuesday 3rd September

Time: 1.00 pm

Presenter: Don Parry (Clean Growth Choices Consortium)

Guest speaker:  Emma Menzies (Noosa Shire Council) and Jade Pilgrim (Sunshine Coast Resident)

Does individual action make a difference?  Listen in for this not to be missed webinar on easy actions that can be taken by individuals and community groups to save money and reduce their environmental footprint - showing that even through small actions, everyone can make a difference.

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Emma Menzies is the Waste & Sustainability Education Officer with Noosa Council and liaises with her local community on a daily basis. She has worked for fourteen years within local government’s sustainability and environment area complemented by global experiences within associated fields. Emma has a science background, majoring in sustainability and climate change. She is particularly interested in behaviour change, sustainability and climate change adaption and mitigation. Emma is passionate about the environment and lives by the motto that everyone can make a difference.

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Jade Pilgrim has experienced firsthand, the invaluable benefit of many individuals coming together as a community, having had a career with the Queensland Rural Fire Service as both a volunteer fire fighter and as member of staff. As a Sunshine Coast resident and seeing the impact that microplastics is having on her surroundings, Jade is passionate about reducing her own impacts and will share the simple actions she takes on a day to day basis.

Profiting from ecoefficiency - showcasing Qld regional small business and organisations


Date: Tuesday 10th September 

Time: 1.00 pm

Presenter: Penny Prasad (Clean Growth Choices Consortium)

Guest speaker:  Kris Davidson (Driftwood Cafe), Patrick McHugh, Tom Hogg, and Lionel Hartig (All Souls St Gabriels School) 


Small businesses are the backbone of regional areas. Hear how a Cooktown cafe owner, a Charters Towers boarding school and other small Queensland regional organisations are benefiting from improved energy, water and waste efficiency.

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Kris Davidson is co-owner/manager of Driftwood Cafe, Cooktown. She has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Protection from the Estonian Maritime Academy and has worked in the waste management industry since 2007. Kris is a former Waste Management Coordinator of 6 years with Cook Shire Council. Using her knowledge and implementing her beliefs was a natural step in creating a café that cares about the environment.

Patrick McHugh, Tom Hogg and Lionel Hartig are all staff at All Souls St Gabriels School, Charters Towers. Patrick McHugh is the Business Manager and is responsible for leading and implementing resource efficiency projects which has led to significant savings in energy, water and waste costs. Tom Hogg is the Maintenance Manager and is responsible for the design and operation of the school’s water recycling system which has reduced town water use by 30% since 2015. Lionel Hartig is the Rural Activity Coordinator Lionel and is responsible for the work in protecting the local creek (on the school boundary) and in the rehabilitation of an old mine tailings dump (also on school property). 

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Patrick McHugh                                                     Lionel Hartig                                                     Tom Hogg 

Energy security in regional Queensland- a look at microgrids and community owned renewable energy


Date: Tuesday 17th September 2019

Time: 1.00 pm

Presenter: Jane Gaffel (Clean Growth Choices Consortium)

Guest speaker:  Luke Reade (Energetic Communities) and

Dr Julio Braslavsky (CSIRO)

In many Queensland communities, energy costs and access to power security are seen as a serious threat to economic development. Microgrids can offer a real solution to improving energy security and reducing energy costs in both regional areas and in cities. Many communities are also developing, operating, owning and/or benefiting from community owned renewable energy.  Tune in to find out how regional and remote communities can benefit from microgrids and community energy.

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Luke holds a M.Sc. in Climate Change. He founded Energetic Communities Association to build Community Owned Renewable Energy and promote a Just Transition.


He researches and provides policy research and advice on energy costs and financing, energy markets, consumer impacts and affordability, and climate change adaptation and mitigation as it relates to vulnerable and disadvantaged communities and households.

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Julio is a principal research scientist with CSIRO Grids and Energy Efficiency Program, where he leads a team of researchers investigating strategies for an efficient transition to safer, more secure and reliable low emission electricity in the future. He currently leads the research and knowledge sharing activities for the ARENA project Advanced VPP (Virtual Power Plant) Grid Integration in partnership with SA Power Networks and Tesla Motors Australia.  Julio holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Newcastle, Australia.

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