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Communities in Transition 

for Queensland Communities
Algae Farms
2020 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.

Algae Farms - latest developments and real opportunities for regional Queensland

Benefiting from Innovative Supply Chains – high value crops, supply chains, getting to market

Transitioning to the Circular Economy in Food and Agricultural Systems: reducing waste, unlocking new value and improving resilience

Encouraging collaboration for innovative and dynamic business development in regional Queensland

Regional areas that can foster innovation and take ideas to market are positioned to thrive - but how?

Workforce Planning for businesses - planning for COVID recovery and beyond

Algae Farms - latest developments and real opportunities for regional Queensland


Date: Wednesday 22nd April

Time: 1.00 pm

Presenter: Nicole Price (Clean Growth Choices Consortium)

Guest speakers:  Professor Peer Schenk and Kai Chen


Algae farms offer an exciting opportunity for regional and rural Queensland, producing biofuels as well as protein for human and livestock consumption and pharmaceuticals. As Prof Peer Schenk will explain, large-scale algae cultivation can be undertaken without competing for arable land and food production. Importantly, Peer will also address how some of the hurdles that have challenged the industry over the last decade have now been advanced. Kai Chen will then discuss his experience developing a low cost sustainable close loop cultivation and production system and some of the practicalities of operating a algae farm in a regional area.

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Peer leads the Algae Biotechnology Lab based at the School of Agriculture and Food Sciences at The University of Queensland ( Peer is internationally recognised for his expertise in plant biotechnology, including the development of new disease resistant plants and cost-effective algae cultivation and harvesting. Peer and his team established a demonstration Algae Energy Farm in in Pinjarra Hills in 2014. The prototype was recently converted into a small-scale commercial algae farm. He founded start-up companies Nexgen Plants and Qponics Pty Ltd. Peer holds a PhD in microbiology, botany and plant pathology from the Georg August University Göttingen, Germany. 

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Kai is an agricultural scientist and Operations Manager for Algae Pharm.  Kai undertook his honours research in the area of large-scale cultivation of microalgae as part of Schenk’s Lab research team. After spending a year at UQ’s Algae Energy Farm, he moved on to develop and operate the first commercial scale Nannochloropsis microalgae cultivation and processing facility at Goondiwindi, the first of its kind in Queensland.

Benefiting from Innovative Supply Chains – high value crops, supply chains, getting to market


Date: Wednesday 29th April

Time: 1.00 pm

Presenter: Jane Gaffel

Guest speaker:  Grant Vinning

Regional Queensland is well positioned to take advantage of innovations in both national and international supply chains.  Grant Vinning has over 30 year experience in international supply chains and will share his knowledge on how Queenslanders can work together to benefit from new and existing markets.  He will also discuss the high value products that may be worth branching into with innovative and emerging agricultural supply chains. 


Grant Vinning has undertaken value chain work across a large array of products in a number of countries in Asia and the Pacific.  The diversity of these activities has enabled him to synthesise a number of principles in the operations of a good value chain.  Most of the successful innovations he has been involved with evolve around that broad area that links production to marketing.  The principle innovations issues relate to logistics – cleaning, grading, packaging, storing, transportation – and the skill set of the institutional arrangements that organise the marketing.  Grant has the usual suite of academic qualifications, publications, and conference papers expected of some one with such extensive experience. 

Transitioning to the Circular Economy in Food and Agricultural Systems: reducing waste, unlocking new value and improving resilience


Date: Wednesday 6th May

Time: 1.00 pm

Presenter: Penny Prasad (Clean Growth Choices Consortium)

Guest speaker:  Mark Barthel (Fight Food Waste CRC)

Hear Mark Barthel share case studies and real examples and the opportunity for adopting Circular Economy in relation to Queensland food and agricultural systems.

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Mark joined the Fight Food Waste CRC team as a Special Advisor in August 2019 having moved from the UK to Australia. In addition to his CRC role, where he is leading the development of a Food Waste Reduction Roadmap with Woolworths, he is supporting FIAL and the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment in the implementation of Australia’s National Food Waste Strategy. Mark has a successful 25-year track record of driving sustainable innovation and circular thinking in agri-food; and over 15 years’ experience in quantifying and preventing food loss and waste and leading product and packaging innovation projects in the UK, Europe, North and South America, Africa and Australia. He has worked with the senior teams of some of the largest food and grocery businesses in the world, including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, M&S, Cooperative Food, Walmart, Woolworths, Nestle and Danone.

Encouraging collaboration for innovative and dynamic business development in regional Queensland


Date: Wednesday 13th May

Time: 1.00 pm

Host: Penny Prasad (Clean Growth Choices Consortium)

Guest speakers:

Matt McIntyre, Regional Innovation and Development Coordinator – Fitzroy (Central Highlands Development Corporation)

Alicia Dunbar, Senior Industry Development Officer |Rural Economic Development |Central Queensland, (Department of Agriculture and Fisheries)

Encouraging greater intra and inter-regional collaborative links between business, government and communities in regional Queensland is crucial to providing frameworks for innovation and sustainable rural business development.  Matt McIntyre and Alicia Dunbar talk about their experiences in encouraging connectivity and collaboration and the development of the soon to be launched Food and Fibre Plus cluster network project supported by Advance Queensland (DITID) and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Central Highlands Development Corporation and the partner regions of The Outback, Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday region and the Sunshine Coast.

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Matt originally worked as an urban and regional planner in local government and with major consulting firms about Australia. He branched into natural resource management and sustainability in the early 1990s specializing in geomatics and sustainable land management. For much of the last 25 years he has worked overseas for the UN, World Bank, Asian Development Bank among other development assistance agencies. This included lead of the Sustainable Economic Development division for the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) based in Samoa.


Alicia is Industry Development Officer with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (Queensland). She has 30+ years of experience in Agriculture, Agribusiness, Management, Marketing, Negotiation, Training and Assessing and Project Management. She is Principal of Omnibiz, a private consultancy and project management business based in Emerald, Central Queensland providing services in staff assessment and training, business system design and implementation and internal quality audits of agricultural systems.  

Learning from Queensland's regional entrepreneurial hot spots. 


Date: Wednesday 20th May

Time: 1.00 pm

Host: Nicole Price (Clean Growth Choices Consortium)

Guest speakers:

Chad Renando (Startup Status, QUT, USQ)  

Julia Spicer (Engage and Create Consulting & Goondiwindi Business Hub)

Jerome Leary (InFarm)

Across regional Queensland there is an emergence of entrepreneurial hot spots. How do these regions foster innovation to drive economic prosperity and sustainable job creation in their communities? This webinar will bring together three inspirational individuals driving regional innovation here in Queensland.  


Chad Renando has been visiting regions across Australia to better understand the key ingredients to creating a successful regional innovation ecosystem. His work can help regions understand the effectiveness of current support measures and importantly where they can be more targeted in addressing weaknesses. 

Julia Spicer and Jerome Leary are key players whose passion is driving innovation and in particular ag-innovation in Goondiwindi. Julia's mission is to foster vibrancy and viability of regional Queensland by supporting small business, sustainable agriculture and regional women in leadership. Jerome Leary is the Managing Director of InFarm whose work in drone and AI technology is set to literally change the way the world sprays fallow weeds. Hear Julia’s and Jerome’s stories and what they believe are the critical key actors needed to support innovation and entrepreneurial activity in the regions. 

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Chad is the Founder and Managing Director of Startup Status that helps corporations, government and communities understand how to build environments supporting those entering into a startup status. He has worked with the Office of the Queensland Chief Entrepreneur to measure and get a real-time assessment of the Queensland innovation ecosystem. Chad is currently a Research Fellow at the Queensland University of Technology and is undertaking a PhD on the role of innovation hubs in developing resilience in regional communities through the University of Southern Queensland.

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Julia has called Goondiwindi home for over a decade.  She is Founder and Director of Engage & Create Consulting, and one of 4 Directors of the Goondiwindi Business Hub.

Jerome Leary.GIF

Jerome is the founder and Managing Director of InFarm, an Agricultural Intelligence company. He has worked with companies such as Microsoft, through the AI for Earth Program and Dell on world leading technology that delivers AI and big data analytics to the farm gate, with little to no internet.

Workforce Planning for businesses - planning for COVID recovery and beyond

Date: Wednesday 27th May

Time: 1.00 pm

Host: Jane Gaffel (Clean Growth Choices Consortium)

Guest speaker:

Tamilyn Brennan  (Jobs Queensland and Employment Facilitator Cairns Region - Australian Government)

In the midst of COVID 19, the need for businesses to have a workforce plan has never been greater - from immediate planning on how to best utilise staff while meeting social distancing requirements to longer term planning on how to prepare for future business. Tamilyn Brennan will share her expertise on how businesses can develop their plan, the resources available to small businesses to assist them and provide some case studies on how businesses have benefited from workforce plans. .

Tamilyn Brennan is a workforce development consultant based in Far North Queensland with a background in strategic planning, policy, program development and implementation in Federal and State employment and training sectors. Her expertise is in shaping and delivering employment and training, workplace relations and Indigenous strategies and initiatives, particularly in regional locations. Tamilyn has extensive public sector experience, serves on several not for profit boards and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She guides change in industries, organisations and individuals at regional level to strengthen local enterprise and regional economies. Tamilyn currently operates her own consulting practice in Far North Queensland and advises both Queensland and Australian governments. 

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Supply Chain
Circular Economy
Business collaboration
Regional Innovation
Workforce planning
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