Securing the future of regional SA

Dean of the School of the Environment, Professor Andrew Millington

Flinders University is part of a newly-formed cooperative of regional councils, agriculture, natural resource management and development bodies, research institutes and industry partners that will work together to tackle climate change and other social, environmental and economic pressures affecting the sustainability of South Australia’s Yorke and Mid North region.

The Goyder’s Line Sustainability Hub will generate and exchange research knowledge, showcase regional business and provide regionally-based vocational and industry training in the overall aim of developing a sustainable future for the region, which covers 34,883 square kilometres and comprises 11 local government areas including Clare and Gilbert Valleys, Copper Coast and Port Pirie.

Flinders University Professor Andrew Millington, who spoke at the launch of the Hub at the annual Yorke and Mid-North Regional Sustainability Forum at Port Pirie on Friday (March 28), said the alliance will focus on addressing issues affecting the people who live and work in the region while showcasing the area’s diverse natural assets including premier food and wine production, spectacular coastline, renewable energy resources and emerging agricultural industries.

“The Yorke and Mid North region is critical for the State’s economy – it contains the Clare Valley, a premium wine growing region, one the nation’s premier wheat and barley producing regions, it is developing mining and aquaculture, it contains several sea ports for export and it has half of the State’s wind energy capacity,” Professor Millington said.

“But the region is also highly vulnerable to climate change so a key priority for the Hub is to support existing initiatives and create cutting-edge technologies to protect the people, property, natural resource and supply chains from the impacts of changing climate,” he said.

“As a partner, the University will collaborative with partners in the alliance and community stakeholders to co-produce knowledge that addresses and informs the key issues affecting the region. There will also be an educational opportunity for Flinders students to work on many of these projects.”

Professor Millington, Dean of the School of the Environment, said Flinders involvement in the cooperative would enhance its existing engagement in the region, particularly through the Mid North Knowledge Partnership. The Partnership was formed in 2012 by Flinders University’s Rural Clinical School as part of its mission to serve South Australia’s rural and remote communities.

Under the Partnership, the School of the Environment’s Dr David Bass has taken student groups to Burra to work with a local community group on revegetation projects, while Dr Harpinder Sandhu is currently working with an exchange student from Leicester University and an honours student on payments for ecosystem services from agriculture. The School of Medicine and the School of Education are also very active in the regions.

“The new Hub will strengthen the great work we already do across the State, aligning with the University’s refreshed Strategic Plan to build supportive communities,” Professor Millington said.

The Goyder’s Line Sustainability Hub is managed by the Central Local Government Region of Councils, Regional Development Australia Yorke and Mid North and the Northern and Yorke Natural Resources Management Board.

Partners include Flinders University, the Ag Excellence Alliance, Clean Energy Council, South Australian Research and Development Institute, University of Adelaide, University of South Australia and University College London Australia.

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