From the Desk of CHDC

Transforming Our Region's Future

11 July 2023

Meetings over the past few weeks held interest in how we want to position our region for the future.

CHDC is the steward of the Central Highlands Economic Master Plan (CHEMP) 2017-2047, which has a 5 year Action Plan. We’re currently reviewing the last 5 year period and developing the actions for the next term.

Sasha Lennon and Associates have been engaged to work with CHDC and key stakeholders to bring the renewed action plan to fruition. More than 30 stakeholders have had direct input to date, which brings together a wealth of knowledge and experience to the plan. Progress will continue over the coming months, with completion planned for September 2023.

An area of great interest in the CHEMP Action Plan discussions has centred on energy transition, decarbonisation, renewables and innovation, among many others. In tune with these items has been CHDC’s work with Bowen Basin partners Isaac Regional Council and Greater Whitsunday Alliance to engage with the Cooperative Research Centre for the Transformation in Mining Economies (CRC-TiME).

At the conclusion of the World Mining Congress in Brisbane, this working group held a hybrid regional roundtable within a pilot Cross-Regional Knowledge Exchange focused on energy regions (those with coal mines – both thermal and metallurgical – and power stations) transforming. More than 45 regional leaders participated. Notable regions attending included the Latrobe Valley (VIC) and Collie (WA).  Dr Jeffrey Jacquet, Associate Professor of Rural Sociology, Ohio State University, also shared some experiences from the United States.

Professor Fiona Haslam McKenzie offered these thoughts.

“Rarely and especially on a Monday would I say that a 90 minute online meeting is likely to be the best thing I participate in all week, but Monday’s meeting was absolutely outstanding – I took copious notes and there were some marvellous PowerPoint grabs:

  • Good regional economic development will highlight what is strong, not what is wrong
  • We have to be vulnerable to be willing to make change
  • Incremental wins contribute to positive cumulative impacts

Thanks to all involved. It was a fantastic investment of my time.”

As you know, CHDC’s a strong supporter of innovation, technology and the advancement of industry. I had the opportunity to engage with the Chair of the Robotics Australia Group and talk all things robotics, Emerald, the wonderful cross-sector (ag/mining) opportunity of being a test bed for field robotics and influencing national strategy. This was followed up with the policy writers of the National Robotics Strategy Discussion Paper.

Our region is transforming through innovation, value adding and the ongoing development of an ecosystem with a growth mindset.

Peter Dowling
Contact: or (07) 4982 4386.