“OUR PLACE” – Country Town Living 2025, is a Forum for our future.

February 3, 2010

What challenges do our country communities face in the future? Where and when will the opportunities occur?

The hosts of the Forum, Gwydir Shire Council and Bingara & District Vision 20/20 recognise that the next 15 years will be a period of great change – in fact, change is the only thing we can be certain about. 

The ‘Our Place’ forum to be held at Bingara on February 24th and 25th has attracted some intriguing speakers to look at where our country towns will be in fifteen years time. The Forum will open with a presentation by internationally renowned Futurist, Dr Peter Ellyard.

When asked what a Futurist does, Dr Ellyard said, “They predict trends and ask what are new opportunities in the markets. They help people to thrive in the future and they also help people to have their dreams, and make them come true. So I’m a bit like a fairy godmother.” 

Dr Ellyard has held a number of senior management positions in State and Federal governments, and has acted as an advisor to the United Nations for more than 30 years.   He is the author of the bestselling book Ideas for the New Millenium. 

Bingara Vision 2020 president Frances Young said “We are very excited to have Maarten Stapper as our second speaker. Because country towns are driven by agriculture we need to have a vision of how agriculture is going to look, to know where our towns will be.”

Dr. Maarten Stapper, became a household name after his appearance on Australian Story in 2009. He will talk about the future of agriculture and country towns.  The Dutch born soil scientist and biological farming expert worked in the CSIRO for 23 years before being made redundant after criticising the use of genetically modified crops. 

"We can learn to use the power of nature rather than fighting it with synthetic chemicals and unproven new technologies in a war we can’t win," Dr Stapper said in an interview with the Melbourne Age.  Dr Stapper has found that most farming problems begin with soils and the solutions lie in better management of the soil. 

Frances Young said “Our other main speaker is award winning Landscape Architect John Mongard. John is a “community planner” who has already worked in both Warialda and Bingara.  John has consistently worked with communities to create dynamic and sustainable places for a communal use, and feels that much past-planning has worked to “create a paradigm for an impoverished public realm”. 

The three keynote speakers will be followed by “snapshot” views representing community success, regional tourism, regional finance and regional education. All speakers will participate in a question and answer session before the day’s session draws to a close.

A dinner in the magnificent “Roxy” theatre, that evening, will feature a presentation by Roxy Manager, Ms Sandy McNaughton outlining the Roxy story and its plans for the future. In that story are many messages for the regeneration of rural communities.

On day two of the Forum, Margaret Bridgeford , the CEO of Resource Consulting Services, who has training in business and psychology, will ask the all important question –“ why is it so difficult to change?”.

Margaret’s introduction will be followed by an interactive Workshop where the collective ideas of all attendees will be combined to produce a “future planning” document.

If you would like to participate in the “Our Place” Forum and be a part of the answer to all these questions,  please contact Bingara Tourism on 67240066 or email: bingaratourism@gwydir.nsw.gov.au,  to book your place at ‘Our Place’. 

The Forum is sponsored by the NSW Department of Industry & Investment,
New England Mutual, Country Energy, Upper Gwydir Landcare Association, and Bingara Central School. Click Here for full details of the program, the speakers, and to access the booking form.

Submitted by Rick Hutton – Secretary, Bingara and District VISION 20/20. Ph: 0428 255380.