More than 120 delegates from across northern Australia converged
on Darwin in November 2009 to attend the inaugural Savannah
Symposium, convened by Savannah Guides Ltd, Savannah Way Ltd and
the Tropical Savannas Management CRC.
Industry, NGO and government participants and researchers
illustrated successful initiatives in tourism, mining, natural
resource management and Indigenous ventures from across Queensland,
Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
Speakers came from a diversity of businesses, large and small,
NGOs, government agencies and research organisations. The audience
was buoyed by the passion for and commitment to northern Australia,
which was evident from the presentations.
The symposium demonstrated the close organisational, social and
economic relationships that exist across northern Australia, where
organisations deal with similar conditions and issues and have much
to gain from interaction and exchange. It illustrated the
challenges that businesses, government agencies and other
organisations face when operating in this remote and sparsely
populated part of Australia with a unique set of ecological
conditions and constraints.
Indigenous economic development and environmental integrity of
savannah landscapes were seen as major pillars for the future
prosperity of the North.
Delegates were unanimous in their assessment that east-west
linkages were paramount to the northern economy and applauded the
achievements of Savannah Way Ltd in coordinating the
internationally recognised themed tourism drive across two states
and the NT.
The symposium allowed participants to renew and expand their
personal and business networks, exchange experiences and develop
strategies for a prosperous future.
The symposium highlighted the need for strategic research to
generate innovation and support industries and government agencies
in improving the way they do business in an increasingly uncertain
and challenging future.
Effective governance, real community engagement, appropriate
property rights and infrastructure to support regional development
were seen as critical to the future of northern communities.
Speakers noted a serious disconnect between Indigenous and
non-Indigenous economies which must be addressed to enable
advancement of north Australia.
The symposium strengthened the momentum for a new northern
Australia CRC bid, which is planned for 2010, which will add value
to existing initiatives including the NA Land and Water Taskforce
and Water Resources Assessment. The bid will advance a holistic
agenda to improve the wellbeing of residents as well as the people
of Australia by (1) harnessing the physical, environmental, social
and human assets of northern Australia, (2) generating
opportunities for social and economic development, and (3)
overcoming emerging challenges.