From the 10th-11th of April, local and interstate guests came together for a New Economy Symposium in East Gippsland, one of Australia's most beautiful regions.
East Gippsland is rich in natural heritage, featuring Alpine High Country, the Snowy River, ancient lakes including Lake Tyers, lush forests and a spectacular coastal region, but many community members are deeply concerned about the impacts of current and projected economic activities on the natural environment, including forestry, land clearing for agricultural and residential developments, pesticides and herbicides for certain horticultural practices and other issues.
The goal of the New Economy Network Symposium was to bring people together to discuss current economic activities in the region, learn about the New Economy Network Australia (NENA) and start building the foundations for a strong geographic hub.
The event was a huge success, with more than 60 local people attending the diverse two-day grass roots symposium that showcased East Gippsland's local economy while exploring exciting new ideas and opportunities for the local community to build a sustainable, productive economy for the region over the long term.
The symposium was able to bring together local businesses, social enterprises, cooperatives and social initiatives in sectors as diverse as tourism, food production, renewable energy, health care, housing, land management and the arts.
Key guest speakers shared updates about exciting new initiatives around Australia and around the world featuring:
- Doughnut Economics and the New Economy – Dr Michelle Maloney, NENA
- Redefining A Healthy Economy: Understanding Growth, Degrowth and Sustainability - Sam Alexander, Melbourne University
- Sustainable Food and Agriculture in the New Economy - Nick Rose, Sustain
Sessions show case local initiatives included the following:
- Local environment and local economy - Jack Whadcoat
- Running a nature-based tourism business in East Gippsland - Skipper Pete
- Emerald Link hiking trail proposal – Ed Hill, Gecko Environment Group
- Food for Thought – Nicola Watts, East Gippsland Food Cluster
- Social Enterprise Development: Bairnsdale Recycling and Tip Shop – Sally Kendall and Ro Gooch
- Farm Forestry and sustainable agriculture – Matt Stephenson
- FLOAT: An Arts Hub which is part of Small-Town Transformations – Andrea Lane
- Knowing place: the role of integrated ecosystem assessment in building knowledge – Jess Reeves
Workshop sessions also included mapping social enterprises and developing priorities for the new economy in East Gippsland.
The NENA Hub was officially launched, with Jeremy Schroder and Caroline Crunden volunteering to be Hub coordinators, and a number of events are being planned for the 2019-2020 financial year, including a local ‘map jam’ to start mapping all the fantastic new economy initiatives in the region, as well as an afternoon discussion as part of NENA’s National Seminar Series between June and September 2019, which will explore: “What should the economy look like in 2030?”
Powerpoint slides and notes from the Symposium can be found on the NENA East Gippsland Hub webpage, and any questions about the NENA East Gippsland Hub can be directed to:
Jeremy Schroder: firstname.lastname@example.org