DNA Conference 2023

    The Developing Northern Australia Conference returned to Darwin this year in 2023. In 2021, the conference converted to an online event an hour before the program was due to begin due to a sudden NT COVID-19 Lockdown. Participants echoed how great it was to return to Darwin and connect in person.

    Professor Allan Dale, who leads the Development in the Tropics Team (DiTT), was the Conference Chair for the 9th year. This year’s the major theme for the conference was Leading the Way: Empowering Northern Australian Business and Industry for Growth and Innovation. With the recently announced refresh of the Northern Australia White Paper, this year’s conference presented a renewed opportunity to examine progress and craft new directions and refinements.

    The Conference attracted 596 registrations and featured some 46 speakers. Professor Hurriyet Babacan of DiTT and Chair of RDA Tropical North, was a keynote speaker in the first session of the Conference and Jaime Gane from Weipa Town Authority gave a presentation of the Western Cape Futures Symposium; a major TNQ Drought Hub partner. Allan Dale, Hurriyet Babacan and Jen Mchugh chaired a session related to Enabling Northern Australia Infrastructure and Jim Turnour, also with the DiTT group, chaired a session on Population, Jobs and Skills.

    Ministerial and keynote speakers in the conference included:

    • Minister Madeleine King: Minister for Northern Australia (Pre-Recorded Virtual Presentation)
    • Minister Glenn Butcher:  Queensland Minister for Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water
    • Minister Nicole Manison: Deputy Chief Minister of the NT Government
    • H.E. Dr Siswo Pramono: Ambassador of Indonesia to Australia
    • Julianne Lambourne: Quensland Indigenous Business network
    • Michele Deshong: Acting CEO, Supply Nation
    • Joanna Howes:  Ministerial Advisory Council on Skilled Migration
    • David Connelly: General Manager of Tipperary
    • Tennant Read: Principle National Advisor of Public Policy at AI Group
    • Amanda Cahill: CEO the Next Economy

    Part of the conference is the final of Croc Pitch which allows global, national or local participants who have an innovation that provides an economic benefit back into Northern Australia to pitch for up to $1 million in venture capital. The idea behind Croc Pitch is to engage with entrepreneurs or growing businesses that have a scalable innovation, product or technology. Selected innovators were then able to pitch at the DNA conference. The winners of $1 million investment in 2023 was Agricultural Robotics, which in partnership with Central Queensland University, has been working on the world's first robot to pick mangoes. The technology has been developed and trailed over several months and it is hoped it will help reduce resolve workforce shortages.

    This year’s DNA was very successful and again helped to put a spotlight on the future of Northern Australia. Next year the Conference will be held in Karratha, Western Australia. https://northaust.org.au/

    Top image: Allan Dale chairing a ministerial panel with MP Luke Gosling, Minister Stephen Dawson, Minister Glen Butcher and Deputy Chief Minister NT Nicole Mansion.

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