HAMILTON PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE is the major venue for performing arts, functions, conferences, seminars, meetings and expos in the Southern Grampians region.

Theatre Season Principal Sponsor:






A forum of dangerous ideas to address the complex challenges facing community and agriculture in South West Victoria. Which challenges should we address and which ideas are likely to solve them?

The background: The Western District of Victoria has a long and proud tradition in agriculture. The Southern Grampians Shire prospers from primary production. Agriculture, with associated industries, is the largest employment sector and our highly productive agricultural industries contribute significantly to the Victorian economy. As with all other rural communities, complex challenges such as prevention of harm from alcohol and drugs, improving educational attainment and prevention of violence, sustainable populations and economies have no simple solution.

As a community we struggle to understand what is going wrong, but readily acknowledge the need to change and strive to improve. The problems are caused by or impact on all aspects of community and societal wellbeing in the areas of Social (e.g. sense of place, safety, gender, and inclusion), Economic (e.g. industry, employment, and resources), Natural (e.g. food security, climate, geography, and disasters) and Built (e.g. roads and transport, amenities, and neighbourhoods) environments.

There is increasing understanding among the public sector that many of the issues community looks to Government to solve fall into the realm of “wicked problems” and require whole of community action and discussion.

“Some problems are so complex that you have to be highly intelligent and well informed just to be undecided about them.” --Laurence J. Peter

The proposal: Under the Patronage of Sir Gustav Nossal, we will conduct a 2 day forum with community, subject matter experts, thought leaders and practitioners to explore our ability to arrive at a shared understanding and a shared commitment for action against a number of wicked problems confronting SW Victoria.

The forum will commence with presentations from thought leaders on contemporary wicked problems - acknowledging the interconnectivity of social issues across all of the pillars of health (Economic, Built, and Natural as well as Social):
• Southern Grampians x10: choosing much better futures in order to be in them - Educational Attainment (thought leader Dr. Michael Hewitt-Gleeson)
• Prevention of Violence (thought leader Assist Commissioner Tess Walsh)
• Learning and doing, an experimental approach to drug and alcohol policy in Australia (Thought Leader Prof David Penington)
• Valuing and maintaining a regional identity for product in a global market. (Thought Leader David Lord)
• Sustainable intensification - the need for innovation in the grazing industries (thought Leader Prof Kevin Smith)
• Valuing and maintaining a regional identity for product in a global market ( thought leader Ange Barry)

The program will then move to exploring tools for turning thoughts and ideas into action:
• Dawn O’Neil – Collective Impact Australia,
• Kieran Murrihy – Foresight Lane,
• Michael Hewitt- Gleeson – Australian School of Thinking.

An evening gathering for dinner showcasing local producers and chefs, With a keynote presentation from our patron:
Thinking, acting and solving big: world malaria and other global health problems (Sir Gus Nossal)

Day two will be a concurrent series of workshops aimed at creating shared understanding and a commitment to action. Wicked problems and social complexity make it difficult for us to understand how we contribute as individuals, businesses, social, cultural and sporting groups and government/non-government organisations to a potential solution. The aim of day two is to explore and understand what we collectively believe needs to change, and through that exploration, further define the things we collectively will seek to improve for the future of our communities.

Tickets: Admit $330 includes all workshop materials, morning and afternoon teas

Registration on Wednesday 18 March at 8am
Welcome to Country at 9am

Wednesday 18 March, 8am
Thursday 19 March, 9am

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Photos courtesy of Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Association, Karla Northcote,  John Kiely, Talitha Prendergast and Southern Grampians Shire Council.
Southern Grampians Shire Council