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Pushing into agtech for future of trade

Demographer Bernard Salt will be one of the keynote presenters during the Orana@Work Employer Summit at Dubbo RSL Club on Tuesday, May 22. Photo: The Demographics Group Demographer Bernard Salt will be one of the keynote presenters during the Orana@Work Employer Summit at Dubbo RSL Club on Tuesday, May 22. Photo: The Demographics Group

Taking overseas air freight from a vision to a reality in the Orana region is just one of the suggestions made by Bernard Salt ahead of his visit to Dubbo next week. As the keynote speaker for the inaugural Orana@Work Employer Summit hosted by Regional Development Australia (RDA) Orana, Mr Salt is a futurist well-known for his ability to use demographics and social data to predict trends in business and society.

As part of the summit, he will discuss ‘Building and Connecting Stronger Regions’ and ‘Managing Generational Change’.

In this region, he says that taking advantage of agriculture as a major industry and transferring into the global economy is the future.

“A real push into agtech will be advantageous,” Mr Salt told Dubbo Photo News. Citing Toowoomba, Canberra and Melbourne’s Avalon airports as gateways, Mr Salt said Dubbo has the same potential to link to the rest of the world.

“Agribusiness products to be air freighted and having the infrastructure and the airport links to do it,” he said.

“It will be ideal for Australia and the region of Orana and it will certainly be exciting to encourage entrepreneurship in agribusiness and looking at ways of scaling agribusiness, of growing, marketing and packaging and aligning with businesses in Canada, the US and New Zealand.

“I would love Australian agribusiness to be as global and aggressive as international agribusiness.

“Instead of being the best regionally, we need to be thinking globally and that is where we see ourselves on a level playing field with all the infrastructure, research centres and support.”

In order to be competitive on a larger scale, Mr Salt said there needs to be synchronicity between stakeholders.

“It helps if there is clarity and unity of vision from business and government leaders in the community, council and CEOs, all thinking and pointing in the same direction and knowing the community has their back.

“It’s a bold vision but events like this help for Dubbo and Orana to articulate that vision to plan and time and to have the mechanism to measure progress.”

Mr Salt said planning ahead is the key to moving forward. Planning for an international freight terminal airport to begin in 2024 needs to have planning begin in 2018. Unity among the 12 Local Government Areas is also the key.

“Come out of the here and now and look at what we are doing in terms of development and pursuits in 10 to 15 years’ time. There are things that we can do that we should have done 50 years ago but there are things that we can do now.

“To have 12 councils pointing in the same direction, to have a common vision and to think big and to make big shifts that can be a game changer for Dubbo and the Orana in the late 2020s.”

The Orana@Work Employer Summit will be held at Dubbo RSL Club on Tuesday, May 22, from 8.30am to 4.30pm.

Other presenters on the day will include recruitment expert Greg Savage, RDA Orana executive officer Megan Dixon, and other Orana business managers.

The summit will bring together employers, HR staff, business chamber representatives, LGAs, small business and government departments. The main focus of the event will be forming recruitment strategy and innovation for future sustainability.

Tickets to the forum start at $110 per person and can be booked online at https://rdaorana.worldsecuresystems.com/orana-work-employer-summit/

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