Sugar and Spice!

The Back Story

One thing I do like is a good planning conference. Just ask anyone who knows me. I get to go somewhere different, see a lot of old and newer friends in our profession, meet new people, learn new things, be exposed to new ideas, stay up late and make a lot of noise. What’s not to like!

Last year, I was asked to MC our Qld Planning Conference organised by the Qld Division of the Planning Institute of Australia, something I was both honoured and very pleased to do. As a former PIA president (many moons ago) and a long serving active member of PIA, it was a great thrill, and it also fits with where I am in my career, where leadership, mentoring and advocacy roles are another way to contribute to our profession and through it, help make the world a better place!

That conference was in Cairns, with a really engaged organising committe under the wonderful stewardship of Alison Stevens. The theme was Re-invigorate: My Self, My Place, Our Future. I think the theme suited me, because it was a hoot. I had the best time MCing and by all accounts, including the structured feedback process, it was a great success and people really did leave feeling reinvigorated.

And so to sugar and spice

I must have gone alright last year, because the organisers of this year’s conference in Mackay have asked me to MC again, which I feel just as honoured and pleased to do.

The theme the energetic organising committee has chosen is “Sugar and Spice: Diversity in our regions” covering cane, coal, coast, & communities. Neat, eh!

And the best part is that they are currently calling for papers. See the website at So you planners or anyone with an interest or something to say about our regions in Queensland, here’s your chance. And you can be assured of a friendly helping hand from the MC.

So what are you waiting for? Give it a go, I say. Why, didn’t that Toowoomba lad Wayne Bennett write a book called “Don’t Die with the Music in You”?


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