Empowering Regional Leaders for Resilient Communities!
I am delighted to share with you the recent successes and achievements of the Leading Australian Resilient Communities (LARC) program. Last week, I had the honour of representing the ARLF at the LARC – Northern and Yorke program graduation in Kadina, South Australia. It was a truly inspiring event, where I had the opportunity to meet and hear stories from regional leaders who have been part of a unique experience and are ready to tackle local challenges in their region.
LARC is a national pilot program designed to enhance the strengths of regional communities and focuses on supporting committed individuals and groups within these communities, empowering them to drive positive changes and meet the challenges they face head-on.
Working in partnership with the Regional Australia Institute (RAI) and leadership delivery partners Leadership Victoria, Leadership WA, Leaders Institute of South Australia and Tasmanian Leaders, the ARLF has delivered this program as part of the Australian Government’s Building Resilient Leaders Initiative (Pilot) grant. The program incorporates a range of activities, including community-based future forums, intensive leadership development programs, webinars, coaching, and mentoring.
The recent graduation in the Northern and Yorke SA marked the ninth region to complete the program, following the successful graduation in Southern NT/Alice Springs on 16 June. The final session and graduation for the WA Midwest region will take place on 7 July. Over 200 graduates from across the nation will have completed LARC, equipping them with essential leadership skills through a local lens. These participants have identified local issues in their communities and have developed projects aimed at finding sustainable solutions.
During the intensive sessions, the regional leaders presented a variety of community projects at their local graduations. Some of the notable projects include:
– bridging the digital divide in the NSW Rivers to the Plains region
– rethinking education in Tasmania to provide experiential learning opportunities
– establishing the Northern Rivers Community Matters group in NSW
– tackling youth crime in Townsville QLD, and
– focusing on well-being in sports clubs in the Victoria Latrobe/Gippsland area.
Furthermore, twenty graduates will travel to Canberra to represent their regions at the LARC National Alumni Event on 1 August. This event aims to foster connections among graduates from different regions, creating a valuable network that can be shared with local cohorts and utilised as an ongoing resource in the future.
The LARC program highlights the importance of leadership in building community resilience in regions facing unique challenges. As the ARLF continues to expand its place-based work across the nation, we are actively creating networks of leaders committed to their communities, leaving a lasting legacy and positive impact.
Since our work began, we have witnessed significant trends shaping regional communities, including demographic shifts, technological advancements, climate-related events, and global influences. Leadership development has evolved to address these challenges, emphasising collective action, -innovation, and cross-sector collaboration.
Looking ahead, we anticipate ongoing uncertainty and change. Resilience is not about returning to the past or seeking stability in a new state; it is about adapting and thriving in an environment characterised by constant change and -uncertainty. To foster resilience, leadership programs must be both national and regionally focused, addressing specific challenges while crossing geographic, industry, and demographic boundaries. These programs should empower participants to become part of a network of continuous learning and collective impact.
As we move forward, we recognise that the cultivation of this network and the collective capacity of its members require our continued effort. ARLF has had the privilege to walk alongside these regional communities for a short time as they navigate ways forward. Our contribution is only part of the collective story of each region, and we look forward to the impact these networks will have in the future.
Thank you for your ongoing support and dedication to community leadership.
Matt Linnegar, Chief Executive, Australian Rural Leadership Foundation