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Unique program supports regional leaders driving change

4 August 2022

A unique new program designed to bolster leadership across regional Australia is set to support communities to meet challenges and drive the positive changes they want to see.

The Leading Australian Resilient Communities (LARC) program is co-designed by the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation (ARLF) and Regional Australia Institute (RAI), and delivered together with partners Leadership WA, Leadership Victoria, Tasmanian Leaders and the Leaders Institute of South Australia.

ARLF CEO Matt Linnegar says the program recognises that true resilience is not merely about ‘coping’ or ‘surviving’, but about change, readiness and opportunity.

“In regional Australia, as different as our regional communities and the challenges they’re tackling can be, all eyes are on the same destination: prosperity; sustainable growth; opportunities and vital industries,” Matt Linnegar said.

“The Foundation and our partner organisations have decades of experience developing leadership in our regional and rural areas, and we know first-hand the power of investing in the people who know and understand their communities best,” he said.

LARC is delivered as part of the Australian Government’s Building Resilient Regional Leaders Initiative (Pilot) grant.

Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister, Catherine King said, “Regional Australians have so much to contribute to the country as they bring a wealth of experience of life beyond the suburbs and a different way of looking at things.

“Finding ways to give them a chance to learn leadership skills and meet others is important to ensure they are supported and can grow to make greater contributions in the future. I look forward to seeing the results of the program,” Minister King concluded.

The program will deliver a combination of community forums focused on resilience and response to change; place-based multi-day leadership sessions to identify local challenges, opportunities and what underpins them; as well as webinars; group coaching and support for practical, community-led projects.

Regional Australia Institute (RAI) CEO Liz Ritchie says what sets LARC apart is the unique combined resourcing and networks behind the initiative, the scale of the focus regions and the diversity of community representatives involved.

“Through LARC, the RAI will provide regional leaders with our data and insights that will help them identify opportunities and develop sustainable solutions for their communities,” Liz Ritchie said.

Up to 26 leaders in each region will receive scholarships to take part in LARC’s intensive five day program.

“This cohort will in turn be embedded in the powerful national alumni networks of the Foundation, the Regional Australia Institute, and our leadership development partners,” Mr Linnegar said.

Applications for the leadership workshops in Tasmania are now open. Applications for all other regions (see below) will open on 19 August. For more information about dates, locations and how to apply, click here.