Parkes to host low carbon economy forum in August

OPPORTUNITIES AHEAD: Parkes Shire Councillor Neil Westcott, pictured speaking at the School Strike 4 Climate in May, is urging people to learn more at an upcoming forum. Photo: Christine Little.
OPPORTUNITIES AHEAD: Parkes Shire Councillor Neil Westcott, pictured speaking at the School Strike 4 Climate in May, is urging people to learn more at an upcoming forum. Photo: Christine Little.

Parkes is set to host a forum with a focus on Activating the Low Carbon Economy in Regional Australiaat the Parkes Services Club on Thursday August 19, with local businesses, farmers and community members encouraged to attend and learn more about embracing this developing industry and the opportunities it offers.

"Low-carbon economies present multiple benefits to ecosystem resilience, trade, employment, health, energy security, and industrial competitiveness," Parkes Shire Councillor, farmer and climate action advocate Neil Westcott said.

The one-day forum is designed to bring together key local and regional stakeholders to collaborate, share ideas and explore how the low carbon economy is being activated to spur innovation in regional Australia.

Speakers will discuss issues and case studies that demonstrate how regional industries (including agriculture) can benefit from the transition to a low carbon economy.

The list of speakers consist of government, industry and academic representatives, with a focus on sharing case studies and practical regional examples to inspire local attendees.

"Parkes Shire Council is committed to support the development of a low carbon economy in regional NSW and is excited by the opportunities arising for local businesses and our regional community from the Special Activation Precinct," Cr Westcott said.

Topics covered will include the role and impact of renewable energy in the regions; the nature and benefits of a circular economy and what this means for business and government; the importance of a low carbon economy to regional and rural Australia; and how all of these will combine to embrace new industries and create local employment in Parkes and accelerate our transition to a prosperous low carbon future.

The forum will be followed by a dinner featuring dynamic guest speaker Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla of UNSW's Smart Centre, as featured on ABC's Australian Story.

Professor Sahajwalla is an internationally recognised materials scientist, engineer and inventor renowned for pioneering the high temperature transformation of waste in the production of a new generation of 'green materials'.

Professor Sahajwalla is producing a new generation of green materials and products made entirely, or primarily, from waste.

"Parkes is already one of the biggest and earliest adopters of rooftop solar, a founding member of the Climate Council's Cities Power Partnership and is advocating for future local development to be responsible and sustainable," Cr Westcott said.

The Parkes Special Activation Precinct will be a 'green' place to do business, with targets set by the NSW Government for Parkes to become Australia's first Eco-Industrial precinct built on the UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organisation) framework.

The precinct will focus on sustainability, and as an Eco-Industrial Park - it is proposed that a community of businesses will work together to achieve enhanced environmental, economic and social performance, which in turn offers companies a competitive advantage through a circular economy and onsite energy-generation.

"This changing world presents not just challenge, but significant opportunity, particularly for regional and rural areas such as ours," Cr Westcott said.

"We are part of the answer. It's not about the present, it's about the future. We have got so much to gain out of being proactive."

Cost to attend is $50 for dinner and the forum, or $30 for forum only.

Tickets are limited, so book early to avoid disappointment.

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er information and to purchase tickets, please visit https://www.parkes.nsw.gov.au/low-carbon-economy-forum