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Parks and Leisure Australia launch National Conference program

Parks and Leisure Australia launch National Conference program
July 9, 2014

Parks and Leisure Australia (PLA) has launched its 2014 National Conference – designed to significantly increase opportunities for connecting parks and leisure professionals around Australia and New Zealand.

Inviting potential delegates to the host city of Cairns, PLA Queensland President Martin Lambert, Cairns Regional Council Mayor Bob Manning OAM and nationally renowned home-grown keynote speakers Tania Major, Glen Jacobs and Paul Hockey launched the parks and recreation industry’s biggest conference of the year – with the theme ‘Communicate, Cooperate and Collaborate’.

To be held in Cairns Convention Centre from 24th to 27th August, the annual PLA National Conference attracts industry leaders and decision makers from around Australia and overseas.

The event highlights the role the sector plays in protecting the Australian way of life and the wellbeing of all Australians through good policy, planning and provision.

Conference and speaker highlights will include:

Keynote speaker Ethan Kent - Senior Vice President of the New York-based Project for Public Spaces, established in 1975 as a non-profit planning, design and educational organisation that helps people create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities.

The organisation’s pioneering ‘Placemaking’ approach helps people to transform their public spaces into vital places that highlight local assets, spur rejuvenation and serve common needs. Rooted in community-based participation, it strengthens the connection between people and the places they share, inspiring them to create and improve their public places.

Paul Hockey - the first disabled person to climb Mount Everest from the north side;

Tania Major - who in 2004 became the youngest person elected to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) and was named Young Queenslander and Young Australian of the Year in 2007; and

Glen Jacobs - who has built and designed more than 300 mountain bike trails and race courses across 20 countries.

Commenting on the program, PLA Chief Executive Mark Band said Kent’s groundbreaking Project for Public Spaces initiative fitted the Conference theme of ‘Communicate, cooperate and collaborate, highlighting all as essential elements in sustaining a strong parks and recreation industry.

Band explained “our public open spaces make a huge contribution to the health and wellbeing of Australians and a significant contribution to our economy.

“We must all work together to maintain them so they continue to meet not only our current needs but those of future generations of Australians.”

At the Conference, Band and the PLA are expected to highlight fears expressed earlier this week that Australian sport and health will suffer under the new Federal budget if funds are not dedicated to improving facilities such as sports grounds, open spaces and other community infrastructure.

The peak national industry association representing parks and recreation professionals, PLA represents members working in community, open space recreation, park management, health and sports development, tourism, the arts, research and academia.

For more information on the PLA National Conference contact 08 8332 0130, E:,

Click here to view the full program and registration details.

Images shows PLA 2014 National Conference speakers Glen Jacobs, Tania Major and Paul Hockey.



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