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PLA conference to highlight the importance of parks and recreation

PLA conference to highlight the importance of parks and recreation
October 8, 2013

The importance of parks and recreation activities in creating and maintaining healthy communities will be a centrepiece of next week's Parks and Leisure Australia (PLA) national conference in Melbourne.

Renowned international experts will address the four-day event, which attracts industry leaders and decision makers in the parks and recreation industry from around Australia.

With the theme 'Transforming People and Places', the conference is being held from 13th to 16th October at the Pullman Hotel in Albert Park.

One of the biggest industry events of the year, the conference highlights the important role that Parks and Leisure Australia plays in protecting the Australian way of life and the wellbeing of all Australians through good policy, planning and provision.

PLA Chief Executive Mark Band explains "we have a range national and international speakers who will challenge norms and provoke creative thinking for the parks and leisure industry and identify opportunities that arise as a result."

One of several international keynote speakers is Gil Penalosa, from 8-80 Cities, a Canadian not-for-profit organisation dedicated to transforming cities into places where people can walk, cycle, access public transport and visit vibrant parks and public places. Gil, who will talk about what Australia can learn from international successes, has devoted his life to creating active communities, working in more than 130 cities on all continents. He will participate in several workshops and presentations.

Another international speaker is Dr Lawrence Leong Chee Chiew, the commissioner of Parks & Recreation for the National Parks Board, Singapore.

Home-grown horticultural stars Wes Fleming and Phil Johnson will share their experience of winning best in show at the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show when they speak about the importance of well-designed public landscapes, while Tough Mudder's Drew Ward will discuss the global fitness phenomenon in his keynote address.

Keynote speaker Rachael Robertson is an Antarctic explorer and the first woman in 10 years to lead a diverse team through isolation and months of darkness to David Station in Antarctica. Her presentation, Leading on the Edge, takes the audience through the experience of leading the 12-month expedition.

A gala dinner, hosted by Sam Kekovich, will include the presentation of National Awards of Excellence, recognising the best in innovation across the sector for events, play space, open space planning, and development, parks, leisure facilities and sustainability, and outstanding contributions to the industry.

Parks and Leisure Australia is the peak body representing community and recreation planning; parks, gardens and open space; sport development; horticulture and arboriculture; grounds maintenance and cemeteries; facility management; play and play spaces; tourism and events; health and physical activity; and environment and biodiversity.

Conference delegates range from small and large businesses, all levels of government, educational institutions and private consultants.

Band concluded "this is a fantastic opportunity for anyone with an interest in the parks and leisure centre to participate in a world-class conference addressing challenges and opportunities across our industry."

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

Image: Albert Park Melbourne.


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