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Voices for the Bush Conference

Icon of a calendar 9 Aug, 2022 - 10 Aug, 2022 | Small clock icon 8:30am - 5:00pm ACST | Icon of a map pin Alice Springs

Taking place in the heart of Australia, Alice Springs will set the scene for the inaugural national conference. The conference will bring together decision-makers and policymakers from water utilities, service providers, government agencies and consultants to share knowledge for developing, maintaining and operating smaller water supplies for Indigenous and remote communities and local governments in regional, remote and rural Australia.

Proudly hosted by The Australian Water Association (AWA) and Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA).

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Senator Malarndirri-92


Minister's Address

Senator Malarndirri McCarthy, Assistant Minister for Indigenous Australians and Indigenous Health
Senator Malarndirri McCarthy is a Yanyuwa Garrwa woman from the Gulf country in the Northern Territory. She first entered the public sphere as a journalist with the ABC and more recently for SBS/NITV. Senator McCarthy was elected to the Northern Territory Assembly as the Member for Arnhem in 2005 and held a number Ministerial appointments in the NT Government between 2008 and 2012. Senator McCarthy has served as Senator for the Northern Territory (including Christmas and Cocos Keeling Islands) since 2016. She was recently sworn in as the Assistant Minister for Indigenous Australians and Indigenous Health in the Anthony Albanese Labor Government. 

Senator McCarthy’s Ministerial Address will set the scene for two days of critical discussion about the future for water management in regional, rural and remote communities, including a focus on Indigenous communities and engagement.


Pat Turner plain background


Keynote Address 

Patricia Turner AM, National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation
The daughter of an Arrernte man and a Gurdanji woman, Pat was raised in Alice Springs. As CEO of NACCHO, she is at the forefront of community efforts to Close the Gap in health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Pat has over 40 years’ experience in senior leadership positions in government, business and academia including being the only Aboriginal person, only woman and longest serving CEO of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Commission (ATSIC). Amongst her many appointments, she also spent 18 months as Monash Chair of Australian Studies, Georgetown University, Washington DC, and was inaugural CEO of NITV. Pat is the Coalition of Peaks Lead Convenor and Co-Chair of the Joint Council on Closing the Gap. Pat holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration from the University of Canberra where she was awarded the University prize for Development Studies.

The keynote address given by Patricia Turner AM will provide valuable insights and discuss The Coalition of Peaks perspective on Closing the Gap.
This keynote address will be virtual.


Dr Phil Duncan


Keynote Address 

Dr Phil Duncan is from Moree, NSW and is a member of the Gomeroi Nation and a member of the Gomeroi Nation Native Title Claimant Group. His homelands are Moree and Terry Hie Hie.

Phil has over 40 years’ experience working with Aboriginal people and government to improve the lives of Aboriginal people through recognition of our rich cultural history, the return of our lands, the improvement of our living conditions and education of our next generation through both his employment and active volunteer community work. Phil provides high level policy and strategic advice and leadership to key Indigenous Representative Organisations, Universities, State and Federal government agencies as well as key external stakeholder groups. His strategic advice, leadership and engagement is around issues of culture and heritage significance, community engagement in on-ground projects, as well as the design, delivery and implementation of programs in partnership with government.

Phil has made significant contributions in a variety of domains from education and organisational reconciliation action through to areas of focus such as natural resource management, freshwater river management, forestry, native fish, water rights and allocations.
This keynote address will be virtual.

Event Details


Welcome Function

Conference & Exhibition

Conference Dinner


Monday 8 August

Tuesday 9 - Wednesday 10 August

Tuesday 9 August


5:30pm - 7:30pm ACST

8:00am - 5:00pm ACST

6:00pm - 10:00pm ACST


The Ghan Foyer, Alice Springs Convention Centre, 93 Barrett Drive

Alice Springs Convention Centre, 93 Barrett Drive.

Madigans Function Room, Alice Springs Desert Park, 871 Larapinta Drive

Please note that the start and end times of the social functions are subject to change.  Transport is provided to and from the Dinner venue.

Why Alice?
Not just a location, but a destination! Alice Springs is not just a beautiful location in the heart of Australia but the most appropriate place to discuss Regional, Rural and Remote issues and look for solutions.


We are very pleased to announce that an online registration option is now available.  Online delegates will enjoy all plenary sessions, technical and panel sessions live streamed from the MacDonnell room (see program).  Due to the amount of interest in this inaugural conference, and in-person registrations nearing capacity, the online option has been created to give everyone the opportunity to view and participate in one stream of content.

In-person Registrations are now closed. Online registrations are still available: 

Registration Type Member Non- Member

Online Individual

$340 $480

Online Hub

$2,380 $3,360
Register now

Not a member?
Join a community of almost 5,000 individual and 500 corporate members driving a sustainable water future through education, engagement, and connection. f you wish to learn more about AWA's membership benefits or join online, visit our website or contact

For more information about Voices for the Bush contact:

Vanessa van Zyl, Event Manager | Ph: 02 9467 8418 | E:

Steve Comey, Senior Exhibition Manager | Ph: 0414 919 424 | E:

COVIDSafe Event Guidelines

The Australian Water Association has closely followed Government recommendations to develop COVIDSafe Guidelines for AWA events. These guidelines will be in place at this event and have been designed to ensure attendee health and safety. Your support is also essential to keep this event COVIDSafe. We ask that delegates observe good hygiene and physical distancing at the event. If you are feeling unwell, please do not attend the event. Please email at least 24 hours before the event if you cannot attend due to illness. Under these circumstances, a transfer of your registration to a colleague will be accepted at no cost. If Government restrictions impact your ability to attend, or AWA's ability to hold the event, an AWA team member will be in touch to discuss your registration.


Thank you to our Partners


Principal Partners

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__SA Water Logo

Power Water Corporation


Government Partner




Conference Supporter

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Conference Dinner Partner

Lunch Partner - Day 1

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