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Voices from the Bush Conference 2024

Icon of a calendar 10 Sep, 2024 - 11 Sep, 2024 | Small clock icon 8:30am - 5:00pm ACST | Icon of a map pin Alice Springs

Nestled in the heart of Australia, Alice Springs is in the prime position to host our second Voices from the Bush Conference. The event will explore the challenges impacting remote and regional communities across the nation and provide a platform for diverse voices to come together; collaborating and contributing towards the creation of lasting change.

This conference has been created as a dedicated space for open dialogue on the pressing matters affecting regional and remote Australian communities. Our focus is on sharing, connecting, and promoting thought leadership, acknowledging the particular significance and challenges relating to water in the lives and livelihoods of our rural and remote communities.

With deliberate and significant representation from the Indigenous community, the conference is set to unite those working on the frontline with decision makers from across the sector; from water utilities, service providers and government agencies to consultants, construction agencies and researchers. Voices from the Bush will bring together the sector to drive change and direct the conversation in shaping a sustainable water future across our nation’s rural and remote regions.

This year we are even more committed to crafting a conference that goes a step further to engage with Indigenous communities in a more effective way. We will actively invite in session ideas, truth telling and story telling that is outside of the regular conference format. So please share your ideas with us via this form. We want to be vulnerable and listen in a collaborative and constructive manner, to ensure the conference has real impact and generates a lasting legacy of change.

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

Save the Date


The Call for Abstracts has closed. The program will launch in June.
See the conference
sub-themes below: 

  • Truth-telling 
  • Holistic approaches, solutions and partnerships (Land and Governance)
  • Two-way science and knowledge
  • Culturally intelligent 
  • Bridging water rights and water infrastructure
  • First Nations and Indigenous perspectives 
  • Cultural, social, and environmental value of water 
  • Improving liveability on Country 
  • Affordability of water services to First Nations / vulnerable communities (costing)
  • Economies of scale, mutual benefit, and self-empowerment 
  • Economic participation and opportunities (investment, sustainable and self-determined, land activation)
  • WSAA Closing the Water Gap – follow-up on recommendations
  • National Water Initiative and new water agreement
  • Water policy, regulation, law and economics 
  • Linkage to broader policy goals (e.g. Closing the Gap, SDGs and WASH) 
  • Funding strategies 
  • Sustainable operational funding models – what do they look like?
  • Jurisdictional operating models – action plans
  • “managing” stakeholder expectations – government / funding bodies
  • Role of the private sector in financing the operation and maintenance of remote water supply systems
  • Community Infrastructure Partnerships – involving public, private and not-for-profit financing
  • Delivering community-based solutions that provide better integration of essential services and promote liveability principles
  • Protecting sources and catchments
  • Impacts of climate change on water quality and water security
  • Risks and opportunities
  • Impact of regulatory environment on supply of safe water and wastewater treatment 
  • Water quality and health impacts 
  • Water safety plans 
  • Emergency response and extreme events 
  • Communication and education around water quality 
  • Livability principles - livability projects as core delivery
  • Financing innovation and R&D through novel approaches
  • Establishing collaboration platforms across the sector
  • Fit for purpose and place technologies and solutions (water and wastewater) 
  • Monitoring and measuring for water quality and security 
  • Artificial intelligence, computing and drone technologies
  • Nature-based solutions
  • Alternative water supplies (e.g. demand management, stormwater and recycled water) 
  • Asset management 
  • Water literacy 
  • Mentoring and professional development 
  • Lessons learnt – personal or professional 
  • Capacity Development – staffing and skills development/training 
  • Cross-cultural training for water quality wins 
  • Water stories 
  • Technical, logistical and financial support for remote locations 
  • Partnership and collaboration examples and opportunities 
  • Liveability principles in remote communities
  • Skills and training shortages
  • Skills of the future – what do they look like?
  • Structuring and establishing project teams – right people, right skills, right intent
  • When things go wrong - Crisis response

We have included a Wildcard theme for any submissions that don’t quite fit under any of the above topics. It's submissions like these that remind us of the need to think outside the box to solve our water challenges.

 Event Details

Welcome Function


Conference Dinner


Monday 9 September

Tuesday 10 - Wednesday 11 September

Tuesday 10 September


5:30pm - 7:30pm ACST

8:00am - 5:00pm ACST

6:00pm - 10:00pm ACST



Alice Springs Convention Centre, 93 Barrett Drive.


Please note that the start and end times of the social functions are subject to change.  

Travel & Accommodation
When should you arrive in Alice Springs? To benefit the complete program of events for Voices for the Bush, we recommend that you arrive in Alice Springs by midday on Monday, 9 September.

Thanks to Accommodation Link, discounted accommodation rates have been secured for Voices for the Bush attendees at a range of hotels in Alice Springs. The rates and accommodation in Alice Springs are limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. We encourage you to book now to ensure you have secured accommodation to attend the conference – the rooms will go quick and Alice Springs will book out!

For any queries regarding accommodation, contact Accommodation Link:
PH: 1300 79 20 30 (Mon-Fri 9:00am to 5:30pm AEST) E:

Book accommodation

Note: You will be directed to the official third-party website.

Registrations will be opening soon.


Early Bird Registration

Standard Registration
Registration Type Member Non-Member Member Non-Member

Full Registration
This registration option includes access to the full conference and 1 ticket to the dinner on 10 September 2024.

$909.00 $1,278.00 $1,010.00 $1,420.00

Tuesday Only 
This registration option is for day only access to the sessions on Tuesday and does not include a ticket to the dinner.

$585.00 $819.00 $650.00 $910.00
Wednesday Only 
This registration option is for day only access to the sessions on Wednesday and does not include a ticket to the dinner.
$585.00 $819.00 $650.00 $910.00

Full Registration plus 1 Year AWA Professional Membership
This registration option includes access to the full conference and 1 ticket to the dinner on 10 September 2024 In addition, you will be joining Australia's biggest water network of over 5,000 members with a 1 year Professional Membership (valued at $335).

N/A $1,134.00 N/A $1,260.00

Concession Member Discounts: 25% off - Concession Member rates apply to AWA Concession Members (students, retirees and YWPs under the age of 25).


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 from the Bush contact:

Laura Gottsfritz, Events Manager | Ph: 02 9467 8427 | E:
Mark Jones, Member Engagement Manager | P: 02 9467 8408 | E:

Troy Waite, Partnerships and Sponsorships Manager | P: 02 9467 8413  | E: 





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