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Global extension showcased at international conference in Launceston

Published by Melissa Lewarn on 13 November 2023

More than 280 global thought leaders, industry titans and visionaries will visit Launceston this week for the Australasia-Pacific Extension Network (APEN) conference.

This premier two-day event starting tomorrow will showcase almost 100 presentations and interactive sessions highlighting innovations in extension across rural and community advisory practitioners, researchers, policymakers, academics and others involved in extension and education.

The Chair of APEN, Dr Anthony Kachenko, said the conference would explore the theme 'Looking to the future: the role of extension and education'.

"We are thrilled to host the International Conference in Launceston, a city known for its rich history and vibrant community,” Dr Kachenko said.

“The theme of this year's conference reflects our commitment to exploring the transformative role of extension and education in shaping a sustainable and impactful future.”

Key speakers include Tim Jarvis AM, an environmental scientist, author, and recent South Australian of the Year 2024 and Stephanie Trethewey, national winner of the AgriFutures Rural Women's Award in 2022 and recent Tasmanian of the Year 2024. Both will share their insights and foresight on the future of industries, communities and regional Australia.

The event will also feature Tasmanian Richard Warner, who will be joined by Rosie Martin and Allison Clark on a panel discussion exploring the literacy challenges faced in primary industries. A grower panel will wrap up the conference featuring fifth-generation 2022 Tasmanian Young Farmer of the Year Caitlin Radford.

The TAS Farm Innovation Hub Director, Sandra Knowles, said the hub was proud to be a platinum sponsor of this important event.

“It’s a real coup for Tasmania to host the APEN International conference and it represents a unique opportunity for professionals to connect, learn, and envision the future of extension and education on a global scale,” Ms Knowles said.

“We are excited to facilitate discussions that will drive meaningful change in our communities and industries and are particularly interested in those discussions around our remit of drought resilience.”

The conference will be held at the Tailrace Centre at Riverside from tomorrow until Thursday. The media are welcome to attend.

For more information, including registration details and the full conference program, visit

APEN is a leading professional organisation dedicated to advancing extension and outreach practices across the Australasia-Pacific region. With a mission to foster collaboration, knowledge sharing, and professional development, APEN plays a crucial role in shaping the future of extension and education.

The TAS Farm Innovation Hub is one of eight hubs nationally funded through the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund. The hub is based at the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) at the University of Tasmania and delivered through an extensive network of industry and community partners.

Our ParTners

The hub is proud to work with a diverse network of over 20 Industry Partners, Delivery Partners and collaborators to build drought and climate resilience through hub activities. Through this network, we span the entire breadth of the Tasmanian agriculture sector and can support farmers, agricultural businesses and communities.
TAS Farm Innovation Hub - Growing Climate Resilient Communities

Funding & AcknowledgmentS

This program received funding from the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund.

The Australian Government is contributing $12.4 million over 4 years through the Future Drought Fund under various grants. Hub partners and the University of Tasmania will provide co-contributions of an amount at least equal to the Australian Government funding over the same period.

We acknowledge the palawa/pakana people, the traditional custodians of the land upon which we live and work. We honour their enduring culture and knowledges as vital to the self-determination, wellbeing and resilience of their communities.

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