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Outback Futures Project


The Outback Futures Project is a genuine invitation to the Outback Community and regional stakeholders to identify what is wanted and needed for the long term sustainability of the outback as its own unique and autonomous region of South Australia.
The Outback Futures Committee comprises Mr Bill McIntosh AM, Presiding Member of the Outback Communities Authority as Chair, Ms Sue Chase AM, regional business leader with a long history of working in the outback as the CEO of Cowell Electric and Mr Ross Sawers, Presiding Member of the new Arid Lands Landscapes SA Board and former member of the SA Arid Lands NRM Board and Regional Development Australia Far North Board.  Together the Members of the Outback Futures Committee will collect information from the Outback Community and other regional stakeholders that it will use to prepare a comprehensive consultation report representing the breadth of issues concerns and aspirations raised along with any recommendations for change for the consideration of the Outback Communities Authority.

What We Heard

The Outback Futures consultation commenced in August 2020 engaging with the Outback community asking their views and aspirations and how to achieve a better and more resilient community into the future.
The Outback Communities Authority is currently considering the future model and governance of outback South Australia through a project entitled ‘Outback Futures’. The Outback Futures Committee met with more than 120 people in August at meetings across the outback and received 42 questionnaire responses. A summary document from that consultation,'What we heard'  was distributed at the end of September.
Since then the Committee has carefully considered how best to respond to the issues that were raised, and now we’d like to know what you think about that.
Webinars were held on December 3 and 4 to provide community members and stakeholders with information about principles and potential initiatives developed by the Outback Futures Committee in response to the issues and themes raised in the preliminary consultation in August and September. A final webinar 'What we heard' was held on December 8.
You can view a video of that presentation by clicking here and provide your feedback via a brief questionnaire. Questionnaire responses can be submitted until 5pm on Monday 4 January 2021.

Please feel very welcome to share this with others who you think will be interested in having their say. If you have any questions about these sessions, please contact Marg Howard, Project Manager Outback Futures at email


Moving Forward on the Future of the Outback

Good News!

The OCA is pleased to announce that the State Government has supported the further development of its ‘Outback Futures Project’, with funding to undertake a comprehensive planning process in partnership with Outback communities over the next six months.

The Government has funded an additional Community Development Officer for 12 months to provide additional support to Outback communities and Progress Associations. This addresses an immediate need that was raised with the Outback Futures Committee when it met with many of you last year. We are commencing the recruitment process for that position and hope to have a person on board in the next couple of months.  

Outback Futures

The Outback Futures Project is about the long term and sustainable management and growth of South Australia’s outback and considering what it means for its communities from social, economic, environmental and cultural perspectives.  South Australia’s Outback is a unique place, and the Board is absolutely committed to identifying those services and initiatives that will make it an even better place to live, work and visit.

The Outback Futures Report was provided to our Minister in late January this year, and its recommendations covered three key themes:

  • an enhanced OCA model addressing governance, financial sustainability and reduced reliance on volunteers for service delivery
  • better management of public access in the Outback
  • improved regional coordination of Government services.

If you participated in last year’s consultation you will know that these themes were ‘in principle’ with a promise that further detailed work and engagement was to come.

Next Steps

The OCA intends to run a three stage planning process with Outback communities to develop a meaningful approach for the Outback’s future growth and progress.

Stage 1: Your community is invited to a residential planning workshop from Friday September 3 to Sunday September 5 at Coober Pedy
Stage 2: ‘in community’ consultation over a two week period in October
Stage 3: an online workshop with participants from Coober Pedy to agree on and endorse the plan and its objectives.


We expect to deliver:

  • a strategic blueprint for South Australia's Outback and its communities of interest
  • identification of priority services required to be delivered by the OCA
  • identification of priority services required that would benefit from a joint effort by Government Agencies
  • options for a future financial model to support the community's desired services.

Join us on this journey - Become a local 'Outback Futures Champion'

We are seeking registrations of interest from people who are prepared to be local 'Outback Futures Champions' and who can:

  • represent the views of their community
  • attend and engage in the residential planning session at Coober Pedy in September
  • be a key point of communication in the local community
  • help present information at local community consultation meetings in October
  • encourage local community members to participate in those consultation meetings.

You might be a member of a Progress Association, or belong to a particular community of interest, such as a tourism group or the pastoralist sector or you might just be someone who is passionate about the outback.

You will find a registration of interest form here. Registrations of interest are due by the end of July.

The workshop will have approximately 50 participants, including some OCA Board members and invited stakeholders, so if we receive a large number of registrations of interest some negotiation on who attends may be necessary in order to allow all interested communities to be represented.

Helping you get to Coober Pedy

To make it as easy as possible for people to participate in the Coober Pedy workshop the Board is making complimenatry charter flights available from some locations. Flights will arrive in Coober Pedy by 5pm on Friday September 3 and will depart for the return journey at 2.30 pm on Sunday September 5. For those people wishing to drive, travel will be reimbursed at 50 cents per kilometre. Accommodation will be provided across a number of different venues. The flyer Outback Futures – Planning at Coober Pedy has further detail about the weekend.

Questions and feedback can be directed to either OCA Director, Mark Sutton at email or mobile 0427 001 969, or Project Manager Marg Howard at email  or mobile 0423 299 995.

We look forward to working with you to position our Outback well for the future.