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The Leading Australian Resilient Communities program Q&A provides an overview of the National LARC program and the program for our region. You can download the Northern Rivers LARC flyer for an overview of the Northern Rivers LARC program click here.

Please use the contacts provided below if you have any further questions or for media information.


What is Leading Australian Resilient Communities (LARC) about?

Regional Australian communities are no strangers to the complex work of transition and innovation when disruption and new opportunities are presented. The LARC program is about supporting Australia’s regional communities to meet challenges and collectively drive the positive changes they want to see.

LARC offers an opportunity to scale capacity-building in regional Australia with the aid of practical expertise on-the-ground.

Who is behind it?

The combined resources and networks of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation (ARLF), Regional Australia Institute (RAI) and leadership development partners: Leadership Victoria, Leadership WA, Leadership Institute of South Australia and Tasmanian Leaders represents a unique consortium of expertise in developing leadership in regional and rural Australia.

The ARLF and RAI leadership networks extend to almost every corner of the country, and we know from the communities we work with that leadership plays a critical role in building community resilience and enabling rural, regional and remote Australia to prosper and thrive.

What does LARC aim to achieve?

  1. To respond to clear and agreed community need
  2. To build capability for more equitable experiences of social and economic wellbeing, region-to-region
  3. To connect local leaders to a national network
  4. To include all facets of community
  5. To create local networks that can enact leadership for our regions
  6. To have long-term beneficial impact regionally and nationally

Where will it be on offer?



Program lead

Rivers to the Plains/cross border



Northern Rivers



Wide Bay Burnett



Charters Towers to Reef



Southern Northern Territory



Latrobe/Central-East Gippsland


Leadership Victoria

Northern & Yorke


Leaders Institute of South Australia

Midwest coastal – Geraldton


Leadership WA

Goldfields – Esperance


Leadership WA

Northwest & King Island


Tasmanian Leaders


We also welcome the support of the Australian Resilience Centre to support our design and delivery.


What does it involve?

  • A future forum for 50-80 people
  • Five-day leadership program intensives across each of ten regions for cohorts of 24-26 people 
  • Practical and useable RAI research, workshopped with each region to enable ongoing action  
  • Group coaching to support project initiatives
  • Access through tailored webinars to national thinkers on identified critical issues 
  • Practical, real-world ongoing projects championed by program participants and connected to regional and national leaders
  • A national leadership network for LARC leaders to tap into for support, inspiration and mutual learning

Who is the program for?

LARC is designed to enhance the inherent strengths in regional communities, with a focus on groups and individuals who are committed and invested in where they live.

Leadership program participants will be:

  • current and emerging leaders who understand the social, cultural, economic and environmental pressures that apply to their region
  • volunteers and employees of local government, community organisations and businesses
  • over 18 years of age

What are the benefits of participating?

The LARC Program offers a place-based leadership program to support current and emerging regional leaders to further develop their leadership and resilience skills, enabling them to become strong local voices who can contribute to their region’s long-term resilience in response to and preparedness for any chosen or imposed change or crisis.  

The program will facilitate opportunities for these leaders to develop deeper connections within their region and more broadly for the long term as they become part of the national leadership network the LARC program will build.  

Benefits for regional leaders –

  • A scholarship that invests in their development with practical, effective applications
  • Access to fresh insights into their region and connection with synergistic individuals and organisations
  • Immersion in a place-based residential leadership experience, offering the time and space to examine what resources and development they need to be most effective
  • Coaching to equip individuals to meet challenges unique to their roles and sectors
  • Integration with a powerful national network of leaders
  • Access to those with leadership wisdom and experience and comprehensive data and insights into their region

How will the region benefit? How will it build resilience?

Our experience tells us that building regional resilience isn’t just about the ability to bounce back from adversity – it’s about the ability to bounce forward and to build a future the community has identified.

Leadership networks involving a diversity of people across each region, are an essential part of adapting to change and realising a better future for our regions.

Our work across the many regions involved in LARC will focus on engaging with communities to build leadership networks based on the needs and aspirations of each region. This means we will see different priorities and areas of focus through locally led initiatives.

Benefits for regional communities –

  • Growth in the number and diversity of leaders available to support and drive development
  • An empowered, connected cohort of leaders from across the community
  • Resulting initiatives that reflect consultative, informed identification of challenges, solutions, and opportunities
  • Cross-pollination from relevant, successful initiatives delivered in other regions

The program will be delivered by experienced facilitators who have the skills and capability to ensure participants realise the program’s learning objectives and outcomes including increasing community resilience to:  

  • Respond to future natural disasters and times of transition
  • Take responsibility for community’s disaster risk 
  • Build capacity to cope with adverse effects and identify where improvements are needed 
  • Foster a culture of self-sufficiency, helping behaviour and betterment and 
  • Promote co-operation among all members of the community.  

How will its success be determined and measured?

Success will be measured in two ways:

(1) Outcomes for individual participants

(2) Outcomes for participating LARC communities

  • Leaders and communities equipped with new insights to support their region’s development, while reinforcing connection and commitment to place
  • Diverse community members mobilised to connect and contribute collaboratively to complex, cross-sector regional issues and opportunities
  • Deep leadership networks established within and across regions to influence transformational change; contributing to stronger regions, states and ultimately the nation.

Who is the program funded by?

This project has received grant funding through the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts through the Building Resilient Regional Leaders Initiative (Pilot) Grant.

Why is the Australian Government investing in regional leadership development?

The Australian Government is continuing to focus on providing and investing in strong local leadership to respond to the many challenges impacting regional communities through “A Better Future for our Regions” announcement. This announcement demonstrates a commitment to create jobs and economic activity in the regions, whilst providing improved skill opportunities within the regional labour force.

Local leaders are recognised as having a significant role to play in boosting the resilience and vibrancy of their community, particularly following events, such as floods, bushfires and COVID-19 which have tested local and regional leaders in unprecedented ways.  It is more important than ever to ensure leaders are supported to develop their skills, networks and resilience.

The Australian Government is supporting current and emerging regional leaders through committing $5 million to the Building Resilient Regional Leaders Initiative, to further develop leadership and resilience skills and support local communities through future economic challenges.

How do I apply?

Visit rural-leaders.org.au and complete the online application form. This is an open application process where applicants will be assessed against the following criteria:

  • An applicant’s readiness to work collaboratively in their own region, on initiatives for the future benefit of the region. These may be existing or new initiatives.
  • An applicant’s commitment to community involvement in their region.

The process for selection is:

  • Eligible applicants (18 and over, living in specified region) will be pushed to review. Ineligible applicants notified immediately.
  • Upon registrations closing, all eligible applicants will be reviewed against the above criteria, and screening calls will be carried out.
  • Successful applicants will be offered a place, and upon acceptance, will enter onboarding, and be provided welcome packs and contracts.
  • Unsuccessful applicants will be advised in writing of the outcome.

Why was our region selected?

ARLF with the Regional Australia Institute has drawn on its collective networks to engage regions regarding LARC. The regions selected have been supported by local partners and all have lived experience managing significant and multiple impacts from recent disasters and have existing support gaps.  Our aim has been to work with regions through the opportunity LARC affords in locations that can be most advantaged by the positive impact and benefits the program can deliver.  

Some of the underpinning reasons for our selection of the Northern Rivers are:

  • COVID-19 impacted supply chains, staff availability and business viability. Border bubble impacts amplified the impacts of COVID on communities in the region
  • Multiple floods have had catastrophic social and economic impacts within the region
  • Drought and bushfires impacts have caused damage and economic hardship
  • Other Productivity Commission, SEIFA (Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas) scores and Minderoo Foundation research and data
  • Opportunity to engage across traditional region/LGA boundaries

What consultation occurred with stakeholders to determine the ‘need’ for this program and the RAI data?

ARLF and RAI engaged with regional and leadership development organisations within the proposed regions to confirm the need for and interest in the LARC program offering. During our engagement we described and received written support from local organisations for our proposed approach and the strategies we aim to use. This included the offer for Regional Australia Institute to provide localised and tailored regional data to assist the community to understand the drivers of change and the real and perceived opportunities and challenges at play in their region.  

The data is intended to assist the community to guide the focus of the LARC leadership program in their region.  The data will also be used by LARC participants to inform and evidence the local community initiatives they will work together to activate.

The Future Forums are intended to provide the community with the opportunity to understand more about the LARC program and confirm interest and support for the place-based leadership program on offer.

How is this program different from others on offer in our region (including the Drought Resilience Leaders Program)?

LARC offers new thinking around resilience by exploring building resilience in systems and exploring the influence community leaders can have on driving this change. From our engagement in the region, we identified an opportunity to collaborate across boundaries where local leadership programs do exist, to amplify their work, connect them nationally and foster resilience that can develop for any change required.

The ARLF’s Drought Resilience Leaders Program focuses on supporting communities to build preparedness and resilience to the impacts of drought.  The LARC program focuses more broadly to support communities impacted by transition and multiple natural disasters.  LARC aims to build leadership capacity in these communities to support their recovery and reduce their vulnerability to natural disasters and other disruptions in the long term.  

Who do I contact if I have any further questions about the program in this region?

Program enquires:                                         Media Enquiries:

Marissa Clift                                                      Nicky McMillan
E: marissac@rural-leaders.org.au                    E: nickym@rural-leaders.org.au
P: 0478 676 012                                               P: 0439 438 500


Who do I call for more information about the national program?

Contact the National Project Lead, Resilient Regions:

Marissa Clift – marissac@rural-leaders.org.au / 0478 676 012

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