Reef Alliance

Reef Extension Think Tank

Note: this event was originally scheduled for 17-19 March but due to COVID-19 has been postponed to 15-17 September 2020.

Gather with the bright sparks of Queensland’s extension scene to explore how to accelerate our impact as enablers of change in agriculture.

Inviting all extension service providers, researchers, agronomists, funders, evaluators, policy makers and others working to enable greater change in the Reef catchments…

This year’s Think Tank will be a highly interactive event where you’ll meet motivated peers, hear their best approaches, share your bright ideas, get inspired, and walk away with do-able solutions to your toughest challenges.

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Event details

You can look forward to…

The heart of extension practice. Focusing on the human and relationship dimension of our work. Ultimately we care and work with people to improve outcomes. How could our extension practice reflect this? A thought provoking session facilitated by Paul Prichard and Angela Williams.

A festival of “what works”. An extravaganza of tips, tricks, skills and whatever it takes to make a difference in our work. This peer-to-peer session will liberate our collective extension genius.

A crash course in behavioural science. How to apply psychological insight to our work. Here are some things things we never learnt at uni. A fun session facilitated by Changeologist Les Robinson.

A carnival of the uncommon. Discover innovative projects from across Queensland and ask their creators “How the heck do WE do this?” and “What are your deepest secrets?”

Bush dancing wing ding. You’ll be proud of your ‘heel and toe’ skills after an evening of joy with this most Australian form of celebration.

Keynote presenters

Paul Prichard has recently agreed to contribute his expertise from the Child and family sector in Australia to the agricultural sector in Queensland. He is currently a key collaborator on the legacy project Developing a shared practice framework for agricultural extension in Queensland, funded by the Enhanced Extension Project. Paul will share his experience and learnings in helping health practitioners build trust and effective relationships with families, and help us explore how we might apply these learnings to the farm families with whom we work.

Les Robinson is a specialist in behavioural science and community change who brings science, rigorous process, clear thinking, warmth and fun to the practice of designing change efforts. Les is the author of Changeology: How to enable groups, communities and societies to do things they’ve never done before. He has recently delivered a series of group facilitation workshops across the Reef catchments as part of the Enhanced Extension Coordination project.

Pre-event workshop

While we have Paul Prichard in Queensland, you’re invited to join us on the morning before the Think Tank commences (Tuesday 15 September 2020) for a free half-day conversation that matters to explore…

What would it take to develop meaningful, trusting and effective relationships with the farmers* with whom we work, and with each other?

* The term “farmer” is being used as shorthand for landholder, grower, grazier, forester, fisher
or however you refer to the primary producers with whom you work.

This opportunity is for those who are interested in:

  • working with farm families,
  • engaging those farmers who may be ‘hard to reach’,
  • developing working relationships with farmers in short timeframes, and
  • improving on-ground outcomes and achieving practice change in partnership with farmers.

The workshop will start at 9:00 am and conclude by 12:30 pm so you can then attend the Think Tank. Numbers are limited to 40 people, to enable a deep conversation to develop. There is no registration fee as the cost of this activity is being covered by the Enhanced Extension Project. Attendance is limited to those who are also attending the Reef Extension Think Tank. To register, select the free add-on ticket when purchasing the Think Tank ticket on Eventbrite.

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Program overview

The Think Tank starts and finishes with lunch, to make travel a little easier. Some people like to know all the details, so here is our current draft program which may change slightly over time.

Tuesday 15 September 2020
Deep conversation with Paul Prichard
9:00 am – Arrive and register, tea and coffee available
9:15 am – Session 1
10:30 am – Morning tea
11:00 am – Session 2
12:30 pm – Close

Reef Extension Think Tank
12:30 pm – Arrive and register, lunch available
1:15 pm – Welcome, housekeeping
1:30 pm – Session 1: The heart of extension practice (Paul Prichard and Angela Williams)
3:00 pm – Afternoon tea
3:30 pm – Session 2: The heart of extension practice (cont)
5:00 pm – Close
6:30 pm – Dinner
8:00 pm – Close

Wednesday 16 September 2020
8:30 am – Session 3: Victories and challenges
10:00 am – Morning tea
10:30 am – Session 4: Changeology 1: Thinking like a change maker
12:30 pm – Lunch
1:30 pm – Session 5: Changeology 2: The diffusion game
3:00 pm – Afternoon tea
3:30 pm – Session 6: Changeology 3: The art of being irresistible
5:00 pm – Close
6:00 pm – Dinner
7:00 pm – Bush dance
8:30 pm – Close

Thursday 17 September 2020
8:30 am – Session 7: A carnival of the uncommon
10:00 am – Morning tea
10:30 am – Session 8: Unjamming solutions
12:00 am – Action plan development/ where to from here
12:30 pm – Lunch and depart
1:30 pm – Close


This event is being held at the Mercure Townsville, 166 Woolcock Street, Townsville, QLD, 4812, ph (07) 4759 4900.

Accommodation is available on-site and when you make your booking, mention the Think Tank for a special discount.


The registration cost is $220 inc GST, which is fully refundable for those working with farmers in the Reef catchments. This covers the cost of attending the Think Tank, including training materials, daily catering and complementary evening meals. There are no limits for the number of people registering from the same organisation.


You can download the Reef Extension Think Tank flyer and give it to your friends and colleagues.


Apply for the subsidy using the Reef extension T&D database and once you’ve received your approval email, follow the enclosed link to register and pay for the event.

Further details

Please contact John James, Manager (Reef Extension Training Development), Department of Agriculture and Fisheries,