Think Bigger: Fix Everything

17 – 18 May 2021


Moonee Valley Racing Club, MELBOURNE, Or attend online

What’s the big idea?

Australia has big problems.

Inequality is rising. We have to get over carbon. We need to save the Reef. And the Murray. And the koala. And so much more.

But our leaders are offering us small targets.

Australia can cope with big challenges. We’ve just done it. Australians can make sacrifices and work together and solve big problems quickly. We’ve been practicing for a year. The COVID-19 response showed us what we can achieve if we really want to – we halved poverty and homelessness in the depths of the crisis. Why walk that back now? We’ve never needed bigger ideas more.

The community sector has to step up. Where’s our wish list? We have to flex our muscles. We have to find our voice. We have to cut through. New approaches, new urgency, new energy, new funding, a new sense of possibility.

No more bandaids. No more excuses. No more bullshit. Let’s just do what has to be done.

It’s 2021. We’ve got a once-in-a-generation opportunity to crash through the old roadblocks and break out into open country. Seize the day!

Download the Program

In-person or online options available!

Following the success of the 2020 Communities in Control conference, which was hosted virtually using the Hopin platform, the 2021 conference will be available both in-person and online. We’re so excited to present a hybrid conference option, which will now allow even more people to join us from even more places.

On our all-in-one live events platform, you'll be able to explore Communities in Control 2021 virtually through our live Stage, Random Video Networking and Exhibitors.

PLEASE NOTE: For the best experience at the virtual CIC, use Chrome or Firefox browsers.

Conference Tickets

Flying Solo - Attend In-Person


Price per person (inc GST)

In-person Full Price

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Flying Solo - Attend Online


Price per person

Online Full Price

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Dynamic Duo - Attend In-Person


Price per person (inc. GST)

Save $25 per person

2-4 people

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Dynamic Duo - Attend Online


Price per person (inc GST)

Save $25 per person

2-4 people

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Gang of Five - Attend In-Person


Price per person (inc GST)

Save $50 per person

5 people or more

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Gang of Five - Attend Online


Price per person (inc GST)

Save $50 per person

5 people or more

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Event Schedule

08:30am – 09:15am (AEST)

Registration opens

Tea, coffee and water available

09:15am – 09:30am (AEST)

Welcome and Opening with Acknowledgement of Country

09:30am – 09:45am (AEST)

A musical performance

Renowned for his didgeridoo playing, actor, presenter and performer Mitch Tambo is one of Australia’s most talented entertainers. A proud Gamilaraay man, Mitch lights up any arena (or conference room).

09:45am – 10:45am (AEST)

Dignity and Respect: The foundation for how to treat people

We’re all too quick to kick people while they’re down. Those caught in a cycle of desperation are shunned by society and blamed for the position they find themselves in. This is not healthy. The truth is that most of the time, society is to blame for the outcasting of the other. And to end the cycle, it is on everyone to start treating people with dignity and respect.

10:45am – 11:00am (AEST)

Morning tea

Refreshments available.

11:00am – 11:50am (AEST)

Reimagining the Community Sector: It’s time for reform

Community sector workers usually start with the best of intentions but are too often met by outdated systems and poorly conceived rules and laws that prevent them from achieving the best results. There is no denying the sector is in need of a serious shake-up, but what does reform on this scale look like?

11:50am – 12:40pm (AEST)

Boost Your Brain

Most people work on building up and boosting their financial assets. But how many people work on building up and boosting their brain? The revolutionary field of neuroplasticity has shown that the brain can change its structure and function. It can grow new cells, new circuits and new connections in response to what we do, think, feel and believe. It's time to start taking a more active role in ensuring our brain operates at its best.

12:40pm – 01:30pm (AEST)


01:30pm – 02:15pm (AEST)

The Kindness Revolution: Restoring hope, rebuilding trust and inspiring optimism

Revolutions never start at the top. If we dare to dream of a more loving country – a kinder, more compassionate, more cooperative, more respectful, more inclusive, more egalitarian, more harmonious, less cynical country – there’s only one way to start turning that dream into a reality: each of us must live as if this is already that country. And there is no better time to start the revolution than now, when so many are struggling from the effects of drought, floods, bushfires and the pandemic.

02:15pm – 03:00pm (AEST)

Gender equality in a generation? Achieving change by legislating with women in mind

How do we make taxation fair for single-parent households? How do we ensure that planning decisions consider the different ways in which women use our communities? How can we ensure that glass ceiling is not a barrier to the corner office? How can we ensure that we do not forgo the talents women have to offer as leaders in politics? Ramona Vijeyarasa will demonstrate that we can help correct gender inequality, through the law, by courageously stepping away from neutrality and using the law to help transform decades of discrimination

03:00pm – 03:15pm (AEST)

Afternoon tea

Refreshments available

03:15pm – 04:00pm (AEST)

See What You Made Me Do: Power, control and domestic abuse

Domestic abuse is a national emergency: one in four Australian women has experienced violence from a man she was intimate with. But too often we ask the wrong question: why didn’t she leave? We should be asking: why did he do it?

04:00pm – 04:45pm (AEST)


When bad laws stand in the way of justice, we must fight to make things right. Grace Tame has shown what is possible over the past 10 years. In 2019, Grace’s story gained national attention through the #LetHerSpeak campaign, which fought against the injustice of a Tasmanian law that prevented survivors from identifying themselves publicly. Her courage in sharing her story helped other survivors find their own voices, leading to Grace being named 2021 Australian of the Year.

04:45pm – 06:00pm (AEST)

Drinks and networking

09:30am – 10:20am (AEST)

Better Economics for a Better World

Whether by intention or accident, economic ideas and analysis often diminish society’s expectations of what can be achieved. Such failings are not inherent to economics per se, rather they are the result of outdated economics dominating analysis and public discussion. The problematic nature of economic analysis must stop and make way for better theory and concepts to help us re-imagine what our economy and society could look like.

10:20am – 10:45am (AEST)

Morning tea

10:45am – 11:35am (AEST)

Stop playing around and start playing seriously

How to harness the power of play for your community organisation.

11:35am – 12:00pm (AEST)

I Will Rise: An Artistic Performance

Hani Abdile learned very quickly when detained on Christmas Island that there is a healing component to art that can help you weather even the worst of storms. Hani’s dedication to her poetry after leaving detention means that we all can now share the beauty and inspiration of her work.

12:00pm – 12:40pm (AEST)


12:40pm – 01:30pm (AEST)

Solved: Sometimes the solutions are closer than we think

If you take a look around the globe, you will find some remarkable success stories. Denmark will reach 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2030. Iceland has topped gender equality rankings for a decade and counting. Singaporean students beat almost all others in maths and reading. South Koreans will soon live longer than anyone else on Earth. What can we learn from these successes? And how can we apply these lessons at home to help shape a better future in our communities?

01:30pm – 02:15pm (AEST)

Glimpses of Utopia: Real Ideas for a Fairer World

You don’t wake up and find a Utopia fully realised and perfectly formed. It happens a little bit at a time, unevenly, erratically, but if we know how to look, we can see glimpses of it emerging all the time, everywhere. Utopia doesn’t happen by accident. It must be nudged into shape through the hard work of many people and the many institutions that make up our society. What can we do to help? In this keynote speech, Jess Scully will discuss how we can harness technology and imagination to reshape the world to build a fairer and more sustainable future.

02:15pm – 02:30pm (AEST)

Afternoon tea

02:30pm – 03:15pm (AEST)

How to Influence People: The tools and persuasion to connect and communicate

The community sector needs a major shake-up. We all know it, and yet our leaders continue to ignore our research and our calls for change. If we truly want reform, we’re going to need to learn the tools and techniques of persuasion that will force government rethink their approach.

03:15pm – 04:00pm (AEST)

Joan Kirner Social Justice Oration 2021

It took a pandemic for our State and Federal governments to admit that the JobSeeker payments weren’t enough to live off, that homelessness needed to be (and could be) tackled, and that the level of insecure work in this country is hitting crisis point. Despite this, every solution has focused on the short-term, with an expectation that everything will just go back to normal once the pandemic ends. But we don’t want to return to normal, we want change. Now is the time to have our voices heard. Now is the time to force our governments to do what is right.

04:00pm – 04:05pm (AEST)


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