Think Bigger: Fix Everything

17 – 18 May 2021


Where

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!

Scroll down for our 2021 conference report and eight-minute video wrap.

Download the Program

Conference Wrap-up

Australia’s most progressive leaders, thinkers and community agitators have gathered in their hundreds – in person and online – to spur on practical solutions to society’s toughest problems.

Representing leaders from the country’s 600,000 not-for-profits since 2003, the Communities in Control conference had as its theme “Think Bigger: Fix Everything”. More than 600 people turned out in person to Melbourne’s Moonee Valley Racecourse with another 250 tuning in online for the first hybrid version of the conference.

The two-day event (May 17–18) delivered inspiration in spades, with that vision tempered by a clear view of the mammoth tasks faced by community groups across health, disadvantage and inequality.


The cream of Australia’s progressive thinkers presented delegates with both the opportunities for change and the responsibility to act. Among them: Australian of the Year Grace Tame, Senator Penny Wong giving the Joan Kirner Social Justice Oration, Uncle Jack Charles, chart-topper Mitch Tambo, domestic abuse campaigner Jess Hill, NSW Ageing and Disability Commissioner Robert Fitzgerald AM, "brain power" Dr Helena Popovic, social researcher Hugh Mackay AO on kindness, gender equity law expert Dr Ramona Vijeyarasa, progressive economist Dr Tim Thornton, playful philosopher Daniel Teitelbaum, Somalian-born slam poet Hani Abdile, Solved! author Andrew Wear, Sydney Deputy Lord Mayor Jess Scully, and storyteller Chris Helder.

Our Community group managing director and conference organiser Denis Moriarty said the theme was ambitious yet built on the reality that solutions to our biggest problems were within reach.

We've compiled highlights of the event into a detailed report, podcasts, transcripts and copies of presenters' slides. An eight-minute video summary and full videos from selected sessions have also been posted on the Communities in Control website.

Read our extended coverage, see more pictures and watch our video wrap here

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