Allan Dale is a Professor of Tropical Regional Development at The Cairns Institute, James Cook University and the Chief Scientist for the Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA). Allan is also a University Fellow with Charles Darwin University’s Northern Institute and has a strong interest in integrated societal governance, with a particular focus across the tropical world, northern Australia and the Great Barrier Reef. He leads JCU’s contributions to Queensland’s Rural Economies Centre of Excellence (RECoE) and the Clean Growth Choices Program, the Human Dimensions of the GBR, the Northern Development agenda and emerging approaches to Collective Impact.

He has both extensive research and policy expertise in building strong societal governance systems, but particularly those related to regional economic development, social development and natural resource management. Allan is a member of the Federal Governments's  Advisory Group on the Northern Australia Agenda and he was previously the Chair of Regional Development Australia Far North Queensland and Torres Strait Inc. and the CEO of Terrain NRM. He has held executive and management roles within the Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines (General Manager - Strategic Policy) and the Department of Community Services (Manager - Social Impact Assessment Unit). He also has global experience in respect to the social impact assessment of development. Having started his career as an agricultural scientist, Allan’s doctoral work explored rural development in remote Indigenous communities and he has long working relationships with Traditional Owner groups throughout northern Australia. Having grown up north of Cairns, after returning to Far North Queensland in 2005, Allan has spent the last 10 year’s in the rural community of Babinda and he now resides in the Speewah area west of Kuranda.. In 2015, Allan gave a TEDxJCUCairns talk which you can view HERE


  • Regional and natural resource policy/ governance systems
  • Environmental and social impact assessment
  • Indigenous/rural community development
  • Corporate/organization development
  • Lecturing/training in governance theory and planning systems
  • Land assessment and rehabilitation
  • Governance for the management of terrestrial carbon and greenhouse gas abatement
  • Climate change adaptation and disaster management
  • 2020 to present - Member of the Advisory Group on the Northern Australia Agenda, Commonwealth Government
  • 2017 to present - QLD Plan Ambassador, QLD Government
  • 2015 to present - Great Barrier Reef Water Science Taskforce, QLD Government
  • 2010 to present - Research Leader - Tropical Regional Development, The Cairns Institute (James Cook University, Cairns)
  • 2010 to 2017 - Chair, Regional Development Australia FNQ&TS
  • 2005 to 2010 - CEO, Wet Tropics Regional Natural Resource Management Board (Cairns)
  • 2001 to 2005 - General Manager of Resource Policy, Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines
  • 1996 to 2001 - Senior Scientist, Regional Planning, CSIRO - Tropical Agriculture
  • 1993 to 1996 - Manager, Social Impact Assessment Unit, Queensland Department of Family Services, Aboriginal and Islander Affairs
Research Disciplines
  • Reef and Rainforest Research Corporation (Board Member)
  • Mulgrave Aquifer Community Reference Panel (Independent Chair)
  • Environmental Institute of Australia (Member)
  • International Association of Impact Assessment (Member)
  • 2016 - Queensland Plan Ambassadors Council (Ambassador)
  • 2015 to 2016 - QLD Government Great Barrier Reef Water Science Taskforce (Member)

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles
Book Chapters

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 127+ research outputs authored by Prof Allan Dale from 1992 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

CRC for Developing Northern Australia Scheme - Contract Research

Strategy and research impact advice to the CRC for developing northern Australia

Indicative Funding
$1,050,489 over 7 years
This project is to: 1. Provide strategic advice to the CRCNA Board and their CEO to maximise the impact of the CRCNA and its investments; 2. Establishment and maintain cohesive advisory arrangements to the Board and CEO; 3. Frame and support the progression of commissioned knowledge brokerage and research of strategic importance to the Board; 4. Support the CRCNA to identify and attract high impact project proposals; 5. Support the CRCNA in the determination and measurement of impact across the CRCNA activities.
Allan Dale (Cairns Institute)
Northern Australia; Agriculture; Food; Tropical Health; Traditional Owners

Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment - National Environmental Science Program 2 (NESP 2) - Marine and Coastal Hub (NESP MAC Hub)

Scoping Study: Supporting Regional Planning in Northern Australia

Indicative Funding
$92,000 over 1 year
Development in northern Australia has had bi-partisan political support for many years and thus receives significant policy and funding profile. However, the agenda is widely considered to have under-achieved against aspirations, becoming a heavily contested space with poor outcomes for development and environment. Disputes over environmental issues are central to this contestation affecting development proponents, government agency decision-makers and affected communities. We believe we can make a positive contribution to easing (often known as de-risking) this contestation. A key issue is availability of agreed data/information/knowledge to all parties. We plan to run this agenda in partnership with the Resilient Landscapes Hub and the CRC for Developing Northern Australia, thus covering terrestrial, marine and socio-economic issues in strategic partnership. Given the many parties and wide range of issues involved, we will require extensive planning and consultation in the first year in order to develop a coherent research investment strategy for future years.
Allan Dale and Damien Burrows (Cairns Institute and College of Science & Engineering)
NESP; Economic Development; Northern Australia; resilient landscapes

Qld Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy - Contract Research

Bradfield Regional Assessment and Development Panel

Indicative Funding
$1,778 over 1 year
Day rate only requested to particulate in the Bradfield Regional Assessment and Development Panel.
Allan Dale (Cairns Institute)
Water Management; Regional Development

Cairns Regional Council - Contract Research

COVID-19 Rapid Social Needs Assessment

Indicative Funding
$54,418 over 2 years
Preliminary evidence suggests that the suppression management of the COVID-19 crises in the Cairns region has had significant impact on the social and emotional health of the local population. Conduct a time-critical rapid social needs assessment to provide an understanding of the short-term needs of the broader community and social service sector. This may include deeper dives into the needs of more vulnerable cohorts and issues ? seniors, people with a disability, homeless sector, domestic violence and culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
Hurriyet Babacan and Allan Dale in collaboration with Jancy McHugh (Cairns Institute)
Pandemic; Social and Community Wellbeing

QLD Department of Agriculture and Fisheries - Tenders

Rural Economies Centre of Excellence (RECoE)

Indicative Funding
$830,594 over 4 years (administered by University of Southern Queensland)
The Rural Economies Centre of Excellence (RECoE) is a multi-site centre of expertise in rural economic development located in regions across Queensland. It will be based in Toowoomba, Rockhampton, Cairns, Townsville, Emerald, Malanda and Gatton. It is a partnership between universities with key rural economic development expertise across the state:(i) The University of Southern Queensland; (ii) Central Queensland University; (iii) James Cook University; and (iv) The University of Queensland.
Jim Cavaye, John Rolfe, Allan Dale and John Mangan in collaboration with Stewart Lockie, Diane Jarvis, Riccardo Welters, Zsuzsa Banhalmi-Zakar and Jennifer McHugh (University of Southern Queensland, Central Queensland University, Cairns Institute, The University of Queensland, College of Business, Law & Governance and College of Science & Engineering)
Rural Economies

Queensland Department of Tourism, Innovation and Sport - FNQ Innovation Strategy and Action Plan

FNQ Innovation Strategy and Action Plan

Indicative Funding
This project is for the research, analysis, consultation and delivery of the FNQ Innovation Strategy and Action Plan. The information obtained from an Ecosystem Scan will help inform the analysis of the outcomes from the Ideation Sessions and development of the strategy. JCU will work with Outsource Management to provide input into the SWOT analysis, strategy development and action plan. The FNQ Innovation Strategy and Action Plan development will be managed by Outsource Management with input from the Reference Group, JCU and DTIS.
Allan Dale in collaboration with Hurriyet Babacan, Jennifer McHugh, Rochelle Finlay and Brook Orr (Cairns Institute)
Innovation; Ecosystem Scan; Action Plan; Strategic Planning; Innovation Strategy

QLD Department of Seniors, Disability Services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships - FNQ & NQ Monsoon Trough Category C Flexible Funding Grants Program

Building Community Resilience Through Digital Connectivity and Inclusion

Indicative Funding
$22,000 over 1 year (administered by Northern Gulf Resource Management Group)
The project will assist in bringing together Northern Gulf property owners, councils, development organisations, technical experts and service providers to collaboratively identify and define mobile, telecommunications and broadband failures during the 2019 monsoon trough and recovery phase, and devise novel technical solutions and systemic improvement options for the future.
Allan Dale in collaboration with Hurriyet Babacan and Jennifer A McHugh (Cairns Institute)
Digital connectivity; Northern Australia

Department of Social Security - Contract Research

Cairns South Collective Impact continuation

Indicative Funding
$132,000 over 2 years (administered by Mission Australia)
The Project will bring together representatives from government, community organisations, and a wide range of service providers to focus on this particular social issue. It will support the Early Years sector to lead the development of a detailed child development 'agenda' and to establish long-term system improvements that will increase support and enhance outcomes for children and their families in Cairns South.
Allan Dale, Jancy McHugh and Fiona Allison (Cairns Institute)
Human Dimensions; Marine Estate Planning

Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment - National Environment Science Program (NESP) - Total Water Quality (TWQ)

Learnings from applied environmental research programs: Elements for success

Indicative Funding
$3,000 over 1 year (administered by Reef & Rainforest Research Centre)
The structure, governance and administration of large multidisciplinary applied environmental research hubs is critical to their ability to deliver new knowledge that funders and stakeholders need. While the MTSRF, NERP TE and NESP TWQ have differed in model and delivery since 2006, they have operated in the same region and delivered to similar stakeholders over that period of time. This is a unique opportunity to review and report on what has been learned about effective and efficient delivery of new knowledge for impact, for the benefit of future Commonwealth-funded applied environmental science programs.
Suzanne Long, Johanna Johnson, Allan Dale, Stan Lui and Bruce Taylor in collaboration with Chenae Neilson, Sheridan Morris, Damien Burrows and Karen Vella (Reef and Rainforest Research Centre, Cairns Institute, Torres Strait Regional Authority, Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation, Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, College of Science & Engineering and Queensland University of Technology)
Applied Environmental Research; Environment; Research; Program; Regional

Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment - National Environment Science Program (NESP) - Total Water Quality (TWQ)

Influencing agriculture practice behaviour change and trust frameworks.

Indicative Funding
$13,500 over 1 year (administered by Reef & Rainforest Research Centre)
The ecologically-determined water quality improvement targets for the Great Barrier Reef can only be met with significant improvement in farm management practices. Numerous programs over many years, utilising a variety of approaches, have worked with land managers and representative farmer groups, seeking to achieve high levels of uptake of recommended farming practices. However, these have only met with low-moderate success. There has been significant work encouraging and facilitating behaviour and practice change in recent years, including through, but certainly not limited to, the NESP TWQ Hub. Programs encouraging behaviour and practice change are set to remain a feature of contemporary reef funding programs. Thus it is timely to coordinate a synthesis of learnings in this domain. Increasing understanding of, and improving trust frameworks and behaviour change of land managers will lead to improved water quality to the Great Barrier Reef. Understanding the impetus, benefits and barriers of behaviour change for agricultural practice is a large step in improving water quality to the Great Barrier Reef.
Suzanne Long, Rachel Hay, Aaron Davis, Allan Dale, Norman Duke, Bruce Taylor, Marie Vitelli and Julie Carmody in collaboration with Damien Burrows, Peter Thorburn and Jim Smart (Reef and Rainforest Research Centre, College of Business, Law & Governance, TropWATER, Cairns Institute, Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation, College of Science & Engineering and Griffith University)
Farming; Agriculture; Behaviour Change; Best practice; Culture

Queensland Department of Environment and Science - Contract Research

Landholders Driving Change

Indicative Funding
$85,000 over 1 year (administered by NQ Dry Tropics)
The objective of the Landholders Driving Change (LDC) Major Integrated Project (MIP) is to work closely with landholders in the Bowen Broken Bogie (BBB) catchments to tackle erosion and improve land management, productivity and reef water quality in the Burdekin region.
Allan Dale, Rachel Eberhard, Anthea Coggan, Diane Jarvis, Anna Roberts, Geoff Park, Steve Skull, Romy Greiner and Jennifer McHugh in collaboration with Stuart Whitten (Cairns Institute, Eberhard Consulting, Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation, College of Business, Law & Governance, Natural Decisions, Alluvium Consulting and River Consulting)
Erosion; Natural Resource Management; Burdekin Region; Land Management; Water Quality

Department of the Environment and Energy - Contract Research

Traditional Owner Aspirations and Commitments in the Reef 2050 Plan

Indicative Funding
$50,000 over 2 years (administered by Reef & Rainforest Research Centre)
The Reef 2050 Plan Investment Framework, also identifies Traditional Owner actions as one of 6 six priority areas for future investment stating that: ?a key priority for investment is to improve involvement of Traditional Owners in the delivery of Reef 2050 actions. Investment in coordination and consultation with Traditional Owners will further clarify priorities and funding needs. This project will support the delivery of Traditional Owner aspirations and commitments in the Reef 2050 Plan.
Sheridan Morris, Allan Dale, Melissa George, Michael Winer, Leah Talbot, Libby Evans-illidge and Jennifer McHugh (Reef and Rainforest Research Centre, Cairns Institute, North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance, Cape York Partnerships, Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation and Australian Institute of Marine Science)
Reef 2050 Plan; Indigenous NRM; Policy Development; Reef management; Economic Development

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

  • Imagine if it was done properly? Governance systems analysis of the PNG Petroleum Sector (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Prescient Stewardships: Nascent cultural and ecological economies of the Wet Tropics (Masters , Primary Advisor)
  • Auditing the governance of natural resources in Indonesia (2021, PhD , Secondary Advisor)

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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