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


  • EV3001: Environmental and Regional Planning (Level 3; CNS & TSV)
  • EV5001: Environmental and Regional Planning (Level 5; CNS & TSV)
  • 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
  • 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 115+ 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.

Cairns Regional Council - Contract Research

COVID-19 Rapid Social Needs Assessment

Indicative Funding
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

Department of Social Services - Contract Research

Cairns South Collective Impact continuation

Indicative Funding
$80,000 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

CRC for Developing Northern Australia Scheme - Contract Research

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

Indicative Funding
$411,946 over 4 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

QLD Department of Agriculture and Fisheries - Tenders

Rural Economies Centre of Excellence (RECoE)

Indicative Funding
$630,594 over 3 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 Environment and Science - Contract Research

Landholders Driving Change

Indicative Funding
$85,000 (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 (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, NAILSMA, 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

Australian Communications Consumer Action Network - Australian Communications Consumer Action Network Grant

Connectivity and digital inclusion in Far North Queensland agricultural communities

Indicative Funding
$36,000 over 2 years
This research investigates consumer needs and issues relating to provision and use of internet services in rural and remote Australia, in particular remote station owners in the Northern Gulf, Far North Queensland (FNQ). Provision of adequate and needs-driven connectivity infrastructure and services - along with essential knowledge and skills (`digital ability?) to apply connectivity to achieve economic and social outcomes for individuals, families, businesses and communities - is essential to the development of Northern Australia, which is both a State and Federal priority. This research will give a voice to consumers who are among the most digitally excluded in Australia.
Allan Dale and Alahna Marshall in collaboration with Michael Dezuanni, Kathy Rowling and Jennifer McHugh (Cairns Institute, Queensland University of Technology and Northern Gulf NRM)
Internet services; Remote Australia; Northern Gulf; Rural Australia; Digital Ability; Far North Queensland

Mission Australia - Contract Research

Stronger Together ? Cairns South Early Years Collective Impact Initiative

Indicative Funding
$225,000 over 3 years
Community Partner Funding: Cairns South and Yarrabah Communities for Children. This project will support the Early Years sector to lead the development of a detailed child development 'agenda' and to establish long-term system improvements that can lead to better support for children and their families in Cairns South.
Allan Dale, Stewart Lockie, Fiona Allison and Jennifer McHugh (Cairns Institute)
Early years; Socio-economic disadvantage; Cairns South; Collective impact; Yarrabah; Families

Terrain Natural Resource Management - Contract Research

WTIP Influence Strategy

Indicative Funding
This project will develop a wet Tropics Major Integrated Project (WTMIP) Influence Strategy based on identification and prioritisation of external barriers to change (drawing on information from the WTMIP Program Design Phase, focussing on where the WTMIP partnership is likely to be able to have greatest influence. The intended outcomes of this process are to: *identify priority influencing themes and desir2018ed Project Panel influence outcomes; *identify key stakeholders that need to be engaged on each influence theme; *identify key stakeholders that need to be engaged on each influence theme; *identify key partnerships that need to be developed and managed for each influence theme; Identify strategies for influencing focussing on where the WTMIP partnership is likely to have the greatest influence.
Allan Dale and Rachel Eberhard in collaboration with Sheridan Morris and Jennifer McHugh (Cairns Institute and Reef and Rainforest Research Centre)
Governance; Water Quality; Great Barrier Reef

Department of the Environment and Energy - National Environmental Science Program (NESP) - Tropical Water Quality Hub (TWQ Hub)

The IMS 2050 Human Dimensions Project: Cost-effective Indicators and Metrics for key GBRWHA Human Dimensions and Indigenous Values Linked to Objectives and Targets in the Reef 2050 Plan

Indicative Funding
$125,000 over 2 years
Building on the work of the GBR RIMeP Program Design Group, this project will develop cost-effective indicators and metrics for human dimension outcomes, objectives and targets in the Reef 2050 Plan, consistent with the Drivers-Pressures-State-Impact-Response (DPSIR) framework. It will add value to and ensure continuity with information collected through the Social and Economic Long-Term Monitoring Program for the Great Barrier Reef (SeLTMP). The project will: determine potential and extant indicator sets; evaluate data collection cost-effectiveness; determine thresholds (where applicable); and provide guidelines for a collaborative approach for developing grading scores, using multiple lines of evidence to rate progress towards Reef 2050 Plan targets, objectives and outcomes.
Allan Dale in collaboration with Nadine Marshall, Margaret Gooch and Karen Vella (Cairns Institute, Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Queensland University of Technology)
Great Barrier Reef; Human Dimensions; SELTMP; Reef 2050 Plan

Reef & Rainforest Research Centre - Contract Research

Assessment of the Approached Utilised by the RRRC Pilot Program Building Resilience in Treaty Villages, South Fly district, Western Province, Papua New Guinea Program

Indicative Funding
To provide advice and report on the theory and function of indigenous governance and engagement models, including an assessment of the approached utilised by the RRRC pilot program Building Resilience in Treaty Villages, South Fly District, Western Province, Papua New Guinea Program.
Allan Dale in collaboration with Jennifer McHugh (Cairns Institute)
Resilient Communities; PNG; Goverance

Department of the Environment and Energy - Contract Research

Scoping of Options for the Mid-Term Review of the Reef 2050 Plan

Indicative Funding
$38,334 (administered by CSIRO)
The Department of the Environment and Energy (DotEE) is seeking services to scope options for the upcoming, planned 2018 mid-term review of Reef 2050 Plan which is the overarching framework for protecting and managing the Reef until 2050. A consortium consisting of key leaders and experts from CSIRO, the Australian Institute of Marine Sciences (AIMS) and JCU, complemented with specialist expertise from an independent consultant, Eberhard Consulting has been established to conduct the review.
Allan Dale, Diane Jarvis, Jane Addison and Nerida Horner (Cairns Institute, College of Business, Law & Governance and Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation)
Reef 2050 Plan; Great Barrier Reef; Reef Water Qality Protection Plan; Ecosystem Values; Water Quality; Human Dimenisons of GBR

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.

  • The Drivers of Sustainability in Small Communities in Northern Australia (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Corporate Mining and Petroleum Engagement with Local Indigenous Communities in Northern Australia and Papua New Guinea (PhD , Primary 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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