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Emerging Areas

Antimicrobial Resistance

Anti-microbial resistance (AMR) is seen as one of the next biggest global threats and can impact our food, agribusiness and environmental management sectors as well as human health. A Cooperative Research Centre for Solving Antimicrobial Resistance in Agribusiness, Food and Environments has been established in South Australia to tackle AMR at source across a diverse and complex range of systems and the environment.

Regional Challenges

The implementation of environment protection and sustainable development initiatives in regional areas needs to be further considered due to challenges associated with economies of scale and transport distances. Circular economy measures requiring effective markets to underpin recycling and reuse are more challenging in these contexts, as are the efficient management of wastes including wastewater. In addition, as our development in renewable energy grows, so will the waste from renewable energy infrastructure once it reaches its end of life. Consideration needs to be given to how this waste will be integrated into the circular economy.

New Industries

South Australia is supporting the development of new industries (for example, hydrogen energy, offshore wind farms, construction of submarines and expansion of powerlines) that deliver jobs, security and benefits for the economy. We must ensure these industries are supported in a manner that does not compromise our environment. Over the last few years, we have observed the emergence of new types of environmental pollutants in waters and on land. This includes pesticides, microplastics, per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), and pharmaceutical products, just to name a few. The identification and mitigation of emerging contaminants have been deemed a key priority area by agencies responsible for environment protection across the country, and will be a priority area for South Australian authorities.


South Australia has experienced a significant growth in regional tourism, particularly since COVID-19. As a result, regional centres have reported an increase in impacts from tourists, including rubbish and damage to sand dunes and coastal vegetation from four-wheel driving (4WD). Given that regional tourism is often based on the health and attractiveness of the environment, it is imperative that growth in tourism is not at the expense of the environment and ecosystems.

Nature Connection

There is an increased risk that more people are becoming disconnected from nature with increasing urbanisation, advances in technology and the occurrence of more extreme weather conditions. We need to improve this connection and better educate ourselves to understand the importance of protecting the environment and the benefits this brings economically, socially and for our wellbeing. This will facilitate behaviour change and increase the chance of people becoming more actively involved in protecting the environment that supports them.

Nature play in Kensington Gardens Reserve (Kerry Hallett)