Phosphate Resources Limited (PRL) has commissioned C Change Sustainable Solutions Pty Ltd (C Change) to complete investigations into the potential for Christmas Island to capitalise on education, research and development opportunities.

This seminar will be primarily about identifying potential collaboration opportunities and providing C Change with an understanding of underlying factors that would need to be in place in order to progress the initiatives.

Christmas Island’s two main economic pillars (mining and detention services) are undergoing major transition. The mining operations have recently noted that unless further mining leases are granted, resources will last only into the late 2020s.  The Department of Home Affairs detention centre on Christmas Island went into ‘hot contingency’ in late October 2018 meaning all clients have been relocated.  The government are maintaining the assets in case they are needed, but currently there are no ‘day to day’ operations at the Centre.

In recognition of these transitions, the Australian Government hasnfunded the Indian Ocean Territories Regional Development Organisation to develop strategic plans for both Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Education, research and development will feature prominently in both of these plans.

Given the comparative strengths of Christmas Island, key industry sectors of focus for the study have been the Food and Agri-business sector (such as agriculture, horticulture and allied industries), the Natural History/Environmental Research sector, mining itself as well as Sociological Research sector. 

Vanessa Bennett

Vanessa is an urban economist and planner with over 25 years’ experience within Australia, the Middle East, New Zealand and Asia. She has qualifications in economics, planning, statistics and sociology and has successfully run private businesses for the majority of her career.  She is currently living on tropical Christmas Island, an external territory of Australia situated some 2,500km northeast of Perth.  Having recently completed the Christmas Island Strategic Plan on behalf of the Australian Government, she is now following up what would need to be in place to implement some of the education, research and training initiatives included in the Plan.  Vanessa has won numerous awards for her work completed, and would welcome an audience with UQ to further explore these ideas.


The Sustainable Minerals Institute, St Lucia
Level 6 Room 644