Professor Rolf Gerritsen


Principal Researcher

Since late 2007 Rolf Gerritsen has been a Professorial Research Fellow, at Charles Darwin University. 

Rolf has taught at various universities, including a decade at the Australian National University in the Graduate Program in Public Policy. He has also spent five years as Director of the Australian Centre for Regional and Local Government Studies, as a senior Ministerial staff member at both the Commonwealth and Territory levels, and ran his own research consultancy for a number of years. Between 2002 and 2006, he was Director Social/Economic Policy in the Chief Minister’s Department in the Northern Territory. Before joining Charles Darwin University in late 2007, Professor Gerritsen was the “Outback Livelihoods” professorial project leader in the Tropical Savannas Cooperative Research Centre (2006-07).

Rolf's research interests are primarily in public policy and he has published in several policy fields with an emphasis upon:

Research Interests

  • Economic and regional development policy, 
  • Remote and northern Australian development
  • Indigenous development and community resilience
  • Natural resource and conservation management
  • IGR, local government and policy management

Open all | Close all

Research Projects

Current Projects

  • Climate change, waste, recycling and remote urban communities’ economic resilience
  • The implications of steady-state economies for remote urban communities
  • Tourism choices; diversification or intensification
  • Maternal health and heat

Recent Projects

Review of the Alice Solar City program
To estimate the effectiveness of the ASC program in achieving its objectives and being of social and economic, as well as environmental, value.

Alice Springs' climate change resilience (NCCARF)
To prepare a community resilience template for impending climate change adaptation.

The costs of agency to local governments (ACELG)
To estimate the economic, administrative and governance impacts on remote/Indigenous local governments of their role in delivering programs/services on behalf of other spheres of government

Remote Australian Futures
A long term project investigating the social and economic development of northern/remote Australia.

Anmatyerr Futures
To engage in a long-term facilitative project with some Anmatyerr people to help design their future.

Publications & Resources


Beer, A., Tually, S., Kroehn, M., Martin, J, Gerritsen, R., Taylor, M., Graymore, M., & Law, J. (2013). Australia's country towns 2050: What will a climate adapted settlement pattern look like? Gold Coast, QLD: National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility.

Gerritsen, R. (ed). (2010). North Australian Political Economy: Issues and Agendas. Darwin: CDU Press.

Garnett, S., Woinarski, J., Gerritsen, R., & Duff, G. (2008). Future Options for North Australia. Darwin: CDU Press.

Book Chapters

Gerritsen, R. (2016). Pulse and Pause: Researching the economic future of northern and remote Australia. In S. Harwood, R. Gerritsen, B. Prideaux, T. Brewer, L. Rosenman & A. Dale (Eds.), Rethinking Northern Australian Development. Canberra: ANU Press.

Zeng, B., & Gerritsen, R. (2016) Chapter 12: Aboriginal Culture in Indigenous Tourism Management in Central Australia. In: Katia Iankova et al, (eds.) Indigenous people and economic development – An international perspective. London/New York: Earthscan.

Gerritsen, R. (2013). Northern Territory. In H. Sykes (ed.), The Story of the 2013 Election: insight & analysis from Australia's leading minds (pp. 87-91). Sydney, NSW: Future Leaders.

Gerritsen, R. (2013). State of the States post-election: Experts respond. In H. Sykes (ed.), The Story of the 2013 Election: insight & analysis from Australia's leading minds (pp. 116-122). Sydney, NSW: Future Leaders.

Schlesinger, C., & Gerritsen, R. (2010). Conservation in the northern deserts: issues and agendas. In R. Gerritsen (ed.), Political Economy of Northern Australia: Issues and Agendas (pp. 142-161). Darwin: CDU Press.

Gerritsen, R. (2010). A post-colonial model for north Australian political economy? The case of the Northern Territory. In R.  Gerritsen (ed.), Political Economy of Northern Australia: Issues and Agendas (pp.18-40). Darwin: CDU Press.

Gerritsen, R. (2010). The post-colonial state as an impediment to Aboriginal development: An Arnhem Land example. In R.  Gerritsen (ed.), Political Economy of Northern Australia: Issues and Agendas (pp. 70-85). Darwin: CDU Press.

Gerritsen, R. (2009). A Resilient Future for North Australia? People, Economics and Policy Issues. In N. Stacey, G. Boggs, B. Campbell & W. Steffen (eds.), Prepare for Impact! When people and environment collide in the Tropics. Darwin: Charles Darwin University Press, 2009.

Gerritsen, R. (2007). A case for Indigenous employment in NRM. In M. Luckert; B. Campbell; J. Gorman & S. Garnett (eds.), Investing in Indigenous Natural Resource Management. Darwin: CDU Press.

Gerritsen, R., & Straton, A. (2006). Coping with a Tragedy of the Australian Aboriginal Common, in A. Smajgle & S. Larson (eds), Adapting Rules for Sustainable Resource Use (pp. 173-188). Townsville: CSIRO, Sustainable Ecosystems.  (This was reprinted in Alex Smajgl & Silva Larson eds, Sustainable Resource Use: Institutional Dynamics and Economics. London: Earthscan, 2007).

Journal Articles

Gerritsen, R. (2016). A test of the role of universities in regional development: The case of international education students in the Northern Territory. Australasian Journal of Regional Studies, 22(1), 125-157.

Zeng, B., & Gerritsen, R. (2015). Key issues in the management of Indigenous Protected Areas: A perspective from Northern Australia. The Global Studies Journal, 8(3), 19-31.

Zeng, B., & Gerritsen, R. (2014). What do we know about social media in tourism? A review. Tourism Management Perspectives, 10, 27-36. doi: 10.1016/j.tmp.2014.01.001.

Zeng, B., & Gerritsen, R. (2014). Key Issues in Management of Indigenous Protected Areas: A Perspective from Northern Australia. The Global Studies Journal, 8(3), 19-31. 

Zeng, B., Gerritsen, R., & O'Leary, R. (2014). Impacts of the Alice Solar City Program on the Local Tourism Industry. Journal of Tourism & Hospitality, 3(1), 1-8. doi: 10.4172/2324-8807.1000134.

Taylor, A., Bell, L., & Gerritsen, R. (2014). Benefits of Skilled Migration Programs for Regional Australia: Perspectives from the Northern TerritoryJournal of Economic and Social Policy, 16(1), 1-23.

Gerritsen, R., Zeng, B., & Gerritsen, D. (2014). The future of the Chinese Miracle: Will Neo-statist SOEs persist in China’s development model? Australasian Journal of Regional Studies, 20(2), 258-285.

Salmon, M., & Gerritsen, R. (2013). A more effective means of delivering conservation management: a ‘New Integrated Conservation’ model for Australian rangelands. The Rangeland Journal, 35, 225-230.

Zeng, B., & Gerritsen, R. (2012). Inadequate contribution of commercial harvest to the management of feral camels in AustraliaJournal of Environmental Management, 56(8). doi: 10.1080/09640568.2012.716367.

Gerritsen, R., & Zeng, B. (2011). Market opportunity plus aspirations and capacity should lead to success: why not so for Australia's Indigenous tourism industry? International Journal of Culture and Tourism Research, 4(1), 43-60.

McRae-Williams, E., & Gerritsen, R. (2010). Mutual Incomprehension: The Cross Cultural Domain of Work in a Remote Australian Aboriginal CommunityThe International Indigenous Policy Journal, 1(2), Article 2.

Zeng, B., Gerritsen, R., & Stoeckl, N. (2010). Contribution of Indigenous Culture to Tourism Development. International Journal of Cultural & Tourism Research, 3(1), 165-185.

Gerritsen, R., Stanley, O., & Stoeckl, N. (2010) The Economic Core? The Aboriginal Contribution to the Alice Springs/Central Australian Economy. Journal of Social and Economic Policy, 13(2).

Conference Proceedings & Papers

Since joining CDU Professor Gerritsen has delivered about 20 conference presentations to regional science, sustainable development, conservation and resource management conferences.  

Gerritsen, R. (2012). Speaking Truth to Power: Researching the future of northern and remote Australia. Sustaining Regions, the newsletter of ANZRSAI, 2(1): 2-4.

Gerritsen, R. (2008). Constraining Indigenous livelihoods and adaptation to climate change in SE Arnhem Land, Australia.  Climate Change in SE Arnhem Land, Australia. International Expert Group Meeting on Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change, Darwin, Australia. April 2-4, 2008.

Research Reports

2015: Estimate the regional economic effects of international education in the NT economy. Department of Education.

2013: The Creation of Regional Councils to replace the Shire Council System; Implications and advice. Department of Local Government.

2012: Alice Solar City project (with B. Zeng and R. O’Leary) A Review of the Alice Solar City Program (3 Vols.)

Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Supervision

Principal Supervision

  • Paul Barrett (PhD)
  • Delyna Baxter (PhD)
  • Penelope Bergen (PhD)
  • Bethune Carmichael (PhD)
  • Mitzi Ferguson (PhD)
  • Kuntal Goswami (PhD)
  • Heleen Kruger (PhD)
  • Jessica Marin-Uloa (DB)
  • Jeanette Pastor (PhD)
  • Jagath Bandara Pathirage (PhD)
  • Janet Skewes (PhD)
  • Peter Strachan (MA)
  • Kaely Woods (PhD)

Associate Supervision

  • Kevin Dolman (PhD)
Professor Rolf Gerritsen


T: +61 8 8959 5256

Alice Springs, NT