THE Year of the Outback celebration has hit its mid-way point but its success has ensured the party will not end for another three years.
With the national initiative far surpassing expectations, founder and chair Bruce Campbell announced there would be a further three-year follow-on project.
In Perth last week to attend a conference with Year of the Outback state coordinators, Mr Campbell said the project aimed to maximise the momentum generated by the current celebrations.
Known as the Outback Triennium, it would focus first on youth in 2003 and be followed by attention to rural and remote knowledge and communities in subsequent years.
"The triennium is a response to community demand because the momentum is accelerating," he said.
"We are going to move on, ensuring the process that has been started, is continued."
Mr Campbell said more than 1000 media clippings dedicated to the celebration appeared across the country per month and outback towns continued to report increased business activity.
But to affect real change and improve services to outback communities it was necessary to target governments.
"It is going to take a campaign to get policy-making support," he said.
Exporting desert knowledge would also be central to the survival of outback communities.
Year of the Outback Cordinator Julian Cribb, who spoke at the conference last week, said this year's celebration had alerted people to the value of untapped resources in Australia's outback.
He said in time it would become one of Australia's biggest exports, as it developed methods to resolve water shortages, salinity and clean and green energy resources.
A Desert Knowledge Symposium would be part of the centre piece of this year's celebrations, along with an Outback Expo during August in Alice Springs.