The University of Western Australia

UWA Staff Profile

Ipsum Lorem

Professor Matthew Tonts

Head of School
Earth and Environment, School of

Contact details
School of Earth and Environment
The University of Western Australia (M004)
35 Stirling Highway
+61 8 6488 2683
+61 8 6488 1037
BA E.Cowan, PhD Curtin
I have been at UWA since 2001, and prior to this was based at The University of Plymouth in the United Kingdom.

I have always held positions that involve both teaching and research, with interests largely centred on aspects of regional development, rural geography and economic development. However, I've also done bits and pieces related to urban development, demography and environmental management.

An important part of my work has been applied research, particularly in the area of rural social and economic issues. This includes working with government agencies and communities on a diverse range of problems, including economic development, employment, service delivery and infrastructure.

I have also led UWA's research partnership with the Committee for Perth since 2008. This project (known as FactBase) is focused on investigating aspects of urban life, change, policy and planning in the Perth metro region.
I've a rather eclectic set of publications, reflecting my pretty diverse interests. Here is a small sample from over the years:

Plummer, P. and Tonts, M. (2015) ‘Path dependence and the evolution of a patchwork economy: evidence from Western Australia, 1981-2008’, Annals of the American Association of Geographers.

Tonts, M., Plummer, P. and Argent, N. (2014) ‘Path dependence, resilience and the evolution of new rural economies’, Journal of Rural Studies, 36, 362-275.

Argent, N., Tonts, M., Jones, R. and Holmes, J. (2014) ‘The amenity principle, internal migration and rural development in Australia’, Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 104, 305-318.

Plummer, P. and Tonts, M. (2013) ‘Do geography and history matter? Regional unemployment dynamics in a resource dependent economy’, Environment and Planning A, 45, 2919-2938.

Tonts, M. and Taylor, M. (2013) ‘The shifting geography of corporate control in the Australian urban systems: a longitudinal study’, Regional Studies, 47, 1507-1522.

Tonts, M., Plummer, P. and Taylor, M. (2012) ‘Power, Enterprise and Performance in Australian Small and Medium Sized Manufacturing Firms’, Journal of Economic Geography 12, 1239-1266.

Tonts, M., Yarwood, R. And Jones, R. (2010), Global geographies of innovation diffusion: the case of the Australian cattle industry, The Geographical Journal, 176, 90-104.

Tonts, M. and Haslam-McKenzie, F. (2005) ‘Neoliberalism and changing regional policy in Australia’, International Planning Studies, 10(3/4), 183-200.

Paul, V. and Tonts, M. (2005) ‘Containing urban sprawl: trends in land use and spatial planning in the metropolitan region of Barcelona’, Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 48(1), 7-35.

Tonts, M. (2005) ‘Competitive sport and social capital in rural Australia’, Journal of Rural Studies, 21(2), 137-149.
Roles, responsibilities and expertise
I am Head of the School of Earth and Environment, a position I have held since early 2010.
Funding received
Over the years, I have received funding from a range of organisations, including the Australian Research Council, Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, and a range of Commonwealth and State government agencies. Some recent grants include:

Australian Research Council (Discovery)(Tonts, Plummer and Argent), Evolutionary Dynamics and Regional Australia, 2015-2018.

Ausaid, A Rapid Assessment Framework for Mining and Development (Tonts, Ali and Prout), 2013-2015.

Wheatbelt Development Commission, Wheatbelt Regional Information System (Plummer and Tonts), 2013-2015.
Institute of Australian Geographers
Geographical Society of New South Wales
Royal Geographical Society
Currently teach into the following courses:
- Geographies of Economic Development
- International Fieldwork in Geography
- Geographical and Planning Fieldwork
- Regional Planning

Useful links
Google Scholar page:

1604 Human Geography
Research profile
Research profile and publications

The University of Western Australia

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Last updated:
Tuesday, 3 November, 2015 2:39 PM