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August 2014 Newsletter

In This Issue:

Welcome From The Chair

Dear Northern Inlanders,

It was great to see some widespread rain across the region this month and here’s hoping for some good follow-up falls leading into spring.

We are also pleased by the recent announcement of two significant funding programs by the State Government – the $20 billion Rebuilding NSW Infrastructure Fund and the $32 million Murray Darling Basin Regional Economic Diversification Program. The challenge now is for our region to get its fair share of these funding programs for innovative projects that will drive long-term economic growth and employment opportunities.

RDA Northern Inland is keen to hear from any proponents of projects in our region.

All the Best,

Mal Peters, Chair

Regional Aboriginal Symposium: Tools to build new future

An Aboriginal Economic Development Symposium in Armidale at the end of July delivered the foundation for a major policy shift in the Local Aboriginal Land Councils (LALCs) in the Northern Region of NSW, towards economic growth resulting from new business development.

Through the Warra-Li Business Resource Unit and with the support of Regional Development Australia Northern Inland, the region’s Land Councils are being equipped with the know-how for a bold new future. The intensive symposium took place at the Armidale Ex-Services Memorial Club, with close to 50 representatives from member land councils and broader community members in attendance. It was the first day of the two-day Northern Region LALC forum.

There is a network of 120 Land Councils in NSW, with the Northern Region comprising 14 LALCs, from Coonabarabran to Dorrigo and Tenterfield to the Upper Hunter. Traditionally, these businesses have consisted of property assets and they have been self-sustaining, through rental revenues. They have recognised a need to expand and diversify, with new business enterprises. “Local Land Councils today are professionally run, multi-million dollar business operations, contributing to their respective economies and regionally. Their expansion would yield important flow-on benefits,” Regional Development Australia Northern Inland Executive Officer, Nathan Axelsson said.

“This is part of broader push by the NSW Aboriginal Land Council towards economic development for our communities. I was able to announce at this symposium that the State body is making $16 million available across the network to support this push,” said Northern Regional Councillor on the NSW Land Council, Tom Briggs. “Across our region, each Land Council has its own business plan and we also have a regional plan, which has helped to attract Regional Partnership funding and facilitated MoU’s with the likes of Regional Development Australia Northern Inland and UNE to capitalise on emerging ideas for business development and employment growth.”

A broad range of professional guest speakers donated their time to deliver specialist advice, from business establishment, regulatory issues to personal experiences and case studies.

Photo: Warra-Li resource unit business manager, Craig Cox; Member for Northern Tablelands, Adam Marshall; RDA Northern Inland Executive Officer, Nathan Axelsson and Northern Region Councillor on the NSW Aboriginal Land Council, Tom Briggs.

The Evolution of Australian Towns

The Commonwealth Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport, and Regional Development recently released a report which explains how and why our regional towns are changing.
The report provides some clear messages for regional development agencies and local councils pondering how they can enhance economic development, population and service levels in their towns.
Critical points include:

  • Historically, physical geography, resource endowment, transport routes and lack of mobility dictated settlement patterns – numerous small towns sprung up around these drivers.  However these drivers no longer drive settlement decisions.
  • There is now a long-term trend for increasing concentration of Australia’s population toward capital cities and larger regional centres.  The concentration of retail and service businesses in these centres, combined with improved transport and the desire to conduct shopping activity in a single trip means that large centres are now outcompeting smaller towns.
  • Australia has transitioned from an agricultural to a services based economy.  The service sector has grown rapidly in the past 50 years, especially in social services, finance, business, insurance and property services.
  • In the 20 years to 2006, regional cities had a higher rate of population growth (2.8% pa) than major cities (2.1% pa).
  • Towns best able to handle shocks to local industries are those with a large degree of diversification (i.e. major cities).  Regional cities have tended to become more specialised, but their economic success depends on whether they are specialising in declining industries such as manufacturing and mining, or growing industries such as specialised tourism and recreational activities.
  • Transport and communication improvements mean people have greater scope to choose their preferred living location.
  • Infrastructure plays a powerful role in retaining population.  Well-developed infrastructure provides confidence.
  • Location decisions are now less driven by employment opportunity, and more by household decisions including factors such as amenity value and access to services, due to increases in wealth and improved transport and communications.
  • Amenity is multi-faceted – housing costs/characteristics, neighbourhood attractiveness, proximity to family and friends, lifestyle, access to services and climate all contribute.
  • Australians have one of the highest rates of internal mobility in the world.  One in four Australians changed their place of residence between 2001 and 2006.  There is huge population churn.

The over-riding message coming from the report is that amenity value is a growing determinant of settlement location choice, and hence economic activity and population growth.  This should be heeded by economic development practitioners.

The report can be found at www.bitre.gov.au/publications/2014/report_136.aspx.

11th Country NSW Expo Hits the Mark

As part of the survey work that was done with attendees as they were leaving the Expo, the CountryNSW Expo team learnt they were going in the right direction when it comes to marketing the NSW to Sydney residents. 68% of Sydney-siders consider the most relevant term of areas outside of the city is country, confirming that the name change to ‘CountryNSW Expo’ was the right move. A large 89% of attendees thought the Expo was the best way for them to find out about living in areas outside of Sydney, with 71% inspired to relocate within 5 years.

It was interesting to see the regions in NSW the people had come to the Expo to see, with the Northern Inland still strongly on the radar with 12% of attendees coming to the Expo to specifically see that region. See Figure 1.

while the Expo was a success for the attendees, the exhibitors also saw an increase in the number of genuine people who are considering relocating out of Sydney. The exhibitors collected 38% more leads this year compared to last year.

There is still no doubt that the Expo is the most cost effective way for communities to showcase their lifestyle and business opportunities. Wayne Lowe, the business development manager from Nambucca and a keen supporter of the Expo for many years said “the money spent is still the most effective way to face-to-face market to a target market in Sydney.”

Around 60 regions as widespread as Inverell in the north, Bega Valley to the south and Deniliquin in the west showcased their produce, employment prospects, tourism destinations, educational institutions, businesses for sale, and real estate opportunities available in their areas. Apart from representation by regional bodies, other entities spreading the message of moving to country or coastal areas of New South Wales were government agencies, corporations and community groups. These included the NSW Department of Trade and Investment, the Country Women’s Association, NRMA Motoring & Services, Family and Community Services NSW and the Rural Doctors Network.

In addition, there was expert advice on hand to explain how to make the move to these areas by way of seminars conducted throughout the weekend.

The comments from the attendees reinforced the positive feeling felt in the hall. “We came to the Expo two years ago and were impressed then. We have been looking ever since and now after this year we are ready to go visit places and move in the next 12 months,” couple Tony and Anne said on their way out of the Expo. “We met the mayor of a town a few years ago and we thought that was very impressive!”

Export Capability Building Program

NSW Trade & Investment has launched an Export Capability Building Program. It is aimed at businesses seeking to initiate export activities or export-ready businesses looking to consolidate their knowledge and maximise long-term export gains.

There will be a workshop for the region, called “Growing your Exports”, which will take place at the Quality Hotel Power House, Armidale, on 16 October.

For further details, please refer to the following link to NSW Trade & Investment.

Guide to Installing Solar PV for Households

The Clean Energy Council has published a free guide to buying and installing solar photovoltaic (PV) panels for your home. Buying solar panels for your home can seem pretty confusing at first. How do you know what sized system to install? Will you need to notify your electricity company? How do you choose a trustworthy installer? And what on earth is a feed-in tariff? Relax – the Clean Energy Council is here to help. Packed full of handy hints and tips, a new Guide to Installing Solar PV for Households steps home-owners through the process of purchasing and installing rooftop solar panels.

What's covered in the guide? Here are a few of the topics included in our guide for households:

  • The different types of solar PV systems
  • How much will it cost?
  • Government incentive schemes Feed-in tariffs (the amount your electricity company pays you for excess power)
  • Choosing the right size solar system
  • Things to watch out for when signing a contract Installation and connection to the grid
  • Maintaining your solar system
  • What to do if something goes wrong

Find out more on the Clean Energy Council's website here.

New England and North West Soundtrails

Arts North West has announced that the New England and North West Soundtrails will be launched on the 30th of August. Discover the region through audio stories on your smart phone, walk an area whilst listening to stories of how it once was and how people connect with it. The app is free and can be downloaded from the soundtrails website: www.soundtrails.com.au.

Soundtrails brings stories to the street by inviting you to walk an area and listen on your smartphone. Each soundwalk will ignite the imagination: you're standing in a place and seeing it now, while listening to stories of how it once was - and of how people connect with it.

This project was developed in Uralla. The launch will take place in the town’s historical building “McCrossin’s Mill” at 2pm, Saturday 30 August.

RDA Northern Inland congratulates the collaborators who brought this project to fruition.

Thinking of starting up a new business enterprise? Why not look at the valuable information, case studies and inspiring mentors on the Start-Up Australia Website.

Start Up Australia is a new non-profit organisation, created to support Australia’s entrepreneurs through free tools, resources and access to mentors.

The StartUp initiative has been piloted and successfully rolled out across a growing number of countries; leaders being the US, Canada, Chile, Britain and Malaysia. Both Barack Obama and David Cameron have championed the initiative in their respective countries.

In all, 44 nations now run national campaigns under the “StartUp” banner. Under the leadership of the Kaufmann Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurship Network, the StartUp Nations meet bi-annually at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (March) and the StartUp Nations Summit (November) to share information and ideas and strengthen collaborations.

National StartUp opertions run country-based grass roots programs that serve to strengthen local economies.

Have Your Say on the Tamworth Regional Infrastructure Strategy

The draft Tamworth Regional Infrastructure Strategy has been approved by Council and is now on public exhibition from 18 August 2014 to 8 September 2014.  Please take the time to comment using the interactive mapping tool (Social Pinpoint) available here.

The strategy collates, at a high level, the range of projects that are considered important to deliver over the next 20 plus years to keep the region progressive and achieve the community’s vision for “a region of opportunity and prosperity – a place to call home”.

The draft has been developed in consultation with targeted focus groups from the business, development, arts / culture and sporting sectors.

The strategy includes nine types of infrastructure as follows:

  • Road and Rail;
  • Drainage;
  • Community;
  • Waste management / minimisation;
  • Air;
  • Flood management;
  • Water and Wastewater;
  • Open Space and Leisure; and
  • Sport and Recreation.

The full suite of approved draft documents (text, tables and maps) are also accessible via Council’s web-site – www.tamworth.nsw.gov.au.

Residents who wish to read the strategy in a paper form can access the material (including fact sheets and feedback forms) from:
Tamworth Regional Council Customer Services, Ray Walsh House, 437 Peel Street, Tamworth

Council’s branch offices in;

  • Manilla Street, Manilla;
  • Alice Street, Barraba; and
  • Jenkins Street, Nundle.

Council encourages submitters to use Social Pinpoint.  Written submissions are also welcome and should be addressed to the General Manager via email (trc@tamworth.nsw.gov.au) or letter to
Tamworth Regional Council
PO Box 555
Tamworth   NSW   2340

Tamworth Regional Council would like to thank you for your involvement in the formulation of the draft Tamworth Regional Infrastructure Strategy.

What's On in the Northern Inland

Guyra Piggy Picnic Races
Saturday 6th of September

Bring the whole family to watch the famous "Noah's Thoroughbred Racing Pigs" as seen on “Australia's Got Talent!”, at the Guyra Showground. There will be a six-race program, with the first race at 1.00pm. Raffles and Calcutta, BBQ, bar facilities, music, kiddie piggy face painting, poo lotto and much more will also be part of the fun day.

Funds raised on the day will go to Guyra Central School P&C Association.

Moree Motor Trade Expo and Show & Shine
Sunday 7th of September

If you’re a motor enthusiast, this will be the perfect day out!

There will be New Cars, Bikes, Customs, Hot Rods, Vintage, Veteran, Street Machines, Tractors, Trucks, Stationary Motors, Competition Vehicles, 4WD’s and Boats.

There will be trade displays of Moree's leading automotive suppliers of parts, paint, tyres and wheels, engines, electrics, tools, motor accessories and radios.

Local band 'HOI POLLOI' will be playing live music throughout the day at Jellicoe Park in Alice Street from 8am to 1pm.

Mungindi Art Show
Friday 12th to Saturday 13th of September

The Mungindi Art Show has fast established a reputation with artists and art lovers as an exhibition "not to be missed". The Official Opening and Prize Presentation will take place on Friday evening from 6:30pm while the Art Exhibition will be available for viewing from 10am- 4pm on Saturday.

There will be paintings, photography, drawings and sculptures on display at the Mungindi Memorial Hall. Tickets will be available at the door.

North West Film Festival
Friday 12th of September

The North West Film Festival is a festival, held in September each year at the Roxy Bingara, for young people from rural communities interested and actively engaged in creative digital and analogue screen media. The festival is held in September each year and runs over two days. Workshops for school participants are held over two days and are hosted by the visiting judges, the awards night is held on the evening of the second day.

The Festival provides young people with the unique opportunity to showcase their work, assess the work of their peers, work with industry professionals and celebrate their achievements. The festival is the only one of its kind in northwest NSW and is a celebration of what can be achieved by people who believe in their rural community and its future.

Find out more on the Festival’s website: northwestfilmfestival.roxybingara.com.au

Armidale Relay for Life
Saturday 13th of September

Relay For Life is a fun and moving overnight experience that raises vital funds for Cancer Council’s research, prevention, information and support services. Relay is a chance for the community to recognise and celebrate local cancer survivors, patients and their carers, to honour and remember loved ones lost to cancer and to raise money to help save more lives.

Join the thousands of Australians who take part in Cancer Council’s Relay For Life each year in the fight against cancer: start or join a team in the Armidale 2014 Relay today! Find out more on the Relay for Life website here.

Porchetta Day
Saturday 20th of September

Gunnedah is set to recreate Little Tuscany in the Heart of the Namoi Valley at the Annual Porchetta Day celebrations, in late September. To experience a weekend of gourmet Italian inspired cuisine, ample premium wines and long trestle tables set under lazy Mediterranean-like skies will be an easy decision for hard core foodies, gastronomic tourists, springtime sweethearts and families alike.

The weekend's main event 'The Annual Porchetta Day' will marry the irresistible aromas and rustic delights of Italian cuisine with the acclaimed agricultural products of the Gunnedah district. Succulent spit roasted pork from local farms, traditionally crafted pasta from Liverpool Plains durum wheat, olive oils from Gunnedah groves, and rich, home grown tomato and basil infused sauces will combine to create an inspiring Italian gastronomic experience.

For further information please visit www.porchetta.com.au

Taste New England
Sunday 28th, September
Glen Innes

Taste New England is a free community event to be held in “The Yard” Hereford Steakhouse in Glen Innes. The day is designed to connect the growers, producers and specialty retailers of the New England region with a curious public. It is intended to be a day of food, wine, children’s and musical entertainment.

Throughout the day produce will be sourced from the fruit, vegetable and meat stallholders, then used in preparation and cooking demonstrations from a celebrity chef. Find out more on their website: www.tastenewengland.com.au.

Featured Grants and Funding Opportunities

Murray Darling Basin Regional Economic Diversification Program
Applications Close: 31st of October 2014

The Murray Darling Basin Regional Economic Diversification Program was developed to provide assistance to economic development projects that support the economic base of regional communities that are likely to be affected by the implementation of the Murray Darling Basin Plan.

The NSW Government has announced that up to $32.5 million in Commonwealth funding will soon be made available to communities impacted by the Murray-Darling Basin Plan (MDBP).

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional Infrastructure and Services Andrew Stoner said the NSW Government would administer a new Murray-Darling Basin Regional Economic Diversification Program to provide funding for economic development projects and diversification initiatives that create new jobs in the region.

“The NSW Government has fought long and hard to secure the interests of communities spread throughout the Murray Darling Basin,” Mr Stoner said.

“Before signing the historic Basin Plan earlier this year, we successfully negotiated an additional $80 million of funding over the next eight years.

“This funding will go towards developing further infrastructure and water management projects, water resource plans, and other activities to address the impacts on Basin communities.

“It also includes $32.5 million for the Murray-Darling Basin Regional Economic Diversification Program to support local communities to adjust to the changes required by the plan.

Each application for assistance will be assessed on a case-by-case basis by an independent panel with regard to the program criteria, and the project's potential to diversify and broaden the economic base of communities likely to be impacted by the implementation of the Murray Darling Basin Plan. The net economic benefits of the project as shown in a cost benefit analysis, and input from relevant stakeholders will also be taken into consideration by the panel.

Further information is available on the NSW Trade and Investment website here.

Cotton Communities Grant Program
Applications close: 30th of November 2014

The Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) recently partnered with Monsanto Fund to launch Aussie Cotton Farmers Grow Communities. Cotton growers can nominate a not-for-profit organisation in their local community to receive a $5,000 grant.

Farm Household Allowance
The Farm Household Allowance (FHA) provides eligible farmers and their partners who are experiencing financial hardship with assistance and support to improve their long-term financial situation.
Eligible farmers and their partners will be able to access up to three years of payment. This is designed to give farm families time to get back on their feet and the opportunity to take steps to improve their circumstances.

Please go to the Human Services website here for further information.

Further informaiton on grants and funding opportunities are available in the Grants and Funding Opportunities area of the RDA-NI website.

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