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August 2015 Newsletter

In this Issue:

Dear Northern Inlanders,

This month sees three years of hard work and negotiation come to fruition as Essential Energy commence installation of cost-saving LED street lights in Tenterfield and Armidale. By Christmas, seven of our Local Government Areas will be enjoying improved lighting at a lower cost – a great example of three tiers of government working together to improve regional outcomes.

The time is fast approaching for the Regional Development Australia - Northern Inland's Annual Innovation Awards, where we recognise the efforts of innovation for both the private and public sectors in our region. In an ever-increasing and technologically connected world, the ability to innovate and move fast is now more important than ever.  Nominations close September 21st.

And talking about technological innovation, our Come-On-Shopping e-business platform is nearing completion. This will provide a simple and very low-cost way for local businesses to sell goods and services on-line and win back some market share.  Contact our office to learn how you can take advantage of this new initiative.

This month also sees us attending the National Conference of all Regional Development Australia committees in Canberra which provides good insights into what works and what doesn’t in the economic development space. With limited resources, we need to ensure we are achieving real practical benefits for our communities.


Russell Stewart, Chair

LED Street Light Installation Rollout

The rollout of LED street lighting technology to seven Northern Inland Local Government Areas is finally about to commence. Part of Regional Development Australia Northern Inland’s Northern Lights project, the scope of the street lighting efficiency upgrade has the region taking the lead, on a national level.

After technology, commercial and logistics challenges caused delays, RDANI Snr Project Officer David Thompson is relieved to see the lights at the end of the tunnel. “People will see Essential Energy installing the new LED street lights in Tenterfield, Armidale and Walcha any day now, which is fantastic,” Mr Thompson said. “We ask that residents be patient during the install period.”

The installation schedule is:

  • Walcha   24 August – 17 September
  • Armidale  24 August – 22 October
  • Tenterfield  20 August – 06 October
  • Guyra   13 October – 05 November
  • Gwydir   05 November – 20 November
  • Inverell   23 October – 27 November
  • Glen Innes  27 November – 24 December

“This is largest regional LED street lighting upgrade to be rolled in Australia to date. The new lights will be brighter, whiter and much more energy efficient. The project will replace around 5,000 mercury vapour, metal halide and compact fluorescent street lights with the latest LED technology, collectively saving 1,000 MW hours of energy and in excess of $200,000 per annum in electricity costs. We expect the Local Councils involved will also see savings in maintenance costs, due to the long life of the LEDs.”

Coordinated by RDANI, the project received funding from the Australian Government’s Department of Industry and Science and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. Member for New England Barnaby Joyce and Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall are delighted with the project, the fact that the savings will recoup the investment within a few short years and the regional collaborative approach highlighted by Northern Lights.

Consider Entering the Northern Inland Innovation Awards

Businesses, public and not-for-profit organisations, together with the 13 local councils of the Northern Inland NSW region are being urged to submit entries for the 8th annual Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI) Innovation Awards.

Simply go to the Awards’ website: www.niia.com.au to enter or find out more information. Entries close on Monday 21st, September.”

Each year the gala Northern Inland Innovation Awards dinner and presentation evening is held in a different local government area within the region. In 2015, these Regional Awards will be presented at the Glen Innes Services Club on Friday, 20 November. Book your tickets through the website now.

The NIIA Categories are: Agriculture / Horticulture and associated services; Health, Aged Care and Disability Services; Retail, Tourism & Leisure; Professional and Government services; Manufacturing and Engineering; and Research and Education.

“Health and Aged Care and Disability Services” is a new category this year. Prime Super is proud to sponsor the new Health and Aged Care and Disability Services Award in the Northern Inland Innovation Awards. Businesses, public and not-for-profit organisations in the Northern Inland region are being urged to submit entries for the Award.

Annette Mackay, Prime Super’s new Regional Manager based in Tamworth, said that, “Prime Super is keen to encourage innovative programs and new ways of thinking and providing services in the health sector. The rapidly ageing Australian population provides unique challenges for the health and aged care industry – not only are there financial and reform challenges, there are also workforce issues. It is for these reasons that Prime Super is pleased to actively support pro-active efforts designed to help providers and their clients.”

RDANI gratefully acknowledges the support of the other major sponsors of the Innovation Awards: the University of New England, Local Land Services Northern Tablelands, Best Employment and Telstra Shop Inverell.

For further information, go to www.niia.com.au or call 02 6771 0700.

Energy Efficiency Education

Another bright aspect of Regional Development Australia Northern Inland’s Northern Lights project is an Energy Efficiency Education Officer. Peter Stanley has been attending events and public venues around the region since early 2014. RDA Northern Inland has developed its own energy efficiency education material including an interactive touch-screen representation of a house and the energy changes that can occur.

“The interactive energy efficiency display that comes along with every Northern Lights Project visit has been a big hit,” said Mr Stanley. “Its’ ability to calculate the precise cost of appliances which visitors use is of great benefit to them - and also a hugely successful energy efficiency teaching tool.  With its easy- to- read instructions, the user merely enters the wattage of the light/appliance, the amount of hours used per week and then.. hey presto, its annual cost is displayed!”

“Of course, being interactive the display really helps grab the attention of kids.”

“Over the last month or so it has been set up in libraries at Warialda, Walcha and Guyra, and at the Uralla Shire Council's Open day. There will be several two-day displays coming up in September including Bingara library and Armidale Dumaresq Council foyer.”

For information, go to www.northernlightsproject.com.au

Solar Dream Becoming Reality

The first photovoltaic panels have been installed at Moree Solar Farm (MSF), Australia’s largest solar array currently under construction.

The farm, on 280 hectares near Moree, will supply 140,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) per year – enough electricity to power 15,000 homes and abate 95,000 tons of carbon pollution each year. It will use a single-axis horizontal tracking system, allowing 222,880 solar panels to follow the sun for maximum efficiency.

The first panels were installed in June and well over half have now been installed.
The $164 million project has been part-funded by ARENA with a $102 million grant. $47 million in debt financing has also been provided by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

The high-performance polycrystalline panels are being supplied by leading manufacturer JA Solar, which hailed the project a significant step in its involvement in the Australian renewable energy sector.

“We firmly believe that the launch of MSF will serve as a foundation for potential opportunities to co-operate on large-scale solar projects in Australia in the future,” said the President and Chief Operating Officer of JA Solar, Xie Jian.

Construction of the Moree Solar Farm is expected to be completed by early 2016. Further information can be found on the Australian Renewable Energy Agency website here.

Help Available for Businesses Thorugh the Industry Skills Fund

The Australian Government’s Industry Skills Fund assists small to medium businesses, including micro businesses, to invest in training and support services, and to develop innovative training solutions.

Help to businesses is available in the following categories:
1. Skills Advice (help to identify skills gaps and recommend training solutions)
2. Training grant (co-invested funds for the business to develop skills for a growth opportunity)

Businesses are required to contribute to the costs of training. The amount depends on the size of the business, from 25% for micro businesses to 75% for businesses with more than 200 full time employees.
You can apply as an individual business, provided you are incorporated, or otherwise as part of a consortium (group of businesses).

The first step in seeking assistance through the Industry Skills Fund is to:
1. Call the single business service on 13 28 46 or
2. Complete the online enquiry form here.

For further information contact your local ISF Skills Adviser
Michael Williams
RSA Skills Adviser New South Wales
Australian Government Industry Skills Fund Programme
Mobile: 0428225517 or e-mail: michael.williams@aigroup.com.au

Rebuilding Engineering, Science and Maths Interest

Northern Inland NSW has been far from exempt from the skill shortage crisis. Much of the attention has centred on medical and trades occupations, yet the decline in maths and science has been a grave concern over recent decades. As part of pro-active local efforts to redress the issue, staff at the University of New England have organised a “Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Careers Seminar and Q&A Forum”.

The Special Guest will be Australia’s Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb AC.

The forum is to be staged in the Arts Lecture Theatre 1 on Thursday, 3 September 2015 at 5.30 p.m.
The Careers Seminar and Q&A Forum (see attached flyer for more details) is designed to inspire and excite UNE and high school students about STEM-based careers. Five guest speakers (listed below) will present short talks to showcase a range of diverse, creative and flexible careers that have been built on a STEM background.

The five guest speaker presentations will be followed by a Q&A session facilitated by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sue Thomas.

The event also aims to build awareness of the impact that Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics based work has on society as a whole. Additionally, as people are often intimidated by STEM subjects, we aim to present STEM skills and careers as something that anyone can participate in if they are interested, creative and motivated. Students, parents, teachers, careers advisors, UNE staff and local business members are being invited to this event and attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions during the forum and at the light supper served after the forum.

Further details are available on UNE's website here.

Community Support Programme
Applications are ongoing

The Community Support Programme (CSP) through the Department of Social Services assists child care providers to establish or maintain viable services in parts of the country where they might not otherwise be viable or able to meet the unique requirements of the community, such as in disadvantaged or regional and remote areas.

The CSP provides support to child care services in the following ways:

  • Establishment and Sustainability Assistance to Mainstream services i.e., mainly those services that are approved to administer Child Care Benefit on behalf of families. There are a range of payments for Mainstream services that are dependent on the type of child care service, its size and location.
  • Budget Based Funding to Non-Mainstream services i.e., services that provide child care in communities where mainstream services are not available or viable or where there is a need for Indigenous- focused or culturally competent services.

Arts NSW’s Project Funding - Regional Capital
Applications close: 2nd of October 2015

Regional Capital funding is offered through the Arts & Cultural Development Program and for successful applicants, will provide matched funding of up to $60,000 for projects and purchases commencing from January 2016.

Funds are available for capital works and the purchase of equipment used for arts and cultural purposes. Capital works can include construction, alteration, renovation, completion or fitting out of buildings or facilities for arts and cultural use. Funding can support for example, the purchase of auditorium seating, storage units, and equipment such as theatre and exhibition lighting and sound systems, air-conditioning, stage machinery and electrical systems which improve the usability of arts and cultural facilities.

Aim of the Community Education Program Grants
Applications close: 4th of September 2015

Ansvar’s Community Education Program (CEP) provides grants up to $50,000 for programs supporting Australian youth which fall under two categories:

  • Empowerment and Education: Programs within this category must provide opportunities to develop positive values that lead to healthy lifestyle choices and a positive contribution to our community.
  • Outreach Programs: Programs within this category must support youths who are at risk or are already experiencing difficulties (such as drug and/or alcohol abuse) through rehabilitation and/or skills training.

Destination NSW – Regional Flagship Events Program
Applications Close: 6th of September 2015

The Regional Flagship Events Program supports the marketing of events that play an important role in bringing visitors to regional NSW. Increased visitation can deliver much-needed tourist dollars to communities and strengthen the regional economy. To be funded under the Regional Flagship Events Program, events must have tourism potential and reflect the character and culture of an area and act as a “flagship” for their region.

Destination NSW provides funding in $10,000 one-off grants or triennial funding of $20,000 per year for three years to event organisers to support the marketing and advertising of events. Expressions of Interest for 2016 are now open and successful applicants will be invited to make full submissions later this year.

What’s On in the Northern Inland

2015 Quality Business Awards
Friday 4th of September

Glen Innes Business Awards
Friday the 4th of September
Glen Innes

The Wee Waa & District Quilt Show
Friday 4th and Saturday 5th of September
Wee Waa

Moree On A Plate - Long Luncheon
Saturday 5th of September

Moree Motor Trade Expo and Show & Shine
Sunday 6th of September

Quirindi & District Historical Society History Week
Friday 11th of September to Friday 18th of September

Liverpool Ranges Harness Club Fundraising Drive
Saturday 12th of September to Sunday 20th of September
Spring Ridge and Curlewis

Shooting Hunting & Outdoor Expo
Saturday 12th of September

Tamworth Skate/Scooter and BMX Demonstration and Etiquette Day
Sunday 13th of September

Annual Porchetta Day
Saturday 19th of September

Medieval Festival
Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th of September

Narrabri Chamber of Commerce Business Awards
Saturday 19th of September

Reining Australia Gold Buckle Futurity & National Championships
Wednesday 23rd of Septmber

Eudaimonia Children's Theatre Workshops
Thursday 24th and Friday 25th of September – Bingara
Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th of September – Barraba
Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd of October – Moree
Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th of October – Narrabri
Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th of October – Quirindi

Tales & Ales - A Beer Hall in Bingara
Thursday 24th of September

Quirindi Rural Heritage Village Miniature Train
Sunday 27th of September

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Phone02 6771 0700
Opening Hours 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday
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Address 143 Marsh Street
Armidale NSW 2350
Postal Address PO Box 72
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