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August 2016 Newsletter

In this issue:

Welcome from the Chair

Dear Northern Inlanders,

Welcome to another edition of our monthly newsletter. In this edition we’re delighted to announce funding for the AGCAP (Agribusiness Careers and Professions) Program and have been promoting this great initiative to a large number of students and regional employers at AgQuip in Gunnedah.

We also took part in the State government’s consultation to understand the sort of large-scale infrastructure projects that will activate our regional economies through investments in enabling-infrastructure. We welcome any thoughts you may have in this area. Be sure to check out the grants section for an update on the Commonwealth Government’s National Stronger Regions Fund Round 3. We look forward to the upcoming announcements and hope the strong applications in our region are looked upon favourably.


Russell Stewart

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RDANI Delivers Business Energy Saving Advice

Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI) conducted a NSW Department of Industry funded workshop on cutting energy costs for businesses in Uralla and Tamworth recently as part of a project which examined business energy use in the region.

RDANI Senior Project Officer David Thompson then presented the results of the project to a Bingara V2020 meeting at the Roxy Café in Bingara and also to a meeting of the Narrabri Chamber of Commerce. Engaged, proactive business people attended on all four occasions.

“We looked at forms of energy that a diverse cross-section of businesses around the region are using, ways they could reduce their energy costs and their potential for becoming involved with renewable energy,” Mr Thompson said. “Cutting energy costs can be a big deal. The business spend on electricity and gas in this region exceeds $410M annually.  For individual businesses it ranges from a couple of hundred dollars to over $200,000 a month. One supermarket cut its monthly power bill from $8,500 to $3,500 by improving the energy efficiency of their refrigeration, installing LED lighting, a solar system and some inverters. Another business halved their gas cost by investing in bio-gas capture technology.”

Mr Thompson believes any size or type of business in the region could benefit from the information provided in the study results. “At the Tamworth workshop, I was approached by a business who had been considering solar panels. The information presented and in our report helped them to understand that there were also a range of other energy efficiency measures they could invest in first, which would ultimately reduce the size and cost of the solar system they required.”

“Not only did we look into energy efficiency options for businesses, we also examined the prospects for renewable energy, in particular solar, wind and biogas, both at small (individual business) and large (electricity grid) scale”.  We already have around $1.4 Billion invested in large-scale solar and wind projects either operational or under development in our region” he said. “If this were any other type of regional investment, it would be shouted from the rooftops, but renewable energy and the economic benefits it can bring seems to fly under the radar”.

Narrabri-based RDANI Chair Russell Stewart described the project as an important regional development contribution. “It’s all about bringing operating costs down towards increasing the competitiveness and sustainability of our businesses and our economy generally.”

“We have produced a report that has gone on our website and this has a number of charts and decision making diagrams to help a business through the steps they can take to reduce their energy costs. It also outlines how to access funding for energy efficiency improvement measures within a business.” The project reports can be found at www.rdani.org.au/projects/northern-inland-business-energy-assessment.php

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Funding for AGCAP Program Welcomed

“Agribusiness employers in North West NSW are crying out for solutions to their skilled labour attraction and retention crisis. It’s rewarding to see that need recognised and funding granted for a program that can make a difference,” Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI) Chair Russell Stewart said.

“Born in Narrabri, with the valuable assistance of the ‘Make It Work Foundation’ volunteers, the AgriBusiness Careers and Professions (AGCAP) program is one solution. I am delighted to announce that RDANI has received a $25,000 grant towards AGCAP participation growth, from the Murray-Darling Basin Regional Economic Diversification Programme, administered by the NSW Department of Industry.”

RDANI is a long-time supporter and partner of the AgriBusiness Careers and Professions (AGCAP) program, producing a number of videos to show what it entails, how it has benefited young rural workers and addressed employer needs.

AGCAP is a proven initiative that leads to rewarding careers in the modern agribusiness industry. Commencing in Year 10, the AGCAP program sees participants complete up to a Certificate III in Agriculture and do one (paid) day of work per week within a partner agribusiness, while completing high school. The skills they experience along the way are formally recognised. The program gives rural and regional students an efficient pathway to an Advanced Diploma at AGCAP Partner Tocal Agricultural College and onto AGCAP Partner the University of New England (previous courses undertaken by AGCAP students means there can be as little as two years to complete a bachelor degree in agriculture). The study options are flexible.

“Once our quality young people head for the city, it’s years before we get them back, if at all. A big bonus of AGCAP is that participants can spend a minimal amount of time away from their home town,” Mr. Stewart said. “It’s time we took agribusiness careers and skills seriously – AGCAP achieves that”.

Daniel Kahl is the Business Manager of Merced Farming near Wee Waa, an agricultural enterprise with close to 20 permanent employees and over twice that in peak seasons. “We became involved with AGCAP a couple of years ago through our AGCAP Trainee Geoffrey Johnson. AGCAP made it possible for him to work out here one day a week and during his holidays, developing skills in the career he wanted, while also finishing his schooling,” he said. “AGCAP delivered for Geoffrey and for this business. He is working full-time and we got a good, reliable local employee. There’s not a great deal of young skilled labour around and AGCAP is growing local talent.”

The Distributed Campus model that underpins AGCAP links students with industry, researchers, academics and specialist teachers, providing them with the latest skills and knowledge required in the sustainable, high-tech agribusiness sector.

“The funding will enable RDA Northern Inland to undertake school workshops throughout the region, targeted agribusiness presentations, the creation of a web-based tool to connect students with employers and on-site enrichment excursions for students,” Mr. Stewart said.

“AGCAP was developed by local Industry, Students, Educators and Parents and is a great response to the needs of local agribusiness employers and young people, who want an agribusiness career and are not suited to the standard education model,” he said.

Checkout AGCAP videos on YouTube:
and  www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8gFzNLQF_Y  or www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxbKw366qsA

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State funding for UNE SMART Region Incubator

The University of New England’s Business School has been awarded $1 million in state funding to establish a UNE SMART Region Incubator. The funding comes as part of the NSW Government’s support for business development within the Northern Inland region.

The Boost program aims to accelerate innovation in NSW by supporting greater collaboration between NSW research organisations and their business communities.

Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sue Thomas, said UNE is delighted to be working closely with industry to promote greater collaboration between NSW research organisations and the business community.

“The project has enormous potential to leverage technology and research results to achieve commercial outcomes, and I look forward to seeing positive and sustained results for all concerned,” Prof. Thomas said.

“We will repurpose sites in Armidale and Tamworth to ensure the incubator has a quality, high functioning space.”

Once established, the incubator will draw on resources for skills development and technology uptake, as well as marketing connections.

Professor Derek Baker, Director of the newly launched Centre for Agribusiness, says the incubator will provide an ideas launch pad for entrepreneurs and Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SME) in the region, as well as establishing them within national and international networks.

“The UNE SMART Region Incubator offers lots of potential for complementing the strengths already present in our region, especially in the area of agricultural entrepreneurship,” Prof Baker said.

“Our emphasis will be innovation, both in the new data-driven economy, and for value adding to our natural competitive advantages.”

Minister for Small Business, John Barilaro, said the Boost Program is designed to create new partnerships with experts in innovation to encourage and strengthen the businesses that will create the jobs of the future.

“The existing initiatives being facilitated by the UNE are a fantastic example of the kind of innovation we’re driving in NSW and the funding provided through the Boost Program will help to accelerate local industry development and support better research and business networks throughout the region,” Mr Barilaro said.

The UNE SMART Region Incubator will create an environment where research, knowledge and data can be connected with entrepreneurial ideas to grow high value and innovative businesses.

Under the Boosting Business Innovation Program, the NSW government is working with 11 NSW universities and CSIRO to unlock access to technology, equipment, research and expertise to build an innovation ecosystem and stimulate economic growth.

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Battery Storage Workshop for Your Business In The Northern Inland

Heard about the “battery revolution” and want to know if it stacks up for your business?

The NSW Office of Environment & Heritage, in partnership with the University of New England Business School is running a brand new “Battery Storage for Business” course with expert, impartial trainers to help you answer these questions.

Because OEH are piloting the course in this region, they want your feedback and are offering to waive the course cost (normally $300p.p) for this pilot only.

Businesses that could attend are organisations that:

  • have a base understanding of their own business energy consumption (how much you pay, what times do  you use your energy, demand charges and other)
  • Businesses on a commercial tariff (usually over 100 megawatt hours annually)
  • Businesses that may have already started to do some energy efficiency or renewable energy projects in house

Please be aware the workshop runs over two half days, which allows time for you to go back and scope possible projects at your business.

Please register for the course at:
www.eventbrite.com.au/e/battery-storage-workshop-for- northern-tablelands-businesses-tickets-27162985220

Further details can be found below, or email Lauren.Zell@environment.nsw.gov.au if you have questions regarding the course.

COST: Free
LOCATION: Tutorial Room 2, W40 – UNE Business School, University of New England, Armidale

DAY 1: 13th September 8:30am-12:30pm

  • Learn about battery storage technology
  • Potential Benefits
  • Risk identification & mitigation

Day 1 covers a technology overview, the benefits and the risks. In between, participants go and select a site they want to assess, collect some information, use our tools and resources, and come back to Day 2

DAY 2: 29th September 8:30am – 12:30pm

  • Review your site with the trainer
  • Workshop your project and define next steps (e.g. develop a brief)
  • evaluating market offers & engaging suppliers

On Day 2 the projects will be workshopped, and participants will learn about how to evaluate market offers and engage suppliers. The next steps for their projects will then be defined.

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$2 Million Rail Freight Fix for Moree

By investing in $2 million in reinstating a disused section of rail line at Moree, the NSW Government will enable hundreds of thousands of tonnes of grain, cotton and pulses to be railed to Newcastle instead of being sent by truck to Queensland.

Local State MP Adam Marshall recently announced that as part of the $15 million Fixing Country Rail pilot program, the government will spend $2 million to reopen 2.8km of the currently disused Moree to Inverell railway branch line.

“The work will link Broadbent Grain’s receival facilities, which are on the abandoned Moree-Inverell line, with the main line servicing Moree,” Mr Marshall said.

“That means that about 250,000 tonnes of grain and 6,400 twenty foot containers of cotton and pulses – the equivalent of 6,000 trucks – per year can be moved by rail to Newcastle instead of having to go by road to Queensland ports.

“This is a big win for Moree’s rural economy and for jobs in country NSW. It’s an investment in appropriate transport options, better roads, and greater efficiency.”

Broadbent Grain’s Moree operations manager Mick Maloney said his company was thrilled with the news and looked forward to being able to use the rail line.

“Using rail to get our commodities to port will cut our freight costs in half, meaning more money for local primary producers, less truck on roads and highways and greater efficiency,” Mr Maloney said.

“This is a very exciting project for our company and the whole region.”

A total of 10 projects across NSW will receive a share of $15 million under the Fixing Country Rail pilot program, in addition to the $400 million to be invested into the program itself.

The first full round of Fixing Country Rail funding will open later this year. Regional councils, producers, rail operators and other businesses are encouraged to work together and apply for funding under the program.

Additional information on the Fixing Country Rail program can be found at www.freight.transport.nsw.gov.au/network/rail/fixing-country-rail/index.html

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Thinking of Targeting the UK Market?

The United Kingdom is Australia’s 3rd-largest trading partner - as well as our biggest source of migrants: and
Great Britain’s exit from the EU could be a great opportunity to capitalise on those ties.

The Chamber proudly presents a one-day workshop for businesses who, with tailored, professional and free
assistance, could expand business into the UK.

This workshop will include a briefing from UK Dept for International Trade to help you identify opportunities
and incentives – to help companies reach their potential in the UK market.

UK Department for International Trade offers a bespoke service that is tailored to the needs of each business, and can include advice on commercial matters, technical and regulatory  essentials, physical set-up and advocacy.

Destination UK Workshop
Thursday September 1
Armidale City Bowling Club, Dumaresq Street Armidale.

10am: Morning Tea

10.30am-11.30am: UK Department for International Trade - Katie Heathcote, Inward Investment Advisor.

  • How to access Innovate UK grants and be eligible
  • Your top three things to think of when doing business in the UK
  • Understanding the UK tax incentives available to your business including R&D and Patent Box
  • Picking a location in the UK that makes sense for your business
  • Case study on businesses from Australia that have expanded to the UK

11.45am – 12.15pm: Lunch

12.15 – 4.15pm: One-on-one meetings with UK Department for International Trade.

This free event is proudly presented by: UK Department for International Trade, Armidale Regional Council, NSW Dept of Industry, NSW Trade & Investment, Department of Premier & Cabinet and the Armidale Business Chamber.

Participation is limited to businesses considering entering the UK market within 5 years. If this sounds like you, email the Chamber to apply for this high level UK entry workshop by 12-noon on Monday the 29th of August to office@armidalebusinesschamber.com.au

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Encouraging Young People To Represent Their Regional Communities

The RAS Rural Achiever Award is a state-wide program that recognises future leaders in New South Wales who want to make a significant contribution to their local community and rural Australia.

It is open to young people aged between 20 - 29 years and provides professional development and agricultural industry networking opportunities.

Eight lucky finalists will share $17,000 in prize money and participate in an exciting week-long program at the 2017 Sydney Royal Easter Show.

Click here to apply.

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Grants and Funding Opportunities

National Stronger Regions Fund – Round 3 Update
Status of Round Three applications

The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development is currently providing advice to the Australian Government on NSRF Round Three applications.

All applicants will be advised in writing of the outcome of their application in line with the NSRF Programme Guidelines.  A list of successful applications will also be published on the Department’s website.

Future regional grant opportunities from the Infrastructure and Regional Development portfolio

On 20 June 2016, the Australian Government announced a re-focus of the NSRF.

The new fund, to be known as the Building Better Regions Fund, will;

  • be eligible only to regional, rural and remote Australia,
  • deliver investment in two streams: infrastructure projects and community investments, and
  • will focus on creating jobs, driving economic growth and building communities where people want to live and work.

Arrangements and guidelines for the new fund are currently under development.  Interested parties are encouraged to monitor the Department’s website www.infrastructure.gov.au for future announcements regarding the Building Better Regions Fund.

$18 million to boost global collaboration

The Turnbull Government is supporting businesses and researchers with grants of up to $1 million to help them collaborate with global partners on leading-edge research, development and commercialisation projects.

The Government’s Global Innovation Linkages programme will provide $18 million over five years to help businesses collaborate to develop high quality products, services or processes that respond to strategically important industry challenges for Australia. The Global Innovation Linkages programme opened today for applications.

The programme will help existing businesses to grow and create jobs by allowing Australian businesses to better collaborate with businesses overseas.

By collaborating with overseas businesses, Australian businesses will be able to leverage entrepreneurial expertise and gain a competitive edge in the global market.

Innovation is a critical driver of productivity and jobs in Australia. Sixty per cent of Australia’s productivity comes from innovation. The Government’s $1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda is supporting increased linkages with key economies through measures including the Global Innovation Strategy.

Other measures under the Global Innovation Strategy include the establishment of Landing Pads for market ready start-ups and the Global Connections Fund announced in April.

Together these measures will help translate our world leading science and research into growth opportunities for Australia.Further information about the Global Innovation Linkages programme is available at business.gov.au/GIL

Trees on Farms & Healthy Rivers Projects

The Northern Tablelands Local Land Services works with landholders to invest in the long term sustainability of this region. Successful grant recipients are considered to be working in partnership with Northern Tablelands Local Land Services towards that sustainability.

Grants are available for the following on-ground works:

  • Protecting and managing waterways
  • Providing alternate water points where stock are excluded from water sources
  • Planting shelter belts or wind breaks with native trees or shrubs (must be at least 1ha in size)
  • Improving habitat for threatened species
  • Protecting and managing existing native vegetation
  • Revegetation on-farm, protecting paddock trees and encouraging natural regeneration.

Click here for further information, guidelines and an Expression of Interest form.

Funding for Better Fish Habitats, Better Fishing

Large grants of up to $40,000 are now being made available to people and community groups through the NSW Government’s Habitat Action Grants Program. Small grants up to $2,000, to kick-start a project are also available to fishing clubs, community groups, local councils and individuals wanting to improve fish habitat in the region.

Since 2009, funds from the NSW Recreational Fishing Trusts have been invested into more than $3.6 million into the Habitat Action Grants program which has attracted significant additional investment of around $11 million in in-kind and cash contributions, delivering substantial outcomes on-ground for native fish habitat in NSW.

Previous funded projects include:

  • Removing invasive weeds and re-establishing native vegetation on our riverbanks;
  • Restoring and stabilising eroded river banks;
  • Re-snagging waterways; and
  • Removing barriers to fish movement by opening floodgates and improving road crossings or weirs.

Applications for Habitat Action Grants are now open and close on 30 September 2016.

For more information about the program, application forms and examples of past projects visit www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/hag

Funding to celebrate unity in our diverse communities

Funding is now available to celebrate cultural diversity and help bring the community together.

The 2016/17 Unity and Celebration Grants, which form part of the Multicultural NSW Grants Program, provide funding for projects which help unite local communities, promote social cohesion and showcase the benefits of cultural diversity.

Local not-for-profit organisations or local councils working in partnership with community organisations are encouraged to apply.

Unity Grants provide up to $30,000 to support local community projects, and Celebration Grants provide up to $5,000 for festivals and events that bring communities together and showcase the benefits of cultural diversity.

“A key focus of the Unity Grants will be on initiatives that combat racism and build interfaith understanding,” Minister for Multiculturalism the Hon. John Ajaka said.

Successful Unity and Celebration Grant recipients have included:

  • Helping Auburn PCYC address social isolation in young in the local community;
  • Establishing a local cultural club in Wagga Wagga;
  • Helping vulnerable female refugees in the Hunter find jobs and work towards financial independence;
  • The Ritmo Brazilian Festival organised by the Brazilian Community Council of Australia

Applications close on 9 September 2016.

For more information about the Multicultural NSW Grants Program, visit www.multicultural.nsw.gov.au

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What's On in the Northern Inland

Tenterfield Business & Tourism Excellence Awards
Thursday 25th August
Tenterfield School of Arts

Australian Team Penning Championships
Thursday 1st – Sunday 4th September
Glen Innes

2016 Tamworth Quality Business Awards
Friday 2nd September

Glen Innes Business Awards
Friday 2nd September
Glen Innes

2016 Australian Barrel Horse Association National Finals
Tuesday 7th – Sunday 11th September
AELEC, Tamworth

The Quirindi Show
Friday 9th – Sunday 11th September

Craft Alive Tamworth
Friday 9th – Sunday 11th September
TRECC, Tamworth

Moree On A Plate - Long Luncheon
Saturday 10th September

North Star Camp Draft
Saturday 10th September
North Star

Narrabri Chamber of Commerce Business Awards
Saturday 10th September

Inverell Pioneer Village Machinery Rally
Saturday 17th - Sunday 18th September

Willow Tree Camp Draft
Saturday 17th - Sunday 18th September
Willow Tree

Adventure Riders Annual Congregation
Saturday 17th - Sunday 18th September
Moredun Ponds near Tingha

Inverell PBR Touring Pro (bull riding)
Saturday 24th September
Inverell Showground

Yetman Camp Draft
Saturday 24th September
Yetman Showground

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