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August 2017 Newsletter

In This Issue

Welcome from the Chair

Dear Northern Inlanders,

Welcome to another edition of our newsletter. This month we are pleased to announce the Australian Government’s continued support of the RDA Network for another three years. Following an independent review of RDAs nationally, Minister Fiona Nash is implementing some exciting changes and a renewed focus under a new charter which you can read below.

Don’t forget the huge range of funding available through the NSW Government’s Regional Growth Fund. From community groups to Local Government and the private sector, there’s $1.6 billion up for grabs. And finally, the deadline is fast approaching to get your nominations in for the 10th annual Northern Inland Innovation Awards – a great opportunity to get your businesses’ and towns’ innovations up in lights. See www.niia.com.au for more details.


Russell Stewart

A New Charter for a Stronger, More Focused RDA Network

Regional Development Australia (RDA) Northern Inland Chair, Russell Stewart, has welcomed Minister Fiona Nash’s announcement that RDA Committees will move forward under a new Charter, describing it as a “great opportunity for RDAs across the country, and a strong sign of support and confidence in the important networking, facilitating and advocacy role of Regional Development Australia Committees.”

The new Charter, announced by Minister Nash in response to an independent review into RDA Committees and their effectiveness, refocusses RDA activities on local job creation, attracting investment and driving innovation and away from the traditional development of regional plans.

Mr Stewart described the new Charter as “providing a clearer, more practical focus for RDAs and much needed certainty with funding secured until at least 2020.”

“RDA Northern Inland is well respected in this region and has been responsible for some significant achievements driving investment and innovation,” said Mr Stewart.

“The new Charter, which includes working more closely with local government, well reflects the strategic direction and current activities of RDA Northern Inland,” said Mr Stewart. “We already have a close, collaborative working relationship with our local government organisations, having been engaged to undertake a number of projects on their behalf.”
“When it comes to regional development, we are all on the same team trying to achieve the same result – economic growth and jobs,” said Mr Stewart. RDA Northern Inland looks forward to continuing to work with local, State and Federal Government, industry, business and communities to achieve those goals under our new Charter.”

The new Charter for Regional Development Australia Committees;

  1. Collaborate with relevant stakeholders to identify economic opportunities and leverage private and public sector investment to the regions;
  2. Connect regional businesses, councils and industry sectors with international trade partners, financial markets and potential investors;
  3. Promote and disseminate information on Australian Government policies and grant programs to state and local governments and industry, business and community sectors;
  4. Support community stakeholders to develop project proposals to access funding;
  5. Develop and maintain positive working relationships with the local government bodies in their regions;
  6. Facilitate public and private sector decentralisation;
  7. Assist in the delivery of Australian Government programs, where relevant and where requested by the Minister;
  8. Engage with regional entrepreneurs and emerging business leaders to explore new opportunities to grow local jobs in their regions;
  9. Provide information on their region’s activities and competitive advantages to all levels of government, industry, business and community sectors;
  10. Provide evidence-based advice to the Australian Government on critical regional development issues positively and negatively affecting their regions.

More information is available at: https://rda.gov.au/review

Uralla Shire Benefits from Skilled Migration

Skilled migration unquestionably delivers win-wins, for employers who cannot fill a position locally and for professionals from overseas who dream of enjoying the lifestyle that we can tend to take for granted,” said Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI) Chair Russell Stewart.

“RDANI is producing a second series of skilled migration case study videos. The first series of four videos covered a range of employers in different parts of the region. The latest video is now online and I applaud all involved,” Mr Stewart said.

RDANI Skilled Migration Project Officer Gary Fry said the skilled migration case study videos are concise, featuring two unscripted honest insights; one from an employer and one from their skilled migrant employee. “In the first video of our second case study series, we are proud to showcase how our skilled migration program has assisted one of the small but progressive Local Councils in our region,” he said.

Uralla Shire Council is a small regional council in the heart of the Northern Inland. The Local Government body has challenges with skilled labour, due to the size of Uralla and its’ proximity to Armidale and Tamworth, which can have more appeal to professionals with qualifications and experience, as explained in the case study video by Uralla Shire Council General Manager Andrew Hopkins.

“Thanks to the Regional Development Australia Northern Inland skilled migration program, we were able to recruit a qualified and experienced accountant,” Mr Hopkins said.

Skilled migrants like Mustaq Ahammed are brought to the region through the Skilled Regional State Nominated visa (sub-class 489). Mustaq initially earned income and met his visa conditions by working at the tomato farm at Guyra. In the case study, Mustaq tells how he has been working as a corporate accountant in Uralla Shire Council for over two years now and loves it.

Mustaq and his wife came from Bangladesh. They are now very settled and at home in the Northern Inland region. “The decision to move to a regional area of Australia was not easy. I think my wife and my son love living in this region even more than me now!”

In the Northern Inland region of NSW, Mustaq Ahammed has found a rewarding, stable and supportive employer, while his family have settled into a place they now call home. Thanks to skilled migration, Uralla Shire Council have a skilled and committed employee, who has culturally enriched the workplace.

RDANI Executive Officer Nathan Axelsson is encouraging locals to watch the skilled migration videos. “There has been a lot of misleading hype about migration programs supposedly taking jobs from local Australians and telling our case studies are a practical way of showing the reality of the situation, here in Northern Inland NSW,” he said.

To view the latest skilled migration case study video, click HERE

Get Your Free ‘net Training Now on Go-Digital 2.0

Through the Go-Digital program, Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI) has advanced the local digital economy. Over 170 Businesses have participated in the free training program to grow their business online. Local business people who have not signed up can still do so until March 2018 and RDANI has new software to simplify the Go-Digital experience.

Funded by the Murray-Darling Basin Regional Economic Diversification Programme, Go-Digital was facilitated by RDANI Project Officer Tiffany Gilleland, who delivered face-to-face workshops around the region initially, then developed the online course material and worked with businesses individually.

“Go-Digital is an awesome set of resources for small and medium-sized businesses in the Northern Inland region, designed to help them to get online and benefit from that,” Ms Gilleland said.

Step-by-step instructions are simple enough for people who do not have confidence with technology but comprehensive enough to offer insights for the more experienced. “I cover how to create a website, from set-up and building pages, we explore how to best use your Facebook business page to full advantage. We dealt with creating an online store through Etsy, how to photograph and present your products professionally, how to post blogs and more,” she said.

“We have invested in new software to make interacting with the course material easier. Previously the material was made available in the form of a blog, with each week being a different post, featuring the instructional videos and details for that week,” explained Tiffany. “The problem was that by the time we got to week 20, it was difficult for the public to find week one or even know that there was a week one. We’ve also made it easier to approach the online educational material at your own pace. It was difficult to sift through all of our course material and then return to where you are to but our software investment addressed that.”

“When you sign up to the new system, the modules are all there. You can click on them and see your course progress. The enhanced Go-Digital course system has not been online for long and we’ve already had great feedback,” said Mrs Gilleland. “We are also maintaining the old system for those who are used to it.”

“It’s been great! Just this morning I was working on-site with Greenhill Orchards at Arding, near Armidale. I had a great time. They took me on a tour of the business, so I can better help them with digital assistance, tailored to their needs. Helping businesses to go digital and move forward, even if it’s only been in small steps, has been so rewarding.

One of the business people we helped was really scared to use Facebook. Now, she is getting in posting, uploading her own photos and videos; we got there in just a couple of weeks. She has the confidence to click on buttons and seeing how it goes, without checking with me and that is how I know her skills have developed.”

To sign up to the free online program, go to:  www.gdni.com.au

Community Solar Investment Opportunity Gem

Sapphire Wind Farm is inviting the community to participate in a survey to understand the local interest in investing directly into the project. With enough interest, the Sapphire Wind Farm will look into the possibility of pioneering Australia’s first community investment into a large-scale wind farm. Locals are being encouraged to join in the Discovery Sessions across the region to hear more about this opportunity.

There will be six discovery sessions around the region in the coming week, at the following venues:
The first session will be on Monday 4 September at Inverell RSM Club from 10am-11:30am and 5:15pm-6:30pm, while a session will also occur at Wellingrove Hall 2pm-3:30pm on Monday. Tuesday will see a session at the Moree Town and Country Club 9:15am-10:30am, followed by two sessions at the Glen Innes Services Club 2:00pm-3:30pm and 5:15pm-6:30pm. On Wednesday 6 September, there is a discovery session in Tamworth in the Tamworth Town Hall Passchendaele Room 12:30pm-1:30pm and a final session in the Armidale City Bowling Club 5:15pm-6:30pm.

Registration of attendance is requested at:
Community members can also take part in an online survey from 4 September by going to:

Sapphire Wind Farm is located 28km east of Inverell and 18km west of Glen Innes to the north of the Gwydir Highway in the Kings Plains area. Once operational, the Sapphire Wind Farm will be the largest wind farm in NSW. It will generate enough clean energy to power 115,000 homes and offset over 700,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year. The project will also deliver substantial economic benefits to the New England region. Construction is scheduled to be completed in the second half of 2018.

Higher Education Expansions in the Region

Narrabri is being considered for a Country Universities Centre (CUC). A Narrabri CUC would be one of a handful in regional NSW.

The CUCs are hubs to facilitate university study for local students in their own regional communities. Significant benefits flow to country areas through access to supported local higher education study.
Five of the centres are to be established in country NSW with initial funding of $8 million from the State government.

The Country Universities Centre is a not-for-profit organisation, established with the aim of making tertiary education more accessible for regional and remote communities in NSW.

The CUC website states that “Regional youth participate in tertiary education at less than half the rate of their metropolitan counterparts, with the gap widening further in recent years. One of the biggest challenges faced by regional and remote students is the absence of a ‘campus’ environment and its associated support and benefits. The Country Universities Centre is based on a model which delivers supported learning to these students, providing them with access to campus-level technology, facilities, tutors and a network of fellow students.”

A Narrabri Shire Council meeting on Monday 21 August saw over 100 community members come along to hear about the concept. Among them was RDANI Chair Russell Stewart. “This is an exciting proposition for the region and the North-west particularly. This community has a history of getting behind innovative programs that can upskill our young people right here, so we don’t lose them to the cities. We started the AGCAP (Agribusiness Careers and Professions) Program and it’s really delivering results,” he said. “So, I know we can make the Country Universities Centre model work for the good of our region.”

CUC CEO Duncan Taylor explained the CUC model to the audience that packed into the council chambers. He reportedly gave the unanimously supportive crowd of locals cause to be optimistic about their prospects.

This consideration of a Country Universities Centre for Narrabri follows on from a recent announcement from the University of New England that options are currently being explored for the expansion of course delivery in Tamworth. There is a degree of tertiary education competition in Tamworth, with Newcastle University also putting its academic stamp on the City of Lights.

Growing Local Economies Fund

RDANI Chair Russell Stewart is reminding the region that applications are now open for the NSW Government’s $1.3 billion Regional Growth Fund, accessible through the Growing Local Economies fund.

Over four years, the fund is designed to develop new regional economic opportunities and enliven local economies. “Partnerships appeal with this process, so let’s work together to get a fair share of funding for the Northern Inland,” he said.

“Need a regional approach or statistical data, independent research or analysis to strengthen a submission? The staff at Regional Development Australia Northern Inland can help.”

The Growing Local Economies fund is designed to unlock growth in regional NSW by delivering infrastructure that supports projects of economic significance.

Types of projects that could be funded include road works, natural gas mains and pipelines, water supply, sewerage connections and telecommunications (including data networks).

The Growing Local Economies fund is open to projects that have the capacity to:

  • deliver jobs and economic growth
  • help regional communities capitalise on their strengths or broaden and reposition their industry base
  • demonstrate benefits beyond one organisation
  • have a minimum project size of $1 million
  • align with state and regional priorities and achieve Benefit to Cost Ratio greater than 1-0.

Growing Local Economies will make funding available for projects in regional NSW outside Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong. Project applications are invited from:

  • local government
  • Aboriginal Land Councils and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups
  • infrastructure providers, such as telecommunication firms
  • incorporated associations, including business, industry and community organisations
  • cooperatives
  • educational institutions and non–government organisations.

To find out more click HERE.

Grants and Funding Opportunities

Regional Sports Infrastructure Fund
Country sporting facilities can now get major upgrades, with $100 million for new infrastructure works set to boost fields, pitches and tracks across the region.
The new Regional Sports Infrastructure Fund is part of the NSW Government’s $1.3 billion Regional Growth Fund. It is designed to help country areas develop a more professional sporting presence and attract new sports.
This $100 million fund will build new facilities, create sporting hubs, boost participation and help upgrade existing sporting infrastructure – providing a helping hand for local economies in the process.
Plans that create regional sporting hubs and build community participation will take priority – with an extra focus on facilities that cater for multiple sporting codes.
The funding will also work to improve the experience for those on the sidelines – which will help draw more professional and amateur event visitors to regional centres.
Applications for the Regional Sports Infrastructure Fund are now open.
Further information and program guidelines are available at www.nsw.gov.au/regionalsportsinfrastructure

Closing in September

Habitat Action Grants
Closes 18 September
Up to $40,000
Total Pool: Unknown
Available to fishing clubs, community groups, local councils and individuals to improve fish habitats in our local creeks, rivers or estuaries.

Closing in October

Grants to End Homelessness
Closes 9 Oct
Up to $50,000 (average $20 - $30K)
Total Pool: Unknown
Available for businesses and not for profits for seeding initiatives, services, projects, advocacy and research that will contribute to the goal of ending homelessness by supporting housing first and permanent supportive housing solutions.


Regional Sports Infrastructure Fund
Targets Investments over $1 Million
Available to Regional NSW Local Government councils to increase the number, or type, or improve standards of sporting facilities in regional areas. Also, to increase the participation in sport and enable economic growth.

Community Led Grants - Australian Government
Amount Undisclosed
Available to Not for Profit organisations or individuals in the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander community for projects in the areas of Education, Employment and Economic Development and / or Community Safety.

Poverty and Disadvantage Small Grants Program
Up to $10,000
Total Pool: Unknown
Available to Not-for-Profit organisations in the support of and aiding to alleviate the negative effects of poverty and disadvantage.

Social Enterprise Development and Investment Funds (SEDIF)
Amount Undisclosed
Available to social enterprises to help them grow their business and impact more people with the result of their work.

What's On in the Northern Inland

The Farmer, the Finance and the Fine Print
Kentucky Memorial Hall- Kentucky
Thursday 7th of September 2017         
5.15pm- 7.30pm

RSVP by September 5th to Lauren.Zell@environment.nsw.gov.au

This event is for anyone that lives in an area with a renewable energy resource either on or near their land or community.  Information and resources will be available for all to understand the process from development approach through to construction and operation with renewable generation on or near your land or in your community.

Fully funded by NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, this event is factual, neutral and is impartial. It's about providing relevant and current information for you, with answers and experience around the aspects associated with large scale renewable energy development in regional NSW. Large scale wind and solar will be the main information areas provided on the night, by a Landholder, Solicitor and an Accountant.

47th Annual Gunnedah Art & Ceramics Exhibition
Friday September 1st
Civic Centre Creative Arts Gallery

Coolatai Campdraft
Saturday 2nd September
Coolatai Sportsground

Warialda Historical Museum - Official Opening
Saturday 2nd September
Former Masonic Lodge, Warialda

Cowboy Dressage World Australia Spring Fling
Saturday 2nd - Sunday 3rd September

Craft Alive 2017
Friday 8th - Sunday 10th September
TRECC, Tamworth

Nundle CWA Nundle Preschool Bush Dance
Saturday 9th September
Nundle Memorial Hall

Quirindi Spring Show
Saturday 9th - Sunday 10th September

Kentucky Spring Fair and Challenge
Sunday 10th September
Kentucky Memorial Hall

Tenterfield Business & Tourism Excellence Awards
Thursday 14th September
Sir Henry Parkes School of Arts

Grapest 5K Run
Sunday 17th September
Tangaratta Vineyard, Tamworth

Attunga Downunder Rodeo
Saturday 23rd September
Attunga Recreation Ground, Attunga

Manhattan Film Festival
Thursday 28th September
Tenterfield Cinema

2017 Agility Dog Association of Australia Grand Prix
Friday 29th September - Monday 2nd October
Australian Equine and Livestock Events Centre, Tamworth

Dryland Sled Dog Race
Saturday 30 September - Monday 02 October
Girard State Forest

Vintage Motorcycle Challenge
Saturday 30th September - Sunday 1st October
McHattan Park, Walcha

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