In This Issue
Welcome from the Chair
Dear Northern Inlanders,
Welcome to another packed edition of our newsletter.
With all of NSW now drought declared and most of our region experiencing intense drought, it is good to see some assistance for farmers from the Commonwealth and NSW State Governments. There is a wide variety of funding available and we recommend that farmers in our region read the article below and get in contact with the NSW Rural Financial Counselling Service to get assistance in accessing different programs on offer. We also need to acknowledge the many small businesses and residents in our communities who are also doing it tough as a result of knock-on effects.
As youth are the key to our region’s future, I would like to draw your attention to the ‘Youth Unemployment Agenda’ initiative, designed to put a safety-net up, address young people in danger of disengaging with education, and get them into employment, trained up or back into study, in a way they do it best. Please be sure to also check out the article on the Heywire program that is currently open for entries to tap into our youngest and brightest’ ideas.
Congratulations to Inverell Shire Council and the Tenterfield Chamber of Tourism Industry and Business on receiving grant funding under the Building Better Regions Fund. Round Three is expected to be announced soon, so keep an eye out in future newsletters and be sure to get in touch for assistance in developing your project to shovel-ready.
Skilled Migration Addressing Northern Inland Labour Needs
The Australian Government recently promoted the lowest migration figures in over ten years. As a Regional Certifying Body, we have helped ensure that local migration numbers have bucked the national trend, with around 400 skilled migrants, many with families, arriving in the region to help address employer needs in the last 12 months. Those are qualified, skilled and experienced people, most of whom will migrate to our region and be keen to work. In the last year we have achieved an increase in our numbers and we are proud of how that is enriching our communities and bolstering our labour market.
RDANI manage a list of skilled occupations considered to be difficult to fill in the Northern Inland region. If Skilled Migrants meet the requirements for an occupation on our local list and have the supporting documentation required, they can apply to us for Skilled Regional State Nomination. We continue to see skills shortages in sectors like hospitality, health and trades, impeding business growth or viability, but skilled migration is making a difference and helping to grow our region.
Once approved and nominated, applicants can apply to the Department of Home affairs for the 489 visa. This is technically a four-year temporary visa, but it is a pathway to permanent residency. After our 489 visa holders have lived in the region for two years and worked full-time equivalent hours for one year, they are eligible to apply for permanent residency. We are bringing skilled migrants to our region who have a clear incentive to work here. Often, they come with a family and become part of our local communities.
Mohammad Emon, is an example of the workers that move to our region under the program. He has been working at the Armidale City Bowling Club for two and a half years as a sous chef. Having achieved permanent residency, he is now awaiting Australian Citizenship and is happy to continue in his job. “It’s a great lifestyle here. People are so much more friendly than in Sydney,” he said.
We also provide follow up support for skilled migrants coming to, or recently arrived in the region. Our Skilled Migration Jobs Board Facebook group is a unique resource that we developed. We have over 350 members who can promote their skills and experience or see information about local jobs and settlement information, but we would like to see more employers join and post about opportunities they have for our skilled migrants.
Our office also plays a vital role in the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) employer nomination process, as a Regional Certifying Body. Employers who cannot fill a skilled position that they need can nominate or sponsor someone for that position from overseas but they must apply to our office for certification and the Department of Home Affairs.
Further information about the State Sponsored Visas and the Regional Sponsored Migrations Scheme can be found on our website here
Youth in Danger of Disengagement - Employment Agenda Gathering
The Youth Employment Agenda is a new program that is part of NSW Government’s Youth Employment Innovation Challenge. It is a home-grown project in the Northern Inland region of NSW, developed in consultation with industry, employers, young people, schools, youth organisations, Local Government, educators and service providers.
Youth Employment Agenda has the backing of local employers who have a range of entry-level job opportunities available across the region. Employer input has been “We want young people that are reliable, honest, keen to work and have demonstrated some basic skills. Get them to that point and we’ll give them a go.”
A gathering took place in Tamworth recently, between those behind the Youth Employment Agenda, their engaged stakeholders and Government Department representatives.
Youth Employment Agenda will disrupt the youth unemployment cycle by developing job-ready young people but partnerships and collaboration are vital to achieving that, so the gathering was an important step towards fine-tuning and rolling out this exciting program.
Additional Drought Assistance for Farmers
With rainfall in June and July lower than was expected and putting 99% of New South Wales into drought, the Federal and NSW State Governments have both announced additional assistance for farmers.
The Federal Government has extended their Farm Household Allowance to include 8,000 additional farming families by increasing the net asset threshold cap from $2.6 Million to $5 Million. The allowance will now also include two lump sum supplementary payments in addition to the fortnightly payment which totals around $16,000 a year. The payments will be made on the 1st of September 2018 and the 1st of March 2019. Couples will receive up to an additional $12,000, single households will receive up to $7,200.
The additional funding from the Federal Government includes:
An extra $5 million in the Rural Financial Counselling Service, which will provide additional support for farmers - particularly those applying for the FHA for the first time.
$15 million to help the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal with small grants for not-for-profit community groups for locally driven targeted support.
$11.4 million in mental health support initiatives including:
Additional funding for Primary Health Networks in drought affected areas to cope with increased demand.
Those accessing counselling via Skype will no longer have their first appointment in person. This recognises the long distances and the cost of travel in money and time for rural people.
An Empowering Communities program that allows local communities to tailor local mental health responses to their needs. Eligible communities can apply for funds up to $1 million for community-led initiatives that improve mental health and community resilience.
Funding will be provided to ReachOUT to go out into drought affected communities and raise awareness of their youth and children’s counselling services group.
The NSW Government has announced an additional $500 Million of assistance, including approximately $190 million for the introduction of Drought Transport Subsidies. These subsidies cover up to 50 per cent of the full cost of transporting fodder, water for stock and livestock to pasture, slaughter or sale. Up to $20,000 per farm business is available and will also be back-dated for freight expenses incurred since January 1, 2018, allowing farmers who de-stocked earlier in the year to also receive assistance.
The additional funding from the NSW Government also includes:
Approximately $100 million for cutting the cost of farming fees and charges – by waiving Local Land Services rates, waiving fixed water charges in rural and regional areas, and waiving class one agricultural vehicle registration costs, among other initiatives, and
$150 million to bolster the Farm Innovation Fund (FIF) infrastructure program;
Counselling and mental health;
Critical services in regional communities including transporting water and drought related road upgrades and repairs;
Animal welfare and stock disposal.
Completing the applications to take advantage of the variety of support that is available can be overwhelming, and the NSW Rural Financial Counselling Service is available to provide support. The contact details for the counsellors in the Northern Inland region are below, and a full list is available here.
Armidale: Deborah Maddox
Phone: 02 6778 4784
Glen Innes: Stuart Brummell
Phone: 02 6732 3325
Inverell: Geoff Mill
Phone: 02 6721 0030
Moree: Leah Bailey
Phone: 02 6752 3561
Tamworth: Sarah Goulden
Phone: 02 6761 3336
Over $2.5 Million for the Region Under the Building Better Regions Fund
The Building Better Regions Fund is administered by the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities to provide funding to help create jobs, drive economic growth and support regional and remote communities across Australia. Funding is available through two funding streams, infrastructure projects and community investments.
The recipients of grant funding under round two were announced in July, and two projects were funded for Inverell and one in Tenterfield:
$2.5 Million was provided to Inverell Shire Council under the infrastructure projects stream for the Upgrade and Redevelopment of the Inverell Livestock Exchange. The project will upgrade and redevelop the Inverell Livestock exchange to include:
New undercover selling pens with soft flooring
Upgraded weighing and animal handling facilities
New feed yards with feed bunks to improve animal welfare outcomes
Expanded truck parking and decoupling area to improve heavy vehicle safety and driver fatigue
New truck wash down facilities
$35,600 was also provided to Inverell Shire Council under the community investment stream for Developing a Cultural and Arts Strategic Plan for Inverell LGA which will involve the engagement of an independent consultant to develop a Cultural and Arts Strategic Plan for the Inverell Local Government Area.
$30,000 was provided to Tenterfield Chamber of Tourism Industry & Business Incorporated to run an annual festival to celebrate the life and music of Peter Allen and his influence in the Australian music industry. The first festival will be held from Friday the 7th to Sunday the 9th of September and further details are available on the festival’s website here.
Details of the recipients for the infrastructure projects and community investments streams for round two across Australia are available on the Building Better Regions Fund’s website.
The 2018-19 budget announced a additional $200 Million towards the Building Better Regions fund, and round three is expected to be open in the second half of 2018. It is anticipated that tourism will be a key priority for the third round to help stimulate local economies by investing in the tourism-related infrastructure projects.
While the next round has not been announced yet, organisations can gain a competitive advantage by starting work on their application by developing their project plans and budgets well ahead of time. If you would like assistance in developing your project plan or would like to find out more about the Building Better Regions Fund, please contact our office on 6771 0700 or by email at email@example.com
Could Your Idea Go Heywire?
We believe that our youth are a key source of ideas on how to develop our region for the future, and the ABC’s Heywire program provides a platform for youth to be placed in the centre of the conversation.
The Heywire program has been running for seventeen years is open to people aged 16 to 22 who live in a regional area. It starts with a storytelling competition, from which winners are selected to be featured on ABC Radio to provide a window into the lives of young people in regional Australia. Winners are also invited to participate in the Heywire Regional Youth Summit with all expenses paid trip to Canberra to develop ideas aimed at improving the lives of young people in regional Australia.
Entries are to be submit it through their website by the 16th of September deadline. Entrants can choose the format that they prefer to use to express their story:
Text (400 Words)
Video (2-4 Minutes)
Photos (10 Images)
Audio (2-4 Minutes)
The Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal also provides grants for community organisations to adopt and action one of the ideas that are developed at the Heywire Regional Youth Summit, with grant rounds closing in May each year.
The stories and ideas from our youth are inspirational, and you can discover their stories and ideas at www.abc.net.au/heywire/
Automated Bus Trial Destined for Armidale
Utilisation of fully automated, driverless vehicles may feel like it is something that will be in the distant future, yet this month Minister for Roads Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey today announced Armidale and Coffs Harbour will be hosts to regional trials of a fully automated vehicle.
The trial, the first of its kind in regional Australia will start by the end of year and will see the NSW Government’s own Smart Innovation Centre partner with Armidale Regional Council, EasyMile, Transdev, University of New England (UNE), WSP and Edwards Coaches. By conducting the trials in regional areas in addition to the trials already underway in Sydney, regional communities can be part of the NSW Government’s future planning of connected and automated vehicles to maximise benefits in the future.
The trial in Armidale will utilise a level four fully automated Ezy Mile shuttle with capacity to carry up to 14 passengers, and will commence in late 2018. The trial will run for 12 months with five phases to the trial, focusing on services for the elderly and disabled, new mobility in precincts or local areas and off-peak services.
Featured Grants and Funding Opportunities
Below are some featured grants and funding opportunities from around 75 open grants listed in the Grants and Funding Opportunities area of our website. Our website is updated weekly with new listings and updates and all are applicable to our region, so it is a great resource if you are looking for funding for a specific project.
You can also sign up to our Business and Infrastructure Funding Opportunities and the Community Grants and Award Programs newsletters through the simple form located on the left-hand side of our website to receive monthly summaries of currently open grants.
Stronger Communities Program
Closes: 11th of October 2018 5:00 pm AEDT
Value: $2,500 to $20,000 Matched funding
Run By: Department of Industry, Innovation and Science
The Stronger Communities Programme (the program) supports the Australian Government’s commitment to deliver social benefits in communities across Australia. Round 4 of the program will provide $22.5 million to fund small capital projects in each of the 150 federal electorates. Each electorate has total funding of up to $150,000 that can be allocated to successful applications.
Community consultation is a critical element of the program. In consultation with their community, each MP must identify potential applicants and projects in their electorate and invite them to apply for a grant. Invited applications will be assessed against the program’s eligibility criteria through a closed non-competitive process.
The grant amount will be up to 50 per cent of eligible project costs (grant percentage). You can fund your share of eligible project costs from any source including from state and local government. Your contribution can be either cash or in-kind. Where you provide in-kind contributions, you must calculate the dollar value.
You should complete your project by 30 June 2019.
Landing Pads Program
Closing date: 8th of October 2018
Future Rounds Close: 4th of February and 20th of May 2019
Value: In-kind support including 90 day residency at an international co-working space
Run By: Australia Unlimited and Austrade
The Landing Pads program provides market-ready startups and scaleups with potential for rapid growth a cost effective option to land and expand into major global innovations hubs around the world. Five Landing Pads have been established in San Francisco, Tel Aviv, Shanghai, Berlin and Singapore.
Landing Pads provide market-ready startups and scaleups with:
a ninety day residency in a co-working space to help them grow their business by facilitating in-market business development, introductions to investors and mentor networks and strategic partnership opportunities
business services and in-market learnings from local and international experts
access to a curated community that supports Australian entrepreneurs who want to go global via shared insights and collaboration opportunities, and
assistance post residency with business advice to help them continue to grow their business.
Applications are now open for all Landing Pads.
Coles Nurture Fund
Annual Round Closes: 14th of September 2018 5pm AEDT
Value: Up to $500,000
Run By: Coles Supermarkets Australia
Coles Supermarkets Australia Pty Ltd (Coles) has launched an initiative to assist existing small to medium Australian producers, farmers and manufacturers to innovate and grow their business.
Coles has announced the Coles Nurture Fund (CNF), and will allocate $50 million over five years intended to encourage businesses to develop new market-leading products, technologies, systems and processes. Through the CNF, existing small to medium businesses may apply for funding to enable them to take the next step in creating value for business and customers.
Coles will allocate $10 million a year to fund the CNF for five years, comprising $5 million per annum allocated for grants and another $5 million per annum allocated for interest-free loans. The maximum single grant of funds or loan under the CNF is $500,000.
What's On in the Northern Inland
R U Aware, We Care
Drought support and fundraising throughout the region
Coal Seam Gas and Public Health Conference
Wednesday 15th of August
Sunday 19th of August
Fuch’s Australian Billy Boiling Championships
Tuesday 21st of August
Tuesday 21st to Thursday 23rd of August
50th Anniversary Mt Porcupine Hillclimb
Saturday 1st of September
Baan Baa Hall Trivia Night
Saturday 1st of September
Tamworth Cycling Festival
Saturday 1st of September
Kootingal Country Fair
Sunday 2nd of September
Moree Motor Trade Show 2018
Sunday 2nd of September
Tamworth Bicentenary Celebration Day
Sunday 2nd of September
Peter Allen Festival
Friday 7th to Sunday 9th of September
Narrabri Chamber of Commerce Business Awards
Saturday 8th of September
John Oxley Bicentenary Events
Saturday 8th to Sunday 9th September