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December 2020 Newsletter

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In this Issue

Welcome from the Chair

Russell Stewart - Chair

Dear Northern Inlanders,

As 2020 draws to a close many of us are taking the time to reflect on what has certainly been an eventful and unusual year. The drought, bushfires and the pandemic have brought on unprecedented times and has truly tested the resilience of our communities.

For some, these times have brought heartache, for others a moment to reflect on personal priorities. Through it all, the resilience of spirit in our communities has shone through, with many coming together to find innovative solutions to new problems. 2021 may see our communities continue to be tested, but by working together we can make it through, and continue to build on our region’s strengths.

The Building Better Regions Fund provides a unique opportunity to apply for support for innovative infrastructure and community projects that create jobs, drive economic growth, and help build our communities. The guidelines for Round 5 are now available allowing proponents to commence their preparations for when applications open on the 12th of January. Applying for grant funds can be an overwhelming process, and I encourage anyone planning on applying to get in touch with our staff in the new year to find out how we can assist.

I am pleased that we will be able to provide access to our Wool Works Shearing school for school leavers and job seekers due to support from the Australian Government and TAFE. We will be hosting two five-day courses in Glen Innes and Inverell in January, which are free for eligible participants. There is a shortage of shearers and rural workers, so this is a brilliant opportunity to gain sought-after skills for anyone looking to gain employment or interested in the rural sector.

I wish all our readers a safe and Merry Christmas and we look forward to working together with you in 2021.


Russell Stewart

Office Closure for Christmas and New Year

Please note that our office is currently closed for the Christmas and New Year period and will reopen on Monday the 4th of January, at which time our staff will attend to any emails and phone messages that have been received.

We wish everyone one a safe and happy break as 2020 comes to a close and we look forward to working together in 2021 to help the Northern Inland region to grow and prosper after such challenging times.

Free Shearer Training Opportunity for Job Seekers and School Leavers

Job seekers and school leavers have an exciting opportunity to acquire shearing and crutching skills in January 2021.

Our Wool Works Shearing School, together with TAFE New England are conducting two free five-day courses: 11 to 15 January in Inverell and 18 to 22 January in Glen Innes and anybody who might be interested is encouraged to register by calling the TAFE campuses in either location.

These courses are made possible through funding from the Australian Government and TAFE NSW. They are ideally suited to anyone who has finished school in 2020, any job seekers or any adults out there who are interested in learning or improving their shearing and wool handling skills.

The Wool Works Shearing School delivers entirely hands-on, non-classroom training. It utilises the expertise of fully qualified trainers, veteran shearers, and a District Vet, who are passionate about the wool industry and its skills needs. 

We have run a number of these schools over recent years specifically for secondary school students but on this occasion, we want to run some shearing schools to upskill job seekers. There is a real shortage of shearers and rural workers generally at the moment, therefore these skills can genuinely translate into employment. Shearing and crutching are skills in demand and once qualified and you can earn $300 a day. It is work that can result in travel as well as good paying jobs in the local area. 

Shearing skills also open the door to many other job opportunities that are out there in the agricultural sector, which is the highest employment sector in our region. The rewards are there for people who are willing to come along and give it a go. This course will show potential employers that you have basic training in the rural sector but just as importantly, the drive to learn and work that employers want to see.

Places are limited, so anyone interested will need to register as soon as possible by contacting Inverell TAFE on 131 601 or Glen Innes TAFE on 6768 2323.

Building Better Regions Fund Guidelines Now Available

Round 5 of the $1.04 billion Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) will open on the 12th of January next year.  This is a significant fund for regional projects that create jobs, drive economic growth, and build stronger regional and remote communities into the future. For Round Five a total of $200 million is available, with $100 million dedicated to tourism-related infrastructure projects.

In previous rounds, the BBRF has supported a range of projects in the Northern Inland Region. In 2020, successful projects included:

  • Tenterfield Water Treatment Plant Replacement
  • New England Regional Hydrotherapy Centre (NERHC)
  • Tamworth Intermodal Activation Plan - Phase I
  • Gwydir Oval Lighting Replacement
  • Messy Play Days at Toy Libraries
  • Future Jobs Growth & Local Skills Gaps Research Project

The fund runs two streams to cover a wide range of projects:

Community Stream - for new or expanded local events, strategic regional plans, or leadership and capability strengthening activities that provide economic and social benefits to regional and remote areas.

Infrastructure Stream - for projects that provide economic and social benefits to regional and remote areas. The projects can be either construction of new infrastructure or the upgrade or extension of existing infrastructure.

For most projects grant funding will be up to either 50% or 75% of your eligible project costs, with a funding cap of $10M for the infrastructure stream and $1M for the community stream.

Building Better Regions Fund Infrastructure Stream Guidelines and Community Stream Guidelines are now available to allow proponents to start preparing their applications, ready for submission by the 5th of March 2021. Anyone who would like assistance with their application, can contact our office to find out how we can help on 67710700 or by email at rdani@rdani.org.au.

Free Advice About Your Phone and Internet Services

Regional Australians can now access free, independent advice on the best internet and mobile phone connection for their work, study, and lifestyle needs, through the Regional Tech Hub. The hub is an initiative of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications in response to the 2018 review of telecommunications experiences in regional areas.

"Knowing what internet connection is available to you and which one is best suited to your needs, can be complex for many regional people," said Regional Tech Hub Manager Jenna Widdison. “Sometimes what works for your neighbour, won’t necessarily deliver the connectivity you need and often a connection can be greatly enhanced with a small tweak or with a new piece of basic equipment."

The hub provides a one-stop-shop to troubleshoot questions like ‘what type of internet connection is available to me?’, ‘how much data do I need?’ and ‘does that tree or shed, impact my connection quality?’. It includes a website housing a range of information to help people understand their connection options, troubleshoot faults, and improve their connection experience.

The Hub was developed and is managed by the National Farmers’ Federation and the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN). "The Regional Tech Hub is a much needed resource, which will provide up to date, relevant information to help regional people have the best possible internet and phone experience with the aim of putting them on an equal footing with their city counterparts" NFF President Fiona Simson said. "The Regional Tech Hub staff – who have a wealth of experience in IT, regional communications and customer service – are available to provide one-on-one assistance via phone, email or social media.”

Anyone who would like assistance can access the Regional Tech Hub website or call the hotline on 1300 081 029.

Help Shape Gunnedah Shire's Economic Future

Gunnedah Shire Council is asking local businesses and the community to help renew the strategy paving the way for future growth and investment in the Shire.

The Gunnedah Shire Economic Development Strategy 2021-2025 will guide the economic development roles and functions of Council. It will also provide Council with a blueprint to focus its support and promotion of economic development for the next four years.

Gunnedah Mayor Jamie Chaffey said community input was a vital part of the strategy’s development. “It is critical that Gunnedah Shire Council know and understand our community’s views on the road ahead for growth and investment,” Cr Chaffey said. “Community involvement in the preparation of the strategy will ensure the consultants are well-informed to deliver a strategy with vision and a practical plan of action. Our strong economy is something we have all built together, and we will work together to ensure we remain resilient.”

The new strategy will be based on detailed economic research and analysis, as well as engagement with businesses, key agencies and the community, to envision a future Gunnedah Shire economy that is diverse, strong and sustainable.

Council’s Manager Economic Development Charlotte Hoddle said initial consultations were an important early step in the strategy development process and there would be a number of ways both residents and businesses could contribute their ideas.

Gunnedah Shire Council is currenlty seeking input from local business owners and residents through a short 5 minute Gunnnedah Economic Development Survey which will be available until Friday the 29th of January 2021.

Trans4m Rail are Looking for Local Workers for the Inland Rail

The Australian Rail Track Corporation along with Trans4m Rail, the head contractor for Phase 1 of the Narrabri to North Star held information sessions this month for job seekers and prospective subcontractors, suppliers, and equipment providers.

“We have this magnificent project running right through our Shire. It’s undoubtedly going to change the future of the black soil plains. But in the short and medium term, the opportunity to be part of this project is real. The attendance at this week’s sessions has shown our community members are motivated and getting ready. I am so proud of our locals for making the most of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” Said Moree Plains Shire Council Mayor, Cr Katrina Humphries.

Trans4m Rail is seeking local employees for the project, and encourages candidates from the local area, noting Narrabri, Moree, and Gwydir Shires in particular to apply. With a total workforce of 450 people required during the project life cycle, job seekers are urged to visit the website for their chance to be part of this nation building project.

A number of positions are currently being advertised for trades, labour and operator roles and professional roles and if you are new to the workforce or the construction industry and are looking to kick start your career, there are a number of entry level roles that may offer the opportunity you are looking for.

Information on the possible roles and to apply is available on the Trans4m Rail jobs section of their website. For further information about procurement and employment opportunities email community@t4mr.com.au or contact Moree Plains Shire Council’s Regional Activation Unit on (02) 6757 3440.

Featured Grants and Funding Opportunities

To help businesses and individuals affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19) access the available assistance we have created a dedicated Coronavirus Assistance page on our website. This page will be updated as details become available on the recently announced economic stimulus packages from the Australian and NSW Governments.

There is also wide range of assistance available for individuals, businesses and communities that have been affected by the ongoing drought and the recent bushfires. To help you access this support, we have created dedicated Drought Assistance and  Bushfire Assistance pages on our website which are being updated reguarly.

Below are some featured grants and funding opportunities from the multitude of 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 in the footer of our website: www.rdani.org.au, to receive monthly summaries of currently open grants.

Manufacturing Modernisation
Closes: 21st of January 2021 - 5:00 pm
Value: $100,000 to $1 Million
Run By: Australian Government Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources

Round 2 of the Manufacturing Modernisation Fund supports manufacturers by co-funding capital investments and associated reskilling to:

  • adopt new technologies
  • encourage innovation
  • become more productive and competitive in the market and
  • create more jobs.

Round 2 will run over 3 years (2020-21 to 2022-23) and supports transformative investments in technologies and processes including:

  • buying, constructing, installing or commissioning of manufacturing plant and equipment
  • integrating production-related software that is directly related to your capital investment
  • relevant training and skills development to assist you to integrate the new technology into your business, including upskilling and accreditation in advanced processes
  • process design and engineering directly related to your capital investment
  • fit-out, alterations and/or extensions to buildings directly related to your capital investment.


Bushfire Recovery Small On-Farm Grants
Closes: 22nd of January 2021 - 4:30 pm
Value: Unspecified
Run By: Northern Tablelands Local Land Services

Grants are available to farmers and community groups in the Northern Tablelands region to control weeds and pests, and improve or rebuild facilities or equipment for safe handling and management of livestock.

The Northern Tablelands LLS region is defined as within the Tenterfeld, Glen Innes Severn, Guyra, Inverell, Armidale Regional, Uralla and Walcha local government areas.

Applications will be assessed based on eligibility, value for money and available funds.


Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund
Closes: 28th of January 2021 - 2:00 pm (Extended)
Value: $20,000 to $20 Million
Run By: NSW Government

On the 24th of November it was announced that the closing date for applications for this program will be extended to the 28th of January 2021, and the final project completion date has also been extended by 12 months to the 30th of June 2023.

The Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund will provide $250 million of further funding to support the social and economic recovery of communities affected by bushfire in 47 regional NSW Local Government Areas.

It will support projects that retain and create new jobs in regional areas, build resilience and increase preparedness for future bushfire seasons.

Funding is available in the following three categories:

  • Infrastructure projects, such as roads to support increased industrial development.
  • Environmental projects, such as regeneration activities.
  • Programs including social, business and environmental education initiatives.

Funding is available for projects such as:

  • Local community and cultural infrastructure
  • Tourism campaigns (including digital product development) and regional events
  • Workforce adaptation and work ready training programs
  • Community wellbeing and mental health programs
  • Tourism infrastructure including walking and mountain bike trails
  • Neighbourhood safer places
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