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February 2017 Newsletter

In This Issue:

Welcome from the Chair

Dear Northern Inlanders,

Welcome to our first monthly newsletter for 2017. This year has started in earnest with RDA Northern Inland assisting many organisations to prepare their grant applications to the Building Better Regions Fund. There are a number of strong projects in the mix. We’ve also been on the road visiting many high-schools across the region to promote the Agribusiness Careers and Professions (AGCAP) Program.

This month we also kick off a series of Go Digital Workshops as part of Back to Business Week. RDANI are also pleased to announce the establishment of our research consultancy services for the public and private sectors – you can read more about this in the article below. See you next month.


Russell Stewart

Ready, Set, Go Digital! Online business workshops for the region

A new initiative run by Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI) is set to help businesses, organisations and individuals to benefit from the internet. GoDigital is being facilitated by RDANI Project Officer Tiffany Gilleland, who has a wealth of experience in social media and bringing her general online savvy to assist even those at a beginner level with computers.

Member for Northern Tablelands, the Hon. Adam Marshall has applauded the project. “Building and improving online skills in regional communities is vital for boosting business growth,” he said. “I encourage people to take advantage of GoDigital and make the most of this helping hand into the online world. We have much to gain from reducing the online skills gaps in this region. The challenges caused by the tyranny of distance should see greater online business activity and innovation in the bush to compete with the conveniences of the big cities.”

Funded by the Murray-Darling Basin Regional Economic Diversification Programme, the GoDigital project will see free workshops conducted in the following 12 Local Government Areas: Armidale Regional; Glen Innes Severn; Tenterfield Shire; Uralla Shire; Walcha, Tamworth Regional, Liverpool Plains Shire; Gunnedah Shire; Narrabri Shire; Moree Plains Shire; Inverell Shire and Gwydir Shire Councils.

The project will also deliver online materials, Q&A sessions held by Webinar / teleconference, as well as ongoing support over a six-month period. Materials will be provided in a modular format and participants will have the freedom to select the sections they require, or go through all of the content.

RDANI Executive Officer Nathan Axelsson said that recent RDANI projects helped to identify a need for digital upskilling in the region, with smaller operators keen to have the ability to sell their goods and services online through a fully-functioning and easy-to-use e-commerce website.

“A 2013 RDANI report into businesses in the Digital Economy found that 86% of businesses in the region do not sell to customers online in any capacity, while 56% have no e-commerce site or online strategy at all. Any increase in skills that reduces those figures is a positive for the growth prospects of our region,” he said.

“It doesn’t matter whether you are a prospective start-up or well-established, a producer or a cottage industry, a retailer or a trades business, even a community organisation or service club, it is time to GoDigital,” said Mr Axelsson. “The skills to have an online presence should be considered a must. Most of us are more likely to look something up with an internet search than the phone book. That means even our local tradies need GoDigital to get online and connect with potential customers.”

GoDigital course material will cover practical subject areas, from an introduction to online business, to building a website, building business with blogs and social media and trading online.

“After six months, the GoDigital Project will have provided Northern Inland businesses with the skills to trade online for the first time, while others will have new digital skills that yield positive results,” Mr Axelsson said.

Anyone looking to take advantage of the free GoDigital workshops or educational resources should contact the Regional Development Australia Northern Inland office on 02 6771 0700 or email: tgilleland@rdani.org.au.  The first workshop will be held in Moree on March 1st as part of the NSW Back to Business Week.

RDA Northern Inland: Information Resource

“Knowledge is power and Regional Development Australia Northern Inland can be a library of empowerment for local project developers,” Chair Russell Stewart advised. “We are providing evidence-based research and consultancy services and it is important for our region that we get the word out. RDA Northern Inland can be the linchpin, spokes or glue than make an application or project successful. I’m talking about projects that bring millions of dollars into our economies and make a difference at the community level.”

The not-for-profit organisation is an independent Federal and State Government funded body. It is now providing a cost-effective regional consulting service that can support Local Councils, organisations, businesses and individuals. “From the Liverpool Plains to Moree Plains, Walcha to Tenterfield, we’re here to help enhance the professionalism of local projects in an increasingly competitive environment,” said Mr Stewart. “Why not make the most of it?”.

RDANI can conduct or facilitate research, including stakeholder and broad community consultation, surveys and anonymous focus group studies. The organisation can also assist in the identification of infrastructure or program funding opportunities and provides project supporting submissions empowered by critical demographic and economic data.

“We have invested in comprehensive research and data provision services, namely REMPLAN economic modelling software and IBIS World, which provides access to over 700 industry reports. This data does not come cheaply and it is not a viable option for many of our smaller individual Councils,” said RDANI Executive Officer Nathan Axelsson. “As a regional level service provider, we now have access to the statistical facts and figures, a veteran local researcher / economic development analyst in David Thompson and an independent, collaborative regional approach that has Government appeal.”

“RDANI conducts a range of projects to support the economic growth of our region. Our latest consulting and support service has the potential to make a big difference.”

“We are now fully equipped and ideally placed to assist in the preparing of funding submissions, cost-benefit analysis, strategic plans and much more.”

“There might be the best of intentions, genuine need, or community support, but the ability to draw on data and support your case with a true evidence-base can be absolutely critical for the successful application and delivery of a project,” Mr. Axelsson said.

The Namoi Joint Organisation of Councils has already taken the initiative to work towards regional outcomes with Regional Development Australia Northern. “We were pleased to support the Namoi JOC in developing the Namoi Investment Prospectus and in building, investigating and assessing the business case for an upgrade of the Rangari Road, between Boggabri and Manilla,” Mr Axelsson said.

“Providing a regional data and analysis service to government and private sector bodies is a very practical way that we can support the region’s development.”

To find out more, visit: www.rdani.org.au/our-region/research-and-consultancy-services.php

Communicating AGCAP Option to Region’s Schools

Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI) has communicated directly with schools in the region towards increased awareness of a program that can help address the rural and agribusiness skilled labour shortage and get young people a step ahead on a rewarding career path.

“RDANI has sent a letter and DVD video about the AgriBusiness Careers and Professions (AGCAP) program to almost 50 schools throughout the Northern Inland NSW region,” said RDANI Chair Russell Stewart. “It’s critical that our high schools are aware of the agribusiness career pathways open to their students. It was born from the need to highlight the options that can help keep quality young people in the bush.”

“I am confident that our educators are practical and work through their students’ options. They want what’s best for their students and that is now understood to be more than classes for the sake of classes. I urge our local principals or agriculture teachers to consider the AGCAP letter, watch the video and share it with students who might benefit from the program,” he said. “AGCAP helps to get rural careers started and keep quality young people in the bush.”

The awareness raising efforts about the AGCAP program have been developed with assistance 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 AGCAP, 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 gain along the way are formally recognised. The program gives rural and regional students an efficient pathway into AGCAP Partners, Tocal Agricultural College and the University of New England. Previous study undertaken by AGCAP students means there can be as little as two years to complete a bachelor degree in AgriFood Systems or Agriculture. The study and work options are flexible.

“While the second DVD focussed on employer and student testimonials, the third DVD focuses on the educators. The important message is that schools, employers, Tocal and UNE are now working together to provide better career pathways for young people in rural NSW,” Mr Stewart said.

The Principal of Tocal Agricultural College, Darren Bayley and the Vice-Chancellor of the University of New England, Professor Annabelle Duncan, together with Regional Manager of Training Services NSW, Greg Poetschka featured in the DVD video.  “These education providers are pioneering leaders in job-focused education and training in regional Australia. They explained in the video how they see AGCAP participants benefiting from the AGCAP program, how the students will fit into their institutions and most importantly, they spoke with a shared passion to get local young people the skills and education to advance their agribusiness careers,” said Mr Stewart. “There is real commitment to make a difference here. The UNE Vice-Chancellor has even promised scholarships to assist AGCAP participants.”

To view the latest video, search YouTube for Agribusiness Careers and Professions (AGCAP) for Educators 2016 or go to http://agribusinesscareers.com.au/

UNE's SMART Region Incubator

Do you want to build your ideas for the global marketplace? With connectivity to research outcomes, data sharing and communication platforms, the UNE SMART Region Incubator has spaces for start-ups to build ideas into action.

Entrepreneurs and SME’s will thrive in this environment, building start-ups to capture the global imagination. The Incubator connects entrepreneurs with national and international innovation networks. The SMART Region Incubator is committed to collaboration with the community.

The University of New England was granted $1 million through the NSW Department of Industry Boosting Business Innovation Program, which aims to accelerate innovation in NSW by supporting greater collaboration between research organisations and their business communities. This exciting new initiative will support the business communities in Tamworth and Armidale

with smart workspace hubs. Each site will offer various workspaces, with shared spaces encouraging businesses/people to collaborate – we see this as a major benefit of what we are creating. We will also offer personal offices for quiet, uninterrupted work. These sites bring like-minded and entrepreneurially spirited individuals and teams together, often resulting in the positive flow of creative thought and collaborative assistance. To find out more, visit http://smartri.com.au/

Building Regional Australia Summit 2017

The Organisers are excited to announce that the location for the Building Regional Australia Summit is Nambucca Heads on the Mid-North Coast of New South Wales. The Summit will be held from the 26-28 April 2017 and decision makers from around New South Wales will gather to examine a number of major issues facing country and regional areas to create a platform to draw attention to non-metropolitan, country, coastal and regional Australia – the engine room of the nation.

The theme for the Summit is Setting the Agenda for Jobs, Growth and Prosperity and is designed to bring together communities to listen to experts in various fields, who will provide information on how to access new markets in the digital age and learn how agriculture can be the powerhouse to provide new prosperity in country and regional New South Wales.

To find out more, visit: www.frdl.org.au/bra2017/ or call 02 67715633

Grants and Funding Opportunities

The following is a small portion of the Grants and Funding opportunities available around the region. An extended collection can be found in our recently created ‘Grants Newsletter’, which comes out mid month, every month.

Building Better Regions Fund
Closes 31 March 2017
Up to $100,000 - Community Stream
Designed specifically for rural, regional and remote communities and includes a range of features to ensure fair evaluation for remote communities as well as social benefit analysis. Available to small and large community organisations to install infrastructure and community building events / facilities in regional areas.

Small Grants for Rural Communities
Closes 31 March 2017
Up to $5,000 per grant.
Total Pool: $300,000
Available for projects and activities that offer clear public benefit for communities  in rural, regional or remote Australia. Priority is given to communities of 10,000 or fewer.

Arts and Cultural Infrastructure Grants
Closes 10th March 2017
Between $100,000 - $300,000 for a single grant
Available for capital equipment and / or building construction / fit-out of spaces for Arts and Cultural facilities

What's On in the Northern Inland

Tenterfield Rotary Bavarian Music & BeerFest
Wednesday 1st - Sunday 5th March
Tenterfield - Various Locations

Inverell Show
Thursday 2nd - Saturday 4th March
Inverell Showground

Visual Merchandising Workshop
Monday 6th March
The Union Bar Inverell

Barraba Show
Monday 6th - Thursday 9th March
Barraba Showground

International Women’s Day Dinner
Wednesday 8th March
Quirindi Royal Theatre

Women’s Gala Night (International Women’s Day)
Wednesday 8th March
Inverell Town Hall

Media Training for Small Business and Community Organisations
Thursday 9th March
The Sunflower Motel, Warialda

Tamworth’s Official 2017 International Women’s Day
Friday 10th March
Tamworth Community Centre

The Minerama Fossicking, Gem & Jewellery Show
Friday 10th - Sunday 12th March
Glen Innes District Services Club and King George Oval – Glen Innes

High Country Table - Paddock to Plate Dinner
Saturday 11th March
Sunnyside Hall, Tenterfield

Shabby Chic - Fashion Parade and High Tea (International Women’s Day)
Saturday 11th March
Glen Innes Community Centre

Nundle Country Picnic
Sunday 12th March
Nundle Woollen Mill

Bingara Community College - Tech Savvy Seniors
Tuesday 14th March (continues weekly for 4 weeks)
Bingara Community College

Autumn Festival
Friday 17th - Sunday 19th March
Various Locations - Armidale

Emmaville Sheep Races 2017
Saturday 18th March

Armidale Cup Charity Ball
Saturday 18th March
Ex-Service Memorial Club, Armidale

26th Annual Gem and Craft Show
Saturday 18th to Sunday 19th March
Armidale Showground

Harmony Day
Sunday 19th March
Coronation Park, Glen Innes

Tamworth Annual Agricultural Show
Friday 24th - Saturday 25th March
Tamworth Showground

Multicultural Festival
Saturday 25th March
Campbell Park, Inverell

Seasons of New England - 100 Stall Expo
Saturday 25th March
Hampden Park, Uralla

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