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February 2020 Newsletter

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In this Issue

Welcome from the Chair

Russell Stewart - Chair

Dear Northern Inlanders,

It is always important that our State and Federal Governments take the time to connect and listen to the perspectives of our regional communities. It is great to see the Department of Home Affairs coming to Tamworth next week to not only provide information about work visas, but to also to hear our input. This is a brilliant opportunity for our local businesses, both large and small, to hear about the recent changes to the regional work visas and to have their say. Despite the impact of the drought on our businesses, there are still significant skill shortages in our region, and skilled work visas are a viable option to help our businesses and communities grow. It is important that we demonstrate that our businesses need the department’s support.

If you are a Local Council Economic Development Manager in the Northern Inland, we hope you can join us at our EDM forum that is coming up in March. These forums are a great way to connect with other EDM’s, learn from each other and develop joint projects. Our experienced staff will also be providing information on topics that are relevant and timely for the development of our region and its communities into the future. We hope that we can see each of our Northern Inland Councils represented so that we can work together for the benefit of our whole region.


Russell Stewart

Home Affairs to Reach Out and Connect with Northern Inland

Gary Fry

A Regional Outreach Officer from the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs is coming to Tamworth to update the Northern Inland region about skilled work visas and it is a visit that has our full support.

“This is about equitable access to the Department for the Northern Inland region and regional Australia, generally. I encourage employers who need to consider workers from overseas to meet their labour needs and others in our region who need a skilled work visa update or to have some issues addressed to make the most of this opportunity,” Senior Skilled Migration & Project Officer Gary Fry said.

The Department of Home Affairs’ Regional Outreach Officer for NSW is the experienced Ms. Servet Brennan. She will be delivering a free information session in the Britten Room of the Tamworth Community Centre in Darling Street on Monday the 2nd of March from 12:30 until 2:30pm. “This is a great opportunity for members of the Northern Inland region to find out about the benefits of employing skilled workers from overseas and ask me questions,” Ms. Brennan said.

“Whether you are in a large organisation or a small business, your attendance not only means hearing the latest news on skilled work visas directly from the Department, it shows demand and appreciation for these outreach efforts in Northern Inland NSW,” Mr. Fry said.

“Skilled Migration has been incredibly important for economic growth of our region; sometimes skilled migrants have been vital for continued functionality of a business or service. This has been demonstrated by our case study videos, which showcase employers and their skilled migrant employees, across a broad range of sectors and locations. These are inspiring stories that are well worth viewing and can be accessed via Skilled Migration Case Studies section our website. Over the past five years, RDANI has facilitated hundreds of skilled migrant / employer connections in our region.”

“This information session is particularly timely, as the Department of Home Affairs shut down some regional work visas in mid-December and replaced them with two new regional visas that have different requirements and are designed to benefit regional employers. Even with the impacts of the drought on regional businesses, the Northern Inland still has skilled labour shortages that work visas can help to address. These include health, hospitality and trade occupations.”

RDANI Chair Russell Stewart said Northern Inland NSW locals should treat this information session as a two-way street. “It is commendable that the Department of Home Affairs is connecting with our region in person. It is also to be applauded that they are not just coming to provide information but additionally, to take our input about work visas on board. I’m confident that this information session will be constructive in both directions and it will start a new level of connectivity between this region and the Department of Home Affairs,” he said.

Although the information session is free, registrations for the session are requested.

Calling All Economic Development Managers!

RDA-NI EDO Forum Gunnedah

After the success of our inaugural Economic Development Forum in Gunnedah last year, we will once again be bringing together the Economic Development Managers from around the Northern Inland for the benefit of the region. As well as being a unique opportunity for EDM’s from our region to network, learn from each other and develop joint projects, our experienced staff will also be providing information on topics that are relevant and timely for the economic development of our region. We will be discussing possible solutions to current economic development challenges, available grants and support programs and an analysis of our regional industry supply gap and how we can benefit from it.

The next forum will be held on the 31st of March in Moree. All Economic Development Managers from the twelve Local Government Areas that make up the Northern Inland are invited to the forums, and it is free for Economic Development Officers to attend.

For further information, contact our office at rdani@rdani.org.au or on 6771 0700.

Information Sessions for Bushfire Affected Small Business

NSW Government

The NSW Government will be hosting free information sessions for small businesses in Northern Inland communities in March. Small businesses that have been affected by the bushfires in regional NSW are invited to attend these information sessions  where Government agencies will come together to share information on support available such as eligibility criteria for grants, and disaster assistance for directly and indirectly affected businesses.

Topics include:

  • Small Business Bushfire Recovery Grant
  • Disaster assistance
  • Volunteer Firefighter Payment
  • NSW Bushfire Clean Up
  • Upskilling your business
  • Part qualification funding
  • Business Connect
  • Workplace Mental Health

The following information sessions are currently scheduled in the Northern Inland, to be held at 6-8pm, and you can register through the associated links. An information session will also be held in Walcha, with a date yet to be confirmed.

Tuesday 3rd of March
Tenterfield Golf Club

Glen Innes
Wednesday 4th of March
Glen Innes and District Services Club

Thursday 5th of March
Armidale Ex Services Memorial Club

For more information, please contact Treasury NSW on 02 9934 0805 or smallbusiness@treasury.nsw.gov.au.

Affordable Digital Solutions for Small Business


If you are a small business owner and you would like advice on a range of digital solutions to help you meet your business needs and grow your digital capabilities, you can access quality advice at an affordable price through the Northern Regional Business Enterprise Centre (NRBEC).

The NRBEC runs the Australian Small Business Advisory Service (ASBAS), which is a Federal Government program set up to help small business operators grow their capability to operate in an increasingly digital environment. The service focuses on equipping business operators with the confidence, the tools and the know how to more effectively manage their business through:

  • One on one mentoring and support to grow digital capacity
  • Digital marketing and social media
  • E commerce – which option is best for my business
  • Website review, software and cyber security considerations.   

The ASBAS program has a range of carefully crafted business diagnostics which allow you to self-score your understanding and knowledge of the digital environment.  This information can then be utilised to design a plan to ensure your business adapts and maximises the opportunities offered by an increasingly digital economy.

The program offers one on one support to small business operators with an ABN.  The support is heavily subsidised by the Federal Government and sessions cost just $25 (or $125 for a package of 6 sessions).  Take the opportunity to gain the confidence, the tools and the know how to more effectively manage your business.

They will also be offering a range of workshops across topics relevant to business operators around Northern NSW over the next 6 months.  Workshops ideally run for two hours and have a set charge of just $25 per person and topics include: 

  • Digital 2020
  • Digital Marketing - Maximising Google and Facebook
  • E-Commerce Options to sell more product
  • Set up your own Mailchimp eNewsletter 

For more information contact Hugh McKellar of the NRBEC Armidale office on 0417 274 447 or hugh@nrbec.com.au

Showcasing Moree to Health Service Workers

Showcasing Moree to Health Service Workers

The availability of reliable and well-equipped health services is important to the livability and economic growth of our communities. Although health services are not traditionally the domain of local government, Moree Plains Shire Council has collaborated with Hunter New England Health to launch a new promotional video showcasing health professionals and Moree newcomers Skye and Sam Mendel. In the video, Skye and Sam Mendel (a Clinicial Nurse Educator and Paramedic, respectively) share their experiences moving to and working in the Moree Plains.

“We all know just how important our health service is; to function to its full capacity and meet the needs of all our community members, our health service must be adequately staffed by suitably trained and experienced professionals,” emphasised Moree Plains Council’s Acting Economic Development and Grants Manager Susannah Pearse. “There are very meaningful health careers west of the Great Dividing Range but even better, there is a genuine opportunity to become part of a wonderful community. The sense of belonging that a life in the Moree Plains brings is something very special. We are hoping that the enthusiasm of Skye and Sam captures the hearts and minds of other health professionals considering a rural move and more particularly, to the Moree Plains.”

Acute Health Service Manager from Hunter New England Health, Bronwyn Cosh confirms the great benefits of living and working in a rural community like Moree.  “New recruits in the health sector who relocate to Moree usually find they enjoy much more autonomy in their vocation here and their roles are far more diverse than they might have previously experienced. They also have great access to educational opportunities and can progress quickly into chosen disciplines,” Mrs Cosh explained. “Outside of work, new recruits also find additional perks like affordable housing and the ability to own your own home, knowing your neighbours and quickly becoming active members of our community. The long stints in early morning traffic easily become a thing of the past.”

The new health video produced by local studio Rabbit Hop Films was launched on the Moree Plains Shire Council’s Facebook page and will be used by Hunter New England Health to advertise positions available within the health sector in Moree Plains Shire.  The video has also been shared on the NSW Ambulance Facebook page, and has already received over 19,000 views.

Nominations Open for Local Land Services Boards

NSW Local Land Services

Local Land Services works with land managers to help secure the future of agriculture and the environment for NSW communities, with local boards helping deliver meaningful services. If you are passionate about regional and rural issues in New South Wales, you can nominate yourself for the Local Land Services board election until the 28th of February. Local Land Services rate payers can nominate online, at Local Land Services offices and those wishing to lodge by ‘snail mail’ will need to raise their hand earlier to ensure their nomination is received in time. This current round of nominations follows the recent recruitment process for 29 Ministerially appointed members.

Local Land Services is aiming for diverse and dynamic boards that reflect modern agriculture in NSW. As such, nominations from women, Aboriginal people, younger people and other under-represented groups are strongly encouraged. Across all 11 Local Land Services regions, ratepayers will elect 34 board members to work with Minister-appointed board members and the chair to ensure local priorities drive the effective and efficient delivery of services to farmers and land managers across the state.

To nominate as a candidate visit http://www.austelect.com or http://www.lls.nsw.gov.au and download a candidate information package and nomination form.

Featured Grants and Funding Opportunities

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 on the left-hand side of our website: www.rdani.org.au, to receive monthly summaries of currently open grants.

NAIDOC Local Grants
Closes: 30th of March 2020
Value: Most grants are $500 to $1,000
Run By: National Indigenous Australians Agency

The 2020 NAIDOC Local Grants funding round aims to support activities being held during NAIDOC Week 2020 (5-12 July) that celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures, achievements and continuing contributions to our country and society. Activities should align with the National NAIDOC Theme for 2020, ‘Always was, Always will be’.

This grant round provides funding to organisations to contribute to the costs of local and regional NAIDOC activities across Australia.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous legal entities may apply for NAIDOC funding. Where both Indigenous and non-Indigenous organisations are found equally suitable, preference will generally be given to the Indigenous organisation.

The objectives of the grant opportunity are to promote:

  • the expression, engagement and conservation of Indigenous culture
  • Indigenous Australians’ participation in the social and economic life of Australia through healing, and strengthening the capability, governance and leadership of Indigenous Australians, organisations and communities, and
  • broader understanding and acceptance of the unique place of Indigenous cultures in Australian society.

Before and After School Care Equipment and Facilities Grant Program
Closes: 31st of January 2021
Value: Up to $30,000
Run By: NSW Government Department of Education

The Equipment and Facilities Grant Program supports schools and services to fund equipment and facilities that enable new services to establish and existing services to expand. Applicants may seek up to $30,000 (GST exclusive) for their project and applications will be assessed based on the level of demand for the increase in places and how well the proposed project will address the issue.

Cooperative Research Centres Projects (CRC-P) Grants
Closes: 19th of March 2020
Value: $100,000 to $3,000,000
Run By: Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources

The Cooperative Research Centres Program (the program) supports industry-led collaborations between industry, researchers and the community. The program is a proven model for linking researchers with industry to focus on research and development towards use and commercialisation.

The objectives of the program are to:

  • improve the competitiveness, productivity and sustainability of Australian industries, especially where Australia has a competitive strength, and in line with government priorities
  • foster high quality research to solve industry-identified problems through industry-led and outcome-focused collaborative research partnerships between industry entities and research organisations
  • encourage and facilitate small and medium enterprise (SME) participation in collaborative research.

What's On in the Northern Inland

What a Relief! Free Comedy Tour
Varius dates in February and March
Multiple locations in the Northern Inland

Jobs Information Session
Thursday 27th of February

Inverell Show
Friday 28th of February

Twilight Food Markets
Friday 28th of February

Pool Party
Saturday 29th of February

2020 Home Grown Garden Tour
Saturday 29th of February to Sunday 1st of March 2020

Clean up Australia Day
Sunday 1st of March
Australia Wide

Weathering Everything
Tuesday 3rd of March

Volunteers 4 Volunteers Seminar
Wednesday 4th of March

Armidale Show
Friday 6th to Saturday 7th of March

Lake Inverell Cycle Track – Official Opening
Saturday 7th of March

Liverpool Plains Military Tattoo
Saturday 7th of March

Narrabri Carp Muster
Saturday 7th of March

International Women’s Day
Saturday 7th of March
Glen Innes

Walcha Show
Friday 13th to Saturday 14th of March

Friday 13th to Sunday 15th of March
Glen Innes

Isolated Children's Parents' Association NSW Conference
Wednesday 18th to Thursday 19th of March

Back to the 60s Rock and Roll Weekend
Thursday 19th to Sunday 22nd of March

Show and Shine
Saturday 21st to Sunday 22nd of March

The Quirindi Camel Cup
Saturday 21st of March

Gem and Craft Show
Saturday 21st to Sunday 22nd of March

Armidale Street Food Festival
Saturday 21st to Sunday 22nd of March

Uralla Rotary Art Show
Friday 27th of March to Sunday 5th of April

Seasons of New England
Saturday 28th of March

Annual Lantern Parade
Saturday 28th of March

Armidale and New England Cat Show
Saturday 28th of March

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