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General Newsletter - 10 October 2023

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In this Issue


Welcome from the Chair

Russell Stewart - Chair

Dear Northern Inlanders,

With the weather warming up and Christmas decorations already in stores, it is hard to believe that the end of 2023 is nearly upon us.

Last month saw the launch of our new initiative, Metal Works. This program builds upon the success of our Wool Works program and applies it to metal fabrication and welding skills. Like the wool industry, metal workers are in high demand in our region. Developed in conjunction with BackTrack Youth Works and with the support of Training NSW, this hands-on program will encourage our youth to consider metal work as a career pathway. It will help retain our youth and support our region's economic growth in the long term. Find out more about this great program below.

Crucial to our region’s growth is investment in infrastructure, public services and investment for regional areas. The recently released NSW Government budget for 2023-24 includes over $7 Billion of investment for regional areas, including health, education, infrastructure, and investment attraction initiatives. Included in the suite of initiatives is $350 Million for the Regional Development Fund, which will support the future of regional NSW.

Data is an essential tool in making investment decisions. In this newsletter, we continue our three-part series analysing the population migration data for our region by our senior economist, David Thompson. This month, we look at four Local Government Areas in the northeast of our region. A real standout in this group is the high level of in-migration from overseas, with Armidale receiving 1,787 new residents from overseas in the five years from 2016 to 2021, the highest for the Local Government Areas in our region.


Russell Stewart

Analysing Migration Patterns For Our Region - Part 2

Population growth is a major objective of all twelve of the Local Government areas (LGAs) in the Northern Inland region of NSW, as evidenced by the objectives in their Community Strategic Local Plans. For our communities and economies to grow and prosper and to attract the level of services communities expect, population and labour force supply are critical.

Net migration (in-migration minus out-migration) is a key contributor to both the population level and the supply of labour, which has been negatively impacted recently by the Covid-19 pandemic. In this three-part series, we will look at the migration patterns between 2016 and 2021 for each Local Government area in our region. In this instalment, we look at four Local Government Areas (LGAs) from the northeast corner of our region: Tenterfield Shire, Glen Innes Severn, Armidale Regional and Uralla Shire.

Tenterfield Shire LGA
The Tenterfield Shire LGA experienced a net loss of 84 people in terms of domestic migration mostly to Qld. The North Coast of NSW and Sydney produced the largest net inflows of people to the LGA. 68 people moved to the region from overseas.

The estimated resident population grew by 101 people (a 1.5% increase) between 2016 and 2021, indicating that the net outflow of population to other areas and deaths was more than compensated for by the domestic and overseas migration inflows and births.

Glen Innes Severn LGA
Glen Innes had a net loss of population from domestic migration in the order of 28 people. Most moved to Qld and other Northern Inland LGAs. However, there was a significant inflow of people from the rest of NSW, Sydney and the North Coast of NSW.

98 people moved to Glen Innes from overseas. The estimated resident population decreased by 12 between 2016 and 2021 indicating that the net outflow of population to other areas and deaths exceeded the domestic and overseas inflows and births.

Armidale Regional LGA
Armidale is characterised by a net loss of people in terms of domestic migration with most people moving to Qld, the North Coast of NSW and the Newcastle/Hunter region. However it had the highest level of in-migration from overseas (1,787 people) during the 2016-21 period, largely due to the presence of the University of New England and the Costas’ Tomato Farm at Guyra which employs large numbers of staff from South Pacific nations. As out-migration overseas cannot be tracked, net overseas migration can’t be calculated. However net domestic migration shows a loss of population in the order of 1,459 people.

The only locations providing a net inflow of people to the Armidale LGA are Sydney and other LGAs in the Northern Inland region.

However, between 2016 and 2021 Armidale had a net increase in estimated resident population of 22 people, indicating that the net outflow of population to other areas and deaths was more than compensated for by the domestic and overseas inflow and births.

Uralla Shire LGA
The Uralla Shire LGA is characterised by a net loss of 139 people in terms of domestic migration mostly to Qld, other Northern Inland LGAs and the North Coast of NSW. Sydney, the Rest of NSW and Victoria produced the largest net inflows of people to the LGA. 52 people moved to the region from overseas.

The estimated resident population decreased by 154 people (a 2.5% decrease) between 2016 and 2021, indicating that the net outflow of population to other areas and deaths exceeded the domestic and overseas migration inflows and births.


Sparks Fly at New Metal Works Initiative

Last month saw the trial of our new hands-on introductory welding and metal fabrication school focussing on agriculture, Metal Works. Building upon the success of our Wool Works shearing school program, we have established Metal Works in partnership with BackTrack and Training NSW. This program takes the same hands-on approach to sharing skills as our Wool Works program to spark interest in school-aged students in welding and metal fabrication, focusing on agriculture.

Funded by Training Services NSW, the trial course ran over three days and will hopefully be the first of many for the region. There was one intensive day at the BackTrack site and two at Macintyre High School (MHS) in Inverell, where the 13 years 7 to 9 students study.

“These high school students are all bright sparks because they have donned the helmet and gloves to have a go at the welding and metalwork game. That is a winner move in itself. There is so much demand from employers in our region for metal trade skills, they will never want for work,” RDANI Chair Russell Stewart said. “Great local employers are currently offering apprenticeships and we are seeing in excess of $50 per hour in the jobs market in our region and that is not even in the mining sector.”

RDANI Executive Director Nathan Axelsson coordinated the Wool Works Shearing Schools and now, the BackTrack Welding School. “Wool Works was developed in response to a critical shortage of shearers and this trial expansion to the welding and metal fabrication trades is a necessary progression. We need to be proactive and help our young people to experience what working in the metal trades can be like.”

“The BackTrack Youth Works facilities in Armidale are amazing and the people behind the great programs there, even more so. They embraced the concept of the trial short course and are always keen to broaden the reach of BackTrack, for the betterment of our region’s youth. BackTrack is a great environment for young people to learn and be a part of a team and we thank them for opening their doors to us for these programs,” he said.

Macintyre High School Careers Advisor Deb Snaith said that working with metal in an industrial workshop was above and beyond what the students could ordinarily find at school. “The students can find school to be restrictive and constraining. They received instruction and supervision from highly experienced trades people,” she said. “They were welding and grinding with creativity, making turtles out of old horseshoes. That proved to be a lot more memorable than a BBQ fork,” Ms Snaith said.

“It was awesome. It was much better than school,” said Jackson Burley from Year 8.

Any students or schools that are interested in participating in future Metal Works schools, can register their interest with our office at rdani@rdani.org.au

Billions in NSW Budget for Regional NSW

The 2023-24 NSW Budget released on the 19th of September includes a suite of new initiatives to regional NSW investing in essential services and infrastructure, improving service delivery and the quality of life in rural and regional communities. The budget includes $3.8 billion for regional health facilities, $1.4 billion for regional schools, and $1.8 billion in new investments to strengthen regional NSW. The funding aims to support regional communities to thrive and to continue to be a great place to live, work and set down roots. Some of the initiatives in the budget are:

Helping regional communities thrive:

  • $1.2 billion of targeted projects and grant programs that support councils, communities and businesses across regional NSW to enhance economic growth, social development, wellbeing and community amenity.
  • $350 million for the Regional Development Fund to invest in the future needs of regional communities, aligned with the Australian Government Regional Investment Framework.
  • $252.1 million for world class digital services and telecommunication pricing to rural and regional NSW.
  • $6 million to support regional community newspapers to improve the long-term sustainability of regionally focused media.
  • $5.2 million to establish the Regional Future Jobs and Investment Authorities to work with community leaders to transition away from a coal-based economy.

Reinvesting in regional essential services:


  • $438.6 million for 500 new regional paramedics to address the paramedic shortage and improve ambulance response times.
  • Doubling of the incentive payments for healthcare workers moving to regional and remote areas from $10,000 to $20,000.
  • $572.3 million to ensure 1112 nurses and midwives, whose positions were funded only temporarily until June 2024 will be made permanent, with hundreds of these positions in rural and regional NSW.
  • $419.1 million to begin the introduction of Safe Staffing levels in NSW hospitals.


  • $1.4 billion over 4 years to deliver a massive pipeline of new and upgraded schools for regional NSW.
  • $769.3 million to 2027 for 100 new preschools on public school sites where they are needed most across the state.
  • $40 million to support not-for-profit early childhood education in high growth and regional communities, as well as a trial of more flexible service delivery models.
  • Providing equal opportunities for rural and remote students through digital uplifts under the Rural Access Gap program.

Supporting resilient agricultural and regional industries:

  • $5.5 million to appoint an independent Agriculture Commissioner to provide more protection for our farmland, ensure food security and a more prosperous agricultural industry.
  • $10 million to establish the Good Neighbour Program to tackle weed and pest infestations between neighbouring public and private lands.
  • $58.8 million to help Landcare address environmental degradation with interventions that improve and sustain agricultural productivity, environmental protection, resilience to natural disasters and community vitality.
  • $2.2 million to re-engage a Dairy and Fresh Food Advocate to review supply chains, address food security issues, and be a voice for farmers.
  • $77.2 million to support beekeepers, horticulture and industries affected by the varroa mite.
  • $80 million to protect NSW from the march of red imported fire ants.
  • $39 million partnership with the Australian Government, supporting sheep and goat farmers implement a mandatory individual electronic identification across NSW to provide traceability to protect primary producers from biosecurity risks.
  • $13 million Feral Pig Control Program to reduce the number of feral pigs and protect primary producers and farming communities.
  • $11.1 million for the Farm Business Resilience Program to help farms to prepare for and adapt to climate change.
  • $10.2 million to support prawn fishers, farmers and businesses with targeted responses to white spot disease.
  • $13.5 million to assist timber mills recovering from the Black Summer bushfires with the Construction Softwood Transport Assistance Program.

Addressing regional housing pressure:

  • $1.5 billion from the new Housing and Productivity Contribution to deliver enabling infrastructure in key growth areas, including the Central Coast, Lower Hunter and Illawarra-Shoalhaven.
  • $100 million from the new Housing Infrastructure Fund to deliver infrastructure projects in regional NSW to unlock housing supply.
  • Debt financing of $700 million to accelerate the delivery of social, affordable and private homes primarily in regional NSW.
  • 60 million for Build to Rent trials in the South Coast and Northern Rivers.

Upgrading critical regional roads, rail and transport services:

  • Continuing the $1.4 billion delivery of a new regional rail fleet.
  • $390 million for the establishment of the Regional Emergency Road Repair Fund to support regional councils in managing existing roads, particularly those damaged by natural disasters.
  • $334.million for the establishment of the Regional Roads Fund to build new roads in rural and regional areas.
  • $333.9 million to replace ageing timber bridges through the Fixing Country Bridges program providing improvements to regional bus services and supporting councils through the Fixing Local Roads Program.
  • $95.5 million for the Fixing Country Rail program to continue delivery of improved capacity and reliability on the regional rail network.
  • $10 million to improve the network of heavy vehicle rest stops across regional NSW.

Supporting Regional NSW transition to a clean energy future:

  • $1 billion in seed funding to create the NSW Energy Security Corporation, which will help deliver projects that provide affordable, accessible and reliable energy across NSW.
  • $804 million to accelerate the delivery of Renewable Energy Zones and other critical transmission projects.

Supporting disaster recovery and preparedness:

  • $4 billion for targeted disaster recovery programs to support communities, regional councils, and businesses across NSW to recover, rebuild and prosper.
  • $5 million to support the Two Rooms Project, helping flood survivors in Lismore get back into their homes.
  • $3.3 million for a natural disaster detection system to protect communities in high-risk areas.

Ensuring water security:

  • $222.4 million with the Australian Government for improvements to critical water supply infrastructure for Wilcannia, Eurobodalla and Cobar.
  • $217.5 million to continue Safe and Secure Water Program initiatives, supporting regional towns dealing with water supply, quality and safety risks.
  • $5 million contribution for the Northern Rivers Watershed Initiative to improve water security and catchment health.
  • Delivering the Murray-Darling Basin Plan commitments to support river health, access to water and better water efficiencies to minimise the impacts of Australian Government buybacks.

Further information about the 2023-24 NSW Budget is available on their website.

October is Small Business Month

The 7th annual Small Business Month is underway with a range of online and face-to-face activities being held throughout NSW during October. Coordinated by the NSW Small Business Commission, NSW Small Business Month brings together small businesses with local chambers, industry associations, other not-for-profits, large businesses, and all levels of Government.

The theme for October 2023 is My Small Business, and it focuses on providing assistance and tips on how small businesses can strengthen their business in seven key areas – branding and marketing, cyber security, business health, e-commerce, current market conditions, resilience and teams.

“NSW small businesses employ 1.7 million people and generate $465 billion a year in sales and services income. Small Business Month is a unique opportunity for them to hear from a range of experts and leaders on how to make their business better. As someone who has run a small business and represented small businesses throughout my commercial career, I know the importance of good information and advice.” said Steve Kamper, Minister for Small Business. “I encourage organisations large and small to support our small business sector by participating in Small Business Month 2023.”

Discover the range of activities during October, including events in the Northern Inland region on the Small Business Month website.

Free Program for SME Innovation in Agrifood

Start-ups and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) eager to shape the future of innovation in the agrifood sector are invited to register for a new online learning program, ‘Innovate to Grow: Agrifood’, led by CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency.

The free 10-week online program is designed to help Australian SMEs assess how they can advance their technologies, solutions and ideas through research and development (R&D).

The program is bolstered by CSIRO’s Trusted Agrifood Exports Mission and Future Protein Mission. The Trusted Agrifood Exports Mission aims to increase the value of Australian food premiums by $10 billion by 2030 through building trust in the safety, quality and provenance of our agrifood. The Future Protein Mission seeks to leverage increasing global demand for high-quality protein to create new Australian protein products and ingredients that earn an additional $10 billion in revenue by 2030.

The program will begin on the 2nd of November and is available for a limited number of SMEs working across the following sub-sectors:

  • Complementary proteins
  • Meat and meat processing
  • Agriculture
  • Aquaculture
  • Livestock
  • Beverage and/or fermentation
  • Food product manufacturing
  • Other sub-sectors considered

Dr Ryan McAllister, Trusted Agrifood Exports Mission Lead, said SMEs will play a pivotal role in transforming the agrifood sector and the program will equip them with the tools to do just that. “This initiative represents a step toward modernising how supply chains support agricultural exports, with programs such as Innovate to Grow set to equip SMEs with the insight required to play a part in achieving this mission,” Dr McAllister said.  “Our mission is centred around helping producers get their products into discerning markets that are willing to pay a premium for Australian quality and safety, fortified with trusted data that upholds our national brand.”

Dr Monika Szabo, CSIRO’s SME Collaboration Manager, encouraged SMEs to capitalise on this opportunity to help translate their ideas into viable commercial opportunities and understand how R&D can benefit their business. Over the course of this program, CSIRO and industry sector experts will equip you with the skills to assess the viability of your innovation, build a business case and prepare a strong funding application.”

Upon completion of the program, eligible participants may have the opportunity to access facilitation support, through CSIRO, to connect to research expertise nationally, along with dollar-matched R&D funding.  Expressions of interest for CSIRO’s Innovate to Grow: Agrifood program are now open and will close on Sunday 15 October 2023.

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.


Below are some featured grants and funding opportunities from the multitude of open grants listed in our Grants and Funding Opportunities Database on 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 free 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 current grants.


Safe Places - Inclusion Round
Closes: 14th of November 2023 - 9:00 pm
Value: $500,000 to $8 Million
Run By: Australian Government Department of Social Services

Family and domestic violence is one of the leading causes of homelessness for women and children in Australia. Access to safe accommodation is fundamental to the immediate safety of women and children experiencing family and domestic violence.

The Safe Places Inclusion Round will increase the number of new and appropriate emergency accommodation places across Australia, with a focus on providing support for First Nations women and children, women and children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and women and children with disability. The Inclusion Round provides capital works grants for the renovation, building or purchase of new or expanded emergency accommodation for women and children experiencing family and domestic violence (FDV).

It will focus on improving access to appropriate emergency accommodation for First Nations women and children, women and children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and women and children with disability, however, all women and children, regardless of identity, must be provided with accommodation or referral.


Helping Regional Communities Prepare for Drought Initiative – Small Networks Grants
Current Round Closes: 14th of November 2023 - 5:00 pm
Value: Up to $50,000
Run By: Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal

Small Network Grants are now available to community organisations in regional and rural Australia to develop and deliver one-off events or initiatives to strengthen community networks and capabilities that build drought preparedness.

Through this initiative, with the support of the Australian Government, we are investing in the future by enabling agriculture-dependent communities to identify and act on their drought preparedness priorities at a grassroots level and in ways that best suit their communities.

The Small Networks Grants will fund networks, community events, training initiatives, community infrastructure, development and learning initiatives that assist local people and communities to strengthen social capital and capability to prepare for future droughts.

Two streams of grants are available via two rounds:

  • Up to a maximum of $20,000; or
  • Up to a maximum of $50,000 (dependent on location) 


Community Building Partnership - 2023
Closes: 27th of October 2023 - 5:00 pm
Value: $5,000 to $150,000
Run By: NSW Government Family and Community Services

The NSW Government is investing in infrastructure projects that deliver positive social, environmental and recreational outcomes, while also promoting community participation, inclusion and cohesion. In 2023, the total value of the CBP program is $27.9 million. There is a maximum of $300,000 to allocate in each electorate.

CBP will consider funding requests for projects in NSW involving:

  • capital works including construction of new community infrastructure as well as refurbishment, repair and maintenance of existing community infrastructure.
  • Capital works are: improvements to the land or building, or freestanding equipment that will be fixed or installed to the land or building
  • the purchase of freestanding equipment
  • the purchase of vehicle(s) such as cars, buses, trucks, trailers, motorised rescue vehicles including boats and any modifications to existing vehicles
  • projects that can be completed by 31 August 2025
  • projects with one project location per application only
  • an application involving a vehicle must be made separately to a capital works and/or equipment purchase. Your application may be deemed ineligible if you fail to do so.


Community and Place Grants - 2023-24
Closes: 30th of October 2023 - 10:00 am
Value: Up to $250,000
Run By: Aboriginal Affairs NSW

The Aboriginal Affairs NSW Community and Place Grants Program aims to deliver tangible local benefit and impact to Aboriginal communities against the Closing the Gap socio-economic outcome targets, recognising that Aboriginal communities have the solutions to problems or issues in their community.

The Community and Place Grants Program aims to support one-off projects which include programs, equipment, vehicles, and infrastructure developed by local Aboriginal communities, and with local community support to drive change and contribute towards the 17 socio-economic outcome targets under the National Agreement on Closing the Gap. The projects must contribute to the Closing the Gap targets specifically, not the broad outcome area.

Funding will be allocated across three Program Categories:

  • Programs ($4m)
  • Infrastructure ($4m)
  • Equipment and vehicles ($2m)


AgriFutures Rural Women's Award - 2024
Closes: 25th of October 2023 - 5:00 pm
Value: Up to $15,000
Run By: AgriFutures

This award empower and celebrate the inclusive and courageous leadership of women involved in Australia’s rural and emerging industries, businesses and communities, now and into the future.

Each state and territory Winner receives a $15,000 Westpac grant for their project, business or program, access to professional development opportunities and alumni networks.

The existing project, business or program must fall into one or more of these categories: Community, Collaboration, Commercial.

What's On in the Northern Inland

Dress Up 2 Express and Connect
Thursday 12th of October

GLENRAC Rural Womens' Day
Friday 13th of October
Glen Innes

Fiesta La Peel
Saturday 14th to Saturday 21st of October

Masquerade Charity Ball
Saturday 14th of October

Kentucky Progress Association Spring Fair
Sunday 15th of October

New Residents Event
Sunday 15th of October

Recalibrate My Business Workshop
Tuesday 17th of October

Dungowan Village Fair
Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd of October

Fiesta La Peel
Saturday 21st of October

Pigs in Pink Pig Races
Saturday 21st of October

Warialda Honey Festival
Saturday 21st of October

Homestead Series 1 – Chevy Chase Homestead
Sunday 22nd of October

Cyber Security Workshop
Monday 23rd of October

Another Chapter by HealthWise
Thursday 26th of October
Wee Waa

Pitch Perfect Narrabri: Media & PR Workshop
Thursday 26th of October

Wee Waa Small Business Month Dinner 2023
Thursday 26th of October

Halloween in the Mall
Friday 27th of October

Tamworth Ute Show 2023
Saturday 28th of October

Thunderbolts Festival
Saturday 28th of October

Gala Day for Dogs
Sunday 29th of October

Homestead Series 2 – Eathorpe Homestead
Sunday 29th of October

Narrabri Shire Annual Business Summit 2023
Monday 30th of October

Giant Lions Book Sale
Saturday 4th to Sunday 12th of November

Hillgrove Halltel
Saturday 4th of November

Tamworth Powerstation Museum – 135th Anniversary
Thursday 9th of November

New England Heritage Festival
Friday 10th and Saturday 11th of November

Nundle CWA Art Exhibition & Sale
Friday 10th of November

Bundarra Garden Festival
Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th of November

Black Gully Festival
Saturday 11th of November

Nundle Twilight Christmas Market
Saturday 11th of November

Coffee & Chat Car Display
Sunday 12th of November

Walk n Talk for Life
Sunday 12th of November

Stand Tall Tamworth
Friday 17th of November

Walcha Motorcycle Rally 2023
Friday 17th and Saturday 18th of November

New England Garden Festival
Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th of November

Bundarra Car Boot Sale & Swapmeet
Saturday 18th of November

Christmas Fair for the Brain Foundation
Sunday 19th of November


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