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General Newsletter - 10th of August 2022

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In this Issue


Welcome from the Chair

Russell Stewart - Chair

Dear Northern Inlanders,

I am particularly excited this month to announce that we are welcoming two new Committee members to our team, Clr Susannah Pearce of Moree and James Pryor of Armidale. This was a tough decision as we received several high-quality applications, and we greatly appreciate everyone who applied. Many of you may have already crossed paths with Susannah through her work with Moree Plains Shire Council and James through his previous work as part of our staff and now REMPLAN. We look forward to having their positive contributions to our Committee for the benefit of our region.

Community-focused projects and initiatives are critical to the future prosperity of our region. It would be brilliant to see our region receive a share of the $210 million of available funding through the recently opened Stronger Country Communities Fund and the Regional Tourism Activation Fund. Further details are available below and be sure to reach out to our staff if you would like assistance in developing your application.

It can be difficult to develop an idea into a commercially viable business. The CSIRO works to bridge this gap by providing researchers with the skills and networks they need to commercialise their ideas through their ON Program. This program is free of charge and can make a difference in getting an idea off the ground. Applications for the program are currently open to research teams, and further information is below.


Russell Stewart

$210 Million Available for Community Projects

This month, two major grant programs from the NSW Government have opened for applications, the Stronger Country Communities and the Regional Tourism Activation Funds.

Stronger Country Communities Fund
$160 million will be available in this round to eligible regional councils and community groups for projects that focus on community and sporting infrastructure, enhance accessibility for people with disability, and improve outcomes for Aboriginal people.

“Everywhere I go, people tell me about the positive difference that Stronger Country Communities Fund projects make to their everyday life, whether it’s a new skate park that kids of all ages love, new lighting for sports grounds or programs that support and inspire young people living in the bush,” Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said.

Funding is available for local community and sporting infrastructure, street beautification, projects enhancing accessibility and inclusion for people with disability, projects improving outcomes for Aboriginal people, and community programs and local events.

The Department of Regional NSW will be hosting a live online information session to provide information and answer questions about this funding round on the 17th of August.

Applications close on the 23rd of September, and further details are available on Stronger Country Communities Fund Round 5 page of the NSW Government website.

Regional Tourism Activation Fund
$150 million will be available through the Regional Tourism Activation Fund Round Two to support new, innovative and unforgettable tourism drawcards that will bring visitors from far and wide to regional NSW.

“Regional NSW has the best destinations and experiences on offer across Australia, so it makes sense that we invest in new projects that will drive tourism dollars into the regions,” Acting Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said. “Every dollar spent by visitors at local shops, cafes, accommodation and visitor attractions provides a much needed boost to our regional economies.”

Round two is focused on accelerating the development of high-impact tourism and events infrastructure that will increase the international appeal of destinations in regional NSW and boost the visitor economy through increased visitation and job creation. The Fund aims to support projects that are accessible and inclusive for everyone and ensure all visitors to regional NSW have unforgettable experiences that encourage repeat visitation.

Applications close on the 27th of September, and further details, including the grant guidelines, are available on Regional Tourism Activation Fund Round Two page of the NSW Government website.

Vote for Innovative Local Government Initiatives

Local Governments from around the country have submitted their entries for the National Awards for Local Government, which celebrate the achievements and positive impact local governments have on their communities. Now it is time for the public to have their say and vote for their favourite projects.

Not only is this a chance to place your vote, but also discover the unique initiatives in the eleven award categories:

  • Addressing Violence Against Women and Their Children
  • Career Starter
  • Cohesive Communities
  • Creativity and Culture
  • Disaster Preparedness
  • Indigenous Recognition
  • Productivity Through Infrastructure
  • Regional Growth
  • Road Safety
  • Waste Management
  • Women in Local Government

To cast a vote, go to the NALG awards platform by the 14th of September, register your details, and then browse the categories to discover initiatives that are in the running. Each voter has one vote per category for the project you believe demonstrates excellence, innovation and replicability for that category.  When casting a vote, you can also add a comment to explain why you have chosen that submission.

Once you are logged in, be sure to have a look at and show your support for the entries in our region from Gwydir Shire and Armidale Regional Councils, who have entries for:

Gwydir Career Start Program
Gwydir Shire Council – Career Starter Category

In 2019 Council launched the Gwydir Career Start Initiative, a promotion and more focused approach to their already successful trainee and apprenticeship program. The program provides an exceptional opportunity for local school students and job seekers to gain valuable skills and work experience in a Local Government environment while studying to obtain a nationally recognised qualification.

The program gives Council the ability to train, develop and mould their school based and mainstream trainees and apprentices into valuable, qualified and productive employees, whilst also meeting Council’s succession planning goals. – Put simple, it allows us to ‘grow our own’!

Women in Leadership Program
Armidale Regional Council – Women in Local Government Category

The Women in Leadership Program gives learning and development opportunities for women to drive positive change across the organisation. It is a transformational program that links women’s ambition with their deepest sense of purpose and core values.

The goals around the program are to ensure gender parity within its leadership group and have women stepping up and driving change within the organisation and not only be seen, but more importantly heard and valued for their contribution.

The impact of this program is not only on current participants, building confidence and leadership capability, but it will develop strong role models and mentors for the next generation of women who join Council.

Information on Regional Skilled Visas from Home Affairs

The department of home affairs is running two online Regional Skilled Visa Information Sessions this month.

These sessions are suitable for NSW and ACT businesses, industry representatives and regional stakeholders interested in learning more about the regional skilled migration program and visas. Topics include skilled regional visa products, Designated Area Migration Agreements and the current visa processing environment.

It is free to attend however, registration is required. The two sessions will be held on:

These sessions are specifically for regional visa programs. In addition, there is a separate information session for Sydney businesses on Friday the 19th of August at 10:30am.

TEBA – Helping the Development of Narrabri Businesses

Narrabri Shire Council is partnering with the UNE Smart Region Incubator (UNE SRI) and The Exchange Narrabri to deliver a comprehensive range of events and programs to support Narrabri businesses over eighteen months.

The Exchange Business Activator (TEBA) is designed to enable continued economic recovery by providing expert support for established and emerging local businesses. It aims to help businesses build confidence, capability and growth while also aiding economic recovery, community resilience and the creation of local jobs.

The program will provide a wide range of opportunities, including:

  • UNE SRI Hatch Program (2 x 3-month programs) - A 3-month program created for those with either a business idea or a new business.
  • UNE SRI Leverage Program (12 months) - A 12-month program for businesses committed to sustainable growth.
  • Professional Advisory Support Program - Up to one hour of free advice from local professionals.
  • Monthly business networking events - Providing local and regional businesses the opportunity to communicate, collaborate and network with one another.
  • Monthly business challenge solving sessions - Aimed at resilience building and increasing business confidence.
  • Bi-monthly mentoring sessions - Providing local women with access to female, industry-leading mentors for 1:1 and group sessions.
  • Monthly guest speakers - Inviting notable business people, industry leaders and experts to present to local people on topics and themes of interest.
  • Monthly Masterclasses/Learning Lunches - Inviting industry and skilled experts to host hour-long skill-building sessions on topics of interest.

Further information about The Exchange Business Activator is available on The Exchange website, including a list of upcoming events.

Support for Researcher to Commercialise Their Ideas

The CSIRO is providing a unique and free opportunity for Australian researchers to build their entrepreneurial and commercialisation skills through their ON Program. Since 2015, this program has helped more than 3,000 people from 52 research organisations to turn their science into real-world solutions.

Research teams from universities and publicly funded research agencies can apply to participate in the program. Approved applicants will gain the skills and confidence to engage with business and take their ideas into the market.

In 2022, the program will provide flexible modes of delivery through On Prime, focused on customer delivery, and On Accelerate, a full-time structured innovation accelerator.

CSIRO’s Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall said that the program can help all Australian researchers bridge the gap between lab bench and business. “The unique combination of ON and special access to the national science agency’s networks and resources, helps scientists bridge the valley of death that separates research from business. It is rare that Australia leads in innovation. However, when compared to international programs, ON can be proud of an extremely strong track record when it comes to money raised per company, diversity of founders, and coverage of the system. It’s a sign that we’re creating our own unique Australian approach to innovation, and diversity is in its DNA from the start,” he said.

One of the many teams that have benefited from the ON Program are the researchers behind MGA Thermal, a company now delivering thermal energy storage solutions aimed at revolutionising the world’s renewable energy systems.

MGA Thermal CEO, Erich Kisi participated in ON Prime and ON Accelerate while a researcher with the University of Newcastle and described the programs as incredibly beneficial in commercialising his team’s idea. “ON Prime gave us the confidence that we had a product the market wanted, and it helped us refine our problem-solution fit. Meanwhile ON Accelerate provided a feasibility decision gate for us and helped us be confident that we had the right business model in place,” Mr Kisi said. “Going through the ON Program will very quickly help you work out if you have a feasible product and the appetite to commercialise it.”

Around 100 teams each year for the next four years will have the opportunity to take part in ON Prime, with high potential ventures progressing to ON Accelerate.

Applications for On Prime close on the 26th of August, and applications for On Accelerate close on the 16th of September.

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.


Regional NSW – Business Case and Strategy Development Fund
Closes: 24th of August 2022
Value: Unspecified
Run By: NSW Department of Regional NSW

This new fund aims to support local councils, joint organisations of councils, not-for-profit, industry and Aboriginal community groups develop business cases or strategies for projects delivering significant economic or social benefits to regional communities, with a focus on infrastructure.

The funding will help organisations build their capacity to plan for and deliver projects and regional development initiatives. The program will also help to build a pipeline of investment-ready projects for future funding opportunities.

The Regional NSW - Business Case and Strategy Development Fund aims to:

  • encourage regional collaboration to identify projects and strategies with regional scale and impact
  • increase alignment of regional projects and strategies with Regional Economic Development Strategies (REDS) and other relevant regional or NSW Government plans and policies
  • build a pipeline of investment-ready economic and priority community projects in regional NSW.

There are two streams under this fund:

  • Stream One: Regional Significance
  • Stream Two: Aboriginal Prosperity

Applicants are required to submit a quote with their application to develop the business case or strategy from a suitably qualified third party provider. This information will be considered to determine the grant amount for successful applicants.


Schools Plus - Smart Giving - 2022
Closes: 9th of September 2022
Value: Up to $60,000
Run By: Schools Plus

Through the Smart Giving program, schools have an opportunity to design and deliver projects that explore innovative, creative and progressive approaches in education. To enable schools to do this, Schools Plus matches schools with  donors to provide funding for projects which can bring about transformational change.

Projects run for 12 – 18 months.

A smart giving grant provides schools with: funding of up to $30,000 for individual schools or $60,000 for clusters of 4-10 schools and strategic support to help with project design, implementation and evaluation.

To be eligible to apply, schools must have an ICSEA value below 1000.


Regional and Local Newspaper Publishers Program
Closes: 19th of August 2022 - 5:00 pm
Value: Unspecified
Run By: Australian Government Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications

This program supports regional, independent suburban, First Nations and multicultural print publishers to alleviate the increasing costs of print publishing, enabling them to continue to provide core news content to local communities across Australia.

Funding will be delivered to eligible applicants under two streams:

Stream 1 providing $10 million funding for regional print publishers producing core news content in regional Australia
Stream 2 providing $5 million funding for independent suburban, First Nations and multicultural print publishers producing core news content.

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