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General Newsletter - 15 December 2023

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In this Issue


Welcome from the Chair

Russell Stewart - Chair

Dear Northern Inlanders,

It’s hard to believe it has been another year already, and we are about to say goodbye to 2023.

As we look to a new year, you may be considering how you can make a positive contribution to your community. If you are enthusiastic about the future of our region and would like to be part of a proactive and innovative team, I encourage you to apply to join our Committee. Further details are below.

Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy, yet many great ideas are unable to get off the ground due to challenges early on. I am pleased to see the Australian Government supporting small and medium enterprises to reach their full potential through the newly announced Industry Growth Program. This initiative doesn’t just throw money at the problem but also provides advice and mentorship, often worth much more.

As I have mentioned before, data to support research and investment is key to our region’s future. Each year, the University of Canberra conducts the Regional Wellbeing Survey. This survey aims to improve understanding of the wellbeing, liveability and resilience of regional communities, and the data is provided to organisations to further their research and support of their communities. I encourage you to take a moment to complete the survey so that our region is represented and our community organisations can benefit from local data.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has worked with us in 2023. We are proud to create many proactive and hands-on initiatives and support many organisations through our consultancy and grant writing services for our region's benefit. As we cast our thoughts to 2024, we have more great projects planned and look forward to working with you to ensure a bright future for our great region.

May you have a safe and happy Christmas season surrounded by family and friends.


Russell Stewart

Office Closure

Our office will be closed for the Christmas and New Year period from Midday on Friday, the 22nd of December, through to Monday, the 8th of January 2024. Our staff will attend to any emails and phone messages upon their return.

Our Committee and Staff wish everyone a safe and happy break as 2023 comes to a close, and we look forward to working together in 2024 to help the Northern Inland region grow and prosper.

Would You Like to be Part of Our Committee?

We are currently seeking highly motivated leaders with vision, drive and strong ties to our region to volunteer as a Deputy Chair or a Committee Member.

Our Committee are vital promoters of our region, they facilitate investment in people, places, services, industries and local economies. While working in line with the Australian Government’s strategic priorities, we work with a proactive, outcome-focused mindset for the benefit of our region.

Applications are sought from business and community leaders who have a proven track record of achieving meaningful outcomes in a complex environment. Young leaders, women, First Nations Australians, people from diverse cultural backgrounds and people with a disability are encouraged to apply.

Information packs for our Deputy Chair and Committee Member positions are available on our website.

Applications using the included application form must be submitted to our office at rdani@rdani.org.au by no later than the 31st of December for Deputy Chair and the 31st of January for Committee Members.

Industry Growth Program Launched

Innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and startups play a crucial role in the economy. But many have difficulty bringing their ideas to market. The Industry Growth Program supports early-stage businesses in their most challenging development phase.

“The challenge for our economy long term is to scale-up our businesses and help them create more secure jobs.” said the Hon. Ed Husic, Minister for Industry and Science. “The Industry Growth Program is designed to commercialise great ideas and know-how, to build stronger Australian businesses and put them on a pathway for potential support by the National Reconstruction Fund.”

The $392 million Industry Growth Program is now open, with startups and innovative small and medium businesses able to apply for expert advice on their commercialisation and growth projects. The Industry Growth Program enables eligible SMEs to receive advice from industry experts, with a particular focus on the early stages when businesses often have difficulty turning innovative ideas into profitable products, processes and services. A national network of advisers is being established to provide guidance on seeking investment, market testing, business models and networking.

The Industry Growth Program’s advice service is complemented by two grant opportunities that are expected to launch in early 2024. Businesses must go through the advice service before applying for a grant. Two grant streams will be available in 2024:

  • matched grants of $50,000 to $250,000 to support early-stage commercialisation projects
  • matched grants of $100,000 to $5 million for commercialisation and growth projects.

“Australia’s small businesses are known for their ingenuity and innovation - how adaptive, resilient and passionate they are.  The Industry Growth Program will help turbocharge this innovation.” said the Hon Julie Collins, Minister for Small Business. “This is good for jobs, good for our economy and good for Australia’s small businesses. This is another way our Government is backing Australia’s small businesses to succeed.”

Further information on the Industry Growth Program, including on how to apply and the guidelines, is available on business.gov.au

Report Data Highlights Positive Outcomes for VET Students

A new report by Jobs and Skills Australia, Vocational Education and Training (VET) Students Outcomes – Top 100 Courses, sheds light on the encouraging outcomes experienced by VET graduates. Completing a VET course isn't just about education; it's transforming lives. This report showcases the remarkable journey of VET students. The report outlines how their transition from education to employment and demonstrates how VET prepares them for the workforce of the future, by unlocking new opportunities.

For many students, completing a VET qualification marks a turning point as they step into the workforce. The report highlights that an impressive 82.7% of VET students found employment after completing their training, marking a significant increase of 12.4 percentage points compared to pre-training. The completion of a VET qualification can have a transformative financial impact, with a median employee income uplift of more than $10,000 for graduates, representing a step towards financial security. 

Foundation skills courses are a key building block of skilling for the future, and 61% of students undertaking foundation skills, like Certificate I and II in Spoken and Written English, progress to further VET study.  The report also highlighted that many students went on to continue their journey of lifelong learning, with 15.7% of VET graduates pursuing further VET education or training, while another 6.7% embarked on higher education opportunities.

VET graduates will also be well placed to support Australia’s transition to a clean energy future, with the report uncovering the courses with the highest levels of employment and positive changes to median income, are in the engineering and related technology fields. For those looking to re-skill mid-career, there’s also plenty of opportunities. Courses like Certificate IV in Training and Assessment and Certificate IV in Project Management Practice are helping people in their 30’s re-skill and broaden their future career opportunities.

Developed in collaboration with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), this new data set (titled the VET National Data Asset or VNDA) will assist Jobs and Skills Australia to provide advice on the adequacy of the Australian VET system, unlocking new insights and analysis possibilities.

This report complements recent work into Australia’s Skills Priority List, which provides information about Australia’s skills shortages and insights that may be useful for people considering future career and qualifications opportunities.

Further information, including the VET Student Outcomes report and data are available on the Jobs and Skills Australia website.

Free Feed, Soil and Water Testing

Northern Tablelands Local Land Services are currently providing feed, soil, and water tests free of charge to producers in the region. These tools can help landholders to better manage their resources and make informed choices in both short term management decisions as well as in longer term farm planning.

Feed testing is a useful tool to help with feed budgeting, including determining if supplementation is required to achieve your targets; determining the feed/production value of feed you are storing; and confirming whether a particular feed source is worth purchasing. Depending on your production targets and the class of stock, the quality and quantity of feed required may vary considerably. A feed test will enable you to quickly and accurately match feed options to different livestock classes and production targets.

Northern Tablelands Local Land Services is keen to work with farmers across the region to monitor their soil so that they can gain a better understanding of its productive capacity. Farmers across the region are encouraged to take a soil sample using one of the corers available for loan. Samples will then be sent away for a free comprehensive analysis, and our team will then work with landholders to help them interpret the results. This information will also build a snapshot of soil conditions in a region-wide profile. An improved understanding of these traits assists applications for relevant funding for regional projects, and it allows us to help farmers understand the range of soils on their property and what they can expect from the soils in their local area. Water tests are also useful in diagnosing water quality issues or mineral imbalances in stock water, particularly bore water.

For more information about any of our free tests available, please contact your closest Northern Tablelands Local Land Services office on 1300 795 299.

Understanding The Wellbeing of Regional Australians

Each year the Regional Wellbeing Survey is conducted by the University of Canberra to improve our understanding of the wellbeing, liveability and resilience of communities across Australia. Data obtained from the survey will also be provided to help organisations across Australia have access to the data they need to help them support and grow the quality of life across the country.

This year, the Regional Wellbeing Survey will examine three issues in more depth than in previous years:

  1. How Australia’s rising living costs are impacting different parts of Australia
  2. How people across Australia are preparing and responding to heatwaves, drought and bushfires
  3. Your views about how water resources are being managed in your region, including the quality of water to your home and in local lakes and rivers.

The short version of the survey takes only twenty minutes, and longer versions are available for those who are able to contribute more time to share their input. The survey can also be completed over time, as your responses can be saved as you progress.

This year’s survey is anonymous and is open until the 14th of February, 2024. It can be accessed through the University of Canberra’s website.

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.


Strengthening Rural Communities - Small & Vital
Current Round Closes: 26th of February 2024 - 5:00 pm
Value: Up to $10,000
Run By: Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal

The Strengthening Rural Communities program gives small rural, regional and remote communities across Australia the opportunity to access funds that can benefit and help secure their future prosperity. Grants are available for a broad range of initiatives that directly and clearly benefit local communities.

Applications from not-for-profit organisations in communities of fewer than 15,000 people are prioritised, particularly those communities whose size, remoteness and relative access to services, funding, and resources present particular ongoing challenges. The Strengthening Rural Communities program accepts applications any time. FRRR considers applications and makes grant distributions on a quarterly basis.


Community Engagement Program - 2024-25
Closes: 31st of December 2023
Value: Up to $15,000
Run By: Dementia Australia

To support local community groups and organisations to develop projects or initiatives which make their community more dementia-friendly, Dementia Australia is providing grants of up to $15,000. This funding is to ensure people living with dementia, their families and carers, are supported to remain socially connected and meaningfully involved in community life.

The Community Engagement Program supports local community associations, businesses, organisations, and groups to develop dementia-friendly communities projects that reflect community need, create local partnerships, and draw on in-kind contributions and existing resources.

Each grant recipient is required to actively involve and include people living with dementia in the design and delivery of a community-focused project or activity.

Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) Grants - Round 25
Closes: 5th of March 2024 - 5:00 pm
Value: Unspecified
Run By: Australian Government Department of Industry, Science and Resources

The CRC 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.


Local Sport Defibrillator Grant Program - 2023/24
Closes: 23rd of February 2024 - 1:00 pm or until expended
Value: Up to $3,000
Run By: NSW Government Office of Sport

The NSW Government is providing up to $500,000 in grants to eligible sporting clubs and facility owners through the Local Sport Defibrillator Grant Program in 2023/24 with grants up to $3,000 available.

In 2023/24 funding is targeted at applicants within the bottom five Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) as ranked by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in order to ensure the most disadvantaged areas are being prioritised. To be considered eligible under the program, applicants must identify the location the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) will be kept.

What's On in the Northern Inland

Boggabri Community Christmas Night
Friday 15th of December

Carols on the Grass
Friday 15th of December

Narrabri Chamber of Commerce Christmas Carnival
Friday 15th of December

Carols in the Park
Saturday 16th of December

Carols on the Lawn
Saturday 16th of December

Christmas Carols
Saturday 16th of December

Community Christmas Carols
Saturday 16th of December
Glen Innes

Fundarra Church Markets
Saturday 16th of December

Hillgrove Short Film and Supper Night
Saturday 16th of December

Saturday Sounds
Saturday 16th of December

Community Carols Night
Sunday 17th of December

Narrabri Santa Run
Sunday 17th of December

Centacare Christmas Party
Wednesday 20th of December

Summer Solstice at the Australian Standing Stones
Thursday 21st of December
Glen Innes

Rural Museum Christmas Lights & Model Train Display
Friday 22nd to Sunday 24th of December

Christmas Carols
Saturday 23rd of December

Inverell Salvation Army – Remembrance Service
Saturday 23rd of December

Boggabri FRNSW Santa Run
Sunday 24th of December

Christmas Lunch with the Salvos
Sunday 24th of December

E-Games at Belgrave
Monday 15th to Friday 19th of January

Lamb and Potato Festival
Wednesday 17th to Sunday 28th of January

Toyota Country Music Festival
Friday 19th to Sunday 28th of January

Hillgrove Short Film and Supper Night
Saturday 20th of January

Australia Day Trivia Night
Wednesday 24th of January

Guyra Car, Bike and Truck Show
Wednesday 27th of January

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