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General Newsletter - 17th of April 2023

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In this Issue

Welcome from the Chair

Russell Stewart - Chair

Dear Northern Inlanders,

I hope you all had a wonderful and much-needed break over Easter.

Congratulations to our region's elected NSW Government Representatives, Adam Marshall for Northern Tablelands, Janelle Saffin for Lismore, Kevin Anderson for Tamworth, and Roy Butler for Barwon. We look forward to continuing to work with our state representatives to benefit our communities and our region.

Now that the state election is completed, we are excited to celebrate the announcement of funding for the Angry Bull Trails project in Tenterfield. Our staff have been working alongside Joe Smith, the Project Director for Angry Bull Trails, over the last few years to develop this social enterprise project and assisted in sourcing funding through our Business Cases and Grant Applications. Taking advantage of the mountainous landscape and proximity to Brisbane, these mountain bike trails will be a game-changer for Tenterfield’s economy. The $4.1 million grant from the NSW Government's Regional Tourism Activation Fund provides funding for stage one of the project which will see the creation of 116km of international level trails. We are looking forward to seeing this great project start construction and for the Tenterfield community and business owners to enjoy the benefits of the increased tourism to the area.

The Inland Rail also has great potential for our region. During construction, it will create jobs and increase investment in our region. In the long term, it will connect our region efficiently to Melbourne and Brisbane, providing opportunities for our agricultural sector and other businesses. The recently released independent review of the Inland Rail will provide guidance to help this project live up to its potential.


Russell Stewart

RDA-NI Committee Meets in Bingara

Our Committee held their quarterly meeting at the Living Classroom facility in Bingara last month. "Although our Committee are in constant communication by phone and email, our quarterly face-to-face meetings allow us to really sink our teeth into issues and opportunities for our region." said RDA-NI Chair, Russell Stewart.

Our Committee visits a different Local Government Area in our region for each meeting. "We were pleased to be able to utilise the meeting facilities at Gwydir Shire Council's Living Classroom. These facilities are a brilliant asset to Bingara and our region. It was great to see how much the facility has grown." Mr Steward said. "The view from the meeting room was also absolutely stunning and sure beats any city view."

The meeting also provided an opportunity for the Committee to meet with representatives from nbn Local, Chris Cusack, David Crough and Chris Sheppard, and discuss the continued development of the nbn network in the region. They informed the Committee about the upgrades to the fixed wireless network, which will provide increased connectivity to businesses and households in this network while providing greater capacity to serve satellite customers.

The presentation from nbn also provided information on co-investment opportunities to install towers and convert satellite customers to fixed-wireless. Including the recently announced program with the NSW Government for 56 areas across NSW as part of the Regional Connectivity Program, which includes ten areas in the Northern Inland:

  • Deepwater
  • Emmaville
  • Kentucky
  • Area Surrounding Moree
  • Merah North
  • Mungindi
  • Area surrounding Narrabri
  • Area surrounding Walcha
  • Area surrounding Wee Waa
  • Woolbrook

Tenterfield to be Home to International Grade Biking Trails

Tenterfield is well on its way to becoming an internationally recognised mountain biking destination and adventure tourism hub, with the announcement from the NSW Government's $4.1 million to build stage one of Angry Bull Mountain Biking Trails.

Made possible by the NSW Government's Regional Tourism Activation Fund, stage one (116km) of adaptive and inclusive mountain biking trails will be built in and around Tenterfield and the development of a trail centre in the CBD. At completion, Angry Bull Trails (ABT) will be the longest network of mountain biking trails in Australia.

Upper House Member Scott Barrett, said the project will place Tenterfield and the wider region on the map as a nationally significant mountain bike destination. "This project will see 177 kilometres of world class trails for mountain bike riders of all abilities, including adaptive trails and tracks for walkers".

These trails will provide visitors with a year-round adventure tourism experience and a unique opportunity to explore Tenterfield's spectacular landscapes and region, and will open the doors for Tenterfield Shire to become an adventure tourism hub. The project will ignite economic development opportunities of adventure and cycling tourism in a location with amazing natural assets and a rich cultural history. Tenterfield will be known as an adaptive rider hub, ensuring trails and all associated infrastructure are accessible for riders of all abilities.

Project Director, Joseph Smith, said that "At the core of the ABT project is social enterprise and providing education and training opportunities for local youth. ABT has partnered with BackTrack Youth Works and TAFE NSW, to provide training courses and employment in the fields of trail construction, maintenance, operations and adventure tourism." This partnership will also provide practical and engaging employment opportunities for youth who are disengaged from mainstream education, training and work."

Once operational it is calculated Angry Bull Mountain Biking Trails will attract at least 35,000 additional visitors to Tenterfield each year, generating $4.3M of additional tourist expenditure annually and another 25 jobs in the Tenterfield economy. There will be significant opportunities for additional support businesses to emerge, including mechanics, bike sales and repairs, cycling tours, accommodation, hospitality, retail, professional services, local crafts/souvenirs, shuttle/bus services, adventure/camping gear, sports clothing/apparel, cultural tours, and events. There is the potential to link with trails and business in other villages in the Tenterfield Shire and surrounding areas, including Drake, Liston, Urbenville, Jennings, Stanthorpe, Kyogle and Glen Innes.

"Through our economic analysis, we have found that many of the Local Government Areas in the Northern Inland are heavily dependent upon one industry sector. This makes their economies vulnerable to impacts that cannot be controlled and can often be unforeseen. For example, our research showed that the recent drought had a massive impact on our region, with many of our Local Government Areas dependent on agriculture. This impact then flowed on to other sectors, such as retail, and devastated local businesses. Diversifying our economies is an important part of creating greater resilience into the future." said RDA-NI Senior Economist David Thompson.

"The cycling industry is booming, and Tenterifled's economy is now set to take a share of that market. The economic impacts from the Angry Bull Trails will support Tenterfield businesses, provide employment opportunities, and benefit the community as a whole. We are pleased to have been able to support Angry Bull Trails in developing its business case over the last three years. This project will be a game-changer for Tenterfield's future prosperity."

Inland Rail Review Completed

The Independent Review of the Inland Rail announced by the Australian Government in October 2022 has been completed and released. While the review confirmed that the Inland Rail is an important project to meet Australia's growing freight task, improve road safety and help decarbonise our economy, it also confirmed that the project is running over budget and behind schedule.

The review provides 19 recommendations to improve the delivery of the Inland rail program including:

  • Strengthening the governance arrangements and establishing a subsidiary company to deliver Inland Rail;
  • Reviewing ARTC's risk management and reporting systems, with a view to addressing issues experienced with approval processes;
  • A further assessment of the scope and cost of Inland Rail, conducted by an independent specialist in conjunction with a cost estimator/value engineer;
  • A revised delivery that prioritises sections of Inland Rail that allow revenue to be generated earlier;
  • Deciding and developing intermodal terminals in Melbourne and Brisbane; and
  • Maximising regional opportunities available from Inland Rail, including through intermodal opportunities in Parkes and prioritising delivery of the enhanced rail capability to enable double stacking through to Beveridge.

The Australian Government has accepted all the recommendations either in full or in-principal. An independent cost estimator and value engineer be tasked to undertake detailed assurance work to determine the updated cost and schedule for the program. In the near term, work will continue to support the completion of existing construction activities and planning works north of Parkes.

New governance arrangements will ensure the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) has the necessary skills and experience to deliver its functions. The Government has already commenced this process, having appointed Mr Peter Duncan AM as the new Chair of the ARTC and Dr Collette Burke as a Non-Executive Director in January 2023. In addition, a new substantive chief executive of Inland Rail will also be appointed as soon as possible.

"Australia's investment in Inland Rail is critical to help us move more freight as our population grows. Inland Rail can reduce our transport emissions and make our roads safer, but it comes at a significantly higher cost." said Catherine King, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government. "ARTC will prioritise the delivery of Inland Rail sections between Beveridge and Parkes, while we continue to affect change across the program, improve governance and risk management. When this Government can have faith that adequate environmental planning approvals are in place and there is sufficient certainty as to the scope and cost to build more of Inland Rail, we will do just that."

With sections of the Inland Rail already completed in the Parkes electorate, Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton defended the project in a recent media release. "Today I defend and support the project; in all of this report there has remained no question as to the significance of and the need for the Inland Rail," Mr Coulton said. "If we are looking at reducing our global emissions, reducing the amount of trucks on the Newell Highway, and moving intermodal freight between two of our biggest capital cities, Inland Rail does that."

"With regards to the cost blowout, it is in part a sign of the times. All large infrastructure projects in recent times are experiencing significant cost blowouts, however the amount reported does seem outstanding and I will need to look further into that." he added.

"The Inland Rail as a project includes 13 stages, some of which are already completed in my electorate, and these finished sections are now in use and beginning to pay their way. The completed sections – Parkes to Narromine and Narrabri to Moree – have already created hundreds of jobs, increased productivity and lifted freight efficiency for farmers."

Details of the 19 recommendations, the Government response and a full copy of the review can be accessed from the Inland Rail Website. The full media releases from Catherine King and Mark Coulton can be found on their websites.

$4.5M for Werris Creek Industrial Precinct

$4.5 million in funding will be provided to Liverpool Plains Shire Council (LPSC) to improve road access and safety at the Werris Creek Industrial Precinct.

Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson said the NSW Government were providing an additional $4.5 million through the Fixing Country Roads program to drive the local economy and make the road safer for residents and truck drivers.

"This is great news for Werris Creek as this new road will improve truckies' safety, access to the site, and drive regional growth and economic development, it's a real boost for Werris Creek," Mr Anderson said. "This upgrade will complete a vision for a thriving industrial precinct and freight hub in Werris Creek that will support the growth of local industries and provide a boost to the local economy. The current access route is narrow and unsafe. When two trucks arrive or leave the freight hub at the same time, they can be forced to queue dangerously close to one of two level train crossings on the same stretch."

"Moving freight faster and more efficiently reduces the cost of getting goods to market, keeping our state moving forward," Former Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Sam Farraway said. "It means more dollars in producers' pockets and more competitive prices at the cash register. Fixing Country Roads also delivers benefits for all regional road users, including school bus drivers and rural communities who use these roads on a daily basis."

Liverpool Plains Shire Mayor Doug Hawkins OAM said the upgrades would support the shire's primary producers. "We are very pleased to be able to support the intermodal link and the increasing number of farmers who are starting to rely heavily on it for their trucks," he said. "Importantly this upgrade will ensure it is safe for all users and ultimately will help boost the local economy in this part of our Shire by reducing the cost for our farmers to get their produce to market."

This additional funding of $4.5 million for the Werris Creek economic precinct comes after the NSW Government's Growing Local Economies Fund provided $7.2 million for the Werris Creek Economic Precinct in 2020. We were pleased to assist Liverpool Plains Shire Council in the development of the application to the Growing Local Economies Fund for the initial funding for the precinct.

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.


In a Good Place - 2023
Closes: 17th of May 2023 - 5:00 pm
Value: Up to $20,000
Run By: Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal

The In a Good Place program gives small remote, rural and regional communities across Australia the opportunity to access funds for a broad range of community-driven projects, services, activities or initiatives, which clearly and directly focus on strengthening mental health and wellbeing of vulnerable community members who are at risk of, or are experiencing, mental health issues.

The program aims to support a range of approaches that are preventative or responsive in nature, reduce social isolation by increasing social participation and connectedness, and reduce stigma surrounding mental health by encouraging open discussion and supporting self-help-seeking.


National Science Week - School Grants - 2023
Closes: 24th of April 2023
Value: Up to $500
Run By: Australian Science Teachers Association

The Australian Science Teachers Association (ASTA), with funding assistance from the Australian Government, provides grants for school-initiated National Science Week activities. These grants are available to all Australian schools (preschools to senior secondary) who complete a valid application. All applications and the amounts awarded are judged by their comparative merit.


Indigenous Contemporary Music Program - 2023
Closes: 20th of April 2023 - 11:30 pm
Value: $5,000 to $500,000
Run By: Australian Government Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts

The Indigenous Contemporary Music program supports participation in, and access to, Australia’s arts and culture through developing and supporting cultural expression. The purpose of the program is to provide development opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander musicians and bands throughout Australia. It establishes support mechanisms for individuals and bands, and provide opportunities and skills for ongoing income and employment pathways in the music industry.


Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation - 2023
Opened: 29th of March 2023
Closes: 1st of May 2023
Value: Up to $200,000
Run By: Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation

The Charitable Foundation provides funding for community projects in the Hunter, Central Coast, Central West, Mid North Coast, New England and Northern Rivers areas of NSW.

The Charitable Foundation will consider applications from eligible charitable and not-for-profit organisations for important projects, initiatives and programs that address one or more of the following key focus areas:

  • Projects that provide improved health outcomes for the most disadvantaged, isolated, and vulnerable in our community
  • Projects that deliver improved life outcomes for marginalised and at-risk young people in our community
  • Projects that enhance improved social wellbeing for the most disadvantaged or marginalised in our community.

Foundation grants generally range from $20,000 to $200,000 with an average grant size of approximately $50,000.


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