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General Newsletter - 23rd of May 2023

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In this Issue


Welcome from the Chair

Russell Stewart - Chair

Dear Northern Inlanders,

There is no question that businesses in our region have done it extremely tough in the last few years. Drought, bushfires, floods and the pandemic have been one hit after another. Unfortunately, we will inevitably face these challenges again, and our communities and businesses need to adapt to overcome them.

With funding support from the Australian and NSW Government's Bushfire Resilience and Recovery Fund, we have collected the stories and advice of Northern Inland businesses over the last two years. By sharing their stories, we have an opportunity to learn how to survive from those who have. These stories inspire us all, and we can implement these ideas into our businesses and lives to increase resilience against future challenges. Over three newsletters, we will share stories about embracing change, developing product offerings and planning for the future. Check out the first four stories that highlight embracing change below.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the twelve local businesses that participated in the project, volunteered their time and shared their stories for everyone's benefit.

The stories and ideas of our regional youth are also inspirational, and it is brilliant to see them being shared by our local Heywire Trailblazer winner, Alice Armitage, from Moree. Alice established the Pandaemonium Paper to bring together innovators, creatives and self-starters in regional areas. Further details about her nationally recognised initiative and how to receive your copy are available below.


Russell Stewart

Stories of Resilience – How to Survive From Those Who Have

Businesses in the Northern Inland Region have done it tough during the last ten years. The worst drought on record, proceeded the 20219-20 bushfires, the covid-19 pandemic and significant flooding events. Our communities and businesses have endured one unpredictable challenge after another.

Through the support of the Australian and NSW Government's Bushfire Resilience and Recovery Fund, we are proud to share the stories of twelve local businesses in bushfire-impacted areas who have taken on these challenges and survived.

Their stories are a source of inspiration; from their experience, other small businesses can learn how to face the challenges the future has to hold. They highlight how other businesses can embrace change, develop product offerings and look to the future to increase their own resilience. By learning from their experiences, we can work together towards a prosperous future for our region.

Over the following two newsletters, we will share stories from local business owners about developing product offerings and planning for the future. But first, here are four stories about embracing change from business owners in our region.

Peter Sandral from Sandstock – Tingha

Peter Sandral owns a cattle farming business called Sandstock just outside of Tingha. He was lucky enough to save his home from the 2019 bushfires, but his entire property was destroyed, left charred and devoid of life. Livestock and native fauna were killed. According to Mr Sandral, rebuilding a cattle farm from the ground up came with some positives. Drought resilient livestock, more suitable pastures and fencing have made his business better now than before drought and bushfires took their toll.

Watch Peter's Story or Read Peter's Story

Larry McPherson from Gwydir Meats – Warialda

Gwydir Meats is a country town butcher shop that has continued to proudly serve its Warialda community through hard times that have seen a number of other local businesses shut down, including the town's cafés. Larry Mcpherson has been a butcher his whole life but has struggled to keep his business going through the tough times. He is deservedly proud to have survived and emerged almost debt free. It took innovation, in addition to resilience and sheer determination.

Watch Larry's Story or Read Larry's Story

Sheree Thrift from Sherelle Fashions  - Tenterfield

Sherelle Fashions is located on the New England Highway in Tenterfield. Tenterfield residents are just part of the market for this women's boutique clothing and accessories store, with passing and visiting travellers and nearby communities traditionally contributing heavily to the clientele. Drought, Bushfires and Covid-19 created major business challenges, but owner Sheree Thrift was proactive, determined to continue providing for her customers and has a stronger business now due to creating strong connections with her clients through social media.

Watch Sheree's Story or Read Sheree's Story

Warren Yeomans from Greenhill Orchards – Arding

Greenhill Orchards are located in the rural locality of Arding, in the Uralla Shire. It is the last sizeable commercial orchard remaining in the area. For the Yeomans family, growing fruit that people enjoy is genuinely rewarding, so remaining sustainable is more important to them than measuring profit growth. Recent tough times delivered one blow after another, but they seized opportunities to create greater yields and to create a new product.

Watch Warren's Story or Read Warren's Story

Attracting and Retaining Agricultural Workers on The Agenda

Sourcing agricultural workers has been a critical issue facing our local farmers for many years and has been exasperated by the ongoing impact of Covid-19 on the availability of workers.

The issue of attracting, retaining and developing agricultural staff was the topic of conversation at the Australian Cotton Research Institute’s open day, celebrating 65 years of primary industries research at the site. Hosted by the Farm Business Resilience Program, our staff member, Gary Fry, Senior Skilled Migration Officer, attended as a speaker at the workshop.

"We are closely monitoring visa rule changes because visa holders are so important for our regional communities." said Gary. "Labour shortages in agriculture have been having an often crippling impact on productivity in recent years. From Working Holiday Visa holders (backpackers) to Skilled Migrants, the overseas labour market is vital to our farm businesses."

"Farm-based employment frequently comes with on-farm accommodation and that could prove to be a huge advantage for attracting people to rural jobs. The housing shortage is another major issue nationally and good housing will increasingly add to a job’s appeal, for migrant workers and Australian citizens. We must now await the outcomes of the migration review and its impact on Skilled Migration programs."

Local Publication Celebrating Young Minds Recognised Nationally

Each year the Heywire Trailblazer program recognises regional youth aged 18-28 who are doing incredible things and driving positive change. The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts is the foundational and major sponsor of ABC Trailblazers, helping to share the powerful ideas of young changers living in regional Australia.

Alice Armitage from Guyra on Kamilaroi Country was recognised this year as one of thirteen Heywire Trailblazer competition winners for creating the Pandaemonium Paper.

The Pandaemonium Paper came from a family tragedy. Alice decided she wanted to honour the legacy of her cousin Nick and support other ambitious country kids struggling to find their way. When Nick died by suicide, Alice saw him leave behind his ambitions and the people who adored him.

For Nicholas.

And every other young brilliant mind struggling to find their place in the world.

Alice always knew regional Australia is home to unique opportunities, individuals and communities and wanted more people to learn just how beautiful and yet so brutal country life could be. So she founded the contemporary quarterly Pandaemonium Paper to showcase innovators, creatives and self-starters living outside the metropolitan mould. Alice is curating a more diverse representation of what's possible for the youth of regional Australia.

"Founding Pandaemonium has become a channel for me to not only honour Nick's legacy but to support the young, ambitious country kids like myself, like Nick, and many others struggling to find their way," she said. Every piece published by the core team of regional creatives is helping to contribute to Alice's mission of building a more diverse representation of what's possible for the youth of regional Australia.

She firmly believes that life outside major metropolitan cities is key to solving many of today's crucial challenges. With the first year and several issues now to bed, Alice reflects, "It often felt like a never-ending hike up an incredibly steep incline. This marks a milestone for this humble newspaper and it now feels we're at a peak and can see the horizon ahead."

Guidelines For New Regional Grants Program Now Available

The details for the first round of the Australian Government's new $600 million Growing Regions Program have now been released. This program will invest in critical regional infrastructure and community projects across regional and rural Australia through two $300 million funding rounds – with a second round to follow Round 1.

"The Growing Regions program forms part of our Government's unwavering commitment to investing in Australia's regions to create jobs, build opportunity and unlock economic growth and productivity." said Kristy McBain, Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territories. "Through this program, we are delivering on our commitment to establish a new regional grants program focused on integrity, transparency, accountability, collaboration and fairness – and I can't wait to see the incredible benefits it will have in our regions."

Local government entities and not-for-profit organisations will be able to apply for grants of between $500,000 and $15 million through the program. The grants can be used to cover up to 50 per cent of eligible project costs, with lower co-funding requirements in place to support First Nations, disaster-affected and remote applicants to make their projects a reality.

By funding community and economic infrastructure projects in rural and regional Australia, the program will drive economic prosperity, enhance liveability, bolster social inclusion and support local amenity. "As a regional Australian, I know how vital grants programs like this can be to make local projects in our regions a reality – projects that make a real difference for communities. This will allow local government entities and not-for-profit organisations to do exactly that, with funding under this program able to be used to construct new community infrastructure, or upgrade and expand existing facilities." said Catherine King, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government.

There will be a two-stage application process. Under Stage One, applicants must submit Expressions of Interest which will be assessed to ensure projects meet eligibility requirements, project readiness and program suitability, and are aligned with regional priorities for the area. Application forms for EOI submissions will be available from the 5th of July and close on the 1st of August. Expressions of Interest that are assessed as meeting requirements and approved to proceed will be invited to submit a full application (Stage Two) by the 12th of December 2023.

The program guidelines are now available for eligible applicants to start preparing expressions of interest. Anyone interested in applying for a grant under this program is encouraged to contact our office at rdani@rdani.org.au or on 6771 0700. Our team can assist you in developing your project, aligning it to regional priorities, addressing selection criteria, and provide statistical data to support your application.

Featured Grants and Funding Opportunities

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.


Heywire Youth Innovation Grants - 2023
Closes: 7th of June 2023
Value: Up to $10,000
Run By: Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal

FRRR and their donor partners collaborate with ABC Heywire to help communities take action on the ideas generated by young Australians who attend the annual Heywire Regional Youth Summit.

You can apply for a grant to adopt, adapt or respond to a project idea to address one of the follwing issues in a way that works for young people in your community:

  • Boredom Relief
  • Easy Access
  • Homefrown Hub
  • Idea 4 Change
  • Hear Our Voices
  • We Are Not Alone


St George Foundation - Community Grants - 2023
Closes: 30th of June 2023
Value: Up to $50,000
Run By: St George Foundation

St.George Foundation's Community Grants program supports smaller Australian children's charities that attract little assistance from government and are not able to generate significant income of their own. St. George Foundation Community Grants provide up to $50,000 to support grassroots projects run by Australian children's charities helping to create brighter futures for children and young people in need in our local communities. 

These grants:

  • Invest in projects that will improve the lives of children in Australia who are experiencing a physical, social or economic disadvantage.
  • Partner with small community organisations who attract little funding from government and who aren’t big enough to generate significant fundraising income on their own.


National Carers Week Grants - 2023
Closes: 26th of June 2023 - 5:00 pm
Value: Up to $300
Run By: Carers Australia NSW

Grants are available for carer support groups and organisations from across NSW to celebrate and recognise the contribution of family and friend carers in their local communities by holding local events and activities.

The grants are to be used to plan events or activities either online or in person to support and celebrate carers as part of National Carers Week. It is preferable that the events and activities are held during, or as close as possible to, National Carers Week (15-21 October 2023).


Pick Fresh Play Fresh Netball Grants - 2023
Closes: 18th of June 2023
Value: Up to $20,000
Run By: Woolworths

Woolworths Pick Fresh Play Fresh Grants support grassroots netball clubs and associations across Australia. Entries are open to any Australian netball club or association with a Woolworths NetSetGO Centre.

There are two types of Grants available.

  • People’s Choice – 1 x $20,000
  • Other Grants – 10 x $8,000

Every club that submits an application to the Woolworths Grants programme will automatically be entered into the draw for the People’s Choice. All clubs will be listed on the Woolworths Grants website and anyone can vote for the club they feel is most deserving of the funds.

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