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General Newsletter - 30 June 2023

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In this Issue

Welcome from the Chair

Russell Stewart - Chair

Dear Northern Inlanders,

I have always been a firm believer in the importance of a hands-on approach to the economic growth of our region through implementing projects that create a direct impact. Today’s newsletter highlights just a few of our practical initiatives for the region.

This newsletter showcases the final four businesses in our series of Stories of Resilience from our local business owners. Unfortunately, we will face drought, bushfires and pandemics again, and these four stories highlighted the need to plan for the future. Check out the stories from Peter at Walcha Veterinary Supplies, Tim at Alt Brothers Beekeeping, Kristine at Tenterfield Chamber of Tourism, Industry and Business and Ken from Kaputar Motors below. Once again, thank you to all twelve businesses who volunteered their time to help others learn from their experiences and the financial support from the Australian and NSW Government’s Bushfire Resilience and Recovery Fund.

Providing our youth with hands-on experiences in our agricultural sector has proven to be a key factor in retaining them and opening their eyes to potential careers. Our Shearing School Program, with the support of Training NSW ran another shearing school with 25 high school students from Tamworth and Quirindi. This great initiative which has been running for six years and is constantly in demand, is generating good outcomes to address the ongoing shortage of workers in the wool industry.

Skill shortages are a hot topic around the region, as our region needs workers in key sectors such as health care to benefit our communities and to fill the shortages experienced by employers from a wide range of industries. Our Skilled Migration program attracts hundreds of new residents to our region every year, and we are pleased to provide support and welcome them to the region. If you are one of the skilled migrants that our office has supported, check out the details for the meet and greet event planned for July below.

Last week our Committee gathered in Gunnedah for our quarterly meeting, and it was brilliant to have Gunndeah Shire Council Mayor Jamie Chaffey join us. The way that the Gunnedah community is thriving is clear to see and is a direct result of the great projects and proactive thinking of the Gunnedah Shire Council. Their recently released Local Housing Strategy highlighted in this newsletter is just one of many great things happening in Gunnedah.


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 future challenges. 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.

In the last two newsletters, we shared stories from local business owners about embracing change and developing product offerings. In this final installation, we are pleased to share four stories about planning for the future.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all twelve of the businesses that volunteered their time to share their experiences for the benefit of others. Without their support, this project would not have been possible.

Peter King from Walcha Veterinary Supplies – Walcha

Walcha Veterinary Supplies sells a vast range of agricultural products including animal health products, spraying equipment, seed, chemical, fertiliser, shearing supplies, stock feeds, fencing products and clothing. The massive warehouse even includes a conference room for up to 80 people. This business is linked to the rural sector it supplies and has endured the tough times with it. Up to 18 people are employed by Walcha Veterinary Supplies and they are considered the most important resilience asset by the business.

Watch Peter's Story or Read Peter's Story

Tim Alt from Alt Brothers Beekeeping  - Glen Innes

The impacts of drought and fire on rural producers are clear and readily imagined but not so for beekeepers, with the challenges of honey production being less understood than many rural industries. Drought and then the worst recorded bushfire season in Northern Inland NSW starved honey producers of the floral resources their bees need. It is estimated that fires wiped out well over 50 percent of local floral resources in 2019 and 2020. Drought had already taken a wilting toll. Beekeepers like Tim Alt were not just resilient, they were proactive and responsive, traveling hundreds of kilometres with their hives.

Watch Tim's Story or Read Tim's Story

Kristen Lovett from Tenterfield Chamber of Tourism, Industry and Business

The Tenterfield Chamber of Tourism, Industry and Business has been extremely successful with delivering proactive initiatives that stimulate local economic activity. Their local business raffle and Tenterfield True local spend cards have supported local businesses through the tough times and engaged with the broader community. This success has boosted community engagement, business unity and confidence, all integral to economic recovery.

Watch Kristen's Story or Read Kristen's Story

Ken Flower from Kaputar Motors - Narrabri

Narrabri’s Kaputar Motors is a landmark car dealership in Narrabri. Drought, bushfires, Covid-19 and floods have all impacted the area, with flow-on effects for the business. With vehicles being relatively big-ticket purchases, consumer confidence and consequently, sales figures plummeted. General Manager Ken Flower said that the business's financial position fell below 25% of what it was but it did survive and has regrown steadily. Monitoring the business's financial capacity and responding pre-emptively was key to survival.

Watch Ken's Story or Read Ken's Story

Discover more about this project, including the stories of all twelve local businesses on our website.

Students Flock to Shearing School

Our hands-on introductory shearing school is helping to give Tamworth district youth a set of skills that are desperately sought after in our wool industry and could easily result in a six-figure pay packet, according to industry professionals.

This week a historic shearing shed will serve as a classroom for 25 year nine and ten students from Peel High School, Oxley High School, Quirindi High School, Carinya Christian School and Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School. The agriculture students put their hands up to get some free basic training in shearing and wool handling. The Wool Works Shearing School is an initiative of Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI) that is addressing a skill shortage by introducing high school students to wool industry skills.

“We are in contact with the stakeholders, the woolgrowers and the shearers. The industry is so desperate for shearers that some farms around the country have had shearing delayed by months. Young agriculture-focused students need the skills that will make them valuable to rural employers. Wool Works is a win-win,” said RDANI Chair Russell Stewart. “It might be three days away from school but this not a cruisy bludge, it’s a hard slog. They’ll all roll up their sleeves and have a go.”

The Shearing school is very much hands-on. It is not just engaging education, it is intensive practical experience. We are fortunate to be able to utilise the facilities at the Tamworth Local Aboriginal Land Council’s Trelawney Station near Somerton. It is an ideal venue with fantastic accommodation and catering facilities.

RDANI co-ordinates the Wool Works Shearing Schools but we could not do it alone. The collaborations that make them possible are a big part of their success. Training Services NSW has funded this week’s three-day course. We have valued support from TAFE NSW, North West Local Land Services (LLS) Australian Wool Innovation and the Tamworth Local Aboriginal Land Council. The sheep have been arranged by Thomas Foods International. Most important will be the expertise and experience of veteran shearers and wool handlers.

Our trainers convey a great deal in a matter of days, due to the practical approaches taken in our shearing schools. Students will learn about shearing, crutching, wool handling, animal husbandry and biosecurity. LLS North-West District Vet Heidi Austin will give a presentation from a technical perspective.

The Wool Works Shearing Schools are increasingly popular among high school agriculture students and their teachers. Another one is already locked in for Term Three at Trelawney Station, while others are possible around our Northern Inland region.

Further information about our Shearing School programme is available on our website. Interested schools can contact our office to register their interest at rdani@rdani.org.au or on 6771 0700.

Connecting Skilled Migrants

Through our Skilled Migration program, we support migrants with a range of skills addressing the skill shortages affecting the economic growth of our local businesses and communities.

To help Skilled Migrants in our region connect with RDA-NI and each other, we are hosting a free informal meet and greet for skilled migrants and their families. Any skilled migrant in our region, whether you have been here for a while or just arrived, is welcome to come along.

“We use our Skilled Migration Settlement Support and Jobs Board Facebook Groups to provide support, and these are very successful. It will be great to have our Skilled Migrant community connect in person. Now that the COVID-19 restrictions are over, we have many skilled migrants from overseas now arriving in our region, and we look forward to welcoming them.” said Senior Skilled Migration Project Officer, Gary Fry.

“It is important that we help our skilled migrants connect so they can share their experiences and learn from each other. While the adoption of our online communities is fantastic, nothing beats the connections made by meeting face-to-face, and we are planning to have more of these gatherings around the region in the future.”

Event details are as follows:

Date: Sunday the 9th of July

Time: Starts at 2pm for approximately 1.5 hours

Location: C3 Church, 204 Duri Road, Tamworth

Registration is free for all Skilled Migrants and their families, and attendees are welcome to bring a plate to share for afternoon tea.

Gunnedah Housing Strategy To Guide Residential Growth

Gunnedah Shire Council adopted their Local Housing Strategy this week, which will provide direction for housing in the Shire for the next 20 years. The Strategy will help to guide future residential growth in the Shire, facilitate an increase in the supply of innovative and affordable housing options and provide clear guidance for Council in providing sustainable housing options.

Gunnedah Shire Mayor Jamie Chaffey said the document sets a direction for future residential planning proposals that align with the Strategy’s vision for the future.

The Strategy includes five key directions, accompanied by 15 strategies and 32 actions for Council to implement and encourage housing diversity and choice, and increase affordability in meeting the needs of its future population. They are:

  • Direction 1: Deliver greater housing diversity to suit changing needs
  • Direction 2: Support healthy, safe, socially engaged and well-connected communities
  • Direction 3: Strengthen community resilience
  • Direction 4: Provide great places to live
  • Direction 5: Deliver well-planned rural residential development.

Specific actions include considering incentives for affordable housing, encouraging secondary dwellings as an alternative affordable housing option in all residential zones, investigating public land for conversion to housing in partnership with housing providers, and investigating Curlewis for the potential for more residential land.

Cr Chaffey said the Strategy includes a study of the urban areas of Gunnedah, and to some extent the villages, and identifies opportunities for an additional projected 580 dwellings over the next 20 years to 2041.

“In the current climate, housing is at the forefront of many people’s minds as it is a key factor in employment. It’s imperative there is available housing in the Shire so we can fill our local workforce shortage which covers a wide variety of sectors,” he said. “This Strategy lays out the pathway for Gunnedah to step into the future. It will be a vital tool to help Council plan ahead for the inevitable expansion of our progressive and growing Shire.”

Council’s Team Leader of Building and Strategic Projects Blake O’Mullane said the Strategy had since been updated to include the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2021 Census data to ensure the data reflected the current and most accurate information for the Shire.

“The Strategy is the most comprehensive strategic analysis of housing development in the Gunnedah Shire and also assesses more current and likely future implications for the Gunnedah community from development demands and public infrastructure changes," he said. “It will help to inform the way Council approaches planning, zoning and development decisions.”

Gunnedah Shire Council’s Local Housing Strategy is available on their website.

Narrabri Shire Youth Council Seeking New Members

Established to provide a platform for input into youth-focused programs and the opportunity for professional leadership and development, the Narrabri Shire Youth Council provides a voice for young people in the Shire. The role of the Narrabri Shire Youth Council is to identify gaps in services, work with the Youth Interagency to run annual Youth Week activities and provide feedback on ways to enhance engagement and address youth issues across the Narrabri Shire LGA through regular contact with council staff.

Narrabri Shire Council Council is seeking expressions of interest from those interested in sitting on the Narrabri Shire Youth Council. Youth Council membership is open to young people between 14 and 24 years of age residing in the Narrabri Shire. Applications are sought from diverse locations, backgrounds and life experiences.

Applications must be completed by close of business Monday, the 24th of July 2023 and delivered to the Council’s Administration Building in person, to 46-48 Maitland Street, Narrabri or by emailing the application to council@narrabri.nsw.gov.au

Anyone with questions regarding this application can contact Narrabri Shire Council’s Community Development Coordinator on 02 6799 6866.

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.


Growing Regions Program – Round 1
Opens: 5th of July 2023
Closes: 1st of August 2023 - 5:00 pm
Value: $500,000 to $15 Million
Run By: Australian Government Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts

The Growing Regions Program – Round 1 will deliver grants up to a maximum of $15,000,000 over 3 years to deliver community infrastructure projects. It will deliver community and economic benefits by investing in community-focused infrastructure which revitalises regions and enhances amenity and liveability throughout regional Australia.

The intended outcomes of the program are:

  • delivery of community-focused infrastructure which contributes to local and regional priorities
  • provision of infrastructure which benefits the community by improving equity and supports diverse social inclusion
  • to contribute to the achievement of broader Government priorities such as net zero emissions, gender equity, and/or First Nations priorities
  • growing local economies and enhancing amenity and liveability in the regions.

Growing Regions Program Round 1 will be delivered through a two-stage selection process. You must first submit an Expression of Interest at Stage 1 and if successful, you will be invited to submit a full application at Stage 2.


Stronger Together Grants Program - Project Grants
Closes: 7th of July 2023 - 3:00 pm
Value: $20,000 to $40,000
Run By: Multicultural NSW

The Multicultural NSW Stronger Together Grants Program aims to support multicultural projects across NSW. They invest in community projects and activities that foster community harmony and celebrate cultural diversity as a precious part of our identity and way of life.

The program funds projects that can make a lasting positive impact on social cohesion and meet a community need at the grassroots level.


Young Carer Bursary - 2024
Opens: 18th of July 2023
Closes: 12th of September 2023
Value: Up to $3,768
Run By: Young Carers Network

The Young Carer Bursary Program supports young carers to continue with their education and reduce their need to undertake paid work at the same time as their study and caring duties.
The program offers 1592 bursaries of $3,768 each year to assist with education needs and resources.

To apply you must be a young carer:

  • aged 12 to 25 years old for the entire time you’re receiving the bursary
  • studying an approved course in Australia within a recognised Australian institution, either full-time or part-time
  • in high school
  • TAFE or a registered training organisation (RTO) studying towards higher vocational education and training (VET) qualifications
  • at university, up to and including your first undergraduate degree
  • an Australian citizen residing in Australia
  • not receiving another scholarship


NSW Football Legacy Fund - Participation Projects - Round 2
Closes: 7th of July 2023 - 1:00 pm
Value: $2,500 to $15,000
Run By: NSW Government Office of Sport

The Fund aims to improve football facilities and support infrastructure, increase participation opportunities, and improve female player pathways. These improvements will create a tournament legacy ensuring all of NSW is positively impacted from hosting the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The Fund will support football at all levels through the construction or upgrade of community facilities, participation initiatives, leadership and development programs as well as tourism and international engagement.

The NSW Football Legacy Fund has two separate funding streams, Infrastructure and Participation, and each stream has its own guidelines that define the eligibility, assessment criteria and key dates.

A total of $560,000 (Ex GST) is available in Round 2 for participation projects. The Fund can be used to support increased football participation and leadership programs. Priority will be given to projects that demonstrate how the project will contribute to greater gender equity in football or the applicant organisation.



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