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General Newsletter - 30th of June 2022

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In this Issue

Welcome from the Chair

Russell Stewart - Chair

Dear Northern Inlanders,

The end of the financial year is a busy time for many businesses and those keen to submit their personal tax return hoping for a refund. With the new financial year on the horizon, the NSW Government has released their 2022-23 budget. I was pleased to see significant funding allocated for the Northern Inland, including significant infrastructure projects as listed below. Be sure to check out your local member's websites or get in contact with them to find out what is being funded in your electorate.

The first stage release of the 2021 Census data has provided some insight into how Australia is changing. Our country welcomed over a million new residents in the five years between 2017 to 2021. Now over half of Australians are either born overseas or have parents born overseas. Baby Boomers, who have been our largest generational group, are now almost outnumbered by Millennials. Millennials, aged 25 to 39, are upskilling and represent 40% of people attending vocational education.

As our demographics are changing, we must develop and pursue place-based innovative projects to meet the changing needs of our communities. Our Local Councils play an important role in our communities, and those proactively responding and adapting to the needs of their communities should be acknowledged. If you are aware of a project by your Local Council that deserves to be recognised, I encourage you to organise a nomination to be submitted to the National Awards for Local Government. It would be brilliant to see some of the work by our Councils awarded at this national level.

Being part of the RDA-NI Committee is a great way to make a positive contribution to our region. Our Committee and Staff are constantly working on new and unique projects and initiatives to help our region prosper. We are seeking applications from motivated people with diverse backgrounds and experiences who feel they can contribute positively to our region’s future. Applications for our Committee are closing soon, so if you are a proactive community member in the Northern Inland, we would like to hear from you.


Russell Stewart

Are You a Proactive Community Member?

We currently have a vacancy on our Committee and are seeking applications from anyone interested in being a productive part of our team. RDA Committee members are an active contributor to the outcomes of a diverse group of individuals working in a complex environment to deliver high value outcomes for the state or community and region. Members are an active supporter of creating jobs and regional growth.

They are expected to leverage existing networks and develop new networks across industry sectors. RDA Committee members are required to support the Chair to attract opportunities and investment to their region. They must be knowledgeable about the economic, social, cultural and environmental opportunities and challenges facing their region; be well connected and a strong advocate for the region; and draw their regional communities together to build and drive economic growth.

RDA Committee members work as an effective member of the RDA Committee toward a common goal or strategy, and drive projects that target specific areas of economic development for the region. They actively support committee governance and management processes.

Women, people from Indigenous and diverse cultural backgrounds and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply. An information pack and application form are available on through our website and applications can be lodged to rdani@rdani.org.au by 5pm Friday 15th July.

New Census Data Shines a Light on How Australia is Changing

On the 10th of August 2021, over 25.5 million contributed to the Australian Census, more than double the 12 million people who participated fifty years ago in 1971. There was a high level of participation, with 96% of dwellings responding, which provides a wealth of valuable data and insights into our population and how it is changing.

The first stage of data from the 2021 Census was released this week. This stage includes most topics for almost all geographic outputs for place of usual residence and enumeration.

Australia continues to become more diverse, with over one million residents arriving in Australia from 2017 to 2021. Over four out of every five of these arrivals were before the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than 50% of Australian residents were born overseas or have a parent born overseas.

Two-thirds of households own their home outright or with a mortgage, very similar to Censuses back to 1996. However, the proportion of households that own their home outright has dropped from 40 per cent in 1996 to 30 per cent in 2021. 91% of households reported having at least one vehicle, and more than half have two or more vehicles.

Baby Boomers (55-74 years old) and Millennials (25-39 years old) are the two largest generational groups in Australia. Each group has 5.4 million people, and Baby Boomers are the largest group with only 5,662 more people than Millennials. Baby Boomers were also the generation most likely to volunteer and provide unpaid assistance to others. Millennials are upskilling, representing 40% of people attending vocational education and 48% of people serving in the Australian Defence Force.

5.5 million families were also counted in the Census. Of these, 53% had children living with them, and 45% had children under the age of 15. 46.5% of Australians over the age of 15 were in a registered marriage, including 25,000 same-sex marriages. While over 1.8 million people were divorced, and over 600,000 are separated. For the first time, the Census recorded more than a million one-parent families, and four out of five of those parents were female.

Further details about the 2021 Census are available on the Census section Australian Bureau of Statistics website, including an overview of the key statistics in the ABS Snapshot of Australia.

The further two stages of data releases are scheduled for:

  • October 2022 - A smaller number of topics, including employment and location-based variables.
  • Early to mid 2023 – Complex topics that require additional processing such as distance to work, socio-economic indexes.

Funding For the Northern Inland in the NSW Budget

The NSW Government Budget for 2022-23 was announced last week and included a range of funding for regional areas and for the Northern Inland.

In the Regional NSW Budget Papers, the Hon. Matt Kean MP, NSW Treasurer states “The NSW Government stands ready to continue to support our regions overcome the challenges of today. However, we also believe in the immense capacity of regional New South Wales to help our State build a brighter tomorrow. Regional and rural communities have long formed the engine room of our State’s economy, and this Budget invests to help them drive New South Wales towards a more prosperous future.”

“By investing to ensure that families across our regional towns and cities enjoy a high quality of life, we can unlock economic growth right across regional New South Wales. Building better frontline services and delivering worldclass infrastructure will see the brightest minds and most exciting new businesses make the regions their home and underwrite the prosperity of their communities for decades to come.”

Key highlights in the Regional NSW Budget Papers include:

  • $3.5 billion in support of flood-affected communities
  • $1.3 billion in the community-boosting Regional Growth Fund
  • $835.6 to continue the delivery of a modern, new regional rail fleet
  • $2.4 billion investment over ten years to boost the rural and regional health workforce
  • $174 million to clear the current wait list for key worker housing
  • $6.5 billion for new and upgraded hospitals
  • $130 million to expand our mining industry to unearth and process minerals that will build the technologies for the future
  • $163.9 million to bolster biosecurity measures
  • $206.2 million for the Sustainable Farming Program to reward farmers who invest in best practice regenerative farming
  • $1.9 billion to roll out renewable energy infrastructure
  • $391.3 million for the Snowy Mountains Special Activation Precinct

Funding listed in the budget papers for the Northern Inland includes:


  • $14.6 million Banksia Unit at Tamworth Hospital.
  • $80.0 million Moree Hospital redevelopment.
  • $53.0 million Gunnedah Hospital redevelopment.
  • $50.0 million Glen Innes Hospital redevelopment (including $30.0 million of additional funding).


  • $20.8 million in 2022-23 to continue construction of the new Wee Waa High School, providing a modern and safe environment for students and staff.
  • $1.4 million in 2022-23 to complete TAFE NSW Shared Services Centre in Tamworth, a modern and fit-for-purpose vocational training centre that will also provide 60 new jobs.


  • $100.3 million to continue delivery of heavy vehicle pavement upgrades on the Newell Highway (state and federally funded).
  • $68.4 million for the planning and construction of overtaking lanes along the full length of the Newell Highway (state and federally funded), including in the North-West.
  • $227 million for Armidale-Kempsey Road.

Planning and Environment:

  • $27 million for Malpas Dam
  • $79.9 million in funding from the Commonwealth Government for the Northern Basin Toolkit for programs to support the Murray-Darling Basin including projects to support healthy rivers, aquatic life and fish-friendly screening.
  • $37.8 million for the Dungowan Dam project including construction of the pipeline between the dam and Tamworth.
  • $11.8 million to deliver new and upgraded quality homes for First Nations people through the Aboriginal Housing Office.

Regional NSW:

  • $193.9 million for the Moree Special Activation Precinct.
  • $5.0 million for the Chickpea Breeding Program.
  • $5.0 million to upgrade the Armidale and Guyra livestock selling centres.
  • $3.9 million to upgrade the recreation and commercial infrastructure at the Dumaresq Dam.
  • $866,964 to revitalise the Walcha State Park and surrounding precinct. Customer Service
  • $19.8 million for the Mission-Critical Emergency Services Messaging Program.

Further information about the 2022-23 NSW Budget is available on their website.

Speak Up and Be Counted in The Farm Census

Today is Farm Census Day, a once-a-year event when Local Land Services asks landholders how many livestock, including cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry, are on their property through Annual Land and Stock Returns. Even animals kept as pets are counted in the census.

The data collected will help build a more robust picture of NSW land use and livestock numbers. In addition, it provides information for when emergencies strike, such as disease and biosecurity threats, and in managing responses to flood and bushfire events.

Landholders should have recently received their Annual Land and Stock Return (ALSR) in the mail. If you have not received yours or have misplaced it, contact the Local Land Services customer service team on 1300 795 299.

The survey takes only a few minutes to complete and is due by the 31st of August. Landholders can provide their data electronically through the online submission portal, or by post using the mailed copy of the form. Even if you don’t own any livestock, it is still essential to complete the return, ticking ‘no’ to question one.

Further information about the ALSR, including how to submit your information and how the data is used, is available on the NSW Local Land Services website.

$261M Newell Highway Upgrade Will Boost Jobs and Economy

The most significant pavement upgrade of Australia’s busiest road freight corridor will commence with upgrades to the Newell Highway between Narrabri and Moree next month. These works are the first stage of the joint Australian and NSW Government’s $1.7 billion commitment to upgrading the Newell Highway.

The road works will improve driver safety, enhance road flood immunity, and journey reliability for motorists and freight operators. In addition, the project will reduce travel times, improve freight productivity and improve access along the highway and to the Moree Special Activation Precinct and Narrabri’s Northern NSW Inland Port.

The $261 million investment will include heavy-duty pavement upgrades to 27.3 kilometres of road along four priority sections between Narrabri and Moree.

Key features include:

  • Two new rest areas with toilets, lighting picnic shelter, rubbish bins and landscaping
  • Heavy-duty pavement to meet the existing and future freight needs
  • Widening the existing highway and constructing a new two-lane highway adjacent to the existing highway with 3.5m lanes, 2m shoulders, and 1m wide centreline
  • Providing new 1.5km long overtaking lanes in five locations
  • Construction of two new heavy vehicle rest areas in section 1
  • Upgrades to intersections and right-turning lanes
  • Improving access to private property and bus stop layouts
  • Upgrades of drainage structures

During construction, the project will support approximately 640 jobs, including 140 directly employed by the head contractor, Fulton Hogan. NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Sam Farraway said there would be a seamless transition of local employment opportunities.

“Fulton Hogan was successful in a competitive tender process to win the opportunity to lead construction and appointment of trades on the $261 million jointly funded project on the Newell Highway, set to start in coming weeks,” Mr Farraway said. “This is fantastic news for the local community as so many relationships and contacts are already in place following the completion last year of the nearby Mungle Back Creek to Boggabilla upgrade project which was also led by the company.”

“We are collaborating with industry and training providers to train up local people, to grow the local construction workforce and to leave a skills legacy that will endure far beyond the life of the upgrade program. Fulton Hogan also has a plan in place for mentor-style training to help welcome new participants into the industry and take full advantage of the work opportunities and to upskill for the future.”

Local Aboriginal senior Uncle Lloyd Munro, who works with many agencies in the Moree area, is eager to again work closely with Transport and Fulton Hogan. “I really value the relationships that our community have built with Transport and Fulton Hogan in the Moree area. They have ensured the young ones in our Aboriginal communities have excellent opportunities. It’s a double bonus – they get skilled up and then they stay in the region,” Uncle Lloyd said.

An Aboriginal Participation Plan has been developed for the project to meet the NSW Government’s requirements of at least 1.5 per cent of the contract value and the Australian Government’s target of 12 per cent of full-time positions to be undertaken by Indigenous employees.

Construction is expected to take three and half years, beginning in July 2022 and completion is scheduled for early 2026. Full details, including a community update with construction schedules, and diagrams of the planned work, are available on the Newell Highway Upgrade – Narrabri to Moree section Transport for NSW website.

Recognising Outstanding Achievements in Local Government

Now in their 36th year, the National Awards for Local Government celebrate the achievements and positive impact local governments have on their communities. These awards highlight creative and resourceful solutions by local governments to overcome barriers and improve community outcomes.

Nominations can be submitted for projects across eleven categories:

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

Previous award-winning entries range from the City of Melville’s (WA), Smart City, Smart Grid project that utilises real time data to improve efficiency and sustainability, to the Paroo Shire Council in Queensland’s collaboration with Cunnamulla police to help local youth develop life skills and remove employment barriers through the Blue Light Learner Driver program.

Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Territories Minister, Hon Kristy McBain MP is looking forward to learning about the outstanding projects that are taking place around Australia. “Recent years have been incredibly challenging for local governments who have been on the front-line delivering support in disaster recovery and throughout the pandemic. The National Awards for Local Government are a great opportunity to recognise those who are applying innovative and resourceful solutions to issues that matter to local communities.” she said.

Nominations are now open through the awards online application platform and close on Sunday the 3rd of August. Submissions include details on how the project meets the objectives of the chosen category in up to 350 words and five images. Local Councils may nominate for more than one category, and projects can be of any size, be completed, or be underway.

Voting will be open to the public for six weeks, from the 4th of August until the 14th of September, to allow community members to vote for projects they believe are outstanding a replicable across other regions.

Further details about the awards are available on the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications website.

Regional Location to Make Director's Course More Accessible

The Exchange is looking forward to bringing Australia’s leading organisation for directors, the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) and their 5 Day Company Directors Course to Dubbo from October 24-28th.

If you are a regionally based director, executive or manager who is seeking world-class and nationally recognised professional development, this is your opportunity to upskill along AICD’s pathway to Directorship. Normally requiring extensive travel and accommodation in a capital city, The Exchange believes people in regional Australia deserve a high-quality face-to-face delivery format of this world-class accredited training opportunity, close to home.

By bringing the AICD course to Dubbo, it is The Exchange’s goal to increase and contribute to the level of education in our region, increase the quality of board governance, and create long-lasting outcomes for regional people.

Places are filling up quickly, with only four places left. Further information, including how to secure your place, is available on The Exchange’s website or by contacting their Group Manager, Alex, by email at alex@yourexchange.co or on 0422 769 860.

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.



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