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January 2013 Newsletter

In This Issue:

Happy New Year From The Chair

Mal Peters, Chair

Dear Northern Inlanders,

May I take this opportunity to say Happy New Year and I hope you enjoyed some well-earned rest with friends and family over the break. At RDANI, we’re looking forward to conquering some of the more serious barriers to regional development, including the condition of local roads, the rising cost of electricity for homes and businesses, and skill shortages across many sectors.

Our committee will sit down to evaluate RDA Fund Round 3 & 4 applications in early February with outcomes of the EOIs to be known from February 13th. We look forward to some runs on the board in early 2013 from the good mix of submissions we received.

I wish you all the best for a successful 2013.

Mal Peters, Chair

RDA Committee Member Application Period Extended

The Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport has extended the call for community volunteers with vision, drive and integrity to join the Regional Development Australia (RDA) network in New South Wales to Wednesday 30 January 2013.

Individuals with community, industry or local government experience who are able to represent the broad interests of the Northern Inland region, understand local challenges and achieve results are encouraged to apply.

Women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people with diverse cultural backgrounds, people with disabilities and people from across every age group are encouraged to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI). All EOIs will be considered against the skills and expertise needed by the Northern Inland Committee.

The RDA Northern Inland Committee is especially seeking EOIs from people who have strong business acumen with hands-on experience as well as demonstrated innovative capacity. Expertise and knowledge relating to our key regional challenges such as delivery of health and education as well as improving infrastructure and growing local businesses will also be held in high regard.

Appointments will be made by the Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government, the Hon Simon Crean MP and New South Wales Deputy Premier, Mr Andrew Stoner.

EOIs are encouraged by Wednesday 30 January 2013.

Further information, including an EOI form and information booklet, can be found at www.rda.gov.au or by contacting 1800 505 938 (Mon–Fri 9am-5pm AEDST) or rdaeoi@regional.gov.au.

SMART Farm For A Smarter Future

RDA Northern Inland (New South Wales) received funding from the New South Wales Government Department of Trade and Investment to employ Alun Davies as the National Broadband Network (NBN) community coordinator.

Over the last 18 months, Mr Davies has been working in conjunction with the University of New England to create spatially-enabled tools and techniques that underpin Sustainable, Manageable and Accessible Rural Technologies (SMART), or SMART Farming.

SMART Farming is the ability to remotely monitor, evaluate and manage a farm’s operations from a computer. A SMART Farm is a network of soil, plant, weather, animal, machinery and asset sensors, streaming intelligence into the command centre at the farmhouse via information service providers located anywhere in Australia. The future of SMART Farming has the potential to provide enormous gains around inputs and productivity.

SMART Farming techniques will enable farmers to increase crop and pasture yields through better targeting of water and fertiliser inputs and management. The technology will also give farmers the ability to increase livestock production through improved animal management and increased pasture utilisation.
SMART Farming also offers the means to achieve improved environmental outcomes through highly efficient use of resources. The spatially-enabled technology gives the farmer the ability to monitor water use and the farm’s carbon footprint.
The NBN will take SMART Farming into a whole new level. SMART Farmers will be capable of accessing the best, external, operational support informed by contemporary data exported from distributed networks of soil, plant, livestock, machinery and environmental sensors.
It is anticipated that SMART Farmers will create new, regional market opportunities around data management, remote servicing, agronomy, noxious weed management, occupational safety, teaching, learning and technology development.

Mr Davies said, “The Northern Inland region is full of businesses and industries that cater for the technological age. RDA Northern Inland continues to tie these businesses with the University of New England and the on-going development of the SMART Farm.

“In the last two years alone there has been an increase of students in the Agriculture related subjects at the University of New England by 25 per cent. Students want to be involved in the future of farming and the SMART Farm offers this option,” Mr Davies concluded.

RDA Northern Inland in conjunction with the University of New England will be holding the Smart Farms—Smart Region conference in Armidale on 26—28 June 2013.

For more information about the Smart Farms—Smart Region conference, visit the University of New England’s website.

For more information about SMART Farming, visit the University of New England’s website.

Regional Action Plans released by NSW Government

The NSW Regional Action Plans were released just before Christmas and focus on immediate actions the NSW Government will take to improve outcomes in each region.

The New England North West Regional Action Plan focuses on growing and diversifying the economy, investing in regional and local infrastructure and improving education pathways for young people to provide a skilled workforce to support the growing economy. The communities of the region identified a vision which includes:

  • A strong and diverse economy, with the growth of existing and emerging industries, supported by education and training opportunities to provide people with the skills that industry needs
  • A highly skilled and competitive workforce, with educational opportunities for local communities, Aboriginal people, young people and the disadvantaged to increase job prospects
  • Effective land use planning and management, balancing the needs of the community, industry and natural environment to meet growing population needs
  • A well connected region supported by regional infrastructure, to enhance accessibility for residents and facilitate the movement of freight to support industries for growth.
  • Strong, safe and healthy communities with access to quality services, such as health, housing and policing. 

Government Ministers and local Members of Parliament consulted with local government and communities to develop the 19 Regional Action Plans aligned to the NSW 2021 plan. During extensive consultation the key themes raised across the State were transport, economic growth and local jobs, and land use planning to protect both the local environment and prime agricultural land.

The actions in each plan represent the NSW Government’s initial response to the priorities raised by communities. These two year plans will complement longer term strategies for the region and the whole of State, to deliver improvements the community expects. Delivery of the Regional Action Plans will be driven locally by Regional Ministers, supported by new cross-government leadership frameworks.

Visit www.2021.nsw.gov.au/regions to download a copy of the Plan.

Talking About Depression And Anxiety With Children

Australian mental health professionals are encouraging parents with depression or anxiety to talk with their children about their illness with a free DVD to help get them started.

"Depression and anxiety affects the whole family. Children will notice changes in their parent but won't necessarily understand and that's why it's important to talk about it with them," said Mr Phil Robinson, Chair of the Australian Infant Child Adolescent and Mental Health Association.

The new DVD, Family Focus, is now available to help parents talk about their depression and anxiety with their family.

"Family Focus is a huge step forward in mental health prevention. When parents talk openly about mental illness with their children, they are much more resilient to developing mental health problems themselves," said Mr Robinson.

Federal Minster for Mental Health Mark Butler said it's estimated that over a million children live in families where a parent has depression or anxiety.

"Up to 23 per cent of children live in a household where mental illness is experienced and these children face some unique challenges," Mr Butler said.

"We know that these children are at greater risk of developing a mental health or substance abuse issues."
Associate Professor Michael Baigent, psychiatrist and Board Director of beyondblue said: "A dilemma many parents face is deciding whether to talk about their experiences of depression and anxiety with their children; and if so, what they should say.

"Family Focus highlights the importance of talking about mental illness with children and helps parents start the conversation.

"This DVD is the first Australian resource of its kind that helps parents communicate with their children about their mental illness", Associate Professor Baigent said.

Family Focus was developed in collaboration with Australian psychiatrists, psychologists, mental health nurses, occupational therapists, social workers and researchers, and Australian parents and children with lived experience of parental depression/anxiety.

"Family Focus is a resource that has been tested to improve outcomes for children and families where a parent has depression or anxiety," said Mr Robinson.

Family Focus was developed by the COPMI, (Children of Parents with a Mental Illness) national initiative which is funded by the Australian Government.

With beyondblue support, 50,000 free copies of the DVD will be distributed and are available from www.familyfocusdvd.com.au or www.copmi.net.au/familyfocusdvd.

The Royal Flying Doctors Need Your Support

The Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia (RFDS) is one of the largest and most comprehensive aeromedical organisations in the world. Using the latest in aviation, medical and communications technology, it delivers extensive primary health care and 24-hour emergency service to those who live, work and travel throughout Australia.

Since its inception, the RFDS has applied the latest technology to deliver health services to the challenging environment of remote Australia, overcoming the tyranny of distance and the barriers of communication. Through the use of flight and other transport means, the utilisation of telephone, radio, satellite and web based communication technologies and the provision of high quality health services the RFDS strives to improve the health and wellbeing of those who live, work and travel in regional, rural and remote Australia.

The RFDS is a not-for-profit organisation. While supported by the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments, the RFDS relies heavily on fundraising and donations from the community to purchase and medically-equip its aircraft, and to finance other major capital initiatives. Today, the RFDS has a fleet of 60 aircraft operating from 21 bases located across the nation and provides medical assistance to over 270,000 people every year – that’s one every two minutes.

You can help the RFDS continute to supply it’s services through donations, fundraising and shopping at their online store, which are available at: http://supportus.flyingdoctor.org.au/

Flying Doctors 4 Education
The RFDS Education Program is a comprehensive look at the significant contribution the Royal Flying Doctor Service has made to Australia’s history, its relevance to us as Australians today and is a fun and interactive way to engage and interact with primary school students.

The RFDS Education Program was formed with the knowledge that the RFDS needs to build a new base of support if it is to survive generational change. We have developed a resource that focus’ on the key learning areas in the classroom, is multi-faceted, relevant to teachers, linked to the national curriculum and is fun for students to use.

Although the program is still being developed, the program reached 11% of Primary Schools in its first year by distributing curriculum resources, visiting schools with the aero medical simulator, delivering a functional and interactive website and provided professional learning for teachers.

Further information on this program can be found at: www.flyingdoctor4education.org.au

Australia Day Celebrations in the Northern Inland

A wide range of events are being held across our region to celebrate Australia Day on Saturday the 26th of January. Details for your local area are available through the links below.


Glen Innes



Gwydir Shire

Inverell Shire

Liverpool Plains

Moree Plains

Narrabri Shire

Tamworth Region



Walcha Shire

New Grants and Funding Opportunities

Australia International Cultural Council Grants Program
The Australia International Cultural Council (AICC) Grants Program invites expressions of interest for international arts and culture projects.  The program provides funding of up to $40,000 for Australian projects that support foreign and trade policy priorities and enhance understanding of Australia overseas in AICC priority regions and focus countries.

The priority regions, in order of priority, are:

  1. Asia
  2. South Pacific
  3. Middle East and Africa; and
  4. the Americas and Western Europe.


Favourable consideration will be given to projects in Indonesia, Vietnam and India to support the AICC Focus Country Program in these countries.

The Centre for Workplace Leadership
The Australian Government has committed $12 million for the creation of a Centre for Workplace Leadership.

The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations invites Proposals from organisations or consortia with the capacity and expertise to establish and administer the Centre.

The Centre will encourage higher performance and stronger leadership capability in Australian workplaces, in order to boost workplace level productivity and ensure Australian workers have quality jobs.

The core functions of the Centre will be

  • promoting and demonstrating quality leadership at work;
  • training and leadership development;
  • research; and
  • knowledge sharing.

Further informaiton on grants and funding opportunities are available in the Grants and Funding Opportunities area of our website.

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