In this Issue:
Welcome from the Chair
Dear Northern Inlanders,
Welcome back for another exciting new year. I hope you got plenty of quality time with friends and family over the break. This year is well and truly underway with the National Stronger Regions Fund Round 3 now open. You can read more about this below and we encourage eligible applicants to attend the information session or contact our office for any assistance. We have had great success with this grant program in the past and we hope to continue this trend. Don’t forget to support your local Australia day events and we look forward to working with you in 2016.
Russell Stewart, Chair
Free Information Sessions on the National Stronger Regions Fund – Round 3
Round three of the National Stronger Regions Fund opened on 15 January, 2016 and closes at 5pm on 15 March, 2016.
A free Information session is being conducted in Armidale by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.
To Register or for further information, click here or email email@example.com.
When: Thursday, 28 January 2016 from 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM
Where: Armidale City Bowling Club - 92-96 Dumaresq Street, Armidale
This Information Session will provide potential applicants and RDA Committees with:
information on key aspects of Round Three (including changes from Round Two),
a summary of Round Two outcomes, and
general advice on the assessment process and how to prepare a competitive application.
Attendees will also have an opportunity to ask questions of Departmental officers.
If you can't attend this session, you may wish to register for a teleconference on the 27, 28 or 29 January, 2016. Links to the teleconference registration are on the Department's website here. This website also provides a full list of Information Session venues and times and the NSRF Round Three Guidelines.
There are 17 such information sessions being held, nationally. The other two sessions in NSW are being held in Sydney and Dubbo.
Round 2 saw $293 million in Federal Government funds go to regional areas of Australia for project funding. Chair of Regional Development Australia Northern Inland Russell Stewart is urging Local Councils, not-for-profits and relevant public organisations to “help attract a fair share of Government funding to this region, where it can make a difference”.
In Round 2, Moree Plains Shire Council received $500,000 for a $1,000,000 upgrade to the Moree Regional Airport (MRA), particularly for new lighting to meet regulatory requirements.
Home-Grown Online Shopping Centre to Boost Business
Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI), with support from Local Councils and Chambers of Commerce, has launched the region’s biggest and most innovative online shopping centre. In a first nationally, Come On Shopping will be an online shopping centre experience for the region’s businesses and customers.
RDANI is a not-for-profit organisation and is delivering Come On Shopping as a cost-effective service, to help local businesses access online trading and help grow the region’s digital economy.
A 2013 report into businesses in the Digital Economy by Regional Development Australia Northern Inland found that 86% of businesses in the region do not sell to customers online in any capacity, while 56% have no e-commerce site or online strategy at all.
“The web is an obvious way regional businesses can combat the tyranny of distance, yet it has not been happening. We’ve been more web-shy than our city counterparts. Come On Shopping is our practical solution; a hassle-free option for local businesses to sell goods and services online” said RDANI Executive Officer, Nathan Axelsson. It’s unique because customers will be able to search and buy from multiple stores in one transaction, much like if they were walking around your town or city centre.”
Come On Shopping will allow a business to access an easy-to-use website with full online shopping cart functionality, from as little as $39 per month.
“Building a website can cost thousands of dollars. Come On Shopping will be just a few hundred a year and is a one-stop-shop for everything a business could want to sell online, cushioning them from the impacts of changing market conditions in a struggling regional economy,” RDANI Chair, Russell Stewart said.
Customers will be able to take advantage of delivery rates from $10-15 anywhere in the region, as well as a click-to-collect option, where they can collect goods in store.
The Come On Shopping initiative will help channel growth in the region. Any business looking to be involved or find out more can contact Tiffany on 1300 966 575 or go to www.comeonshopping.com.au
New Year Energy Saving Tips
Regional Development Australia Northern Inland has produced some great tools to help cut power bills, including About the Northern Lights Project and Tips for Households. Please watch the videos and share them with your networks.
These short videos explain what Regional Development Australia Northern Inland's Northern Lights Project has entailed and also include handy, simple energy efficiency tips.
The Northern Lights Project has also seen RDANI Energy Efficiency Education Officer, Peter Stanley using a purpose built interactive display to explain energy efficiency at events around the New England.
The education and promotion aspect of the Northern Lights Project has been in addition to the largest regional LED street lighting upgrade to be rolled in Australia to date. New energy efficient street lights have been installed by Essential Energy in the Local Government Areas of Walcha, Armidale Dumaresq, Tenterfield, Guyra, Gwydir, Inverell, and Glen Innes.
“The project has replaced around 5,000 mercury vapour, metal halide and compact fluorescent street lights with the latest LED technology. We anticipate this will collectively save 1,000 MW hours of energy and in excess of $200,000 per annum in electricity costs. We also expect the Local Councils involved will also see savings in reduced maintenance costs, due to the long life of the LEDs,” said RDANI Senior Project Officer, David Thompson.
Coordinated by RDANI, the Northern Lights project received funding from the Australian Government’s Department of Industry and Science and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.
Help Researchers to Understand Regional Innovation
Recently, we have been collaborating with the University of Tasmania in a Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) project to assist all levels of government to understand how to better support agriculture, innovation and entrepreneurship in Australia's regional economy. Initially we have helped by providing information and contacts for interviews.
However, it is also important that the project is able to gather practical information about the innovativeness of people and businesses in our region. Too often government assessments of regional innovativeness focus on patents etc which misses the many practical innovations that businesses undertake to improve their products, processes and profitability. The research team is keen to capture that to present an accurate picture of the strengths, weaknesses and constraints that are a reality for regional people.
So we invite you to participate in an on-line survey which will take you about 10 minutes to complete. We would appreciate you completing this within the next week. All input is anonymous and individuals will not be identifiable. To complete the survey, just copy and paste the following link into your internet browser address line: www.surveymonkey.com/r/9S9DWF6
You may find this survey a useful opportunity to benchmark your business against others so if you would like a summary of the findings, please request the findings summary by separate e-mail sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Your participation in this survey would be appreciated as we believe it will be an important contribution in assisting all levels of government in understanding the needs of regional Australia and agriculture in particular.
The Australian Government’s Rural Industry Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) has commissioned the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) and the Institute of Regional Development (IRD) to develop a practical and usable framework for recognising and strengthening the value of agriculture in regional development. This project will develop a Value Assessment and Development (VAD) framework and a toolkit of methods for identifying:
the different forms of value which agriculture contributes to local communities and regions;
the conditions in local regions which determine the current and future value of agriculture to those regions;
strategies for building the value of agriculture which are tailored to local regions and their specific conditions.
With input from people in rural and regional Australia, this project could our policy makers to be better informed about regional realities in regards to agriculture and innovation,” said RDANI Chair Russell Stewart.
Grants and Funding Opportunities
National Stronger Regions Fund
Applications for Round 3 Close 15th of March 2016
This programme commenced in 2015 and provides funding of $1 billion over 5 years to fund priority infrastructure in regional communities. Grants must be between $20,000 and $10 million. Local government and incorporated not-for-profit organisations are eligible to apply.
See http://investment.infrastructure.gov.au/funding/NSRF/ for more details.
State Government Art Scholarships
Applications Close: 1st of February 2016
Young artists are encouraged to apply for $10,000 scholarships under a major new State Government scheme to develop emerging artistic talent. The scholarship program includes 100 scholarship grants available valued at $10,000 each for rural and regional artists over the next four years.
The scholarship program aims to helps young regional artists aged between 18 and 25 develop their careers and connect with arts organisations and training opportunities.
The scholarships are available to fund activities including mentorships or internships, residencies, short-term courses and workshops, art related travel and the creation of new work.
The first 16 inaugural scholarships were awarded in August, and applications are open until 1 February 2016 for the remaining nine for 2015/16.
For more information or to apply, visit www.arts.nsw.gov.au
What’s On in the Northern Inland
Tamworth Country Music Festival
15th to 24th January, 2016
Tamworth (and surrounds)
Guyra Lamb and Potato Festival
The festival started on 13 January and concludes on 26 January, 2016.
Australia Day 2016
Get involved in your community and experience your local Australia Day activities.
Visit your local council’s website for details of your Australian Day activities. Enjoy the Aussie spirit, the family and community atmosphere, with local Australia Day Awards, citizenship ceremonies and activities such as tug-o-war and equally traditional refreshments, like watermelon.