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January 2019 Newsletter

In This Issue

Welcome from the Chair

Dear Northern Inlanders,

Welcome to a new year and the first edition of our newsletter for 2019. This is a special year for RDANI, as we celebrate our 10th birthday.

Late last year I was pleased to receive confirmation from the Australian Government for the re-appointment of our existing Committee members and our newest member Louise Gall of Moree. The wealth of knowledge and skills held by our Committee and Staff members attracted over $20 Million in grant funding to our region in 2018 and has brought us recognition as a high-achiever among the RDA Committees across the country.

With the recent commencement of the construction of the historic Inland Rail line connecting Melbourne to Brisbane, I am keen to see our local businesses take advantage of the opportunities it will bring to our region.


Russell Stewart

Recognition of RDA-NI’s Achievements

RDA – Northern Inland has been recognised as a high achiever among the 52 RDAs nationwide by the Australian Government, with the reward being the retention of our governing Committee for an extended term. Our position of strength as an organisation has enabled the expansion of our many services.

In 2018, we attracted more than $20 Million in grant funding to the Northern Inland Region. Through economic research and consulting services, together with our skilled migration projects, we are really making a difference to the region’s economies and communities. Importantly, we now are mostly self-funded. Our Federal Government funding has become a small proportion of our revenue.

Some of our counterparts have been impacted by funding cutbacks, as well as turnover of staff and Committee members. It is a real positive for the region that our strong performance has meant continuity on both fronts. Our staff are a cohesive, highly skilled and experienced team, with many years’ experience working with Councils, businesses and communities under their belt. Our Committee membership is secured until December 2020, which is fantastic because though we come from diverse backgrounds, when it comes to working towards a brighter future for our region, we are all on the same page.

The committee also welcomed the re-appointment of Cr. Ian Lobsey OAM as Deputy Chair, and the new appointment of Louise Gall of Moree, whose position was vacated by former Narrabri Shire resident Elizabeth Tomlinson. Louise has a wealth of regional marketing, facilitation and agribusiness experience both here and overseas. She is currently a Project Officer with the Gwydir Valley Irrigators Association. “I am delighted to be part of this pro-active organisation. I am passionate about seeing our regional livelihoods and lifestyles better appreciated and respected,” she said.

All of the RDANI Committee positions are voluntary and members share a passion and dedication to the region they call home. Over the coming months we will be featuring each of our Committee members in the newsletter, demonstrating the wealth of knowledge they are contributing to the future of our region.

Inland Rail Construction Commences

The Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack turned the ceremonial first sod for the Inland Rail alongside Australian Rail Track Corporation executives, the construction contractor INLink and other dignitaries at the site in Parkes. The Inland Rail will generate opportunities and benefits to the regions – 16,000 jobs during construction, 700 ongoing jobs once operational and $16 billion dollars to Australia’s economy. ARTC Chairman Warren Truss stated that with Inland Rail now in construction, the benefits and jobs are being realised today around the nation with Aussie steel from Whyalla, concrete sleepers being fabricated in the NSW Southern Highlands, ballast coming from Parkes and culverts produced in Tamworth.

The Melbourne to Brisbane Rail Alliance has welcomed the commencement of the construction of the Inland Rail as a historic milestone for Australia to meet its growing national freight task and develop an efficient supply chain. Chair of Melbourne to Brisbane Rail Alliance, Cr Sue Price of Moree Plains commends the Australian Government’s commitment of $9.3 billion for the ARTC to develop and construct the Inland Rail. She was also pleased that the private sector is also getting involved in this nation building project.

“The Inland Rail is the largest freight rail infrastructure project in Australia, contributing to the strength of our country”, said Cr Price. “The Inland Rail will provide unprecedented connection for regional Australia to domestic and international markets and transform the way we move our agricultural and other goods to market, linking regional farms and businesses to local and export opportunities. Commencement of this transformational freight infrastructure project is certainly encouraging and will benefit the country through improved reliability for freight transport, improved service standards and lower shipping costs.”

Further information about the Inland Rail project, including opportunities for local businesses can be found on the ARTC website.

Homes North Begins New Era in Region’s Social Housing

As 2019 begins, a new era in social housing is dawning in the New England North West region of NSW and a mail-out to all local social housing tenants has just been dispatched that requires their urgent attention. Local organisation Homes North is tripling its size in May 2019, when the NSW State Government hands over the tenancy management of about 1,700 social housing properties across the region. According to Homes North CEO Maree McKenzie, this will mean a new level of communication, responsiveness and opportunities for social housing tenants.

“We are very excited that Homes North’s social housing management scope is growing from about 1,000 properties to just under 3,000. We are part of the community in our region and we aim to ensure our residents also feel a sense of community here,” Ms McKenzie said.

“The information package that we have just mailed out advises residents about their tenancy changing from FACS to Homes North Community Housing,” she said.

One of the biggest changes explained in the mail-out, will be how rent is paid. However, as long as all of the required forms are completed and submitted, the out of pocket amount the tenant pays from their current income remains the same.

“As Homes North is a community housing provider, tenants are now eligible for Commonwealth Rent Assistance.  We will charge rent for what Commonwealth Rent Assistance tenants are entitled to. Basically, tenants will be charged a bit more rent but will get an allowance through Commonwealth Rent Assistance to cover that extra amount. This new system brings more Commonwealth funding into the social housing system in NSW,” Ms McKenzie said.

“The information pack we have sent out includes all important forms that tenants need to fill in and return to us. They are required to start Commonwealth Rent Assistance payments and to allow rent to be paid direct from Centrelink.  The support form will also allow Homes North to talk to tenants’ support providers, so we can better assist with any changes.” Ms McKenzie said.

“All of our tenants will have the information packs by the middle of January. Failing to complete the forms and get them back to us by the end of March 2019 will see them fall behind in their rent. Nobody want this to happen, so we are here to help.”

All of the staff at Homes North are looking forward to welcoming the new transfer tenants. “We see this as a wonderful opportunity for the region. It is a game-changer for social housing and regional NSW,” said Ms McKenzie. “We are a regionally based community housing provider, servicing communities in our region. We can tailor planning and management of social housing to the specific needs of our region. We have offices in Armidale, Glen Innes, Gunnedah, Inverell, Moree and Tamworth, which are staffed by locals and this is an economic positive for the region.”

Ms McKenzie said that our already strong relationships with community leaders will underpin the Homes North social housing approach. “Each community will have local social housing plans and the development of those will involve looking at what residents want or need, what are the vulnerabilities in our communities and how can social housing be improved in the context of specific towns,” she said.

The Homes North mail-out to social housing tenants included the details of six BBQ and information sessions:

  • Wee Waa, at Best Employment, 77B Rose St. 1-3pm on 21 January
  • Narrabri, at Narrabri Winanga-Li, 35 Hinds St. 9-11am on 22 January
  • Inverell, at Inverell Linking Together Centre, 16 Waratah Ave. 1-2:30pm on 29 January
  • Armidale, at the Uniting Church, 114 Rusden St. 10am-12pm on 4 February
  • Tamworth, at Coledale Community Centre, 2B Kenny Drive 9-11am on 5 February
  • Moree, at Moree PCYC, 359 Boston St. 9-11am on 6 February

Regular social media updates can be found on Homes North’s Facebook page, with updates on the mail out, drop-in sessions where tenants can meet Homes North staff and perhaps get help filling in the forms, plus more details about the door knock program closer to the date.More information is also on the website www.homesnorth.org.au via Frequently Asked Questions.

Communications Review Offers Recommendations for Digital Inclusion

Every three years the Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee examines how people in regional, rural and remote areas utilise their telecommunication services by holding 22 public sessions across the country, including Narrabri and Tamworth, and collecting over 380 submissions from a range of individuals and organisations. In the report, the Committee provides an analysis of the coverage achieved under the Mobile Black Spot Program, examine the extent of the existing gaps in mobile coverage and a series of recommendations on how to improve telecommunication services, and how regional communities can maximise the economic opportunities of digital technologies and services.

The 2018 report 2018 Regional Telecommunications Review: Getting it right out there that was tabled at parliament in December, puts forward 10 recommendations to improve access to telecommunications infrastructure, ensure modern and appropriate consumer protections and promote digital inclusion.

“Telecommunications touches every aspect of life for those living in regional, rural and remote Australia. This report is a vital check-up on the health of regional communications. Now more than ever it is critical that we get connectivity right in our regions,” said the Minister for Regional Services, Senator Bridget McKenzie.

The Government will respond to the Committee’s recommendations early this year and further information about the committee and the review process can be found on the Regional Telecommunications Review website.

New Study to Boost Freight Supply Chain Efficiencies

The Australian Government recently appointed iMOVE Australia to conduct a new study that will help drive efficiency improvements and cost reductions in the national freight and logistics supply chain. This analysis which will identify the data needed to improve operations, planning and investment decisions in the freight transport sector as well as evaluate the freight sector’s contribution to the national economy.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack welcomed the freight study, saying it will also help to guide Government and industry investment decisions and identify global examples of best practice.

The study will run until the end of this month and is currently inviting input from industry and others through the iMOVE website.

Featured Grants and Funding Opportunities

Below are some featured grants and funding opportunities from around 75 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.

Regional Employment Trials Program
Closing date: 30th of June 2020
Value: $7,500 to $200,000
Run By: Australian Government Department of Jobs and Small Business

The Northern Inland is one of only ten regions across Australia to be selected for the Regional Employment Trials Program. The Regional Employment Trials program provides local stakeholders in selected regions, including businesses, not-for-profits and local government agencies, with grants to trial local approaches to delivering employment related projects.

The objectives of the program are to deliver:

  • strong connections between regional stakeholders, including employment services providers
  • employment initiatives that meet local needs
  • improved awareness of local labour markets
  • the potential for improved regional employment outcomes

Grants are for between $7,500 and $200,000, for up to 75% of eligible project costs. Projects must be completed by 30 June 2020.

Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme
Closes: 30th of June 2021 or when the $12 Million funding allocation is exhausted
Value: Up to $25,000 per farm enterprise
Run By: NSW Government Department of Primary Indsutries, Rural Assistance Authority

Eligible Primary Producers can claim a rebate of 25% of the cost of purchase, delivery and if applicable, the labour cost to engage a person to install water infrastructure for animal welfare needs.

The On-Farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate scheme can be applied to costs incurred from 1st July 2018 for new purchases, and installation of pipes, water storages and water pumps, de-silting dams, and associated power supplies such as generators.

RAS Foundation Community Kitchen
Closes: 17th of February  2019
Value:  Kitchen cabinetry and appliances worth more than $20,000
Run By: Royal Agricultural Society of NSW Foundation

The Royal Agricultural Society of NSW Foundation (RASF) is giving rural and regional NSW community organisations the chance to receive kitchen cabinetry and appliances worth more than $20,000 to create a community kitchen.

In 2019 the RASF Community Kitchen Grant will be made up of benches and cabinetry, along with at least $10,000 worth of appliances and whitegoods. This includes a gas cooktop, oven, sink, microwave, dishwasher, refrigerator and freezer.  The appliances are used for cooking demonstrations in The Australian Women's Weekly Theatre Kitchen at the Sydney Royal Easter Show and are gifted as part of the Community Kitchen Grant at the close of the Easter Show.

The RAS Foundation invites rural and regional community organisations to apply and tell us how their community would benefit from a new kitchen. The successful applicant needs to demonstrate how a new kitchen will benefit their local community.

Tackling Tough Times Together
Rounds Close: 5th of February, 30th of April and 30th of August 2019
Value: Up to $150,000 depending on the stream applied for
Run By: Foundation fur Rural and Regional Renewal

The Tackling Tough Times Together grant program helps communities access the resources they need to support one another through the ongoing effects of the drought.

This program is designed to provide flexible funding to support community-based activities that both help to relieve current stressors and symptoms, and most importantly, build capacity and resilience for the future. Funds could also support activities that engage your local community in being proactive, exploring options and creating something that will stand the test of tough times.

What's On in the Northern Inland

Fantastic Family Entertainment
Tuesday 15th to Sunday 27th of January

Guyra Lamb and Potato Festival
Wednesday 16th to Sunday 27th of January

Summer School Holiday Program
Monday 7th to Friday 25th of January

Country Music Festival
Friday 18th to Sunday 27th of January

Australian Line Dance Championships
Saturday 19th to Wednesday 23rd of January

A Splashing Good Time!
Wednesday 23rd of January

Smart101: Finance for Startups
Wednesday 23rd of January
Glen Innes

Young Entrepreneurs Meet-Up
Wednesday 23rd of January

Smart101: Finance for Startups
Thursday 24th of January
Glen Innes

AusIndustry Funding Update
Wednesday 30th of January

AusIndustry Funding Update
Thursday 31st of January

Birthday with the Birds
Saturday 2nd of February

Uralla Show
Saturday 2nd of February

Australasian Society for Classical Studies Conference
Monday 4th to Thursday 7th of February 2019

What A Waste: The Challenge of Food Loss & Waste
Wednesday 6th of February

Cinema Under the Stars
Friday 8th of February

Tenterfield Show
Friday 8th to Saturday 9th of February

Cinema Under the Stars
Saturday 9th of February

Old Time and New Vogue Dance
Saturday 9th of February

Seniors Festival
Wednesday 13th to Sunday 24th of February

Glen Innes Show
Friday 15th to Sunday 17th of February
Glen Innes

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