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July 2012 Newsletter

In This Issue

Welcome From The Chair

Mal Peters, Chair

Dear Northern Inlanders,

Despite proving to be a mixed blessing for some growers, it’s good to see some winter rains keeping our agricultural sector on course for a great season. The vagaries of weather will always be a challenge.

Another challenge for business and industry across the region is the rising cost of electricity prices, with another 18% average rise from July 1. In August we will be hosting an Energy Forum in Armidale to explore opportunities to overcome this barrier that we see as one of the biggest impediments to economic development in the Northern Inland. You can read more about this initiative below.

Don’t forget also that the analog TV signal will be turned off in our region by November 28th. RDANI will be assisting residents and businesses to ensure no one is left behind.

Mal Peters, Chair

2011 Census Snapshot of our Region

The release of some 2011 Census data provides an insight into the socio-economic conditions of our Northern Inland region (Figure 1).

Following a decline between 2001 and 2004, our regional population has recovered during the past eight years to show an average increase of 0.8% or 1,514 people (Figure 2).

Tamworth led the way with a 1.7% population increase followed by Armidale (1.3%) and Inverell and Uralla (1.0%). Gwydir, Moree and Walcha had population decreases of 0.3-0.5%.

Census time-series data (Figure 3) demonstrates the ageing of our population, with a significant increase in the percentage of people in the 64+ years age categories. It also reveals a decline in the proportion of young people (ages 0-24) and a slight downward trend in the important working age group of people aged 25-64.

Figure 4 illustrates the changes in weekly household incomes over the past three Census periods. It is interesting to note the significant increase in the proportion of households earning weekly incomes in the $1,250+ range ($65,000 pa). This is due to expanded mining activity, a return to good farming conditions and the impact of inflation.

There has also been a reduction in the percentage of households earning less than $600 per week ($31,200 pa).

Other interesting statistics include:

  • The median mortgage repayment increased from $715/month (or $952/month in 2011 dollar terms) in 2001 to $1,300/month in 2011;
  • Median weekly rent increased from $100 (or $133 in 2011 dollars) to $175 between 2001 and 2011. This is still well below the NSW median of $300/week;
  • The average number of people in each household has declined slightly from 2.5 to 2.4;
  • The regions indigenous population has increased from 12,193 to 15,760, although a portion of this can be attributed to higher identification rates;
  • The number of people stating that they have ‘no religion’ has almost doubled to 25,345 since 2001;
  • There are 46,491 families in the region with an average of 1.9 children per family;
  • Each dwelling in the region has on average 1.8 motor vehicles;
  • 9.5% of people in the region had university or tertiary education (compared to 14.2% for NSW as a whole);
  • Median family weekly income in 2011 was $1,123, which is 31% below the NSW median income of $1,477.

‘Live.Train.Work’ Careers Expo

School students, school-leavers, tertiary students and their parents will have a unique opportunity to explore local training and career opportunities at the ‘Live.Train.Work’ Expo & Careers Forum to be held at UNE’s Lazenby Hall in Armidale on Thursday August 9th.

RDANI Executive Officer Nathan Axelsson said Information sessions will span a wide range of careers including; counselling, hospitality, law, media, marketing and communications, early childhood services, I.T, medicine, dental, optical, automotive, creative arts and design, science and primary industries, sport and recreation, vet and animal care, nursing and aged care, metals and engineering, community services, accounting and finance, transport and aviation as well as sessions on job seeking, how to write a CV, volunteering, casual work, gap year opportunities and applying for TAFE and UNE courses.

"Local employers, industry representatives and tertiary education providers will present across a wide range of contemporary industries and advise how attendees can find their chosen career path locally without feeling compelled to leave the region. The Northern Inland region offers diverse career opportunities,” said RDANI Executive Officer, Nathan Axelsson.

"This event will have something for everyone and is aimed at both parents and students alike. By promoting local training and career pathways, we have the opportunity to retain our youngest and brightest in the region as well as helping local organisations attract and retain the skilled staff they need to run an effective business,” Mr Axelsson said.

Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI), in conjunction with local partners including BEST Employment, TAFE, UNE, Jobs Australia, Speedie Staff Solutions, Armidale Business Chamber, EACH Youth Connections, Armidale Dumaresq Council, Community Mutual Group and many local businesses and employees are supporting the event. Careers Network Partnership Broker Program is helping to bring together the partners for this important event to address the lack of knowledge about training, education and career pathways across many local industry sectors.

Bookings are essential and further information can be found at www.rdani.org.au/projects/livetrainwork or by contacting Marg Baber on 0458 659 100. The careers forums will be held from 10am to 3pm on August 9th, with information sessions and stalls for the general public, parents and students between 3.30pm and 5.00pm. Bookings for information sessions after hours are essential to rdani@rdani.org.au.

Rising Energy Costs - the Sleeping Giant in Northern Inland NSW

Rising energy costs have been identified by the NSW State Government and Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI) as the biggest impediment to economic development in Northern Inland NSW and an August forum will be held in Armidale to explore opportunities for the region to remain competitive.

The forum will bring some of the State’s foremost industry and government experts on energy to the region to discuss available options and what actions the region should take to ensure the best direction is followed for our energy future requirements.

“This is all about making sure industries in our region have a comparative advantage in relation to energy costs and access to these energy supplies. The ‘do-nothing’ alternative would only ensure that local industries will leave the region or significantly reduce their demand for labour as they try to reduce costs,” said RDANI Chair Mal Peters.

NSW Legislative Council Member Scot MacDonald is highly supportive of the concept. “The forum is about ensuring the region's economic future with the best energy strategy. Northern Inland NSW needs a competitive energy source so we can maintain and grow business and industry in the region. With the huge increase in electricity costs, both the private sector and government service providers are now finding it a major part of their operating costs and cheaper options must be found,” Mr MacDonald said.

“Economic development and people’s livelihoods are at risk if competitive energy prices are not available and RDANI in conjunction with the State government is keen to ensure that our region maintains its current industries and services while seeking growth in business and industry for future generations,” RDANI Chair Mal Peters concluded.

The forum, to be held in Armidale in late-August, is aimed at key industry stakeholders who will shortly receive an invitation from RDANI and the NSW State Government to attend.

National Career Development Strategy Green Paper Open for Comment

Under the National Partnership Agreement on Youth Attainment and Transitions, the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations is developing a National Career Development Strategy, to help Australians build more productive and rewarding careers. This strategy aims to enable a more strategic approach to providing Australians with access to information and support in order to make informed decisions about their education, training and work.

To this end, a Green Paper outlining options for the National Career Development Strategy has been developed in guidance by a research project that included consultation with state and territory governments and key stakeholders.

Individuals and organisations are invited to comment on the Green Paper through an online submission process that will open at midday on Wednesday 27 June 2012 and close at 6:00 pm AEST on Wednesday 1 August 2012. A copy of the Green Paper and access to the submission process is available on the Department’s website,

NBN Co Discovery Truck to Visit our Region

NBN Co will be hosting free information sessions in their touring NBN Co Discovery Truck, which will be in Armidale, Inverell and Glen Innes in early August.

Anyone who is interested in the NBN and what it means for our future is invited to attend. Consultants will be there to answer your individual questions, and free 20 minute sessions will be held throughout the day. The sessions will focus on:

  • What the NBN is and why it is important for Australia's future;
  • How the NBN works and how it can benefit you;
  • What the equipment will look like when installed in your home or business, and
  • How you can prepare to connect to the NBN.

Private sessions for workgroups and students may be booked through their website, www.nbnco.com.au/demos, and can be tailored to inform people working in a range of industries including health, education, business and local government.

The NBN Co Discovery Truck will be at the following locations:

Thursday 2nd of August, 10am to 5pm
Turnham Car Park, corner Evans and Campbell Streets

Friday 3rd of August, 10am to 3pm
Visitor Information Centre Car Park, 82 Marsh St

Glen Innes
Monday, 6th of August, 10am to 5pm
Gum Tree Glen Car Park, Gum Tree Lane

A helping hand for the Digital TV Switchover

On Tuesday 27 November 2012, large areas of Northern NSW will switch off their analog TV signals and switch to digital-only free-to-air TV – and with just under five months to go, Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI) is encouraging people to get ready for digital TV.

RDANI is pleased to welcome Judi Sheedy and Alun Davies as the Digital Switchover Liaison Officers for the North West Slopes and Plains switchover area including the Tenterfield Local Government Area.
With funding from the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, RDA-NI are hosting dedicated Digital Switchover Liaison Officers who will work with local organisations and community groups to help people make a smooth transition to digital TV.

Our Digital Switchover Liaison Officers will provide local community support and digital switchover information to the region and will cover the area from Quirindi north to Moree and Armidale west to Wee Waa.

RDA-NI want to make sure that nobody is left behind in the switch to digital TV, so if you would like more information on the switchover in your area , please call the Digital Ready Information Line on toll free 1800 20 10 13, visit the Digital Ready website www.digitalready.gov.au or email us at digitaltv@rdani.org.au.

Haven’t Written a Will Yet? It’s Good Will Week!

Around 43 percent of Australians have not made a will, so if you have not made one yet, you are not alone! Whatever stage of life you are at, every adult should have an up-to-date and legally valid Will.

To make the process simple for those who do not have a will, or do not feel that they can afford one, NSW Trustee & Guardian branches regularly hold Wills Days. The Tamworth branch will be holding a special Saturday Wills Day on the 11th of August at the Tamworth Community Centre in Darling Street, as part of Good Will Week. It doesn’t cost anything to make or update your Will when you appoint NSW Trustee & Guardian as executor, as fees are charged on estate administration only. Further information is available on their website, www.makeyourwill.com.au/good-will-week.html.

What’s On in the Northern Inland

The Uralla Story Project
Saturday 28th of July, 4pm
McCrossins Mill, Uralla

Uralla Arts are hosting an information night to launch The Uralla Story Project, a program aimed to capture the community’s stories as a series of audio recordings to share and put away for the future, rather than being lost in time. All community members are encouraged to participate, as participants don’t have to be a story teller or an historian, as the stories will be recorded as conversations between community members. Further information is available on the Uralla Arts website, http://uralla-arts.com/uralla-story-project/

Eulah Creek Antique & Machinery Day
Sunday 5th August 2012 from 9am
Beulah Park (Eulah Creek Hall) Hall, Narrabri

Proudly presented by the Manilla Vintage Machinery Group, the Eulah Creek Anqique & Machinery Day is A family fun day out. The day includes, Working heavy horse demonstrations, Vintage working machinery, Small motors (& big ones too), Tractors, Vintage cars, Street rods, Blacksmithing, Historical displays & sheep shearing, Catering by the Eulah Creek Hall committee and Craft and children's entertainment. Further information including contacts and directions is available on the Narrabri Shire Tourism website, www.visitnarrabri.com.au/index.cfm?page_id=1122&page_name=Eulah%20Creek%20Machinery%20Day

Commonwealth Bank AgQuip Field Days
Tuesday 21st to Thursday 23rd of August
AgQuip site, 134 Blackjack Road, Gunnedah

Since the field days started in 1973, AgQuip has developed a reputation as the nation’s premier agri-showcase with over 3,000 companies represented, providing professionals on the land with comprehensive access to the latest machinery, equipment and services available to Australian primary industry. Attracting over 100,000 visitors, it has the largest visitation of any field days in Australia. Further details are available on the AgQuip website, www.farmonline.com.au/events/agquip/home.

New Grants and Funding Opportunities

Festivals Australia
Festivals Australia is the Australian Government’s program which funds Australian regional, remote and community festivals to present quality arts projects. It is designed to assist the festival to present new or special arts activities that they have not presented before and where they would be unable to do so without financial support.

Regional Health and Safety Community Grants
Gunnedah and Narrabri only for Northern Inland
The NSW Mine Safety Advisory Council (MSAC) Health and Safety Community Grants program offers grants of amounts up to $10,000 to schools and community groups for the best ideas for addressing health and/or safety issues in their local community.

AusAID Development Research Awards Scheme 2012 Funding Round
AusAID, the Australian Agency for International Development, manages the Australian Government’s official overseas aid program. The AusAID Development Research Awards Scheme (ADRAS) is a key component of the AusAID Research Strategy 2012-2016, the purpose of which is to improve the quality and effectiveness of Australian aid in developing countries. AusAID promotes fairness, transparency and value for money from our research investment including through the use of competitive mechanisms to fund research.

Further information on grants, funding opportunities and tenders is available on the RDA-NI website, as well as through GrantsLINK, business.gov.au's Grants & Assistance Finder and Communitiy Builders.

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