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July 2013 Newsletter

In This Issue:

Welcome From The Chair

Dear Northern Inlanders,
July has been a good month for us in the region. The recent announcement of a $23 million Federal Government grant to establish a bio digester at Bindaree Beef in Inverell is an excellent example of how businesses and residents in the region need to think innovatively to reduce their cost of power.  Seven Northern Inland Councils will also receive $576,000 dollars to reduce power consumption by replacing street lights with energy efficient bulbs. RDA Northern Inland was pleased to be involved in the success of both projects.

On another note, don’t forget to enter the 2013 Northern Inland Innovation Awards. You can read more about this great event below.

All the best
Mal Peters, Chair

Seven Northern Inland Councils To Share $576,000 To Upgrade Street Lights

Ratepayers in Walcha, Armidale Dumaresq, Guyra, Inverell, Glen Innes Severn, Gwydir and Tenterfield Shires will save over $150,000 in annual electricity costs after a successful application to the Australian Government’s Community Energy Efficiency Program (CEEP) for an energy efficient street lighting project. The project was instigated by Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI) and seven Northern Inland local councils.

Executive Officer for RDANI, Nathan Axelsson said that the seven councils will receive $576,000 in Australian Government funding to upgrade their street lighting to energy efficient compact-fluorescent lights under the ‘Northern Lights-Enlightening the Community’ project. “Regional Development Australia Northern Inland was pleased to assist the councils by applying for the funds and will lead the project during its rollout.

“The reduction in power consumption of at least 930MWh per year represents a saving of over $150,000 per year in electricity and operating costs as well as nearly 1000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions,” Mr Axelsson said.

The Australian Government’s Community Energy Efficiency Program (CEEP) funds will be used to upgrade nearly 5000 street lights in the seven council areas. The entire project is valued at nearly $1 million with the local councils and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage contributing the remaining funds.

In addition, an Energy Efficiency Education Officer will be engaged for two years to assist councils and communities to improve energy efficiency and save on energy costs. The officer will particularly focus on cost-saving opportunities for local residents.

“On average, residents, businesses and organisations in the Northern Inland pay around 20 per cent more for electricity than the equivalent home or business in Sydney.  Anything smart we can do to reduce the cost of power for our communities is to be applauded and hopefully councils can redirect some of their savings through the CEEP Program back into the community”, said Mr Axelsson.

Installation of the new compact fluorescent bulbs will be conducted in conjunction with Essential Energy and is expected to be completed over the next 12 to 18 months.

Attracting Industry To The Northern Inland

The Northern Inland region holds a significant business advantage over metropolitan areas when it comes to the cost of industrial land and Regional Development Australia–Northern Inland (RDANI) is aiming to use this competitive advantage to attract new business investment to the region.

The cost of industrial land in Sydney is as high as $1,300 per square metre. In our region, it is more around $50-$200 per square metre.  This represents a significant incentive for new businesses to locate in our region, or to re-locate from metropolitan area.

With the help of the 13 Local Councils in the region, RDANI is collating extensive data on the availability, cost and location of vacant industrial land throughout the Northern Inland.  This will be published on the Come-On-Inland website www.comeoninland.com.au, a site designed to inform people about living, working and doing business in Northern Inland NSW.

The NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure are also developing an industrial and residential land monitoring process, which will help councils keep track of the supply and demand for land, and ensure timely release of land parcels to meet demand into the future.  The NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure and RDANI will collaborate and share data on their projects.

The project will complement RDANI’s Business Growth project, which is about helping existing businesses to expand in the region.  Other regions have found clusters have developed between existing businesses, and new ones attracted to the region due to the availability of affordable, serviced industrial land.  This has allowed for the sharing of staff and resources between businesses in the cluster, making them more profitable, and also allowing staff to remain employed in the region during times of economic downturn.

Innovative Entries Sought For Regional Awards

Businesses, public and not-for-profit organisations are being urged to start preparing their entries for the 2013 Regional Development Australia Northern Inland Innovation Awards now. Nominations close on Friday the 28th of September.

The annual awards program is an initiative of Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI), to recognise and showcase the region's innovations and innovative approaches. The awards also address the additional need for regional businesses to be innovative towards improving their competitive edge. The OECD recognises that a high level of innovation as one of the key components of regional economic development, so if you innovate, think outside the square, explore new directions or approaches, then RDANI wants to hear your story. We want to recognise and celebrate the uniqueness of local organisations or businesses and what sets them apart.

The importance of this awards program is again demonstrated by the caliber of generous sponsors it has attracted, which are: Regional Development Australia Northern Inland; AgriFood Skills Australia; AusIndustry; Enterprise Connect; ShareMarket College; West Visa; Telstra; and UNE Partnerships."

The Northern Inland Innovation Award Categories are:

  • Agriculture / Horticulture and associated services
  • Tourism / Leisure and Services
  • Professional and Retail services
  • Manufacturing and Engineering
  • Research and Education.

This year, the awards presentation night will take place in Tamworth on Friday the 8th of November.
For further information please contact the Regional Development Australia Northern Inland office on: 02 6771 2790 or go to the Award’s website: www.niia.com.au.

uneOpen Heralds New Era In Australian Higher Education

Business and deviance subject offerings are proving the most popular for the University of New England's new open online courseware initiative uneOpen, this month.

uneOpen heralds a new era for higher education in Australia, with open online courseware providing a pathway to a range of accredited undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications.

uneOpen is offering eight subjects, with more to be added in the coming months for the Trimester Three offering, which will start in October.

UNE Vice-Chancellor Jim Barber said uneOpen continues UNE's tradition of being at the forefront of online higher education sector in Australia.

"uneOpen is about meeting the community's growing appetite for free open online courseware while also giving people the opportunity to take their learning further," Professor Barber said.

“Making the decision to undertake more study can often be quite daunting with people weighing up the costs and time involved, and considering if they have the skills to undertake higher education.

“uneOpen takes that angst away. People can access and study real university subjects for free and without obligation. They will also have the option to access fee-for-service products such as tutorial assistance or a challenge exam, the latter opening up a pathway for them to have their study recognized towards an accredited qualification at UNE.

"This is the first time this alternative pathway to higher education is being offered in Australia and we are excited that it is UNE that is leading this innovation”, Professor Barber said.

To find out more information and to enrol go to www.uneopen.com

Do You Know A Tidy Towns Assessor?

Tidy Towns – Sustainable Communities are currently looking for Assessors. Assessing is a crucial part of the Tidy Towns program and requires people who have extensive life experience, are good face to face communicators and can produce well written reports. It is voluntary work however you’re reimbursed for out of pocket expenses by way of a meal, accommodation and travel allowance.

Assessors need to:

  • Be prepared to travel to regional NSW.
  • Undergo training based in Sydney on 17 & 18 of July, or make other arrangements with program staff.
  • Dedicate 2-5 full days to assessing regional NSW towns.
  • Submit all written reports in a timely manner no later than Monday, 9 September. This will require time AFTER the assessing is complete.
  • Knowledge / experience one of the following areas is vital; community engagement, water conservation, energy efficiency, wildlife conservation, waste management / minimization and cultural heritage.

To find out more, visit http://kab.org.au/tidy-towns/.

Heywire Competition 2013 – Enter Now!

This is your chance to be part of something big.

The HEYWIRE competition is now open to people aged 16 - 22, to submit a story about life in Australia outside the major cities.

Your story can be created in any form of media: text, video, photography or audio. And if you are selected as one of our winners (roughly 40) your story will be featured on ABC Local Radio, ABC Radio National, ABC TV and abc.net.au.

And you'll also score an all-expenses-paid trip to the Heywire Regional Youth Summit in Canberra in February 2014.

The Heywire Summit is a chance for the participants to develop outstanding ideas and proposals that will create change in their local communities.

Entries are open now for the 2013 Heywire competition and entries close on Monday, September 16. Further details are available on the ABC website, www.abc.net.au/heywire/.

What’s On In The Northern Inland

Tuesday 20th to Thursday 22nd of August

The giant field days are staged over three days in August in Gunnedah, New South Wales, Australia. It attracts over 100,000 visitors, the largest visitation of any rural field day in the country.

Since it started in 1973, Commonwealth Bank AgQuip has provided professionals on the land with comprehensive access to the latest machinery, equipment and services available to Australian primary industry. It has developed a reputation over the last three decades as the nation’s premier agri-showcase with over 3,000 companies represented on site.

And each year, participating companies use the field days as a launching pad for new products and services, in the process using unique opportunities offered by AgQuip to make direct contact with their customers.

Commonwealth Bank AgQuip has established itself as an integral part of our nation's rural and agricultural marketing scene, as it continues to play a vital role in the commercial operation of thousands of farms in Australia and offers a meeting place for industry and government.

Commonwealth Bank AgQuip is not only acknowledged as the largest agricultural and rural market place in Australia but it’s one of the biggest in the world.

Further information is available on their website, www.farmonline.com.au/events/agquip/

New Grants and Funding Opportunities

2013 Tourism Industry Regional Development Fund Grants
Applications Close:  7th of August 2013

The Minister Assisting on Tourism, Senator the Hon Don Farrell has launched Round 2 of the Tourism Industry Regional Development Fund (TIRF) Grants Program.

The competitive merit-based TIRF Grants Program offers grants from $50,000–$250,000 (GST exclusive) on a matched dollar-for-dollar funding basis, to assist tourism operators increase the quality and range of visitor experiences in regional Australia. Funding of approximately $9.6 million is available for eligible projects, with approximately 50 projects expected to be funded in this round.

For further information please go to www.ret.gov.au/tourism/business/tirf/Pages/index.aspx

Youth Development and Support Program

Applications Close: 23rd of August 2013

The Australian Government established the YDSP to provide funding for development opportunities for young people in Australia. $500,000 will be available in the 2013-14 YDSP funding round to fund initiatives that inspire and encourage young people to engage with government and their community, and help them develop skills and connections within their communities.

This year YDSP will focus funding on projects under the theme ‘Building a safe and supportive culture’. Applications should demonstrate how the Projects will develop Young People’s skills to engage in positive non-violent/non-bullying behaviours in their community.

Further details are available at www.youth.gov.au/sites/youth/news/pages/ydsprogram_010410

2013 Commonwealth HACC Funding Round

Applications Close: 2nd of September 2013

The Commonwealth Home and Community Care (HACC) Program provides funding for basic maintenance, care and support services for older people and their carers, who live in the community and whose capacity for independent living is at risk, or who are at risk of premature or inappropriate admission to long term residential care. Older people are people aged 65 years and over and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 years and over. The Department of Health and Ageing is seeking applications from organisations who are interested in enhancing, expanding or establishing new service delivery under the Commonwealth HACC Program. The grant application round is now open, with $281.2 million available for provision of services in early 2014 until 30 June 2015.

Further information is available on the Department of Health and Ageing website, www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/grantDoHA0031314

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

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