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July 2021 Newsletter

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In this Issue

Welcome from the Chair

Russell Stewart - Chair

Dear Northern Inlanders,

With the renewed spread of COVID-19 in the Greater Sydney area, we are once again facing difficult times. Although, thankfully, our region has not been impacted to the same extent, there are businesses in our region that are being affected. If your business is being affected, I encourage you to look into the range of business support programs announced by the NSW Government listed below and find out what you might be eligible for.

The recent Regional Movers Index by the Regional Australia Institute found that net regional migration rose by 66% for the March quarter compared to the prior year. The viability of living in regional areas is being recognised and provides a unique opportunity to help our communities prosper.

However, we will not attract and retain our populations without the appropriate health, education, and telecommunications infrastructure. I encourage anyone who is having difficulties with telecommunication issues to look at the issues paper for the Regional Telecommunications Review and provide feedback. This review is only conducted once every three years, and we need to make our voices heard so that we can put the necessary changes onto our Governments' agenda.


Russell Stewart

New Insights in the Regional Movers Index

The Regional Australia Institute (RAI) and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) have partnered together to develop the new Regional Movers Index, which allows for easy identification of population growth hotspots around Australia. This new tool will provide additional data to support decision making and planning for future growth.

“This new index enables the early identification of growth trends and flags emerging hotspots which may need fresh thinking on housing and infrastructure,” said RAI CEO Liz Richie. “The index tracks metro-movers down to a local government area and will report just one month after each quarter, compared with official data which is less detailed and has a reporting gap of four months.”

The Regional Movers Index utilises CBA data associated with relocations amongst its millions of customers. “We are proud to partner with the RAI on this innovative index. The inaugural results show the strength and appeal of regional Australia and the important role it plays in Australia’s economic recovery and growth,” said Grant Cairns from CBA.

The index shows that the number of people shifting from the nation’s capitals to the regions is at its highest level since 2018, rising seven percent in the March quarter from a year earlier. Most popular was the Gold Coast, attracting 11 per cent of all people who moved to a regional area from a capital city, followed by the Sunshine Coast, Greater Geelong, Wollongong, and Newcastle. Nearly all the net outflows from capital cities in the March quarter were from Sydney and Melbourne, accounting for 95.9% of the net outflows of people from capital cities.

“But it’s not just people in our major cities who are realising the opportunities and value provided by regional life. People already living in our regions are increasingly choosing to stay, rather than head for the bright city lights,” Liz Ritchie said. “The rise of remote working, sparked by the coronavirus pandemic, is allowing more people to live outside our capitals, and it’s no surprise that net regional migration rose 66 percent in the March quarter from a year earlier.”

The full Regional Movers Index report is available on the RAI website.

COVID Support for Businesses

The impact of the recent wave of COVID-19 cases and the associated lockdowns has not only impacted businesses in the Greater Sydney Region, but also regional areas. Businesses in the Northern Inland may be eligible for support under the range of supports that the NSW Government has announced.

Currently available and upcoming support programs include:

Payroll Tax Deferrals
Run By: NSW Government Department of Revenue
Businesses can opt in to defer payroll tax payments on the 2020-21 annual reconciliation return and tax payable on wages paid in July and August.

2021 Land Tax COVID-19 Relief
Run By: NSW Government Department of Revenue
Provides relief to commercial and residential landowners, who provide a reduction in rent to a tenant who is experiencing financial distress because of COVID-19.

COVID-19 Business Support – 2021
Value: $7,500 to $15,000 Dependent on decline in revenue
Run By: NSW Government
One-off support for business, sole trader or not-for-profit organisations in NSW that have been impacted by the recent COVID-19 restrictions.

COVID-19 Micro Business Grants
Value: Up to $1,500 per week
Run By: NSW Government
Support for micro businesses that have been impacted by the recent COVID-19 restrictions and stay-at-home orders.

Gaming Machine Tax Deferrals
Run By: NSW Government Department of Revenue
Businesses paying hotel or gaming taxes will be able to defer their taxes for the 2021-22 financial year.

Job Saver
Value: $1,000 to $10,000 per week
Run By: NSW Government
Supports businesses to maintain employment of staff for small and medium businesses impacted by the current health restrictions.

Payroll Tax Concessions
Details to be available by the end of August
Run By: NSW Government Department of Revenue
Businesses impacted by the recent COVID-19 restrictions may be eligible for Payroll Tax Concessions.

Residential Tenancy Support Payment
Value: Up to $1,500
Run By: NSW Fair Trading
Provides up to $1500 per tenancy agreement for landlords who agree to reduce the rent for COVID-19 impacted tenants.

Support for the Creative Arts Sector
Value: Calculated based on ticket price, number of tickets and a specified percentage
Run By: Create NSW
Tailored payments to non-profits, commercial theatres, and commercial music venues, to help with the cost of current productions

Regional Telecommunications Review is Underway

The Australian Government is seeking input from regional residents and business owners as part of the consultation for the 2021 Regional Telecommunications Review. The findings of this review, which is conducted every three years, helps to set the Australian Government’s agenda for regional communication in the coming years.

“Telecommunications is at the core of everything we do – from the way we interact socially, to the work we do, to using critical services like telehealth and education, accessing government information, and contacting emergency services,” said Luke Hartsuyker, Chair of the Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee.

The Committee will be providing a report card on the current state of regional communications and recommendations on how services in regional areas can be improved, including the use of new technologies.

As part of the Review, the Committee will consider:

  • The impact of Government policies and programs to improve regional connectivity and digital inclusion.
  • insights from COVID-19 on the changing digital needs of regional, rural, and remote areas.
  • Service reliability issues which impact regional communities and options for mitigating them.
  • The role of emerging technologies in delivering telecommunications services in regional Australia.
  • Ways of encouraging further investment in regional telecommunications.
  • The role of telecommunications in supporting broader regional development goals.
  • Ways to improve co-ordination between Government and industry in telecommunications investment.
  • Consumer awareness and education regarding telecommunications options in regional areas.

Public consultation will be open until the 30th of September, and submissions can be made in writing or at one of the scheduled events. However, no events are currently scheduled for the Northern Inland. Details on how to submit feedback and the issues paper are available on the Regional Telecommunications Review website.

Connecting Skilled Migrants and Employers

Although our Skilled Migration Program for 2021-22 is not expected to open for applications until early August, prospective applicants for our region are encouraged to utilise our Skilled Migration Jobs Board. This unique Facebook group facilitates connections between Skilled Migrants who want to work in the Northern Inland Region and employers looking for skilled workers.

Many employers are finding it difficult to fill positions with job vacancies in the Northern Inland at record levels. In turn, they are unable to grow and prosper, limiting the economic growth of our communities. Our Jobs board initiative is the only one of its kind in Australia and has successfully connected numerous Skilled Migrants and employers around the region. It provides an alternative for employers, especially those who have been advertising through traditional methods without success.

The Jobs Board is free for Skilled Migrants and employers to join. In addition, employers are encouraged to place job advertisements in the group, which is also free of charge. Further information about employing 489 and 491 visa holders is available on our website.

Innovation Districts Challenge to Focus on Entrepreneurship

Run as a partnership between the NSW Government, universities and the CSIRO, the Innovation Districts Challenges program provides seed funding to businesses to accelerate the commercialisation of research products that address the impacts of COVID-19. Round three of the program is now underway with a focus on research and development solutions that strengthen the entrepreneurship capability of NSW.

Projects in this round might:

  • Be scalable and research-based technology products or services
  • Help sectors pivot to high growth technology solutions
  • Strengthen Australia’s sovereign capability and local supply chains
  • Implement a sustainable and novel solution to an area in need of reform, such as aged care, food security
  • Address the workforce gap created by international closures (students, reduced migration)
  • Champion Indigenous entrepreneurs.

“We want to see inspired solutions that help realise our vision for a world-leading innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in NSW. The third challenge to business is to keep building our local strengths and global competitiveness.” said Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres. “The first two challenges have already seen $1 million invested in innovative ideas such as an artificial intelligence diagnosis platform for lung scans that helps improve COVID- 19 detection, a personal anti-viral filtration device and a simulation engine for logistics including rapid vaccine distribution.”

Each round awards a total funding pool of $500,000 for the state distributed based on the applicant's ranking:

  • • Highest ranked applicant $250,000
  • • Second-highest ranked applicant $100,000
  • • Third-highest ranked applicant $30,000

The highest-ranked applicant in each Innovation District that is not one of the state-wide overall recipients will be granted $10,000, as determined by the evaluation panel.

Expressions of interest for the Northern Inland should be submitted to the University of New England (UNE) as our local challenge partner. Applications close on the 24th of August, and further details, including how to apply, is available on UNE’s Innovation Districts COVID-19 R&D Challenges page.

Drones In Agriculture Workshops

With proper planning, set up and skills, operating drones on a farm can provide a wide range of benefits. Through funding from AgSkilled, and in partnership with NSW Farmers, Tocal College is offering a Drones in Agriculture Course.

Designed by farmers for farmers, this course will provide skills in the use of drones on their farms. The content will aid farmers in making informed decisions for crop and weed management by collecting data and monitoring the efficiency of water systems.

The course aims to develop skills and knowledge in:

  • safe and efficient operation of drones in an agricultural context
  • Australian laws relating to excluded category operation of drones and Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) regulations in agricultural settings
  • collecting and processing data to improve planning, productivity, water-use efficiency, and safety on your farm.

Participants that successfully complete the course and assessment items will be provided with a statement of attainment for:

  • AHCMOM311 - Operate precision control technology
  • AVIW0028 - Operate and manage remote pilot aircraft systems

There are four Drones in Agriculture courses currently scheduled in the Northern Inland:

  • Moree – 5th of October
  • Boggabri – 6th of October
  • Tamworth – 7th of October
  • Manilla – 22nd of November

The AgSkilled program offers a range of courses, including locations in the Northern Inland. A listing of upcoming events and courses is available on the AgSkilled website.

Featured Grants and Funding Opportunities

Below are some featured grants and funding opportunities from the multitude of open grants listed in our Grants and Funding Opportunities Database on 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 free Business and Infrastructure Funding Opportunities and the Community Grants and Award Programs newsletters through the simple form located in the footer of our website, www.rdani.org.au, to receive monthly summaries of current grants.


Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grants Program
Closes: 2nd of September 2021 - 5:00 pm
Value: $20,000 to $10 Million
Run By: National Recovery and Resilience Agency

The objective of this grant opportunity is to support the recovery efforts of communities in eligible Local Government Areas (LGAs) affected by the 2019-20 bushfires and enables them to apply for projects that address community recovery needs within their own timeframes. The Australian Government will directly fund successful applicants to conduct a range of projects designed to support the social and economic recovery, and restoration of the built environment in those communities.

A funding envelope has been allocated to each eligible LGA to ensure all LGAs have the opportunity to receive funding. Eligbible LGAs have been grouped into two categories, based on the impact of the bushfires on the LGA. If the project is located in multiple LGAs the amount of funding assigned to the LGA would be commensurate with the cost of activities being undertaken within the LGA.

For the Northern Inland, the following LGAs are eligible under the following categories:

Category 1 - A funding envelope of up to $4.5 Million per LGA:

  • Armidale
  • Glen Innes
  • Tenterfield

Category 2 - A funding evelope of up to $1.6 Million per LGA:

  • Gwydir
  • Inverell
  • Narrabri
  • Tamworth
  • Uralla
  • Walcha

AFL NSW/ACT School Grants
Closes: 8th of August 2021
Value: Unspecified

The AFL NSW/ACT School grants program has been established to provide support to local schools, teachers and school sport associations in having Australian Rules Football accessible to all students. The purpose of the program is to grow AFL participation, provide support to local schools and teachers, provide accessible opportunities for all students to participate and deliver events of excellence. Grants will be provided to successful schools and school sporting associations on an annual basis

Each year the AFL will open 6 grants categories which schools can apply for:

  • AFL Goal Posts - Half/full AFL goal post sets installed on local school grounds for match and recreational play.
  • AFL School Travel - Support to assist schools travel costs whilst attending AFL School Competitions.
  • AFL Equipment - Supports the purchase of footballs and other key resources to support AFL programs.
  • AFL Guernseysu - To assist schools purchase school AFL guernseys. For schools to be able to participate in local AFL School Competitions
  • AFL School Sport Association - Financial and resource support for School Sport Associations to deliver events and programs growing AFL participation.
  • AFL School Event - Supporting local schools deliver AFL programs and events.

Bin Trim Rebates Program
Closes: Ongoing
Value: $1,000 to $50,000
Run By: Environment Protection Authority

This program provides small to medium sized businesses with free waste assessments and rebates to help cover the costs of installing small-scale, on-site recycling equipment.

Rebates of between $1000 and $50,000 covering up to 50% of the capital cost of recycling equipment are available.Eligible equipment includes (but not limited to):

  • Cardboard and plastic balers
  • Expanded polystyrene compactors
  • Shredders
  • Source separation bins
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