In This Issue:
Welcome From The Chair
Dear Northern Inlanders,
Welcome to another edition of our newsletter. The release of the NSW Department of Planning’s population projections for our region paint some interesting scenarios and we encourage you to read our report below. We know that the source of regional economic growth will come from a growing population and the growth of businesses, but are we growing in the right way? The projections suggest that perhaps we aren’t and emphasise the need to provide meaningful and diverse employment opportunities for our young people such that they see a future without having to go elsewhere.
There’s also a need for governments at all levels to provide the necessary infrastructure, amenity and environment that encourages people to move to and/or remain in our communities and we look forward to seeing some projects and initiatives materialise in the coming months that will contribute to these critical factors.
All the Best,
Mal Peters, Chair
Northern Inland Population Projections
The NSW Department of Planning and Environment has published population projections, looking at the Northern Inland region, 20 years into the future.
The figures suggest mixed fortunes in population change for the 13 Local Government Areas in Northern Inland NSW.
While the region’s population is predicted to grow about 8% from 182,600 to 197,200 people by 2031, this growth is not evenly shared.
Armidale Dumaresq (25.8% growth), Tamworth Regional (16.3% growth) and Inverell (12.2% growth) do well in the forecast. However several local government areas are projected to lose population, notably Gwydir (-17.7%), Moree Plains (-16.3%) and Walcha (-12.5%).
The Departments figures are said to be based on historical birth and death rates, along with in and out migration rates modified to reflect economic circumstances and other trends in each local government area, as identified through local community consultations. Obviously, predicting in and out migration is a somewhat inexact exercise, as it requires predicting future economic fortunes and the impact of trends such as the tree-change phenomenon.
RDANI Senior Project Officer, David Thompson highlighted that “one disturbing trend is the increasing Dependency Ratio for the region. This ratio measures the number of dependent (non-working age) people in the population per working age person.”
The dependency ratio is predicted to steadily increase from 0.61 to 0.77 over the next 20 years, meaning that the proportion of non-working aged people is increasing. The Department of Planning figures show this is not due to an increase in young non-working people (age 0-14 years) which is expected to remain fairly static at around 37,000, but rather due to more older (65+) non-working age people.
The population in the 65+ age group is projected to rise from 31,000 to 48,000. “This has implications for resources in health and aged care, and for the availability of employees as it might be expected many of these people have retired from the workforce,” Mr Thompson said.
“On the other hand, with a rising pension age policy, perhaps this creates opportunities to bring more older-aged workers back into the workforce, or retain them for longer. Indeed, this may be necessary for our regional employers, as the figures also suggest the working age population (ages 15-64) may actually decline slightly from 113,000 to 111,000 by 2031.”
“Regional economic development fundamentally hinges upon growing businesses, and this usually means access to more employees. If they can’t be found inside the region, they will have to be sourced externally.”
The population projection figures can be found here: www.planning.nsw.gov.au/en-au/deliveringhomes/populationandhouseholdprojections/data.aspx
Skilled Migration Update
recent Federal Government Budget included the removal of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s Outreach Network.
This Network has comprised three facets, all providing assistance with Immigration complexities from within the Department. All such roles cease on 30 June, 2014.
Regional Outreach Officers (ROOs) have operated from departmental offices and provide information about skilled migration recruitment to regional employers, state/territory governments and regional authorities, including the local Regional Certifying Body, Regional Development Australia Northern Inland.
These Departmental Officers have been a greatly valued source of information and assistance for the Northern Inland region. They have visited and conducted seminars on a regular basis. Being just a phone call away, they represented an effort to redress an inequity in regional areas.
“The Outreach Officers have been real people, taking a real (and prompt) interest in helping to resolve issues. I would like to express our appreciation for the aid they have provided this region,” RDANI Project Officer, Gary Fry said.
“It is unfortunate that this avenue of assistance for regional skilled migration needs has been removed as regional employers are often overwhelmed by the Immigration website (www.immi.gov.au)”.
The Outreach Network included Industry Outreach Officers (IOOs), who were out-posted to industry to provide information about how to use immigration options to address skill shortages.
The third facet of the Network were Union Outreach Officers (UOOs). They were out-posted to unions and provided information about the obligations of employers who sponsor temporary skilled workers and the rights of sponsored employees.
Regional and Industry Outreach Officers not only provided information seminars in the region and allowed for individual consultations when visiting, they also attended AgQuip in Gunnedah, increasing awareness of the skilled migration option in the agricultural sector, where recruitment can be extremely difficult and face-to-face interaction is preferred.
The Department is also considering the removal of Regional Certifying Bodies, such as Regional Development Australia Northern Inland, from the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme.
“Our feedback is that local employers have greatly appreciated that there is a local organisation in the region, able to explain the process. The fact that we provide the Immigration Department with local-level advice regarding an employer which is applying to nominate a skilled worker from overseas is entirely appropriate and maintains the integrity of the program,” Mr Fry said.
Could Your Business Do Business With Governments?
RDANI Northern Inland Executive Officer, Nathan Axelsson is urging businesses in the region to look into Federal, State and Local Government tender opportunities.
“It is important that this region’s business sector gets its fair share of government contracts. It is really up to our local business people to be proactive and learn about prospective opportunities, including those in the public sector.”
“The first step is to sign up to the NSW and Federal Government’s online E-Tendering systems. These will generate email notifications of relevant opportunities.”
Register for NSW tendering/contract notifications at: https://tenders.nsw.gov.au/?event=public.home and for Australian Government notifications at: https://www.tenders.gov.au/?event=public.registereduser.new
“I also urge local businesses to go online and research Federal Government opportunities.”
“From your local council to the Department of Defence, government departments and their contracting needs can be diverse and significant. If your business provides a professional service or produces products, these links could be a whole new market, or a chance to broaden your access to public sector contract offers both inside and outside the region,” Mr Axelsson said.
Australian Jobs Information
Labour Market Research and Analysis Branch of the Department of Employment has now released its annual Australian Jobs publication.
Australian Jobs 2014 includes information about the labour market for industries and occupations, as well as states, territories and regions of Australia. It also provides forward-looking occupational and industry information that will help readers understand where the jobs will be in the future.
The report is available on the Deparment's website: http://docs.employment.gov.au/documents/australian-jobs-2014-publication
Requests for copies should be sent to AustralianJobs@employment.gov.au.
Apprentices and their employers in the Northern Inland region are encouraged to look into State Government Scholarship opportunities. Local first-year apprentices who are experiencing financial hardship can apply for a $15,000 scholarship from the NSW Government.
There are 40 scholarships in the $2.4million program, each worth $15,000 over three years, for beginning apprentices who have demonstrated financial hardship in completing their qualification,” he said.
To get the program going, scholarships are also being offered to 40 second year and 40 third year apprentices, worth $5000 for each year of study remaining. In total, 120 new scholarships will be awarded this year, at a total value of $600,000.
These scholarships are in addition to the existing Country Apprentice Scholarships program, which supports up to 30 students each year to cover the additional costs that are faced by apprentices in rural and regional NSW.
For information, contact State Training Services Regional Centres on 13 28 11 and at www.training.nsw.gov.au.
What's On In The Northern Inland
Hats off to Country
Thursday 3rd – Sunday 6th July
Tamworth and Nundle
The Toyota Hats Off to Country Festival is a mid-year winter celebration of country music in Tamworth, Australia’s Country Music Capital, a cool contrast to the January Festival.
Over four huge days of non-stop entertainment from some of Australia’s finest country music talents.
For more information & the official Toyota Hats off To Country Program go to their website: http://hatsofftocountry.com
Saturday 5th to Sunday 6th of July
Nundle is also celebrating Hats Off to Country at The DAG Sheep Station – featuring Christmas in July lunch / dinner and dessert. Go along and enjoy the atmosphere, there will be 3 huge shows “Songwriters at the DAG” including a Christmas in July lunch / dinner and dessert. For times and pricing please go to: http://nundle.com.au/events/hat-s-off-to-country/
Singer Songwriter Retreat
Friday 4th to Tuesday 8th of July
Entries Open: Now
The DAG Sheep Station is proud to present the 2014 Singer Songwriters Retreat it has been designed to give established artists a place to meet and grow creatively. Whether you are looking to improve your songwriting, performance skills, creative flow or market presence, this retreat is for you.
The program allows artists to intimately work with prominent songwriters, and well known established artists and musicians. The retreat will focus on: songwriting, guitar playing, artist development, collaboration, stage presence and so much more! Anyone who wants to further express their talents and hone their skills will greatly benefit from attending this amazing event.
Limited Spots Available. Entries close: TBA
If you would like more information please go to:
NAIDOC Week 2014
Sunday 6th to Friday 11th of July
A large range of events at many venues across Northern Inland NSW will feature among NAIDOC Week celebrations.
NAIDOC originally stood for ‘National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee’. NAIDOC Week now broadly celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities but by Australians from all walks of life. The week is a great opportunity to participate in a range of activities and to support your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
For more information about NAIDOC Week, go to: www.naidoc.org.au
The Australian Wool Fashion Awards
Friday 18th of July
The Australian Wool Fashion Awards have become a major Wool Industry event designed to showcase the use of Merino wool by national and international fashion designers and students. The competition’s main aim is to educate and encourage young designers in the wonderful qualities of wool. Secondary school students through to tertiary fashion students are entived to use the many versatile wool and wool belnd fabrics to create their entires, however entries are open to all ages.
The closing date for entries is the 5th of July, and you can find out more about entering and attending the awards night on their website: www.australianwoolfashion.com/index.html.
Boarding Schools Expo
Friday 25th to Saturday 26th of July
The Boarding Schools Expo takes the time and stress out of finding the right school to meet your family’s needs. By bringing the leading schools to major centres in regional NSW and Victoria where they are all under one roof, the Expo gives your family the chance to discuss your educational needs directly with representatives of the school.
Schools taking part in the Expo showcase the exceptional opportunities they have to offer, including full-time and weekly boarding, high academic standards, access to modern technology, a caring and supporting academic and boarding environment and a wide range of co-curricular activities.
Admission is free and further information is available at: http://boardingexpo.com.au/about-our-expos/#sthash.GOCFw6mD.dpuf
Christmas in July
Saturday 26th July, 2014
Experience Christmas in July in the cool mountain climate of Hanging Rock; elevation 1,100 metres.
The event will be held in the Hanging Rock Community Hall, starting at 6.30pm.
A Three-course dinner
Live music and dancing
Lucky door prizes
Raffles and competitions
Tickets $40 – tables seat eight. Tickets must be pre-purchased, as no tickets will be given at the door.
If you would like more information please go to: http://nundle.com.au/events/christmas-in-july/
Featured Grants and Funding Opportunities
NIB Foundation Community Grants
Applications close 27th of June, 2014
nib foundation's Community Grant program aims to support locally-based initiatives which will make a positive difference to the health and wellbeing of Australian communities, with a focus on the health of young people, and carers. A Community Grant round is held each year and applications are accepted from eligible organisations across Australia. Funding of up to $50,000 will be provided to approximately 10 organisations to undertake projects that run for up to 12 months. Further information is available at: www.nibfoundation.com.au/Funding/
Community Building Partnership
Applications close 18th of July, 2014
The NSW Community Building Partnership program aims to provide improved community infrastructure for the people of NSW and encourage the enhancement of local community based activities that create more vibrant and inclusive communities. The program offers grants across the State at an individual State Electorate level for community infrastructure projects. Grants will be open to local councils and incorporated not-for-profit bodies such as charities, sporting, social and environmental groups. Projects are required to be completed before the 31 March 2016.
Further information is available on the Community Building Partnership website, www.communitybuildingpartnership.nsw.gov.au
Grants from the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal
Applications close 1 August, 2014
The Repair-Restore-Renew (RRR) grants program helps communities in Qld, NSW, VIC and TAS recover from the fires, floods and cyclones that affected communities during 2013. For further information, go to: www.frrr.org.au/grants/repair-restore-renew-2013
Rural Education Australia Program
Applications close 25th of August 2014
The Rural Education Australia Program, which is known as REAPing Rewards, is a national program targeting education. It supports locally-driven projects and programs that directly benefit children and youth (0-18 years) and their educators in rural and remote communities. Grants are up to $10,000.
Find out more on their website at: www.frrr.org.au/cb_pages/rural_education_australia_program_-_reaping_rewards.php
The 2015 Regional Arts Fund (RAF)
Applications close 14th of August, 2014
Applications are open for arts projects that will be taking place next year. Assistance available for this category will be from a minimum of $5,000 up to a maximum of $30,000. Funding is targeted at activities that will have long-term cultural, economic and social benefits for individuals and communities.
For further information, go to: http://regionalartsnsw.com.au/grants/raf/
Further informaiton on grants and funding opportunities are available in the Grants and Funding Opportunities area of the RDA-NI website.