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June 2021 Newsletter

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In this Issue

Welcome from the Chair

Russell Stewart - Chair

Dear Northern Inlanders,

It is hard to believe that we’re already halfway through 2021! How time flies when you are kept busy. June has been an eventful month, with another successful Wool Works Shearing School held in Glen Innes, the RDA National Forum in Canberra, and the Inland Rail Conference.

I was pleased to be invited as a guest speaker at the Inland Rail Conference in Albury this month. The Inland Rail is a once-in-a-lifetime project, and along with the Special Activation Precincts in Narrabri and Moree, provides our region with a unique opportunity to grow our local economies, create jobs and help our communities prosper. I encourage our businesses and industries to think outside the box and take advantage of this fantastic opportunity.

Being part of an RDA Committee provides a brilliant opportunity to give back to your region. I encourage anyone who is a proactive member of their community and is interested in growing our region’s economy to apply to be a member of our Committee. Applications are closing soon, and further details are available below.


Russell Stewart

Local Students Gain Valuable Skills

Another successful Wool Works Shearing School was held earlier this month, attended by 21 high school students from Inverell, Guyra and Glen Innes. In the five years since we held the first school, this innovative program has continued to prosper and is gaining national attention.

Held at the Glen Innes Agricultural Research and Advisory Station, the program provides students with an introduction to shearing and wool handling skills, which are in short supply in our region. Over the three-day course, students gain relevant hands-on and personal skills that enhance their career paths and demonstrate their value to our communities.

This latest school was made possible by financial support provided by the NSW Government through the Stronger Country Communities Fund. So it was fitting that students had the opportunity to talk to our Chair, Russell Stewart, and the Member for Northern Tablelands, Adam Marshall.

The next school is planned for September and is open to all schools in the Northern Inland region, with minimal cost for students to attend. Interested high school teachers or students are encouraged to contact our office by email at rdani@rdani.org.au

Feedback Sought From RDA Stakeholders

The Regional Development Australia (RDA) program is a national network of 52 RDA  committees across Australia. Each Committee comprises of local leaders who work with all levels of Government, business, and community groups to support their designated region's economic development and jobs growth and inform government policy-making.

As the funding provider of the RDA program, the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications is seeking feedback from stakeholders. The feedback received will be used to build upon what RDA Committees are doing well and drive improvements in the program.

The survey should only take a few minutes to complete, and is open until Wednesday the 30th of June.

Are You a Proactive Community Member?

RDA Committee members are an active contributor to the outcomes of a diverse group of individuals working in a complex environment to deliver high value outcomes for the state or community and region. Members are an active supporter of creating jobs and regional growth.

They are expected to leverage existing networks and develop new networks across industry sectors. RDA Committee members are required to support the Chair to attract opportunities and investment to their region. They must be knowledgeable about the economic, social, cultural and environmental opportunities and challenges facing their region; be well connected and a strong advocate for the region; and draw their regional communities together to build and drive economic growth.

RDA Committee members work as an effective member of the RDA Committee toward a common goal or strategy, and drive projects that target specific areas of economic development for the region. They actively support committee governance and management processes.

Women, people from Indigenous and diverse cultural backgrounds and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

An information pack and application form are available on through our website and applications can be lodged to rdani@rdani.org.au by 5pm on the 16th of July.

Inspiration Found at RDA National Conference

Earlier this month our Deputy Chair, Ian Lobsey and Committee member Lou Gall attended the RDA National Conference in Canberra. This annual conference brings together RDA Committees and Federal and State Government representatives to share and workshop ideas and experiences. It also offers a unique opportunity to hear from and network with Federal and State Government representatives.

The conference was a valuable opportunity for RDANI Deputy Chair, Ian Lobsey. “It was a very busy three days. There were 65 presentations, both in-person and online. Some were very informative.” he said. “Attendees were given the opportunity to catch up with MPs at a reception at Parliament House. It was a very worthwhile conference and a great opportunity for networking with old friends and making new contacts.”

This year’s theme was ‘Growing Stronger Regions Together’, which focused on regionalisation, the role of infrastructure and financing, growing economic future, data to build the business case, and vertically integrated policy-making. Copies of the PowerPoint slides from the nine sessions are available on the national RDA website.

RDANI Committee member Lou Gall, found the opportunity to network with Government representatives invaluable. “The RDA National Conference in Canberra was a great opportunity for Northern Inland committee members to talk directly with representatives from federal departments of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, Education, Skills and Employment and Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.” she said. “Our discussions enabled us to articulate the issues that are critical to the development of our region. We were also able to get useful information which we can utilise to support grant applications in the region and to help us attract people and business to become a part of our region.”

Skilled Migration Update

A big congratulations to the more than 200 skilled migrants in our region who received a nomination under the Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa (491) program this year!

Applications for sponsorship from our region are now closed for the financial year, and we anticipate that the program will re-open for applications in August.

When the program re-opens, we expect that applicants will be required to be currently employed in their nominated or closely related occupation and settled in our region to be eligible.

As defined by the Department of Home Affairs, a closely related occupation falls within one unit group classified under ANZCO. These unit groups are identified by the first four digits of the ANZCO code for the occupation. So, for example, if you are applying as an accountant (general) (ANZCO Code 221111), you will not be eligible for support if you are working in aged care (ANZCO Code 254412) as the first four digits of these occupations are different. However, working as a Taxation Accountant (ANCO Code 221113) would be acceptable, as the first four digits are the same, indicating they are the same unit group.

If you plan to apply to us for a 491 Visa nomination and are not already employed in our region in your occupation or a closely related occupation, the best thing you can do is gain appropriate employment. Please note that you should not move into our region unless it is okay to do so under the current COVID-19 restrictions and adhere to any applicable self-isolation periods. Details about COVID-19 restrictions are available on the NSW Government website.

We will provide any updates for 491 visa sponsorship on our Facebook page and in this newsletter as they come to hand.

Input Needed For New Data Hub

The Federal Government is developing a new central, online source of data for regional specific data and is seeking input about what should be included. This data hub will provide a publicly available and searchable site that will make it easier to find the relevant data while also addressing gaps in data relating to rural and regional Australia. The types of data to be included will be based on the feedback received through this consultation, but Government proposes to focus on economic, social and demographic themes.

“High-quality data and research are critical in making strong evidence-based decisions,” said Member for Parkes, and Former Minister for Regional Communications, Mark Coulton. “The Regional Data Hub will provide an enduring source of information that helps community users, all tiers of Government and others to serve the interests of their communities. The design and content of the Regional Data Hub will put user needs first.”

Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories, the Hon Nola Marino MP, said it is important we understand the data needed to support the best possible outcomes for our regions over the long term. “This consultation process will ensure the Regional Data Hub provides high-quality outputs to support regional data users, including community members, local leaders, researchers, industry and all levels of Government. I encourage everyone with an interest to make a submission,” she said.

Input on the new data hub can be provided via a 20-minute survey or a submission responding to the consultation paper, both of which are available on the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications website. This public consultation will close at 5pm AEST on Friday the 2nd of July.

Copeton Dam Foreshores Upgrade Now Open

The $5.7M upgrade to the Copeton Dam tourist park near Inverell is now complete and officially opened by Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall and Mayor Paul Harmon this month.

The project included installing new campground facilities, a communal hall with panoramic views of the dam, barbeque areas, fitness equipment and children’s play areas. Measuring 440 meters long, the dam now also features the longest boat-ramp in the southern hemisphere, allowing it to be used irrespective of the dam level.

We worked closely with Inverell Shire Council to develop the application for the project under the NSW Government’s Regional Growth Environment and Tourism Fund in early 2019. Our analysis showed that along with the benefits to the Inverell community, the project would provide a significant benefit to Inverell’s economy. The new upgrades and facilities will increase the number of visitors by over 20,000 visitors in the first year, an increase of 29%. This increase in visitors will create an additional $6.65 million of additional turnover for Inverell businesses and create 25 new full-time jobs in the shire.

“Today the spillway of potential has opened and the true economic benefit of Copeton Dam is ready to flood businesses in the Inverell district,” said Member for Northern Tablelands, Adam Marshall. “Not since the dam was built in the late 1960s has there been this level of significant investment in facilities at Copeton Dam. “ he said. “Of the many major projects that have been delivered in the Inverell Shire over the past five years, I feel it is this redevelopment which will provide the most enjoyment and long-term economic prosperity for the area.”

Cr Harmon said along with its trophy Murray Cod, the completed Copeton Dam Northern Foreshore would secure Inverell as a powerhouse for tourism in northern NSW.  “In the six months since camping resumed at the park bookings have increased steadily, with the powered sites regularly booked out. While Inverell welcomes the additional $4 million that will flow into local businesses each year from increased visitation, the financial benefit of through-traffic will also be felt in surrounding communities like Bundarra, Bingara and Warialda.”

“Our region has been crying out for more holiday destinations which are close to home, affordable for families and accessible to people of all abilities. The Northern Foreshore Upgrade aims to do just that by widening the demographic of visitors who can access the iconic facility.” he said.

Videos showing the works performed at the site are available on the Inverell Shire Council’s YouTube Channel.

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.


Regional Tourism Activation Fund
Closes: 11th of August 2021
Value: $50,000 to $5 Million
Run By: NSW Government Department of Regional NSW

The NSW Government’s Regional Tourism Activation Fund supports the development of unique and high impact tourism and events infrastructure that helps to boost local economies, create jobs and ensure visitors to regional NSW have unforgettable experiences that encourage repeat visitation.

The fund will operate two streams:

Stream One: Unique and high impact visitor experiences
Grants between $200,000 and $5 million are available for projects that create unique and high impact visitor experiences for people visiting regional NSW and encourage more people to plan and book holidays in regional areas.

Stream Two: Visitor accessibility and inclusion enhancements
Grants between $50,000 and $500,000 are available for projects that improve accessibility and inclusion at unique and high impact tourism destinations and visitor experiences.


Country Passenger Transport Infrastructure Grants Scheme
Opens: 1st of July 2021
Closes: 30th of September 2021
Value: Up to $11,500
Run By: Transport for NSW

This fund provides subsidies to support the construction or upgrade of bus stop infrastructure (generally owned and maintained by local councils) across country NSW. The Scheme aims to maximise benefits to country passengers through supporting:

  • more accessible passenger transport, focusing on better connections between bus stops and surrounding communities
  • an increase in the use of passenger transport in country areas through improved awareness of bus stop locations, kerbside information and improved security (e.g. tactile ground indicators and lighting)
  • the development of minor infrastructure  to complement passenger service development

All Local Government Areas in the Northern Inland are eligible to apply.


Schools Plus - Smart Giving
Opens: 12th of July 2021 - 9:00 am
Closes: 20th of August 2021
Value: Up to $60,000
Run By: Schools Plus

Through the Smart Giving program, schools have an opportunity to design and deliver projects that explore innovative, creative and progressive approaches in education. To enable schools to do this, Schools Plus matches schools with  donors to provide funding for projects which can bring about transformational change.

A smart giving grant provides schools with: funding of up to $30,000 for individual schools or $60,000 for clusters of 4-10 schools and strategic support to help with project design, implementation and evaluation.

Projects run for 12 – 18 months and to be eligible to apply, schools must have an ICSEA value below 1000.


CSIRO Kick-Start
Closes: Ongoing
Value: Up to $50,000 matched funding

CSIRO Kick-Start is a new initiative for innovative Australian start-ups and small SMEs, providing funding support and access to CSIRO’s research expertise and capabilities to help grow and develop their business.

The program offers eligible businesses access to undertake the following research activities with CSIRO:

  • Research into a new idea with commercial potential.
  • Development of a novel or improved product or process.
  • Test a novel product or material developed by the company.
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