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March 2013 Newsletter

In This Issue:

Welcome From The Chair

Mal Peters, Chair

Dear Northern Inlanders,

With the Easter break nearly upon us it is timely to reflect how many wonderful mini-break locations that the Northern Inland offers, not only for tourists but also for us locals when contemplating a break.  What a great time to entice friends and family to Come on Inland  and see first-hand what a relaxed, productive and great place to live our neck of the woods is.

Speaking of Come on Inland, a new RDANI social media initiative is about to launch, which I would encourage everyone receiving this eNewsletter to embrace. More details will be forthcoming in the next few weeks.

Don’t forgot to turn back the clocks on Sunday 7 April as daylight savings finishes for another year.

All the best

Mal Peters, Chair

Innovative Businesses Sought As Part Of 'New IQ' Workshops

8th and 9th of April

Businesses, public and not-for-profit organisations are being urged to start preparing their entries for the 6th annual Regional Development Australia Northern Inland Innovation Awards. Nominations close on Monday 2, September. As part of the lead-up, a series of innovation workshops will help the region’s businesses to brainstorm ideas.

The Innovation Awards are an initiative of Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI). The aim is to recognise and showcase the region's innovations and innovative approaches. According to RDANI Executive Officer, Nathan Axelsson, the awards also address the additional need for regional businesses to be innovative towards improving their competitive edge. “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," he said.

"Entering these awards not only puts your operation up for recognition at a regional level, it also helps to inspire others.”

RDANI has teamed up with the New England North West NSW Business Chamber's Digital Business and Development Executive Officer, Derek Tink, to deliver 'New IQ' Workshops.

"'New IQ' is about idea generation and implementation. We're really interested in new ideas that businesses have across the New England North West and taking those ideas to beneficial, practical applications. We hope to see representatives from all industries, the rapid changes occurring connected to the emerging digital economy means particular challenges for retail," he said.

'New IQ' workshops will commence in Inverell on Monday 8, April and Armidale on Tuesday 9, April. We'll roll the workshops out across the rest of the region in mid-May. Now is the time to think about how your business is innovative or how it can be, particularly through the National Broadband Network (NBN). The digitally economy can mean local business expansion goals can really be global."

"A lot of people these days are so busy working in their business, they don't have time to work on their business. New possibilities, inventions and innovation need to be explored, adopted and promoted - that is what these New IQ Workshops and the Northern Inland Innovation Awards are about."

Anyone interested in attending the free New IQ Workshops should contact Derek Tink on 0408 990 141.

A Review of Regional Development Australia Committee Regional Plans

In 2012, staff from the ABS reviewed the 55 regional plans prepared by the RDA committees. The purposes of this review were to understand the key issues facing RDA committees in urban, rural and remote areas of Australia and how those issues could be supported by data and analysis. The research paper summarises those issues, grouped in the following categories: economy, population, environment, society and infrastructure.

The report summarises the findings of a review of selected aspects of the 2010 and 2011 regional plans of the 55 Regional Development Australia (RDA) committees. The Indian Ocean territories of Christmas Island and Cocos Keeling Island are also included in the summary, because although they are not part of an RDA, they are aligned with RDA Midwest Gascoyne to achieve regional development outcomes and also prepared a regional plan.

For more information, visit www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/1381.0

Murray Darling Basin Socio-Economic Analysis

The Murray Darling Basin Authority website has a section which lists more than 20 studies investigating the socio-economic impacts of diverting additional water to the environment.

Figure 1 summarises the results from some of those studies.  For simplicity, RDANI calculated a single measure from the studies – the change in jobs for each Gigalitre (GL) of reduction in the Sustainable Diversion Limit (SDL).  Water removed from the SDL is to be diverted to the environment.  Job impacts are the direct plus indirect jobs.

There are large variations in these results.  In part, this is due to different assumptions in each study which makes it difficult to reach a general conclusion about the likely size of the impacts.

Assumptions typically vary on the following issues:

  • Whether or not  water trade is allowed within/between regions;
  • If money from water buybacks is included in the assessment;
  • How the effects of the Water for the Future funds are accounted for;
  • If Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure Program (SRWUIP) funding is included, and what assumptions are made about the scale and effects of water infrastructure investment;
  • The size of the reduction in the SDL;
  • Whether impacts are assessed over the short-run or long-run;
  • If just surface water is considered, or if groundwater is also included.

It is clear from Figure 1 that these assumptions can have a major influence on the results – for example the ABARES November 2011 study predicts an increase in jobs in the Northern Basin under one scenario, due to extra employment on SRWUIP funded water infrastructure projects.

Much of the modelling uses Computerised General Equilibrium (CGE) modelling which takes a macro-view and assumes that all irrigation farms respond in the same manner.  Other modelling (Arche 2012) uses farm gross margins and regional economic impact multipliers to investigate impacts at a finer scale - the LGA level - (but still assumes all farms respond in the same manner).

Experience has shown that all irrigation farms will not respond in the same manner to a reduction in water availability as it depends on the situation of the individual business owner.

Figure 1 also indicates that when the analysis is done at a finer geographic scale (Arche 2012), the impacts tend to be larger.

RDANI has interacted with various community groups over the past 18 months and the issue of geographic scale for the socio-economic work has become a focus. There is concern that negative impacts on smaller, highly irrigation-dependent communities are being glossed-over and lost when a broad macro-economic view is taken.

There is a call for more detailed work on vulnerable communities.  While some of this has been done in a qualitative sense, little detailed quantitative analysis (e.g. how many jobs will be lost in Mungindi or Wee Waa) has been performed.

Help To Convert Good Ideas Into Great Local Projects

A whole lot of bright ideas for community projects around the region now have a facility to be shared through an invitation from New England Mutual to use a new online forum to shoot the breeze with fellow enthusiasts.

At the same time the credit union announced a video competition Make A Difference for under 25-year-olds with $2,500 prize money for the makers and the same amount for the organisation they highlight.

The site, www.heartofourcommunity.com.au, will later be rolled out to all communities served by the credit union in the New England/North West, Orana and Hunter regions.

“The sky is the limit in terms of concepts for projects but the key, which could be delivered through the website, is to gather like-minded individuals to give their support and become involved,” CEO Kevin Dupe’ said. “There’s no shortage of ideas in any community but implementing them takes a dedicated team and the website is ideal for networking.

“The response to the trial has been terrific. People have been proposing all sorts of projects along with graphics and invitations for others to give their feedback. It creates quite a buzz and that, hopefully, will produce the momentum.”

Mr Dupé said the site was a natural extension of the CMG involvement in community life through sponsorships, donations and staff fundraising and volunteer work.  Darren Schaefer, Community Mutual Group Executive Manager for Marketing said the concept of the site was to give communities a voice. “The functionality allows community members to upload their ideas, community initiatives or events, with the support of a description and images,” he said. “ Once uploaded they can get others to ‘like’ their idea on face book, vote for it, attract comments on it or even start a petition for it”.

Participants  in the video competition are asked to make a video on the topic “What is making, or could make, a difference in your local community?”  and in addition to the the prize money  the winning entries will also be shown during the North West Film Festival at the Roxy Theatre in Bingara  on September 13 -14. Information on the website and video competition can be found on  www.heartofourcommunity.com.au  and www.heartofourcommunity.com.au/mad

New Anti-Bullying Resources for Parents and Teachers

More than 600,000 students from nearly 1500 schools across Australia stood together on the 15th of March to commemorate the National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence and to show they are committed to having schools free from bullying, harassment and violence.

Minister for School Education Peter Garrett said the third 2013 National Day of Action is being marked by the launch of a new website dedicated to safe school resources, a new iPad app for younger children, new curriculum material on bullying and the announcement of 15 winners in the Safe Schools are Smart Schools competition.

“This third National Day of Action is seeing positive anti-bullying messages spread through schools and our communities,” he said.

“These new resources will help start conversations between parents and their children and between teachers and their students. By standing together to say no to bullying and violence we can build positive school communities.”

The new website – the Safe Schools Hub - draws together information for parents, teachers and schools on the National Safe Schools Framework, anti-bullying initiatives and resources.

The Hub also contains a ‘Toolkit’ which explains key elements of the National Safe Schools Framework to help school communities understand what they need to do to ensure they have a safe and supportive leaning environment.

The National Safe Schools Framework is the first of its kind in the world and offers guiding principles that help school communities develop positive and practical student safety and wellbeing policies.

“The Safe Schools Hub gives all schools and communities powerful tools to help them build a positive school culture that is a safe and supportive place for all,” Mr Garrett said.

“There is no place for bullying or violence in, or outside, our schools, and the Gillard Government is taking practical steps to help protect students from bullying.”

The Stand Together 2013 curriculum will assist teachers to focus on teaching students to help stop bullying when they see it.

The “Bullying, No Way!” website has been updated to include material specifically designed for younger children plus a new free iPad app will be available for parents to download and talk to young children about bullying issues.

The Allen Adventure app is designed to help children aged three to eight to learn to be more considerate of other students and look after others through a fun and educational interactive program about a young alien who visits a school on Earth and learns how to get along with others.

The Allen Adventure app is also available to parents and educators through the Apple App store.

Resources and information concerning the National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence are available at: www.bullyingnoway.gov.au

The Safe Schools Hub can be accessed at www.safeschoolshub.edu.au.

Upcoming Conferences

RDA-NI is proud to support the following upcoming conferences:

Sustaining Rural Communities
5 & 6 June 2013, Narrabri

The fourth annual Sustaining Rural Communities Conference will be held once again in the Northern Inland regional centre of Narrabri.  Touching on themes of resilient communities the conference will help community leaders and community activists with the tools, skills, networks and resources they need to make their rural and regional communities  better places.

To be held on Wednesday 5th and Thursday 6th June at the Crossing Theatre, the conference will be free to attend (fee for catering).  Stay updated at the site www.sustainingruralcommunities.org.au or look for the Facebook group page for Sustaining Rural Communities.

Building Regional Australia 2013 Summit
9, 10, 11 April 2013, Armidale

With the theme ‘regional minds, regional policy, regional outcomes’, the Building Regional Australia 2013 Summit will be a unique opportunity to examine the leading issues for regional Australia; and create a platform to draw attention to regional Australia as the engine room of our nation.

Managing rapid growth in Australian capital cities is a formidable task and places heavy demand on resources (often at the expense of regional areas). In light of this, the 2013 Summit will highlight prospering regional communities and showcase successful strategies being implemented in terms of regional development policy.
Held at the Armidale Ex-Services Club, Building Regional Australia 2013 will focus on building momentum in the lead up to the next Federal election.

Further details are available on the conference website, www.buildingregionalaustralia.org.au

What's On In The Northern Inland

Oracles of the Bush
Thursday 4th to Sunday 7th of April

Tenterfield's Oracles of the Bush Committee and the Tenterfield community are proud to present the 17th Oracles of the Bush. This year their legend is the wonderful Noel Manser, a man who is well known throughout the region for his work in a whole range of areas. For accommodation & general information call Tenterfield's Visitors Information Centre (02) 6736 1082. Pre-purchased tickets are recommended. Further details are available on their website, www.oraclesofthebush.com

Taste Tamworth Festival
Friday 5th to Sunday 14th of April

The 2013 Taste Tamworth Festival is now an exciting 10 day festival of food, wine, events, workshops, kids activities and Farm Gate trails throughout the Tamworth region. The Taste Festival is the highlight of the Tamworth Culinary Calendar. Join us from Friday 5 to Sunday 14 April for unforgettable eating and drinking as we celebrate the best of our region’s wine and produce. Further details are available on the Taste Tamworth website, www.tastetamworth.com.au

Gunnedah Show
Friday 12th to Sunday 14th of April

The Gunnedah Show Society held their first Show in August 1888 and has conducted an annual show every year since. The Gunnedah Show is turning 125 in 2013.  The Gunnedah Showground is used by 28 user groups from the Gunnedah community and the show ring is recognized to be one of the best in NSW. Further details are available from the Gunnedah Show Society's website, www.gunnedahshowsociety.com.au

Building & Renovating Expo
Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th of April

Come and enjoy The Building and Renovating Expo 2013, the region's largest building and renovating expo right in the heart of the New England North West - the number 1 event for homeowners, renovators, and tradespeople looking for the latest products, ideas, services, and information to get started on a new build or home improvement project. Further details are available on Tamworth Regional Council's website here.

Nosh on the Namoi
Saturday 13th of April

Narrabri will be holding their 10th annual food and wine festival, Nosh on the Namoi, on March 31st, 2012. Held on the banks of the Namoi River, the festival has enjoyed enormous success since its inception in 2003, with 2012 promising to be even bigger than ever. Showcasing a wide variety of local produce Nosh is the perfect opportunity to savour the fruits of this rich agricultural region. Nosh on the Namoi promises entertainment for the whole family. Further details are available on the Narrabri Tourism website, www.visitnarrabri.com.au/index.cfm?page_id=1120

Kootingal Pumpkin Festival
Sunday 14th of April

The Kootingal area is renowned for pumpkin growing. Kootingal is 17km north east of Tamworth on the New England Highway, at the foot of the beautiful Moonbi Ranges.The Kootingal Pumpkin Festival is held each April at the Kootingal Sportsground. There is something for the whole family, including; live entertainment, wine tasting, children and adult pumpkin competitions, wood chopping, shearing, pumpkin bowling and dozens of regional stalls. Further details are available on the Kootingal Pumpkin Festival website, www.kootypumpkins.com

Çolours of Autumn' Arts & Crafts Festival
Friday 19th t to Sunday 28th of  April (excluding Anzac Day, 25th of April)

The Bendemeer Art and Craft 32nd Annual Colours of Autumn Exhibition will be held over two weekends: 19th - 24th April and 26th - 28th April 2013. Opening Night Champagne Supper is on Friday 19th at 7.00p.m. and entry is $20, with funds by the exhibition this year will support Angel Flight and local charities.

There will be Artists in Residence during the weekends, as well as two free children’s art workshops which will be held between 26th – 28th April.   These will have limited space and bookings are essential.  Further details are available on the Country Art Escapes website, http://countryartescapes.com.au/events.php

Drovers Campfire Weekend
Friday 26th to Sunday 28th of April

The Boggabri Lions Club Inc is hosting its seventh Drovers Campfire weekend at the Boggabri Showground. If you have a Caravan, Motor home, Camper, 4 X 4, Ute, Tent or Swag well this is a weekend for you to enjoy. Registration forms are available on the Boggabri website, www.boggabri.com.au/drovers%20campfire/

Quirindi Rodeo     
Saturday 27th of April

Polish your boots and put on your hat, its Rodeo time again. Head to the Quirindi Showground for thrills and spills in this action packed event. Further details are available on the Visit Quirindi website, www.visitquirindi.com.au/quirindi-rodeo/

New Grants and Funding Opportunities

Waste Less, Recycle More: Waste & Resource Recovery Initiative
The Waste Less, Recycle More: Waste and Resource Recovery Initiative is a 5-year $465.7 million waste and recycling agenda for NSW that will deliver economic, employment and environmental benefits for local communities and will transform waste and recycling in NSW.

The new Waste and Recycling Infrastructure package commits $250 million over 5 years for targeted but wide-ranging funding that includes new large-scale waste and recycling infrastructure to support communities that pay the waste levy, recycling facility upgrades, drop-off centres, food and garden organics processing, and recycling innovation, as well as support for businesses to increase recycling on site.

The Waste Less, Recycle More initiative also guarantees $137.7 million over 5 years to help councils support their own waste and recycling initiatives for their local communities, and makes available at least a further $219 million in contestable grants.

Sport and Recreation Events Program
Applications Close: 30th of April
The primary focus of the Sport and Recreation Events Program is to attract financially viable sporting events to NSW. The Program will provide funding for events that are international or national in focus, are recognised by the relevant sporting authority and provide an opportunity for talented athletes, officials and coaches to develop their skills through exposure to and participation in these events.
The Program will also support events conducted in regional and rural areas that promote participation in sport and physical activity and provide a focal point for community building and engagement.

T-QUAL Grants – Tourism Quality Projects Program
Applications Close: 3rd of May
On Friday 15 March, Minister for Tourism, the Hon Martin Ferguson AM MP launched the 2013 round of the T-QUAL Grants – Tourism Quality Projects Program.

T-QUAL Grants - Tourism Quality Projects (T-QUAL Grants) are an important Tourism 2020 tool to help tourism operators attract and boost visitation by ensuring products and experiences remain fresh and of a high standard. T-QUAL Grants provides funding of between $15,000 and $100,000 for innovative and strategic projects, particularly those that have community benefits, stimulate private sector investment, and which support the industry's capacity to address Tourism 2020 priorities.

Quick Response Grants (QUICKS)
Quick Response Grants are small grants that respond to arts development and professional development opportunities that arise at short notice.
Made available under the Regional Arts Fund allocation for NSW, Quick Response Grants (‘Quicks’) offer ‘urgent’ funding of up to $1,500 for local arts and cultural projects in regional and rural NSW. Preference is given to projects from smaller and remote communities.

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