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May 2015 Newsletter

In this Issue:

Welcome from the Chair

As I continue to travel around the region meeting key stakeholders in industry, community and government it never ceases to amaze me the number of innovative ideas that cross my desk. With Round 2 of the National Stronger Regions Fund now open – it’s time to get your projects in and you can read more about this grant funding below.

I was pleased to meet with the Honourable John Barilaro MP together with Kevin Anderson and Adam Marshall earlier this month in Tamworth. As Minister for Regional Development, Skills, and Small Business and hailing from the Monaro, Minister Barilaro brings a great wealth of knowledge from the private sector and regional Australia.

We look forward to working with the State Government to implement some of our key projects into the future.

Russell Stewart, Chair

RDANI Making a Brighter Future Happen

Seven Northern Inland councils have now accepted offers from Essential Energy to upgrade their street lighting to the latest LED technology under Regional Development Australia’s Northern Lights Project. The lights will be progressively rolled out in the second half of this year across Armidale Dumaresq, Guyra, Glen Innes Severn, Tenterfield, Inverell, Gwydir and Walcha Shire Local Government Areas.

Developed and administered by RDANI, the Northern Lights project received $576,000 of funding from the Australian Government to assist councils with the capital cost of the new lights.

The project, – the first broad scale rollout of LED technology in regional NSW, is also a trial by Essential Energy of two models of LED streetlights to compare reliability and performance. The number of lights to be replaced has been increased from the originally proposed 4,700 to over 5,000 which further improves the return on the funding to the Australian Government. The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage also provided funding for the services of a lighting expert to assist in project development.

LED street lights consume far less energy at around 24 watts each, and will replace existing high-energy lights consuming between 50 and 100 watts.  At current street light energy costs, this will save the seven Councils in excess of $200,000 per year and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by more than 1,000 tonnes per year of CO2 equivalents.

RDANI Chair Russell Stewart noted that the work done by his organisation is exactly the type of collaborative project that Regional Development Australia Committees should be brokering. “This was a complex project requiring lengthy negotiations with Essential Energy to bring the new technology to our region, as well as coordinating Commonwealth, State and seven local government agencies” he said.  “As a result, towns in our region will soon be on par with the likes of Sydney, Melbourne, Los Angeles, Seattle and London in adopting the latest lighting developments”.

Federal Member for New England Barnaby Joyce said the project was a good example of the synergies which are possible between the various levels of government, and that nurturing this type of collaboration was precisely the role which the Australian Government had envisaged for Regional Development Australia Committees. “Not only will this project save councils money which they can redirect to other services, this is also another example of regional Australia embracing new technology for the greater good”.

Installation of the new lights is set to commence in July 2015. RDANI will conduct a letterbox drop of residents in June informing them about the project and the upgrades.

National Stronger Regions Fund (NSRF)

TheNational Stronger Regions Fund (NSRF) is an Australian Government competitive grants program which will provide $1 billion over five years from 2015/16 (including $200 million in 2018/19 and 2019/20) to fund priority infrastructure in regional communities. Regional Development Australia Northern Inland can assist with your application.

  • Applications for Round 2 close on 31 July 2015
  • Grants must be between $20,000 and $10 million.
  • Local Government and incorporated not-for-profit organisations are eligible to apply.
  • Grant funding must be matched in cash on at least a dollar for dollar basis.
  • Funding will be provided for capital projects which involve construction of new infrastructure, or the upgrade, extension or enhancement of existing infrastructure.
  • The project must deliver an economic benefit to the region beyond the period of construction.
  • Projects should support disadvantaged regions or areas of disadvantage within a region.
  • The NSRF funded part of the project must be completed on or before 31 December 2019

Find out more at http://investment.infrastructure.gov.au/funding/NSRF/index.aspx

Energy Efficiency Enlightenment

You may have heard about LED lights?  Brightness is now measured in ‘lumens’ and this chart below shows the wattage used to produce the same amount of lumens in a range of household lights. It can be seen that LEDs can be up to seven times cheaper to run than the equivalent standard incandescent bulbs – depending on various styles, beam angles etc.

Armed with this information you can also visit your local council library to see if they have a power saving kit available.  If so, you can borrow one and do your own investigation at home to see what your electrical appliances are costing you - and how you can reduce your electricity bill.

Jobs Data at your Fingertips

The 2015 edition of the Department of Employment’s Australian Jobs report is now available. The publication provides a handy overview of the Australian labour market, including information about jobs by industry, occupation, location and age. It also highlights where the jobs are expected to be in the future.

The publication is available online at www.employment.gov.au/Australian-jobs-publication.

Getting Mobile Black Spots Covered

The NSW Government Regional Development Minister, the Hon. John Barilaro announced the State will contribute $25 million towards the Commonwealth’s four-year $100 million Mobile Black Spot Program.
While in the region in early May, Minister Barilaro met with Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI) Chair Russell Stewart and Executive Officer Nathan Axelsson. They briefed him of issues the region faces and the projects RDANI has underway to address them.

Under the agreement the NSW Government will work closely with the Commonwealth Government and telecommunication carriers to ensure country communities enjoy better mobile phone coverage.

“We have allocated $25 million over four years to eliminate some of the state’s worst mobile phone black spots and we’ve leveraged an additional $35 million from mobile phone carriers to increase the number of towers country people will see constructed,” Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall said.  “It is hoped that through this partnership, NSW will receive 130 new mobile towers and extend coverage to more than 20,000 properties that currently miss out.”

The successful Mobile Black Spot Program funding recipients and locations are expected to be announced this June.

Workshop on our Population Trends

Join the demographers from the Department of Planning and Environment for a workshop focusing on population trends in your region. You will have the opportunity to connect with other people interested in planning and delivering services in your community.

Find your closest workshop and register here.

You will find out about:

  • current population trends in NSW and your area
  • migration patterns for NSW and your area
  • plans for the next update of official NSW population projections

You can talk with the demographers who prepare the projections about:

  • factors in your area that might affect population trends
  • how you can use the projections for your work
  • what help you need from the Department to use the projections

Who should attend?

  • anyone involved in social or strategic planning
  • anyone making a decision about services or infrastructure in their community
  • anyone involved in monitoring outcomes or preparing evidence
  • anyone interested in the future

Moree Water Ski Lakes Project on Track

Finalist in the Northern Inland Innovation Awards’ UNE Professional and Government Services Category, The Moree Plains Shire Council and the Moree Water Ski Club have developed a world class water ski park consisting of five water storage ponds constructed to dispose of spent spa water from the Moree artesian spa industry, via a 7km pipeline. The Moree Water Ski Lakes will be located 8kms south of the town in the Evergreen Precinct, an area of land purchased by Council to provide opportunities for environmentally sustainable activities. The lakes have been dug and it is now a matter of waiting for the first one to fill.
The Moree Water Ski Lakes consists of two water ski lakes 800 metres long and built in compliance with International and Australian water skiing standards. The third lake will be 1.2km long, over 200m wide and designed as a circuit lake for a wide range of water sports.

The family friendly facility will be designed to cater for an array of water based activities such as water skiing, rowing, dragon boat racing, jet skiing, wakeboard, canoeing and kayaking. There will also be a range of proposed shore-based facilities such as vehicle and vehicle/trailer parking areas, amenities, clubhouse, viewing areas and landscaping.

It will increase tourism and create of local construction jobs, deliver flow-on trade benefits for local businesses, such as food outlets, accommodation and petrol stations etc.

This project provides improved environmental outcomes by diverting spent spa water from the Mehi River to ponds developed to provide reuse of the water. It improves the conservation of biological diversity ecological integrity of the Evergreen Precinct.

Bush Telegraph to Connect Farmers and Address Isolation

Times have been tough on the land and years of toil without much improvement can take a toll. The Bush Telegraph is an innovative program, facilitated by One of a Kind and supported by a number of businesses and community organisations, is aiming to re-connect farmers, bringing back the old country telephone exchanges of yester-year, when there were stronger lines of communication between farming families and communities.

The vision is both powerful and simple; to create a social network of farmers who support each other through the emotional and physical challenges of life on the land. The One of a Kind Bush Telegraph program is about "locals helping locals" or "farmers helping farmers".

One of a Kind Community support is seeking to create social networks of current and retired farmers, all registered on the ONE Telstra mobile contract, allowing them to call each other for free on all things farming, friendship and family. All program participants receive a free mobile phone.

RDANI Chair, Russell Stewart has backed the position of One of a Kind Program Coordinator Brian Moore, that current and retired farmers are most likely to effectively relate to one another. "You might not think you need to connect through this network and talk to somebody but maybe another farmer out there in the region would benefit from a chat," he added as he encouraged farmers, past and present to register for the program through the One of a Kind website.

Grants and Funding Opportunities

Regional Visitor Economy Fund

The 2015-16 Regional Visitor Economy Fund (RVEF) is now open to receive applications from the regional NSW tourism industry.

The funds available for the 2015-16 financial year totaled $7.2 million, which is part of the $21.6 million record funding commitment, announced by the NSW government in 2012.

The fund is administered by the Government’s tourism and major events agency Destination NSW, providing investment into the regional visitor economy on a matched dollar-for-dollar basis, and supporting projects that contribute to achieving the goal of doubling overnight visitor expenditure to NSW by 2020.
Further information on the Regional Visitor Economy Fund, including guidelines and the application form, is available from www.destinationnsw.com.au/rvef

Applications for round one of the 2015-16 Contestable Fund will close on Friday, 12 June 2015.

Applications for the Quarantined Fund will close on Friday, 30 November 2015. All applications must be submitted using the online application form.

Nuffield Australian Farm Scholarships
Applications Close 30 June 2015

Nuffield awards primary producers with a life changing opportunity to travel overseas and study a topic related to primary production.

Nuffield has been selecting primary producers for over 60 years and it is the leading program for primary producers in Australia, awarding 20-25 scholarships annually.

There are over 300 scholars in Australia, who, through their scholarship, have had a world experience into global agriculture to enhance their knowledge and skills.

We have funding available to support scholars overseas travel and study. So if you are in primary production as your main occupation, please take the opportunity to explore the below link and apply to become a scholar.

Industry Skills Fund – Youth Stream
Applications ongoing

The Industry Skills Fund - Youth Stream includes two pilot programmes, Training for Employment Scholarships and Youth Employment Pathways, which will address youth unemployment by supporting businesses to employ more young people; and community organisations to help young people return to school, start vocational training or move into work.

Training for Employment Scholarships supports training that meets the needs of your business and assists young people who are ready for employment, but require further training.
If your business has less than 200 employees, and you hire an unemployed person aged 18 to 24 years after 1 March 2015, you may be eligible for funding of up to $7 500 for the cost of up to 26 weeks job specific training.

Youth Employment Pathways supports community organisations assist disengaged young people, aged 15 to 18 years, to get back into school, start vocational training, or move into work.

Community service organisations may be eligible for financial support to purchase or provide services to meet individuals’ needs such as intensive case management, job search, mentoring and other services relevant to young people.

The two pilot programmes; Training for Employment Scholarships and Youth Employment Pathways, are available until 29 February 2016 in selected regional areas and areas of high youth unemployment.

St.George Foundation
Applications close 12 June 2015

St.George Foundation focuses on helping smaller community organisations that work to provide a brighter future for socially, economically or physically disadvantaged children.

Future2 Make the Difference! Grants
Applications close 31 July 2015

The 2015 Future2 Make the Difference! grants are now open to applications from community not-for-profits with programs to support socially and financially disadvantaged young Australians between 12 and 25 years of age.

What’s On in the Northern Inland

Goin' Bush Concert
Saturday 6th June
Yarrowitch Hall

The Tenterfield Wintersong Carnival
Thursday 18th to Monday 22nd June

3rd Annual Celtic Heritage Forum
Saturday 20th June
Glen Innes

Talmoi Picnic Races
Saturday 20th June

2015 North West Weddings Expo
Sunday 21st June

Winter Solstice at the Standing Stones
Sunday 21st June
Glen Innes

Showjumping Festival
Friday 19th to Sunday 21st June

Frost Over Barraba
Thursday 25th to Sunday 28th June

The Australian High Country Music Festival 2015
Friday 26th June to Sunday July 5th
Glen Innes

Bingara Orange Festival
Saturday 27th June

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