In this Issue:
Dear Northern Inlanders,
Welcome to another action-packed month in the region. We have been busy criss-crossing our Local Council borders as we compile a Northern Inland Regional Investment Profile. This document, to be released later in the year will build a domestic and international awareness of the significant private sector projects and investment opportunities in our region.
Our region certainly punches above its weight and our innovation is being exposed to a wider audience, which can only be a good thing. You can read more about this below and get in touch at any time to share your ideas on growing business and employment opportunities.
Northern Inland Skilled Migration Case Studies
Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI) has produced a series of four professional case study video clips, conveying real stories from employers and skilled migrants in the region. “These brilliant videos are an important resource towards better understanding what skilled migration means to the Northern Inland and regional Australia more broadly,” RDANI Chair Russell Stewart said.
“Our skilled migration programs make a vital contribution to the region’s economy. For employers who need a position filled and cannot do so with local labour, skilled migrant labour can be critical for the continued growth or even functionality of their business or organisation,” he said. “For skilled workers from overseas, these pathways to permanent residency are encouraging them to experience life in our region.”
“All four videos feature an employer telling their skilled migration story, as well as the perspective of the migrants themselves. They showcase four very different occupations and locations around the region,” Mr Stewart said. “I strongly encourage everyone to check out these short insightful stories from real people”
Click here to check out each of the case studies.
Under the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme employers must demonstrate a need for a position and inability to fill that position locally. These criteria are assessed by a Regional Certifying Body (a role of RDANI) and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection.
RDANI also brings skilled workers to the region directly, through the Skilled Regional State Nominated visa (sub-class 489). Those with the skills listed as in-demand in the region can apply to RDANI for a visa that gives them four years to live for two years and work full-time equivalent hours for one year in a regional/low-growth area, making them eligible to apply for Permanent Residency.
National Spotlight on Region’s Energy Efficiency
When it comes to lighting energy efficiency, seven Northern Inland NSW councils are switched on and shining bright on a national level, thanks to Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI).
“We are fielding increasing requests to talk about the success of our Northern Lights Project from right across the country,” said RDANI Senior Project Officer David Thompson. “I will be giving a presentation about what our region has achieved at the 4th Annual Australian Smart Lighting Summit at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, held on 6 and 7 September, 2016.”
“This summit is touted as ‘Australia's Leading Energy Efficient Lighting Event focusing on Street, Outdoor, Urban & Public Lighting’ and it is a great opportunity to put Northern Inland NSW in the national spotlight as an innovative and progressive region,” Mr Thompson said.
The Northern Lights Project has resulted in participating Councils saving over $400,000 per year, through the largest rollout of energy efficient LED street lighting in regional NSW. Over 5,000 lights were replaced by Essential Energy in Armidale Dumaresq, Glen Innes Severn, Guyra, Gwydir, Inverell, Tenterfield and Walcha Local Government Areas.
Savings were achieved both in energy costs, and on light maintenance costs due to an anticipated longer life than the old mercury vapour and compact fluorescent globes.
“What we’d like to do now is keep the energy efficiency ball rolling for councils by conducting a similar project for the remaining six councils in our region who were not involved in the initial project. Finding some government funding to implement another project would be helpful because the capital cost of LEDs is higher, though their payback period is still favourable,” said Mr Thompson.
“Ideally as well as LED street lights, we’d also like to include other energy efficiency initiatives and renewable energy options in the project, and assist both councils and businesses. Making use of the NSW Energy Saving Certificates would help boost the financial attractiveness of the project”.
Full Steam Ahead for Inland Rail Project
The Namoi Councils Joint Organisation has applauded the Federal Government’s initiative in the 2016/2017 Budget to spend $594million on researching and acquiring land for an inland rail network connecting Brisbane to Melbourne and linking south-east Queensland with Perth and Adelaide.
Namoi Councils Chairperson, Cr Col Murray, said the Inland Rail Project represents a significant game changer in the movement of freight transport off our congested road network with an accompanying productivity hike in the use of an integrated and widely expanded rail freight network.
“The Inland Rail Project is without doubt a key piece of national rail infrastructure that will significantly enhance and integrate the existing national rail network, serve the interstate freight market and be an important contributor to higher national productivity by reducing train operating costs and improving service standards.
“The Inland Rail Project will over time increase Australia’s international competitiveness by opening Australian ports connected to the Inland Rail Network to the fast and efficient movement of containerised cargo to overseas markets.
“While none of the $594million will actually go towards laying new track and improving existing track, which may disappoint some, the money will be used to buy land for the 1700 kilometre freight inland route and for other pre-construction and environmental assessments which are essential to successful delivery of the Project” Cr Murray said.
The towns of Narrabri and Moree will be directly located on the Inland Rail Route and will see the upgrading of existing track and the construction of new track north and south of each town to connect with Narromine and Parkes to the south and Brisbane to the north.
Cr Murray said that Moree and Narrabri will not only see enhanced local business opportunities during the track construction and upgrading phase but each town will also be presented with a great opportunity within their own backyard to grow and prosper from being located directly on the route of the Inland Rail corridor.
Innovative Foundry Forging Bigger Online Future
The industry-leading Uralla-based bronze plaque manufacturer, Phoenix Foundry, has been cast as a top example of businesses benefitting from an NBN connection.
Information Technology Manager Nathan Clark says the new NBN Fixed-Wireless connection means the foundry’s internet runs five to 10 times faster than before.
“In terms of operations speeds, uploading to websites is a lot quicker now. We can provide our customers with a faster service. With the increased speed and bandwidth, we’re able to provide more services concurrently to them.”
“We’re able to put more back into the company to expand the company, grow our market space and hopefully add more staff.”
The foundry currently has a workforce in Uralla of about 40 people, making it one of the largest employers in the town.
General manager Joe Campbell said the business is global. “We’re getting orders from America, Canada and the United Kingdom.
“We have an online ordering system now, so customers can sit down with their family members on a web-based system, order a plaque, push a button and it comes through to our system.”
The operation was streamlined with the help of the Armidale Digital Economy Implementation Group coordinator Alun Davies.
“Their ADSL was terrible, but we eventually got them on the NBN fixed wireless,” Mr Davies said.
“Uralla has fixed NBN wireless on the outskirts of town - they were right on the borderline.”
“Further work on the rollout in the area is scheduled for 2017,” he said.
Wanted: Chair and Local Board Members for Local Land Services
Local Land Services is looking for enthusiastic and progressive people who are willing to make a difference to land management in NSW with an aim to help us improve primary production within healthy landscapes.
The terms of Ministerially-appointed Local Land Services local board members end in September 2016, and the recruitment process for 45 positions across 11 regions has begun.
This includes Chairs and appointed members of all local boards, while local board members who were elected by Local Land Services ratepayers will continue until a new election is held in the first half of 2017.
We want to recruit the best people for these roles by retaining the knowledge and experience of existing local board members and attracting new board members.
We are looking for independent representation, people with an understanding of governance, customer needs and regional service delivery.
This will support Local Land Services to improve governance, leadership and strategic directions and ensure the full potential of Local Land Services can be achieved.
The way forward relies on the recruitment of the right people, to ensure independent representation, stronger governance and greater understanding of customer needs and regional service delivery.
Applications are being managed by recruitment agency Watermark Search International and are welcome until Monday 20 June 2016. Information packs can be downloaded here.
Make the Most of The Small Biz Bus
The Office of the NSW Small Business Commissioner has two Small Biz Buses.
The Small Biz Bus travels around NSW to provide face-to-face, personalised advice and information based on individual circumstances.
The Small Biz Bus connects small business owners with local services and local Small Biz Connect advisors.
Services on the Small Biz Bus are at no cost.
Services are provided by independent business advisors with real small business experience and are completely confidential.
Together, the Small Biz Buses made 325 visits to communities in 2014, with more than 60 per cent of these visits in regional areas.
The Small Biz Bus will be in the western end of the Beardy Street Mall in Armidale on Wednesday 1st June, 2016 from 9am to 3pm.
To book a free session call: 1300 134 359 or go to www.smallbusiness.nsw.gov.au
Grants and Funding Opportunities
$1 Million Fund Available To Help Preserve Local Military History
Individual grants up to $60,000 to preserve important pieces of local military history.
Further details including how communities can lodge expressions of interest for funding will be published on the Liquor & Gaming NSW at www.liquorandgaming.justice.nsw.gov.au
Eco Schools Grants
Applications close Friday 17 June 2016
Eco Schools grants provide learning opportunities for students, teachers and school communities, through curriculum-based environmental projects.
Up to 80 grants of $3,500 each are available. 25 of these will be offered for projects catering for students with special needs.
Funding is available for an exciting variety of environmental projects, such as:
water and energy conservation
waste avoidance and reuse
bush tucker, sensory, native and food gardens
biodiversity, habitat improvement, and development of environmental learning resources
Guidelines, application forms and a range of resources are available on the Trust's Eco Schools webpage: www.environment.nsw.gov.au/grants/schools.htm
Heritage Activation Grants
Applications close on Monday, 27 June 2016
Local heritage item owners and managers can apply for a State Government local Heritage Activation Grant to rejuvenate local heritage places.
Under the program, the government will also fund a heritage roadshow team of experts and a series of grants, including the Heritage Activation Grants, the Local Heritage Grants and Heritage Green Energy Grants.
For more information on Heritage Activation Grant program and the Heritage Near Me program and to apply, please visit www.environment.nsw.gov.au/Heritage/heritage-near-me-incentives.htm
Funding Opportunities for Youth-led Projects
Applications close 27 June 2016
The Youth Opportunities program provides one-off, time-limited grants of up to $50,000 to organisations and local councils for youth-led and youth-driven community projects that have a positive youth development focus. Find out more at http://youth.nsw.gov.au/youth-opportunities/
What’s On in the Northern Inland
2016 National Cutting Horse Association Futurity
Tuesday 31st May to Sunday 12th June, 2016
Croppa Creek Classic
Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th June, 2016
Croppa Creek Bowling Club
North West Wedding Expo
Sunday 19th June
Tamworth Town Hall
2016 AQHA Youth World Cup
Thursday 23rd June to Friday 3rd July, 2016
The Bingara Orange Festival
Friday 1st July to Sunday 3rd July, 2016