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May 2021 Newsletter

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In this Issue

Welcome from the Chair

Russell Stewart - Chair

Dear Northern Inlanders,

Through these tough times, I am constantly amazed by the stories of how our businesses are adapting to these challenging economic times. I am pleased that with the support of Resilience NSW, we can celebrate and share some of these stories through our Businesses Shine Through Dark Times Project. If you are a business owner that is doing something unique, or you know of a business that you think should be included, please contact our office at rdani@rdani.org.au. Further details about this exciting project are available below.

As businesses work through these challenges, it is vital to be able to find the right people. Unfortunately, sourcing skilled workers is an issue many businesses face in our region and around the state. I encourage our businesses to complete the Workforce Skills Survey being conducted by Business NSW, so our region is represented in the findings to influence decision-makers and create change.

During hard times, it is also important for businesses to gain efficiencies and reduce costs where possible. The opportunity to reduce transport costs by 39-44% by utilising the Inland Rail is an exciting opportunity and a real draw-card for businesses to relocate to our region. Initiatives such as the Special Activation Precincts in Moree and Narrabri will bring a wealth of opportunities for business, industry and the communities in our region.


Russell Stewart

Sharing Stories of Local Business Resilience

The success of local businesses in withstanding the tough economic climate caused by drought, bushfires and COVID-19 will be showcased in our upcoming Businesses Shine Through Dark Times project. This project will highlight the resilience and innovation of businesses in our region by sharing how they have adapted to address these challenges. As part of the project, we will be producing case study videos and interviews from a range of businesses around the Northern Inland. Sharing their stories can inspire new ideas and encourage others to keep up their fantastic work through these challenging times.

We are pleased to receive funding from Resilience NSW to run this project, which was announced by Adam Marshall, Member for Northern Tablelands. Mr Marshall said that beneath the dust and ash of the past five years, local manufacturers, hospitality and retail operators have had to think outside the box in order to find gold. “It’s important, as we continue on this path to economic recovery, that we focus on the positives and learn from those inspirational operators who have kept trading through the challenging times,” Mr Marshall said. “This project in itself is an innovative approach, which I think will play an important role in encouraging businesses to be brave, step outside their comfort zones and do something different that will sets them out from the crowd.”

The survival and renewal of local businesses is crucial to the recovery of our communities. Although times have been tough, it’s not all doom and gloom, and the stories of resilience and success should be shared and celebrated. Our region’s business sector has some great resilience stories which deserve to be professionally produced and promoted.

If you are a local business owner who is doing something unique to adapt, or you know of a local business that you think should be included, we would love to hear from you by email at rdani@rdani.org.au.

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 our website, and applications can be lodged to rdani@rdani.org.au by 5pm on the 30th of June.

Feedback Wanted for Moree SAP Masterplan

The Moree Special Activation Precinct (SAP) will provide Moree and the Northern Inland region with a unique opportunity to build on its road, rail, and air transport connections, particularly with the development of the Inland Rail. Adam Marshall MP expects that it will create up to 4,000 new jobs in the region.

Special Activation Precincts are a new way of planning and developing industrial and commercial infrastructure in targeted areas of regional NSW. By providing the right planning framework, approvals and infrastructure are put into place quickly and efficiently, allowing for the attraction of businesses, industry and jobs to the area.

The draft master plan for the precinct is open for feedback until the 15th of June. Moree Plains Shire Council Mayor, Katrina Humphries, is encouraging community members to look at the document, ask questions, and have their say about what they do or don’t like.

Once the exhibition period is finished, the opinions and views from the submissions will be assessed and considered to finalise the master plan. All submissions will be published when the master plan is completed in the second half of 2021. There will also be a submission report summarising the feedback received during this exhibition period.

A feedback form and further details about the Moree SAP and the feedback process are available on the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment website.

Significant Transport Savings On the Way

Shifting to Inland Rail could save Australian producers, manufacturers and growers approximately $170 million in transport costs each year, according to early results of a CSIRO supply chain analysis.

“In regional Australia distances between communities and towns, and towns and cities are measured in more than miles and minutes – they’re measured in the cost of moving essential goods where and when people need them,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack.

Early results of mapping the supply chains for 140 commodities show an average reduction of transport costs of 39% by changing freight from road to the Inland Rail for part of the journey. An even higher cost reduction of 44% can be achieved for freight shipped for the full length of the Inland Rail between Melbourne and Brisbane.

Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government and Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton said the largest freight rail infrastructure project in Australia would bring extensive opportunities to regional Australia.

“This study is the green light signalling to the industry to start planning now because the potential cost savings for being connected to, or close by, Inland Rail are immense for farmers and regional businesses,” Minister Coulton said. “Heavier, faster freight trains will divert non-bulk products from roads and provide the competitive edge regional Australia has been calling for.”

The Transport Network Strategic Investment Tool (TraNSIT), developed by Australia’s national science agency CSIRO, was used to analyse existing freight supply chains and the potential cost reductions based on future infrastructure investments or operational changes. “Our computer logistics tool can identify the transport benefits to every supply chain using Inland Rail and analyse potential savings over the long term. It can also be used to test future scenarios and transport technologies,” CSIRO’s TraNSIT project leader Dr Andrew Higgins said.

Full results of the CSIRO Inland Rail Supply Chain Mapping Study will detail the potential cost savings for 140 commodities and is expected to be released in the coming months.

Are Skill Shortages Hindering Your Business?

The growth of many businesses in our region is being hindered by the difficulty in obtaining and retaining skilled staff. This is a significant issue that is impacting businesses around New South Wales, not just the Northern Inland. Business NSW has been investigating this issue through their annual Workforce Skills Surveys.

Business NSW would like to hear from regional businesses about the challenges you face to hire the right people. While this is a state-wide survey, it is important that the shortages that are impacting businesses in our region are represented to influence decision-makers and create change.

Their Workforce Skills Survey will take only 10-15 minutes to complete and will be open for responses until this Sunday the 6th of June. The findings of the Workforce Skills Surveys from 2019 and 2020 are also available on the Business NSW website.

Is Your Business Paying Too Much For Energy?

Small Businesses can now quickly check their energy spend through the Small Business Energy Check as part of the Business Energy Advice Program from the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources. This online tool will compare your energy costs to other similar businesses in the same industry and region to use as a benchmarking tool.

The tool is designed for businesses that:

  • Have up to 20 staff
  • Earn up to $10 million in revenue
  • Are located anywhere in Australia
  • Operate out of any type of premises

To complete the Small Business Energy Check, all you need is a recent energy bill and some information about your industry and business. You will not be required to provide your contact details, and the advice is independent and not affiliated with any energy retailers. Most businesses can complete the required information in less than three minutes, making it a quick and straightforward way to check your energy costs.

Small businesses that would like to investigate the energy costs further can also apply for an energy consultation through the Business Energy Advice Program. This program provides personalised advice to small businesses to reduce their energy usage and get better energy deals.

Through this service, you will:

  • understand your energy-saving opportunities
  • choose the best energy plan for your business
  • receive tailored advice on energy efficiency opportunities best suited to your industry

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.


Stronger Country Communities
Closes: 25th of June 2021 - 12:00 pm
Value: Dependent on LGA allocation
Run By: NSW Department of Regional NSW

This fund provides support to deliver grassroots projects that will reinvigorate our rural communities in every single Local Government Area in regional NSW.

Round Four includes up to $50 million for projects that enhance female participation in sport, including change rooms. The remaining $50 million will be made available for high-quality community amenity and sports-related infrastructure projects.

Through this round, the NSW Government aims to:

  • boost the liveability of communities in regional areas by providing new or upgraded social and sporting infrastructure or community programs that have strong local support
  • deliver enhanced infrastructure and programs that remove barriers to female participation in sport across regional NSW.


Reilient Australia Awards
Closes: 18th of June 2021 (extended)
Run By: Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience

The Resilient Australia Awards celebrate and promote initiatives that build whole of community resilience to disasters and emergencies around Australia, as well as images capturing resilience in action.

The awards recognise collaboration and innovative thinking across all sectors.

State and territory winners are considered for national awards, along with projects entered directly to the national awards – projects selected as national finalists will benefit from national exposure through a range of communication channels.


In A Good Place
Closes: 8th of June 2021 - 5:00 pm
Value: Up to $20,000
Run By: Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal

This fund provides support for community-driven initiatives that reduce social isolation, increase social participation and connectedness, and encourage people in remote, rural and regional communities who are at risk of, or are experiencing, mental health issues to seek help.

Projects need to serve communities with populations under 10,000 in remote, rural and regional communities.

By supporting local solutions and using a multi-faceted approach focused on enhancing people, place and wellbeing, the aim is to give back to those overcoming challenges and adversity, and to the most marginalised in society.

EOIs will be accepted until 5pm on the 8th of June 2021, and selected organisations will be invited to make a full application by the 15th of June 2021.


Entrepreneurs’ Programme - Growth Grants
Closes: Ongoing
Value: $2,500 to $20,000
Run By: Australian Government Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources

Growth Grants are available to help improve specific business areas that have been been recommended in a roadmap or plan by a facilitator in the Entrepreneurs' Programme.

To be eligible, businesses need to have already participated in one of the following growth services from the Entrepreneurs' Program:

  • Growth Roadmap
  • High Growth Accelerator
  • SMART Projects and Supply Chains

Applications for Growth Grants must be submitted within one year of receiving a plan from these services.

This grant will provide you with up to 50% of eligible project costs, to improve the ability or skills of your business to trade by implementing the recommendations from your roadmap or plan.


Sporting Schools
Current Round Closes: 4th of June 2021 - 8:00 pm
Value: $1,000 to $3,600 per term
Run By: Sport Australia

The Sporting Schools program for primary schools helps to provide a range of sporting programs that will increase children’s interest and participation in sport. It also aims to create stronger links between children and local sporting clubs, nurturing a lifelong love of sport.

Funding is available for primary schools to deliver Sporting Schools programs before, during or after school hours.

Funding amounts include a base amount determined by your whole school enrolment, plus an amount for your expected overall participant numbers.

Australian primary schools can apply for funding once per school term during the application open dates. Applications for Term 4, 2021 will open on Monday the 16 August and close on Friday 27 August 2021.


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