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November 2014 Newsletter

In This Issue:

  • Welcome from the Chair
  • UNE Smart Farm Named Northern Inland Innovation of the Year
  • Enlightened Councils on Track for Power Bill Reductions
  • Re-think Your View of Regional Australia
  • Nundle Hosts a Weekend to be Proud of
  • Initiatives to get Locals Supporting their Communities
  • Australia Day 2014 – Nominate a Local Star
  • Featured Grants and Funding Opportunities
  • What's On in the Northern Inland

Welcome from the Chair

Dear Northern Inlanders,

We have a jam-packed newsletter this month with a lot happening around the region. Congratulations firstly to all of our finalists in the Northern Inland Innovation Awards held on November 7th in Moree and especially to our overall winner, UNE’s Smart Farm. Over 120 attendees enjoyed the innovation on show in our region. You can read more about the category winners below.

I would also encourage you to read the Regional Australia Institute’s latest work – Foundations of Regional Australia – which uses socio-economic data to describe what regional Australia actually looks like. See where your community fits in the scheme of things.

Here’s hoping for some decent rain in the lead up to Christmas.

All the Best,

Mal Peters, Chair

UNE Smart Farm Named Northern Inland Innovation of the Year

The 7th Regional Development Australia Northern Inland Innovation awards dinner was held in the Max Centre Ballroom, Moree on Friday night (7/11/14). The overall RDA Northern Inland Innovation of the Year Award went to the UNE Precision Agriculture Research Group for the NBN connected Smart Farm. Among the dignitaries in attendance were the Member for Parkes Mark Coulton, Member for Barwon Kevin Humphries, Member for Northern Tablelands, Adam Marshall and members of the RDA Northern Inland Committee.

"It is important that we recognise and promote how we are being innovative and what sets us apart. This fantastic awards program attracted 65 top quality entries from throughout the region and 110 people attended the awards night to hear their success stories," Chair of RDA Northern Inland, Mal Peters said.
A range of projects by the multidisciplinary Precision Agriculture Research Group and their partners has attracted over $7million dollars over the past 12 years. That work has culminated in the “UNE SMART Farm”. It is a national demonstrator site for field-testing and demonstrating farm-related technologies in action.

The SMART Farm Precinct is being built to further the physical and remote demonstration experience. This innovation involves developing tools and approaches that facilitate precise on-farm data gathering, then the management of farming variables, like crop, pasture and livestock performance, in response to this information. “With high-speed broadband, we will see new levels of precise information and efficiencies in Agriculture,” Professor David Lamb said.

The inaugural Innovative Community Contribution award went to the Moree Boomerangs and was accepted by President, Mitchell Johnson. They have come back in a big way, on and off the field. The club has been identifying needs in the community and acting to make a difference, from the anti-domestic violence and Good Sports programs to a deb ball and the $1,787mil. NSW Government funding, secured in partnership with the Moree Plains Shire Council for a sporting oval upgrade.

RDA Northern Inland Executive Officer, Nathan Axelsson, described it as a significant night for the region's development, adding that it was great to see representatives of the Innovation Awards’ supporters, AgriFood Skills Australia, AusIndustry, the University of New England, Telstra and Trade and Investment NSW, come along. "If you’re looking to grow and thrive, innovation is vital. It is important to applaud those positive stories and get them out there to inspire others,” he said. “It was also intriguing to hear the business forecasts from our Guest Speaker, Futurist, Professor Tony Sorensen.”

For full details of award recipients, go to the Northern Inland Innovation Awards wesbite at: www.niia.com.au/past-winners/2014.php

Enlightened Councils on Track for Power Bill Reductions

Under RDANI’s Northern Lights Project, LED street lights replacement work will commence from March 2015 in the Armidale Dumaresq Local Government Area and will end in June 2015 in Gwydir Shire. 
In anticipation of the installation of LED lights to replace existing street lights, councils have provided free access to all poles and infrastructure points from which promotional banners may be hung.

he RDANI Energy Efficiency Education Officer, Peter Stanley has also received great co-operation from all council staff across the region in getting groups together for energy-efficiency meetings. These group meetings have been occurring regularly across the Northern Inland Region and there has been much education and discussion about street lighting, energy-efficient technology replacements for households, and LEDs in particular.

“We are excited at the two interactive visual displays which are now heading towards completion, as well as the professionally produced promotional and education materials being produced to complement the information available to users of these displays. These units and brochures will be utilised after Christmas and taken out into town venues across the region for the public to get ‘hands-on’ answers to their own personal questions about energy use and efficiency,” Mr Stanley said. “Our aim is to bring information and handy energy-saving tips to all of our community members.”

Re-think Your View of Regional Australia

The Regional Australia Institute (RAI) is challenging Australians to review the way they think about regional Australia

What does regional Australia actually look like? The Institute’s latest work – Foundations of Regional Australia – has tackled this question head-on.

Using demographic, social and economic change data, RAI has defined four different regional types based on the relationships between a region’s key industries, its’ proximity to larger cities and local population size.

CEO of the RAI, Su McCluskey, explained the purpose of categorising these regional types is to provide a reference point to better understand the demographic, social and economic change factors which influence regional Australia.

“For too long, regional Australia has been viewed and governed using a ‘one size fits all’ attitude and approach. Our research provides an understanding of the common elements which distinguish regional Australia into four distinctly different economic communities.”

To read more on this, visit the RAI blog here.

Nundle Hosts a Weekend to be Proud of

The tiny tidy town of Nundle was once again the inspiration of the region. As the overall 2013 NSW Tidy Town (and sustainable communities) Winner, it was Nundle’s job to host the State-wide event over the weekend of 8 and 9 November, 2014.

Congratulations to the unified force of volunteers. The village of 280 doubled in size for three days. While accommodation spilled into nearby towns of Tamworth and Quirindi, the logistics of catering for a function as big as the town it was held in were so well managed that they were not mentioned in feedback.

The weekend tours took visitors to local attractions like The DAG Sheep Station, the Nundle Woollen Mill, Mount Misery Mine, the Riverside Walk, a picnic at Hanging Rock and various other activities, including the Nundle CWA Art Exhibition.

The message from the Tidy Towns Committee was that Nundle hosted “..a fabulous weekend that embodied the camaraderie and community spirit that is the heart and soul of our Tidy Towns Program”. The Overall Winner this year went to Gloucester, not far to the south.

There were 43 population centres entered in this year’s program, with 174 submissions for the category awards.

The Northern Inland region performed well again this year, at both ends of the population categories:
NSW Overall Tidy Towns in Their Population Categories
Population Category A Second Place: Currububula
Population Category F Third Place: Tamworth

Australian Packaging Covenant Litter Reduction Award
Population Category B Highly Commended: Murrurrundi – Southern Entrance to Murrurundi

Environmental Education Award
Community Group Winner: Tamworth – Sustainable Namoi Living Program

Office of Environment and Heritage Community Actions and Partnerships Award
Population Category A Winner: Nundle Community Support and Cultural Awareness

Office of Environment and Heritage Conservation Partnerships Wildlife Corridors and Habitat Conservation Award
Population Category F Winner: Tamworth Peel High Wetlands Project

Office of Environment and Heritage Cultural Heritage Award
Population Category F Winner: King George V – English Oak Trees

Photos can be viewed at: http://knswb.org.au/2014-tidy-towns-awards-event-in-nundle/

Initiatives to get Locals Supporting their Communities

Armidale businesses formed Locals 4 Locals due to concern about consumers going online or out of town to buy. Now, the Gunnedah and District Chamber of Commerce is making it easier to shop local, with a new Gunnedah “gift card” in the pipeline.

Gunnedah and District Chamber of Commerce recently voted to participate in a program aimed at “keeping money in the local community,”. The “Why Leave Town” promotional gift cards can already be found in the North West towns of Narrabri, Moree and Warialda.

“We held a meeting recently and have decided to go ahead with the Gunnedah gift card,” Gunnedah and District Chamber of Commerce President Ann Luke said.

Gunnedah will join a growing list of other towns to take advantage of the “Why Leave Town” promotional gift cards, including Narrabri, Moree, Goondiwindi and Warialda.

The cards provide a unique and convenient gift solution while also supporting local communities. They can be bought and redeemed at any participating Gunnedah business and allow the recipient to get exactly what they want from a wide variety of stores.

The Gunnedah program will be launched in Gunnedah on 2 December.

Australia Day 2014 – Nominate a Local Star

Nominations for civic Australia Day honours are still open in the 13 local government areas of the Northern Inland region. There are a raft of award categories in each council’s award program from Citizen of the Year to Junior Sports Person of the Year. If you know of somebody who should be recognised by your community, contact your local council and make it happen.

Regional Clean Energy Grants
Applications Close: 12pm 15th of December 2014

The Growing Community Energy grants will fund early stage development of community energy projects, recognising that community energy projects face prohibitive start-up costs. The grants will finance pre-feasibility studies, community engagement and planning to help create viable community-owned business models that can attract further investment.

Follow this link to the relevant application form and guidelines:

RASF Community Future Grant
Applications Close: 5pm 8th of December 2014

  • Do you have an idea or project in need of funding that will inject life into your local town?
  • Are you aged 35 or under?
  • Do you have a local organisation you can partner with to deliver your project?

If you answered yes to all of these points - you are eligible to  apply.

The Rural Agricultural Society Foundation Community Futures Grant Program encourages and champions rural youth leadership through the provision of up to $25,000 to fund community projects that address a need or issue in your town.  It funds projects in rural and regional NSW that will result in enhanced social and economic outcomes for the wider community.

Find out more on their website: www.rasnsw.com.au/832.htm

$6.5 Million in Heritage Funding Available to Local Communities
NORTHERN Tablelands MP Adam Marshall has announced that applications are now being called for the government’s NSW Heritage Grants program, which makes $6.5 million available for heritage and conservation over the next two years.

Mr Marshall said the grants would help local communities preserve tangible reminders of our past and conserve them for future generations.

“The funding will enable communities to protect and preserve our rich local cultural and architectural heritage,” he said.

“This program provides practical support to those who want to conserve and document their local heritage.
“The very foundation of local communities is built on their collective and shared stories, their buildings and their heritage and this funding helps to support and protect this for tomorrow.

“Grants are available in four streams spanning Aboriginal, youth and seniors, state and local heritage projects.”

The 2015/16 and 2016/17 program will provide:

  • $550,000 for Aboriginal heritage places;
  • $1 million for community, youth and seniors heritage projects;
  • $2.42 million for State Heritage Register-listed places, including $2.2 million for major works projects; and
  • $2.35 million for local heritage places.

“I encourage state heritage register item owners and managers in particular to apply for funding under the grants program,” Mr Marshall said.

To find out more about the NSW Heritage Grants program and to apply for grants visit www.environment.nsw.gov.au/Heritage/funding/index.htm

Further informaiton on grants and funding opportunities are available in the Grants and Funding Opportunities area of the RDA-NI website.

What's On in the Northern Inland

Small Biz Bus
The Small Biz Bus will be visiting the Northern Inland region in coming weeks. The Small Biz Bus is a mobile information and advisory service for small business. It's part of the Small Biz Connect business advisory program, funded by the NSW Government. The Bus travels across NSW, connecting small business owners with advisors and services in their local community at no cost to them.

Small businesses can book a session with an advisor at no cost by calling 1300 134 359 or by visiting their website.

Gunnedah - Wednesday 3 December, 9am to 3pm
Corner of Marquis and Conadilly Street (near Westpac Bank)

Bingara - Thursday 4 December, 9am to 12noon
74 Maitland Street (in front of the Roxy Theatre)

Warialda - Thursday 4 December, 1:30pm to 4:30pm
Hope Street (in front of Warialda Town Hall)

Glen Innes - Friday 5 December, 9am to 3pm
Glen Innes Tourist Information Centre car park, New England Hwy

The 2014 Great Inland Fishing Festival
Friday 5th to Sunday 7th of December
Copeton Dam

Shakespeare and Jazz at Nowendoc
Saturday 6th of December

Jazz up the Creek
Saturday 6th of December

Maules Creek

North & North West Show Jumping Club
Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th of December

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