In this Issue:
Welcome from the Chair
Dear Northern Inlanders,
I had the pleasure of attending our 2015 Northern Inland Innovation Awards at the Glen Innes Services Club on 20 November, along with over 140 people from around the region. A great night was had by all and it was a great experience seeing the level of innovation in our region. I take my hat off to all the finalists and winners who you can read more about below.
I’m also pleased to announce that the region’s own online shopping centre, www.comeonshopping.com.au is now up and running. We encourage any businesses who want to sell their goods and services online to get in touch.
Russell Stewart, Chair
Lively Linseed is Northern Inland Innovation of the Year 2015
The 8th Regional Development Australia Northern Inland Innovation gala dinner and awards was held at the Glen Innes Services Club on Friday night (20/11/2015). The overall RDA Northern Inland Innovation of the Year Award went to Lively Linseed from Mullaley.
The event was attended by over 130 people, from Mungindi to the Liverpool Plains and across to Tenterfield. Guest speaker was UNE's Professor David Lamb, whose Smart Farm project won the 2014 Innovation of the Year in Moree. It was an extremely competitive awards program, with more than 60 entries received; each being a positive, commendable story, according to RDA Northern Inland Chair Russell Stewart.
"The level of the entries this year was particularly high. Every winner was pretty special. Aussies don't like to blow their own trumpet and these awards have recognised outstanding regional innovators who have generally been quiet achievers, until now," said Mr Stewart. "Lively Linseed is a great agricultural value adding business and most of us didn't know they existed."
"These awards have been a wonderful experience and I would encourage others to be involved. I had no idea what wonderful, innovative businesses we have in this region and it is important that through these awards, they are being recognised," Lively Linseed's Jacqueline Donoghue said.
"Agriculture contributed about $48 Billion to the GDP but that figure rises to around $144 Billion when value-adding is included. The economy and local businesses can benefit greatly from value adding," she said. "I'd also encourage people to engage with the Government departments that are there to help. AusTrade and the Department of Industry (for example) have helped develop our South East Asian export markets so much."
"This sort of recognition adds profile, integrity and credibility, particularly where exporting is concerned," Mrs Donoghue added.
Lively Linseed also took out the Best Employment 'Agriculture / Horticulture and Associated Services Category'. Finalists in that category were Carmyle Veterinary Services of Quipolly and Livestock Lures in the Inverell district. A Highly Commended award was presented to Young Aggies, a group that is enhancing the social lives of Agricultural professionals, improving labour retention in Moree.
Lively Linseed went from growing a niche commodity to also being the manufacturer, distributor and marketer of nutritious milled linseed products, which range from course flour and breakfast cereals to biscuits. The health benefit packed products are sold throughout Australia and to high-end Asian supermarkets. Growth in demand for the innovative range of seven different Lively Linseed Products has meant linseed is now sourced from other nearby farmers.
The Prime Super Health, Aged-Care and Disability Services category was won by Inverell's McLean Care. Finalist trophies went to the Northern NSW Mental Health Emergency Coordination Centre and The North West Cancer Centre. A Highly Commended award to House With No Steps for employee mental health support measures.
The Telstra Store Inverell “Retail, Tourism and Leisure” category was won by Why Leave Town Promotions of Narrabri. The Finalists were Boggabri Drovers’ Campfire and Moore Venison from the Glen Innes area. A Highly Commended award went to the New England Regional Art Museum for its Adopt an Artwork initiative.
The UNE “Professional and Government Services” category was won by IT security consultancy, Whitehack of Armidale. Glen Innes Severn Council was a finalist for their off-stream water storage project and the quarry Business, known as Glen Innes Aggregates. A Highly Commended award went to the Guyra Shire Council for App and web-based community engagement initiatives.
The Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Innovation and Science "Manufacturing and Engineering" category was jointly won by Teys Australia Tamworth and Irritek of Moree. Finalists were the Wholegrain Milling Company of Gunnedah and Boss Fabrication and Design of Armidale. A Highly Commended award went to Santos, for the Leewood Ponds technologically secure brine storage ponds.
The Northern Tablelands Local Land Services “Research and Education” category was won by Armidale's BackTrack Youth Works for working with researchers to better understand why their approaches work, so others can benefit. Finalists were New England TechFest – Armidale North Rotary and the Australian Cotton Research Institute at Narrabri for advancements in natural pest management. A Highly Commended award went to New England Soundtrails for adding educational benefit to a great local initiative.
The Hon. Senator Sarah Mitchell, Parliamentary Secretary for Regional and Rural Health and Western NSW represented the NSW Minister for Regional Development, the Hon. John Barilaro in presenting the Innovative Community Contribution Award to Shenhua Watermark. Close to 85 percent of the Gunnedah workforce volunteer with the local Meals on Wheels service.
The Department of Industry, Innovation and Science "Manufacturing and Engineering" Highly Commended Award recipient was Santos, represented by Bill Wood, Ron Anderson, Todd Dunn and Annie Moody.
For photos and details about each of the finalists, go to the RDA-NI website here.
Home-Grown Online Shopping Centre to Boost Business
RegionalDevelopment Australia Northern Inland (RDANI), with support from Local Councils and Chambers of Commerce, has built the region’s biggest and most innovative online shopping centre. In a first nationally, Come On Shopping will be an online shopping centre experience for the region’s businesses and consumers.
RDANI is a not-for-profit organisation and is delivering Come On Shopping as a cost-effective service, to help local businesses access online trading and help grow the region’s digital economy.
A 2013 report into businesses in the Digital Economy by Regional Development Australia Northern Inland found that 86% of businesses in the region do not sell to customers online in any capacity, while 56% have no e-commerce site or online strategy at all.
“The web is an obvious way regional businesses can combat the tyranny of distance, yet it has not been happening. Ironically, we’ve been more web-shy than our city counterparts. Come On Shopping is our practical solution; a hassle-free option for local businesses to sell goods and services online” said RDANI Executive Officer, Nathan Axelsson. It’s unique because Customers will be able to search and buy from multiple stores in one transaction, much like if they were walking around your town centre.”
Come On Shopping will allow a business to access an easy-to-use website with full online shopping cart functionality, from as little as $39 per month.
“Building a website can cost thousands of dollars. Come On Shopping will be just a few hundred a year and is a one-stop-shop for everything a business could want to sell online, cushioning them from the impacts of changing market conditions in a struggling regional economy,” RDANI Chair, Russell Stewart said.
Customers will be able to take advantage of delivery rates from $10-15 anywhere in the region, as well as a click-to-collect option, where they can collect goods in store.
The Come On Shopping initiative will help channel growth in the region. Any business looking to be involved or find out more can contact Tiffany on 1300 966 575 or go to www.comeonshopping.com.au.
Northern Lights on Track
Three local government areas – Armidale Dumaresq, Walcha and Tenterfield - have now seen the completion of their new LED street light installs by Essential Energy Contractors as part of the RDANI Northern Lights Project. A total of 2,883 new lights have now been rolled out as part of the 5,000 light project.
Inverell should be completed within a week, and the Glen Innes Severn, Guyra and Gwydir council areas will be completed by Christmas, thus completing the installation phase of the project. Over January and February 2016, the electricity usage of the new lights will be monitored for comparison with the energy used by the old lights.
For more information go to www.northernlightsproject.com.au.
Grants and Funding Opportunities
Strengthening the Murray-Darling Basin Economy
The NSW Government opened an initial round of funding in August 2014 and has allocated $18.4 million to 22 NSW projects. A second round of funding has now been announced by the NSW Government and $14.1 million is available across two funding streams.
Eligible applicants include local councils, NSW Government agencies, businesses and not-for-profit organisations.
Eligible projects need to be sustainable and increase the economic output of local and regional economies and involve, where possible, the development of sustainable partnerships with government, the private sector or the not-for-profit community to support joint investment in regional communities.
Each application for assistance will be assessed with regard to the program criteria, and the project's potential to diversify and broaden the economic base of communities likely to be impacted by the implementation of the Murray Darling Basin Plan.
All projects need to be completed and all funding claimed by 30 June 2017. For further information, visit www.industry.nsw.gov.au/business-and-industry-in-nsw/assistance-and-support/strengthening-the-murray-darling-basin-economy
Farm Business Skills Professional Development Program
As part of the NSW Government's $300 million Drought Strategy, a $45 million Farm Business Skills Professional Development Program has been developed to support farm business in all conditions, but particularly in relation to preparing for and responding to drought.
The Minister for Primary Industries, Lands and Water, Niall Blair, announced the first stage of the program, calling for education and service providers to apply for pre-approval of courses.
Farmers are now able to view a list of pre-approved courses. This list will be updated as additional products become available.
Alternatively, farmers can apply for consideration to attend other professional development activities which they have identified as meeting their particular requirements.
Approved participants will be able to claim reimbursement of costs upon completion of the course. A maximum reimbursement of $5,000 over five years applies for any farmer with reimbursements capped at $9,000 per farm business.
Three professional development priority areas have been identified:
Financial and business management
Farm business planning/drought preparedness.
For further information, visit: www.raa.nsw.gov.au/assistance/professional-development-program
Crime Fighting Fund to Help Communities Stay Safe
This funding program is open to non-government or not-for-profit organisations, community groups, chambers of commerce and businesses to implement community safety and crime prevention initiatives throughout the state.
The Community Safety Fund will support projects that:
Address local crime hot spots;
Address anti-social behaviour in communities;
Promote safe and inclusive use of public spaces; and
Promote collaborative approaches to community safety and crime reduction, prevention and detection initiatives.
For further information on the NSW Government’s Community Safety Fund and to apply please visit www.crimeprevention.nsw.gov.au
Social Housing Community Improvement Fund
The NSW Government has announced the Social Housing Community Improvement Fund (SHCIF). The SHCIF will provide $20 million in funding over the next three years to improve the liveability and amenity of social housing communities. The SHCIF aims to create better and stronger social housing communities by improving local amenities through the provision of one off grants to physically improve areas adjacent to social housing. One-off grants, of up to $50,000 per project, will be offered to undertake physical improvements in social housing. This includes improving community infrastructure/facilities such as meeting spaces, community gardens and common areas, improving social safety, increasing accessibility for older people or people with a disability and facilitating better integration between social housing and the surrounding community. SHCIF applications can be made to improve any social housing community and will be assessed on merit against the program criteria.
Applications must be made online before 18 December 2015. To apply, visit www.socialhousing.smartygrants.com.au/SHCIF2015
What’s On in the Northern Inland
Narrabri Chamber of Commerce CBD Turning on the Christmas Tree Lights
Thursday 3rd December
Solar Pumping and Energy Efficiency for Irrigators (seminar)
Friday 4th December
Christmas in the Mall
Thursday 3rd December
Rotary Christmas Street Parade and Carnival
Sunday 6th December
Lighting of the Community Christmas Tree
Monday 7th December
Wee Waa & District Christmas Mardi Gras.
Thursday 10th December
Moree Main Street Christmas Carnival 2015
Thursday 10th December
Tamworth Regional Playground Official Opening
Sunday 13th December
Narrabri Christmas Mardi Gras and Shopper Draw
Thursday 17th December
Spirit of Christmas Fair
Thursday 17th December
Westpac Helicopter Christmas Fair
Saturday 19th December
Dundee Bushman’s Carnival
Sunday 27th December
Wallabadah New Year’s Day Races
Tamworth Country Music Festival
15th to 24th January
Tamworth (and surrounds)