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November 2017 Newsletter

In This Issue

Welcome from the Chair

Russell Stewart

Dear Northern Inlanders,

Welcome to another edition of our newsletter. This month we had a very successful trial of our Wool Works Shearer Training School in Glen Innes. We look forward to expanding this program to schools across the region next year.

The deadline is fast approaching for our 10th Northern Inland Innovation Awards to be held at the Armidale Bowling Club on Friday November 24th. We received more than 50 high-quality nominations from right across the region. This is always a great night out and a showcase of the forward-thinking innovators putting our region on the map.  Be sure to get your ticket at www.niia.com.au and we look forward to seeing you there.

Behind the scenes, we are assisting many of our Local Councils with grant applications and business cases for their priority projects; from infrastructure to tourism and economic development. We have much to be excited about in our region when it comes to growth, jobs and providing opportunities to the next generations.


Russell Stewart

You’re Invited to the Region’s Top Innovation Night

The Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Innovation and Science Regional Manager Grayson Wolfgang with Renee and Craig Neale of Wholegrain Milling Company, Gunnedah, who won the Manufacturing & Engineering and Innovation of the Year awards last year
The Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Innovation and Science Regional Manager Grayson Wolfgang with Renee and Craig Neale of Wholegrain Milling Company, Gunnedah, who won the Manufacturing & Engineering and Innovation of the Year awards last year

The 10th Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI) Innovation Awards have now been judged, with 50 entries impressing the judges. Judging was a challenging and fascinating job, according to RDANI Executive Officer, Nathan Axelsson. “We had a strong field of great innovation stories from forward-thinking businesses and organisations across the region. We received entries from Wallabadah to Boggabilla, Wee Waa to Tenterfield.

“With the focus of this awards program on innovation, only those with a really positive story to tell take the time to enter,” Mr Axelsson said.

The 2017 Northern Inland Innovation Awards will be held at the Armidale City Bowling Club on Friday, 24 November from 6pm.

“The public is encouraged to attend. Attendees can book for the gala presentation night through the dinner registration page on the www.niia.com.au website.”

“Get in quick and be inspired by our region’s innovators. Businesses and organisations being recognised through the awards will have displays about their innovations and operations at the awards night. Locally produced videos about our standout innovators will be shown on the big screen, which help make the night entertaining and enlightening,” Mr Axelsson said.

This year, the categories are:

  • The Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Innovation and Science Agriculture/Horticulture and Associated services Award;
  • The Prime Super Health, Aged-Care and Disability Services Award;
  • The Armidale Regional Council Retail, Tourism & Leisure Award;
  • The UNE Professional and Government Services Award;
  • The Optus Armidale Manufacturing and Engineering Award;
  • The White Rock Wind Farm Research and Education Award; and
  • The Regional Development Australian Northern Inland Innovation of the Year Award.

An Innovative Community Contribution Award will also be presented.

Regional Employer Survey – Help Us Help You

Regional Development Australia – Northern Inland (RDANI) engages in activities and projects specifically aimed at boosting employment and regional economic performance in the Northern Inland region of NSW.

As we travel the region and talk with businesses owners, the challenges of finding and retaining skilled and reliable staff has emerged as a major impediment to business growth and profitability. It is clear that we require information on skill-shortages specific to our region and its workforce.

This NSW Government-funded survey is designed to explore the problem in more detail, and help us work with businesses and agencies in the region to find real solutions.  We have already conducted some work in this area, and the findings suggest that what has been done for the past few decades may no longer be relevant to contemporary employees and business.

We will be distributing a link to this confidential survey shortly and we ask that local employers complete it and make a contribution. All findings and recommendations will be made available at later date.

Wool Works Nurtures Interest in Shearing Trade

Guyra Central School students and those involved in the Wool Works Shearing School trial at Glen Innes
Guyra Central School students and those involved in the Wool Works Shearing School trial at Glen Innes

Wool Works is a new shearing and wool handling program for secondary school students that has just been trialled by Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI) at the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI), Glen Innes Agricultural Research and Advisory Station. Organisers and students declared the trial a success with many organisations working together to make the initiative a reality. There is hope by those involved that it could become the most consistent and ongoing shearing school approach in Northern NSW.

The one-day intensive school was a team effort between RDANI, NSW DPI, Northern Tablelands Local Land Services, TAFE New England, Glen Innes Severn Council, Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) and Heiniger. The Wool Works trial day saw Year 9 and 10 students from Guyra Central School learn about animal husbandry, biosecurity, workplace health and safety, wool and sheep handling as well as trying their hand at shearing. The initiative was funded by the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet.

RDANI Chair Russell Stewart said the Wool Works Shearing School trial was a great opportunity to showcase this exciting industry to the region’s up and coming workforce. “Keeping quality young people in the bush, providing them with opportunities to learn and work where they live should be top priorities for all communities across the region,” he said. “The students that participated in this trial today are a real credit to their school, community and their families. They showed a keen interest in the industry and were willing to get in, have a go and ask questions.”

Thanks to Australian Wool Innovation, experienced shearers Ross Thompson and Leo Fittler instructed, supervised and also commended the attentive local students. “If you can shear a sheep and do some crutching, you’ve got handy skills for the rural industry. It’s also a great profession to consider for travelling and even students going on to university can use shearing shed skills to pay their way,” Mr Thompson said. “Providing introductory skills in shearing and wool handling to high school students and nurturing their interest is a unique approach and one that is important for the future of the industry.”

“AWI and TAFE have done a lot, but what we’re trying to get going is more consistent, reliable training for the north of the state. Shearing is a trade. Just like if you’re a builder, sparky or plumber, you’re looking at four years before you know what you’re doing and six before you’re hitting your peak. The shearing school is a great introduction,” he said.

Guyra Central School Agriculture Teacher Scott Miller said that Wool Works was an important experience for his students, like Year 9 Agriculture student Steph Cameron. “This shearing school is a really great idea for kids who want to have a career in shearing, wool handling or anything like that,” she said. “I grew up on a property. My Dad’s a shearer and I roustabout with him. Yet, I learned a lot!”

Taylor Brennan from Year 10 appreciated having an experienced shearer supervising him as he sheared a sheep. “He told me all the angles and techniques that I had to use. It was really good,” he said.

The Wool Works Shearing School trial was a big step forward, according to RDANI Executive Officer Nathan Axelsson. “This event showed us just how effective rural and regional communities can be when industry and community leaders work together with schools and government agencies to achieve a common goal,” he said. “We particularly appreciated the contributions of NSW DPI, Nigel Brown LLS District Veterinarian, Pauline Smith at TAFE New England, John Newsome of Elders Glen Innes who kindly provided the sheep, the Lions Club of Glen Innes for catering and especially Guyra Central School”.

“The Wool Works trial demonstrated that the shearing school can work at the host venue, the Glen Innes Agricultural Research and Advisory Station, which is a tremendous asset to the region.”

Mr. Axelsson is now optimistic that the successful trial will see school groups from across northern NSW flocking to Glen Innes for the Wool Works Shearing and Wool handling School into the future.

ABARES Tamworth Regional Outlook Conference

The ABARES Tamworth Regional Outlook conference will be held on Wednesday 15 November at the Ibis Styles, 80-90 Ebsworth Street. There’ll be three sessions examining local agricultural industries in depth - innovation in agriculture - capturing the opportunities; innovation in livestock enterprises; and growing crops and collaboration in a changing environment.

The event is an opportunity hear and discuss the latest industry outlook data. Read more about the program online including the range of speakers and issues to be covered.

The conference is free to attend but pre-event registration is essential. Click HERE to register. Registration includes:

  • conference entry
  • morning and afternoon teas, and lunch
  • delegate directory for effective networking
  • ABARES ‘About my region’ agricultural industries profile access to recent ABARES publications.

The 2017 Regional Outlook conference series is presented by ABARES, the research arm of the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. ABARES provides professionally independent research, analysis and advice for government and private sector decision makers on significant issues affecting Australia’s agriculture, fisheries and forestry industries. Explore the ABARES website to discover our publications and reports, industry surveys, data, events, media releases and more.

There will be two guest speakers at the ABARES Tamworth Regional Outlook conference. Rohan Nelson is presenting the Commodity outlook and issues. He recently returned to ABARES as a senior economist, responsible for developing the capability the commodity forecasting team. Prior to this, Rohan was with the Productivity Commission as a senior economist where he led research into competition policy and its impact on the structure and productivity of agricultural industries. Rohan’s previous roles include Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics and Policy at the University of Tasmania (a joint appointment with CSIRO’s Sustainable Agriculture Flagship); policy director and special advisor in the Australian Government Department of Climate Change; and Research Group Leader at CSIRO.

Neal Hughes is manager of the Water and Climate section at ABARES, and presenting at the conference on climate adjusted productivity on cropping farms: the slowdown and the rebound.  Since joining ABARES in 2006, Neal has researched a range of water, climate and agricultural productivity issues including the design of water property rights and markets, water policy and irrigated agriculture in the Murray-Darling Basin and the effects of climate variability and change on agricultural productivity.

Funding to Build Better Regions


Round two of the $481.6 million Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) is now open. This program supports the Australian Government’s commitment to create jobs, drive economic growth and build stronger regional communities into the future. The BBRF program will fund projects in regional Australia outside the major capital cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, and Canberra

There are two streams of funding available under the program:

Infrastructure Projects Stream: The Infrastructure Projects Stream supports projects which involve the construction of new infrastructure, or the upgrade or extension of existing infrastructure that provide economic and social benefits to regional and remote areas.

Community Investments Stream: The Community Investments Stream funds the following community activities, new or expanded local events, strategic regional plans, and leadership and capability strengthening activities These projects will deliver economic and social benefits to regional and remote communities. Infrastructure activities are not eligible for the Community Investments Stream.

A mapping tool is available to assist determining the project location.

Applications close at 5pm Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time on 19 December 2017

Learn About Video Marketing and Production

Coordinated by Nortec and Simon & Stacey Baker of The Bakery this series of workshops will cover what videos to make & how to make the most of them. They will discuss the different types of videos, how to use them on social media, how to use email marketing & websites as well as what you can do yourself using the tools already at your disposal.

The workshops have already been held for Armidale, however there are still several being held around the region. Discover more through the links below:

Grants and Funding Opportunities

NSW Regional Conferencing Development Grants Pilot Program

Applications are now open.

The Program is designed to help stakeholders create exciting new business events for regional NSW as well as attracting existing business events to regional NSW, enriching the events with opportunities offered by iconic towns and regions while helping secure successful conferences and events for their future.

Seed funding will be offered between 4 August 2017 and 30 June 2018 (up to a maximum of $100,000) to be matched dollar-for-dollar by local communities, councils, entrepreneurs, associations, professional conference organisers etc. Small-scale infrastructure projects may be permitted but only in the context of creating a new event or attracting an existing event.

Full details and the ability to apply are available via the new Meet in Regional NSW website, www.meetinnsw.com.au

If anyone has any questions or would like any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact Helen Parker, Manager, Regional Conferencing, Destination NSW using the following contact details:

Helen Parker
Manager, Regional Conferencing
Destination NSW
E helen.parker@dnsw.com.au
D 02 9931 1145
M 0439 303 270

$134 Million in Smart Farming Funding

The Government recognises and supports the important role Landcare plays through community and industry organisatons in protecting and improving the condition of soils, vegetation and biodiversity on-farm. The condition of these natural resources underpin the productivity and profitability of the agriculture sector and deliver community benefits. The next phase of the National Landcare Program will provide financial support for the following agriculture related programs (Note: information about the National Landcare Program, including the environment only elements and joint agriculture and environment elements, are on the nrm website):

Smart Farms Program

Applications now open for Smart Farming Partnerships grants program. This first round opened on 19 October 2017 and closes at 2:00 pm AEDT on 21 December 2017.

The Government is allocating $134 million to support the development and uptake of best practice, tools and technologies that help farmers, fishers, foresters and regional communities improve the protection, resilience and productive capacity of our soils, water and vegetation, in turn supporting successful primary industries and regional communities.

The program will focus on protecting and improving the condition of soil, vegetation and biodiversity and support agricultural systems to adapt to change.

The Smart Farms Program will run over six years from 2017‑18. It is made up of the following three elements:

  • Smart Farming Partnerships is a $60 million grants program for medium to large scale projects to encourage the development, trial and roll-out of new and innovative tools and farm practices.
  • Smart Farms Small Grants is a $50 million grants program for on-ground projects to support the adoption of practices that improve the management and quality of our natural resources and increases on-farm productivity.
  • Building Landcare Community and Capacity will allocate $24 million to support the sharing of knowledge and achievements in natural resource management and promote community leadership.

There is also information on the nrm website in video format concerning the Smart Farms program.

Growing Local Economies (State Government Grant)

As part of the NSW Government’s $1.3 billion Regional Growth Fund, funding will be made available through the Growing Local Economies fund over four years to turbocharge new regional economic opportunities and enliven local economies.

Growing Local Economies is designed to unlock growth in regional NSW by delivering the infrastructure that supports projects of economic significance. This could include road works, natural gas mains and pipelines, water supply, sewerage connections and telecommunications (including data networks). The program is expected to deliver long–term growth benefits.

More details:

Closing date: Unknown

What's On in the Northern Inland

Light Up The Night
Thursday 9th of November

Black Gully Festival
Saturday 11th of November

Family Fun Day and Piggy Races
Saturday 11th of November

Guyra Open Gardens
Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th of November

Nundle CWA Art Exhibition and Sale
Saturday 11th of November

In Conversation with Anna Speer, CEO AuctionsPlus (UNE Smart Region Incubator)
Wednesday 15th of November

Tamworth Regional Outlook conference (ABARES)
Wednesday 15th of November

Bundarra Lions Goat Races
Saturday 18th of November

Kentucky Open Gardens
Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th of November

Moree Lions Kids Fishing Weekend
Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th of November

Narrabri Lake Pirate Playground Grand Opening
Saturday 18th of November

Tamworth BrewFest
Saturday 18th of November

Brain Foundation Christmas Fair
Sunday 19th of November

Armidale Christmas Celebrations
Thursday 23rd of November

Northern Inland Innovation Awards
Friday 24th of November

Carols by Glowstick
Saturday 25th of November

Christmas Fair
Saturday 25th of November

Christmas in Moree
Wednesday 29th of November

Carols in the Park
Friday 1st of December

Guyra Christmas Party
Saturday 2nd of December

Currabubula Boutique Christmas Markets
Sunday 3rd of December

Bingara Chirstmas Carnival
Thursday 7th of December

Christmas in Quirindi
Saturday 9th of December

Weekend of Festive Fun
Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th of December

Christmas Spectacular
Sunday 10th of December

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