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November 2018 Newsletter

In This Issue

Welcome from the Chair

Dear Northern Inlanders,

Welcome to another chock-a-block edition of our Newsletter. This month we are pleased to release the results of our Skills for the Future study which highlights how the growth of businesses in our region is being throttled by the challenges in finding and retaining skilled and experienced employees. The report not only looks at the constraints that our businesses are facing, but also puts forward potential solutions, which are key to helping our region grow.

The Northern Inland Employment Facilitators for the Regional Employment Trials Program, Bronwyn and Rechelle, have been busy talking to stakeholders around the region about local approaches to delivering employment related projects. They are keen to hear from anyone that has an idea to improve employment outcomes and address local employment needs, no idea is too small.

Although the recent rain has brought some relief from the current drought, the impact on all businesses in the region have been significant, with 93% percent of Northern Inland businesses in a recent drought survey by the NSW Business Chamber indicating they have been affected. 83% of Northern Inland businesses were either concerned or very concerned about the effect the drought will have on their business in the long term, showing how droughts can have a lasting impact.


Russell Stewart

Skills for the Future

To assist employers, job-seekers and training and education providers, we undertook the first ever comprehensive Skill Shortages Survey specific to our region and gained valuable input from businesses from across the region. More than 100 employers from throughout Northern Inland NSW participated in the comprehensive online survey over the past 12 months. In undertaking this survey, our message to businesses was ‘help us to help you’ and we were delighted to hear back from so many different businesses, large and small.

Data now supports what we have often heard as we travel the region, Northern Inland business growth is being throttled by the difficulty in finding and retaining skilled and experienced employees across many industries throughout the region. The Skills For The Future report explores the issues in more detail, to help us work with businesses and agencies in the region to find real solutions.

The Northern Inland region of NSW is dependent on agriculture as its predominant economic driver and has seen unemployment figures consistently higher than the NSW average over the past six years, with youth unemployment concerns prompting renewed focus on innovative programs, like the Wool Works Shearing School. The trend is not expected to abate with the ongoing drought.

Population decline in some parts of the region has exacerbated skill shortages, while a lack of access to formal training and the centralisation of TAFE courses have also reduced the local skilled labour market, impeding business growth. Over 80 percent of businesses surveyed reported difficulties in filling job vacancies, while 75 percent said that industry experience is more valued than qualifications, indicating how retention of staff is as critical a challenge as recruitment. Consistent feedback during RDANI’s skills audit investigations was that finding staff with work readiness or work ethic can be more important to local employers than finding staff with the skills they need and can be an even greater source of frustration.

The report presents the data in a very accessible way and illustrates the vital role that Skilled Migration programs have in helping to address local labour needs.  While it is also important to stem the outward migration of our quality young people and to ensure education, training and job opportunities are available locally. However, the settlement of skilled migrant workers in the Northern Inland is clearly a necessity, despite the recent political and media hype about reducing migration numbers.

The survey has provided a localised snapshot of skill shortages and other labour market issues. Issues around job vacancies, skills shortages and youth unemployment are not accurately reflected by job advertisements, which are the traditional source of job and unemployment data. Employers know from past recruitment efforts and local knowledge if advertising for a skilled position will be worth a go or a waste of time and money. The data we have produced reflects real insights, direct from local employers.

Discover more in the full Skills for the Future report.

Northern Inland Employment Facilitators Want to Hear Your Ideas

The Northern Inland has been selected as one of only ten regions to take part in the Regional Employment Trials Program. The program that will run for two years, aims to test regional and local approaches to delivering employment related projects, by considering regional variation and ensuring that local economic opportunities are promoted to employment services providers and leveraged by job seekers.

The Northern Inland Employment Facilitators, Rechelle and Bronwyn, have been busy meeting with local stakeholders from across the region and are keen to hear from anyone with an idea to improve employment outcomes and address local employment needs, no idea is too small. Under the program Rechelle and Bronwyn will work with organisations to develop tailored projects and advise RDANI on employment issues.

To facilitate a strong connection with employment programs, at least one jobactive, ParentsNext or Transition to Work employment services provider must be involved with each project. The provider/s should be consulted in the development phase of the project to gain their support and may provide job seekers to participate in the project.

The objectives of the program are to deliver:

  • strong connections between regional stakeholders, including employment services providers;
  • employment initiatives that meet local needs;
  • improved awareness of local labour markets;
  • the potential for improved regional employment outcomes.

The intended outcomes of the program are:

  • initiatives that will benefit unemployed people and improve employment outcomes in selected regions;
  • increased training, professional development and skills education opportunities that are aligned with regional priorities to support employment outcomes;
  • better connected regional employment stakeholders able to deliver sustainable employment opportunities.

For further information, contact Bronwyn or Rechelle, visit their website or the Department of Jobs and Small Business Website

The Impact of the Drought on Northern Inland Businesses

The recent Drought Survey conducted by the NSW Business Chamber has highlighted the impact that the current drought is having not only on agricultural businesses in the region, but all businesses in our region. 93% of Northern Inland businesses in the survey reported that they are being impacted by the drought, and 94% are experiencing a decrease in sales by an average of 33%.

The importance of providing support to all businesses during periods of drought is highlighted by over half the businesses in every industry sector across NSW reporting they have been affected and 74% of affected Northern Inland businesses indicating that it is due to a weakened local economy. Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing reported the highest share of impacted businesses in NSW at 98%, followed by Retail and Wholesale Trade at 94% and Accommodation and Food Service at 87%. 90% of Northern Inland businesses indicated that their cash flow has been affected, with 34% being unable to pay or requiring extensions to pay their creditors, and 44% having customers unable to pay or requiring extensions.

Two-thirds of Northern Inland respondents indicated that the current drought is far more severe and has had a much bigger impact on their business compared to previous drought events and 83% were either concerned or very concerned about the effect the drought will have on their business in the long term. While 30% of Northern Inland business were not intending to reduce staff numbers, almost half, at 48%, are intending to reduce their staff by 1-3 people, further increasing the impact of the drought on the local economies. 87% of Northern Inland businesses indicated that they are planning to scale back capital spending compared to earlier plans, the highest portion of businesses for a region in NSW, however 61% still felt their business was still viable and another 31% felt their business would be at risk if conditions continued to deteriorate.

The full report on the survey results can be found on the NSW Business Chamber’s website.

Cr Ian Lobsey and Narrabri Shire Council Recognised

RDANI Committee member, Cr Ian Lobsey was recognised at the recent Local Government NSW Awards evening, being presented with the Outstanding Service Award. The award was in recognition of his extensive service on Nundle Shire and Liverpool Plains Shire Councils, including time as Mayor on both councils. Ian was originally prompted to become a Councillor in 1984 to provide a different perspective from his role as the school principal and has continued to serve for over four decades. Along with his service as Councillor, Ian has also served the Northern Inland as a RDANI Committee Member for over six years.

The work of Narrabri Shire Council was also recognised with the AR Bluett Memorial Award. This award recognises Councils that are the most progressive in the state and is awarded to one City and Regional Council and one Rural Council each year. The award is described as the greatest accolade a Council can achieve and was proudly accepted by Mayor Cathy Redding and General Manager Stewart Todd.

Pacific Labour Scheme will Deliver Workers for Rural and Regional Australia

Businesses that can’t find workers in Australia may be able to engage workers from Pacific island countries under the new Pacific Labour Scheme.  The Scheme helps businesses in rural and regional Australia, that can show they are unable to find workers in Australia, to sponsor workers from the Pacific to fill low and semi-skilled jobs for up to three years.

The Scheme is open to all industries, with a focus on:

  • the accommodation and food services industry;
  • health care and social assistance industry; and
  • non-seasonal agriculture, forestry and fishing industries.

Six countries currently participate in the Scheme; Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Tuvalu. The Scheme will continue to be expanded to include other Pacific island countries.

The Scheme is supported by the Pacific Labour Facility which will provide support including:

  • assisting interested businesses to understand and access the Scheme;
  • connecting Australian businesses with Pacific workers;
  • providing pastoral care to Pacific workers;
  • administering the Scheme in partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Information on the Scheme is included in the attached factsheets and a self-assessment checklist is also provided for use by businesses who may be interested in the Scheme. Further resources and information including FAQs and video testimonial from an employer are available here.

Enquiries about the Scheme should be addressed to PacificLabourMobility@dfat.gov.au.

Featured Grants and Funding Opportunities

Below are some featured grants and funding opportunities from around 75 open grants listed in the Grants and Funding Opportunities area of 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 Business and Infrastructure Funding Opportunities and the Community Grants and Award Programs newsletters through the simple form located on the left-hand side of our website: www.rdani.org.au, to receive monthly summaries of currently open grants.

Regional Employment Trials Program
Closing date: 30th of June 2020
Value: $7,500 to $200,000
Run By: Australian Government Department of Jobs and Small Business

The Northern Inland is one of only ten regions across Australia to be selected for the Regional Employment Trials Program. The Regional Employment Trials program provides local stakeholders in selected regions, including businesses, not-for-profits and local government agencies, with grants to trial local approaches to delivering employment related projects.

The objectives of the program are to deliver:

  • strong connections between regional stakeholders, including employment services providers
  • employment initiatives that meet local needs
  • improved awareness of local labour markets
  • the potential for improved regional employment outcomes

Grants are for between $7,500 and $200,000, for up to 75% of eligible project costs. Projects must be completed by 30 June 2020.

Applicants should contact the Employment Facilitator for the Northern Inland, and they will help determine if the project is aligned to local employment priorities, and connect applicants with an employment services provider if needed.

Before applying, applicants must submit information about their project to RDANI using the RDA project proposal template. RDANI will committee will provide you with written feedback using the RDA project proposal template which must be attach to the full grant application.

Drought Communities Programme - Extension
Closing date: 30th of June 2019
Value: $1 Million per declared council (All Northern Inland Councils are included)
Run By: Australian Government Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities

Funding is available to eligible councils for local infrastructure projects and other drought-relief activities. Project funding is intended to provide short-term support, including by boosting local employment and procurement, and addressing social and community needs.

Funding will target infrastructure and other projects that:

  • provide employment for people whose work opportunities have been impacted by drought
  • stimulate local community spending
  • use local resources, businesses and suppliers
  • provide a long-lasting benefit to communities and the agricultural industries on which they depend.

Environmental Restoration and Rehabilitation Grants
Closes: 3rd of December 2018 3pm
Value: Up to $100,000
Run By: NSW Government Office of Environment and Heritage

The Restoration and Rehabilitation program is a contestable grants program seeking to achieve long-term beneficial outcomes for the NSW environment. Funded by the NSW Environmental Trust, the program encourages and enables community and government organisations to protect, conserve and restore our valuable natural environment.

The Restoration and Rehabilitation grants program seeks to ‘Assist community and government organisations to contribute to the ongoing sustainable management and stewardship of significant environmental assets and services in NSW’.

The program is implemented in accordance with a formal program logic that articulates the objectives and expected outcomes of the program. Outcomes of the program will be delivered through achievement of the following program objectives:

  • Improve and protect the quality of ecosystems and environmental assets managed by community groups, land managers and stakeholders.
  • Enhance the management of environmental assets by facilitating the development of environmental expertise and stronger partnerships between individuals, community groups, governments and industry.
  • Provide an appropriate, effective and sustainable mechanism to deliver Government policy, priorities and outcomes

Recreational Fishing Trust
Closing date: 30th of November 2018
Value: $7,500 to $200,000
Run By: NSW Department of Primary Industries

When fishing in NSW waters, both freshwater and saltwater, recreational fishers are required by law to pay the NSW Recreational Fishing Fee. All money raised by the NSW Recreational Fishing Fee is placed into the Recreational Fishing Trusts and spent on improving recreational fishing in NSW. These trusts are overseen by two committees made up of recreational fishers - one for saltwater and one for freshwater.

Anyone can apply for funding from the Recreational Fishing Trusts, including fishing clubs and
organisations, universities, councils, community groups, individuals and so on. Joint applications are also

Previously funded projects include:

  • recreational fishing education
  • fishing access and facilities
  • research on fish and recreational fishing
  • recreational fishing enhancement
  • aquatic habitat rehabilitation and protection
  • enforcement of fishing rules

What's On in the Northern Inland

Light Up the Night
Friday 9th of November

Ebor Campdraft & Gymkhana
Friday 9th to Sunday 11th of November

Nundle CWA Art Exhibition and Sale
Friday 9th to Sunday 11th of November

Rotary Club of Gunnedah Book Sale
Saturday 10th of November

Twilight Christmas Market
Saturday 10th of November

NE Antique Machinery and Heavy Horse Field Day
Saturday 10th to Sunday 11th of November

Uralla's Antiques & Collectables Fair
Saturday 10th to Sunday 11th of November

Free Suicide Prevention Workshop
Monday 12th of November

North West Film Festival
Friday 16th and Saturday 17th of November

Tin Festival
Friday 16th and Saturday 17th of November

Black Gully Festival
Saturday 17th of November

Mauls Creek Hoe Down
Saturday 17th of November
Maules Creek

Thunderbolt Rough Stock Rodeo
Saturday 17th of November

Vintage Rose Festival
Saturday 17th of November
Glen Innes

Kids Fishing Day
Sunday 18th of November

Tamworth Christmas Fair
Sunday 18th of November

Carp Muster
Saturday 24th of November

Christmas Fair
Saturday 24th of November

European Christmas Fair
Saturday 24th of November
Glen Innes

Twilight Xmas Markets
Saturday 24th of November

Christmas in the Mall
Thursday 29th of November

Christmas Twilight Market
Thursday 29th of November
Glen Innes

Late Night Shopping Evening
Thursday 29th of November

Christmas Lights and Twilight Market
Friday 30th of November

Spirit of Christmas Fair
Friday 30th of November

Christmas Spectacular
Saturday 1st of November

Rotary Book Fair
Saturday 1st to Sunday 2nd of December

Christmas Boutique Markets
Sunday 2nd of December

Christmas Carnival
Thursday 6th of December

Culture Festival
Thursday 6th of December

Xmas Fair
Saturday 8th of December

Christmas Shopping Weekend
Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th of December

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