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October 2014 Newsletter

In This Issue:

Welcome from the Chair

Dear Northern Inlanders,

Welcome to another addition of our newsletter. In less than two weeks time, we will be hosting the 7th Annual Northern Inland Innovation Awards in Moree. With over 65 entries received from across the region, it’s sure to be a great night out as we celebrate individuals and organsations that think outside the square. Read the article below to find out how to book tickets and we hope to see you there.

On another note, the Commonwealth and NSW governments are now seeking Expressions of Interest to join the RDA Northern Inland Committee. These are exciting and rewarding positions and we encourage you to submit an EOI of you think you have what it takes. You can read more about what’s involved below.

All the best,

Mal Peters, Chair

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Book your tickets for the Northern Inland Innovation Awards

One of the biggest ever fields of entrants in the Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI) Innovation Awards have now been judged with over 65 quality nominations received. We now encourage people from across the region to get tickets for the gala dinner and presentation night so they too can experience the innovation on show in our region.

This year, the awards will be held in the Max Centre Ballroom in Moree on Friday, 7 November. Get in quick and be inspired by our region’s innovators. Bookings for the gala presentation night can be made through www.niia.com.au. Information about the Awards and YouTube clips about past winners can also be found on the website.

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Call for Local Leaders to Drive Regional Development

Community volunteers are now being sought to join the Regional Development Australia (RDA) committees in Chair, Deputy Chair and Committee positions in New South Wales.

Expressions of Interest (EOIs) are now open for RDA Northern Inland.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the RDA was a national network of boards made up of local people volunteering their time and energy to develop local solutions to local issues.

“We need leaders with the skills, experience and knowledge to build networks within the business community, industry, education and all levels of government to facilitate wide consultation and develop local solutions for regional economic development,” Mr Truss said.

“Board members will work with their communities to progress economic development and infrastructure projects which contribute to long term economic growth of the region and have been identified as priorities.”
“Expressions of Interest are sought from community minded individuals to volunteer as community advocates and make a difference to local regions.”

“Community members with commitment, strong leadership skills and a vision for their local region are encouraged to submit Expressions of Interest by Monday 10 November 2014.

To find out more about RDA Northern Inland visit www.rdani.org.au.

Further information, including an Expression of Interest form and information booklet, can be found at www.rda.gov.au or by contacting 1800 505 938 (Mon–Fri 9am-5pm AEDST) or email rdaeoi@infrastructure.gov.au.

Calling on Region’s Communities to Test-Drive “Zero Net Energy Town” Concept

pioneering new initiative to create Australia's first “Zero Net Energy Town” (ZNET) will begin with the creation of a blueprint and business case for the concept. Several local communities in the region have submitted an expression of interest to become the case study town.

The ZNET idea is to create a distributed 'mini' electricity and energy system for a local town (of less than 10,000 in population) in the Northern Inland region of NSW, utilising the cutting edge of energy network technologies and solutions. The model utilises local renewable energy resources, energy management and storage technologies. Local involvement is key and is woven throughout all aspects of energy supply and usage as well for investment, governance, employment and financial returns.

“The key outcomes of a Zero Net Energy Town will be regional jobs, a stronger regional economy and more affordable energy prices,” said Adam Blakester, Project Director and Executive Director of Starfish Initiatives. “We are seeing hundreds of rural towns realise these objectives elsewhere in the world. The potential value of this model for Australia is quite significant, particularly given how abundant its renewable energy resources are and how distributed our energy needs are.”

The project is being led by a Consortium of organisations and has the support of NSW Office of Environment & Heritage. Current members of the Consortium are: Member for Northern Tablelands, Adam Marshall; the Regional Clean Energy Program of NSW Office of Environment & Heritage; NSW Trade & Investment; Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI); Starfish Initiatives and the Institute for Rural Futures at UNE.

The blueprint project could be the beginning of a major economic developmental opportunity for a town in the Northern Inland region of NSW, according to Senior Project Officer with RDANI, David Thompson. “It is an opportunity our communities should consider putting their hands up for.” He explained that delivering renewable energy locally in this way can bring substantial employment and sustainable economic benefits. “It is also a very positive community building endeavour and of course, the council which puts its hand up to take part in this project could proudly lead Australia, as an example of environmental impact reduction.

“This may create much needed financial and economic benefits by transforming what is currently a significant economic leakage and cost area into being a new industry and area of employment and income.”
The immediate priorities for the ZNET initiative are to assess tenders for the blueprint and business case plus the selection of the town for the pilot.

More details of the Zero Net Energy Town initiative can be found at www.starfish-initiatives.org

Telstra at the Forefront of Innovation

Australians love new technologies. More and more, we want to be connected anywhere, anytime, via smart devices. Telstra want to help people embrace technology and understand the benefits that this delivers which is why they are proud to support the 2014 Northern Inland Innovation Awards as sponsor of the Retail, Tourism and Leisure category.

More than two-thirds of Australians now own a smartphone. One third own a tablet. Three out of four online Australians are active on social media. Technology is giving people choices like they’ve never experienced before as fast speed broadband opens households and businesses to a new world of possibilities and experiences.

Telstra want everyone to be connected and to enjoy the benefits that new communication technologies can bring.

It is why Telstra continues to invest in strengthening Australia’s largest mobile network, including the first trials for the 700MHz spectrum, which will create better 4G coverage in rural and regional areas when it starts to roll out next year.

The new multi-lane highway is built on the spectrum that once carried analogue TV signals. Now the spectrum, which is uniquely suited to supporting fast mobile data services, will carry bits and bytes and masses of data across Australia at the speed of light.

There is no better time to speak with your local Telstra store with a host of great broadband offers, via the NBN Co’s fixed wireless and fibre networks, available to residents, farmers and businesses across the Northern Inland.

Farming and small business is the backbone of regional and rural communities and having access to fast broadband can help better source information, materials and supplies to growing businesses. It also allows the opportunity to video chat and add another dimension to potential interactions with customers or suppliers.

Fixed wireless broadband also offers fast and reliable download speeds for a range of devices that can transform homes and businesses.

For households, that means customers can connect to a wide array of devices, from laptops to tablets and mobile phones, and enjoy the latest in entertainment and communication technology, from the Telstra T-Box®, through to services such as e-health, which is helping customers receive medical advice from medical professionals from the comfort of their own home.

“We invite you to come in and meet with representatives at your local Telstra store and undertake an ‘account check-in’ to discover how we can help you transform your homes and  businesses.”“Furthermore our teams can also assist you with identifying and taking advantage of the best connected solution available to you. This may consist of ADSL, Fibre, Fixed Wireless, Mobile or Satellite” says North West NSW Area General Manager, Mike Marom.”

“We’re local just like you. We have stores in Armidale, Tamworth, Gunnedah, Narrabri and Inverell operated by local people, with local knowledge, who work with local communities.

“They have a great knowledge of the areas which they serve, the technologies that are available and the local infrastructure. They will be able to answer all of your questions, from the NBN roll-out through to the latest products that will best serve your communication needs.”

Take Part in the 2014 Regional Wellbeing Survey

The Regional Wellbeing Survey’s mission is to support research that improves the wellbeing and quality of life of people living in rural and regional Australia. To achieve this, the University of Canberra, who are running the survey, need to hear the views of all people living in rural and regional Australia.

The 2014 survey is now open. Please consider participating, and forward the link to others who might be interested in the survey. Everyone aged 18 or over who takes part in the survey can enter the draw to win one of nine prizes worth a total of $7,000.

Do the survey online at www.regionalwellbeing.org.au or call 1800 981 499 if you’d like a paper survey posted, or for help with the survey.

This year, you can choose to do a short, regular or long version of the survey. People who choose to do a longer survey receive additional entries into the prize draw.

Your participation helps the University of Canberra produce data your community can use, as we produce results for every community from which we receive more than 100 responses. Many communities are now using the Regional Wellbeing Survey’s results as a key resource. Last year's results are available on their website here.

The survey is voluntary, confidential and anonymous, and closes on 30 November 2014, at midnight.

Fetured Grants and Funding Opportunities

National Stronger Regions Fund
Round One Applications Close: 28th of November 2014

The National Stronger Regions Fund is an initiative to boost social and economic development in Australia’s regions by funding priority infrastructure projects in local communities. The Australian Government has committed $1 billion to the fund over five years commencing from 2015–16.
Funding will be provided for capital projects which involve construction of new infrastructure, or the upgrade, extension or enhancement of existing infrastructure. Projects selected for funding should deliver an economic benefit to the region beyond the period of construction, and should support disadvantaged regions or areas of disadvantage within a region.

Local Government and incorporated not-for-profit organisations are eligible to apply for grants of between $20,000 and $10 million. Grant funding must be matched in cash on at least a dollar for dollar basis, and the funded part of the project must be completed on or before 31 December 2019.

Further information is available on the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development’s website at investment.infrastructure.gov.au/funding/NSRF/

Export Market Development Grants
Applications Close: 1st of December 2014

The Export Market Development Grants (EMDG) scheme is a key Australian Government financial assistance program for aspiring and current exporters. Administered by Austrade, the scheme supports a wide range of industry sectors and products, including inbound tourism and the export of intellectual property and know-how outside Australia.

The EMDG scheme:

  • encourages small and medium sized Australian businesses to develop export markets
  • reimburses up to 50% of eligible export promotion expenses above $5,000 provided that the total expenses are at least $15,000
  • provides up to eight (8) grants to each eligible applicant.

Further information can be found on the Australian Trade Commission’s website at www.austrade.gov.au/Export/Export-Grants

Australian Communities Foundation
Applications are ongoing

Australian Communities Foundation supports a range of charitable organisations and projects each year. The Foundation’s grants are made locally, nationally and internationally through Australian registered charitable organisations. It’s one way our foundation recognises the essential role the not-for-profit sector plays in supporting and building strong and resilient communities as well as assisting those most in need.

Grants fall broadly into the areas of arts & culture, community development & advocacy, community services & welfare, disability, education, training & employment, environment, health & medical research, overseas aid & development. Specific target groups are also supported, including Indigenous communities and refugee/asylum seekers.

Further information can be found on their website: www.communityfoundation.org.au

New Enterprise Incentive Scheme
Applications are ongoing

If you are an eligible job seeker and are interested in starting and running a small business, you may be able to access assistance through the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS). NEIS can provide you with accredited small business training, business advice and mentoring for the first year of your business operating, as well as income support for up to 39 weeks.

Your local NEIS provider can help you put your business idea into practice. They will provide you with individualised assistance to help you achieve your goals, and will maintain regular contact with you to provide extra help if you experience any business problems or need other additional support.

Further details are available on the Department of Employment’s website at employment.gov.au/help-available-and-eligibility-neis

What’s On in the Northern Inland

Deepwater Scarecrow and Wool Festival
Friday 31st of October to Saturday 1st of November

Saphire City Festival
Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd of November

St Peters Armidale Gardens
Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd of November

Bingara Preschool Art Exhibition at the Roxy
Friday 7th of November

Walcha Garden Festival
Friday 7th and Saturday 8th of November

Country Living- Seasons of New England- Market and Fair Day
Saturday 8th of November

CWA Art Exhibition and Sale
Friday 14th to Sunday 16th of November

Land of the Beardies Festival
Friday 14th to Sunday 16th of November
Glen Innes

Honey Festival
Saturday 15th of November

Opera at Langford
Saturday 15th of November

Party in the Paddock
Saturday 15th of November

Professional Bull Riders Invitational
Saturday 22nd of November

Tingha Tin Festival
Saturday 22nd of November

Glen Innes Anglican Church Garden Tour
Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd of November
Glen Innes

Caravan, Camping and Outdoor Living Show
Friday 28th of November

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