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October 2015 Newsletter

In this Issue:

Welcome from the Chair

n this month’s newsletter I am pleased to announce our new and reappointed Committee Members. I think you’ll agree we have an excellent range of skills and knowledge from right across this great region to focus on our core goals of economic development and employment.

There is certainly a lot of innovation and quiet achievement occurring across a range of industry sectors and in November we will come together celebrate quite a few. Our Northern Inland Innovation Awards, now in their 8th year, will be held in Glen Innes on Friday November 20th. For a great night out, check out how to get your tickets in the story below and I hope to see you there.

Russell Stewart, Chair

Strengthening Regional Development in the Northern Inland

Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI) Chair, Russell Stewart and Deputy Chair, Ian Lobsey OAM are pleased to announce three new appointments and four reappointments to the RDANI Committee following endorsement by the NSW Cabinet.

The Committee members are:

  • Professor Neil Argent (Armidale) - reappointment
  • Mr Grahame Marriott (Inverell) – new appointment
  • Mr Leslie Parsons (Inverell) – reappointment
  • Clr Sue Price (Moree) - reappointment
  • Mrs Anita Taylor (Kentucky) - reappointment
  • Mrs Elizabeth Tomlinson (Narrabri) – new appointment
  • Ms Lauren Zell (Invergowrie) – new appointment

Mr Stewart said the new appointments will ensure that RDANI continues as a vital connection between all three levels of Government in the region. “Our new committee members bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table and together with the reappointed members, we are looking forward to joining the dots between local, state and federal governments across a wide range of regional issues.”

With experience across a range of industries from farming to accounting, small business through to local government, geography and the environment, the RDANI Committee clearly have the capacity to provide strategic insight into regional development.

“Our committee members, both previous and newly appointed, are local leaders from right across the region who tirelessly devote their time, energy and skills. We are grateful for their commitment to the Northern Inland.”

“The RDANI Committee will be instrumental in identifying strengths and opportunities across the Northern Inland and 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,” Mr Stewart said.

Your Invitation to Region’s Innovation Awards

The 8th Regional Development Australia Northern Inland (RDANI) Innovation Awards have now been judged, with over 60 entries impressing the judges. It was an incredibly challenging but rewarding task, according to RDANI Executive Officer, Nathan Axelsson. “We had such a strong field of great innovation stories from businesses and organisations across the region that it was certainly a challenge picking the winners.”

“Now it’s time for everyone, across the region to get tickets for the gala three-course dinner and presentation night, so they can see for themselves the stories of innovation in our region,” he said.
This year, the awards will be held in the in the Glen Innes Services Club on Friday, 20 November from 6pm. 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. “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 on hand for the night. Locally produced videos about our standout innovators will be run on big screens and we will hear from guest speaker, Professor David Lamb, who heads up the 2014 Innovation of the Year, UNE’s Smart Farm. The down-to-earth Science Director of the Co-operative Research Centre for Spatial Information will discuss the Smart Farm, innovation and the importance of promotion and recognition through the Northern Inland Innovation Awards,” Mr Axelsson said.

The judging panel was comprised of Regional Development Australia Northern Inland Executive Officer, Nathan Axelsson; RDANI Committee Members, Professor Neil Argent (from UNE) and Lauren Zell (from the Office of Environment and Heritage); Prime Super Regional Manager, Annette Mackay and RDANI Senior Project Officer David Thompson.

“We received 63 entries from across the Northern Inland,” said Mr Axelsson. “Nobody is going to come along and promote what you have done better than you can. Literally, every entry was a winner; they all took the time to tell their story and they were all inspiring.”

This year, the categories are:

  • The Best Employment Agriculture/Horticulture and Associated services Award;
  • The Prime Super Health, Aged-Care and Disability Services Award;
  • The Telstra Shop Inverell Retail, Tourism & Leisure Award;
  • The UNE Professional and Government Services Award;
  • The Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Innovation and Science Manufacturing and Engineering Award;
  • The Northern Tablelands Local Land Services 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.

“We poured through entries demonstrating outside-of-the-box thinking for better outcomes, including better service outcomes, or commercial, social and environmental benefits. All the judges agreed that it really was a rewarding experience and by attending the Innovation Awards, you will too. Being innovative, recognising how you are unique and promoting it is vital in our competitive markets. With the rising costs of living and doing business, growth is a necessity; it is not enough to do everything the same as 10 or 20 years ago,” Mr Axelsson said.

For further information, go to www.niia.com.au or call RDA Northern Inland: 02 6771 0700.

LED Street Light Installs Underway

Installations of the energy-efficient LED street lights have now commenced as part of the RDANI inspired Northern Lights Project.

1,085 lights have been installed in Armidale with 885 remaining, 390 in Tenterfield with 259 remaining and 183 in Walcha with 81 remaining.  Essential Energy contractors are getting through each location at a rate of around 40 lights per day.

Walcha will be the first location completed, with all seven council areas finished before Christmas weather permitting.  Already the Armidale installs are proving a success with improvements in lighting levels of up to 100%, the light better directed toward the ground with far less spill upwards into the night sky and improved uniformity of illumination.

Two brands of LED lights are being used, a General Electric 25W model and a Gerard Lighting 22W model.  These are replacing 46W compact fluorescent and 50+W mercury vapour lights.

Energy Efficiency Education Officer Pete Stanley continues to conduct regular visits to community venues around the seven council areas making good use of his various interactive energy-use displays.

For more information go to www.northernlightsproject.com.au.

How to Target New Residents Workshop

These workshops will focus on developing a strategy to attract professional, skilled and semi-skilled people and thier families to your community.

Learn how to grow your community by:

  • Attracting new residents
  • Trageting professional and skill shortages
  • Developing a strategy
  • Assessing where to market and make the effort
  • Developing collateral
  • Gathering contacts to approach
  • Understandng the role of your VIC
  • How to follow up leads effectively
  • Developing partnerships
  • Measurng results

Proposed Location: Thursday 26 November at Armidale, 10am to 2pm. Program includes morning tea on arrival and lunch.

Full registration per person is $195 + GST, Foundation members are $110 + GST

To register or find our more, please contact the Foundation for Regional Development on 02 6771 5633 or email ceo@frdl.org.au with the subject line "Relocators Workshop".

Skills Shortages

The Australian Government’s Department of Employment has now published the full results of its skill shortage research for 2014-15. According the Department, regional NSW continues to see shortages in such occupations as a nursing and other health professions, in addition to the trades and other occupations.

The State and National skills shortages lists can be seen on the Department of Employment's website here.
RDA Northern Inland Project Officer Gary Fry considered the research to be somewhat limited, removed and generic. In addition to a number of trade occupations, the Northern Inland experience shows skilled labour needs are considerable in the agribusiness sector. Metropolitan-based policy makers and governments still do not appreciate the skills required of farm workers, for example.

“The Northern Inland region also has difficulty filling management roles. Employers report difficulty in recruiting suitably skilled, qualified and experienced staff for the managers and a range of positions in the hospitality sector,” he said.

“The big issue that is less quantifiable that the skills shortages or recruitment data is retention, which exacerbates the shortages and further frustrates employers. Accountants are listed as an area of recruitment difficulty in regional NSW. The difficulty there is more often in recruiting experienced professionals. Accountancy firms cannot have too high a level of graduate level positions, so inexperienced applicants or skilled migrations are not desirable. The frustration that regional employers have in professional and trades enterprises is that they can be treated as stepping stones, with young staff gaining the skills, training and experience to move on to the city or a larger regional centre. Career progression might seem reasonable, from not necessarily from the regional employer’s perspective.”

International Accolade for Armidale

21 October 2015, The Intelligent Community Forum in the USA named the world’s Smart21 Communities of 2016, including Armidale. This select group of communities will now be in contention for the prestigious designation of Intelligent Community of the Year in June 2016.

The Smart21 Communities of 2016 are comprised of eight communities from Canada, five communities from Taiwan, two communities from the United States, two communities from Australia, and one community each from Germany, The Netherlands, New Zealand and Sweden.

The announcement of the Smart21 list was made at the conclusion of a one-day conference in Dublin, Ohio, USA launching a new ICF Institute for the Study of the Intelligent Community. Click here for the list.
Evaluation of Intelligent Community Forum Awards Program nominations is based on the six Intelligent Community Indicators and this year’s theme, From Revolution to Renaissance. 

The Smart21 Communities of 2016 will next provide more detailed data through an extensive questionnaire, which is evaluated by an independent research firm. The seven highest-scoring cities or regions will then be named the Top7 Intelligent Communities of the Year in February of 2016. In June of 2016, at an event in Columbus, Ohio, USA, the 2015 Intelligent Community of the Year, one community will be chosen to succeed Columbus as the 2016 Intelligent Community of the Year.

For more details on the Intelligent Community Forum’s recent publications and programs, go to: www.intelligentcommunity.org

Grants and Funding Opportunities

Regional Visitor Economy Fund (RVEF)
Applications Close: 30th of November 2015

Tourism operators can still apply for part of the 2015-16 Regional Visitor Economy Fund (RVEF) until the end November. The funds available for the 2015-16 financial year total $7.2 million, which is part of the NSW State Government’s $21.6 million funding commitment, announced in 2012.

Earlier in the year, a group of councils (Armidale Dumaresq, Guyra, Uralla, Glen Innes, Tenterfield and Walcha) received a grant $158,500 through the RVEF to develop a marketing campaign, promoting touring routes in the New England High Country. 

Further information on the Regional Visitor Economy Fund, including guidelines and the application form, is available from www.destinationnsw.com.au/rvef

Applications for round two of the 2015-16 Contestable Fund closed on Friday, 9 October. However, applications for the Quarantined Fund will close on Friday, 30 November 2015.

Indigenous Enterprise Development (IED) Funding
Applications are Ongoing

The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) have released the Indigenous Enterprise Development (IED) funding Application Kit and Application Form: dpmc.gov.au/ied.

The aim of the funding is to address the barriers faced by Indigenous businesses and to encourage commercially sustainable businesses to start up or to expand. Under the IED, PM&C may provide business support to help turn an idea into a solid Indigenous business proposal.

If any start-up or expansion funding is required, PM&C will negotiate a grant/loan package for approved applicants with Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) or another IED Partner Lender.

The package will include ongoing business mentoring for up to two years where appropriate.

Community War Memorial Fund
Round One Closes: 11th of November 2015

Local veterans’ groups and councils to consider applying for grants of up to $10,000 to preserve and enhance the region’s war memorials.

Grants are offered twice a year and applications for round one close on Remembrance Day, 11 November.
Applications for the protection and conservation of memorials honouring NSW’s military heritage will be assessed by a committee comprised of representatives from the Government Architect’s Office, Office of Environment and Heritage, Veterans’ Affairs and the NSW RSL. For more information about the Community War Memorials Fund, including application forms, visit www.veterans.nsw.gov.au/community-war-memorials-fund

What’s On in the Northern Inland

Capers – Out of the Box
A New England North West schools talent showcase
Friday and Saturday, 6th & 7th November.

Deepwater Scarecrow and Wool Festival
Saturday, 7th November

St. Mary’s Review
Friday and Saturday, 6th & 7th November

Antique Machinery and Heavy Field Days
Saturday and Sunday, 7th & 8th November

Quirindi Conversations
Wednesday, 11th November

Armidale Air and Auto Spectacular
Saturday 14th November
Armidale Airport

Talent Quest North West
Auditions on Saturday 14th November
Finals on Saturday 28th November

Land of the Beardies Festival
Wednesday 11th November to Sunday 15th November
Glen Innes

Northern Inland Innovation Awards - Dinner and Presentation Night
Friday, 20th November
Glen Innes

Tingha Tin Festival
Friday, 20th November until Monday 23rd November

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