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September 2012 Newsletter

In This Issue:

Welcome From The Chair

Dear Northern Inlanders,

How do we tap the growth potential of our region for national success? This was a question recently posed to some visiting OECD academics. The OECD’s international analysis of regional performance shows that regions can be important sources of economic growth if we adopt the right policy approaches. Regional policy should not be a choice between supporting high growth areas or propping up struggling regions. Evidence shows that strong economic growth is possible in all types of regions regardless of their current levels of development or previous performance.

To tap the potential for growth and prosperity in each region, Australia needs better regional information, integrated policy for common regional challenges and regional leadership in economic development. To this end, RDANI will be holding a “Putting Power Back in the Regions” forum at the University of New England on October 12th to explore different models for regional governance and the policy instruments we should be advocating for as a region. Please contact the RDANI office for further information.

Mal Peters, Chair

Health Services in the Northern Inland Receive a Boost

Locals in Narrabri, Gunnedah and Armidale are benefiting from upgrades to their health services thanks to significant investments and partnerships created between the Australian Government, the corporate sector and the community.

The Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government, the Honourable Simon Crean MP, was busy on Friday 14 September 2012, attending openings and a sod turning to upgrade and redevelop health services in Narrabri, Gunnedah and Armidale.

The communities will benefit from upgraded health services, and also from the employment opportunities—in the short term through construction jobs and in the longer term through extra front line staff.

The Australian Government has committed $530 million to establish more than 60 clinics around Australia.

The Minister opened the Gunnedah Rural Health GP Super Clinic, which cost $6.6 million—with the Australian Government contributing $4.3 million and the state government and community and private sector contributing $2.3 million. The Super Clinic will consolidate the delivery of health services in the region, and will work on preventative health care. It will focus on self management of chronic disease, training and education and will cater to the specific needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people.

The Gunnedah community has upgraded access to:

  • doctors
  • nurses
  • psychologists
  • a chiropractor
  • a dietician
  • a diabetes educator
  • visiting medical specialists such as an obstetrician, geriatrician and gastroenterologist, and
  • minor surgical procedures and anaesthetics.

The Minister also opened the $38 million Narrabri District Health Service and Ambulance Station, which includes investments in technology, the National Broadband Network and partnerships between the government and the local community. Services have been consolidated and the ambulance facilities co-located to provide 34 beds that deliver coordinated acute, primary, maternity and surgical services to the Narrabri community.

On Friday, the Minister attended Freeman House in Armidale, and turned the sod on its redevelopment to upgrade the homelessness and drug and alcohol rehabilitation service, which has been managed by the St Vincent de Paul Society since 1979. The project received $8 million funding from the first round of the Regional Development Australia Fund for the $15.3 million upgrade. The new building will have:

  • a 24 bed residential rehabilitation unit
  • 10 bed detox and homelessness unit
  • six independent transitional units, and
  • a learning centre for day programs.

New Northern Inland Food and Wine Guide Released

The reputation of Northern Inland NSW as a region of quality food and wine producers has grown dramatically in recent years, aided by collaborative regional approaches.

RDA-NI is continuing to facilitate the development of the region’s food and wine industries. It has now produced the third edition of the “Food & Wine – Northern Inland NSW” brochure adding more businesses in each new edition.

The full colour, 32 page brochure was published with the assistance of Inland NSW Tourism, Regional Development Australia, Australian Milling Group, and the following Councils;Armidale Dumaresq, Narrabri Shire, Walcha, Tamworth Regional Council, Inverell, Glen Innes, Gunnedah, Moree, Tenterfield, Liverpool Plains, Gwydir Shire and Uralla Shire Council and  individual listed businesses in the food, wine and hospitality sectors across Northern Inland NSW.

This comprehensive guide to food and wine in the region brings together over 60 people and firms associated with food and wine. It is a brilliantly integrated guide for tourists, as it builds on the professional marketing of the region as a whole, which really gathered in momentum with the establishment of New England Australia as an official cool climate wine region in January 2008.

The brochure maps out wineries, food producers, eateries and retailers, with the visitor’s needs in mind. Participating businesses are listed following the major arterial routes through the region. It covers the New England and Oxley Highways; the Fossickers, Thunderbolts and Waterfall Ways; the Newell & Kamilaroi

Highways; the Bruxner Highway; and the Gwydir Highway.

There is a complete list of the region’s Visitor Information Centres and a food and wine events calendar.

Regional Development Australia Northern Inland is working to make it clear where you can purchase local food and wine. That information is important for locals as well as visitors.

Resources Sector Jobs Board

The Australian Government’s Resources Sector Jobs Board is a free service that connects resource sector employers and job seekers.

Australia’s resource sector offers a wide range of job opportunities for Australians, from trades and transport to safety, administration and financial services. The Jobs Board website makes it easier for job seekers to find current and expected resource sector job vacancies.

Job seekers can add their skills and qualifications to a database that potential employers can use to find work-ready employees. They can also access career and training advice and information on Government services to assist them to find employment or obtain formal qualifications.

Employers can use the website to search for employees to fill vacancies and manage job applications online. The website also allows employers to post details of jobs available in up to 12 months’ time, making it easier for job seekers to register, plan and upskill for future jobs.

For more information, see the Resources Sector Jobs Board website, jobsearch.gov.au/resourcesectorjobs/

Digital Enterprise Sessions in Quirindi and Tamworth

The Digital Enterprise Program is a Commonwealth Government Initiative aimed at positioning Australia as a leading digital economy by 2020.  The program is funded by the Australian Government and is being rolled out locally in conjunction with the NBN.

The NSW Business Chamber is coordinating the Tamworth and Liverpool Plains Digital Enterprise Program, a two year project comprising workshops, training, seminars and digital resources (webinars, online video, diagnostic reporting) focussing on the opportunities provided to small business and not for profits by the digital economy empowered by the National Broadband Network (NBN).

The program provides a series of free group training courses that you can sign up to and offers free one-on-one advice sessions, tailored to your business situation. Come along to a series of training workshops led by leading industry experts, specific to your Digital Strategy needs. Where ever you may be positioned with your Digital development journey – the program can provide training and advice to meet your requirements.

To access this advice, you need to:

  1. To help assess your training needs and plan your digital journey, complete the Online Growth Diagnostic at www.digitaliq.com.au
  2. Register for the Digital Enterprise Program at www.digitaliq.com.au
  3. Come along to the free Introductory Sessions.

Introductory and group training sessions will be held from the 8th of October in Quirindi and Tamworth and are held outside standard business hours. Full details on the sessions is available at digitaliq.com.au/events-2/

Skilled coaches are available to come to your business premises to guide you on strategies for helping you to meet your digital enterprise needs and to assist with practical, hands-on technical applications. To qualify for Digital IQ coaching, you must first attend a Digital IQ Introductory Seminar or Interactive Training Workshop.

For more information, please call 02 8005 7471

Have You Met Moreen?

Moree Plains Shire Council has developed an innovative way to report and connect with their community. So innovative in fact, that they received the RH Dougherty Award, the highest accolade a NSW Council can receive in the area of communications.

The council has created an avatar, Moreen Plains, who is used for communicating to the community, and has her own Facebook page and Twitter account. When presenting the award at the recent Local Government Association Conference. As part of embracing new forms of technology, the council has found Facebook to be a successful social media tool in communicating with residents, visitors, friends and followers. This was highly evident during the shire’s floods in November and February.

The RH Dougherty Awards were established in 1981 and was named after former Local Government Association President, Robert Henry (Bob) Dougherty. Cr Dougherty had a vision of what Local Government should be, one of which was 'to develop real means of communication between councils and their ratepayers', an aim which the Award serves to encourage, promote and recognise. Moree Plains Shire Council won this award in the category for reporting to their community for a local government area population of 30,000 or less. On the night, the judges commented that “This entry is deserving of praise for Moreen on Facebook alone! She’s a winner, humanising the council, enabling efficient communication to the residents of Moree Plains.”

You can connect with Moreen Plains on her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/moreen.plains

Nature Conservation Council of NSW’s Environment Awards

The awards celebrate and acknowledge the inspiring contributions made by environmental groups and individuals over the past year throughout NSW. Anyone can nominate a deserving NCC member group or community-based environment group. Groups can nominate themselves or their members for the awards.

There are seven categories for the awards that you can nominate for:

  • Dunphy Award - for most outstanding environmental effort of an individual.
  • Rising Star Award - for the most outstanding new campaigner under the age of 30.
  • Nature Conservation Council Member Group Award - for the most outstanding NCC Member Group which has demonstrated an outstanding commitment and success in the conservation of the NSW environment.
  • Allen Strom Hall of Fame - for long standing service and commitment to the conservation movement, and the courage to challenge Government and Non-Government decision-makers.
  • Community Climate Action Award - for the most inspiring climate action initiative by a climate change community group
  • Ziggy Megne Volunteer for the Environment Award - awarded in honour of the untiring contribution of Zigurds (Ziggy) Megne for someone who has championed a cause or worked untiringly behind the scenes for a better, more sustainable future. Nominees must have been active in NSW for an environment group or as an individual.
  • Marie Byles Award - for the most outstanding new environmental campaign.

Nomination forms and further details can be found on the Nature Conservation Council NSW website at www.nccnsw.org.au/2012-environment-awards. Nominations close on the 10th of October 2012.

Lend a Paw for Dogtober

Assistance Dogs Australia is running Dogtober to raise awareness and much needed funds to train Labradors and Golden Retrievers to help people with physical disabilities. Dogtober is a way for people to celebrate all dogs and take fundraising into their own paws, organising doggy themed events or undertaking a feat of sponsorship to raise awareness and much needed funds for Assistance Dogs Australia.

Assistance dogs open the door to freedom and independence for their recipients, helping with everyday tasks like opening and closing doors, retrieving dropped objects, removing items of clothing and barking in emergencies. But the best thing they provide is companionship and love-giving recipients a paw to hold in tough times and making them smile with just a wag of their tails.

By participating in Dogtober you can help those like Assistance Dogs Australia’s Ambassador, Tim McCallum, who was left a quadriplegic after a tragic swimming accident. “I never realised how important my independence was until I lost it after my accident. Assistance Dogs Australia has given it back through a beautiful Labrador named Roxy,” Tim said. “Roxy is the 50/50 dog. 50% of what she does is the physical tasks she’s been trained to help me with. The other 50% is the companionship. She’s a complete wonder dog. Roxy is my best friend and I know that I could not achieve the things I want to in life without her help and companionship,”

Further details are available on the Dogtober website, www.dogtober.org.au

What’s On In the Northern Inland

Moree Warbird Round-Up & Fly-In
Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th of September, 8am to sunset
Moree Airport

Come on out & experience the sights, sounds and feel of classic warbirds and recreational aircraft. Warbird rides will be available all weekend - go for a ride you’ll never forget! Low-level cruising flights for up to 3 passengers are perfect for family or friends and kid-friendly. Introductory flights available with Moree Aero Club instructors. There will be aerobatic flights, bi-plane flights and more. Classic cars will also be on display. For further information or to book a flight in advance, email info@classicaero.com.au.

Werris Creek Festival
Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th October
Australian Railway Monument & Rail Journeys Museum, Werris Creek

Celebrating the history of the railway village Werris Creek, this festival showcases points of interest, including the Australian Railway Monument and Rail Journeys Museum. Activities include street stalls, entertainment, aerobatics display, mine tours, helicopter rides, parade, fireworks and lots more. For further information, contact Judy on 6768 7699.

Thunderbolts Festival & Harleys for Humanity Turkey Run
Friday 26th to Sunday 28th of October
Alma Park & Various locations, Uralla

Now in its 14th year, Thunderbolts Festival promises a jam-packed program full of fun family entertainment. The Festival is held in conjunction with the Harleys for Humanity (H4H) Turkey Run and offers a feast of activities, including: Markets, Street Parade, Rock Climb Wall, Horizontal Bungee, Battle of the Bands, Jumping Castle, Circus Challenge Dome, Billycart Derby and lots more! The Festival is an adventure not to be missed. Further details are available from their website, www.thunderboltsfestival.com.au

Walcha Mountain Festival and Westpac Teams Mountain Bike Challenge
Sunday 28th of October
Walcha Showground, Derby Street, Walcha

With such a successful food, wine and craft fair last year, this is bound to be another fantastic weekend of music, local produce and fun in Walcha.

More than 300 riders competed to finish the gruelling 80 kilometre mountain bike ride to and through the National Park near Rowley's Creek gorge north east of town, whilst proudly raising funds for the Westpac Helicopter Service.

Lots of markets, crafts, children's activities including bike events are happening, so bring your mountain bikes, register for the ride or just enjoy all the great activities for an action packed weekend. Make sure to book early for accommodation and bring your pushbikes to cycle around some scenic roads of the Walcha District.

For more information, call the Walcha Visitor Information Centre on 677742460.

New Grants and Funding Opportunities

Indigenous Carbon Farming Fund Research and Development Stream
The Indigenous Carbon Farming Fund is part of the Australian Governments Clean Energy Future Plan that will provide support to Indigenous Australians to participate in the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI).
The Research and Development Stream provides $5.2 million over five years for research and reporting tools for Carbon Farming Initiative methodologies. This funding will be directed towards supporting and developing low-cost methodologies likely to have high Indigenous participation to help create real and lasting opportunities for Indigenous Australians.

Methodology Development Program
The Methodology Development Program (MDP) is an element of the Carbon Farming Futures measures under the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI). The Methodology Development Program will provide approximately $7.2 million over five years for collaborative grants funding to facilitate the development of Carbon Farming Initiative methodologies, including measurement techniques and models, in collaboration with DCCEE and relevant stakeholders.

Natural Resource Management (NRM) Climate Change
Impacts and Adaptation Research Grants Program (Impacts and Adaptations Grants Program)
The NRM Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Research Grants Program (Impacts and Adaptation Grants Program) aims to improve the capacity of regional NRM organisations to plan for climate change. The merit-based grants program will provide $8 million in funding to research institutes to work with NRM organisations to deliver information on climate change, its impacts and potential adaptation responses, and guidance on how to use that information.

Anti-Doping Research Program
The Anti-Doping Research Program (ADRP) is an Australian Government program administered by the Office for Sport.  The ADRP provides funding to academic and scientific organisations for new anti-doping research to improve the analytical capability for detecting the use of banned substances and doping agents in sport; and to better understand doping behaviours and inform practical doping deterrence strategies.

R&D Tax Incentive
The R&D Tax Incentive provides a targeted tax offset designed to encourage more companies to engage in research and development in Australia. The R&D Tax Incentive has two core components:

  • a 45 per cent refundable tax offset (equivalent to a 150 per cent deduction) to eligible entities with an aggregated turnover of less than $20 million per annum
  • a non-refundable 40 per cent tax offset (equivalent to 133 per cent deduction) to all other eligible entities.

Maritime Museums of Australia Project Support Scheme
The Maritime Museums of Australia Project Support Scheme (MMAPSS) is a maritime heritage assistance program jointly funded by the Australian National Maritime Museum and the Australian Government's Distributed National Collection Program. It provides grants of up to $10,000 for approved projects encompassing: collection management (registration, storage, research); conservation (documentation and care of collections, development of methodology); and presentation (development of exhibitions and workshops).

For 2012 only, the scheme also gives grants up to $5,000 specifically to assist community museums and organisations to develop relevant education or public programs which make their significant collections more accessible to audiences.

Local Sporting Champions Program
Junior sportsmen and women find it difficult to meet the ongoing and significant costs associated with participation at sporting competitions, particularly sportsmen and women from regional areas.
The Local Sporting Champions program is an Australian Government initiative designed to provide financial assistance for young people aged 12-18 towards the cost of travel, accommodation, uniforms or equipment when competing, coaching or officiating at an official national sporting organisation (NSO) endorsed state, national or international sporting championships or a School Sport Australia state or national championships.

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