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September 2013 Newsletter

In This Issue:

Welcome From The Chair

Mal Peters, Chair

Dear Northern Inlanders,

Well with spring in the air, and after the recent bit of rain, there is a real sense of optimism and enthusiasm within the region.

RDANI is pleased to be working with the successful LED lights project as well as the recently launched Come on Inland campaign.

I encourage you all to complete the Regional Wellness Survey, as the findings of this survey will go a long way in assisting decision makers in allocating resources to regional areas.

I also encourage you to attend the Northern Inland innovation awards to be held in Tamworth on Friday November 8th.  Innovation and entrepreneurialism are key contributors to regional economic development and it is important to recognise and promote those organisations and individuals who think outside the square to achieve success.

All the best,

Mal Peters, Chair

7 Councils To Enjoy LED Lights

RDANI has coordinated a successful funding application worth over $550,000, on behalf of seven councils in our region to upgrade street lighting to energy efficient LED lights.  The application to the Commonwealth Community Energy Efficiency Program means that some 4,700 old mercury vapour and metal halide lights will be upgraded in the Walcha, Armidale-Dumaresq, Guyra, Inverell, Glen Innes Severn, Gwydir and Tenterfield shires.

It is anticipated that the project will save the councils around 930 MW hours of energy and over $160,000 in electricity costs per annum.  Light maintenance and replacement costs will also fall.

Ausgrid recently conducted LED trials in Sydney, and found energy savings in the range of 43-70% - for a summary of the Ausgrid trials see www.rdani.org.au/projects/street-light-upgrades.php.

LED street lighting is also being rolled out in the US - see here for a case-study of upgrades in Los Angeles and an image which shows the difference in lighting quality between the old lights and LEDs.

Come On Inland – Official Launch and Competitions

Come On Inland officially launched in Bingara on 17 September.  Not only has the project received good media coverage, but more importantly there is really good traffic going through the Facebook, twitter and website.

We are receiving regular genuine enquiries of people who are interested in moving to the Northern Inland area to experience a higher quality of life.

Keep an eye out in the coming months as we are running regular competitions for local residents to either “tell us why Narrabri?” (for example) with a 25 word or less written competition or to show us “ your backyard” with photo competitions.  This is fabulous way in which local businesses and local residents can tell potential businesses how great it is to work in the region.  Please share this with your colleagues and staff.

We encourage all businesses to regularly visit the Come On Inland website (www.comeoneinland.com.au) and the social media mediums of Facebook (www.facebook.com/comeoninland)  and Twitter (tag #comeoninland).

Steady Growth For The Tablelands

The ABS report, Regional Population Growth, released 30 August, showed the Northern Tableland electorate had seen a growth rate of 2.8% across the board over the last five-year period 30 June 2007 to 30 June 2012, an increase of 2,056 people.

“Given the difficult economic times the region has faced in the last few years, these figures are very impressive and pleasing,” said Mr Adam Marshall, Member for Northern Tableland.

“A number of communities are growing at better than the New England North West average and those which are not, aren’t too far off the pace.”

The biggest mover was the Armidale Dumaresq LGA (25,278 people), with an increase in population of 1,003 people over the five years at a rate of 4.1%.  Inverell (16,660) wasn’t far behind with 687 new residents at 4.3% growth.

Uralla (6,281) had by far and away the best growth rate with a huge 5.9% increase over the five years, just behind that of Tamworth with 6%.  Uralla added 351 people to its community.

Guyra (4,552), boosted by a surge in housing development linked to the Costa Group’s tomato farm, grew by 5.3% with 228 extra people.  Tenterfield (6,996) also experienced good growth with an increase in population of 265 residents, representing growth of 3.9%.

It wasn’t all good news however, with the ABS figures showing that Glen Innes (8,881), Walcha (3,088) and Gwydir (5,111) LGAs suffered a slight population decline over the period.

“These figures highlight the need to continue to promote country NSW and support initiatives that help people and businesses to relocate and help existing business and industry to grow", said Mr Marshall.

Business Growth – Real Economic Development Action

fty new jobs will potentially be created or saved by the end of 2014 through a business growth and mentoring project initiated by Regional Development Australia–Northern Inland (RDANI).

RDANI Chair Mal Peters said “small businesses and the jobs they create are the engine-room of our regional economy.  We need to implement programs which help local businesses prosper, grow and employ more people.  There is a pool of existing business talent within our region which can be nurtured to expand if provided with the right assistance.”

The RDANI business growth project interviewed 51 businesses in the region to learn about their willingness and ability to expand.  The project then sought to overcome the problems such as the inability to find sufficient skilled staff, especially trades-people and also the 20% increasing cost of staff, particularly in mining towns. Another challenge was the lack of affordable accommodation for employees in some locations impacted by mining expansion.

Agriculture as the major industry in our region also faces a shortage of available quality farm labour, changing freight models, with the loss of regional freight carriers due to a predominance of national retail chains and the growing use of national carriers.

“These findings are unlikely to surprise many of our business operators” said Mr Peters.  “It is well recognised that the mining boom and the growing dominance of national retail chains has changed the business landscape in many parts of regional Australia.  The question is how can we respond to it?”

The RDANI Business Growth Project engaged a successful and trusted business entrepreneur to mentor those businesses that demonstrated real growth potential.  He then  walked them through issues such as long-term goal setting; competitor analysis; credit policy and cash-flow; capital investment options such as purchase versus leasing; budgeting; using digital and social media to grow their markets; refreshing the businesses corporate image; identification of gaps in the market; new product development and business planning and risk reduction strategies.

“This type of one-on-one business mentoring has been used successfully in the United States, but is rare in Australia” said Mr Peters.  “Government programs which support Australian businesses tend to be less intensive and personal, such as one-day workshops on a particular topic for groups of businesses, or providing one-off capital support or tax-relief.  We wanted to pilot a more targeted approach where a well-respected mentor works closely with a business to earn their trust and improve specific aspects of the businesses which are stifling growth”.

RDANI aims to find the resources to expand the program and work with more businesses in the region to boost regional economic activity and employment.

Mr Peters said “We recognise that not all businesses want to expand, and that there are only a small percentage who have the capacity to grow significantly.  However, these are the businesses we want to find and assist.  We also need to find more trusted business mentors who can contribute to the initiative”.

Seeking The Best And Brightest Year 10, 11 and 12 Agriculture Students

Generation 2050

The University of New England is searching for Australia’s next agricultural leaders, tasking them with finding solutions to how we will feed the world in 2050.

It is estimated that by the year 2050, the global population will have soared to over 9 billion people and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has estimated that around 70% more food and fibre will need to be produced by that time.

Year 10, 11 and 12 students from right across Australia are being asked to submit their views on why they think Australian agriculture will be vital to feeding the world in 2050.

The best 100 entries will be selected to attend UNE’s inaugural Generation2050: Project Feed the World conference in Armidale on 1-4 December. Generation2050 incorporates visits to local farms with students undertaking practical activities at UNE related to agronomy, animal science and agribusiness.

Amy Cosby from UNE’s School of Environmental and Rural Science says the event is about encouraging students to think outside the box and come up with innovative solutions to worldwide agricultural issues.

“Generation2050 is about nurturing the passion these young adults have for the industry and providing them with the opportunity to interact with students from all around Australia who have a similar interest,” Ms Cosby said.

The 100 students invited to attend will be selected on the basis of a short photo essay. They will be provided with accommodation at a UNE college and all meals and activities will be included. Travel to Armidale will also be subsidised.

“Applications for Generation 2050 close on Monday 21st October and some fantastic thought provoking entries have already been received,” Ms Cosby said.

“It is wonderful to see so many bright young people who want to pursue careers in this sector.”

“It really is one of the most important industries in the world – without highly skilled professionals there is no way we could face the food challenges of the future. Everyone is involved in agriculture, even if they don’t realise it because we all eat food and wear clothes.”

For more information on Generation2050 or to find out how to apply, please visit www.generation2050.com.au

Company Enjoys Benefits Of Brolga's 'Savvy' Talent Pool

The respected Armidale architectural company, Magoffin and Deakin Architects Pty. Ltd, is relishing its decision to use the Brolga Project's services to tap into the huge pool of smart young professionals looking for regional careers.

The Brolga Project is designed to help redress the regional professional skills shortage by drawing on Australia's huge pool of graduating university students, and encouraging them towards a regional career.

Principle Architect Michael McPhillips (pictured, centre with graduate Afifah Intanjudin right, and architect David Huntley, left) said he'd been impressed by the Brolga Project's processes.

"Brolga Project has tech-savvy young graduates who are keen to learn," he said.

"Another good thing about this program is that the graduates who sign up are prepared to move to regional areas," Mr McPhillips said, adding, "I have advertised in a Sydney newspaper before and found the response disappointing."

Graduate Afifah Intanjudin travelled from Malaysia to the University of Newcastle, and while at university replied to the project's advertisement encouraging students towards regional careers.

"I was in the midst of looking for jobs/traineeship websites and found the Brolga Project listings!" Afifah explained with charismatic enthusiasm.

"I emailed my EOI the same day, and got a response within the next two days.

"Lucky!" she laughed.

The graduates the project places in regional communities generally thrive on the experience and Afifah typifies them perfectly.

"I am always looking for new experiences, and a fresh start in a new unknown town sounded appealing to me," she said.

"I think regional Australia actually embodies the true Australian experience!"

Michael added that he'd not been too familiar with the Brolga Project to start with.

"An email was sent to us back in 2008 which I remembered when I was looking for someone this year.

"I didn't know much about the project, but it has been a terrific help with finding and interviewing potential staff, especially compared to other programs," he continued.

"Afifah undertakes CAD drafting, 3-D visualisations, general word processing and some contract administration, she's fitted into the work culture very well," he added.

But it's not all a one-way street, with Afifah grateful for skills recognition.

"The most rewarding point would be the symbiosis relationship between the office and myself, where I am able to gain industry experience and in return feel appreciated for my 'tech-savvy' skills," she said.

"And I hope to see more regional architectural practices be involved with The Brolga Project!" she concluded.

What’s On In The Northern Inland

Thunderbolt’s Festival
Saturday 19th and 26th of October

This year's festival is held in conjunction with Thunderbolt Rough Stock Rodeo Uralla 2013 on the 19th October and Oxley Riders Bail Up Poker Run 26th October 2013. Activities on the 26th of Ocotber include a street parade, markets, rides and music in Alma park, and the Billycart Derby with a $1,000 prize. Further Information can be found of the Uralla website at: www.uralla.com/thunderbolts-festival-134.html

Wings ‘n Things Bird & Bush Festival
Friday 4th of October to Monday 7th of October
Gwydir Shire

Gwydir Shire Council will host it's first ever shire wide event this October long weekend. Wings 'n Things Bird and Bush Festival will run from Friday 4 to Monday 7 October and is a celebration of the incredible variety of birds located with in the shire.

The weekend is full of fantastic activities that offers something for everyone including an all ages family show at the Roxy, the “Galah” Dinner hosted by Vision 20/20, the Coolatai Crafty Ladies Quilt and Crafts Display, a Bush Poets Breakfast at Cranky Rock, Kite and Lantern Flying afternoon at Warialda Rail, photography competitions, exhibitions and so much more.

The major event running throughout Gwydir Shire is the Scarecrow Competition and Exhibition,
There is information on the Wings ‘n Things website www.wingsnthings.gwydirshire.com on how to build your scarecrow, as well as lots of interesting “chatterings” and updates on the festival.

On The Sheep's Back - Shearer's Festival
Saturday 5th to Sunday 6th of October

Click Go The Shears! This October Long Weekend celebrate The DAG Sheep Station's "On The Sheep's Back - Shearer's Festival." This family fun event features Nundle's famous; The Hills of Gold Shearing Competition, Utility Speed Dog Trials, and Nundle Woollen Mill Fashion. Enjoy Live Music & Entertainment by Jeff "Gibbo" Gibson, Den Hanrahan, Col Finley, Nellie Donovan, and more. Activities include; 'The DAG - Tug Of War' competition, Billy Tea, Damper & Camp Oven Cooking, and Antique Shearing Demonstrations. Kids' activities include; Jumping Castle, face-painting and much much more.

Further information can be found on The DAG’s website: www.thedag.com.au/events/on-the-sheeps-back-shearers-festival/

Agility Dog Association 2013 Grand Prix
Friday 11th of October to Monday 14th of October
Agility Dog Association of Australia will hold their 2013 Grand Prix at AELEC in Tamworth. Hundreds of dogs will be in action over the 4 days. Agility is the ultimate in Team Dog Sports with the dogs leaping over hurdles, powering through tunnels, zipping through slaloms of upright poles and scaling ramps of different sizes. Further information is available od the ADAA website: www.adaa.com.au/schedules/grandprix13.htm

Tamworth Festival of Flight
Saturday 12th and Friday 18th to Sunday 20th of October

The Festival includes a launch event on Saturday 12 October featuring historical Aviation displays; Aviation and Defence Careers Days to recruit the next generation of avaiation experts, a day of celebration of flight on Saturday 19 October including pargagliding, autogyros, joy flights, radio control aircraft, aerobatic, skydiving, flight displays etc. A hands-on social day on Sunday 20 October with tandem skydiving, Lake Keepit Soaring Club, trial instructional flights, autogyros, BBQ, swap meet, hobbies and displays.

See the festival website www.tamworthfestivalofflight.com.au for further details.

Walcha Irish Mountain Festival
Saturday 19th to Sunday 20th of October

The 6th annual Walcha Irish Mountain Festival is busily being organised.  It looks like a fabulous weekend with lots of activities including Walcha Mountain Bike Teams Challenge and the Billy Cart Competition.
For further information please go to www.walchansw.com.au/attractions/walcha-festival.php

Westpac Helicopter Walcha Mountain Bike Teams Challenge
Sunday 20th of October

There is a ride to suit everyone in this years Walcha Mountain Bike Team Challenge, plus the feeling of raising money for such a vital service as the Westpac Helicopter Service.

Ride choices, which can be entered either as a solo or team entry, are:

  • Extreme challenge (100km)
  • General teams challenge (70km)
  • Junior Challenge (30km)
  • Community Challenge (30km)

For further information please go to: www.rescuehelicopter.com.au

New Grants and Funding Opportunities

Sport and Recreation Participation & Facility Program 2013-14
Applications Close 30 October 2013.

Key points of the program are:

  • Grants are capped at $10,000 for participation projects and $25,000 for facility projects;
  • Organisations may apply for multiple projects or project types, with the maximum available to any one organisation in a financial year capped at $50,000; and
  • Applicants must contribute 50% or more to the project.
  • Examples of projects eligible for funding:
  • Facility projects – The construction of new, fixed and portable facilities; and enhancement of existing facilities; and
  • Participation projects – Deliver a program or service that will assist people to become more active

For more information and application guidelines, please visit the website at www.dsr.nsw.gov.au/grants or phone 13 13 02.

Regional Visitor Economy Fund
Applications from 1 July 2013 onwards.

The Regional Visitor Economy Fund (RVEF) is managed and administered by Destination NSW and supports investment in the regional New South Wales visitor economy on a matched dollar-for-dollar basis.  Applications may be submitted for product development and marketing activities that will contribute to the NSW Government objective of doubling overnight visitor expenditure by 2020.  All applications must be supported by a completed Destination Management Plan which meets the information requirements outlined in the Destination NSW template.

For further information, please contact:  Destination NSW RVEF Program P: 02 9931 1593 or email rvef.program@dnsw.com.au

Emergency Volunteer Support Scheme (EVSS)
Applications for the next round close 5pm Friday 18 October 2013

The Emergency Volunteer Support Scheme (EVSS) focuses on emergency management volunteers, in recognition of their needs and the significant front line role they play in reducing vulnerability and enhancing community safety.

Further details are available on the Ministry for Police and Emergency Services website: www.mpes.nsw.gov.au/content.php/1266.html

Further informaiton on grants and funding opportunities are available in the Grants and Funding Opportunities area of the RDA-NI website.

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