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September 2014 Newsletter

In This Issue:

Welcome from the Chair

Dear Northern Inlanders,

Welcome to another addition of our newsletter. This week sees the closing date for nominations for our 7th Annual Northern Inland Innovation Awards and we are encouraging businesses, Local Government, not-for-profits and community organisations to get their entries in now. You can read more about the awards below and we are certainly looking forward to hosting them in Moree in November. We hope to see you there.

As Chair of the Regional Australia Institute in Canberra, I am also excited about the release of the next version of [In]Sight: Australia’s regional competitiveness index before the end of the year. This is a unique data source for regional Australia which will allow regional advocates access to sophisticated analysis and objective data necessary to influence decision-making that affects us all. You can read more about [In]Sight below.

All the best,

Mal Peters, Chair

Time Running Out to Enter the Northern Inland Innovation Awards

The deadline to get your entry in for the 2014 Northern Inland Innovation Awards is fast approaching. Entries close on Friday 26th, September, 2014. Businesses, public and not-for-profit organisations and local councils able to describe themselves as innovative should enter.

Regional Development Australia Northern Inland Innovation Awards categories are:

  • Agriculture / Horticulture and associated services
  • Retail, Tourism & Leisure
  • Professional and Government services
  • Manufacturing and Engineering
  • Research and Education

The RDANI Innovation Awards judging panel will also choose the recipient of the inaugural Innovative Community Contribution Award aimed at Local Government and the Not-For-Profit sector. Finalists for each category will be invited to attend the gala awards night, with the general public also encouraged to attend.

The 2014 Innovation of the Year Award will be presented to the leading innovator across all categories.

The gala presentation evening will take place at the Max Centre Ballroom in Moree on Friday, 7 November.
Enter online or find further information through the Awards’ website: www.niia.com.au

“This year, we are grateful for support from AgriFood Skills Australia, AusIndustry, the University of New England, Telstra, Trade and Investment NSW and Moree Plains Shire Council,” RDANI Executive Officer, Nathan Axelsson said.

Councils to Save on Street Lighting Costs

The installation of energy efficient street lighting in seven Northern Inland council areas could save in excess of $200,000 per annum, and offset Essential Energy plans to increase street light maintenance charges.

The Northern Lights Project run by Regional Development Australia–Northern Inland (RDANI) has received over $500,000 funding from the Australian Government.  It involves the installation of new street lights, and the employment of an Education Officer to assist households and businesses to reduce their electricity costs.

Funding will assist with the capital cost of installing around 4,700 new energy efficient street lights in the Armidale Dumaresq, Guyra, Walcha, Glenn Innes Severn, Inverell, Tenterfield and Gwydir council areas. 

The new lights will produce considerable energy savings for each council, and help offset proposed increases in street light maintenance costs announced by Essential Energy in May which would amount to around $153,000 for the seven councils.

David Thompson from RDANI is overseeing the project and stated that the choice of the type of street light to be installed is critical to the energy cost saving achieved.

“We having been working with Essential Energy on a plan to have LED lights installed, rather than Compact Fluorescents.  A good quality LED will save councils significantly more money through lower energy and maintenance costs” he said.

LED lights are cutting edge in lighting technology, not only reducing electricity use but also producing a better quality of light which improves public safety.  Numerous European and Asian countries are rolling out LED street lights, as is the Sydney City Council.

Essential Energy sister company Ausgrid are also replacing any blown older-style lights with LEDs in their Sydney jurisdictions.

“We have around 4,400 older 50 and 80 watt mercury vapour lights in the seven council areas that are due to be changed and these can readily be replaced with 22-26 watt LEDs.  I have calculated that the resulting energy cost saving would more than offset the proposed light maintenance cost increases. The capital cost of these lights is expected to be higher than Compact Fluorescent luminaires, but this is offset by lower energy and maintenance costs” said Mr Thompson.

The project represents a true example of collaboration between the three tiers of government – Commonwealth, State and local - and is believed to be one of the first major roll-outs of LED street lighting in regional Australia.

Mr Thompson said “Our job at RDANI is to foster regional economic development. Reducing business, council and household energy costs is one practical step in achieving that goal”.

Councils and the Broader Region Benefiting from Local Modelling Data

Local Councils in the region are able to plan, promote, collaborate and apply for investment with all important data. Local economic profiles present economic information that enables fact-based descriptions of the area's role within the broader economy, analysis of options for economic development and promotion of the area's strengths. The information presented is derived from official sources of information (Australian Bureau of Statistics) as well as Australia's leading economic modellers, NIEIR.

RDA Northern Inland Chair, Mal Peter’s said that such data represents an important tool for development of the region. “Whether we are planning or promoting, these numbers are critical and it is very convenient to have them at our fingertips.

Check out the latest data on the Northern Inland NSW region’s two largest centres, Tamworth and Armidale.

[In]Sight: The Next Generation

In early 2014, the RAI sought feedback and suggestions from stakeholders about the ways to enhance [In]Sight: Australia’s regional competitiveness index. The feedback received included suggestions on ways to improve the methodology, alternative indicators and new website functionality.

The updated version of [In]Sight is being prepared for release in late 2014. It will build on the quality and depth of this unique data source for the nation.

Highlights in the new version of [In]Sight include:

  • A suite of nationally consistent indicators on the quality and performance of regional and local institutions providing a range of data never before available in Australia;
  • A series of new indicators measuring the economic fundamentals of each region;
  • An updated method calculating the distance from every household in a region or local area to key infrastructure and essential services and natural resources;
  • A new indicator measuring the presence of proven mineral resources in each area and a new water resources indicator;
  • New measures for technological readiness including NBN and mobile phone coverage and new indicators on patents and business startups to better measure innovation;
  • A new theme on demography to replace the existing market size theme to provide new information on population dynamics in each area;
  • Updated data on employment, school performance, welfare dependency, research organisations and income from own businesses will also be provided;

The RAI will also implement a new robustness process to reduce the impact of outliers and other data anomalies on [In]Sight results.

The online tool will be updated to provide trend data and a new regional analyser tool is being developed to provide tailored regional reporting.

To access the current version of [In]Sight  click here.

Workshop on Exporting for Northern Inland Businesses

NSW Trade and Investment’s Export Capability Building Program will deliver a free “Growing your export workshop” on 16 October from 9:45am to 2:30pm, at the Quality Hotel Powerhouse, Armidale, with a light lunch provided.

The export workshop will be presented by General Manager of the Australian Institute of Export, Peter Mace.

The 4 Export Modules will cover:

  • Module 1: Export Planning
  • Module 2: Resourcing for Export
  • Module 3: Export Marketing
  • Module 4: Visiting the Target Market

There will also be a local "Case Study of a successful exporter."

Who should attend?

  • Businesses looking to develop a growth plan to extend beyond the domestic market
  • Potential exporters and new Exporters
  • Existing exporters that would like a refresher or like to attend a particular module.

Further information is available on the NSW Trade and Investment wesbsite here.

Use the Business Resources of the Australian Government’s Department of Industry

The Department of Industry’s Single Business Service is streamlining the way businesses access industry information and services by putting their needs first – reducing red tape and providing quality, consistent services at the lowest possible cost.

Single Business Service assistance is universal ¬– available to all Australian businesses – made up of a consolidated online presence accessible anytime and anywhere, a contact centre and a face-to-face business facilitation network to link interested businesses with relevant programmes and services.

Practical support includes:

  • information for businesses that is easy to find and understand
  • tailored advice for businesses when they choose to access it
  • direct links to services provided in the Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Programme, and
  • seamless connections with other Australian Government programmes or services like the R&D Tax Incentive and the Industry Skills Fund.

Click here for further information.

Your R&D Efforts Could Yield Tax Breaks

AusIndustry releases an Information Bulletin every quarter to over 11,000 businesses and consultants registered with the R&D Tax Incentive. It is a valuable tool to deliver program information, such as guidance, program trends and topical news.

Click here for further information.

Creative Industries Business Advice

The Creative Industries Innovation Centre (CIIC), in partnership with Arts North West and the Weswal Gallery will be providing free individual one-hour business consultations for creative enterprises in Tamworth on Thursday 23 and Friday 24 October.

The CIIC is an initiative of the Australian Government’s Entrepreneurs' Infrastructure Programme, and is supported by the University of Technology, Sydney.

The CIIC Biztro service offers sole traders, start-ups and small businesses in any creative industry the opportunity to benefit from the knowledge and experience of Business Adviser David Sharpe.

Aspects of your business that you may choose to discuss include starting a business, strategic planning, finances, human resources, marketing and intellectual property.

Register at: www.creativeinnovation.net.au/business/ciic-services/register/

Featured Grants and Funding Opportunities

Regional Relocation Grant

The NSW Government’s Regional Relocation Grant has additional funding to support continuation of the $10,000 Skilled Regional Relocation Incentive to the end of March 2015, while the $7,000 Regional

Relocation Grant will cease as of 30 September.

The skills incentive has successfully targeted a younger, more economically active demographic. From January to June 2014 – 34% of recipients of the skills incentive were under 30 years of age, 74% under 40, 89% under 50 and 1% were sixty and older.

This compares to the Regional Relocation Grant that for the same period less than 3% were under 30 years of age, 14% were under 40 and 54% of recipients were sixty and older.

Further information of Regional Relocation Grants is available of the Office of State Revenue site here.

Royal Agricultural Society of NSW Foundation
Applications close 30th of September 2014

The RAS Foundation are looking for students that require financial support, love to give back to their community and want to make rural and regional NSW/Australia more resilient and dynamic!

For more information visit: www.rasnsw.com.au/828.htm

Library Grants
Applications close 31st of October 2014

Local councils in the Northern Inland are encouraged to apply for funding under the NSW Government’s new Public Library Infrastructure Grants program.

The new program was created to help build or upgrade library facilities, infrastructure and services.

The following priority areas have been identified for the program:

  • library buildings and spaces;
  • mobile libraries;
  • major information and communications technology projects; and
  • cooperative library development activities.

For more information go to: www.sl.nsw.gov.au/services/public_libraries/funding/grants.html

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

What’s On in the Northern Inland

Wandering Warriors 2014 Mega Challenge
Various Dates, Sunday 30th of September to 5th of October

Tenterfield, Glen Innes, Armidale, Uralla and Tamworth

Quirky, Creative and Wellness Festival

Saturday 4th to Saturday 11th of October
Gwydir Shire

Emmaville Gemfest and Swap Meet
Saturday 4th to Monday 6th of October

On the Sheep’s Back Shearer’s Festival
Saturday 4th to Sunday 5th of October

ABARES Armidale Regional Outlook conference
Wednesday 15th of October – Registrations  Now Open

New England Wine Show
Thursday 16th to Friday 17th of October
Glen Innes

Festival of Flight
Friday 17th to Sunday 19th of October

Tamworth's First Multicultural Street Festival
Saturday 18th of October


Twin Peaks Challenge
Saturday 18th of October
Lake Keepit

UNE Spring Graduations
Friday 24th and Saturday 25 October

Thunderbolt’s Festival
Saturday 25th of October

Wallabadah Flower Show
Saturday 25th of October

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