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September 2019 Newsletter

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In this Issue:

Welcome from the Chair

Russell Stewart - Chair

Dear Northern Inlanders,

Welcome to our September newsletter.

Once again this month the impact of the drought has been compounded by damaging bushfires in our region with almost 200,000 hectares burnt out in the recent fires. These tough times call for resilient people, and our region has them in abundance. Farmers, businesses and our communities are struggling, so I encourage you to shop locally when you can, if you are in need of help, reach out to the various support services that are available, and help those around you however you can.

While the applications for state sponsored visa certifications are temporary closed, our Skilled Migration Project Officer, Gary Fry is visiting the skills shortage hot-spots in the west of our region to talk to businesses about how they can connect with skilled migrants to fill skill shortages to help their businesses grow. Details about the meeting that was held in Gunnedah, and the planned locations for future information sessions are below.

This month the Country Universities Hubs in Narrabri and Moree were opened. These hubs provide a brilliant opportunity for students, both young and not so young, to pursue higher education by providing the physical facilities and peer support needed to successfully study locally at university. This is a fantastic step towards keeping our youth in our communities, which is key to retaining the skills and experience we need for our communities to prosper.


Russell Stewart

Getting Skilled Migrants to Where They’re Needed

Gary Fry with Gunnedah Economic Development Working Group and President of the Gunnedah Chamber of Commerce

Skill shortages continue to impact our region, impeding economic growth and service delivery and although Skilled Migration is not a complete solution, it is an important way in which we are upskilling our region. The program brings quality people, with top qualifications and experience here to our region to fill skill shortages and drive population growth as they establish their lives along with their families in our communities.

Over the coming months, our Senior Skilled Migration & Project Officer Gary Fry will be getting out to communities throughout the region to improve awareness of the skilled migrants we attract and how employers can connect with them. Our skilled migrants have made a considerable contribution to the Tamworth economy but we would like to see a greater proportion of them employed in our skill shortage hot spots, like Gunnedah, Narrabri and Moree.

On the invitation of Gunnedah Shire Council’s Economy Development Manager Charlotte Hoddle, Gary recently visited the Council Chambers Training Room, where he addressed the Gunnedah Economic Development Working Group and also met with President of the Gunnedah Chamber of Commerce Stacey Cooke McAllan. It was a good opportunity to connect with the broad range of Council and business community representatives who make up the Working Group, which is Chaired by Gunnedah Shire Mayor Cr. Jamie Chaffey.

Mayor Chaffey called on other community and business representatives to contribute to the skills shortage conversation, towards constructive action on local and regional levels. “It is critical that Chambers of Commerce, professional and training organisations and councils in each local government area are part of the conversation to identify the skills needed for each region. There is a place for skilled migration to those necessary qualified positions that have proven difficult to fill and are a roadblock to providing vital services in regional communities,” he said. “We need to welcome qualified people from other nations who can add great value to our social, cultural and – importantly - our economic futures.”

Gary encouraged the input from Gunnedah. “Both the Economic Development Working Group and the Chamber of Commerce were welcoming and attentive as I gave a quick but comprehensive overview of our Skilled Regional State Nominated visa program and the changes it is undergoing. The Skilled Regional State Nominated visa is a Permanent Residency (PR) pathway, so high-level requirements must be met for eligibility. Recipients (of the 489 visa) have had to live regionally for 24 months and work full-time hours regionally for 12 months to be able to apply for a PR visa, with their temporary work visa having a four year duration. The new visa 491 will be extended to five years, with three years of conditions to meet before PR eligibility.”

“The skilled migrants we attract to this region have no safety net; there is no welfare or Medicare for them. It is so important for them and any employer struggling to find the skilled workers they need that we help raise awareness about how they can connect.”

“One industry that has been a clear-cut beneficiary of our skilled migration program has been the aged-care sector. Resident aged-care facilities are required to have Registered Nurses on duty. Due to a skill shortage in the field, that requirement would have caused an aged-care crisis, if not for skilled migration. Other industries we have attracted skilled migrants for have included hospitality, metal and timber trades.”

Employers and groups like Gunnedah’s Economic Development Working Group are also encouraged to get into contact with Gary about skill shortages, as this helps to keep our regional occupation list responsive to local labour market trends.

Gunnedah was the first of a number of visits around the region that are planned before the end of the year to engage with community representatives and directly with employers. The next information sessions will be at the Narrabri and District Chamber of Commerce meeting on the 10th of October and in Tamworth on the 19th of October. For further details, contact Gary on gfry@rdani.org.au or 6771 0700.

Skilled Migration Update

Due to the commencement of the new Skilled Regional State Nominated visa sub-class 491 on the 16th of November, our office is currently not accepting applications for regional sponsorship for the 489 or 491 visas, and all applications that were received have now been processed. Details regarding the new 491 visa and when applications for regional sponsorship for our region will commence will be provided as they become available.

Applications for certification assessment under the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS) for employers seeking to nominate a skilled worker can be still be submitted until 11th November. This deadline will allow time for applications to be assessed for certification before this visa program is replaced on the 16th of November. Details on how to apply are available on the RSMS Employer Nomination page of our website.

Information on the new Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) visa and the Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa, while limited at this stage, are available on the Department of Home Affairs website.

If you have any queries about certifications for either of these visas after reading our website, our office staff are available to communicate with skilled migrants and employers on 6771 0700 or migration@rdani.org.au.

Glen Innes Highlands Economic Development Campaign Launched

Glen Innes Highlands

This week Glen Innes Severn Council launched their new Economic Development website and marketing campaign to showcase why Glen Innes Highlands is a great choice to Visit, Live and Invest.

“The initial marketing campaign is based on the popular social game ‘would you rather’ to demonstrate favourable comparison between holiday experiences in Glen Innes Highlands and city verses country lifestyle” said Margot Davis, Economic Development Manager. “The new Glen Innes Highlands website is the ‘shop front’ of Glen Innes and provides all of the information to assist people in exploring the area as visitors, consider a move and start to inspire and drive investment.”

The new marketing campaign has been launched in outdoor media previously and will be launched in digital and social channels targeting key geographical locations and audiences identified in the delivery of the marketing strategy last financial year. This is the start of Glen Innes Highlands leveraging its lifestyle, opportunities and assets to deliver a focused effort to grow and future proof our local economy.

Despite being in unprecedented drought conditions, like many in our region and across the border in Queensland, there is a lot to look forward to in Glen Innes Highlands. Several new projects are on the horizon and converting just over $11 million received in grants for various projects will only bring new opportunities and continually build on the town’s ‘liveability’. The list of  projects is available on the new website at www.gleninneshighlands.com/future-planning

“Council is excited to launch this project and celebrate what Glen Innes Highlands has to offer” Glen Innes Severn Council Mayor, Clr Carol Sparks said. “Following on from councils adoption of the new marketing strategy and campaign idea in the last financial year, the new website and final campaign execution does a great job to bring the strategy to market to influence people to visit, live and invest in Glen Innes” the Mayor said. “This is just the start of Councils renewed focus to leverage the adopted Glen Innes Highlands brand for the purposes of Economic Development. Council is focused on delivering a new place-based Economic Development Strategy and Action Plan this financial year in line with the adopted community strategic plan.”

The new website can be viewed at www.gleninneshighlands.com.

Country Universities Hubs open in Narrabri and Moree

Country Universities Hubs open in Narrabri and Moree

The Narrabri and Moree communities have welcomed the official opening of the Country Universities Centre North West Regional Study Hubs in Narrabri and Moree by Federal Minister for Education Dan Tehan and Federal Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government and Member for Parkes Mark Coulton.

The hubs will give students studying through an Australian university new opportunities by providing high-speed technology and campus-like facilities, supporting higher education at a local level with education support, mentors and student networks. Moree Plains Shire and Narrabri Shire Councils worked together to create a model that will not only benefit residents of the two shires, but also the North-West and South-Western Queensland.

Mr Coulton said the Coalition Government’s $829,000 investment in the hub will give local students greater choice and access to opportunities. “The cost of moving to study can be a significant burden on students and families and a barrier to going to university, so we want our children to have the opportunity to live at home and stay in their communities while still getting a tertiary education,” Mr Coulton said. “There should be equality of opportunity to access higher education for every Australian, no matter where they live. By providing more higher education and training opportunities in the Parkes electorate, we can retain skills and experience that will boost our local economy and keep our communities vibrant.”

Those seeking study opportunities in their area, are encouraged to visit cuc.org.au

October is Small Business Month

Small Business Month

As part of Small Business Month, the NSW Government have a special line-up of events that are designed to support small businesses to start and grow in NSW. This year’s program includes a variety of free activities including webinars, business breakfasts, social media workshops, networking sessions and much more.

A range of events are planned across the state, and two events are to be held in Tamworth:

Boost with Facebook – 24th of October at 7.30am to 10.30am
From beginner to expert, whatever your skill level, Boost with Facebook has got you covered, with free digital skills modules tailored to help you build your online brand. Explore the latest digital trends, get practical tips to get started and get noticed. Tickets are free and bookings are essential.

Inspirational Indigenous Business Thought Leaders - 31th of October at 7.30am to 10.30am
Come along to this free breakfast seminar and hear from local Aboriginal entrepreneurs as they share their journey, and the challenges faced when building their businesses. This is an excellent opportunity for you to create stronger networks within your local community, and be empowered to start your business off on the right foot. Tickets are free and bookings are essential.

A wide range of webinars will also be available:

Further information is available on the Small Business Month website: www.businessmonth.nsw.gov.au

Drought Funding for New Function Centre in Walcha

New Function Centre at the Walcha Showground

Walcha now has a brand new function centre at the Walcha Showground, thanks to $845,000 in funding from the Federal Government under the Drought Communities Program. The upgrade included a new kitchen, bathroom, bar and cool room facilities as well as a veranda seated area, viewing deck and stage area.

Walcha’s Drought Communities Program funding included an additional $155,000 for the Walcha Communities Projects which featured more developments in the area such as at Yarrowitch Showground, Woolbrook Sportsground Project, projects at Nowendoc and Ingleba Hall.

Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, joined Walcha Council for the official opening. “This is a fantastic asset for the Walcha community and one they can feel proud to call their own for generations to come,” Mr Joyce said. “It is a credit to council to get this project off the ground as it has provided the Walcha community with a vital $1 million injection of funds during this testing time of drought.”

Featured Grants and Funding Opportunities

Below are some featured grants and funding opportunities from the multitude of open grants listed in the Grants and Funding Opportunities area of our website. Our website is updated weekly with new listings and updates and all are applicable to our region, so it is a great resource if you are looking for funding for a specific project.

You can also sign up to our Business and Infrastructure Funding Opportunities and the Community Grants and Award Programs newsletters through the simple form located on the left-hand side of our website: www.rdani.org.au, to receive monthly summaries of currently open grants.

Regional Employment Trials Program
Closes: 30th of June 2020
Value: $7,500 to $200,000
Run By:  Australian Government Department of Jobs and Small Business

The Northern Inland is one of only ten regions across Australia to be selected for the Regional Employment Trials Program. The Regional Employment Trials program provides local stakeholders in selected regions, including businesses, not-for-profits and local government agencies, with grants to trial local approaches to delivering employment related projects.

The objectives of the program are to deliver:

  •     strong connections between regional stakeholders, including employment services providers
  •     employment initiatives that meet local needs
  •     improved awareness of local labour markets
  •     the potential for improved regional employment outcomes

Grants are for between $7,500 and $200,000, for up to 75% of eligible project costs. Projects must be completed by 30 June 2020.


Economic and Community Participation (ECP) Program
Closes: Monday 21 October 2019 11pm AEDT
Value: From $100,000 per year
Run By: National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA)

The Australian Government is inviting applications via an open competitive process to apply to deliver ILC activities under Outcome 1.2 – Community Inclusion and Capacity Development Grants nationally for up to three years from 2019-20. The ECP Program aims to build the capacity of the community to create opportunities for people with disability to contribute to community prosperity and participate in community life.

The objective of this ECP grant round is to improve the economic and community participation of people with disability across Australia. This grant round aims to fund projects which provide a catalyst for increasing access and inclusion in economic and community participation for people with disability across Australia. There are two streams under the ECP Program within this grant round.

Economic Participation stream - Sector based initiatives to create pathways to employment and drive inclusive practices for people with disability to contribute to Australia’s economic prosperity

Social and Community Participation stream - Inclusive practices to create opportunities for people with disability to participate in community life, with a focus on arts, culture, sport and recreation.

The specific outcomes for the ECP Program include:

  • People with disability participate in and benefit from the same community activities as everyone else.
  • People with disability actively contribute to leading, shaping and influencing their community.


Manufacturing Modernisation Fund
Closes: 31st of October 2019 5pm
Value: $50,000 up to $1 Million
Run By: Australian Government Department of Industry, Innovation and Science

Supports manufacturers to modernise, adopt new technologies, become more productive and create more jobs by co-funding capital investments and associated reskilling. Modernisation can include technology upgrades, efficiency upgrades, such as energy or process optimisation, or more transformative changes to your business, which will allow you to produce new products or diversify into new markets.

The program aims to:

  • support investment in efficient and transformative manufacturing processes by small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs)
  • support jobs growth and a more highly skilled workforce in the manufacturing sector

The program will run over 3 years and will be delivered through two streams of funding:

  • an estimated $20 million for matched grants of between  $50,000 to $100,000 for small scale  technology and efficiency investments
  • an estimated $30 million for larger grants between $100,000 to $1 million, on a three to one funding basis,  to support transformative investments in technologies and processes

What's On in the Northern Inland

Rotary Book Sale
Monday 16th of September to Monday 7th of October

Making Social Media Business Friendly
Boggabri - Tuesday 24th of September
Narrabri - Wednesday 25th of September
Wee Waa - Thursday 26th of September

Walking tour of Goonoowigall
Thursday 26th of September

Social Evening
Friday 27th of September

Community Consultation for Aboriginal Regional Arts & Culture Strategy
Friday 27th of September

Killarney Bike Classic – Kids Classic
Sunday 29th of September

International Buskers Festival and Kids Day
Tuesday 1st of October

Wednesday 2nd to Friday 5th of October
Glen Innes

Friday 4th to Sunday 6th of October

Back to the 'Bri Festival
Saturday 5th of October

Boomi Annual Mud Trials
Saturday 5th of October

Wyoming Round-Up
Saturday 5th to Sunday 6th of October
Mount Russell

Annual Spring Rose and Flower Show 2019
Saturday 5th to Sunday 6th of October

Pride 2019 Fair Day
Sunday 6th of October

Spring Garden Expo
Sunday 6th of October
Hanging Rock

Inverell Rotary Book Sale
Thursday 10th of October

Cotton Capital Music Muster
Friday 11th to Sunday 13th of October
Wee Waa

Lions Club Art Exhibition
Friday 11th to Sunday 13th of October