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September 2020 General Newsletter


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In This Issue

Welcome from the Chair

Dear Northern Inlanders,

As life with COVID continues, there is finally some more hope of recovery with the recent easing of restrictions in NSW. Our communities have been doing it tough in so many ways, and it was heartbreaking to hear of the devastating fire in the centre of Mungindi, testing the resilience of the community yet again. The strength of this community and their ability to adapt is inspiring, as they find innovative ways to bring their community together.

Connecting employers and job seekers is an important step in the recovery of our economy. I was pleased to hear that the Northern Inland has been selected as one of 25 regions to receive Australian Government support through the Local Jobs Program which includes a locally based Employment Facilitator.

I continue to emphasise that our youth are key to our future, and I encourage anyone in our region that is aged 12-24 that has ideas to benefit our region’s youth to consider applying for the Regional Task Force. This is a unique opportunity to have your voice heard and to develop your own skills and knowledge.

Regards,

Russell Stewart
Chair

Local Taskforces to Aid Jobs Recovery

Over 900,000 job seekers will benefit from local knowledge and expertise through the new $62.8 million Local Jobs Program announced by the Australian Government this month. 25 locally based Employment Facilitators, including Bronwyn Pearson for the Northern Inland region, will be engaged to help connect job seekers with training, job opportunities and other support.

They will also chair Local Jobs and Skills Taskforces across Australia that will bring together local employers, employment and training providers and other local stakeholders, to develop projects to get job seekers back into work. Local Recovery Funds will be available in each selected region to support this approach.

Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, said tailoring solutions specific to each local area was vital to helping regions recover.

“Small and family businesses rely on their local communities and we want to tap into their expertise and connections to get people working again” Minister Cash said. "As the economy recovers from COVID-19, the jobs that are created may look different to those that existed before.”

“The recovery is also likely to look different across sectors and communities which is why it is critical to provide tailored support to help Australians find work in their local regions. Local knowledge and collaboration will be vital to achieving this.”

Using information provided by the National Skills Commission, each ‘Local Jobs and Skills Taskforce’ will develop a local jobs plan, identifying the region’s priorities, opportunities and skills gaps.

The program will run until 30 June 2022, and further information is available on the Local Jobs Program page of the Department of Education, Skills and Employment website.

Targeted Support for Tourism in Upcoming BBRF Round

This week the Australian Government announced the allocation of $250 million of funding for regional Australia. $50 million for the Regional Tourism Recovery Initiative (which does not include the Northern Inland) and $200 million for an upcoming round of the Building Better Regions Fund. The funding aims to encouraging more Australians to travel and experience a home-grown holiday, boosting regional jobs and local economies.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the package would deliver targeted support for regional tourism.

“By investing $200 million in an additional round of the Building Better Regions Fund we are investing $200 million in securing regional Australia’s future,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

“This Budget will set aside $200 million for projects to boost local infrastructure in regional communities, $100 million of which will be dedicated to tourism-related infrastructure. We know every dollar spent on building local communities is a dollar well spent and that is at the heart of our economic plan for a more secure and resilient Australia.”

Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories Nola Marino said BBRF Round 5 presents a great opportunity for regional communities to see the benefit of continued investment.

“BBRF has been such a successful program, with regional, rural and remote Australia reaping the rewards,” Assistant Minister Marino said. “Local jobs, local procurement, local upgrades and local wins – that’s what BBRF means to communities across the country.”

BBRF Round 5 will be delivered like its previous four rounds, with Infrastructure Project and Community Investment streams. Grant Opportunity Guidelines will be made available shortly, consistent with the existing BBRF framework, to assist potential applicants.

Having your project ready before grants open can be very beneficial to the outcome of an application. Now is the time to start preparing for the upcoming round of the Building Better Regions fund for anyone that plans to apply. If you would like assistance with your application, please contact our office on 6771 0700 or rdani@rdani.org.au to find out how we can help.

Could You be Part of the Regional Youth Taskforce?

If you are passionate about regional NSW, have ideas and views on issues impacting young people in regional NSW and want to make a contribution that can create a real change, then the Regional Youth Taskforce could be for you!

The NSW Government is looking for people that are aged 12-24 and living in regional NSW to join the Regional Youth Task Force for 2021. This taskforce will advise the Minister for Regional Youth about issues that affect the youth in regional NSW and will allow you to have a say on how the NSW Government can improve outcomes and deliver better services. During the year, the taskforce will focus on wellbeing, connectivity, work readiness and community and will be invited to contribute to various government policies. 

Applications are open until the 18th of October and further information as well as the requirements to apply are available on the Regional Youth Taskforce webpage.

Agricultural Workers’ Code Changes to Support Farmers

With harvest only weeks away, recent changes to incorporate the new Agricultural Workers Code into NSW public health orders will help farmers to source the skilled workers they need at this time of year. This year’s harvest will be critical for many after over three years of record-breaking drought, and the changes will allow the movement of critical workers across state borders.

“This is good news for the Barwon electorate as it provides better support to our farmers leading to this year’s harvest season.” Said Roy Butler, Member for Barwon. “This Code is critical to supporting the agricultural industry and ensuring regional communities can capitalise on this year's bumper crops.”

Member for Northern Tablelands, Adam Marshall said the new NSW Agricultural Worker Permit would provide an avenue for eligible works from the agriculture industry to move into NSW – if they meet the permit requirements.

“A number of requirements must be met before a worker is provided a permit. This is to ensure we are adopting sensible and practical COVIDSafe principles,” he said. “This includes having not been in a COVID19 restricted or area of concern, ability to self-isolate when not working and having documentation to support the permit.”

Agricultural worker permits are now available on the Service NSW website.

$500,000 Funding Boost for Local Tourism

Over $500,000 in funding has been announced by the Australian Government for projects in the Northern Inland through the Regional Tourism Bushfire Recovery Grants program. The 12 projects and events in Glen Innes, Tenterfield, Inverell, Walcha and Armidale will boost domestic visitors in the region following last summer’s bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Already we’ve heard plenty of good news stories about local tourists choosing to take their ‘stay-cation’ here in the New England, shopping local and keeping their money local as well,” said Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce. “This funding will complement that and serve as a real boost to many of our bushfire-affected communities.”

The Glen Innes community received funding for six projects and events, which Glen Innes Severn Mayor Carol Sparks said would be a great boost for the shire. “The bushfires, along with the Coronavirus pandemic and the drought, have given the New England a succession of tough times which the Federal Government has recognised as requiring support.”

Glen Innes Severn Council General Manager Craig Bennett also welcomed the funding. “It is pleasing to see such a significant commitment by the Federal Government to the New England region, and that Glen Innes Severn Council’s Local Government Area is included in the support package announced. Our iconic tourism events will appreciate the injection of funding which will assist these events in coping with the current challenges,” said Mr Bennett.

Funded projects and events in the New England include:

  • $230,680 for New England High County (NEHC) National Park Soundtrails Visitor Attractions and Promotion - Features four new Soundtrails for the following national parks: Apsley Falls, Walcha; Wollomombi Falls, Armidale; Washpool NP, Glen Innes; Bald Rock NP, Tenterfield. Funding also includes a promotional campaign for the soundtrails for NEHC Tourism Group.
  • $145,000 for Escape to Play Visitor Attraction - Funding will be used to create a new ‘escape room’ attraction in the local area based on off-the-shelf game options.
  • $145,000 for The Armidale Spring Games - The Armidale Spring Games will be a combined hockey, netball, and soccer weekend-long tournament and sporting event. Grant funding will cover the operational costs of the event.
  • $145,000 for Art Installations Tenterfield Creek - Multiple art installations strategically placed along the Tenterfield Creek walking track. Signage and interpretive boards will also be placed with the art installations and along the path providing information on the artwork and the area.
  • $20,000 for Inverell Sapphire City Festival - A 10-day festival with activities for the whole family, culminating in a finale with a festival parade, carnival and fireworks. Grant funding will be used for an entertainer/artist as a feature for the festival, advertising and fireworks.
  • $20,000 for Walcha Motorcycle Rally - An annual grassroots event for motorcycle enthusiasts. Grant funding will be used to enhance marketing activities. 
  • $20,000 for Armidale Beer & BBQ Festival - A new festival celebrating local produce and the agricultural sector. Grant funding will support marketing and promotion of the event.
  • $20,000 for Peter Allen Festival - A celebration of the music and achievements of Peter Allan. Grant funding will assist with marketing and promotion and entertainment costs.
  • $20,000 for GlenRock – A Glen Innes-based music festival aimed at youth to be held in 2021.
  • $10,000 for GlenFest - A four-day festival of music featuring a free concert for older persons, a school holiday youth workshop and charity concerts. The 2021 event will also feature the GlenFest Arts Prize.
  • $10,000 for Glen Innes Australian Celtic Festival - A unique four-day festival celebrating Celtic ceremonies and spectacles. Grant funding will be used to support marketing of the Festival via television and digital channels.
  • $10,000 for Glen Innes Minerama Fossicking, Gem & Jewellery Show - Australia's largest annual gem and jewellery show, attracting visitors and dealers from all over Australia. Grant funding will be used to assist with marketing and promotion.

NSW Government to Prioritise Local Procurement

To provide a boost for local economies in the wake of drought, bushfires and the pandemic, the NSW Government has established a new Small and Medium Enterprise and Regional Procurement Policy. This policy requires NSW Government agencies to consider buying goods and services from a small, medium, or rural business for all direct procurements up to $250,000 as part of a plan to boost local businesses.

“This new policy is good news for our region’s businesses and couldn’t come at a better time,” said Member for Northern Tablelands, Adam Marshall. “It will see even more of the government’s considerable annual spending stay in our region and support locals.”

Local businesses will be able to cut red tape and government processes through the ‘small business exemption’. It also allows for purchases of up to $50,000 to be made from small businesses even when there are mandated whole-of-government contracts in place.

Businesses can also access free independent business advice to build their capability to supply goods and services to government, through the NSW Government’s Business Connect program.

Featured Grants and Funding Opportunities

To help businesses and individuals affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19) access the available assistance we have created a dedicated Coronavirus Assistance page on our website. This page will be updated as details become available on the recently announced economic stimulus packages from the Australian and NSW Governments.

There is also wide range of assistance available for individuals, businesses and communities that have been affected by the ongoing drought and the recent bushfires. To help you access this support, we have created dedicated Drought Assistance and  Bushfire Assistance pages on our website which are being updated reguarly.

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 Connectivity Program
Closes: 17th of November 2020
Value: Unspecified
Run By: Australian Government Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications

The Regional Connectivity Program (RCP) is a $53 million competitive grant opportunity to expand the economic, social and public safety benefits of improved digital connectivity to regional, rural and remote Australian communities. The grant opportunity will be administered by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications (DITRDC).

Funded infrastructure under the RCP must provide retail mobile or broadband services to a regional, rural or remote community or a subset of the community (such as local businesses, tourist locations, schools etc). Proposals must demonstrate the clear need for improved telecommunications and community support for any proposed economic and/or social benefits.

Consortia projects are also encouraged in order to maximise the value and outcomes of the program.

Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund - Stream 2
Closes: 10th of November 2020
Value: Unspecified
Run By: Resilience NSW

The Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund (BCRRF) is provided through the joint Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

Stream 2 is aimed at delivering a competitive grants program to the broader community in bushfire-affected Local Government Areas including community groups, councils, joint organisations, NGOs, and not-for-profits. It is for social recovery and preparedness projects between $20,000 and $300,000. Grants will be assessed with a regional lens to maximise the recovery support to communities across local government boundaries.

In the Northern Inland, this funding includes Armidale Regional, Glen Innes Severn and Tenterfield Shire Councils areas.

Future Drought Fund: Natural Resource Management Drought Resilience Program
Closes: 30th of October 2020
Value: Unspecified
Run By: Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment

The Program is focused on support for experimentation in NRM practices, systems and approaches that go beyond current best practice. This aims to foster innovation and transformational change in the management of Natural Capital to deliver drought resilience in agricultural landscapes.

Through holistic management and adoption of new or existing technology and practices, this program will deliver a range of on-ground outcomes achieving benefits that meet local priorities and contribute to landscape-scale drought resilience.

Industrial Transformation Research Hubs
Closes: 18th of November 2020
Value: $500,000 to $100,000,000
Run By: Australian Research Council

The Industrial Transformation Research Hubs scheme engage Australia's best researchers to develop collaborative solutions to Industrial Transformation Priorities and to train the future research workforce. The scheme supports joint research activity, between the Australian higher education sector and industry, designed to focus on strategic outcomes that cannot be realised independently of each other.

The current Industrial Transformation Priorities are:

  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Cyber Security
  • Food and Agribusiness
  • Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals
  • Mining Equipment, Technology and Services
  • Oil, Gas and Energy Resources
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