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Northern Inland Innovation Awards - 2013

Innovators from around the Northern Inland were recognised at the 2013 Northern Inland Innovation Awards, with a gagla awards night held on the 8th of November at Tamworth West Leagues Club.

"It is important that we recognise and promote how we are being innovative and what sets us apart. This fantastic awards program attracted 49 top quality entries from every major centre in the region and almost 140 people attended the awards night," RDANI Chair Mal Peters said.

Local produce was presented to sponsors and MC, Jennifer Ingall (ABC radio New England North West Regional Content Manager). There was a presentation by the inspiring BackTrack Youthworks lads and a pair of working dogs in training. Guest Speakers were business coach, Greg Alder and 2012 Innovation of the Year recipient, Graham East from educational software developer, EdAlive. There were displays of the finalist innovators and the opportunity for regional networking.

Armidale-based ICT International were awarded the Innovation of the Year, which included a $15,000 scholarship from The Sharemarket College.

Outstanding innovators were also recognised in five categories:

Unique innovators were also recognised with highly commended awards.

 

The 2013 Northern Inland Innovation Awards were proudly supported by:

 

Research and Education

Winner: BackTrack Youthworks - Jobs Australia Enterprises Ltd

Since it began in Armidale in 2006, BackTrack has delivered a range of innovative programs aimed at helping troubled youth to focus their lives, re-connect with education or training and get work-ready. It has now been adapted to communities around the region.

Finalist: UNE Computer Science - for 'Smart Eye'

'Smart Eye' is a University of New England research project which aims to help older people to reside in their own homes longer. It uses embedded camera systems in a 'smart house' to determine if an unsafe situation has occurred and would then call for human intervention. It's a groundbreaking step.

Finalist: UNE - for "Integrated Degrees"

The University of New England has teamed up with TAFE New England to develop unique-to-Australia "Integrated Degrees" in AgriFood Systems and Health disciplines. Academic education and hands-on vocational training combine. Entry pathways are flexible. Student and industry needs are better catered for, as graduates will have improved job readiness.

Agriculture, Horticulture and Associated Services

Sponsored by AgriFood Skills Australia

Winner: ICT International, Armidale

ICT International's innovations have transformed the business from an importer to an exporter of soil and plant instrumentation. Their range of products have niche demand for important work around the world.

Finalist: Paradise Fresh, Tamworth

A farm to home delivery service for local fresh produce - innovative approaches now include online marketing and retailing and a school rewards. The farm supplies 4 franchises, with 6 more opening soon.

ITC Agriculture, Narrabri

Producing its own high-quality parts, ITC Agriculture competes with high-end manufacturers. Their innovative coating enhances durability of heavy wear parts. They research, develop and innovate to better meet farmer's tool needs.

Tourism, Leisure and Related Services

Winner: Petersons Armidale Guesthouse & Winery

The Petersons Armidale Guesthouse and Winery was already unique to the Armidale area, when it invested in the creation of a live concert venue, attracting top artists and thousands of visitors. The first "A Day on the Green" event in the region in March 2012 attracted 6,500 people from near and far, with over 7,000 attending in March this year.

Finalist: The New England Regional Art Museum

Innovative programs are ever evolving at NERAM, such as "Remembering with Art" - developed in association with the Home Nursing Group for those with dementia; and the inter-generational "Creating Memories" project.

Finalist: Tamworth Regional Council's Business & Events Directorate

This directorate is unique in local government. Innovative approaches to growing sporting, cultural and business event-based business have stemmed from the Country Music Festival. Directorate facilitated one-off and ongoing events have had major flow-one benefits.

Manufacturing and Engineering

Winner: StarLogixs, Deepwater

An electronic innovator, StarLogixs designed a devise to ensure voltage consistency for remote Telstra NextG units. Addressing this technological challenge was a win for rural telecommunications and the business.

Finalist: Andromeda Industries, Moonbi

Andromeda Industries manufactures plaited and woven steel cables for national and global markets. They also recycle rubber belts for a massive range of niche applications. A number of products are so innovative, they have a market monopoly.

Finalist: Bindaree Beef, Inverell

The McDonald Family's Bindaree Beef has developed a sustainability world-first for the red-meat industry. A Bio-Digester will breakdown waste and resultant bio-gas will replaced the coal boiler. The $46mil project attracted 50 percent Federal Government funding. A $2mil. pilot plant has been operating for almost a year.

Professional and Retail Services

Winner: Liverpool Plains Shire Council - for the Tr@ceR mobile App

The Liverpool Plains Shire Council's Tr@ceR mobile App and mobile mapping program increase efficiencies in the war on weeds.  I.T. and weeds staff created income generating technology, in meeting in-house needs.

Finalist: Kylie Mitchell Designs, of Armidale

The unique Art House Gallery is a new pop-up gallery, selling art, as well as limited edition, distinctively designed, economical, compact and sustainable house plans. The new Gallery provides an experience of the innovative home - art integration.

Finalist: Moree Plains Shire Council Communications Department

Due to its remoteness, Moree Plains Shire Council identified a need to engage and communicate with constituents more effectively and efficiently. Facebook was the answer. An Avatar called "Maureen Plains" is the user-friendly online 'face' of the council.

Highly Commended

Member for Northern Tablelands, Adam Marshall presented six Highly Commended Awards – recipients have made an inspiring difference to their operation, community or industry or were just a whisker away from being a finalist in the judges’ eyes. The Highly Commended Awardees were:

Tamworth Community College

For their delivery of the Tamworth Digital Enterprise Program to introduce the enormous potential of the NBN to drive productivity improvements and grow businesses in regional Australia. Congratulations to the Tamworth Community College.

The Quirindi Rural Heritage Village

An 18 acre attraction designed to collect, preserve and restore artifacts that relate to the history, heritage and culture of the Liverpool Plains.

McInnes Clothing Co, Narrabri

A one stop shop and old fashioned country store providing something for the whole family as well as a large range of work wear, with atmospheric flair.

Spend in Glen

An innovative promotion created to encourage local shopping during the Christmas period which involved major prizes, Celtic Cash and clever newspaper and social media marketing.  

The Uralla Rivercare Group

For the Uralla Creeklands Walk; an educational and artistic creation meandering through the town of Uralla, allowing visitors to explore riparian zones as well as local shops and attractions. Years of work has achieved an environmentally sustainable outcome for the waterway, tourists and locals.

Ewe Beaut Products, Armidale

For the engineering of a large-scale mobile shade out shelter – a unit that controls the climate and amount of rainfall a research crop trial can receive. Trials are currently underway with the University of Sydney in Narrabri, towards drought tolerant wheat. Congratulations to Ewe Beaut Products.

 

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