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RDA Wheatbelt Activities Update
You may have thought RDA Wheatbelt has been a bit quiet lately, but we have been mindful of not wanting to bombard you with more information relating to the virus crisis. Be assured we have been working hard behind the scenes on a number of short term and long term actions.
 
Advice to Government Before the end of March RDA Wheatbelt had provided Federal Ministers and Departments with a broad impact assessment on projected economic and social effects and foreseeable threats of COVID-19 on the Wheatbelt WA region, its businesses and population. The aim of this assessment was not only to begin to scope potential resilience, vulnerabilities and threats, but to also start the recovery conversation and activate the development of strategic recovery planning.
 
Australian RDAs, including our Director Regional Development Mandy Walker, have been in regular contact with Assistant Minister for Regional Development The Hon Nola Marino MP and advisors to inform of issues, opportunities and initiatives as they emerge. Board Members and Staff have also conducted phone conversations with CEOs or representatives of our 42 Local Governments to collect ‘on the ground’ intelligence on impacts and issues to further inform Government. Information from across Australia is communicated via regular bulletins on regional impacts and solutions to enable sharing of information.
 
Should you have more to add to this collective information please forward to admin@rdawheatbelt.com.au
 
Wheatbelt Business Support The response measures to limit the spread of the virus are unprecedented and are having a profound impact on our region’s small to medium enterprises. It is our role as an RDA to facilitate economic and community support across the region. It has become increasingly clear through our one on one contact with Local Government, impact assessment across industries and collective intelligence across agencies that a timely and effective response to the need for business advice and support is required.
 
The Wheatbelt Development Commission and RDA Wheatbelt have agreed that supporting the Wheatbelt Business Network to be able to deliver their advisory services beyond their membership base is an appropriate way to deliver business support in the region. This financial support will assist the Wheatbelt Business Network to become a one-stop shop for all our small and medium businesses to get the support, information and understanding of the Governments support programs during this crisis period. 
 
Recovery strategies
Grant Guru opportunity - Wheatbelt Local Governments (LGs) and RDA Wheatbelt spend a huge amount of time looking for funding streams to progress projects and limited resources often mean our LGs are disadvantaged in their endeavours to access that elusive ‘pot of gold’. RDA Wheatbelt (RDAW) and RDA Midwest Gascoyne have worked with Grant Guru for a collaborative proposal for the 63 LGs in the two regions. This proposal offers an access point where grant searches can be tailored to needs, reducing the time spent researching, along with the resources to help produce a quality application. Subscription is based on Wheatbelt populations with smaller LGs at $300 and scaled up to the larger LGs at $1125, a fraction of the usual annual fee of $7000 per LG plus $2000 set up fee. This may be a valuable investment for COVID-19 recovery initiatives and Shires have been invited to participate.

 
Tourism The tourism sector has been one of the hardest-hit industries in the Wheatbelt. Food and hospitality businesses have either closed outright or reduced trading. A key concern for RDAW is that allied tourism sectors of food and accommodation and retail are the largest employment sectors for the 15-24 years age range in the region. For instance agriculture, a major employment sector in the region employs 19% of the total 15-24 years’ workforce while the retail, food and accommodation sectors in aggregation employs 29%.
 
RDAW acknowledges that while it will be a long road back for the region’s tourism industry, it is important to support and maintain the fundamental basis of the industry that can be activated in the recovery process to stimulate employment and economic repatriation within and between Shires and across the region. To this end, RDAW is looking at how to develop tourism recovery strategies to support existing businesses during the crisis and grow tourism in the Wheatbelt region after the crisis has passed.      
 
Stay safeWe thank everyone that is practising social distancing and ask that regional people continue to exclude any unnecessary activities that increases contact with others. The regional lockdown is there to protect our communities that may not have the capacity to cope with an infection cluster.

Photo - Lancelin, located in the Shire of Gingin. Credit RDAW

RDA Wheatbelt

 
 

Government and Community News

Rural West. Free rural financial counselling service for regional small businesses, NFP, community clubs and primary production enterprises including farming, horticulture and fishing. Tel 1800 612 004  or Facebook.

World Health Organisation helping Children cope with stress during COVID19. 

Government COVID-19 information sites –
Australian Gov’t Dep’t of Health – For current status, symptoms, how to protect others and stop the spread, if you're concerned, advice for people most at risk, health and aged care sector advice and the Gov’t response. 
Australian Gov’t Business Support -  Find financial assistance, eligibility and timing for the new government support for Australian businesses.
Australian Gov’t Jobs Hub - Helps you find advertised vacancies, including jobs in health and care sectors, transport and logistics, some areas of retail, mining and mining services, manufacturing, agriculture and government sectors, among others.  
Australian Gov’t Services Aust – Information and services to help you if you’re affected by coronavirus, need support, lost your job, Centrelink.
Australian Gov’t Small Business & Family Enterprise Ombudsman - My Business Health guide for small business and sole traders.  
-  WA Government – Community advice and news page – Travel restrictions, information contact numbers, prohibited activities etc.  

RDA Wheatbelt Latest News

 
 

Grants and Funding Opportunities

Business Improvement Fund for Residential Aged Care. Support for residential aged care providers experiencing financial difficulty. Closing 15 May.
    
Energy Efficient Communities Program - Community Energy Efficiency & Solar Grants. Up to $12,500 for projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve energy-efficient practices and increase uptake of energy-efficient technologies. Closing 18 May.
 
Lotterywest COVID19 Relief Fund for WA not-for-profit community sector organisations and local government authorities to provide crisis and emergency relief services in their communities. Open now.
 
Heywire Youth Innovation Grants. Funding to assist NFP community-based organisations in rural, regional and remote Australia adopt and act on one of the six innovative project ideas. Closing 26 May. 
 
COVID19 - Aged Care Support Program. Reimbursement for eligible aged care providers for eligible expenditure incurred on managing direct impacts of COVID-19.  Closing 31 May 2021.  

Regional Arts Sector Investment. 3 Categories, up to $40,000 to regional arts organisations in the development and coordination of diverse, annual arts, and cultural activities. Extended to December 2020. 

Dep't Infrastructure & Regional Dev't Programs

 
 
Wheatbelt Self-Drive Tours
Life after COVID 19 … now is a great time to start planning your ‘local’ holiday and support our wonderful Wheatbelt once the risk has eased. So many self-drive tours to choose from.
 
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RDA Wheatbelt Inc. · 3 Constable St · Gingin, WA 6503 · Australia

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