Regional Development Australia Murray eNewsletter
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September 2013

  • Murray Darling Association 69th National Conference
  • Employing Legal Workers
  • There’s still time to take part in the Regional Wellbeing survey
  • Calling all Creatives! 
  • New Grants and Funding
Murray Darling Association 69th NATIONAL CONFERENCE

The Murray Darling Association's 69th National Conference and AGM will be held at Goolwa, South Australia  from 8 - 11 October 2013. Given the Basin-wide interest in the Lower Lakes, Coorong and Barrages, there will be a full day tour of these sites on Thursday 10 October. There will also be partners' tours, the annual dinner and presentations.

The history of droughts in the Murray Darling Basin has taught us some salient lessons with regards to water. There is an understanding that the future Basin's water resources are shrinking. The challenge of future droughts is for all users to find an improved social, economic and environmental balance from this shrinking resource for users within and outside the Basin.
While water has been the 'main game' again his past decade, there have been, and continue to be, a number of other important issues and initiatives which the Association has been monitoring and addressing. These include the tensions between mining and agriculture; land access; the NSW Government's review of public land management; foreign ownership of Australian agricultural land; and the implications of the carbon tax for local government.
This Conference aims to address issues that have arisen due to those recent droughts, and discuss how water innovation can assist the management of shrinking resource.

The Annual Conference will cover a range of subjects, including how Local Government is addressing floods, bushfires and the resultant clean up and reinstatement of assets that councils have responsibility to maintain. Keep Australia Beautiful will feature in this year's program along with a report on how our NRM education programs have made their ways overseas.

More information about Murray Darling Association and the Annual Conference is available on
Employing Legal Workers
The Australian Government has introduced new employment reforms which may affect businesses in RDA regions. 

From 1 June 2013, new penalties can apply where a person or business employs, refers or contracts a non-citizen who is not allowed to work in Australia. These complement existing criminal offences and higher penalties that have been in place since 2007.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenships’ focus is to effectively respond to the few businesses that wilfully take part in illegal work, not to penalise businesses which act in good faith.

Now is the time for businesses to put good employment practices in place and make sure they are not employing or contracting illegal workers.

To assist this, the government provides a free 24 hour service – Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO). VEVO can confirm if a non-citizen is allowed to work or if there are any work limitations associated with their visa.

VEVO now allows visa holders send their visa details directly to an employer from VEVO. Alternatively, employers can still choose to register to use VEVO, for example, if they have a business where there is a regular need to confirm if people are allowed to work.

Businesses have responsibility to employ legal workers. Legal workers are Australian citizens, permanent residents and non-citizens with Australian visas that allow them to work.

Some visas, for example some visitor visas do not allow non-citizens to work while they are in Australia. People who no longer hold a valid visa are also not allowed to work in Australia.

More information about hiring legal workers and VEVO can be found at The Department of Immigration & Citizenship’s Legal Workers page.
There’s still time to take part in the Regional Wellbeing survey

The wellbeing of Australia’s rural and regional communities is of critical importance. The Regional Wellbeing survey is identifying:
  • how to better support wellbeing in Australia’s rural and regional areas
  • how changes to agriculture and the environment affect rural and regional wellbeing, and
  • how to help communities adapt to change.
 The Regional Wellbeing Survey is different to others because University of Canberra will make results publicly available to anyone who wants to use them. The study will provide a resource that local communities and groups can draw on, as we will produce results for all communities and groups from whom we receive 100 or more survey responses. 

See for more information about the survey, who is funding it, and how we ensure your survey responses are confidential and anonymous.

Do the survey online at Call 1800 981 499 if you prefer a paper copy of the survey, or help with the survey. All eligible survey participants can enter a draw to win one of nine prizes worth a total of $7,000.
Calling all Creatives! 

Are you a graphic designer, publisher, writer, photographer, film maker, fashion designer, visual or performing artist, musician or a 'maker' of beautiful things? Do you have your own business and would you like to know how to make it bigger or better?  Bright Sparks, is one complete day of inspiration, skills development and intensive learning.

Working in the creative field can sometimes be a bit lonely, often happens in the spare room or the shed, and it's hard to get business advice because traditional advisors don't really 'get' your business.

Bright Sparks have brought together a range of people who are making their living in the creative industries to share their stories and advice on how they've done it, and what they've learned.

You'll get heaps of advice, find out about great creative projects happening all over the country, and learn about how other creative's manage their businesses.

Bright Sparks will be held on Friday 18 October 2013 at various venues around Gateway Village, Gateway Island, Wodonga.  

Featuring...Clare Bowditch -musician/BIG HEARTED BUSINESS, Mark Tuckey -furniture designer, Lisa O'Keefe & Stacey Clayton -Koolaman Designs...all part of a stellar line-up of local and national presenters!

Find out more about the Bright Sparks program.
New Grants and Funding
Environmental Restoration and Rehabilitation Grants

Application close - 31 October 2013

The NSW Environmental Trust is calling for applications to the Restoration and Rehabilitation program. Applications open on 21 September and close on Thursday, 31 October 2013.
Aim of the program
The aim of the Restoration and Rehabilitation (R&R) program is to facilitate projects to prevent or reduce pollution, the waste stream or environmental degradation of any kind, run by community organisations and State and Local government organisations.

Through these projects, the Trust also aim to improve the capacity of communities and organisations to protect, restore and enhance the environment.

More information and guidelines are available from

2014 Indent Partnership Grants

The 2014 Indent Partnership Grants are now open! Two grant categories are available, the Grass Roots Grant and the Event Development Grant, and both are for youth music events happening in 2014. 

The Indent Partnership Grants program, funded by ArtsNSW, has been specifically developed for young people to stage all-ages, drug and alcohol free live music events across NSW.

The grants program also assists young event promoters and emerging artists by offering support, advice, workshops and the resources required to create sustainable and accessible culture of live music in their local areas.

The Grass Roots Grants are specifically aimed at entry-level events like band comps, open-mic and local band nights and are set at a maximum of $2,500. The Event Development Grants are available to those who have successfully acquitted a Grass Roots Grant in 2013 and are looking at expanding their event scope by engaging the professional music industry. Event Development grants are set at a maximum of $5000.

Indent Partnership Grant guidelines and application forms are now available from
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