Regional Development Australia Murray eNewsletter
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July 2015


RDA Murray Team welcomes new Executive Officer
Dr Gary Saliba

We are excited to welcome RDA Murray’s new Executive Officer Dr Gary Saliba. Gary resides in Albury and has lived in the region since 1991 when he took up a role with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) in managing change. After working 5 years for the ATO he established a management consulting business assisting senior executives in public and private sector organisations throughout Australia and South East Asia to manage complexity and uncertainty.
Gary takes over from Barbara Hull. Barbara has left a strong foundation and legacy for us to continue our collaborative work with businesses, three levels of government and the community to enhance development in the Murray region.
This is a busy time as we are currently assisting organisations to complete their National Stronger Regions Fund Round 2 proposals to the Federal Government. Once this milestone has been completed Gary will be endeavouring to reach out into the region to hear your stories about your vision and role in regional development and to share our story of RDA Murray’s involvement in regional development. Your ideas and stories play an important role in how we shape regional development and how we can best assist the region to develop its capacity for managing change for today and tomorrow.
We are also keen to hear from you. Please do not hesitate to contact the RDA Murray team Gary, Sushama, Brooke and Johnson to determine how we may be of assistance.

RDA Murray website for more information

Climate change in NSW

NSW Office of Environment and Heritage have released information from a joint future climate modelling project with University of NSW and a number of other agencies.

There is a climate portal where you can download regional snapshots, detailed maps and modelling data sets for specific areas in NSW and ACT.

The Office of Environment and Heritage has developed Climate Change Snapshots for NSW and each of the State Planning Regions.

The snapshots provide details of the: Current climate of the region
  • likely changes in climate (temperature and rainfall) by 2030 and 2070
  • likely changes to Severe Fire Weather by 2030 and 2070
  • likely changes to Hot days (maximum temperatures >35°C)
  • likely changes to Cold nights (minimum temperatures <2°C)
More information is available at AdaptNSW and a regional climate snapshot for the Murray Murrumbidgee Region is available here

Stronger Communities Programme

In the 2015 Budget, the Australian Government announced the Stronger Communities Programme to fund small capital projects in local communities in each of the 150 Federal Electorates.

The Stronger Communities Programme will deliver $45 million over two years commencing in 2015-16.

Programme Objective

The objective of the Stronger Communities Programme is to fund small capital projects which will deliver social benefits. The programme aims to improve local community participation, cohesion and contribute to vibrant and viable communities.

Key Aspects

  • Federal Members of Parliament (MPs) will establish a community consultation committee to undertake consultation in their electorate to identify eligible projects and invite applicants to apply.
  • Local government and incorporated not-for-profit organisations are eligible to apply.
  • Grants of between $5,000 and up to a maximum of $20,000 are available.
  • Applicants are required to confirm matched funding in cash or in-kind on at least a dollar-for-dollar basis.
  • Funding of $150,000 per electorate per year will be allocated for two years commencing 2015-16.

How to apply

Applicants will be invited to apply by MPs following community consultation. All applications must be submitted to MPs using the Department’s Grants Management System (GMS) Portal.

Project Selection

MPs will select projects from their electorate, totalling no more than $150,000 per year, and submit these projects to the Department for assessment against the requirements of the Guidelines.

The Department will assess these projects against the Guidelines and determine whether the project represents a proper use of grant funding.

For more information visit
Stronger Communities Programme

Get the information you need to upskill your employees

Thinking of upskilling your staff? Or maybe you're thinking of undertaking some training?

It's now even easier to find information about available vocational education and training (VET) courses through the updated My Skills website

The My Skills website

The My Skills website is the national directory of VET organisations and courses. You can search for VET courses and training providers by:

  • industry sector
  • location of training providers
  • specific skills you need.

The My Skills website is updated every night to ensure it has the most up-to-date information about courses on offer by registered training organisations (RTOs).

How can the updated My Skills website help my business?

My Skills 3.0 includes a number of new features making it even easier for you to find relevant training courses to upskill yourself and your staff.

These features include:

  • an updated homepage - to help you quickly search for training organisations near you
  • a faster and more intuitive search engine - to save you valuable time
  • tools to help you compare courses and training providers - so you can ensure you're sending your employees on the course most suited to your needs
  • a VET FEE-HELP calculator - to help you and your employee(s) understand loan obligations if you're using financial assistance for the training career pathways information
  • information on student outcomes for the most popular courses - to see how courses can relate to occupations in a career stream
  • identification of sanctioned training providers.

Check out the My Skills website today to find the training you need for your business.

Students Offered FEE FREE Scholarships

Young students in the Riverina region are being offered Fee-Free Scholarships to enrol in courses at TAFE NSW Riverina Institute, as part of a statewide initiative designed to arm young people with the skills they need for the jobs of the future.

Caitlin McLean, who is currently studying Certificate III in Business at Griffith Campus, has had her course fees waived under the initiative:
“The Fee-Free Scholarship allows young people like me to further my training, to better my chances at getting a job. Without the financial support that the scholarship has provided, I would have had to think twice about enrolling in my course.”

The NSW Government initiative aims to support young people to develop the skills they need to advance their careers. To be eligible for one of the 50,000 Fee-Free Scholarships available in 2015/16, students must be eligible for a concession under Smart and Skilled criteria.  

Examples of students likely to benefit are Commonwealth Welfare recipients or their dependants as well as students with a disability starting a second qualification in a calendar year. Young people who meet the eligibility criteria and are in, or on the waiting list for, NSW Social Housing, will be given priority and guaranteed a scholarship to start training.

Relieving TAFE NSW Riverina Institute Director Terri Connellan said,
“There is an increasing amount of pressure on our young workforce to keep up with the growing demands of the modern workplace. Initiatives like Fee-Free Scholarships provide an opportunity for many students to get a foothold in the VET system and develop the skills they need, for the jobs they want.”

Those who think they may be eligible for a Fee-Free Scholarship should contact the Riverina Institute on 1300 TAFE RI (1300 8233 74) or visit the local campus.

New Scamwatch site to help protect you from scams

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has just launched a new and improved Scamwatch website.

Key features of the new Scamwatch website

  • Types of scams - The ACCC provides information on the most common types of scams in circulation in Australia, and collects and publishes data on these scam types.
  • Report a scam - If you think you've been scammed or know someone who has, report it to the ACCC using our report a scam page.
  • Get help - If you've been scammed there are steps you can take straight away to reduce the damage and prevent further loss. Find out what you can do to protect yourself, your business or your loved ones from scams.

Sign up for Scamwatch radar alerts to stay informed about the latest scams or follow on Scamwatch Twitter

New Grants and Funding

Community Building Partnership

Application Closes: 7 August 2015


The NSW Community Building Partnership program supports the improvement of community infrastructure, and creates more vibrant and inclusive communities by supporting projects that encourage community participation, inclusion and cohesion.


The program offers grants across the State at an individual State Electorate level for community infrastructure projects.

Grant funding of up to $200,000 is available for every NSW State Electorate. An additional $100,000 is available for electorates with higher levels of social disadvantage as indicated by higher comparative unemployment rates. The maximum funding available in each electorate is detailed at Appendix 1.

Grants will be open to local councils and incorporated not-for-profit bodies such as charities, sporting, social and environmental groups. Projects are required to be completed before the 31 March 2017.

  • Public advertisements and State Members of Parliament call for applications from local councils and community groups within State Electorates. Further information is available at and from the electorate offices of State Members of Parliament
Who is eligible to apply
  • Incorporated, community based not-for-profit organisations.
  • NSW local councils (and their Section 355 committees) operating under the Local Government Act (1993).
Incorporated not-for-profit bodies are organisations that are registered and approved as not-for-profit bodies by NSW Fair Trading.

Those not eligible to apply include:
  • Individuals, groups of individuals
  • Unincorporated organisations
  • For profit, commercial organisations
  • State and Federal Government agencies and their entities.
What type of Projects may be funded

Applications should address how the project will deliver positive results for communities, especially community social, recreational, environmental or employment outcomes. Funded projects will provide community benefits through:

  • Construction of new capital works.
  • Refurbishment, repairs and maintenance to existing capital facilities.
  • The purchase of capital equipment with a life expectancy of 15+ years that enables the delivery of new or enhanced community services.

The following types of projects will not be funded:

  • Projects that have commenced prior to 7 August 2015.
  • Projects that involve the development of private or commercial ventures including licensed areas of registered clubs.
  • Projects that seek funding for the organisation's operating recurrent expenses (eg: staff, consumables etc).
  • Projects that seek funding to stage events, exhibit a display or for filming.
  • Projects to undertake studies or investigations.
  • Purchase of land or buildings.
  • Projects receiving funding from other grant programs for the same project activities
Contact Details
Website: Community Building Partnership
Phone: 13 77 88

Black Spot Program



To reduce crashes on Australian roads and to target those road locations where crashes are occurring


Road crashes are a major cost to Australians every year. Black Spot projects target those road locations where crashes are occurring. By funding measures such as traffic signals and roundabouts at dangerous locations, the programme reduces the risk of crashes. Programmes of this sort are very effective, saving the community many times the cost of the relatively minor road improvements that are implemented.

The Black Spot Programme makes an important contribution in reducing the national road toll under the National Road Safety Strategy and Action Plan.

The Australian Government has committed $500 million to the Black Spot Programme from 2014-15 to 2018-19, which includes an additional $200 million over two years from 2015-16 under the Infrastructure Growth Package to improve road safety across the nation.

The Government has announced changes to the programme’s eligibility criteria for 2015-16 and 2016-17 aimed at assisting local communities to compete for this additional funding over the next two years.

Under the new criteria, the minimum Benefit Cost Ratio for proposals has been reduced from 2:1 to 1:1. In addition, the minimum crash history of sites has been reduced from 3 to 2 casualty crashes over five years or 0.13 casualty crashes per kilometre per year over 5 years. 

The criteria has also been amended to allow more funding for the proactive treatment of unsafe roads. Consultative Panels will able to allocate up to 40% of funding to sites on the basis of a road safety audit.

The Government has also guaranteed that at least 50 per cent of funding provided over the next two years will be dedicated to fixing roads in regional Australia.

Community groups, motorist organisations, industry organisations, councils and individuals are invited to nominate Black Spot sites around Australia to be considered for treatme

Contact Details
Website: Black Spot Programme
Phone: (02) 6274 7111
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