Across The Region
What better way to start a week than the Mid North Coast Food Forum at Bonville Golf Club. Farmers, industry and supporting partners gathered to share yarns, showcase produce and create linkages to better the food industry in the Mid North Coast.
Food, or more specifically agriculture from growing to value adding and tourism is most certainly on our radar for 2017.
Team happenings and planning
On Tuesday we welcomed our new research officer Dr. Jessica Tout-Lyon to the team. Jess moved to the region from Sydney two years ago. You can learn more about Jess on the main site.
Jess and Justyn (our Communications Manager) are busily putting the final touches on the Mid North Coast Regional Plan. This has been an enormous project for RDAMNC and I’m truly looking forward to producing a document that not only reflects the desires of the region, but also mechanisms to benchmark performance. The plan will be launched in February 2017.
Our team drew together our thoughts for 2017 under the guidance of author, facilitator and coach Paul Callaghan. The day embedded a time of change in the organisation – it is clear that RDAMNC’s role is about jobs and growth. But it’s not enough to just spruik about it. Our region needs action.
Over the coming weeks I’ll introduce you to our plans for 2017 – you’ll need to tune into this weekly post to learn more.
I also heard some really exciting plans for the future of MiiMi Aboriginal Corporation which has operated in the community of Bowraville since the 1980s. As a former Service Manager of MiiMi (2008-2010) I’ve kept a keen eye on the operations of the organisation through the past years. Like many grassroots non-government organisations throughout our region, MiiMi has struggled through the years to keep the doors open in a competitive funding marketplace. Still, those doors have stayed open to the community and with an exciting new program now running via the State Government in Bowraville there is hope for the organisation’s future. Exactly what that will look like at this point is unknown – what is known is that the State Government under it’s ‘Solutions Brokerage’ model is applying a collective impact model within the town which examines what is there, what is working and what isn’t.
Like many small towns (which often have high indicators of disadvantage) Bowraville is exposed to services that write their names on funding applications but never turn up, services that do turn up but leave before anything changes, transient staff who need to leave for job security and a monotonous stream of consulting that goes nowhere. But it’s not all about ‘disadvantage’, Bowraville is a geographically beautiful village with a strong community spirit and rich and diverse culture. It’s time for change in this community.
Manufacturing, jobs and growth
On Friday I met with Tony and Adrienne Smith (RDAMNC Chairperson) and their new General Manager Steven Vorgias at their business Midcoast Trucks in Macksville. Luke Hartsuyker was invited to the meeting to discuss how the Federal Government may be able to assist several dire bottlenecks the business is experiencing which are currently hampering growth. Among these – attracting skilled staff. This issue is echoed throughout the vehicle body manufacturing cluster in the Nambucca Valley and beyond.
The most likely portal at this point will be the Federal Government’s Jobs Package. While this has not been launched at this point we do know that a committee will be formed throughout the North Coast Region to develop a plan and from that plan propose initiatives. We are told that more information will be made available within the next two weeks so watch this space for more. Here’s a bit of info. HERE
Out and about
Thursday saw the launch of the Port Macquarie campus of Charles Sturt University. It was a lively day of celebration with VIPs traveling from across the State to attend. The new campus truly is an asset to our community and I’ll be looking forward to sharing more stories with you about the work of CSU and other universities across our region into the new year.
My week rounded off with a visit to farmer and entrepreneur Doug Sawtell, a Mid North Coast identity who many know for his extensive plans to create a vibrant eco-resort in the Bellingen Shire. Whether the business comes to fruition or not there is one thing for sure – there needs to be a space for thinking big, for thinking collectively and dreaming up the future of the kids of our region. Doug’s plans encapsulate his dreams and incorporate dozens of other entities along the way.
Have a great week, check back in next Monday for some more details on our 2017 actions…