Across The Region

This week started out of our patch with a submission to the State inquiry into Regional Planning Processes in NSW.  This is one of numerous ways RDA MNC can share the needs of our region with a broader community.  As far as I’m concerned, the more I know about those needs, the better I can connect, align, share and advocate.  Keep me posted HERE

There is no doubt planning processes are fraught.  While there has been much pressure at a local government level to embrace an ‘integrated planning framework‘ there is nothing stopping a non government organisation, or even government department creating a plan that doesn’t truly bolt into one, clear strategy whether it relates to a community function, a place or an issue.

My observations have been that when plans don’t speak to one another gaps widen and services are duplicated.  This could have effects on any element of community from ice addiction to lobbying for infrastructure development.  How do we all get on the same page?  That’s the million dollar question that I constantly seek to answer.

The Northern Rivers visit also gave me a good opportunity to meet with some of the stakeholders currently exploring School Based Traineeships, and difficulties with the current administrative system that supports them.  I bring my own experiences of this system to the table and quite frankly, while I thoroughly believe that linking school students with employers in a formalised setting is incredibly valuable (in fact, I’d like to see every young person have some sort of experience in this realm – over and above traditional work experience), I think the administrative system needs to be blown up and re-constructed.

55 steps to sign up involving 9 stakeholders is more than all but the most patient employer can withstand.  This is truly a solid opportunity gone wrong and it needs to change.

More on this one next week following some meetings I’ll be attending…


While in Ballina I met with Peter Smith and Kerrie Bowtwell from North Coast TAFE.  We toured the Ballina industrial estate observing businesses which align with innovation.

Peter works across the Northern Rivers and Mid North Coast and is one of numerous people I’ve been speaking with about how we enhance the notion of innovation across our region.

I think it starts with a solid definition of what innovation is, and what the scope for that in our region is.  What are your thoughts?  Let me know HERE


Meanwhile, it was really exciting to drive into the almost full carpark of Sea Acres in Port Macquarie, the last time I visited was in 1993, way back when the centre in it’s current state was just being established.

1 sea acres

Cultural Tourism has been on the agenda of Sea Acres for some time now and I’ll be really looking forward to finding out more about this, and how we may support a regional cultural tourism trail in coming weeks.

It was also a delight to catch up with Michele Donovan of Unkya Local Aboriginal Land Council and find out more about how the Gaagal Wanggaan tours are coming along.  Michele Donovan

I’ve been working closely with Michele and her team on this emerging enterprise over some years and it’s so exciting to see the team truly own the enterprise and go from strength to strength.


RDAMNC has been working on many agricultural initiatives in recent years.  This week I met with Michael Burt of NSW Farmers to learn more about what gaps RDAMNC may be able to support.  One of numerous areas we are keen to support is that of small farms.  NSW Farmers has numerous resources for small acre farmers.  More HERE

Infrastructure and industry attraction

A Valley tour with Wayne Lowe, RDAMNC Board member and Business Development Manager of Nambucca Shire Council demonstrated Wayne’s ability to use linking, networks and creative thinking to bring together scaleable 1 Nambucca Valleybusiness opportunities on a lean budget.  For example, one Council owned industrial site (pictured left below) is currently being developed by TAFE students who are working under the supervision of a construction company.  While gaining qualifications and real life work experience the students are also being ‘reverse marketed’ to the industry.  Many have already picked up work on the Pacific Highway development.1 new school

Meanwhile, driving through the Macksville industrial estate with Wayne I learned it’s not just about industry attraction (which has been significant in recent years), it’s also about staying in touch with the businesses to share opportunities, and troubleshoot when times are tough.

Find out more about opportunities throughout the Mid North Coast region in the Regional Investment Prospectus HERE

Have a great week, and I’ll look forward to checking in again at the end of the following week.

Kerry Grace


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