Ignite Mini’s 2024

The RDA MNC Minis are three in-person events designed to relaunch the new Regional Investment Framework (RIF) and provide opportunity for consultation on the priority areas of the RIF and other key aspects for our Mid North Coast Region.

RIF is a new approach to how the Australian Government delivers regional investment. The priority focus areas include Investing in People, Investing in Places, Investing in Services and Investing in Industries and Local Economies. Other key aspects for our Ignite Mini include launching the revised MNC Strategic Plan Workforce, Early Childhood Education and Care, Regional Innovation Program and Migration.

Each workshop will run from 9.00am to 3.00pm and will cover the same topics in each region.


• 1st February 2024 – Club Taree, Wingham Road, Taree
• 6th February 2024 – Kempsey RSL, York Lane, Kempsey
• 8th February 2024 – Bellingen Golf Club, Waterfall Way, Bellingen

Please click below to register.


Speakers will include:

  • Dr Madeleine Lawler – CEO, Regional Development Australia Mid North Coast
  • Courtney Tune – Founder, Alt Collective
  • Sarah O’Carrigan – Founder, Bub Hub
  • Neenu Behl – Business, Industry and Regional Outreach and Engagement, Department of Home Affairs

Ignite Mini Agenda

An agenda will be released shortly…

Regional Innovation Program

Mid North Coast RDA in conjunction with local Council’s have teamed up with Alt-Collective to deliver the Regional Innovation Program supporting local innovators to bring their innovations to life through a series of Programs in 2023/24 including…

  • Ideate – Half-day Workshop that will give you a clear understanding of where your product is now & the steps you need to take to bring your idea to Market. Our experienced Facilitators will break down the Entrepreneurial Journey & help you find focus on your next steps in taking your concept from Idea to a Funded Enterprise. Participants will get the opportunity to apply to be a part of our 2024 Incubate Program.

Details: Late November/Early December 2023 – Coffs Harbour & Port Macquarie

  • Incubate – 6-week Program focussed on building a tangible product, getting it in the hands of potential customers to test & develop, & developing funding strategies to get your enterprise up and running. Weekly sessions – Face-to-Face & Virtual – working with experienced Mentors with a focus on taking action & delivering outcomes to develop your Minimum Viable Product. Participants will build Leadership, Time Management, Networking, Pitch & Sales skills.

Details: February/March 2024 – Coffs Harbour & Port Macquarie

Regional Innovation Program is valued at over $2,500 plus GST per participant with fully funded scholarships available to 10 innovators in each region. To register your interest contact courtney@altcollective.com.au.

Early Childhood Education and Care on the Mid North Coast

As part of the Regional Investment Framework (RIF), “Services” is now one of main areas identified by the Government for RDAs to focus on. One service that was identified was early childhood education and care. To obtain an understanding of the situation in our region, RDAMNC conducted a survey of both childcare providers and parents in September 2023.

RDAMNC have prepared a quantitative and qualitative summary of both surveys which can be viewed here.

This is the first part of our work in this area with follow up to come in the form of:

  • Consultation with peak body and government representatives.
  • Engagement of an Economist to analyise the economic impacts to providers, families and businesses.
  • Workshops (in February 2024) with stakeholders to look at opportunities in the region to increase supply.
  • Advocacy report on the surveys, consultations, economic analysis and workshop outcomes.

It is anticipated that this project will be completed by the end of June 2024.

Manufacturing Sector Support

Project Summary

Regional Development Australia – Mid North Coast (RDA MNC) is spearheading the “Manufacturing Sector Support” project with the aim of revitalizing and strengthening the manufacturing industry within our region. This transformative initiative recognizes the critical role manufacturing plays in driving economic growth, fostering innovation, and creating sustainable employment opportunities.

Project Goals and Objectives

  1. Promote Economic Resilience: The primary goal of the project is to enhance the economic resilience of the Mid North Coast region by supporting the growth and diversification of the manufacturing sector.
  2. Job Creation: The project aims to create new job opportunities within the manufacturing sector, both directly and indirectly, by fostering an environment conducive to business expansion and development.
  3. Innovation and Technology Adoption: RDA MNC will facilitate the adoption of innovative technologies and best practices within the manufacturing industry to enhance productivity and competitiveness.
  4. Supply Chain Enhancement: The project will work to strengthen and expand local supply chains, reducing the dependence on external sources and ensuring a more robust and self-sustaining manufacturing ecosystem.
  5. Skills Development: RDA MNC will collaborate with educational institutions and industry partners to provide training and upskilling opportunities for the local workforce, aligning their skills with the evolving demands of the manufacturing sector.
  6. Sustainability and Green Practices: Emphasizing environmental sustainability, the project will promote the adoption of eco-friendly manufacturing processes and sustainable materials, positioning the region as a leader in green manufacturing.

Key Activities

  • Industry Consultation: RDA MNC will engage with local manufacturers to understand their challenges, needs, and aspirations, forming the basis for tailored support programs.
  • Market Research and Analysis: In-depth market research will identify growth opportunities and emerging markets, guiding businesses towards profitable niches.
  • Technology Adoption Workshops: Organizing workshops and seminars to educate manufacturers on the benefits and practical implementation of advanced manufacturing technologies.
  • Business Support Services: Providing guidance on accessing grants, funding opportunities, and resources available for manufacturing businesses to invest in growth.
  • Networking Events: Facilitating networking events and industry forums to foster collaboration, partnerships, and knowledge sharing within the manufacturing community.
  • Skill Development Programs: Collaborating with educational institutions to develop training programs addressing the evolving needs of the manufacturing workforce.

Expected Outcomes

  • Increased employment opportunities in the manufacturing sector.
  • Enhanced competitiveness and profitability of local manufacturing businesses.
  • A more resilient and diverse regional economy.
  • A reputation for innovative and sustainable manufacturing practices.
  • Strengthened regional supply chains.
  • A skilled and adaptable manufacturing workforce.

Renewables Opportunity Map

One of the four pillars in the Regional Investment Framework (RIF) is Investing in Places. This is a challenging space for RDAs. At the 2023 National Conference for RDA, it was clearly articulated that the federal government wants to see RDAs active in leading and encouraging net zero transition.

The opportunity to commission a high-level opportunity analysis of the Mid North Coast arose and RDAMNC have engaged ANU to undertake this study, which would identify the areas where wind, offshore wind, pumped hydro and commercial solar installations could be developed.

Once the opportunity analysis has been completed, RDAMNC will do the following:

  1. Meet with each General Manager of the Councils in our region and discuss the opportunities
  2. Offer to facilitate community consultation on the outcome of this report
  3. Produce a supplementary report for the state government and federal government that summarises the community feedback and outcomes
  4. Consider producing a regional plan for renewable energy to provide to the investment community which provides the ‘green light’ for detailed business cases.

This analysis is expected to be completed by June 2024.

Norfolk Island Local Produce Branding Project

During the Tourism and Wellbeing Business Incubator of 2022, a “made in Norfolk” brand was again raised as a priority to identify the products and produce that has been locally made and grown.

RDAMNC saw the opportunity to work with Saturate, the branding and media agency engaged to undertake the Norfolk Island Destination Marketing project, to ensure that the “made in Norfolk” brand was harmonious and linked to destination marketing.

This will produce an exciting identity for the creations of Norfolk Island, making it easy for tourists to shop locally and support the domestic economy of Norfolk Island.

Mid North Coast Skills Audit

One of the four pillars in the Regional Investment Framework (RIF) is Investing in People. Within the definitions provided by the RIF the education, availability and accessibility of people is captured. These two projects are proposed as the 2023-2024 lead projects to assist RDAMNC and our stakeholders understand the labour market features properly.

The last skills audit conducted on the Mid North Coast was 2019. The significant international, national and local events which have transpired since that time have had an impact on the labour market. The workforce challenges of skills and workforce attraction have now shifted to a full shortage in people, housing, skills, accessibility of training packages and worse linkages between industry and education institutions. The team at RDAMNC has partnered with Charles Sturt University to deliver this research project.

This project will assist us in gathering the necessary information to establish projects that will assist in the areas prioritise by our stakeholders across the region and a preliminary report on findings will be available after September 2024 with the final reports will be academic, peer reviewed papers which are planned to be available in 2025.

Labour Participation Study

One of the four pillars in the Regional Investment Framework (RIF) is Investing in People. Within the definitions provided by the RIF the education, availability and accessibility of people is captured. This project will be one of the 2023-2024 lead projects to assist RDAMNC and our stakeholders understand the labour market features properly. RDAMNC has commissioned the Regional Australia Institute to understand the real figures associated with labour participation in the Mid North Coast.

The participation rate for the Mid North Coast is the worst in NSW. In May 2023 it was 47.1%. The rest of NSW was 66%. This is an indication of a structural difference in the MNC labour market that needs to be investigated. This project will enable us to do the following:

  1. Compare the participation rates of the Mid North Coast LGAs with regional NSW, the whole State and Australia, and
  2. Analyse the participation rates of different demographic groups in the region, to identify specific participation challenges.

It is expected that this project will be completed late 2023 / early 2024.