- 18 December 2018
There goes another year…
It’s been a busy and eventful year for RDA Southern Inland in 2018 and as we begin to wind down into holiday mode, I’d like to reflect on some of the highlights of 2018 and look ahead to 2019.
RDA Southern Inland saw a new Committee formed, led by new Chair from Yass, Hugh Cooke, appointed in April this year. The new Committee’s first meeting was held in the Upper Lachlan area. This allowed the new Committee to get out and experience the region, as well as talk to local businesses about the issues facing them. The new Committee was extremely impressed with the diverse business talent present in the region. We have also had some changes in staff this year, with Jade Butz starting as our Skilled Migration Program Administration Officer in November and Daryl Smith starting as Business Attraction & Development Manager in October.
The Business Connect meetings continue to gain momentum, with new meetings introduced in Cooma and Queanbeyan in 2018. We will look forward to continuing to grow this initiative in the New Year.
RDA Southern Inland collaborated with RDA Hunter and RDA Central West earlier this year to pilot a program that provides students in years 5 to 8 in each region with age appropriate STEM skills and pathways to STEM jobs. With an estimated 75% of jobs in the future requiring STEM skills, we are excited to be a part of a program that helps to develop a workforce of the future. Even better news, this program, funded by the NSW Department of Education, will be continued and expanded next year.
Goulburn’s second ‘Ag Day’ BBQ was held on the 21st November. The theme for this year focused around the resilience of our farmers. We had four wonderful speakers, local produce stalls, a local BBQ and fantastic live music from Roo Arcus. Thank you to the sponsors, we are looking forward to growing this event in 2019.
Other highlights include; Goulburn’s first ever Pizza and Pitch Fest, with 11 locals pitching their new business idea for Goulburn; our Love Food Hate Waste program which has started in the Southern Highlands; the launch of our Jobs and Growth Insight Report and Skills Audit Report; various business workshops, including retail skills, website building and procurement; the Australian Ag Centre opportunity in Crookwell, which continues to gain momentum.
We also had a busy year in our regional migration program. We assessed 833 applications in the 489-visa scheme, with 287 applications recommended to the Department of Home Affairs. We also assessed 134 business-sponsored 187 visas, a visa which assists businesses to fill skills shortages that they are unable to fill from the local labour market.
It’s been a very successful year for RDA Southern Inland. I will be on leave until May but leave the office in good hands, with Daryl Smith as acting CEO.
Please have a Merry Christmas, stay safe and have a Happy New Year.
Mareeca Flannery - CEO and Director of Regional Development