Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast (RDALC) have been supporting our small business community for the last 26 years. From providing one-on-one guidance on how to start a business, to supporting large multi-million-dollar applications for funding, the team at RDALC are approachable, adaptable, and are connected to the services and support that our region’s businesses need the most.
“Small businesses have had a tough time in the last 18 months, with the ever-changing border and business activity restrictions and the uncertainty of what’s around the corner, we recognise now more than ever how important it is that we are here to support our business community to prosper,” said David Wheaton, RDALC CEO.
“Our business support is not just about helping someone with a business plan, it’s about identifying where they need assistance to remain viable and connecting them to the information, programs and services that can help them achieve that,” said Mr Wheaton.
From supporting businesses like Coonawarra Experiences with their successful funding application, to assisting Boneham Cottages address their workforce shortages, through to helping large-scale businesses like UDC at Penola navigate border closures for their staff, the RDALC team has the knowledge, connections and understanding to help businesses keep their doors open.
“Like many of our small businesses, we operate a small but effective team and have well established relationships across the region,” said Mr Wheaton. “We pride ourselves on being able to adapt to the current needs of the industry and have created programs and support services in response to these,” Mr Wheaton said.
“We have seen our region’s businesses struggle with COVID-19 and have been re-focusing our services and programs to ensure we are meeting every business’s needs, both large and small,” said Rachael Ashman, Manager Business and Workforce Development. “We have developed our Expert Connection program to provide free professional, expert assistance to those businesses critically impacted by the pandemic,” she said.
In recognition of how difficult the past 18 months have been, RDALC have been paying the participant fees for the workshops and training delivered by the Adelaide Business Hub under the Australian Small Business Advisory Service (ASBAS) program.
“We have made sure our workshops cover the topics that our businesses really need and because we know that cash-flow has been a real issue for some operators, we are picking up the costs of these workshops,” said Rachael Ashman. “Over the past 18 months we have funded capacity building training for 115 business operators and owners across the Limestone Coast, providing invaluable access to information and skills to keep their business operating,” she said.
Through the electronic newsletter, The Weekly, RDALC focus on responding to the needs of the Limestone Coast business community by providing up-to-date information on COVID-19 directions, grants and funding, professional development and free (or low cost) training and workshops.
The team at RDALC also provide investment and infrastructure support through economic analysis and assistance with framing funding applications. “In the past 18, months for just the council areas of Wattle Range and City of Mount Gambier, we have seen $2.97 million dollars in grant funding secured for regional projects,” said Mr Wheaton.
“While there are some questions around the value our organisation offers to Limestone Coast businesses, we will continue to provide real and tangible outcomes and services to our local businesses and community,” said David Wheaton “We acknowledge and value the vital role small businesses provide in our region.”
For more information on the support that RDALC can provide your business, call 8723 1057 or our business assistance page here.Read More
StudyAdelaide and Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast (RDALC) have partnered to introduce international students studying health and allied health to prospective employers in the Limestone Coast.
Around 50 international students and graduates will hit the road on September 7 as part of the Future Healthcare Workers Limestone Coast Tour, a three-day tour of Kingston, Millicent, Mount Gambier, Naracoorte and Keith, where they will meet representatives from local hospitals, nursing homes, regional health networks and local government to discuss employment opportunities.
South Australian regional health and care providers are facing significant skills shortages as highlighted in the recent Aged Care Royal Commission. Latest figures from StudyAdelaide indicate that approximately 54 per cent of international students intend to live and work in South Australia after completing their studies, with half of those willing to explore a move to regional SA.
StudyAdelaide Chief Executive Karyn Kent said StudyAdelaide and RDALC had received overwhelming interest in the tour from both students and employers.
“More than 830 students registered an interest in the Limestone Coast visit, and we have a wait list for future tours to the Limestone Coast and other regions,” Ms Kent said.
“Our research indicates that more than 50 per cent of international students would consider working in a regional area outside of Adelaide. Therefore, on the one hand we have thousands of students keen to find employment and willing to look outside of greater Adelaide. And on the other hand, we have major regional employers dealing with skills shortages and gaps in their workforce.”
RDALC CEO David Wheaton said he was excited to be working with StudyAdelaide to facilitate the connection between prospective newcomers to the region and local employers.
“The Limestone Coast is currently experiencing great demand for health care workers region wide,” said RDALC CEO, David Wheaton.
“We know that in the month of August alone, there was 107 health care and social assistance vacancies in our region, representing 17% of all jobs advertised in the Limestone Coast,” Mr Wheaton said.
“By partnering with StudyAdelaide and the local Councils, we are able to provide the students with information and opportunities that our region offers, which will hopefully lead them to consider working and living here permanently,” Mr Wheaton said.
“It’s a win-win all round. International students both gain employment – often in sectors that would otherwise have skills shortages – and create employment – with every three international students in South Australia creating one local job.” Said Ms Kent.
The students will travel by bus to the region where they will be welcomed by RDALC and briefed by community leaders on job opportunities and the benefits of living and working in each community.
Students will meet representatives from major regional hospitals including the Kingston, Naracoorte, and Millicent Hospitals, Limestone Coast Regional Health Network, allied health providers, and local aged care facilities.Read More
A new look Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast (RDALC) Board met for the first time this month in Mount Gambier, setting a clear direction to bring jobs and investment to the region.
Local farmer Jane Fetherstonhaugh and recent Limestone Coast Leadership Program graduate Michael Millhouse have been welcomed to the Board, serving alongside returning members Darren Turner (MiniJumbuk CEO), Simone Kain (George the Farmer Co-Founder), Liz McKinnon (Green Triangle Forest Industries Hub General Manager), Judy Nagy (Project Management and Finance), Lew Parsons (Forest Industry Consultant), Erika Vickery OAM (Mayor, Naracoorte Lucindale Council), Scott Whicker (Manufacturing and Engineering), Alan Richardson (RDALC Deputy Chair) and Evan Flint (RDALC Chair).
Evan Flint said Jane and Michael’s appointment to the Board will bolster the existing representation of strong business and regional leaders. “I’m extremely pleased to welcome Jane and Michael to the Board as they will bring a strong connection to local business and industry, as well as experience in both private and public sector services,” Mr Flint said.
Mr Flint said the new-look board possessed strong business acumen and drive to continue the organisation’s existing program focusing on business support, investment attraction and retaining a vibrant workforce in the Limestone Coast.
“The Limestone Coast has significant natural assets that underpin the economy’s competitive advantages. I’m confident that this dynamic mix of industry and business leaders will provide direction and opportunity for our region to reach its full potential,” Mr Flint Said.
“Our focus for 2021 has centred around supporting our small business community and delivering the Regional Work SA Program, assisting areas hard hit for staff such as the agriculture, health and hospitality sectors. While our foundation has always included investment attraction and infrastructure, we have also taken a significant step to expand and broaden the provision of critical services through our one-on-one business support,” said RDALC CEO, David Wheaton.
Former The Border Watch General Manger Dennis Jackson did not seek reappointment.
“The RDALC Board would like to thank Dennis for his valued contributions during the past 3 years and we wish him well on his future endeavours,” RDA CEO David Wheaton said.
Above from Left: RDALC Chair, Evan Flint welcomes Michael Millhouse and Jane Fetherstonhaugh to the Board.
To read the RDALC Board member profiles, click here.Read More
Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast (RDALC) is making it easier for the community and business owners across the region to access funding opportunities through the Limestone Coast Grant Finder.
The Limestone Coast Grant Finder is an online portal that provides a comprehensive list of funding opportunities available to local business, community groups, sporting clubs, not-for-profit organisations, individuals and Local Government.
RDALC CEO, David Wheaton said the Limestone Coast Grant Finder was a first of its kind in the region and will see more funding flow to local projects.
“Our goal is to increase our support for business, community groups and Local Government to access funding opportunities that will support economic growth and community wellbeing,” said Mr. Wheaton.
Until now, RDALC staff have been providing support to business and industry through a variety of methods including our weekly updates, specific grant application advice and promotion of larger scale funds. In the past, this has required the arduous task of searching across multiple funding websites to identify appropriate grants. The Limestone Coast Grant Finder will compliment these existing efforts and provide a more efficient means of accessing grant information 24/7.
“RDALC recognise the importance and value that external funding plays in supporting regional projects. By making a significant investment in the Limestone Coast Grant Finder, we are speeding up the grant search process and building capacity of business and community to leverage additional funds into the region,” said Mr. Wheaton.
RDALC are providing the Limestone Coast Grant Finder as a free service that identifies funding opportunities specifically available to the region. It collates funding from a cross-section of State, Federal and Local government, private companies, Government Agencies and other philanthropic organisations – in one easy location.
“Users have the opportunity to create a login where they can save, track, and create alerts for the type of grants they are interested in. People can register to receive reminders when certain funding rounds become available, giving businesses and community groups the chance to put together well-prepared funding applications,” said Mr Wheaton.
The portal also provides guidance on finding and applying for grants to maximise the chance of success and has a directory of external professional writers that can help prepare applications.
The Limestone Coast Grant Finder can now be accessed via the RDALC website at www.rdalc.org.au/fundingRead More
Regional Development Australia’s (RDA) eight South Australian branches have collaborated to commission a research paper that examines the complex, interconnected and key barriers that are inhibiting the availability of a skilled workforce for regional South Australia. It is a comprehensive review and documents existing research, case studies and stakeholder interviews and sets out an extensive list of recommendations to address the barriers raised.
In addition to the full research paper, a summary document has been prepared providing a list of the Top 5 Key Recommendations.
They are :
- Increased housing supply to address the shortage of available accommodation
- Employment readiness pathways
- Regionally based workforce resources
- Increased business HR capacity & capability, including Employer of Choice programs
- Migration program reform
Read the full media release here.
Download the summary document here.Read More
Evan Flint, Chair of Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast (RDALC) has announced Alan Richardson will continue in his role as Deputy Chair for a further 3 year term. Having been a member of the RDALC Board since 2011, Alan took on the Deputy Chair role in 2015 and has demonstrated strong leadership during this time.
“Alan is a committed member of the Limestone Coast community. His depth of knowledge of regional issues, his economic intelligence and industry experience have been invaluable to the RDALC in its work supporting economic development across the region,” said Mr Flint.
With a keen interest in infrastructure, Mr Richardson played a significant role in the production of the Rail corridor and freight analysis for the Limestone Coast and South West Victoria – Application of TraNSIT, advocating for the re-introduction of freight rail to the region.
Alan also played a leading role in securing RDALC’s partnership with the South Australian Department for Energy and Mining to deliver the Bioenergy Connect Program across the State. This led to RDALC administering $175,000 in funding to support local industry and business to investigate the feasibility of introducing bioenergy in their business model.
“Alan’s vision and understanding of the opportunities that exist for a circular economy in our region allows us to lead other regions in progressing these concepts and leverage funding that can ultimately deliver significant job creation and greenhouse gas reduction for South Australia,” said Mr Flint.
“To capitalise on opportunities such as these, our region needs leaders like Alan with the foresight of what potential applications such scenarios can have, and a clear knowledge of the resources at our fingertips,” he said.
“I would like to congratulate Alan on his re-appointment and thank him for what has already been a significant service to the region,” said Mr Flint.
This announcement comes hand in hand with the extension of RDALC CEO, David Wheaton’s contract, providing the opportunity for Mr Flint to capitalise on David’s strong and well-established relationships with key business and industry stakeholders in the region.
Earlier this year, applications were invited for RDALC Board Member positions. In the coming weeks, the new RDALC Board will be selected. As part of a national network bringing together business, government and community leaders to support and broker regional development opportunities in the region, RDALC looks for a diverse membership with knowledge of the economic, social, cultural and environmental opportunities and challenges facing our region.
“We will be selecting our new board and are looking for representatives that are community advocates with a strong understanding of the pillars that drive economic growth for the region,” said Mr Flint.
“I look forward to working alongside Alan to select the RDALC Board for the coming years and achieving strong outcomes for our region,” he said.Read More
Small businesses across the Limestone Coast are now engaging professional services free of charge through Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast’s (RDALC) Expert Connection program. Developed in response to the severe impact COVID-19 has had on small businesses across the region, Expert Connection is an expansion of RDALC’s existing small business support program, providing businesses significantly impacted by COVID-19 with free one-on-one, professional advice.
“It’s wonderful to have the program up and running with business owners and operators now accessing our experts’ services,” said Rachael Ashman, Manager, Business and Workforce Development. “We’ve worked hard behind the scenes to secure the services of over a dozen top performing business advisors and now we’re keen to get more local businesses accessing these supports,” she said.
RDALC’s recently appointed Chair, Evan Flint knows too well the impact COVID-19 has had across the region, having recently been part of RDALC’s Regional Roadshows, meeting with local businesses across the region.
“The Roadshow events provided the chance for me to hear firsthand the challenges our local businesses have been experiencing in recent times,” he said. “RDALC have taken this intel on board and are focused on ensuring that the support available through Expert Connection is in line with the needs of our businesses,” he said.
“We are very aware that different businesses have different needs, some people might need to access a qualified bookkeeper, accountant or digital consultant – whereas others may need a HR consultant or a lawyer,” said Ms Ashman. “The importance of doing so in a confidential, tailored and private setting, whereby the conversation can be frank and fearless is key” she said.
The Expert Connection program fully funds up to 3 hours access for participating small businesses. Once eligible participants sign up for Expert Connection, RDALC provide a list of experts who have agreed to assist with the program. The participant then gets to select who they would like to see, make the appointment and meet with them privately.
Small businesses owners and operators that are interested in accessing these services, are encouraged to visit the website www.rdalc.org.au/expertconnection or speak directly to Rachael Ashman, Manager, Business and Workforce Development on 0439 848 624 or email email@example.comRead More
Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast (RDALC) and RDA Murraylands and Riverland (RDAMR) have joined with state government body Green Industries SA (GISA) to drive the creation of a “Circular Economy” blueprint for the two Eastern regions.
A Circular Economy aims to dramatically reduce waste and pollution by reducing the consumption of finite resources, re-using products and materials where possible, and is all driven by renewable energy. It’s about reuse, recycling and responsible manufacturing to enhance the health of communities and the health of the environment.
This will be the first time a model for a regional Circular Economy has been created in Australia and will likely act as a template for other regions to adopt.
Shortly, the call will go out to commercial consultants to submit a tender to create an innovative document that identifies and analyses the needs, opportunities and pathways to a more circular economy. This blueprint will include details of new investment and job opportunities for the regions.
Once the report is generated, GISA and the two RDA’s will focus on getting up activities and projects that align with its vision and recommendations. The partners hope this will drive engagement by industry and governments and inspire strong community involvement.
“The SA Government recognizes that the Circular Economy offers real opportunity to regional communities to build ongoing economic resilience, social value and environmental security. This collaborative and trail-blazing Pilot Project is the first step in assisting RDALC and RDAMR understand those opportunities and develop their own positive pathways towards realizing those shared benefits”, said Andrew Hutcheon from GISA.Read More
The Regional Development Australia network across South Australia is working in partnership with the Government of South Australia to help deliver its $4.45 million investment in matching jobs with job seekers.
Through this new initiative, Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast (RDALC) is actively working on-the-ground to connect the right people with the right jobs in our region. Key industries being targeted under the new initiative include agriculture, tourism and hospitality.
RDALC CEO, David Wheaton said that there are many seasonal, contract and permanent roles available across the region and that the ‘Real Work. Real Experience – Regional Work SA’ initiative was critical to connect job opportunities and the available workforce.
“This initiative will get job seekers back into the workforce to help ease financial pressures; it will support local industry, businesses and employers to achieve their goals; and it will support our region’s economic recovery,” Mr Wheaton says.
“The impacts of COVID-19 are still being felt around the region, including significant shortages in the supply of skilled labour, especially for our agriculture and hospitality sectors,” said Mr Wheaton.
“Ensuring our regional employers have access to a reliable workforce is essential to allow regional businesses and supply chains to continue to function during this time.”
RDALC has welcomed Lance Pedlow and Steve Chapple to the team to deliver the program across the Limestone Coast. In their new roles, Steve and Lance will provide on the ground advisory and coordination services, linking the region’s job vacancies with job seekers.
“By having two dedicated staff working on the program in-region, we can focus on providing personalised support to our businesses” said Mr Wheaton.
Details of financial support for business and individuals is available through the ‘Real Work. Real Experience.’ website. Incentives include up to $6,000 in relocation and travel support for eligible job seekers.
‘Real Work. Real Experience.’ is an initiative of the Government of South Australia, being delivered by the Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA), South Australian Tourism Commission, the Department of Innovation and Skills, and the Department of Education, with on-ground support from eight Regional Development Australia bodies across the State.
Employers and job seekers can register their details at www.rdalc.org.au/regionalwork or contact RDALC on (08) 8723 1057.
To find out more about the ‘Real Work. Real Experience’ initiative visit www.regionalwork.sa.gov.au/
Above from left: Lance Pedlow and Steve ChappleRead More
Small businesses across the Limestone Coast are invited to complete a short survey that will assist in the development of a new small business support program called ‘Expert Connection’. Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast (RDALC) are developing this new initiative in response to the severe impact COVID-19 has had on small businesses across the region. Expert Connection is an expansion of RDALC’s existing one-on-one business support program and will provide small businesses significantly impacted by COVID-19 with free expert, professional advice.
“Through the one-on-one work we currently do with small businesses, we know how devastating COVID-19 has been across our region and we know that this pandemic has thrown up a lot of hard questions that we can’t always answer” said Rachael Ashman, Manager, Business and Workforce Development. “We have also heard from many small business owners and operators that they simply cannot afford to pay for professional advice at this time”.
“We want our small businesses to have all the support they can while they are trying to operate in such an uncertain environment, especially when the disruption is far from over. To make sure that we connect our small businesses to the right experts, we are asking owners and operators across the region to complete our survey, to tell us what they really need” said Ms Ashman. “This might be access to a qualified bookkeeper, accountant or digital consultant – someone to answer the technical questions and provide advice that will give some of our small businesses answers to those hard questions” she said.
Once RDALC have gathered the survey feedback, the program will be finalised and the delivery of free expert, professional advice will commence to those small business owners and operators in need.
This expert, professional advice and support will be free as RDALC will fully fund up to 3 hours access for participating small businesses. Businesses interested in participating in the program will be able to express their interest once the program is finalised.
If you would like to know more about our existing Small Business Support, please contact Rachael Ashman, Manager, Business and Workforce Development on 0439 848 624 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To complete the survey, please click here.Read More