Media Releases

Is bioenergy for your business?

August 8, 2019

Bioenergy is energy or power produced from organic matter derived from plants, animals and organic by-products. Referred to as ‘biomass feedstocks’, this organic matter can be used to produce electricity, heat, fuel and other bio-based products.

Many are familiar with the term’s biomass and bioenergy, but few have probably ever considered what opportunity the production of bioenergy has for their business – and how much money it can potentially save. Biomass resources have major potential in diversifying energy sources and supplying additional energy during peak demand, thus reducing business costs.

It also reduces carbon emissions, diverts waste from landfill and produces valuable by-products such as biochar to provide secondary income streams.

In 2015 the South Australian Government undertook a study exploring the states bioenergy potential. The resulting Bioenergy Roadmap identified several hotspots, showing that South Australia has significant potential in commercially available bioenergy.

At the time of the study, the bioenergy industry was worth $0.5B to Australia with high potential for significant growth. To underpin this study and accelerate the development of bioenergy projects, the Bioenergy Roadmap Program was formed, consisting of a prefeasibility fund (the Bioenergy Connect Program) and a second stage full feasibility fund (the Bioenergy Feasibility Fund).

This Program is currently open to businesses operating in South Australia and is aimed at building the capacity of businesses to better understand their bioenergy potential and ultimately increase development of bioenergy infrastructure projects across the state.

Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast is the lead organisation managing and delivering the Bioenergy Roadmap Program and has been doing so since 2016. To date 21 businesses have accessed the Bioenergy Connect Program (BEC) with 4 continuing through to the Bioenergy Feasibility Fund.

This has included olive producers, equestrian centres, food processors, piggeries, poultry and dairy producers, timber processors, councils and even zoos.

In a horticultural context, Holla Fresh at Tantanoola is the shining light of innovation in bioenergy on an international scale. The business replaces purchased electricity and waste-oil-fired hot water with a low emissions, low cost innovative alternative. Called “ECHO2” the bioenergy system supplies hot water for the glasshouse along with electricity and horticultural CO2. They exchange clean recycled wood biomass to run the process with the high value biochar by-product as a secondary product. This system is carbon negative via carbon capture and storage and produces huge financial savings to the business.

The Mount Gambier Aquatic Centre is another simpler bioenergy success story. They have used locally sourced wood chip to run biomass boilers to heat the pool since 2014 – winning the 2014 SA Aquatic Innovation Award from Recreation SA in recognition of this initiative.

RDALC is now calling for other interested businesses to take up the opportunity to enter into the BEC with 10 places still available for pre-feasibility projects. As part of the BEC, successful applicants engage with an approved bioenergy mentor. The mentors guide them through the conceptual stages of developing a bioenergy project and then develop a high-level estimation of the financial benefits of applying bioenergy technology to their business. This prefeasibility report often outlines multiple bioenergy options for the applicant’s business.

To find out more visit the bioenergy roadmap page here or call 87231057.

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Building for Our Future

July 11, 2019

The quality of a society’s infrastructure is critical to its economic performance and social capital. Building schools, hospitals and roads, protecting our environment and enhancing our cultural and sporting facilities are all part of planning and providing for the long term.

Sound investment in infrastructure can boost the productive potential of the economy and growth of exports through improved transport networks, communication infrastructure or facilities. The recent injection of funds for the airport upgrade, the racecourse redevelopment and the soon to be constructed sport and recreation centre in Mt Gambier are great assets to our regional economy.

This week Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast invited Mr Jeremy Conway, CEO of the newly established Infrastructure SA to present to the Board regarding the discussion paper on the 20-Year State Infrastructure Strategy. A new initiative of the State Liberal Government, Infrastructure SA was established in November 2018 under the Infrastructure SA Act 2018. The Infrastructure SA Board reports directly to the Premier and is an independent governing body combining expertise from public and private sectors.

In his presentation, Mr Conway spoke about the proposed Infrastructure Strategy. A first for South Australia the strategy will encapsulate the State’s challenges and opportunities, it will identify the infrastructure needs for industries, businesses and communities to thrive into the future.

Infrastructure SA recognise the importance regions play in our state’s economy and are keen to gather input into the future direction of investment into our infrastructure needs. The 20-Year strategy will enable the Government to plan and make decisions to ensure that South Australia has the infrastructure required to grow the economy, create jobs and improve the liveability of all South Australians.

The Discussion Paper provides an overview of the purpose of the Strategy, its relationship to other relevant government initiatives and strategies, details a South Australian context to future global challenges and opportunities, and introduces potential cross-sectoral issues and specific sector considerations.

Importantly the Discussion Paper provides an opportunity for local stakeholders to provide insights and perspectives about the most pressing infrastructure needs in the Limestone Coast such as road upgrades and bridge and drainage network maintenance.

As a leader in regional infrastructure and investment attraction, RDALC will continue to collaborate closely with Infrastructure SA along with other government departments to ensure the Limestone Coast gets the investment and support it needs.

RDALC encourages businesses and community groups to submit their perspective’s on our regions infrastructure requirements via the discussion paper before July 31 to Infrastructure SA. For further information visit 

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Free Disability services drop-in Café in Mount Gambier

June 20, 2019

The Disability Workforce Hub (DWFH) is hosting an NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) Café at the Mt Gambier City Hall, Thursday 27 June from 10-2pm.

People with a disability and their carers are invited to come along and catch up with local disability service providers about what services they can access. “The NDIS Café will be set up as a relaxed event whereby everyone can come along at their own leisure, enjoy a chat and free morning tea and hopefully make some new connections with local service providers,” said DWFH Coordinator Melissa Hunter. “It’s an opportunity to find out what services these providers offer and perhaps how you can tailor their supports for your own needs”.

People looking for work, wanting to get back into the workforce or looking for a career change are also encouraged to come along on the day. “The disability sector offers a variety of rewarding roles, and there are many employment opportunities available all across the Limestone Coast,” said Ms Hunter. “Many of the service providers attending are interested in joining forces to promote employment opportunities and their services in the region, so if you’re looking for work in the disability sector come and find out about the opportunities available.”

If you have a disability or health/injury related barrier to obtaining work, a number of disability employment services are also attending. They will be able to talk to you about the support they can provide in connecting you with employers.

On the day there will be representatives from the following organisations: Disability Workforce Hub, WDEA, Cara, Miroma, Comrec, Mission Australia, Carers SA, Skylight, Axis Employment, Job Prospects, Baptist Care, Boandik, People First Community Care, Homecare +, Limestone Coast Volunteer Service, Country Health Connect, Community Living Australia, Total Therapy Solutions, Limestone Coast Training.

Event information can be found on the RDALC facebook page (@rdalimestonecoast) or by contacting Melissa Hunter on 8723 1057.

For further Information contact:
Ms Melissa Hunter,
Disability Workforce Hub Coordinator
M: 0438 169 098

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New DAMA information now available for local businesses

June 13, 2019

Businesses across the Limestone Coast can begin preparing for the commencement of the recently announced Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) for South Australia. Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast (RDALC) will assist in driving awareness locally by providing information on the new visa program. In the first of a series of publications, RDALC have produced a frequently asked questions document to assist business operators to understand how this agreement will work.

“With the imminent rollout of the DAMA, we want to be on the front foot and offer as much support and assistance to local businesses as possible,” said Rachael Ashman, Manager Business and Workforce Development, RDALC. “Commencing on 1 July 2019, employers across all of South Australia who are experiencing skills and labour shortages can sponsor skilled and semi-skilled overseas workers,” she said.

The DAMA will enable South Australian employers to sponsor skilled overseas workers for positions they are unable to fill with local workers. Employers who can demonstrate that they are experiencing skills and labour shortages will apply for endorsement from the South Australian government to enter into a DAMA labour agreement. This will enable local businesses to sponsor skilled and semi-skilled overseas workers with more flexible requirements than are available via the standard skilled visa programs.

Local businesses can access one of the agreements that the South Australian government have entered into with the Department of Home Affairs. The South Australian Regional Agreement comprises of 114 occupations and is accessible to all South Australian businesses.

“These occupations were determined through consultation with industry associations and key employers throughout the state, alongside data on skills shortages in our key industries,” said Ms Ashman. “For our region, employers can nominate occupations included on two lists, which include skilled occupations across a wide range of industries including in the meat industry, agriculture and forestry, hospitality and healthcare,” she said.

Some eligible occupations included in the lists for the Limestone Coast are cooks, diesel mechanics, forestry workers, meat boner and slicer, sawmilling operator and waiters.

“It’s important to acknowledge that these lists comprehensively address state wide skills shortages, so while some occupations listed may seem unrelated to our region, they will address needs across other parts of the state,” said Ms Ashman. “Some of the most significant skills shortages we are experiencing locally are in the meat processing industry and in the agri-business and forestry sector so we are pleased to see that key occupations in these areas have been included for our region,” she said.

“The Agreement recognises the needs of regional Australia and provides our employers with an opportunity to respond to our unique circumstances when it comes to finding skilled workers” said Ms Ashman. “RDALC want to best support the needs of our local industries and will continue to consult with local businesses to identify future demands and how these can be met through the DAMA process.” she said.

RDALC will provide a more detailed guide in coming weeks. Information is also available through Immigration SA. To discuss the DAMA, local businesses can contact Rachael Ashman, Manager Business and Workforce Development on 87231057 or email

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RDALC Welcomes New Manager Business and Workforce Development

May 20, 2019

Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast (RDALC) welcomes Rachael Ashman to the position of Manager Business and Workforce Development. Rachael and her family recently relocated to the Limestone Coast from Melbourne, and she brings with her a wealth of expertise and skills.

“With the departure of Paul Mullen who recently relocated to a new business opportunity in Brisbane, we were very excited to secure someone of Rachael’s professional calibre for our organisation – she is a fantastic gain for our region,” said RDALC Chair, Peter Gandolfi.

Having worked both in Commonwealth Departments and the private sector, Rachael has a depth of experience focusing on program delivery and people management. Her most recent position was with the Department of Home Affairs in Victoria.

In her new role, Rachael will provide key support and advice to local businesses wishing to explore their options in employing skilled migrants. Her understanding and experience in the Department will be invaluable given the recent Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) announcement for South Australia.

“Rachael brings a comprehensive skill set in stakeholder engagement, programme development and delivery and strategic operations,” said Mr Gandolfi “as an experienced mentor and workforce planner she is a welcome addition to our leadership team.”

Rachael will be responsible for RDALC’s regional strategy to grow businesses by building human capital and connections with services and government programs. A key responsibility is to focus on supporting small business development, which will in turn, boost local employment and growth for our region.

Rachael is excited about bringing her skills and experience to this role and is looking forward to assisting what she has already seen as a vibrant and dynamic business community across the Limestone Coast. “Having grown up in rural Tasmania, I’m enjoying the move away from the city and am keen to work with the wide range of businesses found throughout our region,” she said.

To contact Rachael, please call 87231057 or email

For further Information contact:
Mr Peter Gandolfi
Chair, RDALC
M: 0419 155 947

Mr David Wheaton,
Chief Executive Officer
T: 87231057
M: 0417 885 920
Date: 21/5/19

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Achieve Organisational Success with Governance Masterclass

April 5, 2019

Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast (RDALC) is excited to announce it will be offering a Governance Masterclass to be held on Thursday 6th June in Mt Gambier.

“This is a great opportunity for anyone who is currently serving on or working for a board, or thinking about joining a Board,” said RDALC Chair Peter Gandolfi.

Most people join a board with the aim of making a positive contribution to its operation and outcomes. It’s an opportunity for people to offer their abilities and skills, but once they are serving on a board it’s also important for them to continue to expand their skills and knowledge.

“The structure, responsibilities and strategies of boards are becoming more complicated, and a high performing board is critical to an organisation’s success,” Mr Gandolfi said.

The masterclass will delve into the finer details of roles and responsibilities of a board member, by offering specific training around the legal requirements of a board member, directors’ duties and handling conflict.

“Understanding the characteristics of effective directors and practices for good governance are all key to effective board operation and the masterclass will cover these details and more,” said Mr Gandolfi.
The participation cost is $132 (including GST), but there are also five free positions up for grabs for volunteers on boards of registered charities.

“We recognise the importance of supporting people volunteering for charity and not-for-profits in our community and wanted to assist them in their professional development,” said Mr Gandolfi.

Those interested in participating in the Governance Masterclass can find out more by visiting the Eventbrite page: or by contact Renee at RDALC on 87231057.

For further Information contact:
Mr Peter Gandolfi
Chair, RDALC
M: 0419 155 947

Mr David Wheaton,
Chief Executive Officer
T: 87231057
M: 0417 885 920
Date: Thursday 4 April 2019

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Population, Business Confidence to Benefit From Regional DAMA

March 22, 2019

The regional Designated Area Migration Agreement (DAMA) will boost population and improve business confidence in the South Australia regions, according the state’s peak regional economic development agency.

Regional Development South Australia chairman Rob Kerin said the DAMA would help the state’s regions to secure up to $20 billion of investment and support the creation of 9500 jobs.

“The announcement of a regional DAMA will help South Australia’s regions overcome declining and static populations with the settling of migrants state-wide,” he said.

Mr Kerin said the DAMA would help ensure expansions, upgrades and planned investment by local, national and international businesses in regional South Australia were not restrained by access to skilled workers.

“South Australia’s regions are currently experiencing significant capital investment across many industries,” he said.

“However, the number of employees needed to maintain and grow regional business operations outweighs the current locally-based workforce, requiring businesses to supplement their workforce with migrants.

“The DAMA will underpin regional business growth and provide much-needed flexibility for a region to respond to local economic and labour market demands.

“Some of regional South Australia’s most significant and emerging industries are those with the greatest skill and labour needs, including agribusiness, food manufacturing and processing, mining, renewable energy, aged and disability care, tourism and accommodation.

“Migrant workers will not replace the local workforce, with training and upskilling continuing to be an area of focus for South Australian RDAs and businesses.

“South Australia’s regional townships have a long history of welcoming migrant settlement, recognising the value of the import of much needed skills but also the strength of a multicultural community.”

Regional Development Australia boards are formed as a partnership between the Commonwealth of Australia, Government of South Australia, and regional local government authorities.

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‘After Hours’ social gatherings to welcome new residents

February 20, 2019

Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast (RDALC) will welcome new professionals to the region by hosting the first in a series of ‘After hours Events’ on 28 February at Mount Gambier’s “5290 bar and function room”.

Aimed at those who have moved to the region for work, the informal networking event is great chance for people to make connections in their new community.

RDALC CEO David Wheaton said “Our region offers such a fantastic variety of events, activities, local clubs and groups for people to enjoy. We want to help new residents to connect with what’s on offer.”

“This event will provide a relaxed, casual venue for people to swing by after work, grab a drink and have a chat with some new acquaintances,” he said.

The events will take on different themes in future. The first being local music and entertainment opportunities.  “We thought the best approach was to have a different focus for each event. With the Fringe coming up next month, it’s timely to kick off with a music and entertainment theme” said Mr Wheaton.

Future events will focus on local arts and culture, and history and nature. “By featuring different activities and locations, we can really showcase the region,” he said.

 With the Limestone Coast boasting one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, and a shortage of skilled labour in some sectors, RDALC is keen to attract and retain new people.  “Having moved to the region myself, I understand it takes time to make strong social connections beyond work. This is a great place to live and work and we want new employees to get immersed in the local community, said Mr Wheaton

Local groups and organisations are encouraged to get in contact with RDALC if they’re after new members or wish to promote their upcoming events.

Further information, including registration for the event can be found via the RDALC facebook page @rdalimestonecoast or by calling 8723 1057.  Or click the link below:

For further Information contact:

Mr David Wheaton,

Chief Executive Officer

T:  87231057

M: 0417 885 920


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Road and Rail Transport Study goes full steam ahead

February 7, 2019

The first stage of the Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast (RDALC) strategic transport infrastructure study is now underway.  Focusing on the region’s road freight network and reinvigoration of the rail corridors, the study will outline where investment in the transport network can unlock productivity gains through efficiencies and what role rail might play in this.

The project will map the supply chains and estimate road and rail transport costs for our local commodities such as timber, wood chips, dairy products, livestock and crops.

Delivered by the CSIRO, it will assess whether reinstating the rail lines from Mount Gambier to Heywood and Mount Gambier to Wolseley will reduce freight costs and save wear on local roads.

“The data gathered from this study will provide an analysis of total and per tonne transport cost (and potential savings) by commodity and mode of transport, including rail, said Peter Gandolfi, Chair of RDALC. “It will also highlight what’s known as ‘pinch points’ which are areas where roads or bridges could benefit from an upgrade to allow for more efficient transport options on particular routes,” “This information will then guide decision makers and funding bodies to address critical areas that need upgrades,” he said.

“With local agricultural products travelling vast distances from farm gate to end market, we are talking about real savings for local producers if we reduce the percent of farm gate value taken up by transport costs,” said Dr Elizabeth Perkins, Manager for Investment Attraction and Infrastructure.  “The data gained from this study will provide huge benefits to local producers, local, state and federal government. It will also identify prospects in our economy where new markets can be developed based on increased transport efficiencies,” she said.

In coming months RDALC and CSIRO researchers will be working with stakeholders to gather data on the freight and transport task and feeding that information into the model.

The study will take around 6 months to complete.

For further Information contact:

Mr Peter Gandolfi

Chair, RDALC

M: 0419 155 947

Mr David Wheaton,

Chief Executive Officer

T:  87231057

M: 0417 885 920


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Limestone Coast Rail Study

November 22, 2018

Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast will be undertaking an economic benefit study on re-establishing rail in the region.

The study will be based on the advantages of reinstating rail from Heywood (Victoria) to Wolseley. It will assess the full route and the viability of segments, such as Mount Gambier to Heywood with an intermodal on the Eastern outskirts of Mount Gambier.

Chair Peter Gandolfi said the resurrection of rail may prove to be an enabling action to boost our local economy by increasing productivity and lowering freight costs.

“One of the major drivers behind this move is the current limitations that transport imposes on our productivity,” said Mr Gandolfi. “The costs associated with transporting goods accounts for 21 per cent of all production costs in our region. If we are serious about achieving greater economic growth for the Limestone Coast we need to explore more efficient means of transport.

“RDALC recognises that re-establishing rail is not a new discussion for our region. But given the increased volumes of freight being moved along our roads it’s timely to revisit the possibility of reinstating rail in the region.”

In coming months, the RDALC will be meeting with stakeholders to discuss the opportunities that could be realised through the reinstatement of rail services.

“We are keen to get a more accurate understanding of the costs businesses are experiencing with their freight and build a clear picture of the situation at this present time,” said Dr Elizabeth Perkins, Manager, Investment Attraction and Infrastructure.

“As part of the feasibility study we will be seeking input from local businesses to help build this picture and will be contacting them directly for input.”

With freight costs being the main impetus for the study, the work will involve strategic actions to assess the status quo and viability of rail for the region. This will include the economic drivers associated with rail, however the potential for passenger transport has not been ruled out and may also be considered as part of the study.


Find out more about the feasibility study here:

Rail Feasibility Factsheet


For further information contact:

Mr Peter Gandolfi

Chair, RDALC

Ph: 0419 155 447

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