Media Releases

Growing our Regional Workforce

June 25, 2021

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 :

  1. Increased housing supply to address the shortage of available accommodation
  2. Employment readiness pathways
  3. Regionally based workforce resources
  4. Increased business HR capacity & capability, including Employer of Choice programs
  5. Migration program reform

Read the full media release here.

Download the summary document here.

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Alan Richardson Reappointed as Deputy Chair

June 2, 2021

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.

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“Expert Connection” program supporting Small Businesses owners to fast track COVID recovery

April 9, 2021

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 or speak directly to Rachael Ashman, Manager, Business and Workforce Development on 0439 848 624 or email

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“Circular Economy” model to be delivered through Green Industries SA and Regional Development partnership

March 12, 2021

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.

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New State Government program to support job seekers and employers in Limestone Coast

February 26, 2021

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 or contact RDALC on (08) 8723 1057.

To find out more about the ‘Real Work. Real Experience’ initiative visit


Above from left: Lance Pedlow and Steve Chapple

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RDALC launches “Expert Connection” program for Small Businesses navigating through COVID recovery

July 31, 2020

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

To complete the survey, please click here.

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Marketing opens world of opportunity

November 12, 2019

Workshops help businesses expand reach

A fantastic opportunity is coming up for business owners and operators looking to improve and develop their interstate and/or overseas markets. The Adelaide Business Hub and Food South Australia are combining forces to present two half day workshops specifically for local businesses in Naracoorte, Thursday 21 November and Mount Gambier, Friday 22 November.

“We are extremely fortunate to have Patrick Baker of Baker Marketing coming down to deliver a fit for purpose session on digital marketing and cost-effective marketing tools,” said David Wheaton, Chief Executive Officer, Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast. “Patrick will offer business owners great insight into developing your content and creating a Digital Action Plan that will best reach your customers and increase your sales conversions,” he said.

Key topics that will be covered at the workshop include understanding where customers turn to for information regarding your products or services, which tools will most effectively reach your target customers and how to capitalise on low-cost digital tools to improve success.

 “Many business owners are already comfortable with targeting the local markets with their online content but are unsure on the best methods for accessing markets further abroad,” said Mr Wheaton. “Patrick will help you decide which is the best approach and what are the most effective marketing activities and tools for your business to utilise,” he said.

In conjunction with this latest digital training from ASBAS, Annabel Mugford from the Food SA SME Export Hub will be in region to meet one on one with food and beverage (excluding wine) businesses around export.

The recently launched Hub focuses on supporting food and beverage businesses to become export ready and fast track their export growth.

“Annabel is excited to have the opportunity to personally introduce the Food SA Export Hub at the Digital training workshops and then offer some one-on-one time to discuss export with individual businesses,” said Mr Wheaton. “You may be already exporting or only just thinking about exporting and the Hub can help to support your growth in export,” he said.

For those not able to attend the workshops, appointments can be made directly with Annabel to discuss the Hub outside of the workshops. Whether you can attend the training or not, contact Annabel to start discussing the SME Export Hub via email:

Full details and registrations for these workshops can be found at the Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast Facebook page @rdalimestonecoast or calling 8723 1057. 

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South Australia Food and Beverage Export Hub – helping food and beverage businesses fast track their export growth

October 10, 2019

A new export hub has recently been established to help South Australian small to medium food and beverage businesses become export ready and fast track their export growth. The South Australia Food and Beverage Export Hub is a one-stop-export-shop specifically focused on food and beverage manufacturers, processes and producers with fewer than 200 full-time employees.

The South Australian Food and Beverage Export Hub focuses on eight key export markets: China, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, UAE, USA and Vietnam.

“Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast is excited to be one of eight organizations partnering with Food SA in this program,” said Peter Gandolfi, Chair of RDALC “We’ll be working closely with Food SA to assist the delivery of the Hub services to our local businesses and maximise the potential economic benefits for our region.”

“The Export Hub program is conveniently divided into three modules tailored to food and beverage business needs at each stage of their export development process,” explained Catherine Sayer, Food South Australia Chief Executive Officer.

“Informed through previous industry research, Food South Australia has identified common issues for businesses considering exporting and growing their export markets. By working with the eight Export Hub partner organisations, we have designed this program to assist businesses overcome these issues,” Ms Sayer said.

The eight Export Hub partners are: SARDI, The University of Adelaide, TradeStart, AUSVEG-SA and four Regional Development Australia organisations. Combining the partners knowledge and experience with key Food South Australia staff based at the Food South Australia offices and in China and Japan, gives the business participants an unprecedented level of access to exporting skills and support.

“The Hub program is specifically designed to complement the existing Austrade programs and expands on current support – not duplicate it – by including support for businesses that aren’t yet export-ready,” said Mr Gandolfi. “The Hub can assist businesses to bridge the initial stages and grow into the export-ready phase.”

Participation in the Export Hub is fee-based and all South Australian food and beverage businesses are invited to apply.

Limestone Coast food and beverage businesses interested in finding out more about the program are encouraged to attend one of the local upcoming information sessions in late November. Further information on these sessions can be sought from RDALC on (08) 87231057 or emailing

Food South Australia is an independent, industry-led and membership-based organisation, representing small, medium and large companies across the food and beverage sector in South Australia. Food South Australia is the peak body for the food and beverage industry in South Australia.

The South Australia Food and Beverage Export Hub is delivered by Food South Australia, with grant funding from the Australian Government’s SME Export Hubs and FTA-ME grant opportunities and funding support from the Government of South Australia.

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Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast boosting the capability of our local building industry

September 30, 2019

Local construction and trade businesses can enhance their chances of securing work on a range of South Australian projects by positioning their business as a credible supplier in the supply chain – and ultimately win work. 

Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast has secured a fantastic opportunity to host the Industry Capability Network (ICN) for a three-hour business specific workshop in October.

The Construction Industry in the Limestone Coast accounts for more than 770 businesses, employs over 2,000 people and contributes more than $540 million to our economy every year. New opportunities for this sector will contribute to the growth of the region and boost other related industries.

The ICN connects suppliers with project proponents and procurement managers across Australia and New Zealand. The ICN’s services are easy to use and can help support local businesses to make the right connections to maximise these new opportunities.

“This workshop offers local industry the ability to learn the techniques and skills needed to participate in major projects and operations by increasing the visibility of local suppliers to buyers,” said RDALC CEO David Wheaton. “This training can open up new market opportunities not only for contracts in South Australia but more broadly Australia,” he said.

“RDALC want to support Limestone Coast businesses to be leaders in the pack when it comes to securing tenders and large contracts.”

The workshop is facilitated by the Industry Capability Network (ICN) and Quisk Design and will help participants:

  • Understand the ICN Expression of Interest process
  • Collate an appropriate response to EOI criteria
  • Identify your Unique Value Proposition
  • Develop a Capability Statement
  • Increase your chances of being shortlisted
  • Develop your branding and business development activities across multiple platforms

“One of the key barriers to accessing larger contracts can be tackling the time consuming and complex procurement processes,” Mr Wheaton said.  “By attending this workshop participants will have a better understanding of the processes behind these operations and be empowered to seek new business opportunities and break into new and expanding supply chains to give their business the advantage heading forward.”

This workshop titled “Building Credibility for Major Projects” will be a once-off – so businesses are encouraged to book in without delay. Further details and registration information can be found via the RDALC facebook page @rdalimestonecoast 

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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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