Media Releases

‘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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Free Disability services drop-in Café in Naracoorte

November 19, 2018

The Disability Workforce Hub (DWFH) is hosting an NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) Café at “Gather on Gordon” in Naracoorte November 29th, anytime 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 a free coffee 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 I regularly work with are interested in joining forces to promote employment opportunities and their services in Naracoorte, so if you’re looking for work in the disability sector come and find out about the opportunities in your local area.”

On the day there will be representatives from the following organisations: MINDA, Homecare Plus, Country Health Connect, WDEA Works, People First Community Care, Limestone Coast Training, Skylight, Uniting SA, Mission Australia and the Disability Workforce Hub.

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


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Registrations now open for 2018 Bioenergy Seminar

November 8, 2018

An exciting opportunity exists for industry, business and primary producers in the region to transform waste products into energy and reduce business costs. Registrations are now open for the Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast Bioenergy Seminar to be held on December 6th at the Mt Gambier city hall.

“We have been working hard to arrange a fantastic day that incorporates high calibre presenters, current information, hands on learning and facilitated workshops” said organiser Elizabeth Perkins, Manager of Investment Attraction and Infrastructure at RDALC. “Guest Speaker Mark Glover from EcoWaste and Renewed Carbon will be presenting on the economic benefits of regions entering the emerging bioeconomy. Mark will also lead a discussion around large scale biomass projects occurring in other regions and what the opportunities might look like for our region.” She said.

Shahana Mckenzie from Bioenergy Australia will provide insights into international investment in bioenergy in Australia and present findings from Bioenergy Australia’s State of the Nation Report which ranks the States and Territories regarding their Bioenergy performance.

Local biomass projects will also take centre stage as part of the seminar. “For the past few years a number of local bioenergy initiatives have been developing in the region and some of these projects are applying world firsts in innovation” said RDALC Chair Peter Gandolfi. “From anaerobic digestion, pyrolysis, or gasification of wood residue, local businesses have been engaging with bioenergy technology to solve their energy needs and save money”.

Rachel Brdanovic, Sustainability Speacialist with Tandem Energy will give participants a hands-on opportunity to work on understanding their energy requirements and usage. By analysing current energy consumption and site operations, participants can identify fluctuating requirements, predict future demands, and identify relevant and achievable energy solutions.

To register visit the RDALC website or call (08) 8723 1057.

For further Information contact:
Ms Elizabeth Perkins
Manager, Investment Attraction and Infrastructure
M: 0438 449 539

Mr Peter Gandolfi
Chair, RDALC
M: 0419 155 447

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Regional Development Board welcomes new Federal Initiative supporting local apprentices

November 7, 2018

Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast has welcomed the recent Federal Government announcement supporting local apprenticeships through its $60 million Australian Apprentice Wage Subsidy.

“This is a fantastic financial incentive for local businesses who are looking to put on a new apprentice” said RDALC Chair Peter Gandolfi, “This support will assist our regional businesses to give local students new employment opportunities and help futureproof skills for the Limestone Coast” he said.
From 1 January 2019, employers in regional centres will be able to access government subsidies to cover 75 per cent of their apprentice’s award wage in the first year, 50 per cent in the second year, and 25 per cent in the third year.

Those looking to undertake a full-time apprenticeship at certificate III and IV levels in occupations on the National Skills Needs List (including signwriters, bakers, carpenters, electricians and mechanics) will be eligible under the scheme.

“We’ve heard from employers in the region that boiler makers, pastry chefs, diesel mechanics and cooks are in demand.” said Mr Gandolfi, “This incentive will help bolster regional skills and encourage our youth to remain in the region to build their careers locally.”

For further Information contact:
Mr Peter Gandolfi
Chair, RDALC
M: 0419 155 447

Mr David Wheaton,
Chief Executive Officer
T: 87231057
M: 0417 885 920

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Valuable Local Scholarship to Support Disability Sector Leadership

October 22, 2018

People working within the disability sector can now apply for funding to the value of $6500 to access the Limestone Coast Leadership Program thanks to the Disability Workforce Hub.

The Limestone Coast Leadership Program, an initiative of the Limestone Coast Local Government Association, is a 7 month program delivered by The Leaders Institute of South Australia and will be held across various locations throughout the Limestone Coast.

“By partnering with this program we are future-proofing our region by upskilling emerging leaders working within the disability sector”. Said Disability Workforce Hub Coordinator Melissa Hunter. “The sustainability of the disability sector relies on advocacy, strong leaders, effective succession planning and passionate individuals who will promote inclusion and accessibility for their clients.”

The program is aimed at those who are ready to broaden their leadership capabilities and impact through personal growth, self-empowerment and relationship development.

 Further information and application forms on the program can be found on the Limestone Coast Local Government Association website Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast (RDALC) is proud to be partnering with LCLGA in delivering the inaugural Limestone Coast Leadership Program.

Funded by the State Government and hosted by RDALC, the Disability Workforce Hub provides a one-stop-shop to connect job seekers, employers and training providers to help fill local job opportunities in the expanding disability sector. Disability support programs boost our local economy by $40 million per year.

 For further Information contact:

Melissa Hunter,

Disability Hub Coordinator, M: 0438 169 098, T: 87231 057


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Guest Speaker to Inspire Budding Business Entrepreneurs

October 19, 2018

Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast (RDALC) invites interested people from business and industry to attend their annual report evening presentation with guest speaker Toni Vorenas. 

Ms Vorenas, owner of the extremely successful Metro Bakery and Café in Mt Gambier, will be speaking on her experience of establishing and building her business in the Limestone Coast.

“We are extremely pleased to have Toni as our guest speaker“ said RDALC Chair, Peter Gandolfi “this is a great opportunity to hear from someone who has established a successful business in our region”.
Covering the challenges faced in this process and how she attracts and retains her workforce, the presentation is one not to be missed for budding business entrepreneurs.

RDALC will be holding its Annual General Meeting earlier in the afternoon and will provide insight into the year that’s been and outline future direction for the next 12 months at the beginning of the public presentation. People from business and industry are encouraged to come along and meet the RDALC Board members and take advantage of this free networking opportunity.

This free public event will be held at Wynns of Coonawarra on Monday the 29th of October from  4.45pm to 6pm. People can register for the event via the RDALC Facebook page (@RDALimestoneCoast) or phoning (08) 8723 1057.

Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast partners with business, government and community leaders to foster regional development and strengthen the Limestone Coast community.

For further Information contact:
Mr Peter Gandolfi
Chair, RDALC
M: 0419 155 447

Mr David Wheaton
M: 0417 885 920
T: 8723 1057
Date: 19/10/18

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Building Better Regions Fund – Round 3

October 5, 2018

Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast in partnership with Tony Pasin MP is actively encouraging local eligible organisations to apply for the latest funding of the Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF). BBRF supports the Australian Government’s commitment to create jobs, drive economic growth and build stronger regional communities into the future.  $200 million is now available with $45 million earmarked for tourism related infrastructure projects nationally.

“With great success garnered from the previous round of applications, we saw the Robe Golf Club and the Mt Gambier Airport projects secure over $4.1 million in funds,” said RDALC Chair Peter Gandolfi. “We hope that this round will see even more success and encourage interested parties to get in touch to find out how to apply.”

To facilitate greatest uptake of the funds locally, Tony Pasin MP and RDALC invite all interested parties to attend 2 local workshops; the first in Mt Gambier on October 9 and the second in Naracoorte on October 10.

“These workshops will provide an outline of the application process, information about the assessment criteria and discuss how RDALC staff can support you to navigate the application process for best success,” said Mr Gandolfi.

“With two streams of funding available there are ample opportunities for local projects,” said Dr Elizabeth Perkins, Manager, Investment Attraction & Infrastructure.  “The Infrastructure Project Stream supports the construction of new infrastructure, or the upgrade or extension of existing infrastructure that provide economic and social benefits to regional and remote areas.  While the Community Investment Stream caters more for the community organisations with funds for new or expanded local events, strategic regional plans, and leadership and capability strengthening activities being eligible”.

To register for one of the workshops, people are encouraged to visit the Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast Facebook page or contact the RDALC office on (08) 87231 057.

Applications for the BBRF close 5pm AEDT on 15 November, 2018.

For further Information contact:-

Mr Peter Gandolfi, Chair

Mobile 0419 155 447

Date: 4 October 2018

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High-profile RDALC board unveiled

August 8, 2018

The new-look board of Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast (RDALC) will meet for the first time this month in Mount Gambier, setting a clear direction to bring jobs and investment to the region.

MiniJumbuk CEO, Darren Turner, The Border Watch General Manager, Dennis Jackson, Hello Friday co-owner, Simone Kain, and Glenelg Shire Media Manager, Liz McKinnon, will fill four vacant committee positions as a result of the expiry of board appointments.

RDALC chair, Peter Gandolfi, said the new appointments followed an extensive search for strong business or regional leaders who champion local job creation and sustainable regional growth: “We are building on our regional and industry diversity, and we are extremely pleased to have new representation from Naracoorte, Penola and Mount Gambier in both the private and public sector,” he said.

Mr Gandolfi said the new-look board brings strong business acumen and fresh vision and drive to the organisation’s existing skills base: “We’re confident that this dynamic mix of professionals will further strengthen our focus on attracting investment and jobs.”

Former ABC South East Regional Manager, Alan Richardson, has been reappointed to continue to work alongside Mr Gandolfi as Deputy Chair along with forestry consultant Lew Parsons, KCA Millicent Mill Manager, Scott Whicker, and The City of Mount Gambier’s City Growth General Manager, Judy Nagy who have also been re-appointed to the board.

Grant District Council Mayor Richard Sage did not seek reappointment.

“The RDALC Board would like to thank Richard Sage for his valuable contribution and his ongoing efforts to give back to the community, and we wish him well on his future endeavours,” RDA CEO David Wheaton said.

Further board appointments will be made later this year as terms expire.



Dennis Jackson has been in the media industry for more than 25 years with News limited, APN and now as general manager of The Border Watch Pty Ltd. He sits on the Board of Country Press SA and has extensive leadership and stakeholder engagement experience. Dennis moved to Mount Gambier with his family in 2012 to become involved with long-established family business interests in the region and is keen to contribute to the economic growth and success of the Limestone Coast.

Simone Kain is the co-owner of creative agency Hello Friday, and the co-founder of the award-winning educational brand George the Farmer. With extensive experience in website development and business management, Simone has received a number of awards including the 2015 NAB Women’s Agenda Regional Entrepreneur of the Year and the Brand SA Flinders Education Award. She is a current board member of Women in Agriculture and sits on the Ignite Advisory Panel for Agrifutures Australia.

Liz McKinnon was born in Mount Gambier and grew up on a beef farm in Dartmoor. She has extensive leadership experience and has worked in the media industry for many years, including a stint as media advisor to former Victorian Premier Denis Napthine. Returning to live in Mount Gambier earlier this year, Liz is a member of the Glenelg Shire’s leadership team, working in the role of media manager coordinating and supporting a large team.

Darren Turner has more than 35 years’ experience leading one of Australia’s premium branded wool bedding companies, MiniJumbuk. Throughout his career, he has undertaken numerous business and management courses including the Global CEO Program. He also has over 20 years community service with Apex, has served 8 years on the Naracoorte Golf Club Board with four years as President, and also sits on the Board of the Industry Leaders Fund, Scholars network in Adelaide.



Media: From left to right Dennis Jackson, David Wheaton ( Chief Executive Officer), Simone Kain, Elizabeth McKinnon, Peter Gandolfi (Chair) absent: Darren Turner


For further Information contact:-

Mr David Wheaton, Chief Executive Officer

Ph:  87231057 or Mobile 0417 885 920

Date: 8/08/18





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