Media Releases

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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Familiar Face Joins RDALC Business Ranks

July 6, 2018

Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast (RDALC) has appointed a new manager of Business and Workforce Development. Mount Gambier businessman, Paul Mullen, will take over from current manager, David Furniss, who will be retiring to the Fleurieu Peninsula at the end of June after a 12-month contract.

Currently the owner-manager of a prominent Port MacDonnell café, Mr Mullen is a lifelong Mount Gambier resident. He has previously worked as an Experience Development Executive with the South Australian Tourism Commission, and is also a former manager of Limestone Coast Tourism and Mount Gambier Golf Club. RDALC chief executive officer, David Wheaton, says Mr Mullen’s broad skillset and strong networks will be an asset to the organisation.

“Paul brings both corporate and small business experience to this role, and we are really looking forward to his input into workforce development planning and projects throughout the Limestone Coast,” he says.

Mr Mullen will be responsible for RDALC’s regional strategy to build human capital and connect businesses with services and government programs to help them develop and grow. The role is also designed to encourage and improve small and medium business sustainability and development, and identify and source funding for programs and mechanisms to support employment and jobs growth in the region.

Mr Mullen says he is looking forward to building on his previous work in the tourism sector with a ‘big picture’ approach.

“Tourism is a target area for growth in this region – we have a lot of natural attractions, but not necessarily a lot of business opportunities linked to them – but there are also lots of opportunities across all of the other industry sectors,” he says. “I’ve lived in the area my whole life and want to be involved in helping the region to grow with more jobs and improved job security, because I also want my family to grow up here.”

Outgoing Business and Workforce Development manager, David Furniss, says he will be sad to leave the region. “I started my career in Bordertown many years ago, so it has been particularly enjoyable working back in the Limestone Coast with a variety of businesses and industries,” he says. “There is still a significant amount of opportunity in the region, but there are also lots of challenges confronting business, so the message is that businesses need to be forever planning, developing and growing their skillsets, knowledge and technology so that they don’t lag behind.”

For further Information contact:-

Mr David Wheaton, Chief Executive Officer

Ph:  87231057 or Mobile 0417 885 920

Date: 3, July 2018

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Infrastructure and Investment under RDALC spotlight

June 7, 2018

A formal framework designed to identify existing assets and potential growth capacity is being developed for the Limestone Coast. Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast (RDALC) has commissioned leading business advisory firm SED Consulting to undertake dual projects focussing on infrastructure and investment. The work has been co-funded by the Limestone Coast Local Government Association (LCLGA), and will complement a jointly-funded Regional Growth Plan also currently under development.

Drains, bridges and roads will be among the focus of a Regional Infrastructure Audit which aims to identify deficits and challenges relating to expansion and economic growth. The audit will also look at power and energy, telecommunications, water and waste management. Social and community infrastructure such as health services, sport and recreation, art and cultural facilities and emergency services will also be identified, along with ‘organisational infrastructure’ like land development, grant access and leadership capacity.

RDALC chair, Peter Gandolfi, says the work will highlight any gaps, deficiencies or key improvement areas.

“Regional South Australia faces many challenges when it comes to maintaining existing infrastructure and gaining the necessary private or government investment into large-scale improvements or new infrastructure initiatives,” he explains. “Access to up-to-date and consolidated information is required for effective planning prioritisation, particularly for local government and RDALC, but also for investors seeking to develop or expand operations in the region.”

The compiled information will be a valuable tool in a variety of planning contexts and could be accessed by a broad range of stakeholders.

“These could include community groups, local, state and federal government departments, and investors and businesses exploring potential opportunities in the region,” Mr Gandolfi says. “Key strategic regional groups and boards such as Transport Committees, Natural Resource Management, Regional Tourism, Economic Development and Climate Change Adaptation groups will also be able to utilise the information, which is expected to be released in August 2018.”

Meanwhile, a new Limestone Coast Investment Prospectus also being devised by SED Consulting will target potential investors and key industry sectors by promoting the region’s benefits and opportunities. The web-based prospectus will align with government investment attraction strategies, including the Limestone Coast Regional Growth Strategy due for release mid-June, to ensure that the region has a strong presence overseas and across Australia. LCLGA chair, Erika Vickery, says the work will provide information that will enable parties to invest with confidence.

“We want to highlight strengths and competitive advantages, current and future opportunities with regard to locations, industries and projects, along with partners and important players,” she says.


For further Information contact:-

Erika Vickery

Mobile 0427 622 133


Or Peter Gandolfi

Mobile 0419 155 447

Date: 7th June 2018

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RDALC call for new board members

May 10, 2018

The search is on for strong business or regional leaders who champion local job creation and sustainable regional growth. Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast (RDALC) is looking for local candidates with vision, drive and business experience to join its dynamic board.

RDALC chair, Peter Gandolfi, said at least four committee positions are vacant, and nominations are being sought from across the Limestone Coast.

“We would like to have members from a diverse range of industries and areas from throughout the entire region to add to our existing skills base; we want to build on our regional diversity as well as industry diversity,” he said.

RDALC is also seeking to appoint a deputy chair to work alongside Mr Gandolfi during his three-year term, which expires in December 2020. The deputy chair will need to demonstrate strong leadership to the committee and have a sound understanding of board or committee performance management, including people and organisational management processes.

“We’re looking for a highly motivated and experienced person with strong business acumen who is knowledgeable about the economic strengths and challenges of the region, has strong networking skills, and is keen to give back to their community,” Mr Gandolfi said. “They will be playing a key role working with communities, funding partners and RDA committee members to drive economic development opportunities and investment in the region.”

In August 2017, the Federal Government announced a new direction for the Regional Development Australia network following an independent review into RDA Committees and their effectiveness. Mr Gandolfi said the strengthened focus on attracting investment and jobs was all about achieving tangible results.

“RDA Committees were initially set up to develop plans for regional growth, but they are now pro-actively targeting, seeking and negotiating with private companies, not-for-profits and governments of all levels to bring jobs and investment to our regions,” he said. “It’s a really exciting time to be involved with the organisation.”

An Applicant Information Pack for the RDALC roles can be found at

For further information, phone CEO David Wheaton on (08) 8723 1057 or email Renee Palmer, Manager Corporate Services



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NDIS Disability Expo Highlights Jobs and Services

May 1, 2018

The significant number of jobs and services available within the disability sector will be showcased in Mount Gambier next week.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Community Expo is an initiative of the Disability Workforce Hub being managed by Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast (RDALC). Hub co-ordinator, Melissa Hunter, says the free community event is being held at Mount Gambier’s City Hall in the Main Corner Complex on Wednesday 9 May from 3:00-7:00pm, and will feature more than 20 different exhibitors.

“The NDIS Community Expo will outline the extensive range of local services and products that are available to people with a disability, family and carers,” Melissa explains. “The other key aim is to connect job seekers with local employers, employment agencies and registered training organisations – visitors will have the opportunity to speak to a career practitioner about practical steps to start, advance or change their career in the disability sector.”

Dubbed the biggest social reform since Medicare, the NDIS delivers tailored support for people with a disability, enabling 18 to 64-year-olds to choose the services they require to meet their individual needs and goals. In the Limestone Coast, demand for these services will double from 650 clients to a projected 1300 participants by 2019, and there is an urgent need to expand the local workforce to meet this 100 per cent increase.

“We currently have a workforce gap of 275 jobs, however the actual number is higher with casual and part-time positions, so there has never been a better time to consider working in the disability community,” Melissa Hunter says. “There is considerable demand for carers, but there are also a lot of opportunities in allied health; roles for occupational therapists, physiotherapists and psychiatrists for example.”

The following disability support service providers, training organisations, employment providers and equipment suppliers will be attending the Expo: Thistle & Bee, HomeCare+, Skylight, Limestone Coast Training, Cara, Comrec Aust Pty Ltd, Sureway Skills Training, TAFE SA, Enhanced Lifestyles, Country Health Connect, Northcare Physio, Miroma Incorporated, Royal Society for the Blind, AXIS Employment, Disability Rights Advocacy Service, National Disability Insurance Agency, Community Living, MINDA INCORP, MADEC Australia, Disability Workforce Hub and Career Services, Mission Australia, and South East Mobility Services.
Event details

Date: Wednesday 9th May
Time: 3:00pm – 7:00pm
Venue: Main Corner Complex, 1 Bay Road, Mount Gambier
Register at: gambierdisability-expo
If you have any questions about this event, please phone the Disability Workforce Hub on (08) 8723 1057.

For more information about the NDIS including eligibility, participant information and services visit the national NDIS website:

For further Information contact:-
Mr David Wheaton, Chief Executive Officer
Ph: 87231057 or Mobile 0417 885 920
Date: 1 May 2018

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Peter Gandolfi Appointed RDALC Chair

April 26, 2018

Wattle Range Mayor, Peter Gandolfi, has been named the new Chair of Regional Development Australia Limestone Coast (RDALC). The key appointment follows an extensive consultation process, with the Federal Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government, John McVeigh, saying Mr Gandolfi will bring valuable experience and knowledge to the role.

“I welcome the appointment of Mr Peter Gandolfi as Chair of RDA Limestone Coast,” said the Minister.  “Mr Gandolfi’s demonstrated commitment to the local area, small business experience and acquired knowledge through his work in both Local and Federal Government makes him the perfect candidate to lead RDA Limestone Coast.

“RDAs are key contributors to regional economic development. RDA committees are highly valued facilitators of initiatives that grow local economies, promote opportunities and attract investment; this in turn provides confidence to regional areas.

“In addition, I would like to thank the 500-plus volunteer board members that serve on our 52 RDA committees across Australia for their ongoing support.”

 Mr Gandolfi today described the opportunity to play a pivotal role in the region’s future economic development as “both challenging and exciting”.

“I see it as a very important role; it is crucial that we build strong and confident regional economies in order to strengthen our communities,” he said. “I’m looking forward to working with both private enterprise and local, state and federal governments to address critical issues, identify opportunities and facilitate initiatives – for example, there is considerable scope to value-add to primary production within the Limestone Coast, attract investment into vital infrastructure and increase tourism potential, so these are really exciting times.”

Mr Gandolfi has a long working association with the Limestone Coast region after serving as Mayor of Wattle Range Council since 2010. An active board member of the Limestone Coast Local Government Association and a small business owner for more than 13 years, he also spent eight years working as a ministerial advisor for territory, state and federal governments.

Mr Gandolfi takes over from Alan Richardson, who has been acting Chair of RDALC since February last year. RDALC chief executive officer, David Wheaton, praised Mr Richardson for his willingness to step into the vacant role: “Alan Richardson’s dedication and leadership has helped to put RDALC in a solid, constructive position as we enter this exciting next chapter,” Mr Wheaton said.

Alan Richardson will remain with RDALC as a board member, and said he looks forward to working with the new Chair to drive further development in the region: “Given Peter’s great experience in leadership and local government and his strong small business background, he should be an excellent chair for RDALC,” Mr Richardson said.

Regional Development Australia consists of a national network of 52 committees designed to strongly focus on regional economic development and facilitate local projects that aim to make a difference in their local communities. RDALC’s role is to promote economic development in the region by attracting investment, supporting local businesses to grow and develop, linking businesses and community organisations with government grants and programs, creating jobs and encouraging prosperity for the region.

For further Information contact:-

Mr Peter Gandolfi: 0419 155 447

Mr David Wheaton:  0417 885 920


Date:26th April 2018

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Bioenergy hotspot

February 7, 2018


Moves are underway to turn a major Limestone Coast food manufacturer into a bioenergy hotspot. Blue Lake Milling has developed a plan to convert cereal husks into power as part of an ambitious project designed to reduce energy costs and provide a positive impact on the energy market in South Australia.

The Tatiara company is one of the first in South Australia to take advantage of the State Government’s Bioenergy Roadmap Program designed to unlock potential biofuel resources and stimulate investment in innovative power-generating technology. The program, which is being administered statewide by Regional Development Australia – Limestone Coast (RDALC), lays the groundwork for new projects by providing mentorship and feasibility funding for applicants.

“There is real scope for utilising a waste or residual resource to provide energy solutions for South Australia, and the search is underway for new feedstocks for bioenergy production,” explains RDALC senior project officer Roger Babolka. “Funding is available to help guide applicants through the conceptual stages to try to get these projects off the ground.”

Blue Lake Milling’s proposal has now progressed to a full feasibility study in recognition of the anticipated environmental and economic benefits. Each year, the company’s Bordertown plant processes approximately 24,000 tonnes of husk as a by-product of its cereal oat production. The husk is sold to stock feeders to be used as a bulk filler in feed pellets, but BLM chief executive officer, Ben Abbot, says it would be more valuable as a fuel source.

“We are a 24-hour 5-day-a-week operation, and while this time last year our monthly power bill was $50,000, it has since jumped to $80,000 per month,” he says. “With the system that we are looking at, we would generate more than enough power ourselves; two thirds of it would go to the mill, and the remaining third could be put back into the grid, which is an added bonus.”

Through a process of anaerobic digestion, the discarded oat husks would be placed in a tank of water with bacteria added. The methane gas subsequently produced by the organic breakdown process would be channelled to an engine to generate power, using technology that is already in widespread use across Europe.

“It’s proven technology, and a West Australian company has also successfully adopted a similar system to process food waste,” Mr Abbot explains. “We already have the fuel and the site, with the equipment expected to cover a 40 x 40-metre area.”

Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said, “The opportunities that exist in the renewable energy and storage sector are incredibly diverse. The State Government recently announced the support of four projects through the Renewable Technology Fund that includes battery storage, hydrogen fuel cells and thermal storage using biogas from sewage.

“We are also pleased to fund this feasibility study in bioenergy generated from oat husks at iconic South Australian company Blue Lake Milling. By harnessing industrial by products such as these, we can lower power prices for businesses and also reduce the overall demand on the electricity grid” says Minister Koutsantonis.

The Bioenergy Roadmap Program will remain open for applications through to 30th June 2018, or until the funds are expended, with applications assessed as they are received. Applications are available at:


For further information contact:

Senior Project Officer, Roger Babolka,

P: (08) 87231057


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