From the Mayor's Desk - November 2020

Hon. Lawrence Springborg AM, Mayor Goondiwindi Regional Council

Hon. Lawrence Springborg AM, Mayor Goondiwindi Regional Council

As we begin to approach the end of what has undoubtedly been an unexpected and eventful year, I'd like to take a moment to shine a bit of a spotlight on an initiative that has been having a quietly powerful and positive impact on many businesses across the region.

The Regional Skills Investment Strategy (RSIS) has been running in the Goondiwindi region since March 2019. Funded by the Queensland Government, the program enables Council and industry to work together towards a common goal: meeting our region's skilled labour needs. As we know, a skilled local workforce is essential to the continued success of our thriving regional economy. The RSIS is about matching local people to local jobs by ensuring residents have access to quality training opportunities as well as helping those industries in need of more skilled workers.

Over the past 18 months, Council's in-house RSIS project coordinator has worked with representatives from local industries to explore which skills need to be developed in the region. This has led to the delivery of numerous training solutions driven by Goondiwindi region employers with a 'locals first' approach.

One recent example is a new animal welfare workshop that was piloted in Goondiwindi in August, the first such course designed and delivered specifically with the stock transport industry in mind. Following the success of that workshop series, industry and State Government will now consider how similar training may be rolled out to other regions across Queensland.

Another example is the Goondiwindi region Future Rural Leaders Program, developed with Engage & Create Consulting and UQ Skills. This popular, fully accredited training and mentoring program has seen two successful cohorts so far, each delivered over several days. The program helps those in middle management to develop their leadership skills: this was a specific need that local employers identified as being prevalent in our region. More than 30 locals have now benefitted from the training - from feedlot workers to transport and logistics workers, fuel management workers and farmers.

Similarly, an additional RSIS small business management program for local entrepreneurs is currently in the works. This, too, will involve accredited training (in finance, marketing and strategic planning), with an additional mentoring element from the Queensland Government's Mentoring for Growth Program. I'm confident that this program will be of benefit to many individuals within our innovative and entrepreneurial region.

The RSIS project will continue until March 2021. Despite its success, at this stage it appears unlikely that the State Government will extend its funding beyond that point and so I strongly encourage those who are interested to make the most of the opportunity while it is available.

Finally, I was fortunate enough to attend the 90th anniversary celebration of the first train to arrive in Texas. The Texas and Inglewood Heritage Railway Society hosted a rich and informative morning tea session to commemorate the occasion at the Texas Museum site. While the group had originally hoped to have their rail motor RM14 and rolling stock running, due to COVID-19 complications we settled for some smaller - yet no less valuable - markers of history, including the original scissors used to cut the opening ribbon all those 90 years ago in 1930. We are very fortunate to have such a rich history in our region and I commend those individuals and community groups who work hard to keep its spirit alive and share our heritage with locals and visitors.