RDA Hunter Quarterly Report to the Region

Quarterly Report 1 January to 31 March 2018


Regional Development Australia is a national network of local leaders working with all levels of government, the private sector, businesses and community groups to support economic development within their regions. 

From 1 January 2018, RDA Hunter is funded by the Australian Government for a further three years to facilitate a new charter for a Strong, Confident and Vibrant Region.

RDA Hunter’s Quarterly Report to the region highlights recent work we have undertaken from 1 January 2018 to 31 March 2018 and identifies future economic development opportunities.

January 2018

RDA Hunter – New Charter
RDA Hunter adopted the new RDA charter to focus on our priorities and take an active and facilitative role in the Hunter. Further information can be found here: 

RDA_Charter_2018 RDA_Charter_2018 (455 KB)

STEM Workforce Initiative

RDA Hunter progressed the three programs in its industry-led STEM Workforce Initiative:

- Mini ME 
- ME Program (http://www.meprogram.com.au/)  
- STEMship 

These life-stage specific, education programs create a pipeline of opportunities and activities for students from eight years of age to 18 years old.

In close mutual partnership with local industry, including defence prime contractors, multi-nationals and SMEs, students are immersed in industry focused and designed curriculum as well as professional placements and work experience.

STEM Workforce Conference

RDA Hunter announced Thursday 10 May as the date for the 2018 STEM Workforce Conference. 

Announcement of the date was conducted through social media on the RDA Hunter LinkedIn Group, Corporate page and the ME Program Facebook, with registrations opening in February.

RDA Hunter STEM Workforce Conference Registration

Regional partnerships

Consultations continued with government agencies, business and industry groups, and community organisations throughout the month of January to build positive relationships for the benefit of the Hunter region.  

RDA Hunter met with elected representatives in the Hunter, AiGroup, Newcastle Airport, NSW Office of Regional Development, private investors and the team from Where There’s A Will: Where There's A Will 

February 2018


- Defence Industry in NSW: Discussion Paper

 - Optimising STEM Industry-School Partnerships: Inspiring Australia’s Next Generation

 - Inquiry into Zonal Taxation

Hunter Investment Prospectus

RDA Hunter in conjunction with the Hunter Business Review released the 2018 Hunter Investment Prospectus to help promote the Hunter's competitive advantages as an investment location.

The 2018 Hunter Investment Prospectus can be downloaded here:

2018 Hunter Investment Prospectus


The 2018 STEMship program was launched in February as one of the three major projects of the STEM Workforce Initiative. The program was launched via a video showcasing 2017 students who completed the Hunter program and are now working locally after gaining apprenticeships.

YouTube video: https://youtu.be/jCy6uXa7Fa4

Case Study: 

STEMship Case Study - Sam Hadley STEMship Case Study - Sam Hadley (643 KB)

Regional partnerships

Consultations continued with regional stakeholders throughout February.  RDA Hunter met with representatives from AGL, Cessnock Council, Defence NSW, Muswellbrook Shire Council, Muswellbrook Chamber of Commerce and Industry, NSW Audit Office, private infrastructure investors, RAAF Base Williamtown and Sapere Research Group (regional economic development strategy consultations for NSW DPC)

Director of Regional Development

The Board of RDA Hunter appointed Acting Executive Officer, Trevor John to the dual roles of Director Regional Development and Executive Officer.

Media Coverage

RDA Hunter Aeroskills Cert II recognised in the Singleton Argus and on local ABC Radio.



March 2018

Appointment of Chair

By the end of March, RDA Hunter had received the welcome news that Mr John Turner had been appointed as Chairman of RDA Hunter by Federal Minister for Regional Development and Territories, the Hon Dr John McVeigh MP.

ME Program

STEM Workforce Initiative Manager, RDA Hunter Chair & Deputy Chair traveled to Canberra to meet with the Department of Defence, funding partner for the ME Program, to discuss the achievements and progress of the program throughout the funding period.


RDA Hunter is a partner in the Smart Move Newcastle project, supported by the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities, with funding through the Smart Cities and Suburbs program. https://cities.infrastructure.gov.au/smart-cities-program 

RDA Hunter attended the four briefings and workshops conducted by Newcastle City Council as part of their Smart Moves Newcastle Project.

RDA Hunter held an information session with Newcastle LGA primary schools to engage with STEM teachers within the region as an opportunity to put an expression of interest in to participate within the 2018 program.

Regional partnerships

Consultations continued with government agencies, business and industry groups, and community organisations throughout March.  RDA Hunter met with potential applicants to the Australian Government’s Regional Growth Fund, and representatives from Defence NSW, Hunter Industry Roundtable, Lake Macquarie City Council, Newcastle Airport, Newcastle City Council Smart City program, NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet, and Williamtown Advisory Group.

A new constitution was adopted by RDA Hunter to align its purpose with the charter and requirements of our funding agreement with the Australian Government.

Media Coverage

The STEMship program which was launched in February 2018 received national recognition through an ABC Radio story which featured Sam Hadley from the 2017 STEMship cohort.


RDA Hunter Board Member, Ian Pedersen, was featured in the Sydney Morning Herald with an article regarding the benefits of better rail connections between regional NSW and Sydney. The article was in response to three successful Faster Rail Prospectus projects, including Sydney – Newcastle, announced in a joint media release on 13 March 2018 from Deputy PM Michael McCormack MP and Minister for Urban Infrastructure & Cities, Paul Fletcher MP.


To download the printable version of the RDA Hunter Quarterly Report: 

RDA Hunter Quarterly Report 1_2018 RDA Hunter Quarterly Report 1_2018 (825 KB)