Archive for March, 2011

Aussie TQUAL program (tourism) – hot tips

March 9, 2011


The new TQUAL program – ‘tourism quality’ – is open for submissions, closing 15 April. The application form is 30 pages and a pain in the butt – on a par with Healthy Communities (see below). The aim s to basically develop innovative and strategic tourism products and experiences through joint investment to enhance and support the sustainable economic growth of the host communities and regions.

 Total funding is $40 million over four years – annual rounds. The standard grants are up to $100k and must be matched by non-federal funding. There are also ‘strategic infrastructure’ grants of up to $1 million – guidelines not yet out for these.  

 Cockatoo is currently preparing submissions for clients. Some hot tips

  • Ensure it aligns with the principles of the National Long-Term Tourism Strategy.
  • The focus is on upgrading the supply side – note Minister Ferguson reckons much of our regional tourism infrastructure is below world standard (Hard to disagree).
  • Ensure it is innovative and delivers economic/community benefits.

The problem for lots of folk is organising the matching funding by the 15 April deadline. I am not sure the feds know how broke local government is, and the time it takes to organise funding from the states and private sector.

 Our recommendation is that you call in the experts to assist in scoping your ideas and preparing the submissions. This is what we do!

RDA up and running!

March 9, 2011

Simon Crean has just announced $1.4 billion for his new Regional Development Australia Fund – $350m of which is already committed to regions affected by recent floods. Expenditure is over 5 years, starting July.

This is a coup for Crean because many feared that Treasury would use the drought and other budget pressures to pare things back. And numerous RDA committee members and staff were thinking they’d been conned. But Crean’s standing in the Gillard Cabinet counted, and he is showing uncommon zeal in his championing of regional Australia. His Department has been slow to get into gear, and the substandard website reflects this. But the SES officers are a good mix, and staff numbers are climbing to over 200, which is probably a KPI in this town with bloated bureaucracies.

More importantly, RDA staff appears to be coordinating with other departments. The way things are unfolding is that RDA will be supporting a select number of high quality projects that are innovative, collaborative and ground-breaking and with cocktail funding that reflects the respective interests of the key parties.

Indeed, one defining feature of these projects is that they require a bit of thinking through – they will be more complex than shoveling money out according to tried and true engineering designs and costings e.g. roads, bridges, water infrastructure.

The great opportunity for Cockatoo members is to get involved in these projects because the RDA principles are virtually identical to what we have been espousing for the last decade. The guidelines should be on the RDA website around 10-11 March.

Two comments from Crean worth remembering:

  • “This is not an entitlement for every area in the country – they have to bid for them.”
  • “The money is one pool of funds that will be split up among the best projects, and the Government wants to get away from pork-barreling.”

Sunrise Trade Network – project examples

March 4, 2011

In the last year, SUNRISE member organisations have forwarded numerous examples of projects whose viability and success would be dramatically improved by collaborative initiatives under the Sunrise Program.

What each of these project proposals need to progress them is an engagement mechanism – and this is what SUNRISE offers.

Some project examples are provided below.

Pork, Timber & Clothing – Vietnam, Denmark, Japan, Korea, USA, Canada, Australia, France, Sweden etc.

As part of a recent World Bank aid project in Quang Nam province, consultants (some of whom are Sunrise members) visited a village in the mountains west of Da Nang – an indigenous hill tribe of some 2,000 whose livelihood depends on cassava, maize and rice. Their sunny disposition belies grinding poverty.

The Sunrise Trade Network sees the following opportunities:


The village is extremely keen to establish a garment manufacturing operation to create wealth and jobs and to build community pride.

The way forward might be for a local council in say Japan or Korea to donate 10 sewing machines to the village (cost $US5,000). Road signage would recognize this gesture, and it might be part of a twinning arrangement between the village and the local council. This would provide an angle to attract tourists from Japan/Korea i.e. for a factory tour and luncheon. The Quang Nam provincial government would provide the training to ensure the success of the enterprise.

The friendship and mutual respect thus created could conceivably spin-off in the longer-term into joint venture trade opportunities for both Vietnam and the donor countries.


This example might involve the Danish Pork Association (or its equivalents in Canada or the USA) exporting 30-40 breeder pigs.

The reason these nations are selected is because they are world leaders in pork production technology and marketing. If it was Danske Slagterier (Danish Bacon & Meat Council), the costs including freight of around $US20,000 might be met 50-50 by the World Bank and the Danish Government. A technical expert from Denmark – perhaps an expat Vietnamese – might be assigned for a year as part of the aid project.

This initial aid project might conceivably build a strong bond between Vietnam and Denmark and underpin a range of export and investment deals in pork, dairy, beef, poultry etc.


The critical need is for developing nations to add value to their forestry resource, while protecting their natural environment. The export of technology from nations with strong forestry credentials (US, Canada, Sweden, Australia etc.) could stimulate trade joint ventures right through the supply chain. The shipment of a disused saw mill might also be a wonderful gesture.

Creative Arts – NZ, USA, Canada, Australia, Europe, Singapore etc.

Both Wellington and Sydney have highly-regarded creative arts industries. Their SMEs have a track record in international collaboration and the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) recently won the rights from the national government to be the nation’s Creative Industry Innovation Centre. Both cities are keen to build alliances with companies in other locations.

For example, Wellington has a champion in director Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings film trilogy) and he is happy to leverage his relationships with Hollywood. An example is AnimFX, a trade show hosted in NZ that attracts key people from the US digital animation industry.

The opportunity

The Sunrise Trade Network wants to identify emerging ICT and film clusters in north America, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and Asia that want to explore an international collaboration platform.

Tulips – Holland, NZ etc.

A decade ago, flower growers in New Zealand reached out to the Holland Tulip Growers Association with a proposal to grow tulips under the Holland Tulip brand during their summer months. As NZ is in the southern hemisphere, tulips can be grown during the northern winter, saving Holland tulip growers the expense of insulating and heating greenhouses. Also, as NZ is close to high-growth Asian markets, substantial shipping cost and time savings for the perishable flowers are a powerful inducement to collaborate. Many tulips worldwide now carry the Holland Tulip brand, but grown in NZ. Holland’s tulip industry receives substantial licensing revenues.

The opportunity

The Sunrise Trade Network is looking to apply more counter-seasonal models between the northern and southern hemispheres e.g. other areas of horticulture, horse-breeding.

Dietary Fibre and Pearls – Japan, Australia, Pacific Islands

The Okinawa – Far North Queensland sister region initiative is going great guns. It was launched by their respective business groups to build relationships and trust, leading to new business opportunities for mutual benefit. While business leads the way, governments work with the non-profits to clear red tape on both sides so initiatives can move quickly. Two examples:

 Joint venture to produce dietary fibre from sugar waste. Pilot factory for proof of concept in Mossman successful. New factory in Okinawa has since commenced, and a second production facility is to be located in North Queensland.
 Joint venture pearl farming, Torres Strait, Australia. Japanese parties have completed a business plan. Further negotiations and site visits have been held and the parties are confident the venture will proceed because the Okinawa company has ready markets.

The opportunity

The Sunrise Trade Network sees exciting prospects for an international supply chain that includes the US and Pacific nations in the above two industries. The first step is to identify industry associations in the Asia Pacific that are interested in joint venture opportunities. Other projects would then progress.

Please contact us for more information at