Letter to Member; COVID-19. Department Of Regional NSW – Armidale; REX And QANTASLink (26 June 2020)

June 26, 2020

Dear Member / Friend,

Today, John Barilaro, the NSW Deputy Premier, announced the establishment of the Department of Regional NSW. This is a very welcome development as it provides a better focus on the support and development of communities and businesses in regional areas. As the Deputy Premier stated: “The Department will bring together Primary Industries, Local Land Services,Geoscience and Governance and regional coordination across government to form a central agency dedicated to regional issues.

The new Department will also drive the delivery of bushfire and COVID-19 stimulus and industry recovery packages, together with the NSW government’s drought initiatives, the Regional Growth Fund and the Snowy Hydro Legacy Fund.

I hope the new Department will extensively interact with regional businesses and communities to gain feedback from them.

Of immense significance, is that Armidale will be one of the four offices of the Department, bringing with it up to 100 full-time jobs in Armidale. This is a huge boost to Armidale at a very difficult time for us all. Every new job has a positive multiplier effect on the Armidale economy.

Individuals and businesses in Armidale should be proud that the State Government has seen Armidale as a suitable place to have part of the Department. The staff of the Department living in Armidale will see first-hand the issues that affect regional living. The Chamber, along with our groups and businesses, will be keen to support the staff of the Department, as they move to Armidale.

By way of interest, the other offices of the Department will be at Queanbeyan, Dubbo and Coffs Harbour.

QantasLink has 3 flights a week to Armidale on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Armidale was not included in Rex’s new schedule to operate from 6 July 2020, and at present, Rex has no flights to Armidale.

Rex has now, according to reports, warned that it may stop flying to Armidale because of increased fees to be charged to it by Armidale Reginal Council following the installation of a security system at the airport.  Rex’s point of view, apparently, is that Council’s decision to charge Rex for Airport Security Screening when it is not legally required would play a significant role in Rex’s final decision as to flying into Armidale.

I understand that at present there is no plan by Council to charge Rex for security screening. Council, as we know, is not a bottomless pit and so funding for the screening has to come from somewhere. Perhaps, it should be underwritten by the Federal Government. One thing is clear though, for Armidale to have a healthy growing future, two airlines, creating some downward pressure on airfares, is essential.

Given the lifting of many restrictions, it is understandably tempting to travel. I suggest to anyone wishing to get out and travel that they select their destination and means of travel carefully and don’t travel (and be tested) if you are suffering any COVID symptoms.

Stay safe and stay distant.

Kind Regards,


Anthony Fox
Armidale Business Chamber

0402 838 077

Armidale Business Chamber FREE business coaching package April 2020


The Armidale Business Chamber has put together a free business coaching package to support business as they adjust to significant change under very tight timeframes and difficult circumstances.

In partnership with Mandy Walker of Focus First the Chamber is providing a 45 minute one on one business coaching consultation (via phone).  Each session is tailored to the needs of the individual business, whether those are: 'tactical and practical, providing help with navigating the now; or survival, keeping your business afloat; or for future planning, reimagining your business or starting a new one.

The consult is by appointment only. Contact Mandy via email or phone 0459 098 618.

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