Sunday, March 26, 2023

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Fish kill

Fish deaths span the Basin

The Darling River was once again making headlines as the muddy waters were hardly visible through a blanket of dead fish. The Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s mantra of ‘just add water’ has had a schooling once again by mother nature as the kills come on the back of some of the highest inflows and floods on record.

Fisheries team on site at fish kill

A Narrandera Inland Fisheries Centre team is on site at what is the worst ever mass fish kill to hit the Darling River at Menindee. A constant stream of mostly bony bream has been floating down the river since last Friday morning, as well as golden perch and silver perch and some Murray cod.

Regional bank closures

Senate inquiries are serious business and no place for spin

Contempt of the Senate is a pretty easy thing to get your head around. Witnesses at hearings who give false or misleading evidence run the risk of being hauled in front of the privileges committee for a “please explain” ... There’s a lot that could be considered as misleading in NAB’s testimony at Sale but saying they are “committed to being where its customers are” is the first outright fib given in evidence to this parliamentary inquiry.

Desperate measures to keep bank open

The proposed closure of the Bank SA branch in Kingston will have a devastating impact on the township, its neighbouring communities, and businesses that rely on rural banking. This was the sentiment echoed by almost every member of the public who attended the committee consultation on the future of Bank SA organised by the Kingston District Council on Wednesday.

Regional development - Darling Downs

Boom town: Westbrook expected to more than double

The recently released Toowoomba Region Growth Plan shows Westbrook is anticipated to grow by more than 4,800 people by 2051, taking the total population to just over 9,200 ... The Toowoomba Region Growth Plan, presented to Toowoomba Regional Council last week, is intended to act as the long-term population and employment growth strategy for the Region to 2051.

Regional banking

Plea to banks

Shadow Minister for Regional South Australia, Nicola Centofanti, is pleading with banks to not remove their services from Naracoorte and its surrounding townships. Ms Centofanti said while it was unfortunate, the Liberal Party was “seeing an alarming trend” where banks are withdrawing their services from regional centres in South Australia.


New report shows critical gap in regional childcare: Regional Australia Institute

Childcare users in regional Queensland have waited more than 12 months to access services, according to a new study released by the Regional Australia Institute (RAI). The RAI Childcare Study ... focused on accessibility, availability, affordability and quality of childcare and its impact on workforce participation, liveability, population attraction and retention of staff in the Maranoa and Western Downs regions...

Regional Australia

New alliance champions regional Australia

More than 30 CEOs from the most influential peak bodies in the country joined forces in Canberra on Tuesday, for the historic launch of the National Alliance for Regionalisation. Established by the Regional Australia Institute (RAI), CEO Liz Ritchie says this new Alliance is the first of its kind in this country, spanning business, health, education, infrastructure and environment. It aims to better position the regions to reach their potential.


Maldon leads African initiative

Shannon Uren, the General Manager and Director of Nursing at Maldon Hospital, had a problem last year when in the process of replacing Hospital beds & what to do with the old beds ... One group, Melbourne-based FESIDEV (Federation of International Seniors for Development), was very interested in the beds...

Gun shearer

Austin shears over 500!

What a fantastic effort shearing 503 xb lambs in a day by young lad Doltan Austin. Simply put, that’s one lamb every 57 seconds of a standard eight-hour shearing day. Jason “Chippa’ Gordon said, “I have been a student of shearing exploits for many years and I can’t recall a feat ever achieved like this in the area.”


“Nine Australians a week commit suicide”

Alyssa Walker. Of those nine, according to the findings of the ongoing Royal Commission, at least one of them is a veteran. "They tell us to look for the warning signs," Charlton RSL head, Bill Freeman, says; "but there are no signs." And how can there be signs, really, when the people themselves feel lost? As it can be with all major turning points in life, with surety and sense of self shaken, there can come danger.


Police tight-lipped on death in custody

Police called a media conference on 20 March 2023 to discuss the death in custody at Casino Police Station yesterday, Sunday, March 19. Despite questions from several news outlets at the conference, Assistant Commissioner Peter McKenna did not reveal any new information about the death of the 48 year old man ... On Sunday, the man was taken to the station after reports he had assaulted another man at the Casino Showground.

Emergency services

Covid vax rule change will help revive SES unit

For more than a year, Tabulam has not had an SES unit. Member numbers dwindled during the covid pandemic because the SES policy at the time was that all members had to be vaccinated.

Disaster preparedness

Vote for our community: Buloke’s Paddock Run

The Paddock Run flood initiative, which was driven by the Buloke community, has been nominated for the Disaster Preparedness category in the 2023 National Awards for Local Government ... Council partnered with over 45 food businesses and grain receival sites across the shire to deliver flood support and assistance information to the paddock, truck, tractor, harvester, ute etc., using a less conventional, but more practical delivery method – via their stomachs.

Bushfire - NT

Park burns as war on buffel grass hots up

While the Centre is facing what experts say is likely to be the biggest bushfire season in recorded history, the question is not what the NT Government is doing about it, but what it is not. The first blaze is already under way, in the Ormiston Gorge area of the West MacDonnells.

Hand-wringing main response to buffel inferno

Lindsay "Linz" Johanssen. Buffel grass (Cenchrus Ciliaris) is not just invasive. Environment-wise, it is utterly transformative ... Buffel thrives on being burned. Vigorous new growth follows subsequent showers of rain, so recreating (and episodically contributing-to), a new fuel load ... Buffel’s burn / rapid-growth rebuild / ready to burn again fire cycle will, over time, simply kill or destroy everything that is not protected or cannot evacuate ...

NSW election

Labor and Nationals candidates build opinions on affordable housing in the Clarence Valley

The ALP candidate for Clarence Leon Ankersmit has declared the election of a Labor Government on March 25 as the first step towards addressing the housing crisis in NSW. Following the announcement of a $3.5 million investment ... as an election promise by Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan, alongside $3 million contributed by Clarence Village, Mr Hogan reaffirmed his commitment to the project earlier this year, adding "the Labor Government are not going to fund this." CEO of Clarence Village Duncan McKimm ... was keen to uncover if a Labor Government will match their $3 million in funding.

Candidates sign pledge against mining in Clarence

Five candidates for the seat of Clarence in the March 25 state election have signed a pledge launched by the Clarence Catchment Alliance to oppose and ban mineral mining developments in the Clarence catchment ... The pledge, Ms Fleming said came about after the CCA attended a meet the candidates’ night in Grafton and every one of the local candidates said they were anti mining in the Clarence catchment.

Great Koala Park - NSW

An open letter to the Hon. Chris Minns MP and the Hon. Penny Sharpe MP: Forestry Australia

Despite the public perception that the only way to protect species is to create more conservation reserves, Forestry Australia’s view is that koala recovery can best be achieved through a landscape-wide approach to active management of these populations and their forest habitats across all land tenures. There is considerable evidence that the National Park estate is continuing to be degraded due to unnatural fire regimes, pests and diseases, and a lack of active management to mitigate their impacts.

Ecological history

Forest decline, koala plagues and megafires: Vic Jurskis

Vic Jurskis's clear account of the history of the cycle of plagues and crashes of koalas in Australia's eastern states and the circumstances of those plagues and crashes makes one question whether the time frame for assessing the status of koalas should be 200 years, not 20, and whether the public perception about this much-loved animal is fully informed.


Haines pressures government for farmer support

Federal Member for Indi, Helen Haines, has moved a motion in the House of Representatives calling on the Parliament to act on the threat posed to Australia’s agricultural sector by climate change and to take action to support farmers. Dr Haines has proposed a network of 200 agricultural extension officers be funded by government to provide context-specific, trusted and neutral educational outreach services and advice on the technology, products and practices that will help farmers lower their emissions.


Kialla Foods, MP want domestic regulation of organics industry

Quentin Kennedy, owner of the successful Greenmount organic food producer, Kialla Foods, believes the Federal Labor government’s decision to abandon domestic regulation of organics is handicapping his ability, and those of other Australian organic producers, to grow their export markets because lack of domestic regulation results in a dual system that is unworkable and costly.

Forestry - SA

Forestry Centre of Excellence Strategic Plan launches vision for SA: Scriven

The Strategic Plan for the Forestry Centre of Excellence has been launched by the State Government, laying out the vision behind this $15 million 10-year collaborative project. The Centre, the first of its kind in South Australia, is being developed to create long-term research and development capability to enhance the Green Triangle’s economic prosperity, generating more jobs and investment in the region.

Agriculture - Qld

Low emissions roadmap for Queensland agriculture launched: Furner

Queensland’s agriculture industry will play a big part in reaching the state’s 2050 net zero emissions target, with the pathway set out by the 21 March 2023 release of the Low Emissions Agriculture Roadmap 2022-2032 by the Palaszczuk Government. The Roadmap charts a clear route for Queensland to achieve even cleaner and greener food and fibre production, while remaining a world-leader in agriculture.

Property & wine - Ukraine

Ukrainians from Odessa know how to be funny without money

In Ukraine, the best place to make homemade wine is the Odessa region. Here, grapes are grown in almost every rural house. Ukrainian law allows foreigners to buy such houses. But there are no buyers from abroad. Because no one promotes the rural real estate of the region on an international scale. The war further diverted attention from this region. But right now is the time to make profitable deals.


United States not understanding our kangaroo industry

Labor has failed to dispel misconceptions around the use and overseas imports of kangaroo products, allowing the United States to stick the boot into the kangaroo industry. It comes after shoe brand Nike announced it would stop making any product with kangaroo leather by the end of 2023 ... Leader of The Nationals and Member for Maranoa David Littleproud said the Federal Government had been missing in action and had failed to fight for the industry.


Flinders forges AUKUS partnerships in nuclear science and technology to deliver South Australia’s future workforce: Malinauskas

South Australia will become a home for international nuclear expertise ahead of AUKUS submarine construction, with Flinders University striking agreements with leading nuclear science and technology universities in the United Kingdom and United States ... These historic partnerships enable Flinders University to deliver a comprehensive suite of the world’s best nuclear education in South Australia as early as 2023...


Rent-seeking disguised as sacred sites

What is a sacred site? According to the government, sacred sites are places within the landscape that have a special meaning or significance under Aboriginal tradition. Hills rocks, waterholes, trees, plains, lakes, billabongs and other natural features can be sacred sites ... When heritage moves from easily identifiable caves, rock art, convict buildings and federation houses to mythical spaces that are not registered on published maps, widely known and regularly visited, then we face endless abuse of process, as everything everywhere becomes sacred with a price attached to any disturbance.


Law makes clear cops’ duties to children

The frequent claim by police that it cannot act on street kids unless they are committing a crime does not seem to hold water for the person in the street when they look at Territory legislation ... These issues have been broadly discussed in Alice Springs for years, including in an ongoing campaign by Tourism Central Australia (TCA), representing the region’s economic lifeblood. “If a child is on the street at 2am or even later, they should come under the care of the Government,” says TCA’s CEO, Danial Rochford.

Youth crime

Unruly youths continue to target Tennant’s most vulnerable

Unruly youths have struck Tennant Creek’s most vulnerable again, this time a much-respected volunteer of the community. Adrian Calyun is well-known around Tennant Creek as a volunteer, teacher and youth worker, and last Friday night he was victim to theft and vandalism.


Wheel cactus hinders fire fighting

In a recent fire emergency in Baringhup, CFA volunteers were confronted with a situation made difficult due to the rocky and hilly terrain. However, equally confronting were the many large mature wheel cactus plants on one of the properties they were working from.

Fire brigades in high demand

Emergency services were in high demand over the weekend with multiple fire brigades attending to two grass fires in the Baringhup/Tarrengower area, and a car accident in Maldon. The first was a grass fire in Greenhill Bridge Road on Saturday 11 March where fire burned through grass and bullrushes.


Haines walks the tricky path

The 2022 McKinnon Prize in Political Leadership has recognised the power of sustained commitment to collaboration and relationship-building in advancing a political vision, with Senator Penny Wong and Member for Indi, Helen Haines, named as recipients of the prize. In a year of seismic change in Australia’s politics, the two recipients’ dedication to achieving genuine impact in their roles stood out among exceptionally strong shortlists according to the selection panel.


Misleading Deceptive Bastards, Again…

Community members and representatives have been left aghast at the latest actions by a federal agency as they seek to drain more water from the southern connected region ... “I don’t think they could have structured it much better to make sure that they had people stay away from the meeting,” said local farmer and Wakool River Association Chair John Lolicato ... “I don’t think they care. I think they think we’re dispensable.”

Real estate

New real estate agency for Allora

Well known local Clint Kenny will operate Properties Ruhle from their new location at 46 Herbert Street (formerly El Cabalo). Clint is looking forward to having a base in Allora where he can meet with clients from around the region. However houses are difficult to buy as very few come onto the market.


Esoteric a sellout success

Seven years in the making and interrupted by a Covid cancellation, Donald’s 2023 Esoteric festival, “Wild Wastelands”, proved to be a sell-out, with a gathering of 7,500 paying patrons converging on the site, just north of Donald for the five day event. Local promoter, Sam Goldsmith, has invested heavily in the continued development of the location, spending months upgrading infrastructure for this year’s event.


Closing health gap needs more than booze, crime control

Dr Simon Quilty. Today, National Close the Gap Day, while there is a lot of focus on alcohol, crime and violence in communities such as Alice Springs, it is the long-term, underlying issues that are the real problem here. We are definitely experiencing difficulty in attracting, retaining and housing health professionals right across the NT, addressing this issue in isolation of the greater social disparity only makes the problem worse.

Youth crime

Business and services want action to deter youth vandalism

The Memo Club Manager has called for action after the windows of the Club’s courtesy bus were smashed by youths throwing huge rocks, for the third time in months. Now the Memo has no choice but to halt its popular bus service out of safety of its staff and patrons and is now looking at the expense of installing plexiglass over the windows.


Cut the red tape – We need a new National Code to fix Australia’s broken landscapes: Mulloon Institute

"Farmers and landholders are keen to regenerate millions of kilometres of eroded and degraded watercourses throughout this country, but environmental and planning regulations are preventing many of them from undertaking this valuable work, due to the time and cost of submitting multiple applications, special reports and detailed designs to multiple government authorities for permission to undertake on-ground works," says Mulloon Institute Chairman Gary Nairn A.O.

Youth crime

Lister kicked out over youth crime stoush

"Premier Palaszczuk was telling parliament about how she listens to Queenslanders, so I called out and reminded her that she refused to send anyone to represent her government at the community crime forum I ran in Goondiwindi last week," said Mr Lister.

Floods - Qld

Minister visits flood impacted North West: Furner

The Minister met with locals, community leaders and primary producers in Burketown and Doomadgee who have been impacted by severe flooding, and inspected damage to properties and businesses ... Further assessments are currently underway to determine if higher levels of funding activations are required.

Flood protection

Farms and homes are vulnerable after flood damaged levee

The Bungawalbin levee runs through Debbie Johnston’s property. The 7.8km long levee is meant to protect the Bungawalbin catchment from flooding ... It was built in 1945 to protect the Lower Richmond from minor–moderate floods, Ms Johnston said. “It broke here in 2017, 2021 and again in 2022. It can no longer protect us.”