Monday, October 25, 2021

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Festival

Lighting up Grafton with a crowning affair – but 2021 Jacaranda Festival postponed

Emma Pritchard. The 2021 Jacaranda Festival has been postponed for five weeks due to community concerns amidst Grafton’s rising Covid-19 case numbers ... "we were also expecting no restrictions on who could attend, but the double-vax rule has since meant many who haven’t been fully vaccinated won’t be able to. Moving the festival back five weeks will alleviate both of these issues and enable us to keep its tradition very much alive:” Jacaranda Festival Manager, Mark Blackadder

Regional health

Maldon Hospital and Castlemaine Health exploring how to come together

The Boards of Maldon Hospital and Castlemaine Health have jointly agreed to explore a voluntary amalgamation they believe would deliver better health services for the communities of Mount Alexander, and secure Maldon Hospital in its current form for generations to come. The Boards will now commission a proposal that will examine the potential benefits of unification.

Water

Allocation celebration

NSW Murray, Victorian Murray and Goulburn have both hit 100% allocations. The news is a welcome relief to farmers. Despite the increase in allocation, water prices remain firm. Victorian Resource Manager, Dr Mark Bailey, said, “The sustained flows into the Murray system have provided enough resource to repay all of the borrowed Barmah-Millewa Forest environmental water allocation and announce the 100% allocation. 

Aid

Finish celebrates National Water Week, delivering water and tanks to Aussie farmers in need

Finish, in partnership with Rural Aid and supported by Coles, will be delivering water tanks to Australian farmers in need over the next six months, to help ensure that any rain that falls now will be captured for future use to help farmers become more secure against drought ... The first water tank delivery took place in Dalma, west of Rockhampton, where farmer Julie Sheehan welcomed both a 22,500L water tank and water delivery to her property.

Property

Western district grazing property sets new record

Cropping and grazing property Rossbridge has set a record for the Lake Bolac area in Victoria’s western district, selling under the hammer for $13,500 per acre - setting a new record for the district.

Cedar Creek sold under the hammer

A Queensland producer with relocation plans has bought the 5,106 hectare Cedar Creek holding in central Queensland for $23.36 million at auction.

Retail

Supermarket forging ahead

Narrandera’s second supermarket, IGA Narrandera +Liquor opened for business in August with a minimum of fanfare due to Covid-related restrictions but they are now forging ahead with plans to expand services and products ... “The town will see a white delivery van with IGA logo on the streets of Narrandera soon ... We also aim to go live with our online shopping portal ..." : Harry Ajwani.

TV

Taste test: Fake bacon taste ‘like an egg carton’ The Project film in Beef Capital

What better place to taste test fake meat than in the Beef Capital of Casino? Dale Paget and Pete Rogers were filming a segment for Channel 10’s The Project to be screened on television. “We wanted to see what people on the front line of the meat industry thought,” Dale said.

Equine

$1.6 million upgrade for Juno Centre

New accommodation and improved equine facilities are key features of a $1.6 million investment in an agricultural training centre just east of Tennant. The Juno Centre offers residential and in-reach programs to students from across the Territory.

Carbon credits

Carbon partnership giving opportunities in the Cape

A partnership between the Aboriginal Carbon Foundation and a major bank has helped preserve Cape York country and employ a number of Traditional Owners. As part of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s carbon neutrality, the bank supports traditional Aboriginal fire management generating Australian Carbon Credit Units for the second year running.

Infrastructure

Telstra fails … again

Mobile phone services went down in Coen, Laura and Lakeland last week, prompting criticism of Telstra ahead of the wet season, when telecommunications struggle to cope with the heavy rainfall. Travellers were left with no mobile reception between Cooktown and Weipa as a result of the outage, which Telstra said lasted around 30 hours.

Net zero

Key pathways to net zero for Australian cement and concrete identified

A new independent report titled 'Decarbonisation Pathways for the Australian Cement and Concrete Sector' confirms the Australian industry's ambition of net zero carbon cement and concrete to Australian society by 2050 is achievable.

Water

Traditional Owners granted first Cape York Heritage Area water licences

Traditional owners in the Cape York Peninsula Heritage Area have been granted water licences under the region’s water plan for the first time ... Minister Butcher said two water licences, accounting for more than 5000 megalitres, had been granted to a Traditional Owner group in the Coleman and Normanby catchments.

State politics

NSW Labor moves to deregister Country Labor

Nicholas Rupolo. The NSW Labor party has moved to deregister Country Labor from the NSW Electoral Commission with new rules designed to boost representation of voices in the bush on policy and in parliament ... “For me the biggest change was the rule change where we now reserve 30 per cent of winnable seats in upper house ticket to people who live in regional NSW. That’s a substantial change from the way it currently stands:” Shadow Agriculture and Regional NSW Minister Mick Veitch.

Council

Council waives permit fees for outdoor dining

Bass Coast Shire Council will waive permit fees for hundreds of hospitality venues to encourage more outdoor dining to help the region bounce back from pandemic lockdowns.

Elections

Two new councillors elected to Gingin council

Retiring Shire of Gingin councillors Jacqui Lobb and James Morton have been replaced by Robert Kestel and Erik Sorensen. Sitting councillors Kim Rule and Frank Johnson were returned for another four-year term.

Politics

Segregation week

Any person who is over 16 years of age and who is not fully vaccinated with the provisionally approved COVID-19 vaccine has been excluded from many NSW businesses this week. Despite our regional areas having limited to no COVID-19 cases and willing uptakes exceeding 80% in LGAs like Murray River Council, the state government pushed forward to rip the last shreds of medical sovereignty from people living in our supposed democracy. The mandates have turned friends into enforcers and loyal customers into the unclean, and in turn, the unwelcome.

Economy

Festivals a casualty of Covid

Covid-19 restrictions in 2021 led to the cancellation of four Narrandera Shire flagship events which traditionally draw large crowds and boost the local economy ... Narrandera Shire’s Covid casualties were the Narrandera Show, the Good Old Days Festival at Barellan, Narrandera’s popular 50s and 60s rock n’ roll festival Rockin’ on East and Narrandera Garden Club’s Camellia Show, most of which were cancelled for the second consecutive year ... The Good Old Days Festival drew a record crowd of 7500 in 2019 and has grown into the Narrandera Shire’s biggest event valued at $1.8 million to the regional economy.

Politics

Beach plans in disarray

Andrew Gill. The future of the Ocean to Channel Recreation Precinct development planned for Ocean Beach is in doubt with the Denmark Shire’s application for $4 million from the Building Better Regions Fund rejected ... The blow comes as the shire and surf club battle to save beach assets in the wake of erosion caused by a series of wild winter storms.

History & heritage

Gingin 150th anniversary celebration attracts big crowd

The town’s anniversary celebration attracted a big crowd, who were able to enjoy billy cart racing, entertainment by Renee’s Dance Group, history displays, rubber duck racing, rocket making as well as horse and cart rides.

Community

Renewable Newstead

A small-scale solar farm on Newstead’s outskirts is still on track for completion by 2022, albeit, a downsized version. After community consultation and feedback from the energy industry, the community group behind the project down-scaled it from 9 mega watts (MW) to 5MW ... The project is run by a group of dedicated volunteers with a range of expertise in business, PR, communication and project management.

Talkie

Anika Molesworth talks about Our Sunburnt Country

An inspiring breed: climate advocate and farmer.

Opinion

The great koala scam continues: Vic Jurskis

There was nothing new or unexpected about the recently announced NSW Natural Resources Commission research on timber harvesting and koalas ... There’s nothing in the NRC report that actually deserves a tick. It’s a well-established historical and scientific fact that koalas are an irruptive species which responds positively to soft new growth ... Declining trees continuously resprout soft young growth until they eventually run out of resources. Koalas breed up in declining forests.

Forestry & koalas

Nutritional quality of habitat key to koala numbers in state forests

Research released into koala response to forestry has found that the nutritional quality of trees is critical for koala survival and selective harvesting did not have an adverse impact upon koala numbers on surveyed NSW north coast state forests ... These findings have emerged from a three-year research program independently overseen by the NSW Natural Resources Commission.

Response

Unexpected research outcomes for koalas and native forest harvesting

Timber NSW welcomes research conducted over three years released by the Natural Resource Commissioner and NSW Chief Scientist, Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte who states that, “koala density was higher than anticipated in the surveyed forests and was not reduced by selective harvesting.” “This very significant finding totally vindicates the skilful ability of the forest managers to care for the land under their responsibility and protect koalas,” said Timber NSW CEO Maree McCaskill.

Wildlife

Bushfire survivor koala Ember spotted in the wild with joey

Friends of the Koala. A koala so badly injured from the catastrophic Black Summer bushfires, vets didn't think she'd make it, has been spotted in the wild with a joey. Ember was found in November 2019 walking on the burnt ground in Whiporie, New South Wales after devastating fires swept through the area ... Some 18 months later, in the same area where she was released, Ember has been spotted with a joey of her own. She was sighted thriving in the wild with her joey by the person who rescued her – Ros Irwin.

Bushfire recovery

BlazeAid Tumbarumba closes

BlazeAid Tumbarumba camp returned in July this year with a plan to assist fire affected farmers in the southern region of the Snowy Valleys. Despite the rain interruptions and the state-wide lockdown for Covid, the camp remained operating, even when, at one stage, they were down to two volunteers ... The small crew in Tumbarumba put in the equivalent of 287 days helping farmers since July. The work included over 11km of fence removed, averaging 63 m per day. The camp also rebuilt a total of 18kms of new fencing.

Bushfire impact

Pasture assessment project underway on Kangaroo Island

A project is getting underway on Kangaroo Island to provide producers with the tools, skills, and management options to ensure ewe fertility and lamb survival is not compromised because of the bushfires impacting on pasture composition.

Quarry

Proposed Blue Hills quarry

Mawsons Concrete and Quarries are planning to dig a quarry in the Blue Hills, which are located on the outskirts of Maldon, and are nestled between Shelbourne and Baringhup. The Tarrangower Times spoke to the Environment and Compliance Officer, Shari Rankin who stated, “At this stage it’s too early to determine a proposed start date but we don’t envisage this being until at least 2023 ..."

Opinion

Whether Australia’s regions rise, or fall, depends on the stories we tell

Professor Andrew Beer. Across Australia, one in five regions is struggling, but the one-dimensional solutions we commonly look for don’t work ... the future prosperity of regions lies with those who live there, rather than those who govern, especially when they do so from a distance. Mobilizing regions is a matter of empowering regional leaders – making sure they have the tools needed to bring about change while enabling them to both listen to others and be heard across communities.

Research

Threatened species habitat at risk from a hotter climate: University of Wollongong

New research from the University of Wollongong, a partner at the NSW Bushfire Research Hub, has found climate change will expose larger areas of forest in coastal NSW to higher frequency and more intense fires, amplifying the changes to fire regimes brought about by the 2019/20 fires ... Amongst other findings: Previous timber harvesting did not increase the fire extent or severity of the 2019/20 fires. However, there is potential for cumulative impacts in harvested landscapes that are subject to fire, particularly in the next 5 to 10 years.

Tourism

A favourite Mt Archer view point is ready to re-visit

The Grass Tree Lookout at Mount Archer is ready for visitors once again, following upgrades completed by Rockhampton Regional Council and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) ... “In addition to the amphitheatre and the skywalk, we are really pleased that residents and visitors can once again enjoy this beautiful vantage point, taking in the incredible views Mount Archer has to offer."

Litigation

MDBA loses appeal on limiting class action liability

A judgement handed down on Tuesday in the NSW Court of Appeal has left the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) without its defence of claiming it is a ‘public or other authority’ to limit liability in the class action brought over alleged negligent water management.

Opinion

Working with communities to find solutions to the sand slug: Dr Ben Dyer

Something we're often asked at the Murray–Darling Basin Authority is if we've found a solution to the 'sand slug' impacting the River Murray Barmah Choke. We haven't found a solution but we're working with the community, seeking expert advice, and finding a way forward.

Youth

Courageous Cohen wins battle with Osteosarcoma

Emma Pritchard. Cohen Daly has continued to inspire everyone, including the Clarence Valley community, with his courage as he bravely fought cancer ... just a few weeks ago, Cohen and his family finally received the news they had been longing and praying for.

Contamination

Small pieces of broken glass in beach sand

Sand at Yanchep Lagoon beach contains small pieces of broken glass with some pieces measuring 5mm to 13mm. Some of it is clear glass but there are also blue and shades of green and brown pieces in the sand ... the City of Wanneroo said the sand contamination issue was quickly detected and the beach and beach access points were closed for public safety.

Council - NSW

New rate peg methodology includes population growth

Geoff Helisma. NSW Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock has “endorsed the new rate peg methodology and has asked IPART to give effect to it in setting the rate peg from the 2022-23 financial year” ... Clarence Valley Council’s (CVC) general manager, Ashley Lindsay, said he didn’t foresee any “significant increase in its revenue”, because of the changes.

Youth in politics

Calling on young Barkly champions to step up to Youth Round Table

Young Territorians who champion their community are encouraged to apply for a seat at the NT Youth Round Table 2022. Up to 16 positions are available for Territorians, ages 15 to 25. The Round Table gives young people a direct line of communication with the Northern Territory Government and provides a platform to share their views about issues and interests relevant to their peers.

River life

River folk

Tuesday Browell describes herself as a river guardian. “It’s a tricky disposition, one of whinging nana, or that of wishing she had superhero river powers” ... “Miles and miles of Paterson’s curse, looking like the lavender fields of France, are a beautiful, yet shameful reminder of how rampant invasive weeds are along the Murray River. The native species of understory are dissipated and scant.” The river is a special place, one worth protecting for future generations, ‘living art’ as Tuesday describes it.

Wildlife

A tale of two cockatoos

John Anderson. White-tailed black cockatoos have one of the most evocative and haunting bird calls in Australia. Around Denmark, they can often be seen and heard in the evening flying in small groups to their roosting sites. Occasionally, massive flocks of hundreds of birds converge on a favoured watering hole or swamp to drink, such as Yanchep National Park, north of Perth.

Sustainability

Abrolhos scallops first in Australia to gain the MSC blue fish tick for sustainability

The Abrolhos Island and Mid-West Scallop Trawl Fishery has achieved certification to the MSC fisheries standard. It is the first scallop fishery in Australia and the eleventh fishery in Western Australia (WA) to gain this certification.

Pollution credits

Farmers turn reef action into income

Called the Reef Credit Scheme, the market-based collaboration allows farmers and other property owners in reef catchments to undertake projects that improve water quality to generate a tradeable unit of pollutant reduction or Reef Credit, which is then sold onto businesses who want to protect the reef or meet their corporate responsibilities.

Indigenous

A Way Forward

The Northern Australia Committee has tabled the final report of its Inquiry into the destruction of 46,000 year old caves at the Juukan Gorge in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The report follows on from the work of the Committee’s interim report Never Again tabled on the 9 December 2020.

Fire season inquiry

Fire season inquiry Phase Two report delivered

The Victorian Government has tabled the second phase report from the Inspector-General for Emergency Management’s (IGEM) independent inquiry into the 2019-20 Victorian fire season.