Friday, April 16, 2021

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Carol says – “Vote with your boat for healthy rivers”

“Fisher folk, stand-up boarders, kayakers and everyone are invited to bring their sailboats, tinnies or whatever and come along with us to stand up for our inland rivers,” says Carol Carney. Carol is the proud owner of "Sneaky Snag", a beautiful 4.8 metre long blue and white trailor-boat that floats around the Murray River and other waterways near Echuca, one of Victoria's primo river towns. At 3pm on April 16, 2021, boats of all descriptions will launch into the weir-pool above Lock 32, at Menindee in Western NSW.


Flying high

Barellan is now on the map when it comes to historic aircraft with the Whispering Pines Aviation Museum securing the naming rights to the Australian Aviation Museum. The museum was officially opened on Saturday by Bland Shire deputy mayor Rodney Crowe. Guests flew in from Bankstown and Wagga Wagga for the occasion with around 13 planes on the property’s dirt airstrip. Among the planes surrounded by red dust and cropping paddocks are a De Haviland Dove, Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer, a 1963 Cessna 172D, a replica Spitfire and a Clancy Sky Baby, reputedly flown by pioneer aviator Charles Kingsford Smith.


Future water strategy update

Rous Water has released its revised Draft Plan outlining its future water strategies and community members have eight weeks to respond – amid calls for the Dunoon Dam option to be put back on the table. Rous Water has outlined the challenges it faces in securing water supply in our region, including: population growth forecasts indicate a 37 per cent increase in drinking water demand by 2060; climate forecasts predict a reduction in available surface water of 22 per cent by 2060; and, on current growth, water demand will exceed reliable supply by 2024.


Primed for the biggest ag show in the region

Norco Primex director Bruce Wright is ready for the event to roll next month. With all necessary covid measures in place, he is confident this will be the best Primex yet ... Norco Primex calls itself “Australia’s sustainable farm and primary industries exhibition” and says it offers a complete paddock to plate experience where farmers & foodies meet.


Damn it, we need a dam

Geoff Helisma. Damming the Clarence River has long been a controversial subject – and the draft regional water strategy for the north coast rules it out (for now) – but one Clarence Valley man hasn’t given up on the idea, although he’s not talking about diverting the river westwards. Lawrence resident John Ibbotson has spent considerable time and money developing his idea for a dam located downstream from where the Clarence and Mann rivers converge, despite the North Coast Regional Water Strategy discussing dam proposals under the heading “options not progressed”.


Councils combine to look at broad tourism strategy

A tourism strategy revolving around events in Cape York will be rolled out this year as part of a joint initiative from councils in the region. The Cape York and Torres Strait Regional Events Strategy is an initiative of the Torres and Cape Indigenous Councils Alliance (TCICA). The strategy aims to increase tourism on the Cape and in the Torres Strait by developing frameworks for regional event coordination and event growth.


Health and safety reminders – food safety and asbestos

With power out throughout the Midwest and extensive damage to properties in the region, the City of Greater Geraldton is reminding people to be cautious of food safety and to be asbestos aware.


Medical centre proposed for Yamba CBD

Geoff Helisma. Brisbane-based company, Go Ahead Enterprises Pty Ltd, is proposing to build the two-storey building at 17 Coldstream Street at an estimated cost of $2,002,377.30. Eighteen car parking spaces will be provided on site: six spaces for the residential units – one space per dwelling plus two visitor spaces; 7.26 spaces for the chemist (one per 30m2); and, 4.3 spaces for the medical centre (one per 30m2). The proposal’s economic and social impacts statement states that the development “will make a significant contribution to the town of Yamba through the addition of valuable essential services to the local area.

Emergency services

Your calls will decide location of modern ambulance station

For 90 years paramedics have operated from the pale brick building on Centre St in Casino. Richmond Valley mayor Robert Mustow said he’d been to the station “a few times as a young boy to get stitched up.” All that is about to change after an announcement on Friday about a modern ambulance station to replace it ... Paramedic Hayley Hemmings said they had outgrown the station: “The new station will have a lot more infrastructure, new equipment and training spaces”.

Community service

Join the Jurnkkurakurr Volunteers and make a real difference

Catherine Grimley. It's been just over two months since the concerned citizens and elders started sitting up at BP of a night, giving up their time and sleep to try and make a difference in the anti social behavior currently afflicting our town. The group now has a name – Jurnkkurakurr Volunteers – but the biggest thing the group needs is more people who are prepared to give up some of their time to help bolster numbers and allow those who have been turning up night after night to make some difference in our damaged town.


From Alice to Melbourne – distance no barrier to Abir’s dream

Indian-born Abir moved to the Northern Territory with his family at the age of two. His parents have always supported his education but moving to Victoria to further his studies was an expensive dream not readily available. Abir was successful in his application for financial support and received the generous Mary Vernon – Country Education Foundation (CEF) Scholarship of $21,000 over three years ... Abir says, “The people you surround yourself with is your community. It can be your friendship group, your school peers and teachers or your neighbours. And when good things happen to people in your community, it rubs off on everyone.”


ACCC trading review released

Under the government lead water reforms, water trading is mostly unregulated, not even requiring an ABN to trade water. “There is no law against market manipulation in the Murray-Darling Basin water markets,” ACCC deputy chair, Mr Keogh said. “So, it’s not illegal, even if it is occurring.” In Australia we now have multinational corporates, foreign buyers and the big end of town able to buy, trade and, in some instances, remain capital gains tax free as they bid for water against Aussie food and fibre producers.

History & Heritage

Crowds gather at 116th Maclean Highland Gathering

Emma Pritchard. The unmistakable sounds of the bagpipes and drums which filled the air above Maclean during the Easter long weekend, signalled the triumphant return of one of the Clarence Valley’s most characteristic, culturally significant and popular local events. After being cancelled in 2020 due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and faced with the possibility of history repeating itself this year, the 116th Maclean Highland Gathering went ahead as planned on April 2 and 3.

A century passes since Bert’s record-breaking flight

Residents flocked to the streets to applaud Bert’s return after about eight year’s absence as the pioneer aviator served in the war and followed his dream to breach the limits of flight. “Shortly after 2.30 … the buzzing of an aeroplane engine and propeller could be heard,” the Bundaberg Mail reported. “Amidst cries of its “Hinkler’s Baby Avro,” people began to swarm into the street and gazed interestingly at the machine, which by this time was doing some sensational stunting over the town.


Time to stop the Great Panic

Bad decisions are made when people are in a panic and a lot of bad decisions have been made since the advent of Covid-19. Indeed, the responses to Covid-19 seem to have been driven by a desire to 'look tough and organised', as exemplified by the myriad of often 'extreme' lockdowns and the closure of our international borders. Generally unknown-about public health regulations lurking in obscure Acts of the Parliaments around Australia have armed politicians and health bureaucrats with previously unheard of amounts of power over our daily lives.


Alliance Airlines eyes Rockhampton as new home

Rockhampton Airport has today welcomed one of Alliance Airlines new commercial aircraft with a special water cannon salute to mark its arrival. The Embraer E190 is one of 30 newly acquired aircraft Alliance is adding to its regional fleet with an exciting proposal on the cards to build a hangar and maintenance facility at Rockhampton Airport to help service the airlines entire fleet of over 70 aircraft.

Law & order

Hospital hosts sexual assault awareness event

Catherine Grimley. You may see a few teal ribbons being worn during April, and the reason for that is Sexual Assault Awareness month, now in its 20th year, and just as topical as it has ever been. Tennant Creek Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) kicked the month off at the Hospital with a BBQ, cake and conversations that will hopefully carry on beyond this month.

Law & Order

Flegg back to lead Weipa station

“Policing can’t just be about responding to crime,” says Senior Sergeant Warren Flegg. “It’s about having a connection to the community and encouraging strong behaviours, especially with the younger generation.” ... “It’s on every community member to do their bit to stop domestic and family violence,” he said.


Let’s talk about women’s rights

Geoff Helisma. Prue Leggoe was awarded her Order of Australia Medal on January 26, 2019, for her work in the advancement of women’s rights, support and empowerment, and her service to community job-readiness initiatives. Now residing in Maclean, Ms Leggoe (formerly Sibree) was the Liberal member for Kew in Victoria from 1981 to 1986.


Buzzing with excitement to educate their community

Emma Pritchard. Let it bee known, Grafton couple Ken and Carol Faulkner are extremely passionate about the Clarence Valley’s native bees, and they are dedicated to educating their community, particularly children, about the important roles these humble flying insects play in the environment and how we can all help to keep their population buzzing.

Food for Thought waste campaign

A new campaign is set to make a big difference in helping to reduce waste and provide more food security for our region. NE Waste in collaboration with Councils, Northern Rivers Food, Northern Rivers Area Health Service, NSW Environment Protection Authority and the Love Food Hate Waste Program, have been working to address issues around food waste, nutrition, food security and sustainability.

Food waste’s sustainability solution for farmed fish

A more sustainable global fish economy could be created by using food scraps to make high-quality food for farmed fish, according to a team of researchers at The University of Western Australia.

Invasive species

Coastal fox control program set to begin for 2021

The Coastal Fox Control Program will be underway again this autumn in an effort to protect our native wildlife from the predatory fox in coastal bushland areas from Maroochy River to Peregian Springs.


Lord Howe Island – bird notes

Ian Hutton. With the removal of the rodents and owls in 2019, we are seeing another dramatic increase in bird life - not just the Woodhens, but all land birds, especially Emerald doves. There are also more seabirds: Black-winged petrel numbers are increasing; Grey ternlets are being seen on rock cliffs from Ned’s Beach to Middle Beach, Brown noddies are increasing in areas where they breed.

Turtles Australia

Turtle spotters wanted

Kirstin Nicholson. A turtle nest – a wonderful construction, dug by the female to lay her eggs in and filled back up to keep the eggs safe from the world until they hatch up to a year later ... Despite being backfilled, the eggs are still in danger from predators like foxes and water rats. While we may not be able to easily identify a turtle nest, unfortunately a fox can ... Graham Stockfeld from Turtles Australia has been visiting the Gunbower and Cohuna area several times a year to protect the nests and collect data.


Mystify’s movements helping to solve turtle mysteries

This turtle nesting season, Sunshine Coast TurtleCare volunteers have been gifted with three separate visits from a special tagged (K90712) loggerhead turtle known as Mystify, who has laid her eggs at Buddina beach. Volunteers suspect that she lives close to the Sunshine Coast as she returns frequently to lay eggs – the normal or expected interval is four years, but Mystify returns every one or two years.


Solar hybrid renewable energy project

Amy Foxe. A significant event occurred on 5th March which is certainly worth mentioning and celebrating whilst the project team continue to work towards practical completion. A combination of slightly lower than average overnight demand and very clear morning skies provided the perfect conditions for the solar PV and solar-charged battery to take the island load for a full 24 hour period.


Glimpsing vineyard microclimates at the micro-scale

A University of South Australia research team is developing a prototype it hopes will one day be able to measure a whole vineyard microclimate in 3-D and in real-time. Professor Anthony Finn and his team are pioneering a technology known as AAT (acoustic atmospheric tomography), which observes the temperature and wind flow in the atmosphere above a vineyard and combines it with observations of the vineyard obtained using miniaturised long wave infrared cameras. This creates an accurate temperature mosaic of the vineyard infrastructure (vines, posts, inter-row ground, etc).

CSIRO plays part in U.S. Next-Gen Solar Thermal technology

CSIRO. The US government has announced it will fund a pilot-scale test facility to demonstrate a next-generation concentrated solar thermal (CST) technology that Australia helped develop. The falling particle CST technology is 100 per cent renewable and can store multiple hours of thermal energy for firm, fully dispatchable power generation.


The Winemaker – Many obstacles face the new producer

Many wine enthusiasts have dreamed of producing their own wine. They dream of walking among the vines, of family weekends at the vineyard, of the pride of serving one’s own label wine to friends, of winning show medals and accolades from the press. Tell them they’re dreaming.


Opinion – Native forests of NSW north coast

Steve Dobbyns. The native forests of the north coast of NSW are not just the backdrop for an idyllic seaside lifestyle for its 1.7 million residents, they also sustain a hardwood timber industry that has been in existence for more than 150 years ... The 2019/20 Black Summer bushfires have emerged as a tipping point for the hardwood timber industry on the NSW north coast.


A united fight for fair, farmers and the future

Deep anger, fear and resentment has been exposed during the first public meeting at Newlyn to discuss the proposed Western Victorian Transmission Network ... The Western Victorian project is earmarked as the first of eight across Australia, including Victorian Government plans to ‘grid the state’. “Locals are very alert that the fight for their rights and livelihoods is being watched by communities across the nation. These residents are setting the precedent,” Mrs McArthur said.


NSW Labor welcomes Parliamentary inquiry into NSW Forestry and timber industry

NSW Labor welcomes Parliamentary inquiry into NSW Forestry and timber industry. The inquiry will be the first major review of the NSW Forestry and timber industry for over 20 years.

Farmers' Federation

NFF welcomes appointment of Climate Change Authority Chair

The National Farmers’ Federation welcomes the appointment of Mr Grant King as Chair of the Climate Change Authority, as well as new members Ms Susie Smith and Mr John McGee. "The NFF has a core focus on ensuring the design and implementation of emission reduction and climate change responses do not disadvantage farmers, and the independent advice of the Climate Change Authority will be an important contributor to this increasingly important debate," NFF CEO Tony Mahar said.

History & Heritage

M.V. Albatross 1936-2021

Ed Rourke. Recently, after several attempts to repair the keel on “Albatross” it was, sadly, decided to bring the boat ashore!

Myths & Legends

Strange sighting

Stunned fishermen have had a close encounter with what they described as a ‘Sand Slug’. Once thought to be a tale of folklore, the mythical creature rose to public awareness after a Sand Slug was reported to have caused the blocking of the Barmah Choke.

Racing & Sport

Kerang racing

Kendall Jennings. I have never been so close to racing before, a privilege for owners, trainers and the media. Oh my, I was in for a treat, feeling like a kid at the lolly shop, eyes wide and smiles everywhere. I was treated to an all-area pass, and I made the most of it. I spoke to jockeys, trainers, owners and volunteers, absorbing as much as I could to learn more about horse racing—everything from horse earmuffs to shoes.

Out of the blue, into the green

Geoff Helisma. Morgan Cibilic grew up surfing Angourie before relocating to Newcastle, where he is a member of Merewether Surfboard Club – last week he took down two-times world champion Hawaiian John John Florence at the Rip Curl Newcastle Cup, made it to the semi finals and climbed the ratings ladder to number seven in the world.

Canteen Creek kids hit the water

Pam Dillon. Students from a remote Barkly school have been developing their swimming and water safety skills during a fun-filled visit to Tennant Creek. Seventeen students from Canteen Creek School hit the pool for several days of aquatic instruction under the watchful eyes of Swimming NT Pathways Manager Thomas Noblett and Barkly Sports Education Coordinator Pam Dillon.

Eagles soar in trial game

The Eagles senior men have been training hard this off season and have generated a lot of excitement around the club with plenty of new signings and new players. The team is fresh from a win over the Tuggeranong Hawks 62-40 in a trial match at the Narrandera sportsground on the weekend.

Prospero claims dramatic Easter Cup win at Port

Rod Fuller. A dashing ride from the tail of the field by Dylan Gibbons resulted in victory to Prospero in an action-packed Easter Cup at the Port Macquarie race meeting on Saturday. Gibbons was content to settle the Nathan Doyle trained gelding well behind the early leaders, Bay of Bengal and Za Za Zena, before making a move around the field down the side of the track.

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