Monday, November 28, 2022

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Opinion - Vic

Andrews SEC plan is a mixed bag

When Daniel Andrews announced his plans to revive the State Electricity Commission (SEC), he said: “Unreliable, privatised coal will be replaced by clean, government-owned renewable energy.” This is a distorted claim.

Feed supplement

ProAgni named grand prize winner of Grow-NY global food and agriculture business competition

ProAgni (Lavington, NSW) has been named the $1 million grand prize winner of the Grow-NY business competition, a food and agriculture startup challenge focused on enhancing the emerging food, beverage, and agriculture innovation cluster ... ProAgni ... created a revolutionary range of supplements and feeds for livestock that lowers methane emissions from sheep and cattle without the use of antibiotics ...

Renewable energy

Right mix takes Raintree off grid

Serena Kirby. The Birkbeck family’s Raintree Farm distillery and restaurant arm is completely ‘off grid’ after more than a decade of research and infrastructure construction. By being energy self-sufficient Steve said The Dam expected to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by between 105-150t a year. The move to energy self-sufficiency has been a long-term goal that has cost more than $1 million.

Flood impacts

Detour distress

On any given day, the streets of Moulamein would see the odd fisherman or ute laden with dogs trundling by, but not last week. Moulamein was the highway of detour distress ... From road trains to hot rods, race cars to caravans, Moulamein exploded with Sturt Highway traffic desperately trying to find their way without the traditional Sydney to Adelaide route.

Floods - Murray

Moulamein flood meeting held

The Moulamein Club was packed as community members gathered on Monday to hear the flood advice from Murray River Council, SES and NSW Police ... “Since we started the last meeting last Monday, the prediction was 6.1m. By the time we left that meeting, the prediction was 6.2m and on Sunday morning, I believe it reached 6.099 metres which is now the highest we’ve ever seen": Murray River Council’s Director of Infrastructure, Jack Bond.

Flood recovery - Baringhup

Clean-up at Baringhup after the floods

“This is the worst flood I have encountered in the 10 years since I have been here. We experienced flooding in 2010, 2011 and this one which came into the house, the shop and other buildings for the first time. These buildings had remained flood-free for the past 100 years": Loddon House Caravan Park proprietor Robert Wilson.

Floodplain development

Stop building on floodplains chorus growing

Rodney Stevens. The united chorus of ‘Stop building on Floodplains’ from federal and state leaders during the devastating and ongoing flooding in NSW during 2022 could reshape communities and country towns. Federal Minister for Emergency Management Murray Watt last week called for new laws to be introduced to stop homes being built on floodplains and other disaster-prone areas.

Mosquitoes

Mozzie Mob on the job to rid Tennant of the dengue mosquito

After recent rains in Tennant Creek, the Mozzie Mob is back to work under a renewed program to cleanse the town of the dengue mosquito. NT Health Director of Medical Entomology at the Centre for Disease Control, Nina Kurucz, said a fresh round of home backyard inspections will begin with technical officers in town to conduct inspections to prevent an outbreak.

Indigenous

Royal recognition for trailblazers

Sarah Martin. A group of Indigenous women rangers, led by Cape York environmental warrior Larissa Hale, has been named as the first Australian finalist for Prince William’s prestigious Earthshot Prize ... “To be showcasing these amazing projects right across the world is a powerful way for First Nations women to see and imagine their futures in conservation management": Larissa Hale.

Rangers

Kowanyama Rangers rally to control firestorm

The Kowanyama Rangers were called to fight a large wildfire at the Oriners-Sefton property, located in the western Cape York Peninsula. The fire began in late October after a lightning storm rolled across the region around Paradise Creek and Sellars Creek, at the far-western side of Sefton ... “The cooperation between the Rangers and Traditional Owners was critical to the success of this operation. Everybody was working as a team”: Daryl Killin, Kowanyama Aboriginal Shire Council.

Rare breeds

Quest for safe pony began life long mission to save rare livestock breeds

After Katy Brown notched up her fourth broken bone at the tender age of 10, her mum decided that if she couldn’t buy her daughter a safe pony she had better breed one ... it was the choice of the Highland that set in motion an association that would become a life’s work for the young animal lover – saving livestock breeds facing extinction.

Eco tourism

Binna Burra marks milestone on road to recovery 

A milestone in the long road to recovery for a leading Scenic Rim visitor destination following the 2019 Black Summer bushfires has been marked with the opening of new facilities at Binna Burra Lodge ... the bushfire ... not only destroyed the heritage-listed Binna Burra Lodge and pioneer cabins but also the jobs of some 60 staff, who had to be retrenched after the cancellation of 4000 bookings including 15 weddings. 

Banking

NAB to close local branch in new year

Patricia Gill. Denmark's NAB branch will close February 9. Denmark Chamber of Commerce president Chris Langslow called the closure disappointing, particularly for small businesses and retailers/hospitality businesses which required cash and cheques.

Research

Banking taskforce report opens the gate for mass closures

The number of banks closed in regional Australia in the six weeks since the Albanese Government quietly released the Coalition’s Regional Banking Taskforce final report is comparable to a dam opening its spillways. The blame for the acceleration – at least 71 branches across all states and territories – can be laid squarely at the feet of the two opposition MPs who led the inquiry, Michael Sukker and Perin Davey, and Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones, who released the report.

Property

Ardlethan racecourse up for sale

Jeff Hanson. The future of Ardlethan Picnic Racing Club appears to be murky after the land on which it is located, which is a smaller part of the larger ‘Warri’ property, was put up for sale earlier this month. Located three kilometres south of Ardlethan, 'Warri' is one of the most well-known properties in Southern NSW, and that is because for over 60 years, the iconic Ardlethan picnic meeting has been conducted there on the banks of the Mirrool Creek.

Charity

Ukrainian family is thankful for support

With the support of the Cape community, Ukrainian refugees Tatiana and Victor Malysha have returned to their home in war-ravaged Zaporizhzhia. Coordinated by Cooktown couple Eric and Jola George, the community has fundraised to give Tatiana and her son Victor, who has special needs, a monthly allowance while they were forced to live apart from her husband to escape fighting in Zaporizhzhia.

Ukraine

Ukraine endorsement for Aussie grain initiative: Grain Producers Australia

Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia, Vasyl Myroshnychenko, has endorsed the efforts of Australian grain producers to help Ukraine farmers and rural communities with their recovery from the war. Mr Myroshnychenko met with members of Grain Producers Australia’s farmer sub-committee recently to discuss the #GRAIN4UKRAINE initiative and thank them for supporting his people.

Floods - SA

SA River Murray update

Notice of community meetings, flood information, SES status, advice and links provided by Alexandrina Shire in South Australia, where the River Murray meets the sea and flooding is predicted.

State government secures flood defence resources for River Murray communities: Malinauskas, Szakacs

1.5 million sandbags and almost 8 km of flood barriers have been secured by the South Australia Government to help protect flood affected River Murray communities. Three kilometres of DefenCell barriers from India arrived in Adelaide on Saturday 19 November with a further four kilometres of product expected to arrive on 28 November from Italy.

Floods - Kerang

Bulka bags fill breach

A complex aerial operation has placed bulka bags filled with 78,000 kilograms of sand along a levee bank west of the Loddon River at Kerang. The levee bank, situated near properties and major arterial roads linking Kerang to Swan Hill, Boort and Quambatook, breached when the Loddon River reached major flood levels in late October.

Trains return to Kerang

Kendall Jennings. It has been nearly a month since public transport was available from the Kerang Railway Station, halted by the floods. The Swan Hill line was reactivated on Saturday, November 12, running trains for the entire service after the line was inspected and passed last week.

Floods - Narrandera

Floods impact businesses as supplies run short

Major flooding of the Murrumbidgee River at Narrandera is having such a detrimental effect on local business that some have been forced to close their doors. One of the main problems these businesses are facing is delivery trucks being unable to access the town due to flood-affected roads being closed. One business which has been badly affected this week was the Early Opener, which could have temporarily changed its name to the Early Closer on Monday.

Food security

Food industry warns government of long-term food supply chain disruptions: National Food Supply Chain Alliance

The National Food Supply Chain Alliance, made up of nine influential national food industry associations, says long term supply chain issues, including ongoing natural disasters and labour shortages, are set to increase food prices for the foreseeable future ... The Alliance has, over the past two days, met with government and the opposition to explain the risks to the economy and Australians’ wellbeing should a National Plan not be developed and implemented as a matter of urgency.

Biofuel

Flinders Shire exploring project to convert ‘cane toads of the plant world’ into renewable fuel

Flinders Shire Council in North Queensland has announced it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Frontier Impact Group to investigate a project to harvest and convert woody weeds into renewable fuel and other valuable byproducts. Flinders Shire CEO, Mr Hari Boppudi said he was thrilled that Flinders Shire Council had signed the MOU to conduct a feasibility study on such an innovative project because landholders across the region had struggled with millions of hectares of good grazing land infested with woody weeds, such as Chinee Apple, Prickly Acacia, and Leucaena.

Weeds

Thank you to our Cactus Warriors

Lee Mead. Most of our local properties, roadsides and Maldon Historic Reserve are now free of large Wheel Cactus infestations. This is thanks to many volunteers, landowners and contractors who have all been helping to destroy this noxious weed.

Tourism

Historic Old School at Beechmont gets a smart new look

With a new roof and a fresh coat of paint, the historic Old School at Beechmont has a smart new look ... "The Old School is part of the history of Beechmont and will be an important community centre well into the future as a venue for weddings, functions and local events which bring locals together and attract visitors to the region": Scenic Rim Mayor Greg Christensen.

New WA heritage trail celebrates tiny town’s history: Whitby, Templeman

The tiny town of Dardanup is celebrating its rich history with the opening of a new heritage trail, telling the fascinating stories of its first inhabitants. The trail covers 12 historic locations across the townsite ... The Old State School, Dardanup Post Office and Thomas Little Memorial Hall are just some of the landmarks featured.

Tourism

Visitor numbers to fly high at Clarenza

Emma Pritchard. The Grafton Model Aircraft Club is hosting its annual flying weekend on November 26 and 27, and they are cordially inviting Clarence Valley residents, and visitors in the region, to journey to the Tancreds Lane Flying Field at Clarenza, for two days of spectacular aerobatics and flying demonstrations. Visitors will also have the opportunity to learn more about model aircrafts and get up close with some phenomenal displays...

Show

Norco Primex celebrates

Norco Primex has bounced back after local natural disasters with a near-capacity event. More than 10,000 people attended the final day of Norco Primex 2022 on Saturday ... “We chose to go ahead late this year to ensure Norco Primex 2022 would deliver for North Coast communities": director Bruce Wright.

Tourism

Yamba Rod Run hopes to be back in CBD

Rodney Stevens. Organisers of the Yamba Rod Run are already working to have their traditional Saturday Show and Shine held in the streets of the Yamba CBD after a misunderstanding with council saw this year’s event moved to Ford Park. Lew Falzon of Borderline Street Rodders said after a two-year Covid enforced hiatus, more than 400 vehicles, their owners and families were in town for the 29th Yamba Rod Run.

Tourism

Roo Fest

Stephen Cranby. What is Roo Fest? Both Donna [Publican] and Mandy Connell [Organiser] agree. Roo Fest is about bringing artists together from around this region of Victoria to provide a venue for musicians who haven’t necessarily been heard or been up this way before. 

Victorian Goldfields Railway

2022 has been a busy year for the staff and volunteers of the Victorian Goldfields Railway. In addition to operating trains every Wednesday and Sunday throughout the year, 2022 has seen a very popular program of special trains operated, including Murder on the Orient Express Driver Experiences and the ever-popular Ales on Rails trains.

Property - Cape York

Bramwell blunder?

The future of two iconic tourism destinations is unclear as the state government fumbles over deals to keep them running beyond the end of the month ... “I have no idea who is taking over and I’m not even sure they do,” Ms Kozicka told Cape York Weekly on Sunday.

Concerns over Bramwell draws ire of several MPs

The state government body tasked to handle the business operations of Bramwell Station say they are committed to keeping the roadhouse and tourist park open, but questions have been raised over the transparency of the dealings. In a statement to Cape York Weekly, the Department of Environment and Science said it was dealing with existing sublease holders to keep the tourist businesses up and running beyond November 30, when the keys are officially handed to the Queensland government.

Opinion

Playing for sheep stations

Farmers in Australia are watching the New Zealand Government with growing horror as they move from the announced 10 per cent cut in methane emissions to actual regulatory rules mandating these cuts take place, starting 2025. The climate change game was great fun while everyone played with monopoly money and they could afford to outbid each other with their virtue, but now that that we are moving to playing with real money and going from targets to taxes, it is clear the virtue signalling has ended and the targeting of who pays has begun.

Cannabis - SA

McBride backs more research for medicinal cannabis

Chris Oldfield. In a bid to help control many conditions including juvenile epilepsy, endometriosis and chronic pain, the use and further research of medicinal cannabis has been backed by the State Member for MacKillop, Nick McBride. Mr McBride gained permission from Lucindale’s much loved and highly respected resident Meredith Pomery to help explain in State Parliament the important benefits of medicinal cannabis.

Hemp

University to research sustainability and profitability of hemp cropping in Australia

It has the potential to be one of the most sustainable and profitable cropping solutions in Australia and now the University of Southern Queensland is spearheading an innovative research bid to explore the immense production possibilities of hemp. UniSQ is collaborating with research and industry partners nationally and internationally to investigate how hemp could be the basis for a profitable, sustainable national industry that is globally competitive into the future.

Sugar

Changing of the guard for NSW Sugar Milling Co-operative

The NSW Sugar Milling Co-operative, which is a 50% stakeholder in the Sunshine Sugar business, held its 44th Annual General Meeting for members last Friday. Good news for cane growers is that the Sunshine Sugar business continues to operate profitably, with the Refinery delivering valuable returns.

Blockchain

Australia ready to lead world in sustainable sugar exports

Australia is set to pioneer a new era of sustainable sugar exports when the first-ever shipment of fully traceable, sustainably produced raw sugar is loaded for export at the Port of Townsville this week. In a world first, the sugar, produced from cane grown by Smartcane BMP accredited growers, will be traceable through the supply chain to the end user in South Korea.

Koalas - NSW

Koala update: Brad Law

Australian Rural & Regional News sought an update on koala monitoring from NSW DPI Principal Research Scientist, Dr Brad Law ... Key points from DPI Forest Science research include: New acoustic survey methods have demonstrated koalas occur more commonly throughout the north-east hinterland forests than previously appreciated ... Annual monitoring of koala occurrence in hinterland forests since 2015 has found a stable trend over time at a regional level. Trend data are generally not available from other regions ... A parallel study found that regulated timber harvesting had no significant impact on koala density ...

More on koala monitoring: Brad Law

Australian Rural & Regional News followed up with some further questions for Dr Brad Law, NSW DPI Principal Scientist ... "We state that koala occurrence or site occupancy has been stable in hinterland forests of north-east NSW, which is not the same as koala numbers" ... "We don’t have any evidence that koalas are irrupting ..." ... "It does appear to be the case that nutrition is high in epicormic leaves produced after fire, and that koalas rapidly recolonise burnt areas if there is good connectivity with unburnt forest."

Koalas - Qld

Toowoomba Regional Council seeks funding for koala mapping

Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC) will explore funding options to undertake koala population mapping within the Toowoomba Region ...“While it’s believed the koala is prevalent throughout the Toowoomba Region, the reality is the total extent of the numbers and their exact locations are not known": TRC Environment and Community Committee Portfolio Lead Cr Tim McMahon.

Forestry - Vic

Blackwood attacks Andrews Government after timber ruling

Native timber harvesting in Victoria has stopped after a ruling on 4 November in the Supreme Court, prompting a savage attack on the Andrews Government’s culpability by the Liberals Gary Blackwood ... “This is a disgraceful indictment on the Andrews Government, who have been lobbied for months to adjust the Code of Forest Practice so that it reflected exactly what has been in place to protect the Greater Glider for many years”: Gary Blackwood, retiring Member for Narracan and Opposition forestry spokesman.