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   Jun 21

Tax breaks for farmers

Investment in dams across the country is a focus of the agriculture white paper.FARMERS doing it tough will get more tax breaks while almost half a billion dollars will be spent on dams across the country.
Nanjing Night Net

The Abbott government’s long-awaited agriculture white paper will be released on Saturday by Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce in the Victorian regional centre of Warrnambool.

The document commits $1.2 billion in fresh money for a slew of new programs and projects.

A national water infrastructure fund will have $450 million to improve dams around the nation, and $50 million has been set aside for planning and studies for potential projects.

But some $200 million of that fund is already committed in the northern Australia white paper.

Cash-strapped farmers will have their interest costs cut with banks to allow them to use money reserved for tough times as a business loan offset.

The new measures for the farm management deposit scheme will also allow them to minimise their tax and put more money aside to draw down on when they’re struggling financially.

While farmers will be encouraged to prepare and deal with periods of drought themselves, the government will give them a leg up by boosting counselling services and extending its cheap loans scheme.

Up to $250 million in drought concessional loans will be available every year for 11 years.

The document also confirms the appointment of a new umpire within the competition watchdog to help farmers settle supply disputes with supermarket giants.

There’s also money to fund studies into farm co-operatives and collective bargaining.

Food safety will also get a $200 million biosecurity boost for the detection of contaminated food and hazardous pests.

Five new agriculture officials will be based overseas to improve trade relations.

Mr Abbott believes the document delivers practical ideas to keep agriculture profitable and producers resilient.

‘‘It’s an investment in our farmers,’’ he said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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   Jun 21

Events cash in

The Curry Merry Muster Festival is one Cloncurry event which will be aided by Community Support Drought Affected Areas Initiative funding.CLONCURRY Council has received $115,000 to help build community resilience and foster spirit from the Department for Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services under the Community Support Drought Affected Areas Initiative.
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The funding is made available through the Department’s Community Support and Sector development program.

Chief executive officer David Neeves said the council had made the decision to distribute the funds to existing community organisations and events.

“James Cook University studies found that social events are pivotal to building community, spirit, resilience and alleviating the feeling of isolation,” said Mr Neeves.

“A large portion of our population are on remote stations; the nature of the grazing industry is not a 9am to 5pm job, and many men and women in the district commit their lives to grazing.”

“Social events, clubs and organisations, like the Cloncurry and District Show and the Burke and Wills Campdraft, are a few of the opportunities that enable people scattered far and wide to come together,” said Mr Neeves.

The groups and events that received funding include;

●Cloncurry and District Show Society.

●Burke and Wills Campdraft.

●Cloncurry and District Race Club May Meeting.

●Rockhana Gem and Mineral Festival.

●Cloncurry Stockman’s Challenge and Campdraft.

●Quamby Rodeo.

●Curry Merry Muster Festival.

●Dajarra Rodeo.

●Curry Cats Triathlon Club.

●Cloncurry Clay Target Club.

●Cloncurry Rugby League.

●Cloncurry Rugby Union.

●Cloncurry Football Club.

●Australia Team Roping Association – Cloncurry.

●Cloncurry Queensland Country Women’s Association.

●Cloncurry Amateur Swimming Club.

●Cloncurry Arts Society.

●Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association.

●Cloncurry Pony Club.

The council has allocated funding to run programs in the community, including;

●In the Bin Film Festival.

●School holiday programs.

●Cloncurry Christmas Festival.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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   Jun 21

Correctional officer endorsed to run as candidate

Norm Jacobsen
Nanjing Night Net

NORM Jacobsen has been endorsed as the Labor candidate to tackle Bob Katter’s grip on the seat of Kennedy at the next federal election.

The Atherton Tablelands Correctional Officer is among the latest group of candidates to join Bill Shorten’s federal ALP team, ready to take the fight to Tony Abbott in the key battleground of north Queensland.

A 46-year-old father of two adult children, Mr Jacobsen lives in Mutchilba, having called the Kennedy region home his entire life.

Born in Innisfail, Mr Jacobsen has lived in a variety of Kennedy townships, including Herberton, Atherton, Gordonvale, Tolga and Mareeba, before settling in Mutchilba.

Mr Jacobsen also tried his hand at several occupations, including being a tradesman, farmer and small business owner, before settling into a career as a Custodial Correctional Supervisor at Lotus Glen on the Atherton Tablelands, where he has worked for the past 18 years.

“I’m honoured by the opportunity to stand for Labor for a chance to represent Kennedy and ensure the concerns of our electorate are heard loud and clear down in Canberra,” said Mr Jacobsen.

“We have local businesses closing and rising unemployment due to the mining downturn.

“Yet all we hear from sitting member Bob Katter and the Abbott LNP government is a lot of big talk and very little action.”

ALP Queensland State Secretary Evan Moorhead said Mr Jacobsen would be a hard working representative for the vast electorate of Kennedy.

“Norm will be a great addition to Labor’s team in the north,” he said. “His extensive knowledge of the region’s communities gives him the first hand experience needed to be a strong voice for the people of Kennedy.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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   Jun 21

Motorists beware: Kangaroos out in force

NOT ROAD SAVVY: Smash repairers are being kept busy with more kangaroos on Hunter roads.Hunter motorists are dicing with death when they take to the roads at dawn and dusk with an over abundance of kangaroos out in search of food.
Nanjing Night Net

Smash repair businesses are experiencing a spike in roo-related car repairs with one Cessnock business reporting between three to six kangaroo-versus-car jobs each week.

Wildlife experts say food is plentiful for kangaroos following good rain across the Hunter, bringing roos out to feed, particularly when they are most active at dawn and dusk.

The increase in the number of car accidents involving the marsupials has prompted Central Hunter police to issue a warning to motorists to slow down.

Maitland duty officer Inspector Glenn Blaine said motorists should lower their speed and drive to the ­conditions, particularly early in the morning and at sunset.

“If you know you’re driving at those times and you know you’re in an area where kangaroos are prevalent, then slow down,” Inspector Blaine said.

Cessnock Smash Repairs owner Greg Gearing knows only too well the damage roos can cause.

He hit one, then hit a tree on Palmer’s Lane at Pokolbin recently and his car was a write-off.

“We do get an increase of roo repair jobs during winter,” he said.

“They can range from small $2000 jobs to $12,000 or write-offs,” Mr Gearing said.

He said kangaroo damage to cars accounted for about 15 per cent of repairs at his business.

Hunter Valley Zoo zookeeper Amanda Chisholm said kangaroos were more active during winter than in the warmer months, when they retreat to find shade to stay cool and sleep.

“While they are not nocturnal, you rarely see them during the middle of the day because they are resting,” Ms Chisholm said.

She said the Hunter was alive at present with wallabies and eastern grey kangaroos.

“They’re not very smart, they are unpredictable and they will just jump out in front of you,” she said.

“If there is a drought you rarely see them, but now we have had rain and food is plentiful they are out in droves.”

Ms Chisholm warned motorists not to approach injured kangaroos because they can become aggressive, with the more mature animals weighing up to 80 kilograms.

She said the best thing to do was to ­contact the local branch of the Native Animal Trust Fund.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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   Jun 21

Port Kembla finally gets a doctor

Dr Aase Pacey will open a practice on Wentworth Street, Port Kembla. Picture: SYLVIA LIBERPort Kembla: the doctor will see you now.
Nanjing Night Net

After six years of being forced to travel to neighbouring suburbs for the services of a doctor, the 4800 residents of the Illawarra’s port suburb have a GP of their own.

Swedish GP Dr Aase Pacey will open a practice on Wentworth Street later this month, after more than two years spent gaining her Australian accreditation and meeting government criteria.

Dr Pacey, 42, has undergone additional training in women’s and children’s health and intends to make this the main focus of her practice.

For largely economic reasons, she will offer bulk billing only to patients aged under 18 or over 65.

“I provide a service completely different to what you get at bulk billing medical centres – long-term solutions,” she said.

“I’m engaged, and I want to provide continuity and because I provide that I will have to [charge] a fee because otherwise I will not be sustainable.

“People who wan the quick “in and out” [consultation] can still go to the medical centre in Warrawong, but if they’re looking for something else – and I think a lot of people are – then I care about them as individuals. I really do – that’s what I get out of it.”

There has not been a GP in Port Kembla since Dr Brian Stein retired in 2009.

Dr Pacey and her Australian miner husband Richard, of Queensland, moved from Sweden to Australia in 2010 and were driving from Sydney to Melbourne when the Illawarra escarpment caught their eye.

With their two young children they moved to the region in July, 2012. Ten days later, Dr Pacey saw a story in the Mercury in which Port Kembla community leaders spoke of the “chronic need for a doctor” in their suburb.

“I have a resident who is 73 and has emphysema,”Domma Porcella, of the Fitzwilliam Street boarding house, said then.

“I have another old chap who has had major heart surgery, has two artificial hips, one artificial knee. Some of these people can’t walk a few paces, let alone to Warrawong.”

Dr Pacey’s practice will open at 109 Wentworth Street on July 20.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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   May 21

Exploration to start at old mine

The Tick Hill Gold Project could restart after being out of action for two decades.MINING could restart at a North West gold project once home to one of the most lucrative deposits in Australia.
Nanjing Night Net

The Tick Hill Gold Project hasn’t been mined for more than two decades but drilling results could forge the project back into production.

Drilling is set to restart at the project with a drill rig from South Australia mobilised to the site about 100kilometres south-east of Mount Isa.

Thirty-five air-core drill holes will be drilled within the existing tailings dam along with another 25 holes to test for alluvial potential near the open-cut pit.

The prime focus of the exploration is to find a high-grade gold resource previously mined by Carpentaria Gold in the 1990s.

Carpentaria Gold was a subsidiary of MIM Holdings – the parent company of Mount Isa Mines Limited before it was taken over by Xstrata.

Three Tick Hill mining leases were transferred from Mount Isa Mines to Superior Resources’ joint venture partner Diatreme Resources in March this year.

Diatreme Resources announced its plan to start drilling at the site as part of a joint venture with Superior Resources.

Environmental permits are expected to be granted to give the green light for Diatreme to move ahead with the project.

The exploration focus is on identifying an extension to the earlier high-grade mineralised zone previously mined at the site, averaging 22.6 grams a tonne.

MIM has retained a royalty on gold produced from the deposit.

Tick Hill is one of the highest grade gold deposits in Australia’s producing history in the modern era.

Diatreme’s chief executive officer, Neil McIntyre, said it was exciting to start drilling at Tick Hill, given its rich history of gold production.

“The joint venture team has a wealth of experience and we are excited by the potential of this project,” Mr McIntyre said.

“Tick Hill adds to Diatreme’s prospective minerals portfolio, including our flagship Cyclone Zircon Project [in Western Australia].”

Mining at Tick Hill ceased in 1995 after 513,333 ounces of gold and 705,000 tonnes of ore was produced at a recovered grade of 22.6 grams a tonne gold.

Tick Hill was previously mined by open-pit with an underground mine beneath the pit.

A capital raising campaign secured $249,000 to fund a tailings and surface gold assessment program at the Tick Hill Gold Project and to provide working capital.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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   May 21

Federal funding targeted for city’s weir and holiday park

The Dubbo Weir. File PhotoPROJECTS to upgrade the South Dubbo weir and the Dubbo City Holiday Park will be put to the federal government for funding under a scheme to strengthen regional communities.
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The National Stronger Regions Fund (NSRF) allows local government to apply for federal government funding of between $20,000 and $10 million, on a price-match basis, for economically beneficial construction projects.

Dubbo City Council had originally intended to apply for NSRF funding to upgrade the “general aviation area” of Dubbo City Regional Airport, but on Friday, June 19 council received notification the airport had been shortlisted for funding under a separate program.

In a report to Dubbo City Council, director of parks and landcare services Murray Wood recommended the council instead choose the weir and the Dubbo City Holiday Park “as the two projects to be applied for” under the NSRF.

“The weir is required to ensure the security of Dubbo’s water supply whilst the current structure poses the highest possible risk to the Dubbo community based on the history of multiple deaths at this location,” Mr Wood said.

“The project is regional in terms of the environmental and economic benefit that arises from upgrading a weir to one that is safer for river users and enables the migration of native fish.”

“Similarly to the weir, Council already has a budget of $500,000 allocated to asset upgrades at the Dubbo City Holiday Park. The Dubbo City Holiday Park has a proven capacity to support the tourism industry … whilst the tourism economy itself is an important feature of the economic activity in Dubbo.”

Applications for the current round of NSRF close on Friday, July 31, with the successful projects to be announced in December.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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   May 21

Stanbroke to create Gulf jobs

Stanbroke has proposed cropping and irrigation of up to 15,000 hectares of cotton adjacent to the Flinders River, about 90-kilometres south of Normanton.One of Australia’s biggest beef producers has proposed a $200 million cotton farm that will create jobs in remote Gulf country and help produce some of the world’s best steaks.
Nanjing Night Net

Queensland’s independent co-ordinator-general has declared Stanbroke’s $200-million Three Rivers Irrigation Project in the Gulf region of North Queensland a co-ordinated project.

State Development Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said Stanbroke has proposed cropping and irrigation of up to 15,000 hectares of cotton adjacent to the Flinders River, about 90-kilometres south of Normanton.

“Stanbroke has estimated the project will create up to 100 construction jobs over the three years of construction and 75 operational jobs at peak production,” he said.

“It’s great to see a Queensland pastoral icon like Stanbroke continuing to invest and grow jobs in the North.

“The Palaszczuk Government is committed and supporting and facilitating initiatives by the private sector to develop appropriate water and land resources in North Queensland on a sustainable basis.”

The project aims to grow cotton for the export market and utilise the cotton seed by-product as supplementary feed for Stanbroke’s beef herd in the dry season.

Stanbroke is the largest privately-owned vertically integrated beef business in the world, with cattle on a network of properties stretching across 1.6 million hectares of the Gulf. It also has processing facilities in the Lockyer Valley, from where its signature Diamantina Beef is sold globally.

The proposed project is for a cotton farm and processing ginnery, worker accommodation, an airstrip, off-stream 150,000-megalitre water storage area, pump stations, water transfer channels and potentially a diversion structure or weir.

Dr Lynham said Stanbroke was seeking approval to extract a further 122,000 megalitres a year from the lower Flinders River to irrigate the cotton.

This is on top of the 28,800 megalitres they already hold.

The government is currently finalising amendments to the Gulf Water Resource Plan and Resource Operations Plan which contemplates an unallocated water reserve of more than a quarter of a million megalitres of water in the Flinders River catchment in the fourth quarter of 2015.’

Declaration as a co-ordinated project recognises that the proposal requires a rigorous and comprehensive environmental impact assessment, involving whole-of-government co-ordination. Stanbroke started its environmental assessments before the last wet season.

The next stage is for the co-ordinator-general to draw up Draft Terms of Reference for Stanbroke to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement, which will be released for public comment when completed.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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   May 21

Eastman celebrates Group One treble at Tabcorp Park

SIX months ago Larry Eastman had never trained a Group One winner in 40 years of trying.
Nanjing Night Net

TOP CLASS: Morton Plains surges clear to win the Vicbred Super Series final for three-year-old fillies at Melton. Picture: STUART McCORMICK

Now he has four.

The Shelbourne harness racing trainer celebrated a career-best performance on Saturday night when he won three Group One races at Melton.

Eastman took out the two three-year-old Vicbred Super Series finals with Menin Gate and Morton Plains respectively, while Milly Perez capped off the night with a stunning performance to win the Vicbred Super Series final for four-year-old mares.

“To be honest, I can’t describe this feeling,’’ Eastman said.

“It was just one of those nights where everything fell into place. All three horses were driven perfectly by Chris (Alford).

Chris Alford and Larry Eastman

“We went into the night thinking Menin Gate was our best chance and we were just hoping we could pinch one win. To win all three is just amazing.

“It probably hasn’t sunk in yet. It’s a great thing for the people who own the horses. They’re not only long-time clients, they are friends.

“Menin Gate and Morton Plains have similar ownership, while a good percentage of Milly Perez’s owners are first-time owners. Those owners will cherish those Group One wins forever.”

Menin Gate and Morton Plains are raced by a syndicate of Birchip-based owners.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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   May 21

Graziers meet with minister

Winton councillor and grazier Emma Forster said the next wet season may come too late for many stations in debt.
Nanjing Night Net

GRAZIERS across the country assembled in a Winton hall in December urging banks and governments to do something to fix rural debt.

Their stories of foreclosures and evictions at the Rural Debt Crisis Summit made people in the cities take notice, and motivated banking giant ANZ to place a 12-month moratorium on farm foreclosures.

However, the crisis has reached a worse point than it had seven months ago when the summit was held, according to Winton councillor and Werna Station owner Emma Forster.

“We were all hoping we would get a wet season but we did not,” Cr Forster said.

“I really don’t think the state or federal government stood up and listened after that big summit in Winton, they really need to step (up) now and get in on the industry before they have a big mess to clean up and there’s no farmers left out here.”

Cr Forster said she had less than half her breeding herd compared to when the drought began, and it was costly to sustain them.

Rain would not be enough to help graziers who used all their financial reserves and lost their breeding herds.

“One of the biggest issues after it does rain is it doesn’t rain money,” Cr Forster said.

“Because when it does rain, with the shortage of cattle, everyone is running with less breeders than what they should, which are going to be bringing a premium price.”

Cr Forster is among a committee of graziers that met privately with Queensland Agricultural Minister Bill Byrne in McKinlay on Wednesday.

After the meeting, Mr Byrne acknowledged the government was expected to do more to assist graziers facing increased financial pressure.

“There is an obligation on governments to do what it can to assist during those periods of pressure,” he said.

“So that’s what we’re here to talk about, what’s effective, what is ineffective, and if necessary what opportunities may be going forward if this continues.”

He said the government had no timeframe in place to aid graziers.

State member for Mount Isa Rob Katter – who co-ordinated last year’s summit – said the pastoral industry had a year to make the state government commit to meaningful assistance before the next election cycle.

He described rural debt as a “do or die” issue for his electorate because most communities in his electorate, excluding Mount Isa and Cloncurry, relied heavily on the cattle industry.

Mr Katter said the solution to rural debt was a reconstruction board, which would loan more money to graziers, and it was not a “hand out” because the money would eventually be returned to the taxpayer.

Graziers were not in debt because they bought too much property, Mr Katter said.

“It’s just they cannot ride the bad years like they used to because the good years aren’t as good,’’ he said.

“They can get through the tough years but then through a live export ban caused by a (federal) political decision and three years of drought, I challenge any business person to get through that.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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