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The Northern Rivers Times News Edition 107
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The Northern Rivers Times Rural News Edition 107
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Jean Stephens Funeral Notice

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Rural News

Immersive sugar experience hits Ekka sweet spot

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Immersive sugar experience hits Ekka sweet spot

Thousands of people flocked to the sugar stand at this year’s Ekka to get a little taste of life in the sugar industry through an immersive virtual reality experience that had visitors queuing up for a behind-the-scenes look at the production process from paddock to packaging.

CANEGROWERS, together with fellow industry stakeholders Sugar Research Australia and New South Wales milling company Sunshine Sugar, hosted the stall in the Ekka’s agricultural hall.

In a whole of industry effort, the Australian Sugar Milling Council supplied flyers explaining the sophisticated milling process that drives our $4bn industry, and there was plenty of material on hand to educate visitors on the industry’s past, present and exciting future.

However, it was the Virtual Reality (VR) experience that proved the real showstopper.

The six-minute video experience provided by Sunshine Sugar gave visitors, many of whom had little or no knowledge of the sugar industry, a bird’s eye view of cane country, before bringing them right into the tractor cab alongside farmers as they planted sugarcane.

As viewers were stepped through the production process, they got to experience driving haul outs and harvesters, before moving to the mill, sugar terminal and refinery to gain a true understanding of sugar’s journey from billet to bag.

“It was rewarding to witness firsthand the joy and amazement expressed by men, women and children of all ages as they were immersed in the life of a cane farmer, harvest operator and mill worker,” CANEGROWERS Chairman Owen Menkens said.

“Many of the visitors knew little or nothing about sugar production, while others had fond memories of shared experiences of seeing cane in fields up and down the Queensland coastline. But regardless of their understanding, all visitors left with new insights and new understandings of the contemporary industry.”

It wasn’t only the general public who gained a valuable insight into the importance of the sugar industry to Queensland’s economy and the pivotal role it could one day play in the success of the bioeconomy.

Federal Agriculture Minister Murray Watt, Queensland Agriculture Minister Mark Furner and Federal Opposition leader Peter Dutton, all attended the stand and engaged directly with industry representatives.

“Advocating on behalf of Queensland’s sugarcane farming families and the communities they support is at the very heart of what CANEGROWERS does as an organisation,” Mr Menkens said.

“But rarely do we get an opportunity to engage one-on-one with government decision-makers and the general public simultaneously.

“Like all industries in today’s world, the sugar industry requires a social licence if we are to continue to operate successfully.

“CANEGROWERS is proud to talk directly with the community and the decision-makers and educate them on the steps we have taken over many decades to become one of the world’s most efficient, sustainable, and forward-thinking producers of sugar.

“In this respect, the 2022 Ekka was a huge success for the Queensland sugar industry.”

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Tweed Shire News

Mayor welcomes ‘well-considered’ Independent Flood Inquiry

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Mayor welcomes ‘well-considered’ Independent Flood Inquiry

Rapid response on flood planning, land swap and buy-back programs needed

Mayor of Tweed Shire Chris Cherry said she was impressed with the expansive work and detailed consideration evident in the Independent Flood Inquiry report released yesterday.

Releasing the 323-page report in Lismore yesterday, Premier Dominic Perrottet said of the 28 recommendations made by the report’s authors, Professor Mary O’Kane AC and former NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller APM, his government had accepted 6 immediately with the remaining 22 recommendations supported in-principle, pending further work and consultation with key stakeholders.

Some key recommendations include:

  • Reshaping Resilience NSW to become Recovery NSW to ensure a more streamlined agency focused on the first 100 days post a disaster
  • Migration off high-risk floodplains over time using a mixture of planning controls, land swaps, buy-backs and leveraging private investment in new developments
  • Creation of a full time Deputy Commissioner of Police focused on emergency management
  • Training for the community to assist with their ability to respond and recover from disasters; as well as greater training and support for the SES
  • Greater emphasis on affordable housing in the Northern Rivers, with adaptation plans for towns also to be developed over the next 3-5 years.

Cr Cherry said she was pleased with the report’s findings which would take some time to digest.

“There is an incredible amount of data and learnings in this report and I sincerely thank Professor Mary O’Kane and Mick Fullerton for their work and the care and consideration that is evident in the report,” Cr Cherry said.

“It will take a while to digest all of the information. In terms of the 28 recommendations, I am pleased to see a number of Council’s main advocacy points have been incorporated into the final document.

“The combining of the back-end of our SES and Rural Fire Service so they can operate together more seamlessly is a great example of this, as is the training of our community to be prepared for floods in the same way we are prepared for fire.”

However, Cr Cherry said the community had waited long enough and answers were needed now on a comprehensive response to move people off the floodplain.

“The sentence that strikes me most is that the ‘2022 floods must become the catalyst for change in the way governments and the community considers floods and floodplains’,” she said.

“Flood planning and land swap or buy-back programs are one of the main points of interest for Council and I hope we can see a detailed response to this recommendation coming forward as soon as possible.”

Mr Perrottet said the new Reconstruction and Disaster Prevention Authority would begin work immediately on the buyback and land swap schemes, with expressions of interest to be opened by the end of August.

The findings and recommendations followed an extensive Inquiry, which received 1,494 submissions and held 144 meetings with stakeholders, including a community forum at Tumbulgum on 4 May 2022.

Council also made a written submission to the inquiry following its adoption at the May Council meeting.

Tweed Shire was severely hit by the record February-March flood, with more than 2,100 homes damaged and an estimated 1,600 residents displaced by the event. Council estimates the damage to public infrastructure, including roads and Council buildings, will cost up to $100 million to repair.

To view the full Independent Flood Inquiry Report, visit nsw.gov.au/nsw-government/projects-and-initiatives/floodinquiry.

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Kyogle News

Big Things Happening at Kyogle Rotary Bazaar

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Big Things Happening at Kyogle Rotary Bazaar

The next Rotary Kyogle Bazaar to be held on Sat 27th August is set to be a big event with heaps of things happening in conjunction with the regular stallholders. “Women on the Land” is partnering with Rotary Kyogle Bazaar to bring you a free community event aimed at strengthening community connections and resilience through preparedness for future events including drought and other natural disasters. The purpose of the event is to provide a space for people young and old to connect and become familiar with all the different services that are available to our local community

There will be at least 20 stalls attending with a Red Cross activity scheduled to commence at 11am called The Pillow Slip Project which is aimed at helping children understand what evacuation means and educating them in how to be prepared in case of an emergency.

Kyogle Rotary will be serving at the BBQ with free sausage in bread with drink sponsored by Women on the Land plus Ascent Dance will be performing midmorning on the Amphitheatre stage.

The Bazaar’s featured performer this month is Jarrod Hickling a singer songwriter and proud Githubul man from Mulli Mulli who has shared the stage amongst others with Troy Cassar Daley. Growing up in a Gospel home with strong ties to the church, music has always been a powerful influence in Jarrod’s life. Jarrod has a rich and powerful sounding voice and delivers his songs with conviction and a strong stage presence.

The Father’s Day Raffle with a difference where you don’t actually purchase a ticket but receive a ticket after you spend $5- or more at a stall will be drawn at the Bazaar at 1.45pm.

The Bazaar is a great place to chill out catch up with family or friends listen to some great music check out some of the new stalls and afterwards go up town and see what the rest of the town has to offer.

 

 

 

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