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Local News

Richmond River Cane Growers Association

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Richmond River Cane Growers Association

Richmond River Cane Growers Association

By Tonia Dynan

SUGAR cane harvesting season is upon us and the Richmond River Cane Growers Association is putting the word out for those new to the region that growers across the coast will be burning their crops before harvesting, with some starting this week.

The season runs from now until the end of November and although farmers do their best to ensure the fires don’t impact nearby residents, sometimes Mother Nature doesn’t co-operate.

“The cane fires usually burn the morning before the farmers are going to harvest,” association manager Florence Dagan said.

“Usually they try and burn when it’s not going to impact on their neighbours. They will give their neighbours 24-hours’ notice and they give the RFS notice.

“There may be ash fall-out. What people tend to do is if they have clothes on the line, or outdoor furniture, they go out and try and clean the ash off, but that makes it worse.

“If ash falls on your outdoor furniture or vehicle overnight or early morning, wait for it to dry and often the wind will help you and blow it all away.”

Last year, the first fire lit near Newrybar impacted Lennox Head and Ballina and caused problems for a lot of residents.

“The farmer did all the tests he could and made sure everything was fine, but the wind just took it all straight up and across and dumped it all over Lennox – it was horrendous,” Florence said.

“One lady, and I felt for her, had a $2000 white outdoor lounge covered in ash and she had tried to clean it which only made it worse.”

Most areas across the Northern Rivers will be impacted by the smoke and possible ash fall-out, including areas not generally associated as farming areas, like Ballina, Lennox Head and Evans Head.

Florence said there would be a few fires this year as the consistent rainfall had made for decent crops.

“Talking to a lot of people, it’s probably been one of the best years in a long time,” she said.

“Last year was much better than everyone anticipated but this year we’ve had more consistent rainfall, although there had been has been some flooding in low lying areas where the drainage isn’t working.

“But for the most part, we’re expecting a reasonably good harvest.”
Florence said she would be posting updates on fire locations across social media when they came to light and if anyone would like more information about cane fires you can email richmondcane@gmail.com.

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Local News

Changed traffic conditions for the Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade

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NSW Northern Rivers Local News & Events

Changed traffic conditions for the Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade

Motorists are advised of changed traffic conditions on the Pacific Highway and local roads from Monday 21 to Sunday 27 June for the Woolgoolga to Ballina upgrade, weather permitting.

There will be no roadwork on the Pacific Highway between Kew and the Queensland border from 6am Friday 25 June to 6am Monday 28 June due to the high traffic volume expected for the school holidays.
From Monday, there will be four days of work next to the Pacific Highway at Coolgardie to carry out vegetation maintenance. Motorists can expect lane closures and traffic control at times between 7am and 3pm.
Also from Monday, there will be up to four days of work on the Pacific Highway between Broadwater and Devils Pulpit to install and remove signage and carry out maintenance and finishing work. Motorists can expect lane closures, traffic control, short stoppages and a reduced speed limit at times between 6am and 6pm.
The northbound U-turn near Swan Bay New Italy Road will be temporarily closed on Monday and Wednesday, with Thursday as a contingency if required. The next available U-turn for northbound motorists is less than two kilometres north near Whites Road.
Further south from Monday, there will be up to four days of work on the Pacific Highway between Harwood and the Pillar Valley to carry out survey monitoring, vegetation maintenance and fencing. Motorists can expect lane and shoulder closures, traffic control, short stoppages and a reduced speed limit at times between 6am and 6pm.

Additional changes to local roads

From Monday, there will be four days of work on Woodburn Evans Head Road, Woodburn to carry out survey monitoring. Motorists can expect lane closures and traffic control at times between 6am and 6pm.
Also from Monday, there will be five days of work on Swan Bay New Italy Road, New Italy to carry out private access work. Motorists can expect lane closures and traffic control at times between 6am and 6pm.
From Thursday, there will be two days of work on the former Pacific Highway, near the Woodburn interchange to carry out private access work. Motorists can expect shoulder closures and traffic control at times between 6am and 6pm.
For the latest traffic updates download the Live Traffic NSW App, visit livetraffic.com or call 132 701.

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Local News

Changed traffic conditions on Big River Way at South Grafton

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Changed traffic conditions on Big River Way at South Grafton

Motorists are advised of changed traffic conditions from next week on Big River Way at South Grafton to carry out safety improvement work near Heber Street.

Work will be carried out from Monday 21 June to widen the road shoulder on a 200 metre section of road to allow for improved traffic movements around the intersection.

Work will be carried out from 7am to 6pm on weekdays and from 8am to 1pm on Saturdays, and is expected to take two weeks to complete, weather permitting.

The northern access to Heber Street will be closed for the duration of the project, with a detour in place during this time.

Traffic control and a reduced speed limit will be in place for the safety of workers and motorists.

Delays of up to five minutes may be experienced and motorists are advised to allow extra travel time, drive to the conditions, and follow the directions of signs and traffic control..

Transport for NSW thanks motorists for their patience during this time.

For the latest traffic updates download the Live Traffic NSW App, visit livetraffic.com or call 132 701.

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Local News

Long awaited good news on the Ag Visa

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Agriculture Minister David Littleproud

Long awaited good news on the Ag Visa

AUSVEG, the peak industry body for the Australian vegetable industry, has welcomed the announcement that the Federal Government will make a new agriculture work visa available to all 10 countries across South-East Asia.

The new visa would provide a wider pool of workers available to Australian agriculture from the UK and the ten ASEAN countries and will help to meet ongoing seasonal workforce gaps that continue through the pandemic.

According to the announcement from Agriculture Minister David Littleproud, the new seasonal agricultural worker visa would mirror the existing Seasonal Worker Programme and will add to the pool of workers available to work on Australian farms.

“The horticulture industry has been calling for a dedicated and productive workforce for many years and this morning’s announcement is great news for the sector,” said AUSVEG National Manager – Public Affairs Tyson Cattle.

“Growers require access to a productive, reliable and competent workforce and while Working Holiday Makers will always have a role to play within our industry, giving growers and workers a pathway to primarily work on-farm should be seen as a major step froward for the development of the horticulture sector.”

“The ASEAN countries are some of our closest trading partners, so extending the Agriculture Visa to these countries makes economic sense and demonstrates our commitment in helping our regional neighbours.”

“What we need now is timely action to get this visa class up and running so that we can start bringing in workers as soon as possible when borders open up and international workers are able to enter the country.”

“While we await more details around the visa arrangements for this visa class, we understand the new visa will build on the successful Seasonal Worker Programme and Pacific Labour Scheme visas that have proved invaluable to the agriculture sector over the past 12 months.”

“This announcement is a positive development in our industry’s calls for a dedicated labour source to harvest and package fruits and vegetables.”

“We look forward to working with the Federal Government to ensure that the agriculture-specific visa meets the needs of growing businesses around the country and provides an effective solution to the industry’s growing labour shortages.”

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