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Local News

Sustainability scorecard released for Australian sheep and wool industry

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Sustainability scorecard released for Australian sheep and wool industry

Key points:

  • Second Annual Report of the Sheep Sustainability Framework (SSF) tracking performance of sheep and wool industry
  • Directional improvements across 18 indicators with 8 indicators holding steady
  • Sheep industry net emissions have fallen steadily over the reporting period
  • Australians who believe lambs are farmed and raised in a humane manner rises to 55%
  • Increase in non-mulesed/ceased-mulesed declared Merino and non-Merino wool
  • Increase in Australia’s value share of global wool and sheepmeat exports

THE second Annual Report of the Sheep Sustainability Framework (SSF) will today be released at a launch event at Anlaby Station in South Australia revealing the broadest range of data to date on the performance of the Australian wool and sheepmeat industry.

Led by Sheep Producers Australia and WoolProducers Australia, the SSF was launched in 2021, with the first Annual Report released a year later, containing 58 indicators under four themes: Caring for Our Sheep; Enhancing the Environment and Climate; Looking after Our People, Our Customers, and the Community; and Ensuring a Financially Resilient Industry.

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SSF Sustainability Steering Group (SSG) Chair, Dr Scott Williams, said the Annual Report had made notable gains in its reporting capacity over the past year, with a range of new information being added in 2023, including 25 new baseline data points in the latest iteration.

“When we launched the inaugural Annual Report in 2022 just over half of the indicators were reported with data,” Dr Williams said.

“Today, 91 per cent of our indicators are reported with data and we are on track for 100 per cent next year. These metrics allow us to determine directional changes over time, highlight our successes, identify areas for improvement and demonstrate the sustainability credentials of one of Australia’s most important industries.”

Highlights

One of the key priorities of the Framework is to reduce the industry’s net greenhouse gas emissions. The CSIRO reports net emissions generated from Australian sheepmeat and wool production in the latest reporting period (2020) was 9.49Mt CO2e, down from 10.21Mt CO2e in 2019 and 11.39Mt CO2e in 2018.

The percentage of producers who have completed the six-day Lifetime Ewe Management (LTEM) training with Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), a program of best practice adoption, has increased to 9.4% of all AWI-eligible wool levy payers (up from 8.09%).

Other highlights include:

  • The percentage of non-mulesed/ceased mulesed bales offered has risen to 15.8% (Merino) and 40.1% (non-Merino).
  • Zero fatalities in the sheep industry in the latest reporting period (2020-21)
  • Sheep mortality on ships during export has declined to 0.14%
  • The percentage of Australians who believe Australians lambs are farmed and raised in a humane manner has risen to 55% (from 53%)
  • Investment in wool research, development and adoption has increased 18.5% to $32.7m
  • Rise in Australia’s value share of global sheepmeat exports (45%) and global wool exports (75.5%)
  • The percentage of sheep-grazing land achieving 50% ground cover is holding steady at 62.2%
  • Australia continues to be declared free from 12 major diseases
  • 91% of producers use vaccinations to prevent disease and protect their flock (new data)
  • 50% of sheep producers generate and use renewable energy (new data).

Challenges

There have been directional declines in research, development, and adoption investment in sheepmeat, and the gross value of agricultural production for both sheepmeat and wool and an increase in the number of serious injury workers’ compensation claims.

Independent Chair of the SSF Board and sheep producer, Lucinda Corrigan, said each Annual Report was an expression of the commitment to continuous improvement across the industry.

“One of the most important functions of the Annual Report is to bring transparency to our industry and identify areas where we need to improve,” Ms Corrigan said.

“We have a duty to our people, our animals and our consumers to strive for excellence in sustainability and continue to affirm the Australian industry’s position as among the best in the world.”

Today’s official launch of the 2023 Annual Report will bring together industry stakeholders from across the sheepmeat and wool value chains and feature a panel discussion on customer expectations of sustainability from the red meat and apparel industries, facilitated by Dr Scott Williams and including:

  • Mark Inglis, Farm Assurance and Supply Chain Manager, Thomas Foods International
  • Michelle Dalzell, Michell Direct Sourcing Manager, Michell Wool
  • Lachlan Monsborough, Agriculture and Environmental Lead, Global Rural Clients, Rabobank
  • Jane Kellock, sheepmeat and wool producer, Kellock Farming

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2025 Porsche 911 Hybrid production starts

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2025 Porsche 911 Hybrid
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2025 Porsche 911 Hybrid production starts

 

By Jeff Gibbs

Production of the highly anticipated Porsche 911 hybrid has commenced following an extensive testing phase, with the German automaker boasting that it surpasses its petrol-only counterpart in terms of speed.

Scheduled for its global debut in Europe on May 28, 2024, Porsche has already revealed impressive performance metrics for the 911 hybrid. Clocking a blistering lap time of 7:16.934 minutes around the demanding Nurburgring Nordschleife race circuit, the hybrid variant outpaces its predecessor by a significant 8.7 seconds. While Porsche has not specified the exact model of the previous 911 being referenced, it’s evident that the hybrid iteration is geared towards performance, more akin to the Carrera or Carrera S variants rather than the track-focused GT3 RS.

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Renowned as a benchmark for automotive prowess, the Nurburgring Nordschleife presents a challenging 20.8-kilometer layout, featuring a diverse range of corners and surfaces. This exceptional lap time underscores the 911 hybrid’s dynamic capabilities and positions it as a formidable force on both road and track.

While Australian availability has yet to be confirmed, Porsche first hinted at the development of a hybrid 911 with the introduction of the eighth-generation ‘992’ model in 2019. As part of a mid-life facelift for the current lineup, the hybrid variant is slated for release in 2025, aligning with Porsche’s ambitious target of electrifying over half of its new vehicle sales by 2025 and achieving 80% electric sales by 2030.

Details regarding pricing, trim levels, and nomenclature for the 911 hybrid remain undisclosed. However, speculations suggest it may adopt the moniker “Porsche 911 t-Hybrid,” following the trademark registration of ‘t-Hybrid’ by the company. Notably, the hybrid powertrain may depart from Porsche’s signature flat-six engines, potentially incorporating a four-cylinder petrol engine supplemented by electric propulsion.

Drawing inspiration from Porsche’s illustrious motorsport heritage, particularly its successful 919 endurance racing program, the 911 hybrid is anticipated to channel the technological advancements and performance prowess demonstrated by its racing counterparts. Although not designated as a plug-in hybrid, akin to the Porsche 918 hypercar, the 911 hybrid is poised to leverage insights gleaned from Porsche’s current LMDh endurance racing program.

With their endurance racers already clinching victories in prominent events like the World Endurance Championship and IMSA series, the 911 hybrid promises to be a game-changer in the realm of high-performance electrified vehicles.

 

For more motoring news, click here.

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Gardening

Create a Lush Fern Garden with These Shade-Loving Plants

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Australian Tree Fern Garden
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Create a Lush Fern Garden with These Shade-Loving Plants

 

If your garden is protected from the sun, consider transforming it into a mini fern rainforest. Ferns evoke the essence of rainforests with their earthy aroma and prehistoric charm, creating a calming and otherworldly atmosphere. These low-maintenance plants are not only beautiful but can outlive many other plants, adding texture and rich green hues to the damp and shady parts of your yard, making your garden lush and luxurious. With so many fern varieties to choose from, here’s a guide to get you started.

Growing Ferns in Your Garden

Ferns thrive in part to full shade and prefer rich, earthy soil reminiscent of their rainforest origins. Ideal soil for ferns is well-drained and nutrient-rich from decaying leaf matter. In warmer parts of Australia, protection from all sun may be necessary, while in cooler regions, shielding them from the harsh afternoon sun is sufficient. Ferns are predominantly perennial, allowing you to divide and propagate them in spring or autumn to enhance your shady garden areas.

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Understanding Fern Types

All ferns are vascular plants, growing from spores rather than seeds or flowers. While many ferns grow directly from the ground, like bird’s nest ferns and autumn ferns, others thrive on rocks or trees.

  • Lithophytes: Ferns that attach themselves to rocks.
  • Epiphytes: Ferns that grow on trees, fences, or man-made structures, drawing nutrients from decaying leaf matter and animal droppings caught in their leaves.

Epiphytic ferns are particularly versatile, making them excellent for planting on fences and structures within your garden.

Ideal Plants for Your Fern Garden

Australian Tree Fern

For gardens with ample shade, the Australian tree fern is a stunning choice. With its large canopy and elegant single trunk, this fern can bring a piece of the rainforest, like the Daintree, to your backyard. It can grow between 5 and 10 metres tall, so ensure you have sufficient space for its fronds to spread.

Staghorn Fern

The staghorn fern is a classic choice that remains stylish. As an epiphytic fern, it can attach to trees, fences, or even the exterior walls of your home, making it perfect for covering unsightly areas or adding texture to your garden’s fence line.

Bird’s Nest Fern

With apple-green, shiny leaves that can reach 1-2 metres in height, the bird’s nest fern is ideal for pots or planting in the forks of trees to maintain a rainforest aesthetic. These ferns also make excellent indoor plants, provided they are kept out of direct sunlight and in well-draining soil.

Elkhorn Fern

Similar to the staghorn fern, the elkhorn fern can be attached to trees or walls, adding a prehistoric touch to your garden. This low-maintenance fern thrives with ample shade and occasional compost for nutrients.

Soft Tree Fern

Native to eastern Australia, the soft tree fern, also known as the man fern, features bright green fronds forming a feathery canopy that can grow up to 15 metres tall. This fern is perfect for filling large, shaded spaces. Its trunk also provides an excellent base for growing epiphytes like elkhorn ferns or native Australian orchids.

Hen and Chicken Fern

Also known as mother spleenwort, this New Zealand native fern boasts feathery foliage that cascades beautifully, remaining lush year-round. It thrives in part-shade and should be protected from direct sunlight, adding elegance to the dappled shade of your garden.

Autumn Fern

To introduce colour variation among your ferns, consider the autumn fern. Its triangular fronds transition from pinkish to coppery before maturing to bright green, offering a stunning contrast of autumnal oranges and greens to enhance your garden’s visual appeal.

Baby’s Tears Ground Cover

A rainforest garden isn’t complete without a charming ground cover. Despite its melancholy name, baby’s tears is an excellent ground cover for shady garden areas. It can also be grown in pots and along pavers, adding a delicate touch to your fern garden.

By incorporating these diverse fern species, you can create a serene, rainforest-like garden that thrives in the shade, offering beauty and tranquillity year-round. Whether you have a large backyard or a compact space, these ferns will transform your garden into a lush, green haven.

 

For more gardening news, click here.

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Entertainment

Italian Renaissance Alive

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Italian Renaissance Alive

 

Experience the beauty and brilliance of the Italian masters in “Italian Renaissance Alive,” an immersive journey celebrating Europe’s cultural rebirth. This extraordinary exhibition, from the creators of Van Gogh Alive, takes you on a mesmerising adventure through the 14th to 17th centuries, showcasing masterpieces by some of history’s most renowned artists, including Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, Caravaggio, and more.

“Italian Renaissance Alive” brings to life the era’s explosion of art, culture, architecture, sculpture, and literature. As you step into this breathtaking digital multi-sensory gallery, you’ll be surrounded by the grandeur and elegance that defined the Renaissance period. The exhibition is designed to immerse you in the sights and sounds of the time, creating an unforgettable experience that transcends traditional art displays.

Witness iconic works like the awe-inspiring Sistine Chapel ceiling, the enigmatic Mona Lisa, and the enchanting Birth of Venus. These masterpieces are presented in stunning detail, allowing you to appreciate the intricacies and genius of the artists’ techniques. Accompanied by a powerful operatic musical score, the exhibition enhances your sensory experience, evoking the emotions and atmosphere of the Renaissance.

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Through “Italian Renaissance Alive”, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the cultural and intellectual movements that shaped the modern world. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to be transported back in time and experience the Renaissance like never before.

EVENT DETAILS:

  • When – on until the 4th of August
  • Where – HOTA, Gold Coast
  • Price – from $29
  • TicketsAvailable here.

 

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