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Lismore News

MAZDA BT-50 XTR 4X4 DUAL-CAB UTE

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MAZDA BT-50 XTR 4X4 DUAL-CAB UTE
Mazda BT-50 . . . it’s a good thing but the real question is: Has Mazda done enough?
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NOTICE OF MEMBERS EXTRAORINDARY LAND DEALING MEETING

MAZDA BT-50 XTR 4X4 DUAL-CAB UTE

Mazda BT-50 . . . it’s a good thing but the real question is: Has Mazda done enough?

By CHRIS RILEY

For ute watchers, Mazda’s BT-50 has more in common with the Isuzu D-Max than it does the Ford Ranger these days.
After they parted ways, Mazda did a deal with Isuzu while Volkswagen went looking for something to turn into the next Amarok.
For its part Mazda reportedly had little input into the design process and as a result BT-50 is simply a re-skinned version of D-Max, although that’s probably a little harsh.
To put this in perspective, Isuzu has enjoyed meteoric success with the latest D-Max, which has stormed the top sellers list, providing a solid launching pad for Mazda — the real question is whether it has done enough?

STYLING
The new BT-50 looks more refined and car-like — a bit like the last Falcon in fact.
From the rear however the look is generic ute, with vertical tail lights replacing the stylised triangular of the previous model.
The ‘ruggedly stylish’ XTR 4×2 with an auto is $49,470, XTR 4×4 with a manual is $54,710 and the 4×4 auto is $57,210 — all prices before on-road costs.
Standard kit includes 17-inch alloys, cloth trim and manual air, carpeted floors, power windows, power adjust mirrors, LED headlights, auto lights and wipers, rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beam and traffic sign recognition and walk away automatic locking.
The XTR adds 18-inch alloys, side steps, power fold mirrors, advanced keyless entry and push-button start, LED fog lights, LED headlights with auto levelling, LED daytime running lights, dual-zone climate air with rear vents, leather wrapped steering wheel and gear knob, auto-dimming rear view mirror and centre armrest for the rear seat.

INTERIOR

MAZDA BT-50 XTR 4X4 DUAL-CAB UTE

MAZDA BT-50 XTR 4X4 DUAL-CAB UTE

The cabin is trimmed in cloth with dual zone climate air conditioning, rear air vents for back seat passengers and a splash of leather for the wheel and transmission lever.
Style-wise the main difference between BT-50 and the D-Max is the centre console which has higher sides in the Mazda to prevent items from falling out.
The wheel is reach and height adjustable, while the seats have manual adjustment for rake, slide, height and lumbar support.
The screen, unlike other Mazdas, is touch sensitive, with no central control knob (but no volume control knob either).
Analogue instrument gauges flank a central info screen where speed can be displayed digitally, and traffic sign recognition keeps the driver informed of the current speed limit.

INFOTAINMENT
The infotainment system comprises a 7.0-inch touchscreen and two-speaker audio with Bluetooth streaming, AM/FM and DAB+ digital radio, Android Auto and Wireless Apple CarPlay — plus single USB and 12V outlets.
In the XTR this is upped to a 9.0-inch touchscreen with eight speakers and satellite navigation.
A new speaker is mounted in the headlining, while a 6×9-inch woofer delivers powerful bass response and two-way dome tweeters emit clear mid- to high-range sounds.
Dash-mounted and rear door ‘balanced dome’ tweeters use a voice coil and dome-shaped diaphragm to create impressive depth.

ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
The BT-50 is powered by a turbo-diesel 3.0-litre, four-cylinder engine that generates 140kW of power and 450Nm of torque, the latter between 1600 and 2600 rpm.
The new power plant features an aluminium-alloy head and cast-iron engine block, chain-driven double overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, drive-by-wire throttle control and a Variable Geometry System turbocharger.
Two-wheel drive models all get a six-speed auto, while the 4×4 version is offered with a choice of six-speed manual or automatic.
You can change gears manually using the shifter with the auto, but steering wheel mounted change paddles are not provided.

SAFETY
An extensive, five-star safety package includes eight airbags, reverse camera and Autonomous Emergency Braking.
There’s also Attention Assist, Blind Spot Monitor, Emergency Lane Keeping Assist – Overtaking, Emergency Stop Signal, Automatic High Beam, Hill Descent Control, Hill Launch Assist, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Departure Prevention, Lane-keep Assist System (automatic models), Locking Rear Differential (4×4 models), Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Roll Over Protection, Secondary Collision Reduction, Speed Assist System, Traction Control System and Turn Assist.

DRIVING

MAZDA BT-50 XTR 4X4 DUAL-CAB UTE

MAZDA BT-50 XTR 4X4 DUAL-CAB UTE

The drive experience is slow, heavy and truck-like overall. Depending on what you’re looking for, this may not be as bad as it sounds.
On a more positive note, it’s a relaxed, easy vehicle to drive that cruises effortlessly and uses hardly any fuel for a vehicle this size. You’ve gotta like that.
New BT-50 weighs up to 50kg less than the previous Ford-based models.
With a 76-litre tank, we were getting 7.8 litres per hundred kilometres over more than 500 kilometres of testing in various conditions.
Front suspension is independent via upper and lower wishbones with coil springs, gas-filled telescopic dampers and a stabiliser bar.
For the rear a semi-elliptic leaf with alloy-steel spring leaves and gas-filled telescopic dampers ensure maximum reliability and car-like ride and handling qualities.
Speed-sensitive, power-assisted rack and pinion steering is standard across the range, with 3.84 turns to lock
The switch to 4×4 is via a rotary knob located in the lower part of the console, with high and low range available — as well as a locking rear differential with the auto.
This model has excellent t ground clearance of 240mm and can handle an impressive 800mm of water, but we worry about the side steps which are almost guaranteed to be dented off road.
All grades and body types are fitted with under-body protection to guard against damage off-road or in rural areas.
The XTR can carry a 1090kg payload and pull a 3500kg braked trailer.
The cargo box is 1571mm long, 1530mm wide and 490mm deep, with 1120mm between the wheel arches and four tie-down points.
Our test vehicle had a tray liner, but the liner is optional.
There are two IsoFix and two top tether child seat anchor points.
Servicing intervals are 12 months or 15,000km and it comes with a five-year unlimited kilometre warranty.

SUMMING UP
BT-50 ticks all the right boxes. It’s a fine ute and certainly fit for purpose.
But still looks too refined and car-like. Too much like a Falcon in fact and look what happened to it.
Ranger on the other has delivered incredible sales results largely on the back of its blunt, chiseled macho styling and carefully crafted ‘tough as nails’ image.
Plenty of black trim helps too. That’s, demonstrably, is what buyers want and that’s what Mazda needs to provide — it’s not rocket science guys.

AT A GLANCE

XTR Dual Cab Pickup (auto) $57,210
Note: This price does not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Mazda dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Mazda BT-50 XTR 3.0L Turbo 4-cylinder diesel 6sp automatic 4×4 Dual Cab Pickup)

ENGINE:
Capacity: 3.0 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 140 kW @ 3600 rpm
Maximum Torque: 450 Nm @ 1600-2600 rpm
Fuel Type: Diesel
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 8.0 L/100km
CO2 Emissions: Euro 5

DRIVELINE: Six-speed automatic, 4×4

DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 5280 mm
Wheelbase: 3125 mm
Width: 1870 mm
Height: 1785 mm
Turning Circle: 12.5 metres
Kerb Mass: 2030 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 76 litres

BRAKES:
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Drum

STANDARD WARRANTY:
Five years / unlimited kilometres

RATINGS:
Looks: 7.5/10
Performance: 7.5/10
Safety: 8/10
Thirst: 8/10
Practicality: 7.5/10
Comfort: 7.5/10
Tech: 8/10
Value: 8/10
Overall: 7.75/10

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Lismore News

Terania Street Reopening to Light Vehicles Only

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NOTICE OF MEMBERS EXTRAORINDARY LAND DEALING MEETING

Terania Street Reopening to Light Vehicles Only

 

After a closure lasting over four months, Terania Street in Lismore is set to reopen to light vehicles starting from late Friday 21 June, pending favourable weather conditions. This reopening follows the implementation of traffic calming measures aimed at preventing further damage to the rail-over-road bridge caused by oversized vehicles.

  • Traffic Calming Measures:
    • New measures include speed humps, a reduced speed limit of 25 km/h, restricted lane width, traffic islands, and surveillance cameras. These are designed specifically to slow down light vehicles and restrict heavy vehicles (over 4.5 tonnes) from using Terania Street near the rail bridge.
  • Purpose of Measures:
    • The installation aims to prevent future damage to the bridge, which necessitated its closure between Tweed and Peate streets since February 7.
  • Community Impact and Appreciation:
    • Transport for NSW, through Director Region North Anna Zycki, expressed gratitude to residents and businesses for their patience during the closure period. They continue to work towards a permanent solution for the bridge’s sustainability.
  • Heavy Vehicle Detour:
    • Heavy vehicles are advised to use a detour via Wilson Street, Elliott Road, and Ballina Road until further notice. Residents needing access to or from Peate Street should detour via Pine, Crane, and Tweed streets.
  • Heritage Council Approval:
    • Transport for NSW has received approval from the NSW Heritage Council to remove the Terania Street rail-over-road bridge. They are currently addressing the consent conditions and will inform the community about the commencement of this work.
  • Compliance and Safety:
    • New signage, including ‘No right turn’ signs at Peate Street, has been installed to guide vehicles and ensure compliance with the new traffic conditions.

For ongoing updates and details, residents and road users are encouraged to stay informed through Transport for NSW communications channels.

This reopening marks a significant step in restoring normal traffic flow while safeguarding the historic bridge structure from further damage caused by inappropriate vehicle use.

 

For more local Lismore news, click here.

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Lismore News

No early education care places in ‘childcare desert’

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Kevin Hogan with childcare participants Lismore
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NOTICE OF MEMBERS EXTRAORINDARY LAND DEALING MEETING

No early education care places in ‘childcare desert’

 

By Samantha Elley

Rachael Lane and Jaclyn Pilbeam are two young mums who are finding it difficult to navigate the lack of childcare spaces in the Lismore area.

Because she was unable to find childcare for her two-year-old daughter, Sophie, Rachael does shiftwork at night, packing shelves, then takes over at home so her husband can go to work during the day.

Jaclyn was luckier in that she was able to find a place for her 13-month-old daughter, Evie,  but she had to take extreme action.

“We had our daughter Evie on a daycare (list) before she was even born,” she said.

“She is still on waiting lists, as Evie goes to daycare that is 20-30 minutes from our house.

“It’s not ideal for our family. I need to go to work. I’d love to stay at home with my children but it’s just not an option for me.”

Ms Pilbeam said the cost of living meant she had to work, but not only that, her time at work helped her as well.

“I am a better mum when I work,” she said.

“I am quite happy to send my child to daycare, although it’s not my first option. It works for me and it works for my family.

“We need those options available in our area for mums like me.”

Ms Pilbeam said that the waiting lists in Lismore for childcare is on average 200 young ones.

Isabel McLennan of The Learning Cottage in Lismore and Wollongbar confirmed the numbers.

“I’ve got 300 families on both waiting lists,” she said.

“That’s 600 children that we can’t supply places for.”

Another issue, especially since the 2022 flood, is the need for quality early childhood educators, according to Mitch Hutchinson of Kyogle Early Learning.

“To fill those spots with quality educators is also a big issue in this area,” he said.

“To attract and retain high quality early childhood teachers in the area where there’s zero rentals (and) high cost of living area is really hard for the award wages they get paid.”

The opposition is calling for the government to address the crisis for young families.

“This is a big problem across our country,” said Angie Bell, Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education.

“We are looking at more flexibility and choice for regional families that currently do not have access to early learning.”

Minister Bell said the issue seemed more acute in Lismore, due to the flood crisis, but it was an issue across the country.

“There are 9 million Australians who live in a childcare desert and what that means is there are three children waiting for every place available.”

Minister Bell said the Labor government needed to step up and deliver more for regional families.

“They spent $4.7 billion on their Cheaper Childcare Bill and all they’ve delivered is zero places for regional Australians,” she said.

“Fees have gone up by 7% in less than six months and so families are paying more, which means they have to work longer hours.”

And while Minister Bell was unable to reveal the childcare policy of the Coalition, more would be revealed closer to the next election.

“What we want to see is flexibility and choice for families,” she said.

A new report from the Centre for Policy Development was released last week and it recommended bold reforms to ensure universal early education and care for all children.

Ten key reforms were suggested in the Growing Together: A future universal early childhood education and care system for Australia report.

These included  ensuring all children had access to a minimum of three days of early childhood education and care a week at low or no cost.

“Three days is perfect,” said Jaclyn.

“It feels like a happy medium. I feel like I can give more to my children.

“It’s good socialisation for the kids and you’ve still got four days with your children at zero dollar rate.”

 

For more local Lismore news, click here.

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Lismore News

Soldiers to March into Lismore: Freedom of Entry Parade

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NOTICE OF MEMBERS EXTRAORINDARY LAND DEALING MEETING

Soldiers to March into Lismore: Freedom of Entry Parade

 

Soldiers from the esteemed 41st Battalion, Royal New South Wales Regiment, based in Lismore, are set to perform a stirring Freedom of Entry Parade into the heart of the Lismore CBD on Saturday, June 22nd, 2024.

Led by the commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Danial Healy, the ceremonial parade will feature up to 200 soldiers from the Northern Rivers region, accompanied by a military marching band. The event will commence at 1:00 pm on Magellan Street, proceeding through the city streets before concluding at Memorial Gardens on Molesworth Street around 2:00 pm.

This symbolic procession will see the soldiers donning their full regalia, showcasing the esteemed traditions of the battalion. Superintendent Scott Tanner, the Richmond PD District commander, and Mayor of Lismore, Councillor Steve Krieg, will formally challenge the soldiers’ right of entry into the city as they halt along the route.

Lieutenant Colonel Healy emphasised the significance of exercising the battalion’s Freedom of Entry, underscoring the close ties between the soldiers and the local community. He highlighted the battalion’s pivotal role in the response to the 2022 floods, reaffirming their commitment to serving the community.

The Freedom of Entry Parade holds historical significance, rooted in military tradition and medieval history. It represents the highest honour bestowed upon the Australian Defence Force by a city, symbolizing the enduring bond between the military and the local community.

The parade not only serves as a ceremonial spectacle but also as an opportunity for the soldiers to deepen their connections with the City of Lismore. As a prelude to the lantern parade, this event promises to be a captivating display of unity and respect, commemorating the rich heritage of the 41st Battalion.

 

For more local Lismore news, click here.

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