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Lismore News

Orphaned koala raised by carers spotted thriving in the wild

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Aminya in care at Friends of the Koala in July 2019

Orphaned koala raised by carers spotted thriving in the wild

An orphaned koala who was raised by expert carers and spent months in rehabilitation has been spotted in the wild thriving with a joey of her own.
Aminya was rescued in June 2019 after a member of the public witnessed her mother fall from a tree in Larnook in northern New South Wales (NSW). Sadly, Aminya’s mother died on impact, but upon closer inspection, the person noticed movement in her pouch – her little joey – Aminya – was still alive.
Both mum and joey were transported to the expert International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)-sponsored vet team at Friends of the Koala near Lismore in NSW.
The mother had injuries on her back leg that were indicative of a car hit, which could explain her lack of strength and subsequent fall from the tree. Aminya was about four months old and slightly dehydrated but was in relatively good condition.
IFAW-sponsored vet nurse Marley Christian cared for Aminya overnight before placing her into home care with an experienced koala carer. It was a 24-hour job, with Aminya heartbreakingly mewling for her mum all night and demanding to be fed every two hours.
After about eight months in home care, Aminya was transferred to koala kindy at Friends of the Koala, where she learnt important koala skills and behaviours from other joeys her age. She then moved to a soft release site where she passed with flying colours before being released into safe secure habitat in Cawongla in January 2020.
Aminya hadn’t been sighted for several months until early September when she was spotted with a healthy new joey of her own.
“Seeing a rehabilitated koala, contributing to the wild population is the ultimate reward! It highlights the importance of our work and our shared belief with IFAW, that every individual matters and contributes to the conservation of the entire species,” Ms Christian said.
IFAW Animal Rescue Officer Nicole Rojas-Marin said Aminya’s successful rescue, rehabilitation and release into the wild is great news for the population of koalas in the region.
“It is always heartwarming when we see koalas that were hand raised and rehabilitated not just surviving, but thriving in the wild,” she said.
“Koalas in New South Wales are facing excessive threats and the risk of extinction by 2050, so to see Aminya contributing to the future of the population is really exciting.”

Lismore News

Saffin hosts Landcom CEO John Brogden in region

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Landcom CEO John Brogden

Saffin hosts Landcom CEO John Brogden in region

IN A WELCOME development, Lismore MP Janelle Saffin has hosted Landcom CEO John Brogden during a visit to her electorate to explore potential housing projects in high-growth areas of the Northern Rivers region.
Ms Saffin sought to have Landcom take an interest in our region earlier this year and a July visit had to be postponed due to COVID restrictions.
Given the role of Landcom, Ms Saffin’s also recommended to the Chair of the NSW Government’s Regional Housing Taskforce, Mr Garry Fielding that Landcom extend its scope to regional and rural New South Wales.
Ms Saffin said Mr Brogden accepted her invitation to see firsthand the housing affordability crisis being experienced in the region and be briefed on possible solutions.
“While Landcom isn’t a panacea for the housing affordability issues in the area, it’s important to start the discussion now to help address it,” Ms Saffin said.
“I also welcome the involvement of my Parliamentary colleague, State Member for Tweed Geoff Provest, because we have been working together, with Tweed Shire Council, on housing supply and affordability.
“This is an opportunity for Tweed Shire, Byron Shire and Lismore City councils to flesh out the detail of discussions they have been having with Landcom, and the start of more conversations between Landcom’s team and stakeholders in our wider region.”
Landcom is the NSW Government’s land and property development organisation, whose mission is to create more affordable and sustainable communities by improving the supply, diversity, and affordability of new housing.
“I was pleased that Mr Fielding, a Newcastle-based independent planning expert, picked up some of my suggestions for reform and that these ideas had remain in his October 2021 Recommendations Report to NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes,” Ms Saffin said.
“So, I’m glad there is a Taskforce recommendation to establish an ongoing program to deliver new and renewed social and affordable rental housing in the regions through partnership between government housing providers such as Land and Housing Corporation and Landcom, local government, and the community housing sector.
“Tomorrow’s roundtable and several site visits in Lismore are the first steps in developing this regional focus, and I’m confident it will lead to positive outcomes in the future.”
Ms Saffin has been at the forefront of the housing supply and affordability discussion, holding two Housing and Homelessness Action Forums, one in 2019 and another in May this year.
Ms Saffin’s Housing Ends Homelessness Report and Advocacy Paper was her response to the NSW Government’s Housing Strategy for NSW Discussion Paper.
She continues to advocate in and outside Parliament for State and Federal governments to take stronger roles in the provision of housing supply and actions regarding housing affordability.

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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?

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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Ballina News

EXPANDED SMALL BUSINESS RELIEF NOW AVAILABLE

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The Northern Rivers own newspaper

EXPANDED SMALL BUSINESS RELIEF NOW AVAILABLE

From today eligible sole traders, not-for-profit organisations and small businesses in NSW will be able to access up to $2,000 in relief to help them bounce back and get the economy firing again.

Treasurer Matt Kean said the increased and expanded grant would provide businesses with additional relief as part of the NSW COVID-19 Economic Recovery Strategy.

“From today, the Small Business Fees and Charges Rebate will increase from $1,500 to $2,000 and will now include road user tolls for business usage,” Mr Kean said.

“The rebate can be claimed against eligible NSW and local Government fees and charges that are required to run a business such as food authority licences, liquor licences, event fees and council rates.

“It’s been a tough year for sole traders and small operators and this is one more way the NSW Government is helping to keep businesses in business.”

Minister for Finance and Small Business Damien Tudehope said 70,000 businesses had already lodged a claim under the initial scheme, saving more than $82 million since it was launched on 1 April 2021.

“The expanded Small Business Fees and Charges Rebate will be available to small businesses across the State, from your local electrician paying for their trade licence to the café on the corner setting up outdoor seating,” Mr Tudehope said.

“The expansion to cover road tolls paid since 1 March 2021 will be especially helpful to those businesses who spend a lot of time in the car, truck or van.

“Toll relief of up to $2,000 will have a significant impact on the bottom line for a small business.”

Business owners can apply for the rebate by logging into their Business Profile via the MyService NSW Account.

Once approved, businesses will be provided with a $2,000 digital voucher in their Business Profile which applicants can draw down on to offset the cost of Government expenses.

Simply lodge your proof of payment and the money will be refunded back into your bank account.

Small businesses which have already registered for the previous $1,500 Small Business Rebate program will not be required to re-register. Those businesses will receive an automatic $500 top-up to the digital voucher. New applicants will receive one $2,000 digital voucher.

Applications for the rebate from new businesses will open today. These businesses can submit claims as soon as their application has been approved.

For more information on how to apply, visit nsw.gov.au.

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