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Northern Rivers & Rural News

INTERNATIONAL BORDER OPENING RIPE WITH OPPORTUNITIES FOR NSW AG WORKFORCE

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INTERNATIONAL BORDER OPENING RIPE WITH OPPORTUNITIES FOR NSW AG WORKFORCE

INTERNATIONAL BORDER OPENING RIPE WITH OPPORTUNITIES FOR NSW AG WORKFORCE

Primary producers will have their labour shortage pressures reduced with the NSW Government set to make it quicker and easier for foreign agricultural workers to safely start working on farms, Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall announced today.

From 1 November, the NSW Government will remove quarantine requirements and caps for overseas arrivals who the Commonwealth Government recognises as fully vaccinated with a TGA-approved vaccine.

“The welcoming of fully vaccinated overseas travelers into NSW is a fantastic opportunity to bolster the state’s agricultural workforce which has been decimated by the COVID-induced border closures,” Mr Marshall said.

“Forecasts show this crop will tip 16.08 million tonnes, and it is critical farmers have the workforce they need to bring that in.

“By the NSW Government removing quarantine requirements, it clears further financial and logistical barriers for the ag industry to bring in foreign workers to help keep our supermarkets shelves stocked as they have all through the pandemic.”

Further advice about testing requirements will be provided in the coming days.

Mr Marshall said this was further good news for the state’s primary producers as they look to acquire the necessary workforce ahead of another record harvest.

“Just yesterday, we announced more than 4,500 Department of Regional NSW staff would be entitled to a week’s Harvest Leave,” Mr Marshall said.

“While there is no short-term fix to the COVID-exacerbated workforce shortage, these two announcements in as many days will go a long way to alleviating labour pressures through a bumper harvest.”

To further assist industry overcome the labour shortage, the NSW Government has:

· Aided the arrival of 2,500 overseas agricultural workers;
· Provided $3.8 million in hotel quarantine subsidies for those workers;
· Spearheaded the Ag Workers’ Code; and
· Launched the ‘Help Harvest NSW’ website to connect agriculture employers with out of work Australians.

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SANDY CREEK FERRY

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Sandy Creek Ferry at the Junction of Sandy Creek and Bungawalbyn Creek

SANDY CREEK FERRY

 

By Helen Trustum

Water hyacinth was a menace on the Richmond River including Sandy Creek. The first appearance of water hyacinth in Sandy Creek was in 1911. Nothing was done and before they knew it both Sandy Creek and Bungawalbyn were covered. A water hyacinth eradication board was formed, coordinated by Richmond River County Council.

Sandy Creek Ferry at the Junction of Sandy Creek and Bungawalbyn Creek

Sandy Creek Ferry at the Junction of Sandy Creek and Bungawalbyn Creek

Sandy Creek emerges about 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) north of the village of Busbys Flat. The creek flows generally east, crossing the Summerland Way at Coombell, then flows down through Yorklea, Tatham, Bora Ridge into Bungawalbyn Creek, before reaching the Richmond River at Bungawalbyn, south of Coraki.

In 1889 Messrs. McLean and Nicol explored the coal seams at Moonembar. A tunnel was opened at Moonembar, when the Richmond Hill Coal Mining Company was formed in 1891. A ferry was operating over Sandy Creek in 1889.

Sandy Creek Bridge at Tatham

Sandy Creek Bridge at Tatham

Reported in the Richmond River Herald 9/9/1889 it mentions the splendid crop of maize grown by Mr Thomas Birmingham on what was formerly swamp ground but due to draining, the ground was much easier to cultivate and would withstand much more wet weather than the riverbank. Special notice was brought to the attention on the flat close to Sandy Creek punt where there was always knee deep water there for months. These great results all were attributed to the drains sunk by Mr Yabsley.

In the Richmond River Herald 7/6/1907 some discussion was held regarding the location of the Sandy Creek Bridge and the state of the roads leading to it as well as the continued use of Sandy Creek Ferry.

Sandy Creek Bridge across Sandy Creek on the Summerland Way at Coombell

Sandy Creek Bridge across Sandy Creek on the Summerland Way at Coombell

A wooden bridge was built over Sandy Creek.  It was there as reported in the Government Gazette 8/5/1907. Due to the flood in 1931 the earth embankment in connection with Sandy Creek flood gate, was washed away in the February flood. Mr Murray Yabsley and Mr Arthur Pursey gave their services free to renew the embankment. When finished it held back over eleven feet of water in time of a big flood. A new floodgate was built.

There are two main Sandy Creek crossings, one there at the junction of Bungawalbyn Creek and the other 16km up at Coombell. Both Sandy Creek bridges were built by Kennedy Brothers from Lismore. The bridge close to Bungawalbyn was built in 1960 closely followed by the other one.

Sandy Creek Bridge on Bora Ridge Road

Sandy Creek Bridge on Bora Ridge Road

Not a lot is known of the Sandy Creek Ferry, but we do know it existed back in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.

Ref: Terry Murphy from Bora Ridge, Mervyn Parrish and Headly Ellis from West Coraki, Ray Pignat from Coraki, Noel Thompson from Coraki, Richmond River Herald.

 

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Northern Rivers Rural Scholars Represent the Next Generation of Leaders

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DEAN CHAPMAN - 2024 Rural Scholarship program

Northern Rivers Rural Scholars Represent the Next Generation of Leaders

 

In a significant investment in the future of rural and regional communities, the RAS Foundation has selected a record 91 students for its 2024 Rural Scholarship program, including three scholars from the Northern Rivers region.

About the Scholarship Program

Now in its 14th year, the RAS Foundation Rural Scholarship program provides financial support to tertiary education students who are shaping the future of regional NSW by pursuing careers within rural or regional communities. This year, a record $516,000 will be distributed among the scholarship recipients to help ease the financial burdens associated with higher education, such as relocation costs, study expenses, and the inability to work consistently due to study commitments or placements.

Statement from the Foundation Manager

Cecilia Logan, Foundation Manager, expressed the Charity’s privilege in supporting the next generation of rural and regional leaders. “This year’s applicants are outstanding ambassadors for their communities and have the potential to create a positive and lasting impact in the regional sector through their chosen career paths,” she said. Logan highlighted the significant financial burden that pursuing higher education poses, especially for students from regional areas, and emphasized the program’s goal to ensure these students have access to the same opportunities as their metropolitan counterparts.

Scholars from Northern Rivers

  • Jacob Brentnall – Casino: Bachelor of Medical Studies/Doctor of Medicine
  • Dean Chapman – Fine Flower: Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)
  • Indigo Kesztler – Lismore: Bachelor of Dental Science

Lismore local Indigo Kesztler, studying dental science, aims to address the large healthcare gap in rural and remote communities, particularly in oral health. “There is a large healthcare gap in rural and remote communities within Australia, especially when it comes to education, affordability and long waiting lists associated with seeking public dental care. Once completing my studies, I hope to continue my work in rural areas and provide support to Indigenous communities and those who face barriers when it comes to accessing oral health care,” Kesztler said. The scholarship has alleviated the financial pressure associated with her degree, allowing her to focus more on her studies.

Financial Support

The RAS Foundation awards up to $6000 to full-time Rural Scholarship recipients and up to $3000 for part-time students, made possible through the generosity of donors like The Snow Foundation and UNE Foundation. Over its 17-year history, the RAS Foundation has invested over $9 million into rural and regional NSW through education and community grant programs, providing over 900 scholarships to students across Australia, including targeted scholarships for careers in regional journalism and the Australian wine industry.

Future Applications

Applications for the 2025 RASF Rural Scholarship will open on July 1, 2024, and close on September 22, 2024. The scholarship program is open to students across NSW and the ACT who are currently enrolled or applying for study in an accredited tertiary course at an Australian university, college, or TAFE, with no age or degree type restrictions.

The RAS Foundation continues to support rural scholars, ensuring they have the resources needed to pursue their academic and career aspirations, contributing to the strength and vitality of regional communities.

For more information, please visit www.rasf.org.au.

Meet the Northern Rivers Rural Scholars.

JACOB BRENTNALL
Casino
Bachelor of Medical Studies/Doctor of Medicine
University of New South Wales

JACOB BRENTNALL - 2024 Rural Scholarship program

JACOB BRENTNALL

Jacob is a fifth-year medical student studying at the University of New South Wales Rural Clinical Campus in Port Macquarie. His interests include anaesthetics, pain medicine, and general practice and he recently completed his Honours research project in acute pain management following hip fractures. Originally from the Northern Rivers, Jacob relocated to the Mid North Coast to study medicine with a strong passion for the rural and regional lifestyle and aspires to work in areas facing medical workforce shortages throughout his career.

DEAN CHAPMAN
Fine Flower
Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Flexible First Year)
University of Wollongong

DEAN CHAPMAN - 2024 Rural Scholarship program

DEAN CHAPMAN

Dean is excited to start his undergraduate Engineering degree at the University of Wollongong in 2024. A degree in engineering appeals to him as it will allow him to work on projects that improve the quality of life for many people. He has grown up on his family beef cattle property located at Fine Flower in the Northern Rivers where his family has been producing Australian beef for over 45 years. He enjoys exercising and keeping fit and his favourite sport is water polo but when on the farm, the best job is mustering cattle on the horses.

INDIGO KESZTLER
Lismore
Bachelor of Dental Science
Charles Sturt University

INDIGO KESZTLER - 2024 Rural Scholarship program

INDIGO KESZTLER

Indigo is currently in her fourth year studying dentistry at Charles Sturt University in Orange. Growing up in a small regional town in the Northern Rivers has highlighted the importance and need for supportive healthcare environments. Indigo recognises that costs often create a huge barrier for individuals in rural areas, leading to avoidance rather than prevention. She aspires to make a positive impact in rural communities through preventative care and the improvement of oral health literacy through education.

 

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Lizzy Chappell, Northern NSW

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Lizzy Chappel

Lizzy Chappell, Northern NSW

 

Lizzy Chappell is a down to earth 27-year-old female dairy farmer in Northern NSW working every day alongside her fifth-generation farmer husband, Brian and raising their three children Luke (5), Jacob (3) and Amelia (1).

Lizzy fell in love with farm life 15 years ago joining her then high school sweetheart Brian on his family farm and under the guidance of Brian’s mother discovered her passion for farming.

Brian’s mum shared with her the ins and outs of dairy farming and passed on the knowledge she had learnt throughout the 15 years as a Norco dairy farmer.

“I fell in love with the farm and farm life, as previously I had only been a hobby farmer in my hometown of Clunes and had no family history in farming,” said Lizzy.

Lizzy and Brian first entered a partnership with Brian’s mum and stepdad four years ago, however due to unforeseen circumstances with Brian’s mother falling ill – they took over and have been running the farm together ever since, making them one of Norco’s youngest dairy farmers.

“It happened sooner than we expected as we are still quite young, but we felt ready and well prepared,” Lizzy adds.

“Brian’s mum was so knowledgeable, she taught me everything I know including how to bring up the best cows possible and run an efficient farm.” Lizzy adds.

Lizzy and Brian currently employ five staff members and manage a herd of 750 cows in total with 400 milking jerseys. As Lizzy also is raising three children, the farm is family focused not only for Lizzy but all staff members.

When asked what she loves most about being in the dairy industry Lizzy reports bringing the kids up on the farm is an amazing experience and the joy it brings to their whole family is priceless.

“The boys absolutely love it, and they already talk farming. They feed the calves and help us out where it’s safe of course, but I love the farming lifestyle and sharing it with my kids, Lizzy adds.

Being one of Norco’s youngest dairy farmers and a female, Lizzy has found a great support network of fellow female dairy farmers from farms close by and a Women in Dairy Facebook group which serves as a place for sharing tips, advice, and interesting news updates.

When asked what a day on the farm looks like for Lizzy it’s a 3:30am start to milk the cows, before getting Luke and Jacob ready for daycare then it’s back to the farm for chores throughout the day whilst caring for Amelia her youngest.

“I will be honest, I am not hands on or confident with the machinery so I leave that to our staff, maybe one day I will learn. But really my passion lies with innovation on the farm, caring for our herd and striving for success.

“The innovation we have implemented on our farm comes from a real love for our cows. We have introduced collars for cow health which will connect to the Autodraft, a chip in their ear with a personalised number. This will tell us if a cow is sick or on heat when it walks past the scanner and we can tend to it immediately, enhancing on farm efficiency.

Lizzy and Brian also received a grant to create a big dam on farm for effluent recycling and have plans to upgrade their farm in the future. Lizzy hopes to pass down her knowledge to her kids as they get older, showing them the ropes of dairy farming.

“I love seeing my kids grow up on the farm and I hope that maybe one out of the three will catch on to my enthusiasm for the dairy life and become a sixth-generation dairy farmer. After all there is nowhere else I would rather be,” Lizzy concludes.

 

For more rural news, click here.

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