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Northern Rivers & Rural News

NRLX dollar turnover ‘through the roof’

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NRLX dollar turnover ‘through the roof’

NRLX dollar turnover ‘through the roof’

AFTER a booming 2020-2021 financial year, the Northern Rivers Livestock Exchange (NRLX) dollar turnover has demolished the all-time record of $113,616,791, coming in at $143,216,075.

Applauding the results, Richmond Valley Council’s General Manager Vaughan Macdonald said the agriculture and food production sectors accounted for almost 30 percent of employment for the local area, and around 45 percent of the area’s total economic output in traditional years.

Mr Macdonald said with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to a business operating environment no one could have predicted, this result was a significant contribution to the financial stability and recovery of the region.

He said the benefits of the NRLX extended well beyond the selling gate.

“We know that on selling days our CBD businesses become a hive of activity, with people grabbing supplies or stopping for a bite to eat,” Mr Macdonald said.

“In small regional communities like ours, this business activity is paramount, supporting local traders and maintaining local jobs.

“The flow on effects from such a successful year for producers will continue to ripple through the local economy for some time.

“Many of the local producers who sell their stock through the NRLX were hand feeding their herds at the peak of the drought in mid-2019; then many were hit by the fires.

“For vendors it is an exceptional result to bounce back so strongly, with such high quality stock, after the shock of 2019.

“They’ve invested a lot to get their stock back to this point and they’ve produced an exceptional result.”

NRLX Operations Manager Brad Willis said the results also showed the commitment NRLX-based livestock agents had for their clients.

“The positive relationships being built between all stakeholders who use our facility are an important factor in this successful year,” he said.

As the current boom in cattle prices showed no signs of abating, Mr Willis said the NRLX was well positioned as a modern, industry-leading facility which vendors and buyers could rely on.

“Our technological infrastructure, safety, animal welfare and environmental standards here are world-class,” he said.

“We are regularly making adjustments to improve the experience for our buyers and vendors at the sales.”

Mr Willis said the results vindicated the $14 million investment in upgrading the NRLX by Richmond Valley Council, with the support of the Federal and State governments.

“Operating from a state-of-the-art facility has proven to be a bonanza for the local cattle industry, with sales revenue at the NRLX jumping $30 million to reach a high of just over $143 million for the 2020-2021 financial year,” he said.

Mr Macdonald said Council’s hard work to improve the services, relationships and stakeholder engagement also contributed to the ongoing success story of NRLX.

“I am very proud of the NRLX team, led by Operations Manager Brad Willis, and the way in which the NRLX has continued to operate and set an excellent example of saleyard operation under challenging circumstances during COVID,” he said.

“There is no doubt the NRLX is the premier facility for the livestock trading market for northern NSW.”

Mr Willis said a total of 91 sales were held over the past financial year with 103,436 head of cattle sold, grossing more than $143 million in total sales. Average price per head also significantly increased to $1384.59 from the previous record of $951.06.

He said people knew when they bought livestock from the NRLX they were securing some of the strongest bloodlines in the region and that they could fulfil orders for stock in the one place.

He said the yards were attracting buyers from as far afield as Victoria in the south, right across western NSW and as far north to the Tropic of Capricorn, in Queensland.

“The fact we have buyers coming from Victoria, combined with regular visitors from south western Queensland, southern NSW, and significant volumes from western NSW, shows the NRLX and our agents are successfully bringing new business to the region,” Mr Willis said.

“Selling numbers have been strong, with prices remaining at record highs, which provides further confidence for growth for this industry well into the future.

“We have seen an increase in the area our vendors are sending stock from with regular clients now coming from Kempsey, Glen Innes and Stanthorpe.

“Our yards are nationally recognised for premier quality stock and competitive prices, and the addition of StockLive streaming of sales allowing vendors, buyers and spectators to observe the sale remotely proved a popular option during the height of the COVID-19 lockdown.

“The NRLX is a truly modern, best-practice facility for animal welfare outcomes, workplace health and safety, as well as an efficient and comfortable cattle sale destination.”

Mr Macdonald said in undertaking a review in 2018, the NRLX was clearly identified as a key asset for users and one of the main sales outlets for local cattle in the region.

He said financial sustainability had been a key focus of the facility in recent years with
increasing pressure to remain viable due to escalating compliance costs, higher expectations from buyers and sellers, animal welfare standard and other selling mechanisms.

He said the Council unanimously voted to do everything in its power to ensure the long-term viability of the facility.

“Two years ago Council took the initiative to freeze agent and seller sale fees at the NRLX as a gesture of support for the cattle industry as it recovered from severe drought,” Mr Macdonald said.

“On the back of this decision an entirely new structure was introduced in August 2020 which built in flexibility for market conditions and the benefits of this are evident.

“Council has a rich history and association with the Casino saleyards and will ensure it remains a competitive, sustainable and safe facility focused on supporting the local agricultural and related sectors.

“The NRLX is an asset which will continue to be supported and improved to bring greater competition to our cattle auctions and play pivotal role in the local industry and economy.”

Local News

Critical incident investigation underway following crash – Casino

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Critical incident investigation underway following crash – Casino

A critical incident investigation has been declared after a cyclist was struck by a vehicle in the state’s north.

About 9.40pm (Thursday 29 July 2021) officers attached to Richmond Police District were at an address on Churchill Crescent, Casino, for an unrelated matter when they noticed a cyclist riding without a helmet or lights on his bicycle.

Police requested the man stop; however, he continued riding and collided with a vehicle at the intersection of Churchill Crescent and Hotham Street.

He was treated by NSW Ambulance paramedics, however, died at the scene. The man is yet to be formally identified.

The driver of the vehicle, a 20-year-old Queensland man, was not injured and taken to Casino Hospital for mandatory testing.

The man’s four passengers were uninjured.

The Crash Investigation Unit (CIU) is attending the scene.

A critical incident team from Tweed-Byron Police District will now investigate all circumstances surrounding the incident.

That investigation will be subject to independent review.

No further details are available at this time.

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Health News

Two new services providing free confidential support for anxiety, stress and low mood

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Healthy North Coast
Healthy North Coast

Two new services providing free confidential support for anxiety, stress and low mood

HEALTHY North Coast, in partnership with Remedy Healthcare, is pleased to announce a new mental health service for the North Coast.

Healthy North Coast CEO Julie Sturgess said that access to free support services for people living with mild mental illness on the North Coast was a priority.

“For people needing support with managing stress or worry, it’s so important that we have services available to provide help when and where needed, so that support can be accessed early,” she said.

“After a competitive tender process, Remedy Healthcare has been contracted to deliver two new programs to support people over 16 to improve their mental and emotional wellbeing, especially people experiencing isolation, and those in rural and remote locations.

“The ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic has seen a rise in mental health concerns across the world. Now, more than ever, we have to encourage ourselves to seek help.”

Remedy Healthcare is launching the MindStepR and Healing Minds telephone and online services. Both are free, easily accessible, and do not require a referral by a GP or healthcare professional. Delivered by trained mental health coaches, the confidential services use evidence-based techniques that improve mental health and wellbeing.

Remedy Healthcare’s Executive General Manager, Mike Hutton Squire, said both services aimed to reduce psychological distress and improve quality of life by helping people self-manage their mental health and wellbeing.

“The free services offer one-on-one assessment, coaching and follow-up sessions. Use of the services is completely confidential and accessible to people living anywhere within the North Coast region in NSW.”

Member for Page Kevin Hogan said the new services would provide much needed and timely support for the people of northern NSW.

“Around one in five people have a mental health concern each year,” Mr Hogan said.

“Over a lifetime, around 50% of people are likely to experience mental health issues.”

This year’s Federal Budget directed $2.3 billion towards improving mental health and suicide prevention in communities across Australia.

MindStepR is an evidence-based, low-intensity, guided self-help service and is designed to run alongside any existing psychological care.

To access MindStepR, call 1800 322 278 or visit www.remedyhealthcare.com.au/mindstep-hnc

Healing Minds is a culturally sensitive adaptation of MindStep specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over 16. To access Healing Minds, call 1800 810 255 or visit www.remedyhealthcare.com.au/healing-minds-hnc

If you or someone you care for needs immediate support, please call 000 or:

Lifeline 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
NSW Mental Health Line 1800 011 511
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800
1800 Respect 1800 737 732
MensLine 1300 789 978
Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636

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Local News

Milestone reached for outgoing Mayor Robert Mustow

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Mayor Robert Mustow
Mayor Robert Mustow

Milestone reached for outgoing mayor

By Tonia Dynan

IN the time Mayor Robert Mustow has been on council, he has been waiting to see development applications for his region hit the 300 mark.

“There’s also been almost 350 applications lodged and that’s the first time that’s been over 300, so these figures they show this confidence in the Richmond Valley and council has encouraged many initiatives to achieve this and has worked with our community to have this outcome,” Richmond Valley Council’s Cr Mustow said.

“It’s not only a council win, but it’s also the community, and developers and people who want to build their first homes and it’s really, really good.

“I’m pleased to say that that has been achieved because to get 300 DAs to me has been a bit of a goal and we’ve always been touching on it, but now we’ve just really jumped over it, and that’s a great. Congratulations to everyone.”

The figures were revealed in a report about the six-monthly customer service feedback survey.

“You’ll see that the total dollar amount of development applications this year is over $65 million, and it’s never been over $50 million before,” Cr Mustow said.

“I think that’s a pretty substantial increase.”

More than 80 per cent of survey respondents said they were very satisfied or satisfied with the customer service received when dealing with Richmond Valley Council.

More than half of the respondents to the survey conducted in June contacted council for assistance with development or planning enquiries and their main area of concern related to the lag time of a follow up response to their initial enquiry.

Council has identified some room for improvement that will be the focus of the customer experience team in the coming months, including working closely with applicants lodging applications via the new e-planning portal, and more training and upskilling of newer, inexperienced staff.

Cr Mustow said customer service was a lot of work, but it was a positive report which was great to hear.

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