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Northern Rivers & Rural News

Young Aussies urged to ‘Get outta town after lockdown’ for a once in a lifetime GAP Year experience

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Celebrity Chef and Thankful4Farmers Ambassador, Matt Moran

Young Aussies urged to ‘Get outta town after lockdown’ for a once in a lifetime GAP Year experience

Thankful4Farmers

Thankful4Farmers Logo

Young Australians are being encouraged to get outta town after lockdown for a new type of GAP Year filled with fun, new friendships and skill development opportunities in their own backyard.

Social enterprise Thankful’s Australian initiative, Thankful4Farmers is calling on young people to try a new type of GAP Year across rural and regional Australia. Highlighting the once in a lifetime experiences waiting for them and the great opportunity to make a real difference, the New GAP Year is encouraging young Australians to GoAndPick or GoAndPour in regional Australia.

To help young Australians wanting adventure, the organisation has launched a new website and platform www.newgapyear.com.au connecting them with job opportunities in rural and regional Australia and has everything they need to plan and map out their GAP – whether they want to GoAndPick, GoAndPour for a week, a month or a whole year.
The New GAP Year launches as there is a skilled labour shortage across regional Australia, particularly in agriculture and hospitality industries. The agriculture labour shortages are causing crop losses and tens of millions to be lost to the local economy with fruit and vegetables continuing to rot in fields.

An issue that is having a knock-on effect beyond the farmgate to all Australians with the Consumer Price Index showing retail fruit and vegetable prices rising by around 5% in June 2021 due to a shortage of pickers. The September 2021 Quarterly update for Horticulture from the Department of Agriculture also shows that prices will remain high in 2021-22 due to labour shortages.

“There are so many amazing people and places waiting for them across regional and rural Australia,” says Thankful CEO, Kim McDonnell who is behind the initiative. “As well as great ways they can earn money and learn new skills while exploring.”

“We know young Aussies are dreaming of adventure after a hard year. We also know they are the highest unemployed group, suffering the most with mental health and wellness. This really is a great opportunity for them to have fun, make new friends, earn money and get outta town after lockdown.”

“At the same time, they will be ‘doing good’ by providing a helping hand to rural and regional communities and ensuring every Australian family can access the fresh and delicious produce this country produces. They will be connected with fee free courses to help future-proof skills, explore new interests and trial in-demand industries.”
“COVID border closures have caused seasonal labour shortages across Australian farms with many producers not knowing where to go to or how to attract seasonal workers. The skilled labor crisis and the growing impact of climate change compound the challenges currently facing farmers.”

“So by connecting producers and employers in regional communities to young Aussies looking for an amazing adventure, we hope to help address the labour shortage issue and deliver a once in a lifetime experience filled with fun, new friendships and skill development opportunities.”

“The New GAP Year platform is a labour solution for producers and other employers in rural and regional communities which estimates the agriculture labour shortage alone is around 24,000. And with the lost crop register exceeding $50 million in March, already many producers are worried about the 2021 harvest and destroying produce because of the inability to harvest.”

“Thankful4Farmers is committed to helping regional and rural Australia and we wanted to help address this growing issue with a practical and meaningful solution, which will enables them to find seasonal workers they need and focus on what they do best – producing fresh and healthy produce for every Australian family every day.”
The Thankful4Farmers New GAP Year platform (www.newGAPyear.com.au) has partnered with Training Services NSW to deliver free training courses for young people, job seekers and school leavers as well as jobs marketplace, Tree to deliver a comprehensive solution. The website has everything people need to plan and map out their GAP in regional and rural Australia.

The Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee said young people could also take advantage of fee-free training as part of the Summer Skills program to get qualifications.

“The NSW Government is working with training providers to offer free skills sets in areas such as agriculture, horticulture, shearing and even drone operations. This is a great opportunity for students and young people who have been locked down to break out, have an adventure and learn some new skills.”
“They can connect with labour providers, producers and employers across rural and regional Australia and make the most of the many amazing experiences across Australia await them in The New GAP Year. They can start planning their adventure today – whether they want to GoAndPick or GoAndPour for a week, a month or a whole year,” said McDonnell.

Celebrity Chef and Thankful4Farmers Ambassador, Matt Moran today issued a call to arms to young Australians.
“The New GAP Year is a great way to get outta town after a long lockdown,” says Moran. “I’ve seen firsthand the impact that labour shortages are having on regional and rural Australia with many farmers facing no choice but to destroy their crops and many hospitality venues struggling to find staff. This is a fantastic opportunity to have a fun-filled adventure in our backyard, while also making a real difference to the community, learning valuable skills and forging new friendships along the way.”
For further information visit: www.newgapyear.com.au

Northern Rivers & Rural News

Farmers get their say on land use

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NSW Northern Rivers Breaking News

Farmers get their say on land use

The fight between farmers and developers could be a thing of the past thanks to a new mapping project that will shape future regional planning decisions.

With agriculture, urban development, renewable energy infrastructure and other land use interests competing for space in our increasingly busy regional areas, NSW Farmers is urging landholders to have their say on State Significant Agricultural Land mapping.

NSW Farmers Vice President Xavier Martin said it was an important process that would help protect farmers from conflicting land uses into the future.

“Farmers are being given a direct opportunity to have their say on the important issue of land use planning, and this could set the course for years to come as land use interests in regional areas grow,” Mr Martin said.

“Unfortunately, agricultural land can be viewed as a default zone when it comes to matters such as urban expansion, energy infrastructure and mining.

“There’s a finite amount of land suitable for agriculture and at the moment, we are losing it in a very fragmented way, but the state government’s mapping exercise is an opportunity to resolve that poor outcome.”

Mr Martin said the NSW Government’s understanding of the regional and state significance of agricultural areas would go a long way to minimising future conflict.

“The understanding of high value agricultural land must be multi-faceted, taking into consideration soil quality, yield, adaptability, proximity to export hubs and regional importance,” Mr Martin said.

“If the government is to identify and protect agricultural land on a tiered basis, then they need to understand what makes land strategically important – and farmers will be the repository of that knowledge.

“The goal of NSW Farmers advocacy in the land use space is to ensure agriculture is being considered in land use decisions. We need to start somewhere, and this mapping is the starting point.”

While the first iteration of the government’s mapping is not perfect, Mr Martin said consultation and refinement would help produce a planning tool that benefits landholders.

Consultation on the first State Significant Agricultural Land mapping is open until late January 2022 and the NSW Department of Primary Industries is welcoming input from farmers.

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Northern Rivers & Rural News

Northern NSW farmers to have their say on climate, regional opportunities

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The Northern Rivers own newspaper

Northern NSW farmers to have their say on climate, regional opportunities

Friday, 10 December 2021. From Taree to Lismore, Northern NSW farmers can have their say on what Australia’s climate policy should look like at one of Farmers for Climate Action’s end-of-year catch-ups next week.

The seven networking events, created by farmers for farmers passionate about a better climate future, are an opportunity to be updated on Australia’s climate policy, share local insights and learnings from the year, and ensure we’re feeding the right climate solutions back to industry and decision-makers.

The 1.5-hour sessions will run from Monday 13 December to Wednesday 15 December in the following locations:

Taree: Monday 13 December from 6.30pm at the Caravilla Motor Inn Bistro
Port Macquarie: Tuesday 14 December from 9am at Hibbard Sports Club
Dorrigo: Tuesday 14 December from 1.30pm at the Food Angel Cafe
Bellingen: Tuesday 14 December from 630pm at Bellingen Riverside Cottages
Grafton: Wednesday 15 Dec from 9.30am at Vines at 139
Kyogle: Wednesday 15 December from 2pm at Sugarbowl Cafe
Lismore: Wednesday 15 December from 6.30pm at the Lismore Workers Club mezzanine

Peter Holding, third-generation Harden farmer and FCA community outreach officer said:

“Here’s your opportunity to meet like-minded farmers and compare notes on the year we’ve had. We can have a frank discussion about where Australia’s climate policy is at and, more importantly, what this means for our region and livelihoods.

“Farmers are on the front lines of climate change, with many of us in this region living through droughts, floods, bushfires and more.

“Strong climate policy creates a raft of opportunities for regional Australia and we want Northern NSW farmers to be central to the conversation to ensure we get the best opportunities for the region.”

The events will be free of charge. RSVPs are essential and refreshments will be provided. To register visit www.farmersforclimateaction.org.au/events.

Farmers for Climate Action is a movement of almost 7000 farmers and agricultural leaders working to ensure that farmers, who are on the frontlines of climate change, are part of its solution.

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Northern Rivers & Rural News

NEW GENE TECHNOLOGIES TO DOUBLE FARM PRODUCTIVITY

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Minister Marshall - Advanced Gene Technology Centre
Minister Marshall - Advanced Gene Technology Centre

NEW GENE TECHNOLOGIES TO DOUBLE FARM PRODUCTIVITY

The State’s primary producers will be amongst the first in the world to benefit from cutting-edge advances in genetic technologies with the completion of the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Advanced Gene Technology Centre.

Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall officially opened the Centre today and said the NSW Government had provided $4.1 million in funding for the project at the Wagga Wagga Agricultural Institute.

“Plants and livestock will be more resilient to the challenges of drought, frost and salinity, as well as more resistant to pests and disease thanks to the research coming out of our new Advanced Gene Technology Centre,” Mr Marshall said.

“By building advanced infrastructure, we equip our scientists with the capabilities to be at the forefront of scientific advancements, including fast-tracking new opportunities to selectively alter genes and pathways.

“Over the next 20 years, we expect the rates of genetic gain in NSW to more than double.

“Advanced genetic technologies, including synthetic biology, gene editing, environmental DNA, and rapid complete genome sequencing and analysis, are all key sciences likely to transform the productivity and biosecurity of our primary industries.

“Investments in projects such as the Advanced Gene Technology Centre cement NSW as a world leader in agricultural, biosecurity and fisheries research.”
Mr Marshall said the funding was part of the NSW Government’s $100 million package invested into research infrastructure to support world-class food and fibre production.
“The NSW Government will continue to invest in the Wagga Wagga Agricultural Institute and the Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute to build laboratory and grow-out facilities,” Mr Marshall said.

The investment in the State’s research and development portfolio is part of the NSW Government’s $240 million Bushfire Restart funding.

More information on the NSW Government’s World-Class Food and Fibre Program is available on the NSW DPI website.

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