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Rural News

COMPANY FINED AFTER BACKPACKER WORKER INJURED

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COMPANY FINED AFTER BACKPACKER WORKER INJURED 

NSW Department of Customer Service

A Moree based agribusiness has been convicted and fined $40,000 after two workers, including one European backpacker, were hurt at one of the company’s properties when part of a trench collapsed in 2017.

DCS Better Regulation Division Deputy Secretary and NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Natasha Mann said Vitonga Pty Ltd was sentenced in the Downing Centre Local Court Sydney for failing to ensure as far as reasonably practicable the health and safety of workers.

“In this case, the court heard that two workers were injured while installing an irrigation pipeline at a property belonging to Vitonga Pty Ltd situated near Moree,” Ms Mann said.

“The soil walls of the irrigation trench collapsed inwards, trapping and crushing one of the workers, a European backpacker, against the concrete pipe being laid.

“The other injured worker, an experienced farmhand, was trapped by his legs during the cave in but managed to extricate himself before moving to help the backpacker.”

Police and ambulance were called to the scene and an excavator was used to help free the backpacker, who sustained serious injuries to the torso. The injured farmhand also received medical treatment for a knee injury.

“The court heard that the trench was not reinforced as required by clause 306(3) of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 and that the NSW WorkCover Excavation Work Code of Practice had not been applied,” Ms Mann said.

Vitonga Pty Ltd has the right to appeal the conviction and sentence which were dealt with on 26 July, 2022.

Eligible small businesses with less than 50 employees, including agribusinesses, may offset some of the cost of business supplies by applying for the rebate for safety equipment via this link.  https://www.nsw.gov.au/grants-and-funding/1000-safework-small-business-rebate

SafeWork NSW has a host of valuable resources available online. Book your free safety advisory visit and discover a wealth of farm safety resources via this link. https://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/advice-and-resources

 

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Best practice for citrus microbial food safety

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NSW-Northern-Rivers-Breaking-News

Best practice for citrus microbial food safety

 

The NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) has launched the first edition of the Citrus microbial food safety best practice guide.

NSW DPI’s Dr Sukhvinder Pal (SP) Singh, Senior Research Scientist in Food Safety and Traceability, said that the guide provides a targeted, practical resource for citrus growers, packers and other supply chain participants to assess and manage microbial risks effectively.

“In 2021–2022, the Australian citrus industry produced 760,000 tonnes of fruit valued at $910 million,” said Dr Singh.

“The success of citrus export is built on the free trade agreements with importing countries and a clean, green, and safe reputation.

“To remain competitive and retain market share in our key export markets, the Australian citrus industry must consistently supply safe fruit, and aim for zero product recalls.”

Dr Singh said due to the inedible peel, citrus fruit poses a relatively low microbial food safety risk to consumers.

“However, if pathogens are detected on the citrus fruit surface by regulatory authorities, this could lead to produce recalls, reputational losses and be a serious trade risk for export markets,” Dr Singh said.

“The industry needs to be proactive in maintaining the confidence of consumers, regulators and trading partners in the quality and safety of fruit to ensure market access is retained and new markets are created.

“This guide provides advice on best practice management and proactive measures for fruit production, harvest practices and postharvest so we can continue to minimise the risk of microbial pathogens and maintain our food safety and hygiene standards, and our reputation for safe and healthy food.”

Hort Innovation’s general manager for production and sustainability, Dr Anthony Kachenko, said the release of this guide will provide valuable information to everyone involved in the industry.

“This new guide provides practical, best practice management and we encourage all within the industry to engage with the guide and integrate the best practice measures,” said Dr Kachenko.

“Protecting the citrus industry is a priority and this is an easy win for safeguarding our quality fruit and safe reputation.”

Vito Mancini, a citrus grower and industry leader from the Riverina region, said he is pleased to have this resource available for all growers that is founded on the latest science, data and industry practice.

“The guide is very thorough, and all Australian citrus growers and packers should read and gain food safety risk mitigation knowledge,” said Mr Mancini.

The guide is available on the DPI website at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au

This project has been funded by Hort Innovation, using the citrus research and development levy and contributions from the Australian Government. Hort Innovation is the grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australian horticulture.

 

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Casino NSW News

DICK AND LEILA BEATTIE – CASINO – Part One

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Manifold Farm at Bentley - DICK AND LEILA BEATTIE – CASINO - Part One

DICK AND LEILA BEATTIE – CASINO – Part One

 

By Helen Trustum

When talking with Dick and Leila on the 6th February 2024 I realised that my initial intention of researching a story from Leila’s early days also required a story that unfolded about her husband Dick.

Richard William George (known as Dick) was born on 22nd February 1932 to parents Stan and Mary Beattie at Stockton. Dick’s Grandfather, Edward Beattie was a boat builder and even in his 80’s still worked building boats, including fishing vessels and ferries. His Great Uncle Gordon Beattie was one of the men that built the passenger ferry that ran between Yamba and Iluka. Dick’s father Stan was a boiler maker with BHP.

Dick went to Primary school at Stockton then on to New Castle Boys High School.  He later studied at the University of New England in Armidale before completing his Honours Degree at the University of Sydney.

Family of Stan and Mary’s:  Dick and Gloria.

Leila with her calf - DICK AND LEILA BEATTIE – CASINO - Part One

Leila with her calf

Leila was born Leila Madge Roberts in Casino on 10th September 1931 to parents Donald and Madge Roberts who were living on “Manifold Farm”, Bentley.

Family of Donald and Madge Roberts: Eileen, Leila and Nelda. The family lost little Nelda with whooping cough at the age of two and half years.

Donald was born at Cowra NSW and at the age of 14 years moved with his parents to Dunoon. They later relocated to Mongogarie from where Don enlisted in World War 1 in December 1915. He arrived at the Military Camp in Tell EL Kebir, Egypt in May 1916. After training in England, Don was transferred to France where he performed 10 days of training in the infamous “Bull Ring”, training camp on the dunes between Etaples and Camiers, near Boulogne, before joining the 31st Battalion at Armentieres.

Shortly after joining the 31st Battalion, Don was attached to the transport section, where his reputation as an excellent horseman had become known. The 31st transport section contained a number of top horsemen. Alongside Don was Gus Hosking, also from Mongogarie. They were both reputed to be the best. Don and Gus were sent to Abbeville, where the commandant of the riding school, became so impressed that he gave them the honour of leading the column of artillery on parades.

Don and Madge Roberts - DICK AND LEILA BEATTIE – CASINO - Part One

Don and Madge Roberts

Don served with distinction in the unit and was made sergeant shortly after joining it. The work of getting supplies through to the front line, units was difficult and dangerous, most of the hauling being done at night. Don was awarded the Croix de Guerre (Belgium).

Returning from the War, Don married Madge Collison and worked at the Coombell Brick Works before settling on Lot 12 on the Runnymede Soldiers Settlement, calling the property “Manifold Farm”. This settlement came about when the owner of Runnymede Station, James Chester Manifold, gave three thousand acres of rich scrub land on the eastern side of the station, to be developed into twenty dairy farms. The farms were to be made available, by ballot, to ex – servicemen from Tomki Shire (now part of Richmond Valley Shire) and Kyogle Shire. James Chester died in 1918. His son Thomas Chester Manifold inherited Runnymede and keenly supported the scheme. These twenty farms with applicants were required to pay three hundred and twenty – one pounds ($640) for the improvements on the farms. They received a Life Estate Title. Now in 2024 there are five families from the original residents still on their block of ground.

Don also enlisted in the army in World War 11 and was in camp at Goonoo Goonoo Station, near Tamworth. After a while he left the army and returned to Bentley where he organized the local V.D.C.  (Volunteer Defence Corps). Since there was a shortage of rifles they drilled with wooden rifles until they were properly equipped. Later a firing range was established on the property at Bentley. While in the V.D.C Don was promoted to the rank of Captain.

House at Bentley

House at Bentley

Don was one of the many farmers in the district who had Italian P.O.W.’s working on the property towards the end of the War.  He also served as bushfire brigade captain and was involved with the Bentley Hall Committee. Madge supported her husband in his community involvement and took over running the farm while he was away.

In 1929 a school was built on land donated by Charlie Beck, from the Manifold Settlement. The school was called Manifold Public School and is still operating today. Both Eileen and Leila went to school at Manifold. Leila remembers attending school and talks readily about it. On her first day at school Leila arrived with a bunch of flowers for the teacher Mr Charlie Steele. The flowers were from her mother’s garden. Madge excelled in nurturing floral beauty.

Leila rode a horse to school called “Creamy”. The older boys would catch “Creamy” and saddle her and have her ready for Leila to ride home. Leila competed in athletics and interschool sports day. Hockey was played on Becks flat. Hockey sticks could not be purchased so the children had to scout around and find a lantana stick with a bend at one end. A tin can was used as a ball.

Manifold Farm at Bentley - DICK AND LEILA BEATTIE – CASINO - Part One

Manifold Farm at Bentley

Leila remembers Mr Steele taking the children up towards Boundary Creek into the forest to cut lawyer cane (Calamus Australis). The fibre was used at school, teaching the children weaving baskets. There were over 50 children that attended the school at one time: – All in one room – 1st to 6th class. Long desks and seating stools were used. Children from the families that Leila remembers at the time she attended were Owen Casey, Bob Knapp, Bill Moore, Jack Doman and family names Armstrong, Bulmer, Ball, Doman, Knapp, Hartley, Moroney and Childs. Mrs Steele, wife of teacher Charlie, taught the girls sewing in the weather shed once a week.

Leila has many memories of those days when on Sundays, tennis would be played over on the Moroney family’s property and meeting up with her friends the Moroney girls, Joyce and Clare. Cricket would also be played with a picnic lunch. Leila loved the dances held in the Bentley Hall where Hillary and Leila Doohan from Back Creek would be the musicians playing.

To be Continued

 

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Local News

Exploitive powers of supermarkets confirmed, with growers forced to foot the bill, while Bunnings gets a free pass

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Food and Grocery Code of Conduct

Exploitive powers of supermarkets confirmed, with growers forced to foot the bill, while Bunnings gets a free pass

 

The NFF Horticulture Council strongly supports the key recommendations detailed in the interim Independent Review of the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct report released today.

The Council is particularly encouraged to see recommendations for the enforcement of the mandatory code, and the possibility of increased fines reaching up to 10 per cent of turnover, potentially amounting to billions.

NFF Horticulture Council Chair Jolyon Burnett said: “If we are going to allow duopolies to exist, we need to make them accountable for any anti-competitive behaviour. The supermarkets including Bunnings, need to know if they abuse their market powers, the fines imposed will be meaningful.

“The next challenge will be to ensure that when the ACCC identifies an abuse of market power, there is a realistic chance of success in court within a commercial timeframe. Otherwise, the announced fines will be futile.”

NFF Horticulture Council also supports the need to make senior executives accountable for the practices and behaviours of their buyers and category managers. Where coercive control is exercised, there should be no room for ‘plausible deniability’.

More broadly, the report acknowledges ‘the heavy imbalance’, the fear of commercial retribution, and highly exposed nature of growers to the buying practices of the supermarkets.

“For decades, fruit, vegetable and plant nursery growers have been forced to bear the brunt of a tilted playing field, but have been unable to speak out in fear of commercial retribution. To have a report identify these issues is an important milestone,” Mr Burnett said.

“Given the high level of vulnerability due to the perishable nature of horticulture produce, we support the need for additional stand-alone protections for the sector.

“The sector provides 98 per cent  of Australia’s fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as almost all the nation’s nursery products and underpins the country’s food security. Some growers have reported not having a price increase for more than 15 years.

“As a virtual monopoly in the ornamental plant market, Bunnings needs to be included in the Code to cover its dealings with plant nurseries. The issues faced by this sector are identical to the challenges faced by fruit and vegetable growers. It cannot be given a free pass.”

The NFF Horticulture Council welcomes all the recommendations in the interim report, and commends Craig Emerson on his work to date. The Council looks forward to the final report and prompt and meaningful action by government.

 

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