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Northern Rivers Local News

Durum breeding to grow in commercial sector

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AGT’s Durum Breeder Tom Kapcejevs GRDC NVT plot of Westcourt at Bellata, NSW

Durum breeding to grow in commercial sector

Durum Breeding Australia (DBA), a national durum breeding program delivered by New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) and the University of Adelaide in partnership with the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), today announced that Australian Grain Technologies Pty Ltd (AGT) has been awarded the license to take the durum breeding program forward.

GRDC, NSW DPI and the University of Adelaide have co-invested in the DBA program since 2008, successfully delivering new durum varieties with improved yield and quality attributes for the Australian durum production areas.

In 2020, the DBA partners took the opportunity to leverage commercial breeding sector investment, technologies and capabilities in cereal breeding and sought proposals from the commercial breeding sector to licence the germplasm from the DBA program to continue durum breeding.

Australian breeding company, AGT, is already actively engaged in commercial durum breeding managing a program attached to its core cereal breeding activities.  The addition of the DBA germplasm into AGT’s breeding program demonstrates the increasing value of this crop to grain growers in both northern and southern regions.

Cathie Warburton, Interim Managing Director, GRDC, said that the outcome was a testament to the strength of the DBA collaboration built over many years and the shared vision to successfully move the breeding program from a research and development environment to the commercial sector.
“Our strategy for durum breeding had centred around meeting grower needs without generating market failure.  For GRDC, it’s all about finding the right path to market and helping growers become more profitable,” said Ms Warburton.

“This next stage for durum breeding reflects years of hard work from durum growers, researchers, breeders, processors and marketers, each making an important contribution to the durum industry.”

Durum wheat was first produced in Australia in the 1930s with a small plant breeding program established at the NSW Agriculture Glen Innes Experiment Farm.  NSW DPI has been involved in the breeding since those early days.

“NSW DPI’s had involvement in durum breeding for NSW grain growers for 86 years, finishing up in mid-2021,” said Dr Alison Bowman, NSW DPI Group Director Plant Systems. “The NSW DPI Tamworth team, leading the northern node of Durum Breeding Australia, had an extremely successful track record in developing durum varieties for NSW and Australian durum growers releasing 15 varieties in that time. These varieties now account for more than 90% of the durum wheat grown in the northern grains region.

“The varieties had higher yields, but it is the outstanding grain quality of the DBA Tamworth lines (bright yellow semolina loved by pasta makers internationally) that established durum wheat for international export production from Australia,” said Dr Bowman.
“The success of the NSW DPI breeding program in developing these varieties has seen the industry grow to the point that breeding can now be done on a commercial footing by a private plant breeding company using the elite germplasm developed by the NSW DPI team.”
Professor Anton Middelberg, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), University of Adelaide said the University’s focus on durum breeding over many years had made an important contribution to the industry’s viability.
“The University of Adelaide is proud of its long association with durum breeding and its enduring legacy, which can be found throughout the Australian durum industry today,” said Professor Middelberg. “With our focus on pre-breeding research, studying the specific traits that are needed for tolerance and resilience to Australian growing conditions, the University’s strong connection with industry will continue.
“We will work closely with Australia’s leaders in durum – such as San Remo, AGT, and the Southern Australia Durum Growers Association – to ensure the very best outcomes for industry and for consumers nation-wide, applying world-class science to add further value to an industry that is critically important to Australian agriculture and the economy,” said Professor Middelberg.
AGT Chief Executive Officer and Head of Breeding, Haydn Kuchel, said he was pleased that the company had been successful in securing the germplasm and looked forward to leveraging new opportunities for Australian durum grain growers.
“Breeding durum has been part of AGT’s story for 20 years and we have successfully developed several elite varieties for Australian conditions,” said Dr Kuchel.
“Taking on new germplasm from the DBA will allow us to keep delivering improved durum varieties beyond Bitalli and Westcourt, which have become the leading performers in the south and north respectively.”

“Using cutting-edge breeding technologies to increase efficiency and genetic gain means we offer Australian durum growers the benefits of a globally competitive breeding company,” said Dr Kuchel. “The work we do to improve yields and resilience reflects our passion for seeing Australian rural communities and businesses thrive.

“AGT is excited about continuing to work with durum growers and manufacturers to advance this high value crop’s impact and importance in Australian agriculture.”

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Clarence Valley News

Second death in custody at new jail

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Clarence Correctional Centre

Second death in custody at new jail

By Tim Howard

A 29-year-old inmate has died at Clarence Correctional Centre on June, the second man to die in custody at the jail in the past six weeks.
The man, identified as Dictor Mayen Dongrin, was due to front Coffs Harbour Local Court the following day on two charges of common assault, one of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and two of stalking and intimidation. 
A spokesperson for the jail operator Serco said Mr Dongrin was found unresponsive in a medical holding room by staff around 1.30pm and was pronounced dead by paramedics shortly after.
Serco, Corrective Services NSW and NSW Police were investigating the incident.
All deaths in custody are subject to a coronial inquest.
Mr Dongrin was also involved in a apprehended domestic violence hearing with another family member
The court has ceased all proceedings involving Mr Dongrin because of his death.
The spokesperson said Serco extends its condolences to the family and friends of the man.

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Coffs Harbour News

FUNDING BONANZA FOR OUR NEW FESTIVAL AT COFFS HARBOUR

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FUNDING BONANZA FOR OUR NEW FESTIVAL Coffs Harbour Education Campus

FUNDING BONANZA FOR OUR NEW FESTIVAL

The Big Bonanza festival, to be held for the first time on the Coffs Coast in November, will now be even bigger thanks to $200,000 in funding from the NSW Government.

Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh said he is pleased the Festival organiser, Gig Big, has received this significant support from the Regional Events Acceleration Fund.

FUNDING BONANZA FOR OUR NEW FESTIVAL Coffs Harbour Education Campus

Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh, The Big Bonanza festival director Ben Lewis and Coffs Harbour Mayor Cr Paul Amos at today’s announcement at CHEC playing fields.

“The Big Bonanza is a two-day music, comedy and food festival to be held at Coffs Harbour Education Campus playing fields on 4 and 5 November,” Mr Singh said.

“The funding will help with the staging of this live entertainment extravaganza – in particular securing the headline music and comedy artists including Wolfmother, You Am I, Dave Hughes and Judith Lucy, and for temporary event infrastructure which will improve accessibility and inclusion for people with disability.

“The Big Bonanza is anticipated to be a major drawcard for Coffs Coast locals and visitors, which will help to boost our local economy.”

Mr Singh said the Regional Events Acceleration Fund is supporting the growth of existing regional events and attracting new major domestic and international events.

Coffs Harbour City Council Mayor Councillor Paul Amos said: “Not only does Coffs have the Big Banana, but now we have The Big Bonanza coming to our world-class CHEC in November this year. This is yet another flagship event for the Coffs Coast and another feather in our cap adding more colour to the year-round events calendar.

“We know how to stage big events and our community knows how to have a great time, bring on The Big Bonanza,” Cr Amos said.

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Northern Rivers Local News

Oasis Park Development Halted

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Oasis Park plan

Oasis Park Development Halted

 

Story by Lara Leahy

 

Plans were submitted for an extreme sports facility to be built at Carool to go with an existing DA for health retreat style accommodation.  Last week, Tweed Shire Council voted to refuse the Development Application for the park.

 

The initial DA for 35 cabins, and 5 rooms, also include a 4-bedroom site management house and attached granny flat has not yet been issued with a construction certificate.  The latest DA is for indoor and outdoor facilities for sports including motocross, mountain biking, skateboarding as well as gym and trampolining facilities spread over 18,902m2. Between the proposals, there was confusion as per the use of the facilities and how much would service the patrons vs public use.

 

There are 11 reasons council gave to turn the new development down.  Included in which is incomplete information on stormwater management, bushfire risk research as well as risk to potential existing indigenous heritage.  Inadequate infrastructure, such as sewerage, electricity, and car parking were also cited as concerns.

 

Issues regarding noise and light that would see up to 60 patrons visiting a day and up to 200 over 4 annual events were not addressed by the submission.  It was unclear how much of the clientele was to be from public use as opposed to visiting patrons.

 

A large concern was raised in regarding its visual amenity, with two large block sheds at the peak of the development, breaking up the sight lines of the surrounding hills.  The large amount of concrete, asphalt and exposed earthworks were also not considered to be in keeping with the “picturesque hills of Carool.”

 

One of the two sheds were over the height limit stipulated by council, causing interest for the airspace above the shed.  “The application was referred to the Gold Coast Airport Authority as the site has a ground level above the relevant Obstacle Limitation Surface Contour and therefore the development would breach this plane. The Gold Coast Airport Authority advised a full assessment would be required.”

 

Other incomplete information included traffic studies as well as flora and fauna impact contributing to the hesitancy to provide support for the development. Public concern was also considered when 18 of the 21 public responses received in regard to the development found to have objections to the proposal.

 

Two options were presented to council, to refuse the DA or to present them with an opportunity to provide further information.  Due to inconsistencies and inadequacies with the assessment of the works, council officers recommended the first option and refused the DA.  It was found that the “development proposal is not consistent with the Aims of Tweed Local Environmental Plan 2014 to promote the responsible sustainable management and conservation of Tweed’s natural and environmentally sensitive areas and waterways, visual amenity and scenic routes, built environment, and cultural heritage.”

 

The DA report and associated documentation is available on the Tweed Shire Council website.

 

 

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