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Federal budget “falls short” for farmers and regional NSW

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Federal budget “falls short” for farmers and regional NSW

NSW Farmers’ Association is disappointed the federal government has missed key opportunities in the federal budget to strengthen Australian agriculture and rural communities.

President of NSW Farmers Xavier Martin said the federal budget has “fallen short” of expectations, particularly around the significant biosecurity threats Australian farmers face.

“At first glance, $1 billion in extra funding to strengthen biosecurity measures sounds great, however, it’s farmers that are being told to pay for it with a new ‘biosecurity protection levy’.

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“Biosecurity is a significant threat on many levels, not just for agriculture, but for the Australian economy in general. It’s risk creators, the people exposing our country to deadly diseases and pests, that should be bearing the brunt of the cost, not farmers who are growing our food and fibre. Sure, importers will be paying slightly more but quite frankly, it’s not enough.”

Other concerning elements of the budget include inadequate spending on improving regional roads and infrastructure and the new capping of the Instant Asset write-off to assets valued up to $20,000.

NSW Farmers’ Association is pleased however to see Australia performing well despite the global challenges and remaining competitive amongst the uncertainty facing many parts of the world.
“Let’s not forget the role Agriculture and rural Australians  have played in contributing to this,” Mr Martin said.

“On the upside, the budget has allowed for moves to improve apprenticeship support services and drive-up apprenticeship completion rates. Worker shortages is a real problem across our sector, so it’s a step in the right direction.”

Other welcomed announcements include:

  • Deductions of an additional 20 per cent of the cost of depreciating assets that support more efficient use of energy.
  • Investment in rural health with a boost to the amount paid to rural doctors bulk billing.

“Overall, the farming community will likely feel like they’ve been forgotten in this  budget. It’s a pity as this was a golden opportunity for the Albanese Government to show a commitment to improving cost of living pressures, not just for people in the city, but also for those of us in the regions,” Mr Martin concluded.

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Health News

Budget 2024-25: Rural Health Equity Remains Unaddressed

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Budget 2024-25: Rural Health Equity Remains Unaddressed

 

Statement by the National Rural Health Alliance

The recent Federal Budget has missed a crucial opportunity to tackle the persistent healthcare disparities between rural and urban Australia, asserts the National Rural Health Alliance.

Nicole O’Reilly, Chairperson of the National Rural Health Alliance, expressed disappointment at the budget’s failure to meet expectations. She emphasised the government’s lack of responsiveness to rural voices and its failure to commit to comprehensive reforms that would deliver sustainable and long-term benefits for rural communities.

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The statistics paint a stark picture: Australians living farther from urban centres have lower life expectancies and are twice as likely to succumb to preventable illnesses. Rural men and women face significantly higher risks of dying from avoidable causes compared to their urban counterparts. Alarmingly, many rural residents lack access to primary healthcare services within a reasonable distance from their homes, leading to reduced utilisation of Medicare services and exacerbating the burden of disease in remote areas.

O’Reilly highlighted the evidence indicating a significant disparity in healthcare spending, with each person in rural and remote Australia missing out on nearly $850 per year in healthcare access, totalling an annual rural health underspend of $6.5 billion.

The National Rural Health Alliance welcomed certain budget measures, such as the support for rural training opportunities through initiatives like the Charles Darwin University Menzies Medical Program and additional funding for the Royal Flying Doctors Service. However, O’Reilly stressed that these efforts alone are insufficient to address the diverse healthcare needs across rural and remote Australia.

While acknowledging positive steps, O’Reilly emphasised the urgent need for more comprehensive and sustained commitments to ensure equitable healthcare outcomes for rural and remote Australians. She urged the government to prioritise rural health reform in future budget allocations to ensure that all communities receive the care and support they deserve.

 

For more health news, click here.

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Bangalow News

Rifle Range Road Upgrade

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Rifle Range Road Upgrade

 

Commencing this Monday, May 20th, the eagerly awaited Rifle Range Road intersection upgrade in Bangalow will kick off, following a brief delay last month attributed to unforeseen approvals needed from Transport for NSW, now successfully resolved.

Expressing gratitude for the community’s understanding during the setback, Phil Holloway, Council’s Director of Infrastructure Services, underscored the significance of this project for Bangalow. The upgrade encompasses various enhancements such as the widening of Lismore Road, drainage improvements, establishment of new bus bays and shelters on both Lismore Road and Rifle Range Road, and the creation of picturesque, shared paths connecting the bus bays to Tristania Street.

Beginning Monday, construction crews will mobilize on-site to commence the works, necessitating traffic diversion to Raftons Road via Keith Street or Leslie Street.

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Mr. Holloway outlined the works program, indicating that certain periods will entail road closures at the Rifle Range Road and Lismore Road intersection, with detours in place. Advanced notice will be provided through information boards, yet all users of Rifle Range Road and Lismore Road should anticipate delays and alternate routes.

Here’s what you need to know about the works program:

  • Intersection Closure: The intersection of Rifle Range Road and Lismore Road in Bangalow will be inaccessible to all traffic, barring emergency services. This closure facilitates:
    • Elevation of the road.
    • Reconstruction of the intersection.
    • Installation of culverts under Lismore Road.

This substantial undertaking is made possible through funding contributions from the NSW Government, Australian Government, and Byron Shire Council.

For regular updates on the project’s progress, interested parties are encouraged to visit the dedicated ‘Rifle Range Road upgrade‘ page on Council’s website.

 

For more Bangalow news, click here.

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Entertainment

Kyogle Council Celebrates Fourth Annual Kyogle Readers and Writers Festival

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Kyogle Council Celebrates Fourth Annual Kyogle Readers and Writers Festival

 

Kyogle Council is proud to announce its support for the 2024 Kyogle Readers and Writers Festival, set to take place over three days this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

This year’s festival boasts an impressive lineup of esteemed authors, including the lively host of ABC’s Gardening Australia, Costa Georgiadis, and the multi-award-winning Bundjalung writer, Melissa Lucashenko.

Mayor Kylie Webster expressed her excitement, stating, “The Kyogle Readers and Writers Festival highlights the vibrant cultural and artistic community in Kyogle and its surrounding villages, drawing visitors from across the North Coast and south-east Queensland.”

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The event features a diverse program catering to primary and high school students, with workshops covering topics such as weaving, bookmaking, self-publishing, Zines, and performance poetry. Additionally, attendees can enjoy author conversations, panel discussions, and various interactive sessions.

The festival’s highlight event will be a captivating conversation between Costa Georgiadis and Angela Catterns, taking place in the KMI Hall on Saturday afternoon at 2 pm. The festival will conclude with a literary-themed trivia night at the Kyogle Golf Club on Saturday evening.

Mayor Webster encouraged everyone to explore the festival’s program on the Kyogle Readers and Writers website and participate in the diverse range of activities offered.

For more information and the festival schedule, visit here.

 

For more Kyogle news, click here.

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