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Rural News

GUNNEDAH HIGH SCHOOL TEACHERS WALK OFF THE JOB OVER STAFFING CRISIS

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NSW Northern Rivers Breaking News

GUNNEDAH HIGH SCHOOL TEACHERS WALK OFF THE JOB OVER STAFFING CRISIS

NSW Teachers Federation members at Gunnedah High School have walked off the job over the impact of the staffing crisis at Gunnedah and many other schools in remote and regional parts of the state.
NSW Teachers Federation Deputy President Henry Rajendra said so far this year the school has had unfilled teaching positions in English, maths, science, PDHPE, industrial arts and special education.

“The inability to fill vacant positions and cover for colleagues on leave at Gunnedah High has forced the school to collapse classes or provide minimal supervision when a teacher was not available,” Mr Rajendra said.

“Teachers at Gunnedah have taken this stopwork action to highlight the failure of the NSW Government to appropriately staff their school and the impact the continuing staffing crisis is having on student learning,” he said.

Mr Rajendra said staff remain concerned about the Education Department’s inadequate provision of teachers for public schools across NSW.

“It is the right of all students to have access to a quality public education with an appropriately qualified teacher in front of every class.”

“The staffing crisis is having negative consequences for curriculum delivery to students and placing enormous stress on staff.”

“It has been nearly 20 years since the Education Department conducted a comprehensive workforce analysis and the planning necessary to deal with issues of teacher supply and demand.”

“This is of enormous concern for teachers across the state given that the staffing crisis is already impacting our schools.”

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News and Reviews

Fear factor in fresh food supply

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Fear factor in fresh food supply

Fear factor in fresh food supply

A government report has revealed farmers are afraid to speak out on their dealings with the major supermarkets because of a “fear of retribution”.

NSW Farmers Dairy Committee Chair Colin Thompson said the disappointing findings from the inaugural Food and Grocery Code review vindicated the efforts to secure fairness in fresh food supply chains.

“The majority of pay rise negotiations were fruitless for farmers in 2021 and almost a third of major supermarket suppliers cited ‘fear of retribution’ as a reason for not raising issues under the Code,” Mr Thompson said.

“Something is clearly wrong when people are afraid of having their say, and it’s clear that many farmers won’t raise concerns or ask for improved pay arrangements because of how powerful these supermarkets are.”

While Mr Thompson commended Coles and Woolworths for complying with the Code’s voluntary reporting regime, he said there was clear room for improvement in fresh food supply arrangements.

“The perishability of their produce basically means farmers are price-takers and are in a vulnerable position in their supply chains,” Mr Thompson said.

“This dynamic can give rise to abuse of power by bigger players, such as wholesalers and retailers.

“However, we do need to recognise there was some positive feedback, particularly for Aldi.”

Mr Thompson said NSW Farmers had been pushing for change in this space and had a key breakthrough with the Perishable Agricultural Goods (PAG) inquiry and its subsequent findings in late 2020.

“NSW Farmers has advocated for intervention to make supply chains such as dairy, horticulture and poultry meat more equitable – essentially so that farmers can receive the pay they deserve for their produce,” Mr Thompson said.

“Our advocacy led to a Treasury-led ACCC inquiry, which confirmed power dynamics are likely to favour wholesalers, processors and retailers, and the ACCC made a suite of recommendations to help remedy this situation.

“We need firm commitments for legislative reforms to protect farmers from unfair trading practices.”

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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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