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Local News

NFF urges a rethink on fraught industrial relations Bill

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The Closing Loopholes Bill is fraught with issues that will make it harder and more expensive than ever to create employment opportunities in farming.
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NFF urges a rethink on fraught industrial relations Bill

 

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has sent a clear message to the Albanese Government: The Closing Loopholes Bill is fraught with issues that will make it harder and more expensive than ever to create employment opportunities in farming.

The NFF Workforce Committee Chair Tony York told the Senate Committee responsible for the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Closing Loopholes) Bill would only add layers of complexity to the industrial relations system, push up costs and make doing business more difficult than ever before.

“Farmers are managing a deluge of headwinds at the moment – they’re on the cusp of drought, commodity prices are falling through the floor, and inputs have skyrocketed on the back of inflation,” Mr York said.

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“Add to that to one of the industry’s biggest ongoing challenges – building a reliable, committed and capable workforce.

“The NFF welcomes rational and well-considered reform to industrial relations and labour policy, yet we have a Bill in front of us that will do the opposite.

“These reforms will create a spiderweb of complexity, making the rules near impossible to navigate for the average small farming business that doesn’t have a dedicated HR department.

“The Government has a choice here to create meaningful reforms that will boost productivity and help solve one of agriculture’s biggest challenges.

“Instead it is choosing a path that will drive up the costs to engage employees and create a system people will walk away from.”

The Closing Loopholes Bill is fraught with issues that will make it harder and more expensive than ever to create employment opportunities in farming.

The NFF also sounded alarm bells on several other aspects of the Bill:

  • It establishes a regime for dictating pay arrangements in labour hire and service contractor situations.
  • It gives the Fair Work Commission power to make decisions beyond its traditional workplace remit, authorising it to control commercial arrangements.
  • It gives unions enhanced rights to enter farms unannounced, potentially intruding on personal privacy and creating biosecurity, animal welfare, and health and safety risks.
  • Changes to the meaning of casual employee will deprive businesses of certainty and flexibility.

Mr York said the NFF wasn’t drawing a line through all the measures in the Bill.

“Small business redundancy reforms, and protection for victims of family and domestic violence represent good policy.

“While we are frustrated at the missed opportunity to make good on Labor’s election promise to introduce national labour hire licensing, we support increases to penalties for underpayment.

“But these are small wins that don’t offset the poor policy in the rest of the Bill.”

Mr York said Australian agriculture had a bright future and the industry-wide aspiration to become a $100B industry by 2030 was within reach.

“However the immediate outlook is less positive. Only last week ABARES painted a grim picture with farm incomes to be slashed a staggering 41% and this Bill will do nothing to turn that around.

“Australian agriculture has enormous untapped potential, but we need an industrial relations system that supports workers and businesses.

“It’s not too late to fix this Bill and we call on this Government to come to the party and create policy settings that ensure farms are competitive and desirable workplaces.”

 

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2025 Porsche 911 Hybrid production starts

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2025 Porsche 911 Hybrid
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2025 Porsche 911 Hybrid production starts

 

By Jeff Gibbs

Production of the highly anticipated Porsche 911 hybrid has commenced following an extensive testing phase, with the German automaker boasting that it surpasses its petrol-only counterpart in terms of speed.

Scheduled for its global debut in Europe on May 28, 2024, Porsche has already revealed impressive performance metrics for the 911 hybrid. Clocking a blistering lap time of 7:16.934 minutes around the demanding Nurburgring Nordschleife race circuit, the hybrid variant outpaces its predecessor by a significant 8.7 seconds. While Porsche has not specified the exact model of the previous 911 being referenced, it’s evident that the hybrid iteration is geared towards performance, more akin to the Carrera or Carrera S variants rather than the track-focused GT3 RS.

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Renowned as a benchmark for automotive prowess, the Nurburgring Nordschleife presents a challenging 20.8-kilometer layout, featuring a diverse range of corners and surfaces. This exceptional lap time underscores the 911 hybrid’s dynamic capabilities and positions it as a formidable force on both road and track.

While Australian availability has yet to be confirmed, Porsche first hinted at the development of a hybrid 911 with the introduction of the eighth-generation ‘992’ model in 2019. As part of a mid-life facelift for the current lineup, the hybrid variant is slated for release in 2025, aligning with Porsche’s ambitious target of electrifying over half of its new vehicle sales by 2025 and achieving 80% electric sales by 2030.

Details regarding pricing, trim levels, and nomenclature for the 911 hybrid remain undisclosed. However, speculations suggest it may adopt the moniker “Porsche 911 t-Hybrid,” following the trademark registration of ‘t-Hybrid’ by the company. Notably, the hybrid powertrain may depart from Porsche’s signature flat-six engines, potentially incorporating a four-cylinder petrol engine supplemented by electric propulsion.

Drawing inspiration from Porsche’s illustrious motorsport heritage, particularly its successful 919 endurance racing program, the 911 hybrid is anticipated to channel the technological advancements and performance prowess demonstrated by its racing counterparts. Although not designated as a plug-in hybrid, akin to the Porsche 918 hypercar, the 911 hybrid is poised to leverage insights gleaned from Porsche’s current LMDh endurance racing program.

With their endurance racers already clinching victories in prominent events like the World Endurance Championship and IMSA series, the 911 hybrid promises to be a game-changer in the realm of high-performance electrified vehicles.

 

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Gardening

Create a Lush Fern Garden with These Shade-Loving Plants

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Australian Tree Fern Garden
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Create a Lush Fern Garden with These Shade-Loving Plants

 

If your garden is protected from the sun, consider transforming it into a mini fern rainforest. Ferns evoke the essence of rainforests with their earthy aroma and prehistoric charm, creating a calming and otherworldly atmosphere. These low-maintenance plants are not only beautiful but can outlive many other plants, adding texture and rich green hues to the damp and shady parts of your yard, making your garden lush and luxurious. With so many fern varieties to choose from, here’s a guide to get you started.

Growing Ferns in Your Garden

Ferns thrive in part to full shade and prefer rich, earthy soil reminiscent of their rainforest origins. Ideal soil for ferns is well-drained and nutrient-rich from decaying leaf matter. In warmer parts of Australia, protection from all sun may be necessary, while in cooler regions, shielding them from the harsh afternoon sun is sufficient. Ferns are predominantly perennial, allowing you to divide and propagate them in spring or autumn to enhance your shady garden areas.

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Understanding Fern Types

All ferns are vascular plants, growing from spores rather than seeds or flowers. While many ferns grow directly from the ground, like bird’s nest ferns and autumn ferns, others thrive on rocks or trees.

  • Lithophytes: Ferns that attach themselves to rocks.
  • Epiphytes: Ferns that grow on trees, fences, or man-made structures, drawing nutrients from decaying leaf matter and animal droppings caught in their leaves.

Epiphytic ferns are particularly versatile, making them excellent for planting on fences and structures within your garden.

Ideal Plants for Your Fern Garden

Australian Tree Fern

For gardens with ample shade, the Australian tree fern is a stunning choice. With its large canopy and elegant single trunk, this fern can bring a piece of the rainforest, like the Daintree, to your backyard. It can grow between 5 and 10 metres tall, so ensure you have sufficient space for its fronds to spread.

Staghorn Fern

The staghorn fern is a classic choice that remains stylish. As an epiphytic fern, it can attach to trees, fences, or even the exterior walls of your home, making it perfect for covering unsightly areas or adding texture to your garden’s fence line.

Bird’s Nest Fern

With apple-green, shiny leaves that can reach 1-2 metres in height, the bird’s nest fern is ideal for pots or planting in the forks of trees to maintain a rainforest aesthetic. These ferns also make excellent indoor plants, provided they are kept out of direct sunlight and in well-draining soil.

Elkhorn Fern

Similar to the staghorn fern, the elkhorn fern can be attached to trees or walls, adding a prehistoric touch to your garden. This low-maintenance fern thrives with ample shade and occasional compost for nutrients.

Soft Tree Fern

Native to eastern Australia, the soft tree fern, also known as the man fern, features bright green fronds forming a feathery canopy that can grow up to 15 metres tall. This fern is perfect for filling large, shaded spaces. Its trunk also provides an excellent base for growing epiphytes like elkhorn ferns or native Australian orchids.

Hen and Chicken Fern

Also known as mother spleenwort, this New Zealand native fern boasts feathery foliage that cascades beautifully, remaining lush year-round. It thrives in part-shade and should be protected from direct sunlight, adding elegance to the dappled shade of your garden.

Autumn Fern

To introduce colour variation among your ferns, consider the autumn fern. Its triangular fronds transition from pinkish to coppery before maturing to bright green, offering a stunning contrast of autumnal oranges and greens to enhance your garden’s visual appeal.

Baby’s Tears Ground Cover

A rainforest garden isn’t complete without a charming ground cover. Despite its melancholy name, baby’s tears is an excellent ground cover for shady garden areas. It can also be grown in pots and along pavers, adding a delicate touch to your fern garden.

By incorporating these diverse fern species, you can create a serene, rainforest-like garden that thrives in the shade, offering beauty and tranquillity year-round. Whether you have a large backyard or a compact space, these ferns will transform your garden into a lush, green haven.

 

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Entertainment

Italian Renaissance Alive

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Italian Renaissance Alive

 

Experience the beauty and brilliance of the Italian masters in “Italian Renaissance Alive,” an immersive journey celebrating Europe’s cultural rebirth. This extraordinary exhibition, from the creators of Van Gogh Alive, takes you on a mesmerising adventure through the 14th to 17th centuries, showcasing masterpieces by some of history’s most renowned artists, including Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, Caravaggio, and more.

“Italian Renaissance Alive” brings to life the era’s explosion of art, culture, architecture, sculpture, and literature. As you step into this breathtaking digital multi-sensory gallery, you’ll be surrounded by the grandeur and elegance that defined the Renaissance period. The exhibition is designed to immerse you in the sights and sounds of the time, creating an unforgettable experience that transcends traditional art displays.

Witness iconic works like the awe-inspiring Sistine Chapel ceiling, the enigmatic Mona Lisa, and the enchanting Birth of Venus. These masterpieces are presented in stunning detail, allowing you to appreciate the intricacies and genius of the artists’ techniques. Accompanied by a powerful operatic musical score, the exhibition enhances your sensory experience, evoking the emotions and atmosphere of the Renaissance.

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Through “Italian Renaissance Alive”, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the cultural and intellectual movements that shaped the modern world. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to be transported back in time and experience the Renaissance like never before.

EVENT DETAILS:

  • When – on until the 4th of August
  • Where – HOTA, Gold Coast
  • Price – from $29
  • TicketsAvailable here.

 

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