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Northern Rivers & Rural News

NSW Farmers releases 10-point Ag labour plan

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NSW Farmers releases 10-point Ag labour plan

NSW Farmers releases 10-point Ag labour plan

NSW Farmers is responding to the looming harvest worker shortage with a 10-point plan aimed at tackling the ongoing crisis.
International and state border restrictions have heavily limited the movement of workers to farms in time for upcoming grains, fruit and vegetable harvests, raising serious concerns that produce will be left to go to waste.

NSW Farmers’ President James Jackson said in the years prior to the onset of COVID-19 related border restrictions, up to half of the state’s harvest workforce was comprised of overseas workers.

“There have been longstanding challenges in attracting workers to agriculture, particularly domestic workers, however the pandemic has forced us to adapt very quickly to having fewer workers entering the state,” Mr Jackson said.
“We need short-term and long-term solutions. In the short-term, we need certainty and clarity for farm workers amid changing conditions of travel and border restrictions.”

“The Agricultural Workers’ Code is a great start, but we need to ensure the code is being interpreted consistently across states.”
“Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall has taken the step of inviting the Queensland, Victorian and Tasmanian Governments to establish an East Coast Agriculture Labour Task Force that will also include industry representatives. This is a good idea and let’s hope it goes ahead quickly and achieves improved mobility of workers across state borders.”

“We also need timely inflow of international seasonal workers through schemes including the Seasonal Worker Program and the Pacific Labour Scheme, as well as the impending Agriculture Workforce Visa.”

Mr Jackson said better coordination is needed to overcome the accommodation and transport challenges facing those interested in seasonal labour, especially in light of the rapidly changing COVID-19 situation.

“NSW Farmers is calling for an expansion of the ‘Help Harvest NSW’ program to include coordinators as the conduit between interested workers, farm businesses, government agencies and relevant stakeholders in the regions to streamline efforts for getting more people to farms.”
“Different regions face their own set of challenges, and we call on the government to provide grants to implement novel or localised initiatives to attract and/or facilitate the COVID safe movement and stay of seasonal workers.”

“An Agriculture Workforce Working Group comprising government agencies and industry stakeholders would greatly assist efforts to find timely and sustainable solutions to seasonal worker shortages in agriculture.”

Mr Jackson said seasonal work is highly suited to university or school students on break, and incentives such as subsidised transport, HECS relief or a bonus payment could attract more workers to agriculture.

“Attracting domestic workers to agriculture would also involve targeted communications campaigns highlighting the abundance of opportunities in agriculture, and NSW Farmers is calling for an industry wide coordinated campaign.”

 

Download the 10 Point Agricultural Workforce Plan PDF

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COVID-19 Northern Rivers News

NORTHERN NSW LOCAL HEALTH DISTRICT COVID-19 Update

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QR codes, masks and tests please

NORTHERN NSW LOCAL HEALTH DISTRICT COVID-19 Update

There were no new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in residents of Northern NSW Local Health District, to 8pm Thursday 16 September.
Yesterday there were more than 1,000 tests conducted in the Northern NSW Local Health District.
To determine the extent of the risk and detect any further potential COVID-19 cases in our area, we are calling on the communities to come forward for testing in large numbers.
A strong response to testing will be a key factor in determining if the current stay-at-home orders for Lismore are extended beyond one week.
For the week of 5–11 September there were 4,976 tests conducted amongst NNSWLHD residents, compared to 5,746 tests conducted during the previous week.
Anyone with even the mildest of cold-like symptoms is urged to immediately come forward for testing and isolate until a negative result is received.
Please continue to check this page regularly, as the list of venues of concern and relevant health advice are being updated as new cases emerge and investigations continue.
If you are directed to get tested for COVID-19 or self-isolate at any time, you must follow the rules given to you by Health staff, whether or not the venue or exposure setting is listed on the NSW Health website.
All residents of the Lismore LGA, and anyone who visited Lismore since September 7 are subject to ‘Stay at Home’ requirements.
Testing clinics in the Lismore region
We’d like to remind the community that there is a new drive-through testing at Goonellabah Sports and Aquatic Centre (GSAC), 50 Oliver Avenue, Goonellabah. This clinic also accepts walk-ins.
The clinic will be open from 8am to 4pm Friday 17, Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 September at this stage. PAGE 2 OF 2

Other clinics located in Lismore are:
• • _Lismore Base Hospital – Uralba Street, Lismore, open seven days, 9am-5pm. Appointments not required
• • _Lismore 4Cyte Pathology Drive-through Clinic – 47-49 Dawson Street, Lismore. Open Saturday and Sunday 8am-2pm, appointments not required
• • _Lismore Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology – 62 Wyrallah Road, Shop 12, Wyrallah Road Shopping Centre, Lismore. Open Monday – Saturday, appointments not required
• • _Southern Cross University Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology Drive-through Clinic Military Road, Southern Cross University, East Lismore. Open Tuesday to Friday, appointments not required.

For those outside of the area, there are more than 500 COVID-19 testing locations across NSW, many of which are open seven days a week. To find your nearest clinic visit COVID-19 testing clinics or contact your GP.

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COVID-19 Northern Rivers News

Council facilities will begin to reopen from Saturday after the NSW Government today announced a lifting of the lockdown for parts of regional NSW, including the Tweed local government area.

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Mayor of Tweed Shire Chris Cherry

Council facilities will begin to reopen from Saturday after the NSW Government today announced a lifting of the lockdown for parts of regional NSW, including the Tweed local government area.

Stay at home orders will be lifted from midnight tomorrow, Friday 10 September, but the region will continue to operate under tight restrictions to ensure the safety of regional communities.

These restrictions include limiting the number of visitors to the home to 5 people (not including children 12 and under) and up to 20 people at outdoor settings.

Masks will still be required for all indoor public venues, while capacity will be limited at hospitality, retail outlets and gyms to maintain the one person per 4 sqm rule, with specific customer limitations for each industry.

Mayor of Tweed Shire Chris Cherry welcomed the announcement by the NSW Government, saying it was now time for the Queensland Government to follow suit and reinstate a border bubble.

“Today’s announcement is a great win for all the businesses and families out there who have shared their stories of how hard the lockdown has been here in the Tweed – this is your win,” Cr Cherry said.

“It is now time for us to reopen our businesses, for our children to return to school and to celebrate that some of us can now spend time with family.

“But let’s not forget all of those among us that still can’t get to work or see their families because of the great divide that continues to split our community in half at Tweed Heads and Coolangatta.

“I call on the Queensland Government to lift those restrictions and reinstate a border bubble so we can all get back to work and sit down together again as families.”

As a result of the easing of restrictions, Council will open most of its customer-facing facilities in coming days. However, some services remain impacted by staffing shortages as a result of the border closure. Services opening include:

Stotts Creek Resource Recovery Centre (tip) returns to normal operations for domestic and commercial operations from Saturday 11 September. Tweed JUNKtion Tip Shop remains closed with a reopening date to be confirmed next week.

Tweed Holiday Parks return to normal operations from Saturday 11 September with COVID-Safe restrictions

Customer Service Counters at Murwillumbah and Tweed Heads reopen from Monday 13 September

Library branches at Murwillumbah, Tweed Heads and Kingscliff return to normal opening hours from Monday 13 September

Brett Street CAFE at Tweed Heads returns to normal operating hours from Monday 13 September

Starting Block Café at TRAC Murwillumbah open for takeaway meals from Monday 13 September

Tweed Regional Aquatic Centre at Murwillumbah, Kingscliff and South Tweed to reopen from Monday 13 September on restricted hours

Tweed Regional Museum will return to normal operating hours from Tuesday 14 September

Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre will reopen from Wednesday 15 September

Community centres at Banora Point and South Tweed, South Sea Islander Room, Harvard Room, Kingscliff Hall, Canvas and Kettle reopening from Wednesday 15 September

Council-approved community markets, including at Kingscliff, SALT Village, Pottsville, Murwillumbah and Tweed Heads may reopen with COVID-safe plans in place.

The next Council meeting on Thursday 16 September will return to normal operations and will be held in the Harvard Room at Tweed Heads Administration Office. Anyone wishing to attend in person must pre-book their seats due to capacity restrictions. The meeting will also be livestreamed. Details on how to book or join the livestream are available on Council’s website.

Essential services including water and kerbside waste collection services continue to operate as normal.

For any queries, the community is encouraged to call our Contact Centre Team on 02 6670 2400, chat to us online or email us on tsc@tweed.nsw.gov.au. Any issues can be reported online via our Report a Problem webpage or direct message us on Facebook.

Keep up to date with closures and service impacts on Council’s COVID-19 Emergency Dashboard.

For the latest on regional and rural restrictions, including stay-at-home rules, visit the NSW Government website at nsw.gov.au/covid-19/rules/affected-regions.

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Northern Rivers & Rural News

Watch out for bacterial infection

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YERSINIOSIS

Watch out for bacterial infection

YERSINIOSIS, also known as flood mud scours, is a condition seen during wet winters on the North Coast.
With an increase in surface water in many areas and cool weather, farmers are being warned to watch for this disease.

Caused by a bacterial infection in the intestine flood mud scours or Yersiniosis can cause severe diarrhoea and death in cattle.
The bacteria can be carried by a range of animals including cattle, rodents, and birds. Infected animals shed the bacteria in their faeces.
Animals stressed from low nutrition or parasite burdens are more likely to become affected.

Cattle aged between nine months and four years are most affected. However, district vets have recently diagnosed the disease in older animals.
Some cattle die suddenly with no signs, but it is more common to observe cattle lethargic, off feed, dehydrated and with profuse watery diarrhoea before death.

Early treatment with an appropriate antibiotic gets the best results. Talk to your private veterinarian or the Local Land Services District Vet team on 1300 795 299.

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