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Local News

NSW Farmers set target for EID

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NSW Farmers set target for EID

The state’s peak agricultural body says mandatory electronic identification tags for sheep should cost no more than $1 per tag, setting a clear target for state and federal governments.

Last year Australia’s agriculture ministers agreed to mandate the use of electronic identification under the national traceability system for sheep and goats. But almost 12 months later, farmers were still worried about how much the scheme might cost their businesses, and made it clear there must be financial support to implement traceability reform.

NSW Farmers had agreed to policy providing in-principle support for the national traceability scheme after it was mandated by the previous government, President Xavier Martin said, but there was a need to set a maximum cost amid growing angst from producers.

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“Farmers are rightly becoming increasingly concerned about the costs associated with implementing eID for sheep and goats, following the previous government’s mandating of the traceability system last year,” Mr Martin said.

“Since the former government’s announcement of mandated electronic identification for sheep and goats in July 2022, we have been clear that there must be sufficient financial support made available for producers of these livestock.

“Our Executive Council has looked at what other state governments are providing their producers and calculated a maximum price of $1 per tag is reasonable for the NSW Government to support given biosecurity benefits everyone, not just producers.”

The official position of NSW Farmers on the national traceability reform for sheep and goats clearly articulated the Association’s in-principle support for the move to mandatory eID was conditional on several factors, including:
o             Tag costs were reduced to an economically affordable level,
o             Farmers and the supply chain were provided financial assistance to invest in technology, and
o             The transition was underpinned by an equitable funding arrangement across the supply chain.

Mr Martin said with state and federal governments mandating a more expensive system, there needed to be financial assistance on the table, and the $1 price tag was in line with other states.

“Farmers need support in reducing the cost of accredited eID National Livestock Identification System devices, including ear tags and similar identification technology, under this reform,” Mr Martin said.

“The last thing we want to see is a significant cost burden borne by producers who are now required to transition to using eID by government.

“NSW Farmers is determined to secure financial assistance for farmers and the supply chain to invest in technology; to retain tag free pathways, and ensure the system be developed in consultation with producers.”

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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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