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Local News

Rural Aid helps farming families to reboot

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Rural Aid helps farming families to reboot

 

The “people side of drought” is front and centre for a Rural Aid-supported initiative helping farming families reboot not just their businesses, but themselves.
Rural Aid CEO John Warlters said in drought, the focus was on the livestock, the property and immediate concerns, leaving the people themselves “pushed to the side”.

“The Farming Family Reboot is an initiative that we’re really proud of at Rural Aid; we feel it’s a really powerful thing to take families away from the farm for a brief period of time to get new skills, knowledge and tools.”

The Farming Family Reboot itself is not only free, the program covers accommodation and meals for participants, thanks to the support of Rural Aid, the University of New England, and the SQNNSW Innovation Hub through funding from the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund.

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The Future Drought Fund showcased the Farming Family Reboot at this year’s Science to Practice Forum, producing a video (https://vimeo.com/838565054) with participants from across Queensland and New South Wales including the Thompson, Dwyer, Walterfang and Weller families highlighting their experiences.

Steve and Fran Thompson, of Dalveen in Queensland, took part in the first ever Reboot in Armidale.

“I’m not into going away to courses traditionally … (and) I thought the program was fantastic. It’s just not about farming, it’s about the whole lifestyle,” Steve said.

A group of farmers.

Rural Aid’s Yeony Kim joins landholder Rachelle Hergenham from Kingstown NSW in the paddock during one of the practical sessions at the Farming Family Reboot

Armidale Node Manager Lu Hogan, based at the University of New England, said that when planning their activities under the SQNNSW Innovation Hub, they wanted to make sure they met the needs of farmers.

“What we found was that there was plenty of technical information about drought management and infrastructure, but what was really missing was that big picture overview about what’s the strategy for the business and improving their ability to plan and to think about the finances and to also look after themselves.”

2023 participants Rhianne and Jeff Dwyer, Glen Innes NSW, said the latest drought was hard on all farming families, with many selling their businesses and leaving farming.

“We obviously don’t want to do that,” Rhianne said. “We want to have it forever and have it for our kids.”

“You can never stop learning,” Jeff said. “There are different ways of doing things now. We can’t change the weather, but we can do other things to help. We can go home and maybe try different things or prepare better, for it if it does come dry again.”

Grant Walterfang, from Springdale in Queensland, said the renewed enthusiasm he got from the course had made a huge difference.

“Everybody got something out of it, even though there were people there that ran goats, people ran sheep, people ran cattle, people in different areas,” Grant said.

He said everyone had faced the same issues in the last drought, and they came through it still going, and looking for answers.

“The presenters from UNE and other SQNNSW Innovation Hub partners, I believe they really nailed it. Everything they taught us and showed us, they backed up with their own resources and their own experiments they’d done in the paddocks.”

Justin O’Brien, Danglemah NSW, during the 2023 Farming Family Reboot.

Karen and Peter Weller, from the Winton district of NSW, attended to kick start their succession planning effort.

“What I found at the program, which was so different to other programs, was the mental health component,” Karen said.

“There was a lot more positivity and a lot more explanation, and I took so much more away.”

John Warlters said the beauty of the program was that it wasn’t anchored to any one location.

“It can be picked up and taken right around the country.”

In fact, the next Farming Family Reboot will be held at the SQNNSW Innovation Hub Lismore Node, in November 2023. Expressions of interest can be emailed to lhogan22@une.edu.au

The Farming Family Reboot program covers: the way decisions are made on the farm; understanding and using critical decision points and weather forecasts in the livestock and cropping cycle to better manage climate challenges; available tools such as Ag360.com.au; matching stocking rate to feed supply; critical evaluation of the finances; considering investment in new infrastructure to better manage drought and other climate challenges; relationships within the family and making better decisions as a family; and research and development at UNE SMART Farms.

 

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Casino NSW News

Casino Showground Bookings Now Available

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Casino Showground Bookings Now Available

 

We are excited to announce that the recently revitalised Casino Showground and Racecourse precinct will commence accepting bookings starting from Monday, June 3rd.

With a generous funding injection of $12.8 million from the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund, alongside contributions from various sources including the NSW Showground Stimulus Program, Drought Communities Funding, Crown Lands, and Council, the total investment in this redevelopment has reached $14.4 million.

This newly enhanced facility boasts a range of features including a spacious undercover arena, an outdoor sand arena, turfed areas, covered stables, and a state-of-the-art racehorse stable complex capable of accommodating up to 80 horses. Additionally, new parking areas for cars, trucks, and floats have been added for the convenience of visitors.

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Of notable appeal is the newly constructed racehorse exercise area, which includes round yards, a horse walker, and a 50-metre equine pool. These amenities are expected to draw considerable interest from equestrian enthusiasts and event organizers alike. Furthermore, enhancements such as powered event camping areas have expanded the facility’s versatility, allowing for hosting a diverse range of events including country music festivals, car shows, trade exhibitions, and markets.

Despite the official opening ceremony held on April 20th to commemorate the acknowledgment of government funding, certain essential construction tasks remain pending due to unforeseen circumstances. These include the high-voltage power upgrade, completion of the equine training area, and fencing installations crucial for ensuring the safety of all facility users.

Unfortunately, adverse weather conditions in the Northern Rivers region have exacerbated delays, saturating many areas of the facility and rendering them unsuitable for immediate use. However, efforts are underway to expedite the finalisation of these outstanding projects in alignment with the originally tendered project costs.

In tandem with these developments, the Council is set to deliberate on its Draft Revenue Policy for 2024-2025 at its upcoming meeting. This policy will outline the proposed fees for utilising the facility and will undergo a public exhibition period of 28 days following the meeting, during which community feedback and submissions will be welcomed.

We extend our gratitude to all existing stakeholders and potential users for their patience throughout this project’s completion, which has been hampered by unforeseen challenges. We eagerly anticipate opening all elements of this facility to serve the broader community.

For those interested in booking the venue, please visit the Council’s venue hire website.

 

For more Casino news, click here.

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Evans Head News

Serenitas Celebrates Grand Opening of Multi-Million Dollar Clubhouse at Thyme Lifestyle Resort Evans Head

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Serenitas Celebrates Grand Opening of Multi-Million Dollar Clubhouse at Thyme Lifestyle Resort Evans Head

 

Serenitas, a leading provider of lifestyle communities and resorts for individuals over 50, proudly announces the grand opening of the state-of-the-art Clubhouse at Thyme Lifestyle Resort, Evans Head. The celebratory event saw enthusiastic homeowners joined by Mayor Robert Mustow and Serenitas CEO Rob Nichols, who officiated the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Nestled in the tranquil coastal enclave of Evans Head, the Clubhouse epitomises refined living and leisure. Located near the historic Evans Head Aerodrome and a short walk from pristine beaches, Thyme Evans Head offers an unparalleled blend of luxury and laid-back coastal charm.

Rob Nichols, CEO of Serenitas, expressed his excitement about the new facility: “We are thrilled to be opening the Thyme Evans Head Clubhouse, inviting residents and their guests to immerse themselves in the pinnacle of luxury living. With its striking architecture, ties to Evans Head’s aviation heritage, and a host of premium amenities, this opening heralds the next inspiring chapter for the resort’s homeowners and underscores Serenitas’ unwavering commitment to excellence.”

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The multi-million dollar Clubhouse features an array of exquisite facilities, including a fully equipped gym, heated swimming pool, health and beauty studio, luxurious cinema, sports bar complete with darts and pool table, croquet court, and more. A standout feature of the Clubhouse is the sophisticated Evans Lounge, providing homeowners a serene setting to enjoy views over the aerodrome by a cozy fireplace.

“The Clubhouse caters to every taste,” added Mr. Nichols. “From our active residents utilising the fitness facilities to our social groups making use of the Art & Craft Studio and other recreational spaces for gatherings and events.”

Demand for homes at Thyme Evans Head has been incredibly strong, with sales surpassing expectations since its inception. Located in the highly sought-after Northern Rivers district of NSW, Evans Head has emerged as a coveted community known for its relaxed coastal vibe and pristine waters.

“Our homes have garnered significant interest and are selling at an unprecedented pace,” remarked Rob Nichols. “With prices starting from $615,000, we are preparing to release our final homes for sale, reaffirming Evans Head’s status as a desirable destination for discerning homeowners.”

For more information about Thyme Evans Head, please visit here.

 

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Local News

Ranger Nick Honoured with Australian Owned Achievement Award

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Ranger Nick Honoured with Australian Owned Achievement Award
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Ranger Nick Honoured with Australian Owned Achievement Award

 

In a competitive field of contenders, Ranger Nick emerged victorious, securing the prestigious “Australian Owned Achievement Award 2024” in the recently announced Australian Owned Business Awards on May 7, 2024.

Surprised by the announcement, Ranger Nick received a message from the judging panel praising his unwavering commitment to Australian ownership and excellence. The panel acknowledged the stiff competition and commended Ranger Nick’s business as a leader in its domain.

Reflecting on the unexpected news, Ranger Nick expressed his elation, stating, “I was on my way to the Capella Country Music Festival, after spending a few days in the scrub with no mobile reception, when I received the news. Needless to say, I am absolutely thrilled, flattered and honoured.”

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This accolade marks Ranger Nick’s third triumph in a year, following his recognition as a Finalist in the Australian Small Business Champion Awards and as a Winner in the Innovation and Sustainability Excellence category of The Australian Rural Business Awards.

Renowned as the charismatic Aussie Bush Cook, Ranger Nick embodies the authentic Australian spirit with his unwavering passion for Australian heritage and traditions. He has dedicated himself to sharing his camp oven cooking and bushcraft skills with fellow adventurewrs across the country and abroad.

With four published books, his own merchandise line, and notable appearances on television and radio, including Channel 7Mates’ “Step Outside with Paul Burt” and West Bremer Radio, Ranger Nick’s influence continues to grow.

Grateful for the support he has received, Ranger Nick humbly thanked his supporters, expressing his determination to continue his endeavors. “I extend my heartfelt thanks to all for your unwavering support,” he said. “I better pull up my socks and keep on going.”

Ranger Nick eagerly anticipates receiving his official trophy at the Dayboro Annual Show in early July, marking another milestone in his illustrious career.

 

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