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Rural News

Rural health system needs overhaul

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Rural health system needs overhaul

The state’s peak farming body is calling for the federal government to commit to an overhaul of how rural health is handled.

NSW Farmers health spokesperson Sarah Thompson said plans to get doctors into the bush by wiping HELP debts were ‘promising’, but would not be a silver bullet.

“One of the big issues facing rural and remote communities is access to health professionals, and we need to move to a place-based solution,” Mrs Thompson said.

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“This is not just about doctors and nurses, this is about getting unity between state and federal governments, universities and health providers to ensure we have the skills and capacity to meet patient needs.

“We recognise the incredible contribution of those already working to provide health services in rural and remote areas, we simply do not have enough of them!”

Among the solutions put forward by NSW Farmers was the Murrumbidgee model of training doctors to work in rural communities, and developing a scholarship program to support existing rural and remote nurses and allied health professionals to gain higher level qualifications to improve local service delivery.

“Rather than just trying to attract people to rural areas, as the federal government’s HELP plan does, we must encourage more locals to train as health professionals, as they are shown to be more likely to live and work in their home communities,” Mrs Thompson said.

“Giving doctors with HELP debts this incentive may help them consider a rural or remote area, but if there is no local training option, or no house for them to live in, or no connection to the community, they may not even consider it.

“It’s not just about doctors and nurses either – we must also have complementary and allied health services as well as investment in regional liveability.

“Ultimately, farming and rural communities growing our food and fibre need better access to quality healthcare.”

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Last call on senators to vote NO on the Biosecurity Levy and #ScraptheTax

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Last call on senators to vote NO on the Biosecurity Levy and #ScraptheTax

 

As the Biosecurity Protection Levy looms for consideration in the senate today, the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) issues a final, impassioned plea to senators, underscoring the critical importance of standing in solidarity with Australian farmers and decisively voting to #ScraptheTax.

NFF President David Jochinke conveys a sense of urgency, acknowledging the persistent threat posed by the levy’s potential passage, despite months of concerted opposition from within the agricultural sector and throughout the broader supply chain.

Expressing profound dismay, Jochinke laments the apparent disconnect between the government’s stance and the genuine concerns voiced by farmers nationwide. He emphasises the government’s failure to engage in meaningful dialogue, address substantive issues, or heed the resounding call to reconsider this deeply unpopular policy.

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In a remarkable display of unity, the NFF and its extensive membership, representing the full spectrum of Australia’s agricultural commodities, have mobilised to send an unequivocal message: the Biosecurity Levy is unjust, ill-conceived, and detrimental to the livelihoods of Australian farmers.

Jochinke further underscores the troubling disregard exhibited by the government towards expert advice, including recommendations from reputable bodies such as the Productivity Commission and the Australian National University. He highlights the levy’s potential to confer a competitive advantage to foreign competitors, while burdening local farmers with unnecessary financial constraints.

With a rallying cry, the NFF implores senators, particularly those from the Greens and the cross bench, to heed the voices of farmers and independent experts alike. They call upon the senate to fulfil its vital role as a check on rushed and flawed policy initiatives, emphasising the imperative of thorough scrutiny and critical evaluation.

In essence, the NFF’s message to the senate is clear: Australian farmers deserve better. By voting to #ScraptheTax, senators have the opportunity to demonstrate their unwavering support for the agricultural sector and uphold the interests of the communities they represent.

For more background on the Biosecurity Protection Levy click here.

 

For more rural news, click here.

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Don’t Miss Out! Early Bird Tickets Now on Sale for the 2024 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award Gala Dinner & National Announcement

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Don’t Miss Out! Early Bird Tickets Now on Sale for the 2024 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award Gala Dinner & National Announcement

 

The National Winner and Runner Up of the 2024 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award will be announced at a Gala Dinner at the Great Hall, Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday, 20 August 2024. The prestigious event celebrates female-led ingenuity in the regions. 

The AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award, with the support of platinum sponsor Westpac, showcases the critical role women play in rural, regional and remote businesses, industries and communities.

The annual Gala Dinner is an opportunity to celebrate the forward-thinking, courageous leaders who come from industries across some of the remote areas of Australia, including each of the State and Territory winners, Kate Lamason (QLD), Rebecca Keeley (NSW/ACT), Grace Larson (VIC), Belle Binder (TAS), Nikki Atkinson (SA), Mandy Walker (WA) and Tanya Egerton (NT).

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2023 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award National Winner Nikki Davey will be the event MC with the black-tie evening attended by award alumni, government officials, industry and private sector representatives and media.

The event is open to the public to purchase tickets here.

AgriFutures Managing Director John Harvey said the long-running Award is a salute to the wonderful contribution that Australian women are making in the regions.

“The Gala Dinner is an event that champions the remarkable contributions of the 2024 cohort and is an opportunity to honour these extraordinary women who are the pillars of our rural and regional industries, businesses, and communities,” Mr Harvey said.

Background Information

Now in its 24th year, the AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award has gained a significant profile, growing in prestige and popularity, and is recognised as a program of influence among parliamentarians, industry, media and Award Alumni.

Each state and territory winner receives a $15,000 grant for their project, business or program, access to professional development opportunities and alumni networks.

The National Winner and Runner Up will receive an additional grant of $20,000 and $15,000, respectively, thanks to the awards platinum sponsor, Westpac.

AgriFutures Australia is committed to the future growth and advancement of the Award as a means of identifying, celebrating and empowering women. The Rural Women’s Award is one of many AgriFutures Australia initiatives ensuring our rural industries prosper now, and into the future.

For more information about the awards, head here.

 

For more rural news, click here.

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Better be-leaf it: celebrating International Day of Plant Health

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Better be-leaf it: celebrating International Day of Plant Health

 

In commemoration of the International Day of Plant Health on May 12, 2024, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry is spotlighting the significance of regional collaboration in safeguarding plant health.

Regional achievements in plant health will be lauded during the Plant Biosecurity Research Initiative (PBRI) Symposium, a two-day event held at the Cairns Convention Centre on May 8 and 9. The symposium aims to foster better coordination among industry stakeholders, researchers, and governments to protect plant health.

Gabrielle Vivian-Smith, Australia’s Chief Plant Protection Officer, emphasises the critical role of plants in sustaining our region’s ecosystems. She underscores the staggering impact of plant pests and diseases, which annually result in the loss of 40% of food crops globally, with rural communities bearing the brunt. Vivian-Smith highlights the department’s commitment to research and innovation to combat these challenges and support farmers’ livelihoods.

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One notable initiative involves researching the efficacy of ethyl formate in controlling the khapra beetle at Australian borders, alongside collaborative efforts with the Queensland government to mitigate seasonal incursions of exotic fruit fly. Additionally, the department is enhancing biosecurity measures domestically and fostering partnerships with neighbouring countries to ensure regional plant health.

Recent endeavour’s include departmental visits to ‘high-biosecurity-risk’ sites in Honiara, where collaboration with Solomon Islands’ counterparts facilitated the detection of exotic plant pest threats. Furthermore, Papua New Guinea’s National Agriculture and Quarantine Inspection Authority will host biosecurity officers from Solomon Islands to exchange insights on target pests and surveillance techniques, aligning with the department’s Pacific Biosecurity Strategy.

The PBRI symposium will encompass diverse topics such as varroa mites in honeybees, the Indigenous Ranger Biosecurity Program, and biosecurity risks in the wine industry.

In addition to acknowledging regional achievements, it’s worth noting that the United Nations designated May 12 as the International Day of Plant Health in 2022, emphasising the vital role of plants in sustaining life on Earth. With plants contributing 80% of the food humans consume and generating 98% of the oxygen we breathe, safeguarding their health is paramount for global well-being.

 

For more rural news, click here.

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