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Local News

Stanthorpe ‘Crushing It’ with Apple and Grape Festival Plans

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Apple and Grape

Stanthorpe ‘Crushing It’ with Apple and Grape Festival Plans

Australia’s most loved foot-stomping, grape-crushing festival is again ‘crushing-it’ with plans well underway to deliver the crunchiest ever Stanthorpe Apple and Grape Harvest Festival on 25 February – 6 March 2022.
In the cool high altitude of Queensland’s Granite Belt, Stanthorpe has been literally “crushing-it” since 1966, welcoming 70,000+ visitors from across Australia to celebrate the bounty of the apple harvest and the wine region’s grape crushing.
“Our festival is held every second year, yet the last one feels a lifetime ago, because we were actually the last festival held in Australia before we were all suddenly introduced to Covid-restrictions,” explained Festival President Russell Wantling.  “Thankfully there’s no stopping the stars of our festival – the apples and grapes, and while they are out there busily budding and bursting this spring, we are busy at work pulling together the 10-day festival.”
“There’s so much love out there amongst Australians for this iconic festival, we’ve decided for the first time to allow festival fans to join us on the journey and show their love of Stanthorpe by joining our new Apple & Grape Club,” said Mr Wantling.  “We’ve opened up a $30 membership and to thank our loyal fans we’re giving them back $50 of value in tickets and bonuses straight up.”
Apple & Grape Club membership comes with a 3-Day Pass to the Queensland Country Bank Food & Wine Fiesta, a highlight of the festival’s program on the ‘big weekend’, 4-6 March.  There’s also a free gift of a festival branded stemless picnic ‘glass’, access to early release tickets (which comes in handy for sell-out events like the Banquetto Italiano long lunch) and the feel goods, knowing you’ve shown the volunteer organisers your support.
Local love for the festival is alive and well, evidenced by the return of a full line-up of 9 Ambassador entrants, continuing the festival’s longstanding tradition of what was once Festival Queens and in more recent years Festival Ambassadors.
“We’ve come through drought and fire in recent history and it’s left our little town stronger and prouder than ever,” said Mr Wantling.  “In 2022 Stanthorpe celebrates a huge milestone marking 150 years since Stanthorpe was founded, so you can be sure we’re putting on a festival celebration befitting the occasion!”
Highlights of the festival program include the Grape Crush Championships, Queensland Country Bank Food & Wine Fiesta, the Channel 7 Grand Parade, Rebel FM Street Carnival, the Apple & Grape Gala Ball, Apple Peeling and Apple Pie Competitions, Orchard Tours, Meet the Winemaker Events and much more, filling 10 exciting days.
Stanthorpe Apple and Grape Harvest Festival is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and features on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar.
Stanthorpe is just 2.5 hours’ drive from Brisbane, 3 hours from the Gold Coast or Byron Bay and 2 hours from Toowoomba.  To join the Apple & Grape Club by 31st October and register to receive festival updates at www.appleandgrape.org

Local News

Veteran nurse debunks claims Tweed Hospital is ‘Falling over in a screaming heap.’

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Veteran nurse debunks claims Tweed Hospital is ‘Falling over in a screaming heap.’

Veteran nurse debunks claims Tweed Hospital is ‘Falling over in a screaming heap.’

Speaking to The Northern Rivers Times on the condition of anonymity, an experienced nurse at Tweed Hospital has moved to counter some media claims the hospital is falling apart.

The nurse said the belief “Tweed Hospital has no Covid diagnosis equipment” is simply not true with Rapid Antigen Tests continuing this week for patients.  Hospital staff were also being tested at Tweed hospital.

“They still do ‘rapids’, definitely, and the results are back in half an hour,” the nurse said.

The nurse was concerned media hype did not tell the everyday story of life on hospital wards, which the nurse said were generally well-staffed and if quiet, saw some nurses redeployed to other wards.  The nurse said it was not unusual to have staff shortages anyway at this time of year or staff doing paid overtime.

“Hospital administration is still allowing people to go on annual leave, if it was in dire straits, why aren’t all the hierarchy back, they would be back if it was so bad.”

“A & E (Accident and Emergency) is certainly stretched with Covid admissions who should be staying home .. but it certainly isn’t falling apart.”

The nurse said managers and nurse unions have had ‘plenty of time’ to prepare for covid emergencies like now, including ensuring fit-testing of N95 or P2 respirators, mandatory for all frontline staff and an area lagging at Tweed Hospital.

“They could’ve planned better for this,” the nurse observed, “ .. it should’ve been done earlier.”

The experienced nurse was quick to add that negative commentary was not helpful for staff morale at a time like this.

“What we need to do is boost people up, encourage them to keep going, that we will get through this.  It’s all too easy to criticise,” the veteran nurse said.

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Business News NSW Northern Rivers

RENT RELIEF CONTINUES FOR SMALL BUSINESSES IMPACTED BY COVID-19

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RENT RELIEF CONTINUES FOR SMALL BUSINESSES IMPACTED BY COVID-19

RENT RELIEF CONTINUES FOR SMALL BUSINESSES IMPACTED BY COVID-19

Small businesses who are still doing it tough across the State will continue to benefit from rent relief until 13 January 2022, ensuring ongoing support for small businesses over the Christmas and New Year’s Period.
Treasurer Matt Kean said as the economic recovery continues, many small businesses are still not back at their pre-COVID turnover and rent is still one of their biggest fixed costs.

“Small business is the engine room of our economy and as we recover from the pandemic we need to make sure we leave no one behind and support impacted businesses as they continue to recover,” Mr Kean said.
“Continuing rent relief measures for impacted small businesses will provide a necessary buffer to allow businesses time to get back on their feet and begin to thrive again.”

The Retail and Other Commercial Leases (COVID-19) Regulation 2021 rent relief provisions will continue for eligible businesses with a turnover of less than $5 million, a more targeted level of support from the previous turnover threshold of $50 million.
Minister for Finance and Small Business Damien Tudehope said landlords will still be required to negotiate rent relief with eligible commercial and retail tenants that are experiencing a turnover decline of 30 per cent or more.

“Lockdown may be over but there are still small businesses, particularly in our CBDs, that are facing a slower recovery and are continuing to do it tough,” Mr Tudehope said.

“As the State continues to transition out of lockdown, 97 per cent of NSW businesses will retain access to COVID-19 rent relief provisions if they continue to experience a significant decline in turnover.”

Small commercial and retail tenants that would have continued to meet the eligibility criteria for JobSaver or the Micro-business Grant, after ending on 30 November, will remain eligible for rent relief negotiations with their landlords.
Under the Regulation, landlords are required to negotiate rent relief having regard to National Cabinet’s Code of Conduct. As a starting point, rent relief should be proportionate with eligible tenant’s decline in turnover, with at least 50 per cent in the form a waiver, and the balance a deferral.
Landlords can access the Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund, which currently provides small commercial or retail landlords with a monthly grant up to the value of any rental relief provided, to a maximum of $3,000 per month per property.
Alternatively, land tax relief is available for eligible commercial landowners who have reduced their tenants’ rent due to COVID-19, between 1 July 2021 and 31 December 2021. The reduction in land tax payable is the lesser of:

  • the amount of rent reduction provided to an eligible tenant for any period between 1 July 2021 and 31 December 2021, or
  • 100 per cent of the land tax attributable to the parcel of land leased to that tenant.

For more information on rent relief visit: Commercial leases https://www.smallbusiness.nsw.gov.au/get-help/covid-19/commercial-leases-and-covid-19-faqs
For more information on COVID-19 assistance for commercial and residential landlords visit: https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/campaign/covid-19-help-businesses/covid-19-assistance-commercial-and-residential-landlords

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Health News

Pharmacists ready with Moderna boosters but services must be sustainable

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The Northern Rivers own newspaper

Pharmacists ready with Moderna boosters but services must be sustainable

The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) welcomes the announcement that Moderna’s SPIKEVAX vaccine has been provisionally approved as a booster dose for Australians aged 18 years and above.

Yesterday, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) confirmed that a second vaccine will be available for the National Booster Program.

PSA National President, A/Prof Chris Freeman, acknowledged further enablement of the pharmacist workforce.

“With the National Booster Program well underway, this move is timely – one that provides Australians with greater vaccine choice in the lead up to early 2022 when the majority of the population becomes eligible for their booster dose.

“This announcement, coupled with Monday’s provisional approval of Pfizer for Australians aged 5-11 years, marks a week of significant progress in the pandemic response and PSA commends the Government’s approach to making these decisions.

“This development now means that the potential number of pharmacists offering booster vaccinations across Australia has more than doubled, accounting for those already participating in the Moderna program.

“However, it is imperative that pharmacists are paid fairly, and at least equally to other providers, otherwise the provision of this critical service is not sustainable. With 2.3 million children becoming eligible for vaccination, extra consultation time will be required to undertake appropriate assessment and consenting, placing further strain on service sustainability.

“Pharmacists have already administered over 2.5 million vaccinations to Australians, and as mass vaccination hubs continue to downscale their operations over the coming months, pharmacists will become an even more critical part of the vaccination strategy,” he said.

PSA is dedicated to supporting Australian pharmacist immunisers through the National Booster Program and will continue to work closely with the TGA and ATAGI to ensure pharmacists are equipped with the most up-to-date advice regarding vaccine safety and effectiveness.

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