Archive for: ‘May 2019’

Farmers fight back on defence land grab

20/05/2019 Posted by admin

AgForce President Grant Maudsley (left), Charters Towers’ grazier John Brownson who is in the firing line of the defence land grab in his home region and National Farmers’ Federation CEO Tony Mahar.

FARMERS are making Malcolm Turnbull and Barnaby Joyce acutely aware of the deep anger and anxiety brewing amongst rank and file members opposing the government’s compulsory acquisition of farms in North Queensland.

On Tuesday, National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) CEO Tony Mahar met in Charters Towers with a troupe of disgruntled farmers and farm business operators, directly impacted by the controversial land grab.

Along with Queensland’s AgForce, the NFF now aims to write a letter of declaration to the government’s senior commanders, warning them of the take-over proposal’s potential to set a conflicting and inconsistent precedent for national land use policy.

The Department of Defence (ADF) is planning to use the acquired land to expand military training operations for Singaporean soldiers as part of the $2.5 billion Australia-Singapore Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

But in gathering forces to fight back, the NFF says the government’s looming invasion of valuable cattle grazing and farming country, to serve the Australian Defence Force’s needs, must be halted.

The peak national lobby group says the move impacts multiple farm landholders but undermines other critical national interest tasks like feeding the nation and fuelling the national economy, with agriculture forecast to increase 6.1 per cent this financial year to $60.2 billion.

Mr Mahar said the private meeting, comprising over 40 concerned stakeholders and landowners, confirmed in his mind the serious concern that currently exists in and around Charters Towers, about the government’s plan to acquire local farms by stealth.

“We were able to hear firsthand about the anxiety and the period of uncertainty these people are facing but also to get out in the paddock and see some of the country directly and this is productive farm land – this is not scrub country,” he said.

“This is productive agricultural land that’s possibly going to be compulsory acquired – about 300,000 hectares overall – and that would be a sad day for Australian agriculture.

“This is land that would be sacrificed to another industry but agriculture can make good use of this land which is good for fattening cattle and it would be a real shame if it were to be lost to agriculture.

“I thought it was really important the NFF was part of the discussion and demonstrated that we’re here to support and to help and understand what the views are and advocate for the best outcome for the farmers in this region but also farmers throughout Australia.

“It’s really concerning that this could set a precedent that would go across farming regions all over the country.”

Mr Mahar said the meeting was attended by supply chain participants like transporters with a direct interest in agriculture who relied on the industry’s continued existence and viability of agriculture.

He said the NFF would now work with AgForce and a Charters Towers steering committee and similar groups in other regions, to ensure they advocated and communicated to decision-makers the depth of feeling that exists over the issue.

Their first stop in pursuing an agenda that prioritises farmers’ best interests was a meeting in Brisbane this morning, with the office of Defence Minister Marise Payne.

Mr Mahar said a jointly-signed letter would also be sent to the Mr Turnbull, the Deputy PM Mr Joyce – also the Agriculture and Water Resources Minister – and the Defence Minister, letting them know the intensity of feeling among farmers in the Charters Towers region and at other locations around central Queensland.

“The main point is that compulsory acquisition is off the table,” he said.

Mr Mahar said the government had proposed to investigate purchasing farm properties and compensation was an option but compulsory acquisition was farmers’ prime concern right now.

“What we heard at the meeting is that people have been farming in this region for 100 years and they’re not interested in leaving,” he said.

“It’s still a proposal and the Defence Department will say that this is just the very start of the process but we have some concerns around how the process was started and whether it’s actually a consultation process for compensation or a consultation process for the project to go ahead.

“We want to get in right from the word go and make sure the federal government is really clear on what farmers and land owners think and understand the implications.

“This has ramifications not only for the Charters Towers area and this whole supply chain but if this goes ahead it also sets a really bad precedent for farmers.”

Mr Mahar said farmers already faced land-use threats from urban expansion, extractive industries, native vegetation and national parks and now the challenge of compulsory acquisition of farmland for defence purposes.

“This does not send a good message about where agriculture fits into the national economy,” he said.

“We need to have that discussion; where is agriculture in land use?

“At the moment there’s a confusing message.

“The government is saying agriculture’s a pillar of the economy and we agree with that but if they go through with this compulsory acquisition of farmland, it creates a confusing message; not only to farmers but the public.”

Mr Mahar said the issue also fed into existing community concerns and fears about farmers being unable to deny mining companies access to their private properties for extractive purposes like Coal Seam Gas.

“It’s all part of that policy discussion around strategic land use and where agriculture fits into that discussion and the need for clear government strategy,” he said.

NFF has said it understands Northern Australia Minister Matthew Canavan told a meeting in Marlborough on Monday an impact study into the proposal was underway, by KPMG.

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Indian team win with mercy ruling

20/05/2019 Posted by admin

BATTLE: Peter Pietuch bats for Tigers in their B Grade game Indians.Sunday’s softball gamesaw Indians verse Road Runners, Road Runners Olivia Watson pitching to Kayleen Graham.

IndiansBec Andersson, Chloe Conyard and Margaret Mcintosh all hadsafe hits, Ruby Mislov and Kayleen Graham had a double play.

Road Runners Maggie Payne, Aimee Watson and Sam Watson also had safe hits, Indians Margaret Mcintosh pitching to Bec Andersson.

Road Runners Olivia Watson, Ruby Mislov and Sam Watson got four across andwon 8-4.

Shout outs, Indians, Madi Conyard and Bec Andersson, Road Runners, Aimee Watson and Ruby Mislov.

Safe Hits, Road Runners, M Payne 1, A Watson 2, K Graham 1, O Watson 1, S Hoake 1 andR Mislov 1, catches, A Watson 1, S Watson 1, R Mislov 3.

Indians safe hits, C Conyard 1, MMcintosh 2, BAndersson 2, JKneebone 1, DSullivan 1, catches, M Mcintosh 1 and MConyard 1, pitching MMcintosh 2 K2’s.

The second game saw Tigers verse Spears, Spears Sharona Dodd pitching to Kelly Abdullah and Tigers Jeanne Mcintosh pitching to Joan Shea.

Both sides scored two runs in the first, Tigers made five in the second with double plays by Tanya Mcintosh and Katherine Wilson.

Spears Daralee had a three base hit bringing in three runsbutTigers were still ahead and won 9-7.

Shout outs, Spears, Tineale Colson and Kayla Lindsay, Tigers, Rebecca Birrell and Verena Kiselitza.

Safe Hits from the Spears, K Abdullah 1, T Colson 2 and K Lindsay 2, catches, Z Wingfield 1, T Colson 3.

Tigers safe hits, R Birrell 1, K Wilson 3, T Mcintosh 2, J Shea 2, V Kiselitza 1, J Mcintosh 2 and JWilson 1, catches, JWilson 1, RBirrell 1, TMcintosh 1 and KWilson 2.

The first baseball game was Indians versing Tigers, Indians Mick Gibbs pitching to Willy Gibbs and Tigers Keith Daniel pitching to Damien Pietuch.

Tigers scored 14 in the first to Indians three and nice hitting by Peter Pietuch, Shane Stephens and Michael Peters saw Tigers get 10 in the second, Indians scored four but Tigers took the win 24-7.

Shout out, Tigers, Peter Pietuch and Alex Guimelli, Indians, Steven Welgraven and Bec Andersson.

Safe hits Tigers, PPietuch 2, S Stephens 3, MPeters 3, SLockhart 2, AGuimelli 1, DPietuch 1, JShea 1 and KDaniel 1, pitching,KDaniel 3 K2’s, Indians, WGibbs 1 and SWelgraven 1.

The A Grade game saw Indians versing Tigers.

Indians Phil Hillman pitching to Tyler Welgraven andTigers Daniel Vines pitching to Damien Pietuch.

Tigers struggled to score in the first while Indians scored 20 with hits by Dale Kenyon, Tyler Welgraven and Brandon Gibbs, Tigers did not score before the mercy rule saw Indians win 20-0.

Shout outs, Indians, Brandon Gibbs and Tyler Welgraven, Tigers, Damien Pietuch and Michael Peters.

Safe hits, Indians, DKenyon 3, JDunbar 2, SWelgraven 1, BGibbs 2, TWelgraven 2, WGibbs 1 andJ Mathews 1, catches, LBlayney 1, pitching, PHillman 2 K2’s, Tigers, catches, PPietuch 1, pitching, DVines 1 K2.

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Main Round university offers to be released

20/05/2019 Posted by admin

READY TO STUDY: Main round university offers come out at 6pm.MORE than 50,000 hopeful university applicants will find out tonight if they have received a MainRound offer for study in 2017. UAC’s participating institutions have made 44,190 Main Round offers,very similar to last year when 44,344 offers were made.

Applicants will be able to log in to UAC’s website or My UAC at 6pm on Wednesday 18 January toview their offers. Offer letters will be available for download from 7.30am on Thursday 19 January.

UAC General Manager of Marketing and Engagement, Kim Paino, said the Main Round was still UAC’slargest offer round, and the end of an anxious wait for many students.

‘While lots of students will have received an early offer, which certainly takes the pressure off, for manythe Main Round is all about the course they really want to get into,’ Ms Paino said.

Ms Paino says, ‘Even with this large number of offers, unfortunately not everyone will be happy after theMain Round. But for anyone who has missed out on an offer, or missed out on their favourite course,don’t be disheartened.’

‘There are several more offer rounds, and applicants have from 6 o’clock tonight until midnight nextWednesday 25 January to change preferences to be included in the next offer round on 1 February. And ifyou haven’t applied yet it’s not too late – applications are open until 10 February. Just check UAC’swebsite for more information.’

When Main Round offers are released, UAC will also release the cut-offs for entry into each course. It’simportant for applicants to remember that cut-offs are not ATARs, as they include bonus points, and thatmany students are admitted under schemes that consider factors other than the ATAR.

Ms Paino says that, while the cut-off is still a useful tool for Year 12 students, UAC and universities willbe working closely together this year to provide additional information to students. ‘UAC welcomesMinister Birmingham’s acceptance of the transparency recommendations from the Higher EducationStandards Panel and we’re looking forward to supplementing our existing information for students withmore detail in 2018.’

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New blackleg resistant genes in canola

20/05/2019 Posted by admin

NSW Department of Primary Industries researchers, Drs Harsh and Rosy Raman with DPI technical officer Ollie Owen, inspect this season’s canola field trails prior to harvest. Photo: ContributedNSW Department of Primary Industry (DPI) scientists have found new canola genes for resistance to blackleg, the major disease threat to Australia’s canola industry.

NSW DPI senior principal research scientist, Harsh Raman, said the study has unlocked the genetic make-up of canola to characterise major and minor genes resistant to the fungal pathogen Leptosphaeria maculans, which causes blackleg disease.

“Finding new sources of resistance, particularly resistance which is controlled by minor genes, is extremely important to the canola industry,” Dr Raman said.

“Blackleg disease can cause up to 80 per cent yield loss in canola – in Australia, France and Canada resistance has been broken down in some canola varieties due to the emergence of new races of the blackleg pathogen.

“Significantly for local canola growers, the study revealed new sources of blackleg resistance which were either resistant to the pathogen or had low levels of blackleg.”

Researchers used 18,804 DNA markers in a genome-wide association study to identify genes associated with both major and minor resistance in canola.

Several genes for resistance were mapped on the canola chromosome using molecular markers, which will assist the incorporation of a combination of genes to develop canola varieties with durable resistance to battle blackleg attack.

Researchers used different races of blackleg fungus collected across Australian canola growing sites and infected 180 varieties of canola to deliver a comprehensive evaluation.

New sources of resistance were identified at the DPI Wagga Wagga Agricultural Institute, where researchers screened the canola lines using known races of blackleg fungus under glasshouse conditions.

NSW DPI, in collaboration with Marcroft Grains Pathology and the Victorian DPI, has now validated the presence of new genes in a number of canola varieties.

The blackleg resistance research project was supported by the NSW, Victorian and Australian governments and Grains Research and Development Corporation.

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