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Buswell derails Tier 3 discussions

NAREMBEEN grower and chair of the Wheatbelt Railway Retention Alliance, Bill Cowan said Transport Minister Troy Buswell’s position that a set amount of money had been allocated to the task of renewing Wheatbelt rail lines and that would be it, has been exposed after a radio interview the Minister conducted last week.
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Despite Mr Buswell’s position, Mr Cowan said he was still positive about the outlook for Tier 3 lines in the Wheatbelt area.

The Wheatbelt Railway Retention Alliance was scheduled to meet with representatives from CBH and Watco including Watco executive vice president Ed McKechnie.

The meeting was to take place in Bruce Rock last weekend.

“They’ve written to us and they want to hear our views,” Mr Cowan said.

“They want consultation and forthright discussion to take place between us and I see that as a very proactive and encouraging step.

“It will be nice to get some idea about their view on the situation and where the Tier 3 lines might be a possibility.”

Mr Cowan said the Alliance wanted to meet the industry representatives on Wheatbelt soil where they could actually look at a Tier 3 line.

“It’s going to be interesting because if they really do feel that Tier 3 lines are worth putting money into, I actually now have a feeling that private industry might put the money into it,” he said.

“I’m more confident now that we will save the Tier 3 lines, however, it is a worry that both Troy Buswell and Brendon Grylls are saying that there’s nothing they can do to save them.”

Mr Cowan was awaiting response from Mr Buswell in relation to the closure of Tier 3 rail lines throughout the Wheatbelt and said that Mr Gryll’s contribution to the debate had also come as no surprise.

From the Alliance’s point of view, potential funding from Royalties for Regions would be the “ultimate outcome” according to Mr Cowan, however, he said Mr Grylls made his point of view clear when he was also recently interviewed on radio.

“Brendon Grylls said even if money was put into the Tier 3 lines farmers wouldn’t use them anyway because the freight charges were higher,” Mr Cowan said.

“Nearly 94 per cent of grain in WA was freighted by train anyway.

“Funding from Royalties for Regions for the cause would be the ultimate outcome because we’d see the money already allocated spent on roads, which is inadequate anyway, as well as the Royalty for Regions funding.

“If Royalties for Regions went in, it would be a significant help.”

Although, members from the Alliance had said, CBH had been “tight-lipped” about its intentions they were enthusiastic about meeting with CBH and Watco in Bruce Rock.

“No one from CBH has said anything but I think it was their strategy all along,” Mr Cowan said.

He also said CBH representatives had made their interest in the rail infrastructure publicly known for some time.

“CBH has suggested the State Government give the rail lines back so that it could run them,” he said.

“It is like WAFarmers member Kevin Jones said, if they do that, WestNet will surely get them somewhere else and make them pay somewhere further along the line.

“I may be pre-empting something CBH has in the pipeline but it is what it is.”

Mr Buswell said the Government, through its review of the way WA freights its grain, had invested $350m into the upgrade of road and rail networks in the Wheatbelt so wheat could be transported as efficiently and as safely as possible to WA’s ports.

He said part of that process meant that three under-utilised lines in the Wheatbelt would be put on a care and maintenance basis.

“That was a long process, supported by industry and supported by farmers,” he said.

“That process has now concluded and we are now focused on implementing the upgrades funded by that $350m.”

Mr Buswell said the process of review had been going on since 2004 and nothing had happened.

“It’s time now for action,” he said.

“Clearly there are some people who feel dissatisfied with the outcome.

“They have been making outrageous claims in terms of the impact of the Government decision on the freight of grain by road.”

He said if their argument was taken to its logical conclusion, they would have “a rail receival point at the end of every farmgate.”

“And that clearly isn’t going to happen,” he said.

“We all know every farmer in WA takes their grain by road to a grain receival point.

“What we’re saying is that there are some rail networks which are no longer viable or economic and those farmers will have the option to take their grain a little further to grain receival points.”

Mr Buswell said that had “aggrieved” some people and that change could rarely exist without “some agitation.”

“But my message to those groups is that we are not going to begin another review,” he said.

“We are going to spend this $350m of State and Federal money to fix up roads and rail.

“So we are making sure we invest in roads to provide a safe environment, acknowledging that the rail networks have served agricultural communities for a long time and that there have to be some changes at some point.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Rich rewards at Mount Ascot Merino ram sale

Elders stud stock selling team, that handled the brisk bidding at Mount Ascot ram sale.A COURAGEOUS decision by the Brumpton family to go ahead with their recent annual Mount Ascot Merino ram sale at Mitchell, despite widespread travel disruption caused by the floods, was rewarded with strong demand and total clearance.
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Founded by Reuben and Heather Brumpton and now continued by their son Nigel and his wife Rosemary and family members, Mount Ascot continues to be a front-runner in Queensland ram marketing, as evidenced again this year, even with many former NSW and central-western clients kept away by closed roads.

Even with these buying restrictions, the sale reached a top price of $5000 for a ram sold to long-standing Mount Ascot clients, Bob and Marg Little, Waverley, Cunnamulla, who also bought 24 other auction rams to average $1868, including the second top-priced ram at $4500.

Proceeds from one of the rams bought for $2000 by the Little family were donated to the flood appeal.

Graham Winks, Tilquin, Bollon, took home 17 rams; the Hill family, Oakey Park, Dirranbandi, selected 12; Glenorie Grazing, Morven, bought 11; and DJ&D Sullivan took home 10.

Long-time clients included Summer-hill Grazing, Ilfracombe, taking home 16 rams; Arthur Gaunt taking seven; Jim and Kate Scutt, Waldor, Dirranbandi, with five; Harry and Susan Glasson, Blackall, taking 10, and LG&LE Jukes & Sons, Tregonning, Morven, taking five.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

New brand hits niche

BRAND BUILDING: Shane and Nina Selleck are building a name for their premium quality grain-fed beef under their Barossa Plains Black Angus brand which was launched six months ago.LOWER North beef producers Nina and Shane Selleck understand that a growing number of consumers want to know where their beef comes from and how it is produced.
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The young couple have ticked both of these boxes with their Barossa Plains Black Angus, a premium grain-fed beef.

The branded beef has full traceability from the paddock to the points of sale at the weekly Barossa Farmers Market, the Sellecks’ recently-acquired butcher shop or the local businesses they supply.

Since its launch in the middle of last year, the brand has enjoyed strong growth, with about six carcases now used each week. The beef is produced from the Selleck family’s Angus herds run at Lyndoch and Kapunda and are finished at their ASHSHA Park feedlot at Wasleys using grain and hay grown on-property.

The family’s livestock transport business – Selleck’s Transport – is used to move stock from the farm to the feedlot to the abattoir and they have a refrigerated truck to transport meat.

Shane’s parents Lyn and Braithe have run a self-replacing Angus herd for many years, supplying grain-fed cattle from their 800-head capacity feedlot to supermarkets. While this is still the family’s major farming business, Nina and Shane are now focusing their energy on directly supplying the consumer as well.

The couple said that living in the Barossa, they could see the high demand for quality products grown locally. This thinking was behind their decision to buy Barossa Plains Meats at Freeling last September and offer environmentally sustainable products.

Nina is proud that all the meat in the butcher shop – except the seafood – comes from within a 60 kilometre radius of Freeling, including locally grown pork, chicken from Riverton and beef and lamb. This ensures consumers buy products with low food miles.

“Because it is local, there is less travel, less carbon emissions, and we are trying to provide more employment in Freeling,” she said.

An important outlet for Barossa Plains Black Angus has been the Farmer’s Market which the couple have been participating in since July last year. Nina says the market presence has built awareness of the brand, given them valuable feedback on their beef and produced repeat customers looking for steak, roasts, sausages, even meatballs to feed their families.

“We are able to tell people we breed our own cows, grow the grain to feed the cattle which go into our feedlot and recycle the waste back on the paddocks as liquid fertiliser,” Nina said.

The couple also have online sales of quarter and half-sides of beef from the Barossa Plains Black Angus.

One of the most difficult parts of having a brand is using the secondary cuts but the Sellecks have this covered too. Their trademark 28-centimetre thick sausage in natural casing, known as the ‘Big Banger’, is very popular in the butcher shop and Farmers Market, and they supply mince to Sunrise Bakery at Angaston, Truro and now Gawler which goes into making their famous meat pies.

*Full story in Stock Journal, January 27 issue, 2011.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

New entity to smooth IR transition

A NEW industrial relations entity has been created to help unincorporated Queensland employers when the move to the Federal Fair Work industrial relations system takes place on February 1.
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Primary Employers Queensland has been launched by principal Warren Turner as a dedicated mem-bership subscription-based website to provide information and advice which is easily understood and specifically designed to address the particular needs of rural employers.

“There is an enormous amount of confusion surrounding the new IR system, and Primary Employers Queensland’s principal objective is to provide concise information in a user-friendly format,” Mr Turner said.

“We offer a wide range of mem-bership-based services including award and legislation content and obligations, advice on negotiation of agreements, and representation in dispute situations.”

Mr Turner said that with the introduction of the Fair Work Australia Industrial Relations legislation introduced from January 1 (in respect of incorporated employers), there has been a shift in the IR process, with the emphasis moving from traditional award-based processes to a more direct employer/employee relationship reflected through the introduction of workplace agreements.

“PEQ will be an adjunct to Turner IR Queensland Pty Ltd, specialising in the cattle, wool, shearing, feedlot, dairy, cotton and pig-breeding industries,” he said.

Mr Turner has more than 40 years’ experience in IR in Queensland and was the industrial relations director for the United Graziers’ Associa-tion of Queensland Union of Employ- ers for 18 years prior to 1999, when Turner IR was established to special-ise in providing IR consultancy and advocacy services to the pastoral and other rural industries.

梧桐夜网primaryemployersqld南京夜网419论坛 or phone (07) 3425 1907.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Country hospitals still in limbo

PROTEST TIME: Despite the public outcry, including a large scale rally on the steps of Parliament House last October and numerous petitions, the State Government is refusing to budge on cuts to country hospitals.SOUTH Australian rural communities will be left to pick up the bill from the State Government’s dogged determination to withdraw about $800,000 in funding to three community-run, not-for-profit hospitals if drawn-out discussions with Country Health SA fail to deliver.
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The cuts to Keith & District Hospital, Moonta Health & Aged Care Service and Ardrossan Community Hospital were announced in the State Budget nearly five months ago and despite the public outcry, including a large-scale rally on the steps of Parliament House last October and numerous petitions, Health Minister John Hill is refusing to budge.

All three hospitals have had their finances examined for possible cost-savings. While Keith and Moonta are still in discussions with Country Health SA about the uncertain future of their hospitals, Ardossan Community Hospital Board is resigned to losing $140,000 of accident and emergency department funding.

Ardrossan chairman Doug Barton said the Board had vowed to keep both their accident and emergency department and hospital open.

“We have been helped by Country Health SA and given access to a consultant who will help us make a few changes. We will do other things ourselves,” he said.

“It is very disappointing and we can’t see the logic or fairness but we have an undertaking from the Liberals if they get back into government in 2014, it will be restored. In the meantime, life will go on.”

Keith & District Hospital Board chairman James De Barro said the Board was still in discussions with Country Health SA – another meeting between the two parties was held on Monday – but he was unable to comment further on the progress.

Late last year, Keith’s Board commissioned a report by Flinders University School of Education’s John Halsey into the social impacts on the upper South East town and other rural communities of stripping essential services such as basic health care and education.

Professor Halsey estimates the costs from a lack of confidence in the town’s future to be far greater than the proposed $363,000 funding cut with financial pressure on small businesses to downscale or relocate.

“Maintaining local access to essential human services in rural communities is fundamental to them being vibrant and productive. Strip away the institutional capital and sustainability becomes jeopardised and a downward spiral of decline and dysfunction sets in,” the report says.

As a former principal, he has first hand knowledge of the need for services to attract young families and skilled professionals to country towns.

“Upfront, before moving to an area, people will ask ‘what is the school like, what is the housing like and is there a hospital, a doctor and a dentist’ and make their decisions based on this,” he said.SOUTH Australian rural communities will be left to pick up the bill from the State Government’s dogged determination to withdraw about $800,000 in funding to three community-run, not-for-profit hospitals if drawn-out discussions with Country Health SA fail to deliver.

The cuts to Keith & District Hospital, Moonta Health & Aged Care Service and Ardrossan Community Hospital were announced in the State Budget nearly five months ago and despite the public outcry, including a large-scale rally on the steps of Parliament House last October and numerous petitions, Health Minister John Hill is refusing to budge.

All three hospitals have had their finances examined for possible cost-savings. While Keith and Moonta are still in discussions with Country Health SA about the uncertain future of their hospitals, Ardossan Community Hospital Board is resigned to losing $140,000 of accident and emergency department funding.

Ardrossan chairman Doug Barton said the Board had vowed to keep both their accident and emergency department and hospital open.

“We have been helped by Country Health SA and given access to a consultant who will help us make a few changes. We will do other things ourselves,” he said.

“It is very disappointing and we can’t see the logic or fairness but we have an undertaking from the Liberals if they get back into government in 2014, it will be restored. In the meantime, life will go on.”

Keith & District Hospital Board chairman James De Barro said the Board was still in discussions with Country Health SA – another meeting between the two parties was held on Monday – but he was unable to comment further on the progress.

Late last year, Keith’s Board commissioned a report by Flinders University School of Education’s John Halsey into the social impacts on the upper South East town and other rural communities of stripping essential services such as basic health care and education.

Professor Halsey estimates the costs from a lack of confidence in the town’s future to be far greater than the proposed $363,000 funding cut with financial pressure on small businesses to downscale or relocate.

“Maintaining local access to essential human services in rural communities is fundamental to them being vibrant and productive. Strip away the institutional capital and sustainability becomes jeopardised and a downward spiral of decline and dysfunction sets in,” the report says.

As a former principal, he has first hand knowledge of the need for services to attract young families and skilled professionals to country towns.

“Upfront, before moving to an area, people will ask ‘what is the school like, what is the housing like and is there a hospital, a doctor and a dentist’ and make their decisions based on this,” he said.

Prof Halsey said another major impact was likely to be the devaluation of real estate in Keith, and even assuming only a modest reduction of $5000 a dwelling, it showed residents would collectively be paying about $1.75 million for the decision.

Debate to date had centred around the economics of funding a particular number of beds but in the report he examined the bigger picture and the importance of maintaining vibrant rural communities for a sustainable Australia.

Full story in Stock Journal, January 27 issue, 2011.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Claying pays through increased production

SOIL IMPROVEMENT: Victor Harbor farmer Alister Carmichael says clay spreading, and now delving, is the cheapest way he and his family can improve their farm without buying more land and (inset) the delving machine at work.HAVING experienced good results from clay spreading his unproductive, non-wetting sands, Waitpinga farmer Alister Carmichael has this year turned to clay delving as another method of improving production.
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The 1090-hectare Carmichael property Santa Cruz, located seven kilometres west of Victor Harbor, runs mainly livestock with a small amount of cropping.

“The end result we want is better pastures,” Alister said. “Clay spreading, and now delving, we think is the cheapest way we can improve our farm without buying more land.”

Alister says that about five years ago he started inquiring about clay spreading and delving on the Fleurieu Peninsula through the local natural resource management board and Rural Solutions SA.

“I was finding that not much had been done locally about clay spreading or delving, and any machinery was based either on Eyre Peninsula or in the South East where they had been doing it for a long time.”

As a result, the Glacier Soils Group formed and trialled small areas of clay delving and clay spreading with funding from the National Landcare Program. Further projects, funded by Caring for Our Country and Woolworths, have provided technical support and offset some of the costs associated with clay spreading and delving and overcoming the difficulty of getting machinery to the area.

“We were finding that contractors were reluctant to travel to the area for less than 12 hectares, so working as a group has been of benefit,” Alister said. “The incentive payments through the project have also made it easier for us in terms of funding.”

Since then, Alister has clay spread about 35 hectares a year (175ha total), and is very pleased with the results. He has observed better and more even germination, better efficacy of chemicals as everything is germinating at the same time, and better fertility.

“We began in our worst paddocks and we’re starting to see each paddock that we’ve done getting a little better each year,” he said. “This year is the first year we’ve tried delving on a broader scale, so we’re keen to see what the difference is.”

The practice of delving involves ripping up subsoil clay lying one metre or less beneath sandy topsoil. An implement fitted with large ‘ripper’ tynes is used to break into the clay pan and bring clods to the surface. Clay is allowed to dry before being broken up and incorporated into the topsoil with normal tillage operations.

Alister says that using a delving contractor they completed 35ha one week ago. His initial assessment of the two methods is that while delving is cheaper, the incorporation of the clay is harder.

“We’re expecting that incorporation will take longer as the delving has left the surface a lot rougher,” Alister said. “But at the same time, delving has allowed us to break up the subsoil clay and hence get better root growth and mix up the soil profile as well.”

*Full report in Stock Journal, January 27, 2011.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Farmer wins flying fox battle

Relocating flying foxes has been the battle of a lifetime for Jack Long.JACK Long sits on the stump of a tree in a house garden at North Eton, which until six months ago had for seven years been the roost site for a colony of an estimated 5000 little red and black flying foxes.
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Jack began farming in the Pioneer Valley at Mia Mia in 1964 with an eight-hectare cane assignment from the North Eton Mill, and on his other 40ha he ran a few cattle and grew tomatoes and cabbages for the Mackay market.

Over the years, the assignment increased to eventually cover the whole farm, and now in his late 70s Jack is semi-retired, running a few steers on the 14ha of the farm he still owns.

Always leading from the front, he can be relied on to get things done.

This got him elected to the board of the mill, and about 18 months ago he was embroiled in the battle North Eton residents were having over flying foxes.

The Mackay Regional Council considered the problem a State Government matter, and the State Government didn’t want to know about it.

A letter from the relevant minister pointed out that flying foxes were a protected species under the Nature Conservation Act 1991, and no damage mitigation permits would be issued to enable them to be moved, as moving them only created a similar problem elsewhere.

The Environmental Protection Authority had the answer, stating in a letter in 2007: “The key to removing the impact is planned revegetation”.

In other words, to grow an alternative roost site for the flying foxes.

Another government suggestion was to “provide artificial roosts away from the township”.

“When I was asked to help,” Jack said, “I found the flying foxes didn’t mess beneath their roost site but evacuated their bodies as they flew away in the evening. That meant the whole town was impacted, including the bowls club which was losing members and unable to hold tournaments because nobody turned up.

“Residents couldn’t hang their washing outside. They couldn’t leave windows or doors open because of the smell; children couldn’t play in their yards; and if they wanted to sell, there were no buyers; and even though there’s a shortage of rental properties in the Mackay area, they couldn’t find tenants prepared to rent.”

Working on the principle that the squeaking wheel gets the oil, Jack began each week phoning any politician and state or local government official who had any likelihood of being able to help.

This resulted in him arranging a visit to the site by the Member for Mackay Tim Mulherin, who agreed nobody should have to live in such a polluted environment. That prompted a high-level meeting with council, government officials, members of Parliament and the public, which, with the persistent phone calls, eventually resulted in a six-month damage mitigation permit being issued to the Mackay Regional Council in late October 2009.

The permit enabled the flying foxes to be encouraged to move by using smoke, noise, fog or intense lighting even though none of those had ever solved the problem before. However, there were also restrictions. If the females were pregnant or there were young present, they couldn’t be moved and they were not to be stressed.

As flying foxes breed during the wet season, that meant the permit would almost expire before they could be encouraged to move on.

Investigations into how other places had handled the problem were studied, including a situation in the Northern Territory, where at Katherine the roost trees were removed.

With only a few weeks left on the permit, the Mackay Regional Council spent more than $30,000 having a contractor cut down three of the 40-year-old roost trees and severely prune the other four, but to avoid stressing the flying foxes, the work had to be carried out at night when the foxes were not in residence. Without their roosts, they stayed away for a week, and then about 1000 found a couple of mango trees 40 metres or so from their original site that suited them. These trees were heavily pruned and the problem was solved.

The colony now lives a few kilometres away in the forest on the Eton Range where they no longer impact humans.

It’s nine months since they left. The residents are happy, the bowls club is back in business, and Jack’s phone bill has returned to normal, but he said it was the biggest battle of his life.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Bush lessons

Brothers, Tommy and Phil Emmanuel.THESE days, in cities throughout the world, people queue for hours to shake Tommy Emmanuel’s hand and have him sign an autograph.
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He’s probably the world’s best guitar picker today – certainly the awards and honours that have come his way point to that.

In America, his magic hands have seen him dubbed the Wizard of Oz.

It wasn’t always like that for the Muswellbrook-born, Gunnedah-raised guitar maestro.

He “vividly remembers” the days in outback NSW towns when he had to “hit the streets with the guitar and give it hell” in a desperate bid to raise enough pennies to eat and buy fuel for his family to move on.

But rather than shy away from talking of those days in the way many big stars want to hide their past,

56-year-old Tommy Emmanuel, said it was in fact country Australia that provided him the solid foundation on which he had built his career.

“From those people in the bush, I learnt two lessons that have served me well through the years: how to work hard and how to treat other people the right way,” he said.

“I’m very grateful for where and when I was born.”

The days he spent as a kid touring rural Australia playing the guitar, with his family band and then later with country music star, Buddy Williams, also instilled in him the importance of having a willing attitude, he said.

“I have etched in my mind times we were stranded and broke in places like Nyngan and Bourke and Phil and I would go out onto the streets and play like hell,” he said.

Tommy and his brother, Phil Emmanuel, were inducted into the Australian Country Music Roll of Renown at the Tamworth Country Music Festival this year.

They have just wrapped up an Australian tour celebrating 50 years in the industry but that doesn’t mean they’ll be slowing down.

In typical Tommy humour, the legendary guitarist told one 2011 Tamworth audience the two “had to keep going until we get it right”.

The brothers, who performed together at the Sydney Olympics closing ceremony to an estimated 2.85 billion viewers, said they had a kind of mental telepathy, that when they played together it “makes a third player that is better than the both of us”.

Their performances together at times involve sharing the one guitar, with each having one hand free.

They are simply incredible.

Tamworth, Tommy said, holds a special place in their heart.

While he was playing guitar by the age of four – self-taught with some instruction from his mother – and had played his way across Australia by the age of 10, Tommy says ”it all started for me here in Tamworth really”.

“We busked on Peel Street and made our first recording here in 1960. That, of course, was back when we had teeth and hair,” he laughs.

Seriously, he said, he had never wanted to do anything other than entertain people with his guitar playing and get better and better at it – and even after 50 years he hadn’t stopped learning.

“I’m a better player today than I was yesterday,” he said.

“Music is a language of its own; we can go to a foreign country where we don’t speak a word of the language and we still relate through music.”

The NSW Department of Education eventually put a stop to the Emmanuel family’s touring, insisting Phil and Tommy go to school regularly.

Through the years, Tommy has referred to himself as “an uneducated country kid from Down Under” which has fascinated international audiences who can’t believe he had no formal tuition and has never read music.

His humble background, and outlook, makes all the more impressive the long list of prestigious awards he has, from Guitar Player Magazine’s Legend Award to Grammy nominations, Nashville Music Awards’ best country instrumental, the only non-American ever inducted into the National Thumbpickers’ Hall of Fame in the United States and the Chet Atkins’ Certified Guitar Player title – a rare distinction shared by only three other people in the world.

That’s only naming a few.

While Tommy Emmanuel’s stardom is largely linked with his pop associations – he was with ’70s rock band, Dragon, toured with Tina Turner and played with the likes of Eric Clapton, Air Supply and was a member of the John Farnham Band – country music is his love.

“When I was a kid, country music was not so known and somewhat looked down on. Now it’s the coolest thing on the planet,” he said.

“It’s always been that way to me.”

He described the latest Tamworth country music honour as very rewarding and said it “inspires us to keep reaching higher, to set standards for the next guitar players the way they were set for us right here all those years ago”.

Now based in Nashville, Tommy firmly believes “if you are lucky enough to have a God-given talent, you should consider it a gift”.

“Always try to play with conviction,” he says, in the way of advice to the next generation of pickers.

“Never listen to critics. You know what they say, there are those who can do and then there are those who criticise.

“You must be dedicated and you must have the willingness to risk everything.”

In Tamworth, Tommy Emmanuel is royalty but the paparazzi-like attention doesn’t phase him.

As the tiny digital cameras edged closer and closer to his lightening-fast fingers while he performed in Peel Street, he didn’t show an ounce of frustration.

“Hey, get a photo of this,” he simply grinned.

“I’ll play two tunes at once.”

And he did.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

McKay clears air on coal

Jodi McKayHUNTER Minister Jodi McKay says more must be done to redress the imbalance of the coal industry’s impact on communities.
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The member for Newcastle also said the Roads and Traffic Authority had failed to levy major Kooragang Island projects for a share of the cost of a duplicated Tourle Street bridge.

Ms McKay supported an air quality monitoring network in the Lower Hunter and said sites were being examined for monitors along rail lines to the port through areas such as Maitland, Warabrook and Tighes Hill.

Her comments came yesterday after the state government declared the proposed ‘T4’ fourth coal terminal would be assessed under major project planning laws.

The federal government gave the multibillion-dollar Port Waratah Coal Services proposal ‘major project facilitation status’ to help smooth the assessment process.

Ms McKay said she supported the project but recognised it would be ‘‘controversial’’.

She said the RTA should seek contributions under any approval for the terminal for funding towards the cost of a duplicated Tourle Street bridge and Cormorant Road.

The government opted to build a new bridge at the site with two lanes instead of four and demolished the old two-lane structure.

It has since begun planning for a second two-lane bridge.

Ms McKay said the RTA had not sought contributions from Kooragang Island industrial projects for the road upgrades and it should work more closely with the Planning Department.

On dust impacts, Ms McKay said she supported a dedicated team to respond to coal monitoring and compliance, but skirted questions yesterday on whether cabinet colleagues supported her stance.

‘‘This is an industry that supports more than 15,000 to 16,000 direct jobs and we have to acknowledge that if that is to continue that there has to be an approach that also supports the communities affected by coalmining,’’ she said.

Ms McKay rejected suggestions her comments were in part angled to Greens voters or a preference deal.

Newcastle Greens candidate John Sutton said party members were yet to consider any preference deal, but climate change and coal policies would be ‘‘key considerations’’.

He said it was ‘‘disappointing’’ Ms McKay continued to ‘‘actively advocate’’ expanded coal exports rather than the need to moving away from coal.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Off-farm work not always the answer

Darrin Lee and Stephanie Bligh-Lee with Courtney and Ellie. Darrin, interviewed by the NEAR project team, worked off farm on a two and one roster from November 2007 until March 2008, conscious that his income was providing for the family’s living expenses but not the farm debt.A COMMON public misconception is that farmers struggling through drought can fix their financial problems by ‘getting a job on the mines’.
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The Agriculture and Food Department’s North Eastern Agricultural Region (NEAR) strategy is working to improve business and community resilience to drought.

As part of this strategy, the department says it has been examining how to approach off-farm employment in a dry season.

Money to be made through off-farm work does little to help reduce farm debt.

This thought was echoed by respondents to a survey conducted by the department under the NEAR strategy.

Farmers interviewed who worked off farm in 2006 and 2007 all understood that their wages would not be sufficient to reduce their debt and the action of getting off farm may be more beneficial for mental health than for the finances.

An income from off-farm employment has the ability to reduce or stop drawings on the farm business.

Such an income is often sufficient to provide all day to day living expenses and it might even be used to take a holiday without feeling as if the farm is paying for it.

The mental benefit of an off-farm break cannot be underestimated during a drought.

It counts for a great deal more than money.

Interviews with growers revealed working off farm provided immediate relief from potentially depressive situations on farm.

This ‘clearing of the mind’ was listed as the biggest benefit for farmers enduring a dry season.

Working away from the farm will shift the focus to new and different tasks and provides time to consider all relevant facts without the immediate, ongoing impact of drought stress.

When returning to the farm, better decisions are made to the benefit of the business.

Another aspect addressed by off-farm employment that improves mental health is succession.

Of the growers interviewed, most had begun to consider succession more seriously since faced with drought and the requirement to work away.

Having a dynamic succession plan provides reason for off-farm employment.

Being employed outside the farm is longer-term thinking than selling up and leaving the industry.

Employment is short term and the reason for going off farm is to be able to continue farming beyond the drought.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.