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Landcare facilitators to play key carbon farming role

Joe Ludwig.The Gillard Government has announced further consultations with farmers and landholders on the Carbon Farming Initiative, an important initiative to enable rural and regional communities to benefit from climate change projects.
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Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, and Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Greg Combet, said Regional Landcare Facilitators will work closely with farmers, Indigenous groups and other landholders to identify how they can benefit from the Carbon Farming Initiative.

Regional Landcare Facilitators will be invited to a national forum in Canberra in March this year, followed by state and territory based training days from March through to June.

Once the Carbon Farming Initiative legislation is in place, in mid 2011, the Government will support a series of workshops in the 56 Natural Resource Management regions to help communities better understand carbon markets and how to take part.

Indigenous Land Management Facilitators working under the Caring for Our Country program of the Environment Department would also be involved.

“Landcare has a long history of working with farmers and other land managers to benefit from sustainable land management practices,” Minister Ludwig said.

“Regional Landcare Facilitators are in a unique position through their community networks to help land managers understand how the Carbon Farming Initiative will help them.”

Mr Combet said the Government would also look for opportunities to expand the rollout of information on the Carbon Farming Initiative using the expertise of other natural resource management and farming groups.

“The Carbon Farming Initiative will allow rural landholders to reap the benefits of their efforts towards tackling climate change by earning income from undertaking approved emission reduction and sequestration activities,” Mr Combet said.

“Rural landholders will be able to participate in and benefit from the Carbon Farming Initiative by generating and trading carbon credits.”

Many activities that reduce greenhouse gas emissions or sequester carbon also have the potential to produce benefits for farm productivity, biodiversity and natural resource management.

Under the Carbon Farming Initiative, the Government will invest $45.6 million over the four years from 2010–11 to 2013–14 to establish a carbon crediting mechanism for land-based activities, fast-track development of methodologies for carbon offset projects, and give farmers the knowledge, capacity and confidence to generate, and benefit from, carbon credits.

The Government will continue to work consultatively with landholders and others. Formal submissions on a November 2010 consultation paper on the proposed design of the Carbon Farming Initiative have been extended until 4 February 2011. The Government has also released draft legislation and methodology guidelines for public discussion and comment by 4 February 2011.

For more information on the Carbon Farming Initiative, visit 梧桐夜网climatechange.gov419论坛/cfi .

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Landcare facilitators to play key carbon farming role

Joe Ludwig.The Gillard Government has announced further consultations with farmers and landholders on the Carbon Farming Initiative, an important initiative to enable rural and regional communities to benefit from climate change projects.
Nanjing Night Net

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator Joe Ludwig, and Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Greg Combet, said Regional Landcare Facilitators will work closely with farmers, Indigenous groups and other landholders to identify how they can benefit from the Carbon Farming Initiative.

Regional Landcare Facilitators will be invited to a national forum in Canberra in March this year, followed by state and territory based training days from March through to June.

Once the Carbon Farming Initiative legislation is in place, in mid 2011, the Government will support a series of workshops in the 56 Natural Resource Management regions to help communities better understand carbon markets and how to take part.

Indigenous Land Management Facilitators working under the Caring for Our Country program of the Environment Department would also be involved.

“Landcare has a long history of working with farmers and other land managers to benefit from sustainable land management practices,” Minister Ludwig said.

“Regional Landcare Facilitators are in a unique position through their community networks to help land managers understand how the Carbon Farming Initiative will help them.”

Mr Combet said the Government would also look for opportunities to expand the rollout of information on the Carbon Farming Initiative using the expertise of other natural resource management and farming groups.

“The Carbon Farming Initiative will allow rural landholders to reap the benefits of their efforts towards tackling climate change by earning income from undertaking approved emission reduction and sequestration activities,” Mr Combet said.

“Rural landholders will be able to participate in and benefit from the Carbon Farming Initiative by generating and trading carbon credits.”

Many activities that reduce greenhouse gas emissions or sequester carbon also have the potential to produce benefits for farm productivity, biodiversity and natural resource management.

Under the Carbon Farming Initiative, the Government will invest $45.6 million over the four years from 2010–11 to 2013–14 to establish a carbon crediting mechanism for land-based activities, fast-track development of methodologies for carbon offset projects, and give farmers the knowledge, capacity and confidence to generate, and benefit from, carbon credits.

The Government will continue to work consultatively with landholders and others. Formal submissions on a November 2010 consultation paper on the proposed design of the Carbon Farming Initiative have been extended until 4 February 2011. The Government has also released draft legislation and methodology guidelines for public discussion and comment by 4 February 2011.

For more information on the Carbon Farming Initiative, visit 梧桐夜网climatechange.gov419论坛/cfi .

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Grain Growers offloads

THE farmer organisation which founded GrainCorp has quit its $117 million shareholding in the big grain agribusiness.
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In a major push to wipe out its debt and diversify its investment portfolio, Grain Growers Limited has walked away from the big grain company its farmer members built when they bought the NSW Grain Corporation’s silo and port facilities back in 1992.

Melbourne-based Austock Securities offered the shares to institutions at $6.95, and 8.7 per cent discount to the closing price of $7.61, in a deal worth about $116.8 million, according to The Australian Financial Review .

“It’s with mixed emotions that the relationship has ended, but after almost 20 years the GrainCorp child has grown up and moved on,” said Grain Growers chairman, John Eastburn.

“And, it’s not a good idea for us to have 70pc of our assets tied to just one investment – we need a much more diverse and better balanced portfolio.”

After repaying about $50m in debt, the grower body will have about $90m-plus to provide ongoing funds to contribute to grain research, farmer training and other grower “capacity building” initiatives it supports.

Under farmer ownership in the 1990s, the former government-owned GrainCorp expanded into grain trading and listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in 1998.

It later acquired Victorian grain handler, Vicgrain, in 2000, Allied Mills’ flour milling business in 2002 (in partnership with Cargill), Queensland’s Grainco in 2003, and global malster, United Malt Holdings in 2009.

Until this week Grain Growers was GrainCorp’s largest shareholder, but it sold all its 16.8 million shares (8.45 per cent of the company) on Monday night.

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Spotlight falls on damaged irrigation systems

Counting the cost…………..there could be a run on new parts for many flood-affected irrigation systems.FLOOD-affected irrigators are being urged to assess the damaged equipment to ensure they gain speedy access to replacement parts.
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The Darling Downs regional chair of Irrigation Australia Ltd, David Wigginton, says, as the waters recede, any rush to renew submerged electrical and hydraulic components may place pressure on equipment suppliers.

“Right across Queensland there will be many irrigators with equipment that’s either been completely destroyed, or washed away, by fast-moving floodwater,” he said.

“Pumps on the edges of creeks and rivers may not have been pulled out in time and there may be damage to large irrigation machines, as well,” David Wigginton said.

The point being made by Irrigation Australia is that partially inundated crops may soon need to be irrigated, quickly becoming stressed if water in a farm’s storeage or supply system cannot be accessed.

“Potentially, in the supply sector, there could be quite a demand to replace damaged equipment over the next couple of months,” David Wigginton said.

“It’s going to be very important for growers to give their suppliers an indication of the type of equipment they might need to replace – even if they are not in a position to make an order, providing some idea of their potential needs will help ensure stocks are available.”

As the Queensland irrigation industry gets back on its feet, the talk already is of sourcing irrigation components from Western Australia.

David Wigginton says the flood impacts around Theodore and Emerald are “particularly bad,” also there has been “quite a lot of damage” across the Downs – especially along the Condamine – with Lockyer Valley irrigators certain to have been especially hard hit by the flash floods that ravaged the district.

Meanwhile, Irrigation Australia says its website may provide flood-affected irrigators with the latest government and industry support programmes.

*梧桐夜网irrigationaustralia南京夜网419论坛

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On the road to rebuild Queensland

AS flood waters recede enough for Queensland farmers to get into their paddock and assess crop and infrastructure damage and find displaced cattle, the state’s agriculture group AgForce is hitting the road to help them rebuild.
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AgForce has teamed up with leading insurance providers, agribusiness banks, financial advisors and property planning experts to deliver ‘On The Road To Rebuilding’ – a one-stop shop of information and services – beginning in Central Queensland next week.

AgForce CEO Robert Walker said the four day tour would go into the heart of flood-damaged regions, giving farmers around Theodore, Moura, Rolleston, Emerald and Rockhampton access to advice and tools to get back on their feet.

“The situation has moved beyond initial flood response and short-term relief in these areas,” Mr Walker. “The challenge is now to rebuild on-farm infrastructure and kickstart production to ensure the Queensland agricultural industry can recover in the long-term and maintain our vital contribution to the economy, environment and society.”

On The Road To Rebuilding gives flood-affected farmers the chance to speak one-on-one with companies for advice on vital services and information such as:

How to rebuild your herd: what producers need to know about livestock health after flooding and procedures for finding and returning displaced livestock.How to rebuild your property: WFI with advice on assessing insurance needs; AgForce’s mapping team to access flood damage and build a pre and post-flood property condition report, property map, and infrastructure rebuilding plan which will be a vital tool is applying for new and revised loans.How to rebuild livelihood: Rural charity Aussie Helpers on how to access volunteers and donated equipment; Fitzroy Basin Association Inc with information on flood rebuilding grants; and the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation.How to rebuild: NAB, Commonwealth Bank, Suncorp, Rural Bank, Westpac and ANZ for financial queries; free advice from an independent agribusiness management professional; and QRAA with information on flood relief and recovery assistanceOn The Road To Rebuilding – CQ post-flood tour

Tuesday February 1: Theodore Hotel Motel 8am-11am. BBQ breakfast supplied.Tuesday February 1: Kianga Hall, Moura, 3-6pm. BBQ dinner supplied.Wednesday February 2: Rolleston Town Hall 10am-2pm, BBQ lunch supplied.Thursday February 3: Emerald Town Hall, 8am-12noon. BBQ breakfast & lunch supplied.Friday February 4: DEEDI, Rockhampton 8am-11am, BBQ breakfast supplied.Participants can come at any time during the three-hour sessions, and all are welcome to catch up over a BBQ sponsored by AustSafe Super, with drinks at lunch/dinner events provided by Suncorp.

These sessions are obligation-free and provided at no cost to all primary producers.

Please contact AgForce on (07) 3236 3100 or [email protected]论坛 to RSVP for catering.

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Price rise won’t stop levy

THE federal government has agreed to hit taxpayers with a one-off levy to help cover the cost of flood damage, at the same time warning that food prices will skyrocket during the next three months.
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The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, held meetings in Canberra yesterday with the Treasurer, Wayne Swan, the Finance Minister, Penny Wong, the Infrastructure Minister, Anthony Albanese, and officials to thrash out the details of the levy as well as budget cuts to find the billions needed to rebuild roads, railway lines and bridges in flood-affected areas.

While the levy was still being finalised late yesterday, the main option involved an increase in the 1.5 per cent Medicare levy over 12 months. It is understood other options were being canvassed.

Ms Gillard was to announce the levy next week after Mr Swan outlined the financial impact of the floods during a speech on Friday.

But it was decided to bring forward the announcement to a National Press Club address tomorrow while public sentiment over the floods was high and so the government could start selling the levy against opposition attacks.

”We’d done enough of the ‘we may have a levy’,” said a government source of the hints dropped in the past week.

The talks yesterday coincided with the release of data which showed that headline inflation was lower than expected at 2.7 per cent for the year to the end of December.

But the figures showed a sharp spike in food prices in the three months to the end of December and Mr Swan said these increases would only worsen during the March quarter as the effect of the floods was felt.

”These figures for December do not reflect the recent flooding at all,” he said of the rises, which included 15.5 per cent in fruit prices and 11.4 per cent in vegetable prices.

”I understand that many families will be doing it tough at the checkout when these price hikes flow though in the weeks and months ahead,” he said.

The shadow treasurer, Joe Hockey, said the government was avoiding the hard decisions by opting for a levy to help pay for the flood damage.

”You would have to have rocks in your head to impose a new tax on Australian families on the back of rising fruit prices and vegie prices,” he said.

Without confirming or denying the levy yesterday, Mr Swan said a bigger economic picture was at stake and ”we have to be really mature about our response to this crisis in Queensland”.

He said the federal government would have to foot the bill for 75 per cent of infrastructure damage and suggested budget cuts alone could not cover the cost without cutting core services. ”The only responsible thing to do is have all options on the table,” he said.

”I don’t think the Australian people would want us to respond by hacking in to essential expenditure in health and education, sacking teachers or nurses.”

The Medicare levy, which raises $10 billion a year, applies to single people earning more than $18,500 a year and childless couples which earn more than $30,000. At the least, people at or below these income levels would be exempt from any flood levy. But there is pressure on the government to extend the exemptions to protect more low-income earners.

A senior source said that when selling the levy it would be important to stress that it would be used only to rebuild infrastructure and not pay for disaster relief or to help people whose homes were uninsured. Other emergency funds, government and private, were earmarked for that.

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Ugliness is in eye of the fruit buyer

Green and good … growers say there’s no shortage of produce. Photo: Dallas Kilponen THERE is no significant shortage of fruit and vegetables after the Queensland floods and it is unlikely grocers will need to import produce, says the chief executive of the NSW Chamber of Fruit and Vegetable Industries.
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Colin Gray, who also serves as a director at the Sydney Markets, urged shoppers to ignore reports about drastic shortages and huge price rises.

”The last thing we need is to import products and the pests and diseases that can come with them,” he said.

Coles and Woolworths have relaxed their quality classifications to allow flood-damaged crops on their shelves, but long-term shortages may force them to look overseas, they said.

”We certainly don’t want to have to import produce and we would only do it if we had absolutely no choice,” a Coles spokesman, Jim Cooper, said.

Coles has signs in its stores asking for understanding if the produce has ”more markings than usual”.

”Our customers expect the highest quality fruit and vegetables but they also understand that, when things happen that are beyond the growers’ control, it is only reasonable to support them,” he said.

Coles assured the eating quality of the damaged produce was not compromised and any differences were purely cosmetic.

Stewart Finlayson, who is visiting Sydney from Armidale, saw no sign of the so-called ”ugly fruit” at Coles in the CBD.

”It doesn’t make a difference to me anyway,” Mr Finlayson said. ”I had some hail-affected cherries a few weeks ago and they tasted terrific.”

Mr Gray said there was far too much emphasis on the look of the fruit: ”I don’t know what ugly fruit is.” The main point, he said, is to shop intelligently. ”If a certain product is particularly expensive, just substitute it with something else.”

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Food prices were soaring before the floods

FOOD prices were soaring before the full force of floods that wrecked the Queensland, northern NSW and Victorian food bowls.
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Figures show retail fruit prices jumped 15 per cent between the September and December quarters last year, and vegetable prices 11 per cent.

Along the east coast the rises were steeper, with fruit prices up 17 per cent in Sydney and Brisbane and 16 per cent in Melbourne. Vegetable prices climbed 15 per cent and 10 per cent.

Mostly unrelated to the floods, the supply shortages were just a taste of what is in store. The Treasurer, Wayne Swan, yesterday outlined official figures showing 80 per cent of Australia’s beetroot is produced in flood-affected areas as well as 60 per cent of sweet potatoes and zucchini, mandarins and spring onions.

”Many families will be doing it tough at the checkout when the price hikes flow through in the weeks and months ahead,” he said, responding to an otherwise benign inflation result of 0.4 per cent for the quarter and 2.7 per cent for the year to December.

A TD Securities economist, Annette Beacher, said she had pencilled in a further jump of 50 per cent in fruit prices in the March quarter, a ”guesstimate” based on the increase in banana prices after Cyclone Larry wiped out 80 per cent of Australia’s banana crop in 2006.

”There’s a wider variety of produce affected, but on the other hand there’s scope for importing which there wasn’t for bananas,” she said.

A Commonwealth Bank economist, Michael Blythe, said the days of relatively cheap food were ending. Prices would continue to climb even after the impact of the floods had passed.

”Rapid income growth in emerging economies is lifting the demand for food,” he said. ”Economic history shows that the largest increase in food consumption typically occurs as incomes rise from low levels. Most of any rise in income goes on food, either more of it or better quality.

”The other driver is the expansion of biofuels which will absorb more agricultural production over time. The Food & Agriculture Organisation believes global food prices have climbed 46 per cent over the past four years. Australia is not immune.”

The Reserve Bank’s preferred so-called underlying measures of inflation were tame at 0.4 per cent for the quarter and 2.3 per cent for the year. These measures underweight large price movements such as those for food and for petrol, which jumped 2 per cent.

Weighing inflation down was heavy discounting in the face of weak consumer demand and rapidly falling prices of imported electronic goods such as computers and audio visual equipment, which slipped 5 per cent in the quarter and 18 per cent over the year.

Going up

Fruit prices +15%

Vegetables +11%

Petrol +2%

Rent +1%

Going down

Children’s clothes -1%

Major appliances -2%

Women’s clothes -3%

Computers, hi-fi -5%

Men’s socks, briefs -7%

SOURCE: ABS CPI, DECEMBER QUARTER 2010

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Fitness the focus for many as 2016 approaches

Chizen Health Club trainer Tom Hopkins helps member Wayde Tobin hit the bikes.AS Dubbo prepares to herald in 2016, residents are thinking hard about their resolutions, and what they want to achieve in the new year.
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Lifestyle changes or shedding some of that Christmas cheer also rank highly as new year’s resolutions, and Chizen Health Club owner Jackie Hopkins said after Christmas there is always a spike in people wanting to improve their health and wellbeing.

“It’s a crazy time of year and you eat a lot of food and drink more and once the new year kicks in it’s great to start shedding again,” Ms Hopkins said.

“The best place to exercise is under the air-conditioning, out of the heat.”

Ms Hopkins said setting more achievable, short term goals is the key to achieving a New Year’s resolution.

She said Chizen’s six-week weight loss challenge would kick off again around the end of the month.

“Usually people succeed better with short term goals,” she said.

“We can reassess them after they’ve achieved that short term goal and change their program, and a lot of people like our classes because they find a group environment is more motivating.”

The city’s politicians have set a few goals of their own for 2016, with continued growth in Dubbo a priority for Deputy Premier and Dubbo MP Troy Grant.

“I don’t make new year’s resolutions, but I’ve got things that we want to do,” Mr Grant said.

“We want to open stages one and two of the hospital in the new year and then set a timeframe for stages three and four, and then progress our investment into cancer equipment.

“I want to guide the councils through the boundary commission process and just keep the momentum going for the Dubbo electorate – more investment, more funding, more jobs.”

Mr Grant said it was unlikely his beard – the subject of much debate in 2015 – would make a return next year.

Member for Parkes Mark Coulton said the federal election would make 2016 a big year politically, and a redistribution at the election will see Parkes take up about half of the landmass of NSW.

“There are a lot of things we’ve started this year and put funding toward that will continue to emerge next year,” Mr Coulton said.

“There was a big domestic violence funding announcement and work with the inland rail will continue.

“Hopefully there is rainfall where it is needed as a lot of the electorate is still in drought. Hopefully we will see more benefits of the CHAFTA (China-Australia Free Trade Agreement).”

Dubbo mayor Mathew Dickerson said he doesn’t believe in New Year’s resolutions, but said his main goal for 2016 would be for Dubbo to avoid amalgamating with Wellington.

He said the Artlands Conference would be a big event for Dubbo in 2016, as will the Junior Indoor Cricket National Championships.

“We want to make sure we get the weir completed, same with the upgrade of the cattle facilities,” Cr Dickerson said.

“The controversial one will be the trial of the organics bin – that will start around late January.

“And Eumungerie will be connected to water this year so that’ll be a huge breakthrough for Eumungerie.”

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Vandalism attack at Dubbo Animal Shelter

An after hours pen at Dubbo Animal Shelter was vandalised on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. Photo: CONTRIBUTED
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SECURITY footage will be reviewed to try to find who is responsible for a vandalism attack at the Dubbo Animal Shelter.

A hole was cut in an after hours pen on Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning.

People who dropped off animals in that period were being urged to contact the shelter in the aim that information provided might help identify the offender or offenders.

A spokesperson for the shelter said it was a disappointing development, given one overnight pen was already out of action due to vandalism just before Christmas.

With fireworks traditionally spooking some pets and prompting numerous runaways, it was expected the pens could get a fair bit of use on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day in Dubbo.

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