Waltzing Matilda Centre Concept

Cameron Mace returns to manage rebuilt Waltzing Matilda Centre

Colin Jackson Bush Chat

AFTER four years as general manager of the Stockman’s Hall of Fame, Cameron Mace left Longreach around 2013 for New Guinea to work in Lae in the hotel industry. He has now returned to Winton to take-up the role of manager of the redesigned, redeveloped and rebuilt Waltzing Matilda Centre. After it’s devastating destruction by fire in 2015, the $23-million Waltzing Matilda Centre will again be the pride of Western Queensland. The Centre is a landmark celebrating the resilience of the local community as well as the spirit of what is our unofficial national anthem. Residents of the town were left speechless following the fire, with so much invaluable and irreplaceable historical memorabilia that had been collected over many years lost in one savage fire. It was a sleepless night for the town’s 900 residents, who turned-out to assist wherever possible to save the unique outback tourist attraction — the only centre in the world dedicated to a song. What makes it more important that it is Australia’s national song. Since it opened in 1998, more than 250,000 people had visited the centre, which combined history, high-tech innovation, education and entertainment to tell Australia’s best-known story and explore the spirit …

Way Out West Fest will also serve as the outback launch of James Blundell’s new single, ‘Way Out West’, a reworking of his 1992 hit which became the highest selling Australian country music single of the 90s.
Way Out West Fest will also serve as the outback launch of James Blundell’s new single, ‘Way Out West’, a reworking of his 1992 hit which became the highest selling Australian country music single of the 90s

Winton’s Way Out West Fest will fire-up the Outback

Colin Jackson Bush Chat

THE ENTIRE TOWN of Winton will become a festival site in April as visitors from across Australia and the world descend on Outback Queensland to celebrate the re-opening of the Waltzing Matilda Centre over four event-filled days that will also include an outback race meeting. And in times of continuing drought, the entire Outback will benefit enormously from the influx of visitors and tourists. Longreach airport will feature heavily, with the largest aircraft able to land here — the 737-800 — already being scheduled around the event. Queensland Rail is gearing-up to transport all stage equipment and necessary facilities through to Winton to cater for the enormous influx that is expected. Emergency Services based in Longreach are also extending their training to accommodate any unexpected incidents, and medical facilities are being planned ahead of the onslaught. The event will run between Thursday, 19 and Sunday, 22 April. With an amazing music festival line-up, including Jessica Mauboy, John Williamson, The Living End, Kip Moore (US), Lee Brice (US), Sheppard and many more already announced, it was announced yesterday that 30 new artists across all musical genres — from rock to dance to country and blues, plus bush balladeers, poets and storytellers …

Continued drought forces cancellation of 2018 Harry Redford Cattle Drive

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News

BARCALDINE Mayor Rob Chandler had advised that the 2018 Harry Redford Cattle Drive will not be proceeding. He said that due to the incessant drought that has continued in Western Queensland and other parts, the iconic Harry Redford Cattle Drive has had to be cancelled yet again due to a lack of feed on the drovers run. “This decision has not come lightly; with extensive consultation with the boss drover, David Hay, and the chair, Gary Peoples, the committee has reached this difficult decision. “As you may appreciate, this has been an extremely disappointing and difficult decision for the steering committee to make. “The primary reason for the cancellation sits with the welfare of the stock and horses and available feed on the stock route. “This is the fourth year we have had to cancel due to the drought condition.” Chair of the cattle drive, Gary Peoples, said: “We are sorry to disappoint all those people who were waiting to book on the ride, but there is no-one more disappointed than the volunteers. “It was a very hard decision to make, all options were looked at, but the drought has had the better of us.” The continued drought is now …

The Outback organisation that has continued to RAPADly evolve

Colin Jackson Bush Chat

SINCE 1992 the Central Western Queensland Remote Area Planning and Development Board (RAPAD) has proven to be a cohesive and collaborative organisation, proactively working in partnership with government and non-government stakeholders at the local, state and federal level. RAPAD is a regional development organisation and regional organisation of councils that aims to foster, facilitate and promote the sustainable growth and development of our Central Western Queensland region. Structurally, RAPAD is an ASIC listed, not-for-profit company owned by, and representing the seven local governments of Central Western Queensland. Governance is via a board of directors, representing those member local governments — Barcaldine Regional Council, Barcoo Shire Council, Blackall-Tambo Regional Council, Boulia Shire Council, Diamantina Shire Council, Longreach Regional Council and Winton Shire Council. There are a number of groups consisting of RAPADs member local governments and external stakeholders that deliver on specific industry or civic needs. These are the Outback Regional Roads and Transport Group, The Outback Regional Water Alliance and The Central West Regional Pest Management Group. Sitting under the company structure of RAPAD are the businesses RAPAD Skilling and Rural Financial Counselling Service North Queensland. RAPAD Skilling is a registered training organisation under the Australian Skills Quality Authority set …

Tropical Medicine funding to expand research into pressing health issues

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News

THIRTEEN medical researchers and projects tackling critical health issues across northern Australia are the latest to receive funding through the Coalition Government’s HOT NORTH program. Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said the HOT NORTH program — led by the Menzies School of Health Research — was funding research into the north’s most pressing health issues. “These issues include vector-borne and emerging infectious diseases, particularly malaria, and skin health, chronic disease, anti-microbial resistance and respiratory health,” Minister Canavan said. “It is great to see the Government’s $6 million investment in this program continuing to build a stronger tropical and medical research capacity in the north.” Minister Canavan said the first HOT NORTH research grants and fellowships for this year were going to researchers from the Menzies School of Health Research, Telethon Kids Institute, James Cook University and QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute. “These 13 new research projects add to more than 20 others already underway into health problems such as malaria, pneumonia, the spread of respiratory diseases, tuberculosis, diabetes and rheumatic heart disease in the Northern Territory and in nearby countries. “I congratulate the latest researchers to join the HOT NORTH program. “HOT NORTH is helping to build …

New data arms growers with shopping insights

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Horticulture

HORT INNOVATION has worked with global information and measurement company, Nielsen, to bring growers the largest series of insights into market performance and shopping behaviour yet. Focussing specifically on the vegetable, sweet potato and onion levy-paying industries, the regularly updated data bank, Harvest to Home, contains hundreds of valuable data points conveyed in a user-friendly format. Hort Innovation chief executive, John Lloyd, said Harvest to Home was created after industries identified they needed deeper insights into trends in consumer preferences. “Never before has there been this level of buying information been available to vegetable, sweet potato and onion growers,” he said. “Using the Harvest to Home website, growers can quickly identify how well commodities are selling in each State, how often consumers are buying, and how much they are spending on each occasion. “They will also be able to determine who is buying their products, whether they are young people, couples, elderly people or families. “On top of this, levy-paying growers will have access to longitudinal data so they can view historical trends, covering up to two years. “We are also very excited to offer case studies produced by Nielsen that will pull together key industry insights and convey simple …

Decipher hits Go! On new nutrition app

Colin Jackson Bush Chat

A NEW mobile app empowering farmers to view and analyse the nutritional requirements of entire crops from the palm of their hand has been released today by Decipher, a new agricultural services business within Wesfarmers Chemicals Energy and Fertilisers. DecipherGO is the user-friendly and free companion app for Decipher, a ground-breaking technology that allows farmers to easily gather, evaluate and report on key farm nutrition information. The app links seamlessly with Decipher, enabling users to see farm imagery, nutritional insights and notes on the go. Wayne Hiller, Decipher’s Business Manager, said the app empowers farmers to build on their innate knowledge of their paddocks with technology that was simple enough for any level of technical skill to use. “As all farmers know, nutritional insights are pivotal to enhancing crop yield. If you can quickly and accurately identify and analyse nutritional performance, you can make sure your crop gets the nutritional inputs it needs when it needs them,” Mr Hiller said. “With DecipherGO you can stand in the middle of the paddock, look at your phone and view the crop biomass variability across an entire crop. “The ability to locate problem areas quickly means you can make important farming decisions more …

Queen-bee-scented balloons help identify local species

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Horticulture

A NET FILLED with pheromone-soaked ‘dummy queens’ attached to a helium-filled weather balloon is the latest tool being used by pollination researchers in their efforts to better understand the number of honey bee colonies in an area. Recently employed on the New South Wales north coast, and being conducted around Australia, the research aims to give growers an insight into where their bees are coming from — feral colonies or through managed hives — and how effective those sources are. The work is being conducted as part of the four-year project Assessing honey bee colony densities at landscape scales, supported by AgriFutures Australia, though funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources as part of its Rural R&D for Profit programme, as well as Hort Innovation. The project is being led by the University of Sydney, with further support from Almond Board of Australia, Lucerne Australia, Costa Berries, and Raspberries and Blackberries Australia. University of Sydney researcher, Dr Michael Holmes, said the work aims to determine how many bees are in an area of up to a 1km radius, helping growers identify whether there are enough bees to pollinate a crop adequately. “Large-scale farms often bring in paid …

DSC_9233

The potential that is Longreach and the Central West

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News

THE BACKGROUND to this story is that there is a labour shortage in western towns, yet there is very little support from government — it’s always city first. There’s only tokenism. Some of these jobs are high profile, and the beauty of them is they aren’t in congested cities — they are in the wide open space where rural living is an attractive option to the city. At a recent meeting in Longreach, local tourism operators — big businesses that are tourism drawcards — lamented the fact they can’t get good staff. They are looking to tapping the backpacker market — an alternative. Today (Monday) Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce travelled to Longreach to announce more than $27 million to assist the Qantas Founders Museum and Stockman’s Hall of Fame to become of such high standards that they will attract tourists from across the globe. There are some Longreach tourism operators who are working outside the square to attract increased tourism. And from April next year, Winton, the home of Waltzing Matilda, our national tune, will witness the re-opening of the Waltzing Matilda Centre, that was some years ago destroyed by fire, along with some treasured artefacts and history. Today …

Premier Palaszczuk announces her new Cabinet

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News

QUEENSLAND Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has vowed her new Ministry will deliver for Queensland as a strong, stable majority Labor Government prioritised to jobs, health and education. The Premier said the 18-Member Cabinet and five Assistant Ministers were the right mix of experience and regional representation to deliver greater economic prosperity and government services for all Queenslanders. “We will build on the success of our first term — working with business and industry to create more than 130,000 new jobs, restoring frontline services, investing record budgets in health and education, and strengthening our economy through investments in infrastructure and innovation,” she said. “Cabinet will have equal representation of men and women, and four of the five Assistant Ministers are women. “Our job — over the next 1,000 days — is to ensure all Queenslanders win, whether it is winning with the opportunity for work, or winning with access to quality healthcare for them and their loved ones, or winning with best possible education for our children and access to skills and training for those joining or re-joining the workforce. “Our Government — of 25 men and 23 women — represents a State that will be soon be home to five million …

Blenners Transport, of Tully, nominates its preferred route south via Torrens Creek and Barcaldine.

State government must give priority to strategic road — Katter and Millar must work together

Colin Jackson Bush Chat

THE QUEENSLAND and Federal governments are currently spending $800 million on the Gateway Arterial (Brisbane), $700 million on two roundabouts on the Sunshine Coast and already dedicated $300 million to the Cross River Rail (Brisbane), but cannot find between $10 and $15 million over the next three to five years to upgrade one of the most strategically-important thoroughfares linking North Queensland with the southern states. Additionally, the Federal Government has approved funding for upgrades to the Richmond to Winton Road, under the $100 million Northern Australia Beef Roads Program. The recent introduction of traffic counters to the much-relied-upon road between Torrens Creek and Barcaldine suggest that someone, at long last, is starting to count the number of heavy wheels travelling from the north to southern states where the demand for food is become vitally important due to increasing population. There is a two-year-old report produced by the Queensland Transport and Logistics Council titled ‘A Focus on Freight on Queensland’s Inland Highway’ (January 2015) sitting within the Department of Transport and Main Roads in Brisbane that has deliberately left-out any reference to the Torrens Creek to Barcaldine Road. The committee was implemented when Annastacia Palaszczuk was Queensland’s Transport Minister, and the Newman Opposition …

Backflip on Adani railway another Palaszczuk disruptive mistake

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News

THE PREMIER’S backflip from being pro the federal government loan to build the railway line from the Carmichael Mine in the Galillee Basin to one of washing her hands of the deal to match Biblical proportions has the ability to backfire spectacularly. It makes perfect sense that if the Australian taxpayers provided the monies, the government can have overall say in the running of the thoroughfare — as against Adani dictating terms to other would-be users. While the Palaszczuk Government talks-up maintaining state assets, there are many examples of how former Premiers Beattie and Bligh sold public assets to build ongoing infrastructure. Perhaps Annastacia Palaszczuk wasn’t in the Cabinet room when these sales were approved. In 2011, Col Jackson, with the help of Paula Heelan, wrote of problems being experienced by graziers and agriculturalists in the Belyando region who were open to land claims by other proposed mining giants wanting to open-up more mines in the Galilee basin, and they too wanted their own individual railway corridors. This story is a perfect example of what can happen if planning is not only designed, but tightly controlled. Would it not be more pragmatically and economically sensible — let along plain common-sense …

Vegetable industry cash income rates highest in a decade

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News, Horticulture

INCREASED PRODUCTION levels per farm and higher market prices for produce led to improved income levels for vegetable growers in 2015-16, according to ABARES’ latest vegetable industry survey. Acting Assistant Secretary of ABARES’ Agricultural Productivity and Farm Analysis branch, David Galeano, said the average farm cash income in the vegetable growing industry is estimated to have increased to around $254,000 per farm. “In 2016-17, average farm income of Australian vegetable-growing farms is projected to be the highest in real terms since ABARES began surveying vegetable-growing farms in 2007,” Mr Galeano said. “Average farm cash income is projected to increase in all states, except Victoria and Tasmania. “The total value of capital for Australian vegetable-growing farms decreased by 15 per cent in real terms from 2006-07 to 2015-16, due to a reduction in the number of Australian vegetable-growing farms, despite the average size of vegetable growing farms increasing. “Nevertheless, Australian vegetable growers made an average of $271 million in new capital investment each year and average total capital per farm increased by 35 per cent to around $4.5 million per farm. “Average farm debt of Australian vegetable-growing farms is projected to have increased by around 15 per cent in 2015-16, but …

Important reminder about on-farm recycling

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Enviro-Safe

AUSTRALIA’S WASTE is growing around six times faster than the population, according to Planet Ark, and National Recycling Week is a timely reminder for all Australians, including farmers, to look at their recycling habits. Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Luke Hartsuyker, has stated that this National Recycling Week (November 13 to 19) is a great opportunity for farmers and rural Australians to think about the ways they manage waste and to encourage future generations to think sustainably. “Our farmers manage 61 per cent of Australia’s landmass and can make a significant contribution to the protection of vital assets such as our soils, water, vegetation and biodiversity,” the Minister said. “Farmers can support the ‘circular economy’ by being conscious of how they dispose of things like worn tyres and used scrap metal from old machinery — and by purchasing products made from recycled materials. “There is now a vast range of products that can be made from recycled materials, including fencing, containers, and construction material like bricks and timber. Purchasing recycled products closes the loop and keeps products and material out of landfill, groundwater and oceans. “There are already organisations promoting recycling in rural Australia — drumMUSTER provides farmers …

United they stand to support Queensland’s economic growth

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News

FIVE QUEENSLAND peak industry groups have united to release a joint roadmap outlining how the next State Government can create jobs, drive growth and build confidence across key sectors of the economy. The Driving Queensland’s Economic Growth State Election platform was developed and agreed upon by the peak representative bodies for broadacre primary producers, tourism businesses, the property industry, the resources sector and the timber industry. These five industries directly employ almost half a million Queenslanders, and are responsible for feeding, powering, housing and showcasing the state — and AgForce, Queensland Tourism Industry Council, the Property Council, Queensland Resources Council and Timber Queensland are calling on the next State Government to: Improve environmental management in Queensland by simplifying environmental regulations, investing in good quality land management on both state and private land, and recognising the work industry does as land custodians; Build business confidence through innovation, investment and infrastructure, including by ensuring tax stability, cutting energy costs for all users, using infrastructure as an enabler of regional growth, and through skills development; Commit to fact-based policies by guaranteeing evidence-based planning decisions and a genuine regulatory impact process for all major legislative changes; Work with industry to identify, develop and implement solutions via a …

Hort Plasma

Food safety supercharger a technological first

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Horticulture

THE MOTHER of all produce sanitisation machines has arrived in Australia, fresh off the ship from Germany, as Australia takes its food safety technology to the next level. Dubbed The Food Safety Supercharger, the custom-made 250kg test unit creates a stream of ‘supercharged air’ by applying an electric current to normal air. Using this disruptive technology, it has the capacity to kill microbial pathogens on the surface of fresh produce and nuts, without leaving any chemical residues. Housed at a New South Wales Department of Primary Industries laboratory, this world-first machine aims to eliminate microbial contaminants such as Salmonella, Listeria and E.coli which cause foodborne illness outbreaks. Other spoilage-causing moulds can also be suppressed, offering a longer shelf life and reduced food waste. Hort Innovation fund manager, Tim Archibald, said the technology — which is part of a $5 million jointly-funded project with the NSW Department of Primary Industries — has never been commercially used on food. “The Food Safety Supercharger is here, and Australia is on track to introduce some of the most sophisticated sanitation technology in the world,” Mr Archibald said. “While there are good post-harvest practices already in place in Australia, when isolated contamination incidents occur, farmers …

The Boyne River Bridge on the Mundubbera-Durong Road: The LNP has dedicated $35 million towards bridge replacement; Labor claims they have already planned for it.
The Boyne River Bridge on the Mundubbera-Durong Road: The LNP has dedicated $35 million towards bridge replacement; Labor claims they have already planned for it.

Infrastructure investments would improve Queensland considerably

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News

ROAD, BRIDGE and telecommunications infrastructure pledges announced this week would help better connect Queensland and make it safer, easier and cheaper to get food from the paddock to the plate if implemented, AgForce said today. The agricultural representative body’s Thriving Farms, Thriving Queensland plan outlines a series of policy priorities for rural Queenslanders in the upcoming State Election and the actions required to address them, with Connecting Queensland a key theme. AgForce General President, Grant Maudsley, said it was pleasing to see some regional transport announcements from the major parties during the State Election campaign this week. “Transport makes up 30 to 40 per cent of farmers’ production costs, so we need good infrastructure that makes it safer, easier and cheaper to get our farm goods from the paddock to the port and ultimately to the plate,” he said. “We welcome the LNP’s pledge of $60 million towards 10 regional roads under the Beef Roads program, as well as the commitment of another $80 million toward 11 bridges under their Better Bridges program. “With these investment announcements, three of AgForce’s priority routes would receive much needed attention: Bowenville-Moola Road: $1.5 million towards upgrades; Mundubbera-Durong Road: $15 million towards upgrades; Boyne …

Burdekin Fall Dam

Dam fever hits as LNP leader talks water storage

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News

LNP LEADER Tim Nicholls has announced that if elected at the forthcoming State election, his government would invest $1.3 billion in dams and water infrastructure. “About $812 million would come from the State Government and the remainder would come from Federal funds,” he said. The Urannah Dam, Nullinga Dam, Rookwood Weir and Burdekin Falls Dam were included in the announcement. As part of the plan, an LNP Government would set up a Queensland Dam Company, similar to the Snowy Hydro Authority, to manage the projects. Many will be sceptical, because it has all been heard before — but someone has to bite the bullet one day. The sad part is that the major proponent of dams across Queensland, Barnaby Joyce, couldn’t attend the announcement as he is busy campaigning for his own re-election following the dual citizenship farce. Then it was Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to be sceptical — saying that the LNP plan was “nothing new.” While the Premier rattled-off a list of some of the things that her government has previously announced, her government has done nothing because they may upset the Greens, who are odds-on to win the seat of West End which is currently ‘owned’ by Deputy Premier …

Long-awaited work to begin on Mundubbera-Durong road

Colin Jackson Bush Chat

IT WOULD have to be the worst piece of road anywhere in Queensland — even crash test dummies would get out and walk. It has been dubbed the Kangaroo Route. Most especially is the final 12kms or so enroute from Mundubbera to the T-intersection at Durong before turning towards Kingaroy or Chinchilla. It is still awaiting funding. Whoever built that road should be made to drive it constantly for a day — if the vehicle is sturdy enough to withstand the rigours of poor engineering and road-building. Even the Romans built better highways. Thankfully, and in the interests of road safety and vehicle wearability, the powers-that-be responsible for the road made an important decision: they lowered the speed limit. At long last, though, something is being done about the scenic drive from Mundubbera to Durong that doesn’t allow the driver much scope to take the eyes off the road. In coming down to priorities for this highway important to the economic prosperity of the region, in particular for primary producers and transport companies, the Member or Nanango, Deb Frecklington announced this week that an LNP Government will invest $15 million to widen and seal the single-lane section of the Mundubbera-Durong …

Labor-Green coalition a trigger for secession

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News

MAJOR CHANGE is about to descend on Queensland, and it will take a great deal of common-sense and input from the ordinary people to design the future — if the State is to indeed gift a future to ongoing generations. The Queensland election on November 25 is already an unknown, and it would be unwise for anyone (even those jokers who call themselves the ‘parliamentary press gallery’ or ‘political pundits’ — to even come close to predicting the result. The Palaszczuk Government’s smarty-pants efforts to rig the election by having voters mark all boxes on the ballot paper is now fraught — more than that, it has backfired. Former Premier Powerpoint Pete’s mantra of ‘just vote one’ is relegated to history, and even he now admits the new method is a dumbcluck decision. In the lead-up to the State poll, Opposition Leader Tim Clayfield hasn’t even had a chance to disturb his coiffured hairline — he’s so far been given a free ride by the Accidental Premier, and as long as he keeps that grin on his face, he can’t go far wrong. Though, never far away is his ever-loyal Deputy Deb Frecklington, whose spirited approach comes from somewhere in …

AgForce puts pub test to Townsville

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News

IT WAS Prime Minister John Howard who coined the ‘pub test’ concept, current affairs shows have followed suit with success, and now AgForce is taking this popular concept to the people of Townsville and environs with a ‘politics and the paddock’ event next week. And a special invitation is going out to residents of north Queensland who harbour a special interest in the future of agriculture after the forthcoming State Election to attend a special ‘Politics in the Pub’ forum in Townsville on Thursday, November 16. AgForce General President, Grant Maudsley, said agriculture is one of the foundations of the Queensland economy, especially in the north, and the forum would provide an opportunity for all political parties to outline their plans to help drive the industry forward. “Demand for our high quality food and fibre is growing, but for Queensland agriculture to achieve its full potential, we need governments to adopt the right policy settings so farmers can get on with the job of feeding our state, our country and consumers across the world,” he said “Regional Queensland is in the spotlight perhaps more than ever before in this state election, and North Queensland voters in particular will have a …

Big Red Pastoral College

Professionalism rolls out of the big red truck

Colin Jackson Bush Chat

OUTBACK HOSPITALITY’S big red truck comes with its own driver, teaching staff, and is manned by students who have two years to complete their Certificates in Hospitality. And it is readily available to providors requiring the necessary facilities to cater for large gatherings up to 300 guests across its 500 square kilometre operating area. Some recent events where its versatility has come to the fore were the Sunset Extravaganza Charity Dinner in Bladensberg National Park (as part of the Winton Outback Festival), the fiftieth anniversary of the Longreach Pastoral College, and the Channel Country Ladies Day, where women from properties across the far north-west of Queensland travelled many hundred of kilometres to focus on themselves for a few days. Due to the distances to be travelled, and the lack of facilities in the very small communities through the Outback, the big red truck certainly proves its worth. It has become central to the outback coming together. A special guest at the Channel Country Ladies Day was former Queensland Governor and 25th Governor-General of Australia, Dame Quentin Brice. The event was held in the Jundah Showgrounds, and the women were accommodated in tents or simply threw their swags on the ground. …

Welcome to Outback Way

Further investment in Australia’s important cross-nation highway

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News

In 2010 Col Jackson travelled from Winton to Laverton (in reality, Brisbane to Perth) in what can be described as one of the great road journeys of Australia. The importance of the Outback Way is illustrated in the ongoing resolve by governments and communities to ultimately have it totally sealed. FROM WINTON in Queensland to Laverton in Western Australia, Australia’s third and, urguably, most strategic highway is being further upgraded with the latest injection by the federal Government of $125 million in a priority projects allocation towards ultimately sealing Australia’s longest shortcut. The Outback Way provides critical infrastructure to 13 indigenous communities, enables the development of tourism, mining, the agricultural sector across northern Australia and efficiency for freight and logistics across the nation. In the past six months, the Outback Highway Development Council Inc (OHDC Inc) has been meeting with State and Federal Governments to develop an ongoing investment strategy for the Outback Way project. The current allocation of $125 million is divided into 80 per cent from the Federal Government and 20 per cent each by the Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australian state governments. In essence, Western Australia will seal 80km with $46.5 million; the Northern Territory will seal 60km …

Principal of the Longreach State high School, Brendan Krueger, accepted the QSuper Showcase Award for Excellence in the Senior Years from the Hon Kate Jones, Minister for Education and Tourism (right). With them is QSuper Trustee, Jeff Backen (left) and Tanya Hamilton, who has been in charge of the hospitality course since 2011.
Principal of the Longreach State high School, Brendan Krueger, accepted the QSuper Showcase Award for Excellence in the Senior Years from the Hon Kate Jones, Minister for Education and Tourism (right). With them is QSuper Trustee, Jeff Backen (left) and Tanya Hamilton, who has been in charge of the hospitality course since 2011.

Excellence award proves distance is no barrier to success

Colin Jackson Bush Chat

THE BENEFIT of the Outback Hospitality Trade Training Centre to the Central West — referred to officially as the Remote Central West Cluster — and the vast Outback, was recognised last Friday night (October 27) when the Big Red Truck (as it is affectionately known) won the QSuper Showcase Award for Excellence in the Senior Years that rewards excellence and innovation in senior school programs. The awards gala dinner, held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, was organised by the Queensland Government’s Department of Education and Training (DET), and coincided with State Education Week (October 22 to 28). Significantly, the event was held on World Teachers’ Day. The Remote Central West Cluster incorporates the Longreach State High School and Aramac, Barcaldine, Blackall and Winton State Schools — and is officially referred to as the Outback College of Hospitality Central West Initiative. The Showcase Awards for Excellence in Schools this year featured 11 categories, and are presented annually to Queensland state schools with excellent practices that significantly improve outcomes for students. The Awards are an important acknowledgement of state schools, their teachers and staff who are significantly improving the learning outcomes of young Queenslanders. This year QSuper sponsored the Showcase …

Outback Dining

Vocational training that comes with myriad venues and views

Colin Jackson Bush Chat

Even working in the Sydney Opera House will not give young trainees the same raft of opportunities, outlook and experiences that come with Outback Hospitality’s Big Red Truck, writes Col Jackson. IT WAS September 2013 when I was first introduced to the Outback Hospitality Trade Training Centre, a complete restaurant enclosed within a B-Double truck that I have since happened upon in many isolated yet starkly picturesque locations. And it was only in September this year that the catering facility was set-up in Bladensberg National Park, some 15km from Winton, for the re-enactment of the Australian Light Horse Charge at Beersheba and incorporating dinner under the Southern Cross as part of the Sunset Extravaganza Charity Dinner — one of the primary events of the biennial Winton Outback Festival. After three years in the planning and development stages through to its construction, the Federal Government-funded leviathan rolled into the Longreach State High School in July 2011. The recognition ceremony and official opening was performed by Senator John Hogg (ALP) on February 21, 2012. Ostensibly, the prime purpose of the mobile kitchen facility is to provide training for students at five schools in the Central West — Blackall, Barcaldine, Aramac and Winton …

Get back to nature in the living room

Colin Jackson Bush Chat

REDUCED PRODUCTIVITY, bad moods and increased allergies have all been linked to chemicals that float in the air at room temperature, or volatile organic compounds (VOCs). They are present in carpets, paint and furniture in Australian homes, with research showing concentrations indoors are up to ten times higher than they are outdoors. In a new study, scientists have discovered that simply adding one medium-sized plant (of up to 50cm) to a medium-sized room (of about 4x5ms) can increase interior air quality by up to 25 per cent. Commissioned by Hort Innovation and delivered by scientists at RMIT University and the University of Melbourne, the study involved a meta-analysis of more than 100 research papers from around the world. University of Melbourne researcher Dominique Hes said the work was timely. “Human beings are less and less among nature, with current estimates indicating that urban dwellers spend 90 per cent of their time in indoor environments — resulting in a high level of exposure to indoor contaminant compounds,” she said. “Our aim was to take the world of research and synthesise the knowledge into a scale of benefits provided by plants by grouping them into two categories: air quality and wellbeing. “Based …

Mini telcos may answer bush needs

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News

REMEMBER ANALOG MOBILE PHONES? They weren’t as small as modern digital phones, nor have internet and a zillion apps. But they had much better coverage. Lots of bush people lost reliable coverage when the analog network was closed and digital was the only choice. But now 5G digital is coming, and a host of cheaper relay technology. Currently, it is only available to hipsters in inner Sydney and Melbourne as they chow down their smashed avocado. There should be trials in the bush. Not only does 5G carry lots more data (great for hipsters playing their video games on the phone, but more productive for farmers trying to download soil maps and productivity data) — and set-up correctly, has better coverage. That IT behemoth, Google, is trialling new 5G technology (not just phones, but the broader wireless technology) with a view to taking-on the traditional telco giants. The opening gap in the market they see are the less populated rural areas. In the USA, Google is fighting the telco oligopoly in rural areas where the telcos have provided poor service, both coverage and technology. It’s got all political, of course, because the telcos don’t want Google to do to them …

Burnett Roads Working Group born out of necessity for improvement

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News

THE STATE of the inland highway route between central Queensland and Toowoomba — and especially the Mundubbera-to-Durong and Chinchilla-to-Wondai sections — which are crucial to the overall economic prosperity of surrounding regions, has encouraged the formation of the Mundubbera-to-Jandowae Roads Working Group. Discussions have been ongoing between various parties, which have highlighted the need for improvements to the State-controlled roads, and has resulted in key stakeholders joining forces to form the much-needed group. While it is widely acknowledged there is no ‘quick-fix’ solution to address the current issues and concerns surrounding the roads in question, the Working Group is committed to working collaboratively to build the case for required funding. The group will also examine the broader case for regional connectivity to transport hubs through the Burnett inland region. Mrs Georgie Somerset, Deputy Chair of AgForce Queensland, will Chair the newly-formed Mundubbera-to-Jandowae Roads Working Group and brings strong local knowledge to the group along with her AgForce experience. Kristy Frahm, CEO of the Burnett Inland Economic Development Organisation (BIEDO) will facilitate the Working Group and assist in the co-ordination of required data and information to enable informed decision-making by members. “We welcome business owners, including primary producers, industry bodies, tourism …

‘Barcoo Bruce’ Scott OAM to join FRRR board

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News

Bendigo, 23 October 2017: FOLLOWING the recent retirement of Tim Fairfax AC from the Board of the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal, its Chairman, the Rt Hon Ian Sinclair AC, has announced that Bruce Scott OAM will be joining the FRRR Board. The Barcoo region is one of the more remote shires of Queensland, spanning 61,974 square kilometres, and incorporating the communities of Jundah, Stonehenge and Windorah in the far west of the State. Born and bred in Western Queensland, Bruce and his wife own and run Moothandella, a cattle station in Queensland’s Channel Country. Bruce has served on numerous boards as well as local, state and federal government committees and community committees. He was recently recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for his services to local government, and to the community of Barcoo Shire, where he is Mayor. Making the announcement in Longreach this morning, Mr Sinclair said that a vacancy had emerged as Tim Fairfax AC recently retired from the Board. “Tim has made an enormous contribution to the board over the years, bringing a multitude of perspectives, including that of philanthropist, primary producer, as well as a Queenslander. “We are very pleased to have Bruce …

Even the stately Rhode Island Red rooster had much to crow about.
Even the stately Rhode Island Red rooster had much to crow about.

The Adani truth is out there somewhere

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News

TO SAY Adani’s Carmichael Mine is a polarising issue would be an understatement. My view is that the general population is very interested in Adani’s Carmichael Mine project — in fact, all things concerning the company — but there is very little information being presented to the people. Rumours abound, and in the minds of the general public the politicians appear to be distorting the facts, and the evidence comes almost daily that they are losing the trust of the overall population. Recently I was in Townsville and met with some friends. Days later they phoned me, giving me 45 minutes notice to attend a luncheon addressed by the Adani hierarchy. I was in Proserpine — three hours away — but would have jumped at the chance to hear their version. One particular interest of mine is in the Adani property structure — which is not unlike those adopted by multi-nationals to channel profits out of a country to avoid paying taxes. I am perplexed that Adani apparently directs its royalties into tax havens like the Virgin Islands. They can’t have it both ways — this nation wants its fair share in royalties and taxes — and ‘fiddling with the …

Farmers and graziers challenge Adani over coal line acquisition

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News

Tuesday, 17th October, 2017 FARMERS in central and western Queensland are opposing the Queensland Government’s plan to compulsorily acquire 3,568 hectares of agricultural land for a private rail line to a proposed coal mine. The move was announced as farmers were meeting in Emerald over concerns about unlimited water licences being granted to the same coal corporation, Adani, for its Carmichael mega mine. “It’s shocking that the Queensland government thinks it’s fair to compulsorily acquire 3,568ha of land from farmers to stitch-up a special deal for Adani’s private rail line,” said fifth-generation grazier, William Graham, who runs beef cattle on 50,000ha at Withersfield Station near Emerald. “Our industry’s interests are being sacrificed for a project that will harm the future of our region. We knew Adani was taking water from agriculture with their free unlimited groundwater licence; now they’re taking our land as well,” said Mr Graham. Farmers for Climate Action CEO, Verity Morgan-Schmidt, said: “The Queensland Government has broken farmers’ trust. They promised us that Adani’s infrastructure would be privately funded — not subsidised by taxpayers. Now they’ve handed yet another free gift to an international, multi-billion company.” Sixth-generation grazier Angus Emmott, of Noonbah Station near Longreach, said: “This announcement shows …

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Tom Crothers offers a critical observation of groundwater risks from the now approved Carmichael Mine.

Politicians are losing the people’s trust through inability to listen

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News

Tuesday, October 17, 2017 FROM a former Labor Party member who once voted for Whitlam, and not only lives to regret it but is standing at the next Queensland state election as a Greens candidate, to a young law student studying at Canberra University who grew-up on the land 55km the other side of Longreach and eventually wants to return to the land, there were multiple voices offering myriad opinions about mining, coal seam gas (CSG), deep gas and shale gas activities at a farm meeting in Emerald today (Tuesday) held under the auspices of Farmers for Climate Action. Seventy people attended a similar meeting in Longreach on Monday. The seriousness of the impact on groundwater supplies by the projected nine mines in central Queensland — and especially Adani’s Carmichael Mine — was spelt-out by Tom Crothers, former general manager of Water Planning and Allocation for Queensland, who attacked the special treatment being offered by successive Queensland governments to Adani on groundwater “that should have every farmer within coo-ee of the Galilee Basin very worried indeed.” From the outset, Tom Crothers demonstrated a passion for landholders; his rehearsed, straight-talking, off-the-cuff approach was clear and concise. He said blame cannot be …

New AgForce CEO in the hot seat today

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News

A SENIOR EXECUTIVE with experience working with major corporations, running large farming operations, advancing agricultural research and increasing international trade today takes the helm as Chief Executive Officer of peak rural industry organisation, AgForce Queensland. AgForce General President Grant Maudsley said he was delighted to announce Michael Guerin as the organisation’s new CEO. “Growing up on a family farm in New Zealand, Mike has held numerous senior executive roles in large corporations throughout this career, including Regional and Rural Banking Managing Director at ANZ, and Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer at Elders,” Mr Maudsley said. “For the past two and a half years, Mike has been working in a trade role for the South Australian Government as South East Asia Director, while he has also been a Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation Director, and served as the Chief Executive Officer for the Northern Australia Cooperative Research Centre Bid team. “With a farming background and significant executive experience, Mike brings a unique combination to AgForce and we are pleased to have someone of his calibre as our new CEO.” Mr Guerin said there had never been a more critical time for Australian agriculture and he was particularly proud to …

New high-folate strawberry a sweet find

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Horticulture

SCIENTISTS have discovered an ‘alpha strawberry’ that is very sweet in flavour and has folate levels that may be up to three times higher than standard strawberries. Folate is an important B-group vitamin that is critical for a range of biological functions in adults and children, including the production of DNA and other genetic material. It is also essential for the healthy development of the foetus in early pregnancy and can help to prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida. The strawberry research is funded as part of a $10M Hort Innovation program aimed at developing naturally nutrient-dense food, and delivered and co-funded by the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI), University of Queensland which is supported by the Queensland Government. Hort Innovation chief executive, John Lloyd, said while the strawberry is yet to undergo taste testing through consumer panels to see if it is as good as conventional breeds, the finding is exciting. “This is essentially an ‘alpha strawberry’; it contains way more folate than we would expect to see in a standard strawberry,” he said. Mr Lloyd said the variety was developed to help growers meet consumer demand. “Consumers are becoming more health conscious and are looking for …

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Light Horse re-enactment juggernaut drawing huge crowds to Central Queensland

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News

Editor Colin Jackson is presently in Longreach for the “In Pursuit of Beersheba” Commemorations, which began in Barcaldine on Monday, moved to Ilfracombe on Tuesday, and this morning, as the sun rose over Longreach, 87 horsemen fittingly dress in the World War I uniforms of the Australian Light Horse, line-up abreast in the forecourt of the Railway Station as a Commemorative Service was held at the Anzac Cenotaph in Atkins Park.  More photos and stories will be posted as the roadshow moves to Winton for the culmination of a solemn and moving ride by Troops of the Queensland Mounted Infantry Historical Troop and 5th Light Horse (Winton Troop) — the Sunset Dinner and re-enactment of the Charge of Beersheba, history’s last great cavalry charge. The Beersheba Memorial Park was also opened this morning on the western outskirts of the regional town.  

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Mareeba lime and avocado farmer, Matthew Perkes, has won this year’s Charlie Nastasi Horticultural Farmer of the Year Award.

New-age farmer wins major Mareeba fruit and veg award

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News

A FORMER tradesman who started his farm from scratch has taken out this year’s Charlie Nastasi Horticultural Farmer of the Year Award. Mareeba man Matthew Perkes was named winner of the Award at Friday night’s Mareeba District Fruit and Vegetable Industry dinner — impressing the judges with his lime and avocado crop which has benefited from a carefully-crafted fertilising and watering regime using a minimal amount of pesticides and chemicals. Mr Perkes edged out local farmers Elio Quintieri, Sam Collins and Jose Caamano for the coveted prize, which aims to continue the legacy of the late Mr Nastasi by recognising outstanding innovation and exceptional leadership in the horticultural industry across the Atherton Tablelands and Lakeland area. Mr Perkes gave up his job as a carpenter 13 years ago to start a new life as a farmer. After purchasing an old banana farm, he planted just 80 lime trees and 500 avocado trees, which have since gone on to flourish through a use of commercially available organic products such as fish fertiliser, molasses and soil stimulants that release good bacteria. Mr Perkes has now grown his “Cobra Hill Orchard” to about 2,500 avocado trees and 2,500 lime trees, with plans for …

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The 2016 Eidsvold Charity Cattle Drive crosses the Burnett River heading to the local sales yards – following in the footsteps of sales agent Martin Snelling. Picture ©Andrew Mcinnes, south-east Queensland.

Eidsvold charity cattle drive to again follow trail pioneered by renowned sales agent

Colin Jackson Bush Chat

AS THE STORY goes, Martin Snelling was a sales agent — undoubtedly the predecessor to the stock and station agents as described by John Gilfoyle in his many articles in Blue’s magazine and his numerous “Bloody Agents” books — who made his mark on history in the Eidsvold district in the mid-1920s. He drove cattle from Camboon Station to the Eidsvold sales yards through open ironbark country and across ridges of spotted gum, and in 1926 lit campfires for hundred of miles along the stock routes that led to the important cattle town. Those were the heady pioneering days of the cattle industry when mobs of 500 were not uncommon and no amount of distance was ‘too far’. And it was while a group of old timers were perusing a photo (perhaps one similar to that in the RM Williams Australian Bush Learning and Visitor Information Centre in Eidsvold) of 500 bullocks crossing the road bridge over the Burnett River at Eidsvold Station, that one in the group wondered out loud whether it could be done again. “Yeh,” said another, “it’s a shame that the modern generation can’t enjoy the experience of shifting a large mob in a similar way …

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Fiona Simson at the Brisbane Ekka last month with husband, Ed (right) and her predecessor as president of the National Farmers Federation, Brent Finlay.

NFF president uproots stereotype that only men can be farmers

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News

Fiona Simson, President of the National Farmers’ Federation, on the Australian Farmers website on Saturday, urges female farmers to value the contribution they make, whether in the office or in the paddocks. THE PARENTS of my children are farmers. It is true — it says it on their birth certificate. I remember it like it was yesterday. Searching for the right occupation when filling out the birth register form and my decision to say that, like my husband, I was a farmer. At the time, we were cropping and grazing 5600ha. I did not think it was a stretch to say that I, Fiona Simson, like Ed Simson, was a farmer. I still don’t and regularly include the classification of farmer on my immigration and census forms. I have spent a great deal of time out on the farm, however my contribution to the family enterprise has most significantly been in the farm office. Completing the dreaded, but necessary tax and business compliance (do not get me started on red tape), paying bills, implementing OH&S, preparing budgets, paying people and more recently marketing our grain. These tasks plus the cultivation of crops and animal husbandry add up to the sum of …

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Tanya Dupagne, from Western Australia’s wheatbelt, winner of the 2017 AgriFutures (formerly RIRDC) Rural Women’s Awards.

Rural women applauded for inspiring country kids

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News

TWO OUTSTANDING rural women who have devoted much to the welfare and future prospects of young rural Australians were last night recognised with awards as part of the AgriFutures (formerly RIRDC) Rural Women’s Awards at a black tie gala dinner in Canberra last night (September 13). Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, presented the Australian Rural Women’s Award to Tanya Dupagne from Western Australia’s wheatbelt, and the runner-up award to Simone Kain from Penola, South Australia. Other state and territory winners and national finalists in this year’s AgriFutures Rural Women’s Awards were Sandra Ireson (Booligal, New South Wales); Kirsten Abernethy (Portarlington, Victoria); Jacqui Wilson-Smith (Eerwah Vale, Queensland); Rebecca Lynd (Plenty, Tasmania) and Kate Peake (Humpty Doo, Northern Territory). Previous winners of RIRDC/AgriFutures Rural Women of the Year Awards include Georgie Somerset (now a Director at the ABC and the Royal Flying Doctor Service); Danica Leys (now CEO of the Country Women’s Association); and Roma Britnell (now the Victorian Liberal Member for the South-West Coast). Based on 2011 ABARES figures, there are around 70,000 women working in agriculture in Australia. Minister Joyce said the idea that women are anything but drivers of the economic success story that is Australian agriculture …

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The Charlie Nastasi Horticultural Farmer of the Year Award panel comprises (from left) Joe Moro, Gerard Kath, Thomas Mugford and Wayne McKeich.

Mareeba farming innovators up for major award

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Horticulture

FOUR trail-blazing farmers from the Mareeba area have been nominated in this year’s Charlie Nastasi Horticultural Farmer of the Year Award. Held annually by the Mareeba District Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association (MDFVGA), the award aims to continue the legacy of the late Charlie Nastasi by recognising outstanding innovation and exceptional leadership in the horticultural industry across the Atherton Tablelands and Lakeland area. Matthew Perkes, Elio Quintieri, Sam Collins and Jose Caamano have all been nominated for this year’s Award, each bringing their own unique innovation and leadership to the industry. A former carpenter, Mr Perkes grows limes and avocados on a 70ha property at Mareeba. He utilises full tissue, soil and moisture testing to produce a superb crop every year, helped by an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program and water-saving mulch practices. Mr Perkes also volunteers his time as junior president of the Mareeba United Football Club. Mr Quintieri, a lychee farmer at Paddys Green, manufacturers his own proprietary cherry pickers built on site at his property which have proven to be extremely popular amongst growers. Sky’s the limit for Tableland lychee grower From a well-known and respected farming family, Mr Quintieri has a long involvement in farming, manufacturing …

Atherton Tableland farmer, Elio Quinteri, flying high with his cherry picker business, is one of four nominees in this year’s Charlie Nastasi Horticultural Farmer of the Year Award.
Atherton Tableland farmer, Elio Quinteri, flying high with his cherry picker business, is one of four nominees in this year’s Charlie Nastasi Horticultural Farmer of the Year Award.

Sky’s the limit for Tableland lychee grower

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Horticulture

AN ATHERTON TABLELAND lychee farmer has taken a passion for machinery to the next level as demand surges nationwide for his cherry pickers. Elio Quinteri, from Paddys Green just outside Mareeba, is finding success in building Australian Afron Elevating Work Platforms since taking over the business five years ago. Mr Quinteri is one of four nominees in this year’s Charlie Nastasi Horticultural Farmer of the Year Award, which aims to continue the legacy of the late Mr Nastasi by recognising outstanding innovation and exceptional leadership in the horticultural industry across the Atherton Tablelands and Lakeland area. Matthew Perkes, Sam Collins and Jose Caamano are the other nominees in this year’s Charlie Nastasi Award , with the winner being announced at the annual Mareeba District Fruit and Vegetable Industry dinner this Friday evening. Having previously been an agricultural machinery salesman and dealer, Mr Quinteri said running his own manufacturing business seemed the next logical step in his career. “I’m passionate about what I do and I’m very particular. I’ve been a farmer, salesman, dealer and now I’m a manufacturer. I’ve seen it from all perspectives so I know what the customers want,” he said. Mr Quinteri, who heads up Quinto Ag …

Ruth Vicary with grand-daughter Sophie Nock and daughters Hannah (right) and Emily. "All seven daughters work on the farm and are quite capable of taking -over," she says.
Ruth Vicary with grand-daughter Sophie Nock and daughters Hannah (right) and Emily. "All seven daughters work on the farm and are quite capable of taking -over," she says.

Keeping young people on the land raises much debate

Colin Jackson Bush Chat

RICHARD KINNON’S comments about his sons and daughter taking over from him hit a chord amongst those attending the Binjour and Monto forums initiated by the Burnett Inland Economic Development Organisation. The Longreach tourism entrepreneur told of the 100 properties “down our road” from his in the Channel country that are now run by older people because the children have left the land. His philosophy encompasses giving the young people the reins to have a go. “Too many young people are leaving the land.” He talks about being innovative — getting young people out of the city to know and understand what rural Australia is all about. “When things come good, it will be good,” he noted as he described the condition of his property about 12 years ago “when the Mitchell grass was waist high. “It’s God’s own country when good, then it went into drought. It’s either feast or famine. “That was about the same time that I wanted to go west — and my family has learnt to use what resources we have. Since then I have learnt to drought-proof the property. “But,” he added, “I haven’t pulled a bob of that country in six years. “I …

This is how we do it in Monto: Melinda Jones (North Burnett Regional Council), Cr Paul Lobegeier (Division 1, North Burnett Regional Council), Kristy Frahm (CEO, BIEDO), Liz Robertson (Monto Magic Tourism Action Group), Hannah Lue (AgForce Communications), and guest speaker Richard Kinnon (Outback Pioneers, Longreach).
This is how we do it in Monto: Melinda Jones (North Burnett Regional Council), Cr Paul Lobegeier (Division 1, North Burnett Regional Council), Kristy Frahm (CEO, BIEDO), Liz Robertson (Monto Magic Tourism Action Group), Hannah Lue (AgForce Communications), and guest speaker Richard Kinnon (Outback Pioneers, Longreach).

Sharing experiences encourages self-help within rural communities

Colin Jackson Bush Chat

FOR MANY YEARS Richard Kinnon could neither read nor write, yet in his inimitable, self-deprecating way he talks of his early days — studying by school-of-the-air, and the pedal wireless would often go on the blink: “Mum wasn’t technically-minded and didn’t realise us kids switched the terminals on the battery.” He also recalls how the station kids had experienced 19 governesses. The many droughts he has negotiated throughout his lifetime has left him more punch-drunk than a prize fighter, yet he keeps coming back for more. He obstinately refuses to give-in to the scourge of living in the bush, and raised a family of two sons and a daughter with a wife who made him justifiably proud — and alongside him put her shoulder to the wheel. Those kids have sidelined him to a certain extent, yet the rewards just keep coming — backed by big names wanting to harness the outback success story. Because of continuing droughts, he diversified from agriculture to develop a multi-award-winning tourism operation in a western Queensland regional centre while the ‘shiny bums’ (his words) sat in cafes and watched him begin his venture with more than a reasonable amount of pessimism and derision. “I …

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Daily priority themes for sensational Outback Festival

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Coming Events

IT ONLY comes around once every two years, so it’s no secret the residents of the small outback town of Winton are gearing up for an influx of 8,000 visitors and 72 performers as it prepares for the 2017 Outback Festival and the Famous for the Quilton Australian Dunny Derby. In a bid to give back, the festival, through the fun and frivolity of the Quilton Australian Dunny Derby, will help increase awareness of bowel cancer and the benefits of screening through a partnership with Queensland Health. The Make No.2 Your No.1 Priority state campaign aims to increase participation in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program. Queensland’s Chief Health Officer, Dr Jeannette Young, is proud to support an iconic regional event and reminds Queenslanders over the age of 50 to make bowel screening a priority. “Partnerships like this one allow Queensland Health to further engage with Queenslanders on important issues like bowel cancer screening,” she said. “If you’re heading to the festival, keep an eye out for Queensland Health’s Make No.2 Your No.1 Priority bum boxes and chat with my staff who will be at the event. “I strongly encourage all Queenslanders aged 50 and over to look-out for the …

Australian sheep at an ESCAS approved abattoir in Kuwait.
Australian sheep at an ESCAS approved abattoir in Kuwait.

Aussie sheep get fair go during M/E ‘sacrifice’ celebrations

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News, Livestock

AUSTRALIAN livestock exporters and their in-country partners have been proactive in Middle East and South-East Asia markets during Festival of the Sacrifice celebrations in the past week, offsetting the risk of poor animal welfare and supply chain breaches. Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council CEO, Simon Westaway, said that while Australian exporters had played a significant role in achieving further progress in festival markets this year, they had also identified some instances of Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) non-compliance and had reported a number of breaches to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR). “Where any Australian sheep were detected outside of approved facilities, including in countries like Malaysia, Oman and Kuwait, our exporters have pro-actively reported the breaches to the regulator and outlined the immediate steps taken, where possible, to return animals to approved supply chains,” Mr Westaway said. Under ESCAS, Australian livestock must not be sold outside of approved supply chains and cannot be purchased for home slaughter or for slaughter at facilities that have not been approved as meeting international animal welfare standards. Special control systems were implemented for Australian sheep in markets celebrating the religious holiday, over and above ESCAS requirements. “Streamlined supply chains, carcase-only sales …

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Sugar Industry Code of Conduct — Leyonhjelm invited to meet growers

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News, Sugar

CANEGROWERS urges Senators of all parties to speak-up and reaffirm their support for protections for family farmers and maintain the stability of a $2.5 billion export industry. The Sugar Industry Code of Conduct, launched in April this year, is in danger of being disallowed unless a motion introduced by NSW Senator David Leyonhjelm is withdrawn or voted down. “We know there is wide support for the Code in Parliament,” CANEGROWERS Chairman Paul Schembri said. “It is a vital safety net for our sugarcane farming members and must not be stripped away. “The Labor Party, Liberals, Nationals and Greens have already acknowledged the need for a Code through their roles in a Senate Committee investigation into arrangements for the marketing of Australian sugar. “It was the sole recommendation in 2015 of the Rural and Regional Affairs Committee, chaired by WA ALP Senator Glenn Sterle, that a Code be developed and implemented for the sugar industry. “We need all parties to reinforce their support and defeat Senator Leyonhjelm’s misinformed attempt to confuse the issue and put misguided ideology ahead of what is needed in the real world,” Mr Schembri said. Distance and the perishable nature of cut cane means that growers have …

Kylie Stretton is pictured on her property, ‘Clancella Downs’ Charters Towers.
Kylie Stretton on her property, ‘Clancella Downs’ Charters Towers.

NAB Agribusiness Rising Champion finalists announced for 2017

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News, Livestock

CATTLE COUNCIL of Australia (CCA) has announced the state finalists for the 2017 NAB Agribusiness Rising Beef Industry Champion. Now in its seventh year, the Rising Champion Initiative aims to inspire, empower and support 21- to 35-year-olds who are passionate about the Australian beef industry. The 2017 finalists are: Kylie Stretton, Charters Towers, Queensland Shaun Byrnes, Cunderdin, Western Australia Aaron Brown, Wattle Bank, Victoria Darcy Nicklason, Pyengana, Tasmania Tom Heggaton, Galong, New South Wales James Beale, Katherine, Northern Territory James Pitchford, Keith, South Australia CCA Acting CEO, Margo Andrae (pictured), said that the Rising Champions program is about helping the next generation of beef industry leaders to step up. “It is vitally important that the cattle producers and industry leaders of tomorrow have the opportunity to provide input into the direction of their industry today,” Ms Andrae said. “We are very pleased to be giving young people who are passionate about the Australian beef industry exposure to current industry leaders and the chance to develop leadership skills to take them to the next level.” NAB Agribusiness General Manager Khan Horne said that the bank is proud of its long-term support of the Rising Champions. “NAB Agribusiness throws its support behind this …

Some of the Midge point residents who wanted to do something for the environment, but were threatened with jail instead: from left, Gary Considine, Navio Zeglio, Lou Raiteri, Lance Greenwood and Jim Hinschen.
Some of the Midge point residents who wanted to do something for the environment, but were threatened with jail instead: from left, Gary Considine, Navio Zeglio, Lou Raiteri, Lance Greenwood and Jim Hinschen.

It’s not easy being a green gaia government

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News

AN ENTIRE community was threatened with jail because they dared to take environmental matters into their hands, ultimately provoking the ire of Queensland’s green gaia government that is doing everything it can to retain Deputy Premier Jackie Trad’s seat of West End against a rising Greens vote. The confrontation began when residents along the forefront of Midge Point, just south of Proserpine, decided to follow the examples set by other communities along the north Queensland coast and install a dune protection system to save their beaches from constant erosion from big seas — especially a cyclone. They showed foresight in wanting to fortify their environment by making some improvements to their own beachfront. The idea was to lay Geofab, an acknowledged environmental matting that is sunk into the sand to about two metres, then laid over the dunes and sandbagged. The beach grasses grow through it. But down in the Parliamentary offices in George Street, Brisbane, the public servants who perceive themselves as saviours of the environment — ensconced in their high rise suites some 1000km away, with their soy lattes and smashed avocado — would not have a bar of this freelance work. They ordered an immediate stop to …

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When morse code and amateur radio were the only ‘communications’

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Coming Events

AMATEUR RADIO (also known as Ham Radio) is a popular hobby all over the world, with members often stepping-up to the mark in times of disaster, such at the recent hurricane and floods in the USA, and to conduct emergency communications until regular systems are restored. It is not just a hobby for the boys — in Australia we have our own Australian Ladies Amateur Radio Association (ALARA). Founded in 1975, ALARA now has over 200 members in Australia, with ‘sponsored’ members all over the world, who operate reciprocal memberships within their own countries. Every three years, ALARA holds a get-together somewhere in Australia, and for this first time ever, it will take place in Cairns, FNQ, on the second week-end in September. Almost 50 members and partners are flying in to Cairns from all over Australia, including Perth and Tasmania, along with some members from New Zealand. The event takes place at Cairns Colonial Club, starting with registration on the Friday, followed by a Welcome Dinner. Saturday sees some fun radio-related activities in the conference centre, with display tables showcasing various aspects of the hobby, ranging from morse code to computer logging. Demonstrations and member participation is encouraged. A …

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Extraordinary Gulf Women open windows to their individual worlds

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Coming Events

FIFTY-FIVE individual women living in the Gulf of Carpentaria have combined to write and produce a book unique to the region that tells the story of their lives living in the remote far north-east of Australia. Half the women live and work on the vast cattle stations of remote north-west Queensland as owners, managers or stock and station workers. The other authors live on country, work in businesses, tourism, education, health and aviation, or live and work on fishing boats out in the Gulf. Long-time correspondent for Blue’s Country Magazine and now the eyes and ears for agalert.com.au in the area, Lyn Battle, tells the story of leaving her home in the most northerly point of Ireland to move to paradise on Sweers Island (near Mornington Island) were she and husband Tex run a fishing resort. The Gulf Writers will launch of their book, Gulf Women in Burketown, Queensland, on Saturday, September 30, 2017, from 11am to 1pm, during the Morning Glory Festival. The Morning Glory is the rare meteorological phenomenon cloud — a low-level atmospheric solitary cloud formation — that rolls-in from the Gulf. The stories of 55 women, unique to the Gulf of Carpentaria region, are recorded in …