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 …

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 …

AgForce calls for positive vegetation management over grubby politics

Colin Jackson Current News

WORKABLE vegetation management mapping would be more beneficial to producers rather than reverting to grubby political tactics, AgForce CEO Michael Guerin has claimed following media reports that the owners of Wombinoo Station have been fined for illegally clearing 132 hectares of land outside of the 2,700 hectares they were permitted to clear “This highlights the need for a better approach,” Mr Guerin said. “The owners of Wombinoo Station have worked closely with the Department every step of the way through the permit process, and were surprised to find out that they were being fined for illegal land clearing through the media.” He continued: “It is common knowledge that there are significant issues with many of the Vegetation Management maps used by the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, and this makes it easy for landholders trying to act in good faith to inadvertently clear outside of permitted zones, even with the use of GPS technology. “Combined with about 50 amendments over the life of the Vegetation Management framework, it is a full-time job trying to keep both up-to-date and compliant with the laws. “This highlights the urgent need to find a consistent, fair and practical approach for landholders to …

US lifts beef exports despite stronger dollar

Colin Jackson Current News

THE US has defied expectations and increased beef exports despite a stronger US dollar and higher tariffs in Japan. As a major competitor for Australia’s beef exports into growing Asian markets, US beef processors not only increased their traditional ground beef (hamburger patties for US burger chains), but also their higher quality cuts sales. Japan increased tariffs in US beef from 38.5 to 50 per cent this year, while Australia enjoyed reduced tariffs, but the US still exported 251,653 tonnes of beef to Japan in the first 10 months of 2017, up 13 per cent. China ended a 14 year ban on US beef in June and US suppliers, mainly of high quality cuts, increased sales from six tonnes a week to 338 tonnes a week by October — and still increasing. US suppliers are, like Australia, targeting high-value beef cuts to China, such as rib-on-the-bone and fillets. At the same time beef prices are increasing with slightly increasing consumption in the US market to just over 55 pounds a week per person. And cattle prices are rising with reduced beef numbers, affected by drought in their grassland areas. But lower grain prices are allowing the mainly grain-fed cattle producers …

Just when ag prices slump, your coffee rises

Colin Jackson Current News

TYPICAL OF the business life of a farmer, just as futures for 2018 slump, coffee and whiskey are in short supply. Bad weather in Brazil and Vietnam (the two major coffee producers) has caused estimates of coffee stocks to fall by up to a third — so prices are skyrocketing. But, for most other agricultural commodities, the hedge funds have thrown their money into the biggest bear market since 2006. That means the traders of Chicago, New York,  London, Paris and increasingly Shanghai are betting that ag prices are going to fall further in 2018 from their (wool and to an extent beef and lamb) current low or moderate prices. Partly this is due to weather patterns, suggesting farmers will produce as much if not more grain, cotton and sugar than the growing world population will consume. That’s the fundamentals. But they only count for so much for the money men. The bigger issues is that they bet the Central Bankers have weak backbones and continue to create money, keeping the world (mainly the money markets) awash with cash. Sure, there may be some tightening with some minor interest rises in USA and Europe, but they will largely be imposed …

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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 …

Tax on real meat — pushed by tax dodgers

Colin Jackson Current News

IN THE COMPLICATED negotiations for tax cuts and trade deals in the USA, almost slipped through has been a tax on real meat. This was just the first attempt by a group called Civil Foods to use taxes to try to push an ‘environmentally friendly, carbon reducing’ tax regime. The group is already in the USA and Europe and is heading for Australia. It is backed by wealthy high tech investors — big in the sort of companies in and on every computer and mobile phone that use every means to avoid paying tax when they can move money so easily to low tax states. In part, their involvement in Civil Foods is to try to have food taxed so that governments ease-off on pursing the tax avoiding high tech companies. But the largely billionaire investors are also heavily committed to organic/vegetarian/vegan diet and a number of other social causes. So, in Washington they are arguing against tax breaks for food crops used to make ethanol, wants a tax put on real meat (but not fake meat made from soy that they have heavily invested in), and want the US government to double their R&D investment in organic food. They …

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 …

France, Italy stir Glyphosate approval

Colin Jackson Current News

WHILE THE European Union approved the use of glyphosate on farms for another five years, the search is on for an alternative weedkiller. California is also hosting court challenges to the use of glyphosate, the key component of weedkillers such as Round Up. But France and Italy, despite being part of the EU, say they will only extend the approval of glyphosate, which led to reduced/zero till farming revolution, until an alternative broad spectrum weed and grass killer in found. This will be an interesting test for the newly-merged global chemical companies, but for 40 years glyphosate has withstood alternatives, although there are some grasses which have become increasingly resistant. For Australia, this means food exporters to Europe (and expect importers to China and Japan to jump on any glyphosate ban if it suits them!) will be looking to food from non-glyphosate treated land. It probably won’t get as serious as mulesing in the wool market, but glyphosate is on the Green activist hit list. Already, Councils in Australia are reluctant to use glyphosate to treat over-grown road edges and public land.   Sustained misinformation campaign, says NFF By Mark Harvey-Sutton, the National Farmers’ Federation Manager of Rural Affairs THE …

Grain up, cattle down — Rabobank forecast

Colin Jackson Current News

LA NINA WEATHER and higher oil and freight costs will be the major impact on agricultural prices in the next year, according to global rural banker, Rabobank. In its latest global forecast, Rabo says drier conditions in the southern USA, Brazil, Argentina, China and the Black Sea (Russia and Ukraine’s grain belt) should support some price increases in grains, but mainly corn. Despite grain prices rising, pork (hog) prices should also rise after a lean year as demand, especially from Asia, grows. But cattle prices should ease after a few good years, although the global herd is still rebuilding. The worst commodity price-wise should be palm oil, as lots of new acreage comes on-stream in what should be a wet south-east Asia while demand is soft (largely because it is not taking-off as a biofuel). The dry grain belt and wet Asian tropics is largely a product of La Niña, which Rabobank backs the major weather bureaux (including Australia’s) in saying is increasingly likely. Already corn planting in north and south America have been affected by La Nina dryness. And the Black Sea grain belt is affected not just by dry, but ergot disease and high ruthenium levels from a …

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 …

Wilmar blames new sugar marketing for lower profit

Colin Jackson Current News, Sugar

SINGAPORE-BASED agricultural marketing giant, Wilmar, has blamed the new sugar marketing program, for which it controversially fought growers, for a lower profit in the September quarter. Wilmar’s profit dropped 5.7 per cent, disappointing its second biggest shareholder, the US ag trader Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) which described the result as ‘lower than anticipated’. ADM is looking to reduce its exposure to sugar in Brazil, but has been quietly increasing its share of Wilmar (the biggest shareholders being the Kuok brothers) mainly for its oil seed crushing business, which is big in China. That sector of Wilmar increased profit by 2.3 per cent on revenue, which increased 16.8 per cent to $5.54 billion. That means reduced margins, an issue in all Wilmar divisions which is worrying investors — it is getting bigger through reduced margins. The Australian sugar business had a 13.05 per cent drop in profit to $75.2 million ‘due to timing effects from the new Australian pricing program. That’s the program that Wilmar fought for so hard, taking on growers and employing an army of lobbyists in Canberra and Brisbane. Wilmar also suffered in its biofuels projects in Indonesia based on its extensive palm oil plantations. Chairman and CEO …

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 …

Sugar trade door opens as Peru deal is sealed

Colin Jackson Current News, Sugar

SUGARCANE farmers’ organisation CANEGROWERS is congratulating the Federal Government and Australia’s negotiators on the successful outcome for the sugar industry in the Peru Australia Free Trade Agreement. Chairman Paul Schembri said Peru has agreed to market access for Australian raw sugar under terms it had never granted to any other country. “The inclusion of sugar in the deal with Peru sends a clear message that sensitive commodities, which have been excluded from some past Australian trade agreements, can and should be included,” Mr Schembri said. “Eighty per cent of the raw sugar produced from our cane is exported, so every market door that is opened is welcome as it increases the demand for Australian sugar.” The new access for Australian raw sugar to Peru is 30,000 tonnes per year from the first year of the agreement, increasing to 60,000 tonnes in year six and 90,000 tonnes in year 18. “While the initial amounts of raw sugar that Peru may purchase are small compared to our annual production of more than 4.5 million tonnes, the FTA will enable Australian exporters to establish and grow commercial relationships with refiners in Peru which has one of Latin America’s fastest growing economies,” he said. …

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 …

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 …

Sidelined: sausage or sizzle promises

Colin Jackson Current News

ELECTIONS are full of promises, which weary voters know will not be delivered. They are made either by politicians with their fingers crossed, or with more fine print than a cyclone insurance contract — so basically designed to disappoint as soon as the election winner is declared. As anyone who’s been to a barbecue knows — there’s a sausage and then there’s the nothingness of the sizzle. So, to the Premier’s promise of a Bruce Highway Trust to raise and spend a billion a year on Queensland Main connector from south to north. The fine print includes 80 per cent from the Federal government, so only $200 million from the state. And the spending is spread across 15 years — so far into the future the promise will be forgotten while the current bunch of politicians are enjoying their taxpayer-funded superannuation. Then there’s the usual consultant-fest — $10 million to develop a ‘strategy’ For godsake, what have the Main Roads engineers being doing for decades if not thinking and designing how to improve Goat Track One (sorry, Highway one). We know that south of Gympie they spent lots of time and money because the last of it is about to …

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 …

Senator Macdonald: il est temps de pisser – de (it’s time to go)

Colin Jackson Current News

AFTER 27 years in the Australian Senate — enough for male menopause to set-in — Senator Ian Macdonald is throwing his ‘Made in France’ hat into the ring for the $350,000 per year gig as President of the Senate. After all those years sitting on his backside on red leather in a magnificent building in a city that cost $1 million per square metre to build, he is being ostracised throughout the media as being out of his league for the prestigious position. After all, it made some other blonde sheila think she was God. Only last week in a Senate Estimates hearing — where talking heads pontificate and filibuster about how much they know about bugger all — the good Senator from North Queensland was told to pull his head in. And, oh, the humiliation he’s had to suffer: “The Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Penny Wong, laughed when asked if Labor would support Senator Macdonald’s appointment,” quotes ABC News out of Melbourne. It was 1990 when Senator Mac was elected to the grand hall of bitterness, resentment, acrimony, obfuscation and complete denial of the state of the nation. Since then he has experienced over again modern …

Yanks subsidise farmers bigly 

Colin Jackson Current News

$32.2 billion US dollars — that’s what the USA subsidised its farmers in 2015 and 2016. Just to show what Australia’s farmers are up against exporting, the latest figures show how much US farmers get support from low world prices and weather events. $US14.5 billion was spent on crop price support programs, mainly in cotton, grains and sugar. And that’s in two years when world prices weren’t bad, certainly above current levels for wheat and sugar. Another $US12 billion was spent on crop insurance, whereby US farmers get paid for their crops even when they fail due to weather, disease or are ploughed-in due to low prices. That’s the crop insurance which Australian governments refuse to offer at any price (let alone free, as in the USA and Europe). And that’s before the devastation caused by the two major hurricanes in southern USA and fires in western USA this year. And that’s without counting the billions spent subsidising corn grown for biofuels. And that’s without subsidising crops bought by the US government as food aid for starving Africans and Arabs.

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 …

Queensland beef roads funding welcomed

Colin Jackson Current News

THE SEALING of a section of the Clermont to Alpha Road is a welcome step towards delivering on an important national initiative that will make it safer and easier to transport cattle to markets, AgForce said today. AgForce transport committee chairman, Leo Neill-Ballantine, said Queensland transported the largest volume of cattle in Australia by road over long distances for supply to markets, feedlots, sale yards, abattoirs and ports, so funding for improved transport networks was always warmly welcomed. “Queensland is home to about half of Australia’s cattle herd and employs about 20,000 Queenslanders, so an investment in the industry is an investment in the state’s future,” he said. “The Federal Government’s Beef Roads program will provide a massive boost to the Queensland cattle industry by reducing transport costs and improving safety on key freight routes, such as the Clermont to Alpha Road. “We are particularly pleased that the $8 million announced for this road today comes on top of $125 million announced yesterday to seal and widen parts of the Outback Way, which runs from Western Australia through the Northern Territory and into Queensland.” Mr Neill-Ballantine said the need for better regional road and rail infrastructure was a key priority …

‘Yes Minister’ health waste

Colin Jackson Current News

REMEMBER the ‘Yes Minister’ television episode about the fully-staffed hospital working so efficiently — for the bureaucrats — because it had no patients? Queensland has its own twist to this. Four years ago the Newman government, working to a COAG agreement between Federal and State Governments (signed-off for Queensland by Premier Anna Bligh), set-up Regional Hospital and Health Service (HHS) Trusts to run local hospitals and health services and began cutting back the enormous and hugely inept Department of Health (remember the health payroll debacle?) But, the new ALP government promised not to sack any more public servants. So after the Health Department had its staff cut by 1,700 by Newman, many of whom had moved to the regional HHS, no more were sacked. As a result we have a Health Department which, once you take-out the Ambulance Service and the so far not delivered e-health, doesn’t actually run any hospitals or front line services. And they aren’t allowed to touch the new hospital computer services (the state can’t afford to write-off another $1.3 billion on a failed health IT project). But they still have more lawyers than all the regional HHS combined. And, although they don’t build hospitals any …

The ‘too clever by half’ election

Colin Jackson Current News

WITH AN HOUR of the Premier going to the Governor (acting) to have writs called for the State election, an ad popped-up on my Facebook from the local ALP candidate. For all that planning, the Premier then was interrupted by an Adani protester at her stage-managed launch. That’s just the start of the ‘too clever by half’ election. Armed with piles of mass and group survey results, the major parties will try to walk through the minefield of Queensland issues, jumping on ‘gotcha’ mistakes by the others, papering-over the many cracks in their own policies. Fortunately, this is a relatively short campaign, unlike Turnbull’s stupid eight week federal campaign last year. But it will mess with your head. Neither party can get around the fact that Queensland is two states — the urbanistas of greater Brisbane, including the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, and regional and rural Queensland, what some may call the ‘real Queensland’. Last week, a pollster showed me some research on Queensland election issues — people were asked for their top five election issues, and then asked further about their top three. He said you could draw a very clear line from Noosa to Ipswich to Mt Tambourine. …

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 …

Election Drums

Colin Jackson Current News

THE WORD around the traps this morning was that the Queensland Election will be held on Saturday, November 25. Then came the news that Kate Jones’ election campaign launch — with Tanya Plibiseck and Queensland ALP president, John Battams — will be held on November 3 at Ashgrove. All it needs now is for Premier Palaszczuk to make the short trip the Government House and the phony election campaign will be over — and the political parties will have to start spending their own money on campaigning rather than taxpayer funds.  

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 …

Glyphosate ban decision this week

Colin Jackson Current News

A DECISION on whether to ban the much-used weed killer Glyphosate is due to be made this week — with revelations that search reports were tampered with. The European Union will make the decision. While only affecting European farmers at present, it could also lead to bans on produce and meat imported to Europe from farms that use glyphosate. France, in part it seems as a payback against US chemical companies, is strongly pushing the ban, with Italy supporting. Many other European countries, led by the Dutch who have the most intensive agriculture in Europe, believe the weed killer is necessary for high yield cropping and silage production for intensive dairy and pork production. In California last week, a judge dismissed calls to ban glyphosate, saying the evidence was weak. Proponents of the ban say that glyphosate causes cancer in humans. Reuters reports that the Report by the International Agency for Research on Cancer on glyphosate was edited with significant changes from the draft to final study. “One effect of the changes was the removal of multiple scientists’ conclusions that studies found no link between glyphosate and cancer in laboratory animals.”

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 …

Pork chops in China

Colin Jackson Current News

THE WORLD’S most populous nation, China (until India surpasses it this year or next), has half the world’s pig population — and a problem. China’s pig population is now, officially, 420 million. But that’s down 55 million in the last three years. That’s because the Chinese are eating more pork (and a little bit more beef and chicken) as the middle class and their diet has a higher protein content. The huge pig population makes China the biggest importer of soy, sorghum and corn for animal feed — at least five times Australia’s total grain production. Part of the reason for the reduced pig herd was, at the same time Chinese ate more protein, the government was encouraging larger scale pig farms and cracking-down on environmental waste issues from intensive farming. That led to a big increase to 2.18 million tonnes of imported pork. But, as part of the key government strategy of keeping most value-add in agriculture (and manufacturing) in China, it expects the import of processed pork to fall to 1.6 million tonnes a year from 2018. That means more feed grain imports, but that’s far less costly than importing processed meat. This highlights the Chinese strategy of …

Trump’s sodsaver to stop tree clearing

Colin Jackson Current News

GREENS and inner city Labor might have to take a lesson from President Trump if they want to succeed in their recycled campaign to stop tree clearing (in non-urban areas). Labor is letterboxing city electorates promising to reduce rural tree clearing to help ‘save the reef’. And the Greens today deluged media outlets with calls to clamp-down on tree clearing in rural areas. Both campaigning stunts were in the week that tree clearing ‘statistics’ were released showing more than 400,000 hectares cleared in Queensland. While this was being released, on the other side of the Pacific, US Senators were considering what is being called the ‘sodsaver’ legislation. President Trump has proposed that if farmers are prevented from clearing their land, they should be paid for the lost productivity. Most of the proposal is aimed at stopping grazing land from being cleared and ploughed-up for horticulture — sodbusting as the Yanks call it. The initial consideration is $US50 million over five years to be paid to farmers who save their sods. European farmers are paid up to Euro6000 a hectare to preserve agricultural land from being further developed by clearing and ploughing.

Chinese jack up steel, wire prices

Colin Jackson Current News

THE PRICES of most types of fencing wire, netting and steel posts are rising between five to eight per cent over the next two months, largely due to Chinese cost increases. And Australia’s steel producers are just following the Chinese prices up. Despite a huge over-supply of steel in China, now manufacturers of half the world’s steel, the quality material needed for wire and fence posts, is in short supply. This is also caused by a shortage of zinc, used to coat most posts and netting and used in some wires. Chinese suppliers claim that increased environmental controls in China have increased the cost of steel, but most particularly any smelted product, such as zinc and copper. There’s also the issue that the Chinese government is pushing their largely government-owned producers to become profitable, as well as environmentally compliant. With up to a third of the posts and half the wire sold in Australia sourced out of China, the impact is being felt here. And Australian producers who have suffered cheap Chinese competition for the last five years are following the price rises to rebuild their bottom lines. And further price rises are expected in 2018 as China forces its …

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 …

Gluten-free wheat close

Colin Jackson Current News

THE INSTITUTE of Sustainable Agriculture in Spain says it is on track to develop a gluten-free strain of wheat. Using the gene editing technology Crispr, the Córdoba-based Institute has managed to eliminate most of the 41 genes in wheat that produce gluten. The market demand for gluten free products has more than doubled to more than $25 billion a year since 2011, giving a huge surge to products based on rice, almonds and other products without gluten. Wheat has lost market share among grains and in the baking market because it is regarded as loaded with gluten — a good thing for most people who are not gluten intolerant as it gives baked items more ‘bounce’ and taste. But, as the TV doctor and yummy mummy influencers came down heavily against gluten, as they did against peanuts, grain growers asked researchers to find a gluten-free wheat. That now looks possible. The test will be how the wheat with gluten-free grains actually grows.  

France votes ‘non’ on glyphosate

Colin Jackson Current News, Enviro-Safe

FRANCE has signalled it will vote against Glyphosate being used in Europe. The world’s most-used weedicide has been under investigation by the European Union for fears it may be carcinogenic (cancer causing). While US studies have concluded European fears are unfounded, Europe remains unconvinced, perhaps in part because of their fear of the chemical being owned by an American corporate. The French President’s office says it will not vote to extend glyphosate’s use in Europe for another ten years. If France succeeded in getting other European countries to join their ban, European farmers would have 12 to 18 months supply left. One impact may be a global glut and then price fall for the weedicide in the rest of the world.

Australian rural R&D on the rise

Colin Jackson Current News

THE VALUE of Australian rural Research and Development (R&D) is on the rise, according to a new report released today by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES). Acting Assistant Secretary of ABARES’ Agricultural Productivity and Farm Analysis branch, David Galeano, said the Rural research, development and extension investment in Australia report showed the value of Australia’s rural RD&E jumped from $2.6 billion in 2005–06 to $3.3 billion in 2014–15, in real terms. “Private sector funding of rural R&D and extension grew rapidly from just over $1 billion in 2005–06 to $1.6 billion in 2014–15. This increase is likely due to greater competition, new investment opportunities and Australia’s strong protection of intellectual property rights,” Mr Galeano said. “Over the 10 years examined, public sector funding for rural R&D grew slowly in comparison—from $1.5 billion in 2005–06 to $1.7 billion in 2014–15. “The Australian Government was the largest single contributor—with funding rising from over $880 million in 2005–06 to $1.1 billion in 2014–15—and university contributions increased from $264 million in 2005–06 to just short of $380 million in 2014–15. “The growth in funding from the Australian Government and universities came at a time of declining funding from the state …

Longreach Railway Light Horse

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.  

Family keeps JBS while bribery bubbles in Brazil

Colin Jackson Current News, Livestock

JOSE BATISTA Sobrinho, the 84-year-old founder of the global meat giant JBS, is back as CEO. With his two sons in jail facing charges of bribing a series of senior public servants, government bankers and even the current Brazilian president, Michael Temer, JBS is back in control of the company, the biggest meat processor in Brazil, USA and Australia. While the Australian arm of JBS, which has major beef processing plants In Townsville, Rockhampton and Ipswich, says it is not impacted by the Brazilian bribery allegations — that underplays the backstory. JBS, the founder and company, grew from a regional Brazilian meat processor to a global player because of the substantial backing of government-owned or controlled banks. Under a Brazilian government strategy from the 1970s to back select companies to become major players in agricultural processing and industry, the government ensured extraordinarily high levels of lending with advantageous interest rates to allow the companies such as JBS to make huge take-overs to become global champions. This is the model used by Japan and Korea to develop their car and electronics global companies, and now China in a range of industry sectors . The allegation about JBS is that they bribed …

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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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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 …

Price crunch hits most farmers

Colin Jackson Current News, Reader's Views

WHILE SOME worry about the world feeding itself, the real issue is low prices caused by oversupply of so many crops. Cattle and coffee are doing well, due to supply shortages, but generally food prices are down, on a long down-trend. The Australian Bureau of Statistics household survey out this week showed families under stress from high mortgage, credit card, energy and utility prices. All the government supplied or prices services such as electricity, gas and water are up double, treble and quadruple wages and inflation over the last decade. But families have no problems feeding themselves if they stick to the basics — home cooked rather than $20 smashed avocado and coffee breakfasts. Most families spend more on mobile phone and internet and cable TV than they do on food basics! So when a farmer showed me that he was getting less for tomatoes than the box cost, or pineapples were selling for less than picking costs, then you wonder about so called ‘food shortages’. And despite hurricanes, droughts and floods across the world, markets are deluged in grain to the extent ships and warehouses are bulging despite low prices. Interestingly, it is high-tech western farmers who can produce …

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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 …

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 …

Sugarcane growers have more time to apply for Cyclone Debbie aid

Colin Jackson Current News, Sugar

CANEGROWERS welcomes the news that the closing date for applications for Cyclone Debbie recovery assistance has been extended. Farmers impacted by Cyclone Debbie in March 2017 now have until January 12, 2018, to apply for clean-up and recovery grants under the Category C of the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements. “We acknowledge and thank the Queensland and Federal Governments for listening to our concerns and, along with the Queensland Reconstruction Authority, for recognising the need for an extension,” CANEGROWERS CEO Dan Galligan said. “It had become very clear that October 13 was too soon for everyone to assess and repair the damage to their farms and then apply for the assistance they desperately need. “We had feared that growers with legitimate claims would miss out, especially as harvesting operations are uncovering more paddock damage and the long waiting times being experienced for equipment and materials. “It will be a relief to many of our members to know that they now have more time to get their farms back to their pre-cyclone state,” he said. CANEGROWERS members are urged to work with their local industry representatives and apply for the Category C assistance through QRIDA. Deadline may cut growers out …

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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 …