Macadamias go from boutique to boom

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DATA COLLECTION: Macadamia growers have been told to take a professional approach to their businesses for the future of the industry.
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PROFESSIONAL growers will help propel the Australian macadamia industry forward.

That was one of the key messages to come out of the Australian Macadamia Society (AMS)’s March MacGroup and Food Heroes forum in Bundaberg last week.

Held at the Queensland Department of Agriculture’s (QDAF) Ashfield Road research station, the afternoon and evening event was jointly hosted by the AMS, and the Queensland Country Life in conjunction with Good Fruit & Vegetables magazine.

More than 100 industry representatives, including growers, gathered to hear the latest marketing, levy, expansion, crop and financial updates.

The figures listed for the macadamia industry would make many other agriculture sectors envious.

Over the past six years the Australian macadamia industry has enjoyed an 8 per cent annual growth while the average gross income is more than $17,000 per hectare.

Within that, the Bundaberg region has been achieving a 12pc annual growth for the same period, catapulting it to being the largest macadamia-producing region in the country.

According to the AMS, production is in the final stages of going from a boutique to a professional industry.

In his address to the gathering, AMS chief executive officer, Jolyon Burnett, announced the 2017 crop forecast at 54,000 tonnes nut-in-shell (NIS).

Australian Macadamia Society CEO, Jolyon Burnett, says solid growth and reinvestment has put the industry in good standing for the future. Picture: Lucy Kinbacher

“I’ve been looking around and I reckon it’s in the trees, whether it ends up in the silos or not is another matter,” Mr Burnett said.

“That depends on the weather from here on in and how good you guys are at your harvest.”

“But that’s a great result. That is the third year of steady, four to five per cent, year on year growth, and that’s coming at a time just when the industry needs it.”

He said the industry’s expansion was to be celebrated but it was pertinent to keep in mind the increased output from other countries such as China, Kenya and particularly South Africa.

“South Africa has been down for the last couple of years due to drought. They were probably 10,000 tonnes down in 2016. We’re not sure yet how much they’ll be down in 2017 but they will still be off the pace a little bit I believe,” Mr Burnett said.

“Any of you that have played cricket or rugby against the South Africans, you know that they will bounce back.

“They have been planting strongly in South Africa so there is a chance we could see a 60,000t crop come out of South Africa in 2018.”

The global demand for macadamias is such that Mr Burnett said increased global production was not something to be feared.

“We have been held back as a global industry over the last five, six or seven years, by lack of supply,” he said.

“If you look at the new products in terms of ice-creams, bakery products, cereal products, that have occurred with other nuts where supply is strongly growing, in macadamias, we’ve missed out on that.

“The marketplace is looking for confidence and supplies there. We’ve got to be confident we can back ourselves to direct our supply to the highest value markets.”

AMS productivity development officer, Robbie Commens, shared similar thoughts.

“The South African crop is a good thing for you and your macadamia business this year; it’s a challenge for you and your business going forward for the next five to 10 years,” Mr Commens said.

“We want that crop to be able to develop new products. We want more muesli bars, we want more ice-cream, we want less of a reliance on the kernel snack market.”

Mr Commens said the industry is experiencing an incredibly rare circumstance in agriculture where an increase in price has accompanied an increase in production.

GOING PRO: Australian Macadamia Society productivity development officer, Robbie Commens, says the sector is moving from a recreational to a professional industry. Picture: Lucy Kinbacher

“Let’s pause for a moment, realise the opportunity the industry has and take that long-term, professional focus going forward,” he said.

“We want professional growers and professional macadamia businesses.

Mr Commens said it wasn’t particularly about the size of orchards but encouraged tree owners to ask themselves if they were a professional grower or a recreational grower.

“The thing professional growers have in common, is a mindset,” he said.

“They’ve got that long-term business focus; they review data; look at what the possible scenario is going to be; develop a strategy and put it into action.”

Other topics covered during the afternoon included farm management deposits (FMDs), financial markets outlook and marketing strategies.

The information session was followed by afternoon tea then a field walk to look at the small tree – high productivity initiative, with a dinner held in town that evening.

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Just wild about dog control

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MAN ON THE LAND: Bathurst Merino Association ewe competition winner Murray Wykes of “Mount Top”, Euchareena takes part in a “forum in the sheepyards” on judging day.LAST Sunday’s meeting of Turon Wild Dog Control Group was very well attended and producers across their region are united in the attempts to control wild dogs that continue to kill livestock.
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Once again, Local Land Services ranger Paul Medway gave up his Sunday to help the group.

A few key points that were made at the meeting were:

A deputation from the group will request a meeting with senior management of Central Tablelands LLS in the very near future.A training day for users of 1080 baits and/or ejector baiting tools will be held on Friday, April 21.This year’s group baiting day will be held in early May.The Chemcert accreditation does not enable use of the canine ejector tool.The Turon meeting heard many reports of sightings and photos of marauding wild dogs on River Hills properties.

All landholders in the area are urged to join the control group.Don’t forget that wild dogs also kill lots of young birds and defenceless baby wallabies.

Please ring Jodie or Mal Healey is you wish to join the community group.

SIGN OF THE TIMES: The Turon Wild Dog control group is erecting these signs on roadside lands across their region.

Roo-locationA LANDHOLDERfrom just west of Bathurst city tells me that in his area there are more kangaroos than rabbits destroying crops and pastures.

He suggests that some kind soul might like to relocate the hundreds of ’roos from his place.

Aerial sprayUPPERMacquarie County Council will be carrying out an aerial weed spraying program during March in the area covering Bathurst Regional Council, Blayney, Lithgow and Oberonareas.

The main target weeds are blackberry and serrated tussock and landholders who wish to register for the spraying program should do soASAP with the County Council on 6338 2875.

The spread of blackberry bushes is obvious across our district as many landholders are inclined to only operate drive-through management and many don’t seem to own either weed spray equipment or a mattock.

Vale, WendyTHE recent death of Wendy Stocks took away one of Bathurst’s most valued community volunteers as she has worked tirelessly in that area for decades.

The Stocks family followed dairying pursuits and Wendy and husband Wally were always ready to assist friends and family when the going was tough.

She was a member of the Daymond family at The Lagoon and travelled by bus to Bathurst High School in the early 1950s along with many of us who have remained friends for at least 60 years.

Drying timesEACH day our lovely Central Tablelands looks sadder and drier and it’s really obvious that a big percentage of surface water supplies on farm hasevaporated.

A lot of hay and grain feeding is now taking place and some difficult decisions on stock selling or agistment are being made.

There is still a lot of the autumn growing season ahead of us but prospects for general rain are not promising in the medium term.

Staffers at Central TablelandsLocal Land Services have arranged a “dry weather planning” workshop at Bathurst LLS on Friday,March 24 from 9.30am to 3pmand some useful advice and opinions should be given.

Bookings [email protected]论坛.

Poll positionsONGOING discussions that involve persons who may intend to seek election at Bathurst Regional Council are reaching an interesting stage.

Several ladies’ names have beenmentioned as well as a few gentlemen who aren’t usually in the spotlight.

My suggestions are limited but I would like to see the Windradyne Whisperer raise his hand for election as he seems to know much more of the workings of councilthan any councillor.

Lachlan certainly doesn’t need any encouragement but he has done a lot of bowling at council and 2017 could be a great time to go in to bat.

Diary datesFriday, March 24: Stanford poll hereford sale, 50 young bulls and30 commercial heifers.The sale book has a practical explanation of cattle EBVs. Please collect yours at rural outlets.Friday, March 24:Local Land Services dry weather management strategies,Bathurst LLS 9.30am-3pm. Bookings by March 20 toBrett Littler on 6378 1708.Wool reportTHE wool market continued to rise this week with the fine merinos up 50c/kg.

The medium merinos were up around 25c/kg and the 21 to 22 microns were firm to a little cheaper.

Crossbred wools also saw rises of around 25c/kg asthe northern market indicator finished the week on 1605c/kg, up 23c/kg.

Merino cardings continue to break all records,finishing the week on 1231c/kg while fine merino locks this week made over 1000c/kg greasy, levelswe have never seen before.

Sales next week will see 10,279 bales on offer in Sydney, 22,661 bales on offer in Melbourne and 10,731 bales on offer in Fremantle.

MarkHorsburgh, TWG Landmark

Laugh linesA WELL-dressed lady on the tourist coach looked down her nose at farmer George and said: “I am surprised that your bull doesn’t have horns.” George told her: “Some bulls don’t have horns lady, and most cows don’t have horns at all.” The lady sniffed: “That is quite interesting, MrFarmer.” Then George added: “Of course, lady, you’re not lookin’ at a bull at all. That’s me horse.”

***

THEcop stopped our farmer friend on the highway and presented the breathalyser. Farmer asked what it was and was told: “It’s a bag that tells you when you’ve had too much to drink.” Our farmer said: “Gawd, eh,I used to be married to one of them.”

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‘A bad joke’: Warning sounded on endangered species in NSW

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Photographs shows the clear felling of the Leard Forest and construction of Whitehavens’ ?? Maules Creek coal mine near Boggabri. Greenpeace activists opposed to the mines’ construction have an established tree sit in place to stop the felling of the endangered forest and?? are surrounded by?? mine security and police rescue units.Photographs by Dean Sewell. S.M.H. News.Taken Sunday 1st June 2014.?? das140601.001.001.send.jpg Photo: Dean SewellDespite almost 60 per cent of NSW’s mammal species and a third of the birds on the endangered list, the Berejiklian government is persisting with conservation schemes that amount to a “bad joke”, critics say.
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A report, titled Paradise Lost has found biodiversity offset schemes between 2005 and 2016have failed to deliver outcomes promised by developers of mines and other major projects.

Of eight case studies where the destruction of habitat was permitted in exchange for protection elsewhere, the results of two studies were found to be “adequate”, and five others “poor”, according to the Nature Conservation Council, which compiled the report. For the Boggabri/Maules Creek area, which has two huge open-cut coal mines, the outcome was found to be “disastrous”.

In the latter case, miners will clear about 4000 hectares – more than half of the Leard State Forest, which is home to 36 threatened species including the diamond firetail and the masked owl – the report said. More than a quarter of this area is made up of critically endangered box-gum woodland.

Not only are the offsets of uncertain permanence, they are outside the Brigalow Belt South bioregion and are not of equivalent vegetation condition, the report said. And while the proponents have done surveys in the offset areas, they have not made that information available.

“It’s a crude mechanism for letting developers kill threatened species while claiming they are good environmental stewards,” council chief executive Kate Smolski said. “It’s a bad joke.”

The failings include the absence of “no-go zones” for areas with high conservation values, the dilution of “like-for-like” protections, and allowing miners to generate “credits” for rehabilitation. The Environment Minister also has discretionary power to “discount” obligations.

The survey noted the government had engaged Martine Maron, a University of Queensland offsets specialist, to review its program but her “scathing” assessment could only be obtained under freedom of information laws. (See summary of her review here.)

“The reliance on protecting habitat that is already there in exchange for habitat loss is worrying and, of course, the net outcome in that case is just less habitat,” Professor Maron told Fairfax Media. “It risks normalising ongoing biodiversity decline.”

In a 2015 paper, Professor Maron found offset baselines being used across Australia assumed an annual loss of vegetation of 4.2 per cent, or more than five times the recent loss rate.

NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said the government was still consulting on its draft Biodiversity Assessment Method, adding that the scheme would set a standard of no net loss of biodiversity.

“It has been peer-reviewed and it draws on the latest science,” Ms Upton said. “It requires proposals to be designed to first avoid and minimise impacts on biodiversity.”

But Mehreen Faruqi Greens environment spokeswoman Mehreen Faruqi said offsets had become “one of the biggest scams in NSW”.

“Even if we accept the flawed concept that serious ecological damage can be offset, the NSW government has massively lowered the bar for mining companies and big developers,” Dr Faruqi said. “It’s now an attitude of: ‘No offset? No worries, just pay it into a fund’.”

Labor’s environment spokeswoman Penny Sharpe said the “watered down” policy was “disregarding environmental standards and destroying biodiversity”.

For its part, Maules Creek mine developer Whitehaven rejected the report’s assessment.

“We stand by our offsets package and, more importantly, so do the independent state and federal government authorities that approved it,” a spokesman for the miner said.

Stephen Galilee, chief executive of the NSW Minerals Council, said offsets had “increasingly strengthened in recent years, particularly with the introduction of the Biodiversity Conservation Act in 2016”.

“Increasingly complicated offsets schemes have significantly narrowed the impacts that can be offset and increased the costs of offsetting,” he said. ‘Horse-trading’

David Paull, a former Office of Environment and Heritage project manager, said the setting of offsets was “a horse-trading affair” in which the proponent emerges “with as few concessions as possible”.

For instance, in the plan to expand Peabody Energy’s Wilpinjong mine, which was examined by Mr Paull, the developer wants several “get out of jail” cards for destroying 354 hectares of native woodland.

More than half of the land is home to the endangered regent honeyeater bird.

The cards include paying $660,000 to Taronga Zoo for a targeted release of captive honeyeaters into the wild, and the use of “credits” earned for mine rehabilitation with no indication the work was additional, he said.

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Jail guard returned to work to assault again, commission told

A prison guard was re-employed after assaulting a young Aboriginal detainee only to attack another youth, the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory was told on Tuesday.
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The second assault, on Dylan Voller, the detainee who appeared in the notorious Four Corners footage in a spit hood and manacled to a chair, was considered serious enough by authorities that police were called to investigate.

The former acting general manager of Don Dale Youth Detention Centre, John Fattore, said the two attacks took place several months apart.

However, he absolved himself of blame for the re-employment of the guard, saying he trusted senior staff with their assessment of the officer.

Counsel for Voller, Peter O’Brien, attacked Mr Fattore for not personally interviewing Voller even after he had seen video of footage of him being assaulted by the guard.

Mr O’Brien accused Mr Fattore of “fundamental failure” in his role as the senior officer in not acting quickly to protect detainees.

The commission also heard allegations that another jail worker at the Territory’s other youth jail, the Alice Springs Youth Detention Centre, had been the subject of claims he was “flirtatious” with detainees and made numerous remarks of a sexual nature to male and female detainees.

Among the comments contained in an email chain referred to commissioners, the staff member was alleged to have told detainees, “you just want to touch my dick, your gay” and when cautioned, he told supervisors “I am not the only (guard) talking like this to detainees”.

But the Professional Standards Unit (PSU) only became involved in addressing his behaviour after he was alleged to have sexually harassed a female member of staff.

“There was all of this information that was circulating, but the incident that actually sparked your investigation concerned the sexual harassment of this man of another staff member, is that correct?” counsel assisting the commission Peter Callaghan asked.

“That is correct,” Mr Fattore said.

Earlier, Trevor Hansen, a former shift supervisor at Don Dale, told the commission that detainees routinely threatened they would attack his children.

“A lot of the time we got spat at. We got things thrown at us,” Mr Hansen said.

“A lot of the times they would want to punch you. That was basically daily life.

“A lot of the times the detainees would say I am going to blah blah your daughters and all this sort of stuff, and you had it thrown at you just about every day.”

Derek Tasker, a former officer in charge at the Territory’s second youth jail, the Alice Springs Youth Detention Centre, said there had been about 20 escapes.

Late on Tuesday, Commissioner Margaret White issued a warning concerning reports that young people, both in jail and out, were being intimated not to give evidence to the royal commission.

She said if true, such actions were against the law.

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Funnel-web risk on Mid North Coast

Keep an eye out: Funnel-web spiders are frequent in Port Macquarie, especially around koala corridors. Photo: Getty Images
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Bellingen Shire residents are urged to take caution around their homes, and at parks and grass areas around the Mid North Coast.

It is likely that you will notice holes in the grass or in trees and logs, which oftenhousesthe deadly funnel-web spider.

Funnel-webs make their burrows in moist, cool, sheltered habitats, like under rocks, in and under rotting logs, some in rough-barked trees.They can be found in higher numbers around koala corridors.

They are commonly found in suburban rockeries and shrubberies, in lawns or other open terrain. A funnel-web’s burrow characteristically has irregular silk trip-lines radiating from the entrance to trap prey.

Unlike some relatedtrapdoor spiders, funnel-webs do not build lids to their burrows, which is another telltale sign when identifying a spiderhole. Redback spidersare also common at this time of the year.

Spider bites are best considered in three medically relevant groups: big black spiders, redback spiders and all other spiders.

Big black spiders are funnel-web spiders and any large black-looking spiders that may be a funnel-web spider. Patients bitten by big black spiders must be managed as a medical emergency.

Redback spiders are fairly easy to identify and their bites do not cause rapidly developing or life-threatening effects but many cause significant pain and systemic effects.

All other spiders in Australia are more or less harmless.

There are 40 different types of funnel web spiders located up and down the east coast of Australia.

Like many funnel web spider species, both sexes of the ‘Port Macquarie funnel web’ have a shiny black carapace, dark brown to black legs and abdomen.

ThePort Macquarie funnel web should be treated with care as its venom is slightly more toxic than the Sydney funnel web.

If bitten, wrap with a compression bandage and immediately dial triple-0.

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Mid North Coasters on song at NSW Life Saving titles

Tahlia Kollen (photo: Stephen Chu)IN ANevent that boasted arguably one of the strongest start lists of the NSW Surf Life Saving Championships held at Blacksmiths Beach at the weekend, Urunga’s Tahlia Kollen finished fourth in the U19 Ironwoman.
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Max Shaw from Bellinger-Valley North Beach also became a finalist when he raced to 5th position in the U15 Beach Sprint.AndFinn Askew from South West Rocks was the lone medallist from Tacking Point when he won silver in the U15 male 2kmBeach Run.

Cudgen Headland was the best performed club from the area finishing an impressive 15th place overall but showed signs that the coveted top 10 is not beyond their reach.

Hayley Smith (Cudgen Headland) earned two gold medals during the competition winning individual gold in the U15 Board Race and then joining her teammates Paige Leishman and Sophie Watson to take out the U15 Board Relay.

The competitors from Kingscliff also picked up a number of silver medals throughout the 3-day competition with Scott McCartney (Open Board), Nadi Canning (Open Ski), Luke Chaffer (U19 Board), Rory Matthews (U17 Board), and Kai Onley (U17 Surf Race) all earning a place on the podium.

Byron Bay’s Brad Hunt secured bronze in the U17 Male Beach Sprint Race while the Cabarita duo of Claudia Crawford (U17) and Cahrizma Macdonald (U15) were both finalists in their respective Beach Sprints.

Sawtell and Coffs Harbour led the way for clubs from the North Coast Branch with Lachlan O’Reilly (Coffs Harbour) surging to an impressive silver medal in the U19 Surf Race. He then teamed up with his brother Sean and Jack Pavey to help their U19 Taplin Relay side qualify for the final where they finished in 5th spot in what was a tough field.

The U15 Female Board Relay team from Sawtell which consisted of Aoife Carey, Alyssa Golding and Kate Murray also picked up a medal behind Cudgen Headland in a race that highlighted the strength of country athletes in that age group.

NSW Surf Sports Manager Rob Pidgeon felt that despite a challenging start due to the conditions, the State Championships put an exclamation point on what has been another successful summer for the sport.

“I would like to congratulate everyone for what was an extremely successful Open Championships and can safely say that we were all treated to a wonderful few days of racing that while extremely competitive was always conducted in the right spirit.

“There’s a lot to like about the performance of our athletes and I think that next month’s Australian Championships is shaping up to be a big one for NSW competitors.” Mr Pidgeon said.

2017 Open Championship Club Point Score:

Newport SLSC 425

Manly LSC 343

Wanda SLSC 202

North Cronulla SLSC 174

Cronulla SLSC 144

Umina SLSC 128

Redhead SLSC 115

Avoca Beach SLSC 112

Freshwater SLSC 93

Elouera SLSC 89

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Be prepared for a drenchinglive radar

Photo: Ivan Sajko, Port News.With the Bureau of Meteorology predicting heavy rain for northern parts of the Mid North Coast, the NSW State Emergency Service (NSW SES) is encouraging residents to prepare for heavy downpours and possible flash flooding.
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The wet weather is being generated by a low pressure system and associated trough which hasdeveloped over the northern inland of New South Wales. Very unstable conditions to the east of thelow mean that widespread thunderstorms with heavy localised falls are expected develop over thecourse of Wednesday and continue through until Friday.

The NSW SES advises residents to take the following actions to reduce the threats to property and personal safety during this weather event:

Never enter flood water – this is the leading cause of death and injury during floodsPark cars under cover away from trees, power lines and drainsListen to your local radio station and other media for information, updates and advice.Maintain yards, balconies and outdoor areas by securing or putting away items that could bepicked up and blown around in strong winds.Locate and check your home emergency kitShould thunderstorms develop – unplug and avoid using electrical equipment connected tomain power, landline phones or modems.Stay clear of swollen creeks, drains, causeways, gutters, streams, fallen trees or power linesIf you need to drive please drive to the weather and road conditionsNSW SES Mid North Coast Region ControllerTony Daysaid there is the possibility thatnorthern parts of the Mid North Coast will see cumulative rainfall totals of over 200mm by the endof this week.

“At this stage we are not expecting any significant riverine flooding however we areencouraging residents that live close to rivers and creeks to closely monitor weather warnings, toprepare now and to be ready to act early should conditions deteriorate,” he said.

“We have placed a number of volunteer NSW SES crews on standby should theresidents require emergency storm and flood assistance. In the past we have received greatcooperation from the community in terms of people not driving through flood waters.

“We are againlooking for this community assistance and for drivers to choose an alternative route should theyencounter flooded roads or causeways and thereby avoid situations that pose a risk to their safety and the safety of volunteer SES flood rescue technicians, if it’s flooded forget it.”

For information on how residents can prepare for this weather event please visit the NSW SESwebsite at 梧桐夜网ses.nsw.gov419论坛.

For emergency assistance in storms and floods call the NSW SES on 132 500 or in life-threateningsituations call 000.

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Simon Gittany’s ex-girlfriend Rachelle Louise turns up at Gordon Wood case

Gordon Wood was on his way to the dentist in 2013 when he inadvertently walked past a media pack outside the trial of balcony murderer Simon Gittany???.
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On Tuesday, Gittany’s former girlfriend Rachelle Louise turned up to Wood’s malicious prosecution case against NSW, and sat in the back row of the public gallery, among court watchers and students.

Ms Louise walked into the courtroom on the ninth floor of the NSW Supreme Court late in the afternoon, ahead of anticipated evidence from Senior Crown Prosecutor Mark Tedeschi, QC, who prosecuted both men.

Mr Tedeschi prosecuted Mr Wood in 2008 for the murder of his girlfriend Caroline Byrne by throwing her off a cliff at The Gap in June 1995.

Mr Wood was originally found guilty, but was acquitted by the Court of Criminal Appeal in 2012.

He is now suing the state for millions of dollars, claiming there were serious errors in the police investigation and prosecution.

Mr Tedeschi was also the prosecutor at the murder trial of Gittany, found guilty of throwing his girlfriend Lisa Harnum?????? off the 15th storey balcony of an city apartment building during a jealous rage in July 2011.

Gittany lost his appeal against his conviction last year, and is serving a minimum sentence of 18 years.

Ms Louise was also spotted at the Lin family murder case. Mr Tedeschi was the prosecutor in the first three of Robert Xie’s four trials.

About 45 minutes after court was adjourned in Mr Wood’s case, Ms Louise left the law courts building and covered her face with a black umbrella.

During her defamation suit against Nationwide News in 2015, Ms Louise said she and Gittany remained close but were no longer romantically involved.

“I think it’s very difficult to sustain a relationship with someone who is in jail,” she said at the time.

Mr Tedeschi is due to begin his evidence in Mr Wood’s case on Wednesday.

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Preparing to produceIn the Green Room

Smashed avo toast anyone?: Hass avocados are available at most garden centres, and with the weather cooling down, it’s the perfect time to plant. Photo: iStock.
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I’m calling it now: the season has officially turned!

With weather cooling down and the occasional rains brushing through (but don’t get too excited –hand watering and reticulation will still be needed yet), it’s prime time to get out in the garden and get ready for the cooler weather.

Firstly, this is a perfect time to plant citrus, avocado and olive trees.

Though they’re suited to Mediterranean weather like ours, it’s important to get the soil and location right before they establish.

Mix equal parts compost, bentonite clay and soil in a hole about half a metre cubed in size, before planting your tree.

When they’re still young, fruiting trees need shelter from wind. This is especially crucial for avocados –in fact, I’ve seen agricultural growers protect their avocados with barriers of living corn crops, to shieldthem from the wind until they root and get strong enough to hold their own.

It may even be worth laying some stakes around the new tree, to wrap some mesh and create a protective barrier.

You should also consider this when choosing a spot for your tree, and though citrus and olives are more resilient, they’ll also benefit from a bit of shelter in the early days.

Once planted keep the trees watered regularly (I can’t emphasise enough how deceptive this rain is –not much of it will actually be getting down to the roots just yet) and lay some chunky mulch around the base, taking care not to pile it up against the trunk.

Sow what?It’s also time to sow your winter vegetables from seed.

Raise broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach and silverbeet, peas, beans, carrots, beetroots, coriander, chives, oregano, mustard, parsleyand lettuce, making sure to protect the seedlings from drying out.

You can purchase seed raising trays from most garden centres, but I prefer to use old egg cartons for a cheap alternative.

Poke some holes in the bottom of the carton for drainage, and you can write the species directly onto the cardboard with a pen to ID them later.

When the seedlings get to about three inches tall, they’re ready to plant into the ground with some snail pellets for protection.

Do you have a gardening question for Jess? Send your queries to jess.cocker [email protected]南京夜网419论坛

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Further questions arise in politicians’ perks audit

The former speaker and his deputy, dumped from their plum posts after claiming $150,000 in entitlements, face further questions from auditors after the first step of a parliamentary probe into politicians’ perks.
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As revealed by Fairfax Media, western suburbs Labor MPs Telmo Languiller and Don Nardella moved their homes to the Bellarine Peninsula and then claimed a second residence allowance designed for country MPs who have to visit Melbourne frequently.

Both men now face further questions arising from a desktop audit conducted by parliament’s internal auditors Price Waterhouse Coopers.

Late on Tuesday a spokesman for the parliament said internal auditors had completed a desktop audit of all MPs receiving the allowance since the 2014 election.

Internal auditors “are now following up with individual members to clarify queries arising from the desktop audit”.

The audit committee’s work was expected to finish this week, but it is now set to report back when parliament resumes next week.

“Whilst cognisant of the public interest in the issue, Parliament’s Audit Committee determined to allow the auditors sufficient time to complete a thorough review of the extensive documentation associated with the first stage of the audit to ensure procedural fairness and natural justice is available to all Members,” the statement said.

Dozens of MPs claim the second residence allowance, including some ministers and 15 Coalition members.

Mr Languiller, who is on a month’s sick leave, is paying back $40,000 he claimed to live in Queenscliff away from his Tarneit electorate.

But Mr Nardella, who claimed $113,00 to live in Ocean Grove away from Melton, is refusing to pay back the cash and has been forced out of state caucus to the crossbench.

Premier Daniel Andrews has promised to clean up politicians’ entitlements, including restricting the second residence allowance for country MPs.

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Carp explosion risks Basin Plan benefits

Carp caught in the Edward Wakool system after the 2016 floods. The invasive feral fish’s recent rapid reproduction spree was spurred by the prolific breeding on floodplains across Murray Darling river system.EXPLODING carp numbers threaten the benefits of the Basin Plan, according to river expert Dr John Conallin, a researcher with the United Nations’ UNESCO-IHE initiative for sustainable water management.
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Dr Conallin is warning the Murray Darling Basin Authority that the Basin Plan’s environmental watering regime will create the same favourable conditions which saw carp breeding “in their millions” during 2010-11 and 2016 flooding and undermine the strategies to repair native fish populations.

“If you want to see a real live example, throw a shrimp trap in the water, and you’ll catch 50 to 100 small 2016 bred carp every hour of every day,” he said.

“Without effectively controlling carp, all the proposed native fish benefits we could get from floodplain inundation under the Basin Plan will be lost and we’ll end up making the situation worse for native fish.”

He said the MDBA should count native-fish boosting measures against water recovery targets, arguing that “if we can get the native fish population into recovery mode, it has more opportunity to breed and needs less watering events for reproduction”.

Taking golden perch as an example, the long lived fish that can reach 30 years of age needs flooding roughly every three years to breed to maintain its population under natural conditions, but requires more frequent watering events if it is competing with carp.

But Dr Conallin stressed he does not advocate against environmental watering of floodplains, which he said “we need to continue with” to achieve outcomes for birdlife, trees and riparian habitats.

He said, the so-called complimentary measures of restocking programs, fishways and coldwater curtains in dams to stop releases of chilly water that prevent natives breeding should be included in a list of measures that could be recouped from water recovery targets.

Ultimately, native floodplain species of southern pygmy perch, southern purple spotted gudgeon, eel tailed catfish and the silver perchlet, which have largely disappeared under the cloud of carp, should be reintroduced, Dr Conallin said.

“If this approach is adopted we can better meet the Basin Plan’s environmental objectives, and at the same time save water.”

Hardy carp ride surging floodwaters onto food-rich flooded plains to breed. Females release up to 1.5 million eggs each and can breed in colder water than native Murray cod and golden perch, which rely on well-timed floods and relatively warm water to reach upstream spawning grounds in conducive conditions.

Carp compete for food and habitat and can potentially eat native species’ larvae. While sifting the bottom with sucker-mouths, carp reduce water quality and remove aquatic plants.

Dr Conallin said the benefits from the $15 million carp herpes virus control program would outweigh potential risks. Carp has been estimated to cost up to $500m a year in environmental damage.

Release of the virus has been questioned over its potential to create a damaging biomass of dead carp which suck oxygen from waterways as they rot.

“It is not too high a risk to release the virus,” Dr Conallin said. “The obvious benefits will outweigh any potential consequences we think may happen,” he said.

Interstate debate underwayMinisters fromthe four Basin states, Queensland, NSW, Victoria and South Australia meet tomorrow in the Ministerial Council.

Ahead of the meeting, NSW Regional Water Minister Niall Blair has released a report which may drive a further wedge between the eastern states and downstream South Australia.

Mr Blair called for betterscrutiny of the MDBA’s upwater programahead of a meeting with other stateministers in Mildura on Friday.

Previously, NSW and Victoria teamed up to commissionan independent expert panel to review the MDBA’smodelling methods, or calculations for water recovery under the Basin Plan.

On Tuesday Mr Blairreleased a report recommending greater understanding of theupwaterprogram (450 gigalitres) ofenvironmental water above thebaseline recovery target of 2,750GL, and its potential to cause negative economic impacts to regional NSW.

Mr Blair said thereport showed the‘neutral or beneficial’ provisions in existing inter-state agreements were not practical or reasonable when compared with accepted definitions of socio-economic impact.

“We need a better understanding of what these efficiency measures mean for our irrigation sector, particularly the irrigation corporations, and employment and economic activity in the local town.”

View the report here: 梧桐夜网water.nsw.gov419论坛

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

Movie to bring people together

Children and families will be able to enjoy a movie night under the stars later this month.
Nanjing Night Net

As apart of National Youth Week a Cinema Under the Stars will entertain Kentish residents at Railton.

Event organiser Chris Clark said National Youth Week is a joint initiative been the Australianstate, territory and local governments.

“It gives young people an opportunity to express ideas and views, and act on issues that affect their lives,” he said.

Each year the Kentish Council host events for young people in the area, Mr Clark said this year the council would organise an outdoor cinema for the second time.

“This will be the second time an outdoor cinema has been run as part of national youth week after last year’s screening of Escape from Planet Earth,” he said.

“Last year’s event in Sheffield was very successful and based on that we decided we would give it another go and take the show to Railton.”

This year the outdoor cinema will screen the Dreamworks Animation 2015 movie titled Home.

Home tells the story ofan alien who is on the run from his own kind, on his journey hemakes friends with a young girl named Tip.

The movie teaches a lesson in friendships and differences, along with discovering the true meaning of home.

“Whilst the event is part of National Youth Week, we encourage all young people and their families to come along and enjoy the night,” Mr Clark said.

“Just remember to bring your chair or blanket to sit on.”

A free bus will be available for school pupils, it will depart the Sheffield School at 6.30pm and will return at 9pm.

Mr Clark said the bus would enable a greater number of young people attend the event.

“It is important that free transport is provided for events like this, as it enables a greater number of local young people with the opportunity to participate in and experience National Youth Week,” he said.Home for the Cinema Under the Starsat Railton will be held on Friday March 31.

The movie under the stars will start at 7pm at the newly developed Goliath Park.

Free ice cream will be available for children and their families to enjoy at the event.

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

‘Flawed’ Ombudsman’s report into bugging scandal slammed

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – January 30:Catherine Burn,Deputy Commissioner, NSW Police Force, appears at the INQUIRY ON THE CONDUCT AND PROGRESS OF THE OMBUDSMAN?S INQUIRY ?OPERATION PROSPECT? at Macquarie Room, Parliament House, on January 30, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Munoz/Fairfax Media via Getty Images)_55R4121.jpg Photo: Daniel Munoz
Nanjing Night Net

An Ombudsman’s investigation that has implications on who may become the next NSW police commissioner has been slammed as “flawed” and carrying “limited weight” by the state’s criminal intelligence agency.

The NSW Crime Commission on Tuesday took the extraordinary step of making public its damning response to the NSW Ombudsman’s 900-page report into an internal police bugging and phone tapping operation.

Known as Operation Prospect, the four-year, $10 million investigation by the Ombudsman was hoped to bring an end to the long-running police bugging scandal that has plagued the top level of the force for years.

The report, released in December, made a series of adverse findings against the actions of the NSW Police, the NSW Crime Commission and officers attached to both organisations.

Among those criticised were Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn and former deputy commissioner Nick Kaldas, two high-profile applicants to replace Andrew Scipione as the next police commissioner.

Mr Kaldas and Ms Burn have previously disputed the Ombudsman’s findings and now the NSW Crime Commission has said Operation Prospect was “marred and rendered largely ineffective by the unfair procedures adopted and the mistakes of law and fact contained in it”.

“The Prospect investigation has taken over four years and the Report occupies 882 pages,” reads the NSW Crime Commission response, dated February 21.

“Notwithstanding the time and effort involved, the NSWCC considers that the Report carries limited weight.

“The procedures adopted in the publication of the Report have been flawed and many of the findings and recommendations are based upon errors or fact and/or law.”

The 28-page response, which has been placed on the Commission’s website, claims the Ombudsman’s investigation “lacked procedural fairness”, misled witnesses and that its findings and recommendations are “technically invalid and of no legal effect”.

Those recommendations included that the Crime Commission apologise to 15 people who were targeted in the police bugging scandal.

The commission said it would not be apologising.

“The purpose of this response is to place on record the general views of the NSWCC of the adverse findings made against it, and to explain why most of the recommendations will not be followed.”

The commission’s critical response to Operation Prospect was handed to the NSW government several weeks ago as it makes a decision on who will replace Mr Scipione in April.

Mr Kaldas has previously made similar claims that the investigation lacked procedural fairness and unsuccessfully sought an injunction to delay its release, while Ms Burn issued a lengthy statement repudiating the findings.

Ms Burn’s and Mr Kaldas’ chances of a promotion have been hampered by the long-running bugging scandal and subsequent investigation by Ombudsman.

Ms Burn was the team leader of an internal affairs unit that bugged many innocent police and civilians, including Mr Kaldas and his family, more than 15 years ago.

The Ombudsman’s report found that Mr Kaldas could face criminal charges for giving “false and misleading testimony” in a secret hearing over the bugging scandal, while Ms Burn engaged in “unreasonable” and “unlawful” conduct.

The Crime Commission’s decision to publish its response came after the acting NSW Ombudsman Professor John McMillan took the unusual step of releasing a statement saying despite media reports he had not seen criticism of his report by the Crime Commission.

He urged any party or lawyer who disagreed with the Operation Prospect report to communicate their views with his office in writing.

Professor McMillan also denied there was any “agenda” in the investigation and he had “no stake in the outcome”.

“Our objective was to place on the public record our analysis of the issues and the evidence, and my findings and recommendations,” his statement said.

“This was done after an extended period of investigation, consultation and analysis, including a comprehensive procedural fairness process for parties who may be adversely affected by the report.”

The NSW government is expected to announce Mr Scipione’s replacement within weeks.

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