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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Scottish honour for the wise

OFFICIALLY A SPECIAL MOMENT: Captain Richard Otley, right, presents Laurieton RSL Sub Branch secretary George Wise with honorary life membership.
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Laurieton RSL Sub Branch secretary George Wise is one of those people who quietly goes above and beyond when helping others.

A keen researcher, George’s work through the sub branch recently travelled via Skype across the world to the Royal BritishLegion Scotland (RBLS), Wick branch.

Captain Richard Otley, whose late father William was a member of the Laurieton RSL sub branch, forged links between the Royal BritishLegion Scotland and the local RSL.William served with the Royal Navy during the Normandy Landings in World War 2. He and his wife Joan moved to Laurieton in around 2003.

George, Captain Richard Otley said, showed great care to ex-servicemen and women who immigrated to Australia, in particularhis father.

In December, George addressed the annual general meeting of the RBLS, Wick Branch, via Skype. The legion is similar to the Australian RSL.Following his presentationthe members voted to make George an honorary life member of their branch.

“You are the fourth honorary member ever to be awarded membership, so quite rare,” Captain Otley wrote in his thank-you letter to George.

During his presentation to the RBLS, George highlighted the number of Australian War Graves in Scotland.

“Itwas proposed that we provide details of the Australian War graves that are under our care within the Wick Commonwealth War Cemetery, with photos upon the future annual dates when pipers and our colour party honour your Australian heroes that rest with us,” Capt. Otley wrote.

The members also voted that on Anzac Day 2017 and in perpetuity, in Scotland, a ceremony will be held to honour those soldiers.

“Members of RBLS Wick would like to explore ways in which we can assist Australian members when visiting the UK through practical and network assistance. We are also looking to potential future liaisons between cadet organisations,” Capt. Otley said.

Captain Otley is the chairman of the RBLS and an active serviceman. He travelled to Laurieton to present the life membership in person on February 26.

“It is an unexpected honour,” George said at the Laurieton RSL sub branch meeting where he was presented with the parchment certificate,banner and letter from the Lord Lieutenant of Caithnessin her role as the sovereign’s representative on behalf of RBLS patron Her Majesty the Queen.

“When I was nominated I told Richard that I would only accept it on behalf of the Laurieton RSL sub branch.

“It was a wonderful experience to be able to talk via Skype [to the RBLS Wick] and discuss the Australian effort in World War One.I have a lot more to tell them and I hope to do that in future.”

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‘​30 seconds later, he would have been gone’: Teen recalls dramatic beach rescue

BEACH RESCUE: Emergency services gather at Denhams Beach after the rescue of a father and four children on Sunday (left) and teen rescuer William Nash (right).What was planned as a casual afternoon of surfing turned into a dramatic beach rescue for a Canberrafather and son on Sunday.
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Shortly after arriving at a Eurobodalla beach on the afternoon of March 12, 16-year-old William Nash and his father, Kevin, were alerted to a family of fivestruggling in a rip.

With no time to spare, the quick-thinking Conder teenager handed a surfboard to a beachgoer to assist three of the children and paddled out himself to rescue the father and another child.

“I paddled out to the father and his young daughter …he was under the water and she was screaming, trying to hold him up,” William told the Bay Post/Moruya Examiner.

“I grabbed him by the neck and put his head on my board. If it was 30 seconds later, he would havebeen gone.”

Kevin also took part in the rescue.

William said the man, believed to be aged in his thirties, was unconscious when plucked from the rip.

”The whole time we were in the water, he wasn’t good,” William said.

They spent tense minutes trying to get the man to regain consciousness.

“He did get a bit of awareness and almost gave up and wanted to slide back into the water, but we just didn’t let him,” William said.

He said the rip had pulled the man and young girl more than 15m out from the Denhams Beach headland.

“I put him and the little girl on my board, sitting in the rip for a bit,” William said.

“I jumped off and had the nose of the board and swam backwards until the waves were pushing us into shore.

“About 20m off shore, another bloke helped me carry him to shore and we laid him on his side.”

William, Kevin and other beachgoers stayed with the man until paramedics arrived minutes later.

Far South Coast Surf Life Saving spokesman Andrew Edmunds said rescue was one of several during the weekend’s big swells.

“The father responded well to treatment on shore by ambulance and was transported to hospital in a conscious state,” Mr Edmunds said.

A NSW Health spokesperson said the man was taken to Batemans Bay Hospital and later flown to Canberra in a stable condition, where he was discharged on Monday.

Mr Edmunds said the children did not require treatment.

Two days after the rescue, William said he was struggling to come to terms with the near tragedy.

“It was not until after it really hit me,” William said.

“I can’t stop thinking about it.”

The teenager said staying focused on the rescue at hand helped him in those frightening moments.

“I just had to be focused on what was happening,” he said.

“Someone had to be strong and sensible out there. I just took charge of it and grabbed my board.”

Father Kevin Nash said he couldn’t be prouder of his son’s brave act.

“I’m so proud of him and just the way he took charge of the matter,” Kevin said.

“Kids these days cop a lot of flack and don’t get recognition.

“He’s more of a man than I was at 16.”

Despite being an avid watergoer, William saidthe incident washis most traumaticsurf encounter.

“I know how dangerous rips can be, but this was the first experience I’ve had that was that bad in the water,” he said.

The close call severed as a reminder for beachgoers to learn to identify how dangerous rip currents flow.

Eurobodalla surflifesavers during summer ran rip safety demonstrations at shire beaches to prevent drownings.

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In a league of her own

Catholic Women’s League International Officer Margaret McEntee, State President Ann Pereira, Communications Officer Michelle Pedersen, Vice President Lorette Chester, David Gillespie MP, Secretary Irene O’Grady and Treasurer Lisa McPherson.Wauchope local Ann Pereira has been appointed president of the Catholic Women’s League Australia – New South Wales Inc.
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While the organisation holds a strong following of 1,200 members, Ann has goals to keep the organisation relevant and sustainable in to the future.

Last month, the State Council meeting was held in the Timbertown Motel with more than 30 delegates. A packed agenda discussed items such as membership growth, particularly within the younger generations.

“Today’s society imposes increasing challenges on people as the dynamics and acceptance of change in our communities move with the times,” Miss Pereira said.

“The Catholic Women’s League movement offer an inclusive place to meet new people and share our journey together.

“Our key principle is to advocate for the dignity of the human personand support women and their contribution to the community.”

The League runs under the auspices of the Catholic church and has the approval of the NSW bishops.

“We focus on issues like social justice and bioethics.Social justice includes issues that affect people’s lives like government legislation, homelessness and poverty,” she said.

“Bioethics include issuessuch asthe abortion reform bills and themarriage equality bill because we believe they impact on families.

“These issues are often difficult for people to discuss which is why it is so important to have the conversation.

“Members undertake charitable works through the local dioceses, nationally and overseas. One example is the support offered to women who have crisis pregnancies, to provide options beyond abortion.

“Further up the coast, we haveassisted two women – one who gave upher babyfor adoption and another who kept her baby. Both needed clothing, furniture and financial help.”

The organisation was established in England and came to Australia in 1914.Ann says it’s about women supporting women and families.

“Through the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organisations, we are members of the United Nations,” she said.

“The Catholic Women’s League Australia has amember who is the Board member forthe Asia-Pacific region and another who attends the Council on the Status of Women each year in New York.

“The Catholic Women’s League is a great organisation for women to develop strong friendships and share the ups and downs of life together.”

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New coach confident in 2017

ONLY WAY IS UP: South Warrnambool netballer Melody Keath is predicting blue skies ahead for the Roosters after a tough 2016 season. Picture: Amy Paton
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THERE is a silver lining for every tough season a club has to endure, and South Warrnambool’s open grade netballers have found theirs.

The Roosters went winless through 2016 but, as new coach Mandy Van Rooy points out, their reliance on youth last year has fast-tracked their development.

“Our goal, at the moment, is just to keepgoing from last year,” she said.

“It was a tough year, but we’ve also blooded a lot of young girls who wouldn’t have gotthe opportunity otherwise.

“They’ve got a year of seniors under their belt, they’re a lot more mature and they know what they have to do to handle the open grade.”

Van Rooy, who coached Panmure to a Warrnambool and District league semi-final appearance last year, has injected mature-aged players into the playing group.

Goaler Eliza Dwyer returns to South Warrnambool after a few years in the Central Highlands league, where she won the league A grade best and fairestand a premiership with Skipton in a memorable 2016 season.

Versatile midcourter Liz Byrne has joined the club after stints with Port Fairy and Allansford.

With the majority of last year’s open grade team staying around, Van Rooy said the inclusions had meant some shifting with the playing group.

“(There’s been) a little bit more shuffling around, which is a good thing,” shesaid.

“It means potentially a few more players play division one, which makes our division one team a bit stronger.

“We’re working on just being mature and getting the little things right; just having the confidence in each other.”

Arrivals

Eliza Dwyer (CHFNL; returning), Liz Byrne (Port Fairy)

Departures

None

2016 best and fairest

1st: Annie O’Brien (equal) 1st: Ally O’Connor (equal) 3rd: Aylish Tobin-Salzman

Player to watch

ELIZA DWYER: The former South Warrnambool junior returns to the Friendly Societies’ Park club after a stint in the Central Highlands Football Netball League, where she won the league A grade best and fairest award last season. Described as an “amazing” goaler by her new coach, she will be a potent force in the Roosters’ attack.

Prediction

Susie Giese says: The Roosters were a young group finding their feet last season and showed some good general improvement. But with a full season under their belts and some mature-age recruits coming into the group, along with new coach Mandy Van Rooy, the Roosters will be eyeing off a surge up the ladder after a winless 2016.

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Thirty NRL games a year but only Eels commit

The NSW state government has put forward a development application that anticipates 30 NRL games per year will be played at the new Parramatta stadium despite the Eels being the only club committed to use the venue.
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Fairfax Media understands the Bulldogs, Tigers, Rabbitohs, Panthers and Dragons aren’t keen to take games to the 30,000-seat venue when it opens in 2019 despite the government’s estimation that three NRL clubs would use the new facility.

It’s likely only 11 Eels NRL games will be played at the Western Sydney Stadium when it opens, however there is a possibility ANZ Stadium could be shut down for two years during the redevelopment to turn the Olympic stadium into a permanent rectangular facility.

In the stage two development application for the western Sydney stadium submitted last week, a breakdown of the anticipated use of the venue has the NRL down for 30 games, while Football Federation Australia/A-League (15 games), National Rugby Championship (three games), Super Rugby (one game) were also included.

The government’s plans include three NRL games in the month of October. But given the only NRL match played during that month is the grand final, it raises doubts over the planning for the use of the ground.

The Environmental Impact Statement put forward by JBA Urban planning consultants also has a list of typical event attendances which includes the Eels and Wanderers and two unnamed NRL teams referred to as “NRL team 2” and “NRL team 3” with expected crowds of 17,490 and 12,980 respectively.

The state government did require a 65-game commitment from the NRL to back the investment into major stadiums, however that commitment didn’t specify which venue the clubs would play at.

“The NSW government does not determine where NRL clubs play their matches,” a Venues NSW spokesperson said.

“The stage two planning application assesses the potential impacts to the community and environment during operation of the new stadium including traffic, access and noise amongst other things. The number of event days for the stadium is expected to increase from current stadium operations.”

The South Sydney Rabbitohs and Canterbury Bulldogs have long-term contracts in place to continue playing out of ANZ Stadium and would likely only consider using the Parramatta venue if their home ground is locked up during reconstruction.

ANZ Stadium had originally been earmarked to be redeveloped in stages over four years that would allow the venue to continue hosting regular season matches.

However there is a suggestion the redevelopment time frame could be halved, forcing clubs to take games to other venues including the new western Sydney stadium.

The Dragons are weighing up their venue strategy which expires at the end of this season, but given their commitment to Kogarah and Wollongong it’s highly unlikely they’ll consider playing out of Parramatta.

The Wests Tigers are in a similar predicament in their commitment to Leichhardt and Campbelltown but are also in discussions over their venue strategy.

The Panthers have no intentions of leaving the foot of the mountains, recently ending a $250,000 deal to play a game in Christchurch to reaffirm their commitment to the region.

“The impact of up to three NRL clubs using the stadium on a regular basis has been assessed to ensure an adequate study of potential impacts to the community and environment. It will also ensure that planning approval for the new stadium is sufficient if other sporting franchises decide to use the stadium.”

ANTICIPATED USE OF NEW WESTERN SYDNEY STADIUM

NRL: 30 gamesA-League: 12 gamesW-League/FFA: 3 gamesSuper Rugby: 1 gameNRC: 3 gamesConcerts: 3 eventsTraining sessions: 49

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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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