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No plastic: Jindera supermarket employee Amy Hanel with store owner Bob Mathews and the bags replacing plastic bags at the IGA. Picture: SIMON BAYLISSIGA supermarket owner Bob Mathews couldban plastic bags at his East Albury and Springdale Heights stores if the NSW government does not act.
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The grocerraised the stepafter confirming he plans to stop supplying plastic bags to customers at his Jindera store.

From May 1, shoppers at Jinderawill not have their goods packed in plastic bags, with a 20-cent fee to apply to bundles of 20 plastic bags after June 30.

Green reusable bags and strong-handled paper bagswill be available for free until June 30.

The change follows a survey of Jindera IGA shoppers which found 60 per cent were in favour of banning plastic bag use.

Mr Mathews said with 2500 plastic bags used each week at Jindera and 10,000 at the East Albury and Springdale Heights stores it made sense to act.

“That’s a lot of landfill for councils to deal with,” Mr Mathews said.

He said he was not actingat the Albury stores yet because he hoped the NSW government may introduce an official ban on single-use plastic bags in 2018.

“If the government is a bit slack on it, I’d like to see both East Albury and Springdale Heights go bag-free,” Mr Mathews said.

South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and theAustralian Capital Territoryhave already outlawed plastic bags, but NSW is yet to move.

Mr Mathews said he would not have been surprised if the vote at Jindera had been against the bag move.

“I know there were some people that were quite emotional about it,” he said.

“If the government had brought it in they would hate the government, I’ve brought it in so they hate me.

“They don’t hate me, but they take it seriously, they think it’s a right to have plastic bags.”

Mr Mathews said the bundles of bags would be placed in an aisle rather than at a checkout so customers would have to seek them.

Jindera citizenand Greater Hume councillor Denise Osborne said it was clear Mr Mathews had done his homework and she believes it will be accepted.

“The way they’re planning to phase it in is wonderful, to offer free bags until such time as it is properly introduced, and I would hope the community take it on board,” Cr Osborne said.

“Certainly our children and grandchildren are telling us it’s the way to go.”

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VISIBILITY: Carinya Christian School students Serenity Mill and Alasdair Hewitt point out the new school zone sign with flashing lights in Little Barber Street.
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Carinya Christian School and Gunnedah South Public School’sschool zone signs are now more visible to drivers following the addition of flashing lights last week.

The schools applied for the upgrade under the second round of NSW Government’s $5 million school zone flashing lights program and installations were carried out by Roads and Maritime Services (RMS).

South School received an upgrades to the school zone signs on Bridge Street while Carinya receivedan upgrade to the school zone sign in Little Barber Street which faces Marquis Street.

Carinya uses Little Barber Street as a second entry and exit point, and a drop-off and pick-up area for parents, with the original school zone sign installed at the beginning of 2016 for safety reasons.

Principal Chad Kentwell said he was glad the new sign was now in place.

“It’s a lot more visible than the sign that was there [previously],” he said.

Mr Kentwell said he had hoped a second sign with flashing lights would be installed in Little Barber Street facing Elgin Street because the lane is well-used and traffic travels quite quickly. When he contacted the RMS, he was told it was not planned but itwould be looked into.

The principal said by creating thesecond entry and exit point, the school had helped to alleviate some of the traffic congestion on Elgin Street and provided a safer space for students to be picked up and dropped off.

“It was only a matter of time before someone got barrelled over in the Macca’s driveway,” he said.

The lights were installed just in time for Road Rules Awareness Week which is strongly supported by Member for Tamworth and Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Roads, Kevin Anderson.

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KAP’s Robbie Katter and Shane Knuth were among the big losers in the electoral boundary changes announced late last week. Katter’s Australian Party MP Shane Knuth is considering his political future after discovering that his seat of Dalrymple could be abolished in what is being described as the biggest shakeup of electoral boundaries in decades.
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TheQueensland Redistribution Commission was tasked with adding an extra four extra seats to take Queensland’stally from 89 to 93.

Mr Knuth’s seat of Dalrymple has been abolished along with the urban electorate of Mount Coot-tha currently held by the Environment Minister, Labor’sSteven Miles.

One of the proposed new seats, Hill, is located in north Queensland.The five other new seatsare in south-east Queensland.

Only two seats remain unchanged in terms of their name and boundary;Southern Downs andTownsville.

The seat of Mount Isa, alsoheld by the KAP, has been renamed Traeger and extended to include Charters Towers.

Mr Knuth lives in Charters Towers and said he was devastated that he wouldn’t be able to run inhis home town.

Both heand Mount Isa MP RobbieKatter were “very disappointed” by the proposed changes, Mr Knuth said.

“This is the second time my seat has been abolished,” he said.

“The last time was in 2008 when my seat of Charters Towers was re-zoned into Dalrymple and that meant Ihad to run in a region that was over 570km away.”

Mr Knuth declined to speculate on why his seat had been abolished under the proposed changes, except to say “the electoral commission took note mostly of the LNP and Labor submissions”.

“Our (the KAP) submission revealed how we could minimise any impacts on seats throughout rural and regional Queensland without abolishing any other seats,” he said.

“The Commission has really overhauled rural and regional Queensland just to get rid of Dalrymple. I do feel for the constituents in the electorate as their seat was divided into three different sectionsand it makes it very difficult for them to support their traditional member of parliament.”

The proposed new seat of Traeger, formerly known as Mount Isa which will now take in Mr Knuth’s home town of Charters Towers.

Mr Knuth said he would consult with family and his constituents about his next move.

“You never know what the tide will bring in. But I’ll be looking atMcMaster, Hill andHinchinbrookas they are the closest options I have.”

Both the KAP and the LNP had argued in their submissions thatlowly populated rural seats should not be increased in land size due to difficulties in covering vast areas.The seat of Warrego has also seen significant changes with the new boundary taking in the town of Dalby while Chinchilla, Miles and Jandoawe will now form part of the Callide electorate.

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An EA-18G Growler at the Australian International Air Show at Avalon. Photo: Joe ArmaoAs in the story ofPolyphemus, the giant Cyclops blinded by the hero Odysseus in Greek legend, all the strength in the world means nothing in modern warfare if you can’t see your enemy.
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The RAAF’s new equivalent to Odysseus’ fire-hardened stake is the Growler, the most potent weapon in electronic warfare, which made its Australian debut at the Avalon Airshow on Tuesday.

The nation’s combat pilots have only ever trained to blow things up or shoot them down.

“This brings us the opportunity to operate in an electronic space,” said Chief of Air Force Leo Davies. “That could be because we want to have a particular electronic effect, like stopping somebody using a particular device, or we might just want to disguise where we are and what we’re doing.”

It’s one of the potent upgrades that is being made to the air force, along with armed drones in the style of the infamous US Reaper, and the Joint Strike Fighter – whose priceshould drop further to US$80 million per plane by 2020, according to its US program head.

It is a fast-moving area, one in which all major powers are engaged in a technology race. The Growler was unveiled as US President Donald Trump vowed to boost his country’s defence spending by $70 billion, or more than 9 per cent– a move Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne said was “a positive announcement”.

SenatorPayne said Australia would spend $250 million to partner with the US to develop “next-generation radio and radar jammers” in order to “future proof” the Growler.

On the Joint Strike Fighter – or Lockheed Martin F-35 – US program head Lieutenant-General Chris Bogdan said he wanted to push the price per plane down steeply in the next few years, from the $US94 million for the next batch to $US80 million by 2020. This was significant because the previous aspiration had been about $US85 million by that time.

He shot back at the program’s critics, saying the JSF – which will be unveiled in Australia at Avalon on Friday – had improved dramatically in the past four years.

In a recent exercise, the aircraft shot down 20 planes for every one JSF that was downed. It hit the vast majority of ground targets, including surface-to-air missile launchers.

“But the most important thing that doesn’t show up in the statistics was what the F-35 can do for all the other aeroplanes in the battle space,” General Bogdan said. “It makes them smarter, it makes them more lethal and it makes them more survivable.

“It kind of plays quarterback for all the other forces behind it.”

Lieutenant-General Ken Wilsbach, who commands US forces out of Alaska, said F-35s were “meant to be flown complementarily” with F-22 Raptors, the most advanced combat planes in operation, but which are only used by the US.

He said the F-22 specialised in shooting down other planes, whilethe F-35 specialised in shooting thingson the ground, though each plane is still very good at both. He stressed he was not saying that the RAAF, by having only F-35s, would be at a disadvantage.

The F-35 was still very capable in air-to-air combat and if Australia was fighting in alliance with the US, there would probably be F-22s present anyway.

An RAAF pilot has been training in F-22s that have been flying out of Tindal base in the Northern Territory, learning how to use the “fifth-generation” stealth and the cutting-edge sensors.

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LANGUAGE PROGRAM: Group participants during the course at Ceduna last week. Pictured are Joylene Haynes, Shanelle Scott, Onatta Miller, Denise Scott, Lynette Ackland, Ebony Joachim and front, Amy Parncutt, Estelle Miller, Darlene Newchurch and Susan Betts.PORT Lincoln woman Susan Betts is among participants taking part in a nationalprogram designed to revitalise and preserveIndigenous languages.
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The Master Apprentice Language Learning Program started at Ceduna last month and will continue over the next six months, with three blocks of teaching sessions in Ceduna and other interim activities and projects taking place.

The first block of week-long teaching involvedthe 10 participants taking part in the program facilitated by the Far West Language Centre, through the Ceduna Aboriginal Corporation.

The course offers participants a Certificate II in Master Apprentice, with the aim of passing on their skills.

Far West Language Centre coordinator Lynette Ackland said the program was about reviving and strengthening endangered languages.

“Participants who know some of a language are building confidence to learn more, then they can teach others.” Ms Ackland said.

“It also helps participants in learning different languages -there are five in this region.”

The course is based on a Native American program offered in the United States andis the first nationally accredited course in Australia.

The course participants said they found the firstblock of learningvaluable.

Ms Betts said the course was beneficial.

“We can pass it on to the next generation and can encourage young people to engage in these languages.”

Trainer Ebony Joachim said participants would complete 100 hours in “immersion sessions” where no English was to be spoken.

“It is about supporting communities in learning languages and aiding endangered languages,” she said.

“Participants learn methods of teaching and pass on that knowledge.”

Ms Ackland said there were a lot of Indigenous language speakers in the areabut a course such as this ensuredthey couldreacha teaching level to be able to pass on that knowledge.

The next Ceduna block is in May, followed by another blockin August.

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The hammer falls at Wagga Livestock Marketing Centre.
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THE draw for the sheep Wagga sale on Thursday, March, 2 is 40,600.

It is a number that is pretty typical for this time of year.

And it is also evidence as to why the Wagga Livestock Marketing Centre claims the number one position as the biggest sheep selling establishment in the country.

If you attend thesale –which manyreaders of The Rural possibly would at some stage –you know animal welfare is paramount.

It is taken seriously. The yards are state of the art and the people who work there move swiftly to ensure welfare is of the highest order. Stories like this don’t get told. This level of care is taken for granted.

So those in the agricultural sector are probably shaking their heads at the recent headlines over “Wagga’s one dead sheep.”It would be possible to argue that more animals died in suburbia on that 45 degree day in February.

The fact is that when you have livestock you inevitably have dead stock too. It’s a cruel fact of nature. People who grow up in the bush know this. Kids on farms understand this all too well. And it is the same people who have this depth of understanding of life and death of our livestock who are champions when it comes to looking after animals.

To take the emotion out of it. Keeping animals alive and well looked afteris good business. Last week vendors received $145 for Merinos. The price was possibly higher back in early February when this incident occurred.And wool prices are on a high too. Nobody wants dead sheep.

So why are we hearing so much about an incident involving one dead sheep? And how much money does an investigation like this, which involves RSPCA and numerous other parties, cost?

If systems were to blame for this one incident it is time to correct them and move on.

But in the meantime the centre’s management, vendors, livestock agents, carriers and buyers are to be applauded for what is a well run operation.

Let the tourist buses roll in and the school students continue to visit and keep this facility –which drives millions dollars inrevenue into the local economy –on the pedestal that it deserves.

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

Resident animals: A flying-fox colony lives at Kooloonbung Creek Nature Park.More work is required to educate and equip residents with measures to reduce the impact of flying-foxes on their homes and businesses, a parliamentary committee believes.
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Recommendations in a newly-released report about flying-fox management also aim to create better coordination across all levels of government.

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on the Environment and Energy has released areport of its inquiry into the management of nationally protected flying-foxes in Australia’seastern states.

Port Macquarie-Hastings Council will review the report.

The council’s Kooloonbung Creek Nature Park Plan of Management includes details about flying-foxes and their management.

Flying-foxes act as pollen and seed dispersers for a wide range of native plants.

Flying-fox camps in urban areas andflying-fox behaviourcan have notable economic, social and health impacts on residents, businesses and farmers, and have put pressure on councils to take action.

The committee chair, MP Andrew Broad, saidit was vital thatappropriate environmental protections for nationally protected flying-foxes werebased on sound research and data.

“These protections should translate into conservation and recovery efforts that have meaningful effect, while limiting the impacts on affected communities at the same time,” he said.

“Nationally protected flying-foxes are environmentally important, and we need to ensure they continue to thrive into the future.

“At the same time, we’ve been listening to communities along the eastern seaboard, and it’s clear that the impacts of flying-foxes on affected residents can be significant.”

Mr Broad said residents and councils needed additional support to help communities understand the protections, legal requirementsand the management options open to them.

He said the committee sought to make recommendations which complemented existing efforts to protect, conserve and recover affected flying-fox populations, while providing support for the councils which wereoften tasked with the complex job of balancing regulatory requirements and the pressing needs of communities.

“These recommendations are designed to provide some immediate support and guidance for relevant stakeholders,” Mr Broad said.

“The inquiry also highlighted the need for better coordination across all levels of government, additional funding and research, and clearer guidance for decision making.”

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Excitement is building for the fifth annual Mailrun Charity Bike Ride on Sunday April 9. It is a unique bike ride that takes in some of the most picturesque country scenery that Singleton has to offer.
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The organisers of the ride are pleased with the events growing success, particularly with a large number of cyclists coming from outside the region. Over 300 riders enjoyed the 2016 event and over $25,000 was raised for Singleton Family Support Service.

CHARITY RIDE: The Mailrun is a ride that has something for everyone.

The Mailrun Charity bike ride offers something special and is open to riders of all abilities who are aged 12 years or over.

The ride will start and finish at the Singleton Civic Centre in Civic Avenue. The 100km course riders will start their ride between 7am and 7:30am, 65km riders from 7:30 and 40km riders from 8am.

The 20km riders will begin from 8:30am. Entry fees range from $20 to $60 depending on your chosen course.

All entrants will receive a free lunch and drink at the finish area and free entry into the pool at the YMCA Gym and Swim.

Money raised from entry fees and sponsorship will go to Singleton Family Support Service, which exists to support families to make positive, independent decisions. It also seeks to help families provide a safe and nurturing environment for children to grow.

Major sponsors of the event this year are Quarry Mining, Thiess and J and S Engineering and Maintenance. Other valuable sponsorship and support is coming from Harness Master, Montgomery Homes, MTec, A C Whalan, Induspray, Sicada, Kevin Martin Signs, CREST NSW, Madcat Marketing, Singleton Council, YMCA, Balloon Aloft, Liebherr, Hunter Valley Golf, Missing Piece Media, Apex, Zemek, Bailey Real Estate, Dhuez Clothing, Stead Cycles and Cole Air.

Those interested can register on the Mailrun web page at 梧桐夜网themailrun.org or call 0422 374 252 for further information.

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DODGED: New Resource Minister Don Harwin didn’t directly answer questions about Shenhua put to him in parliament.THE new Resources Minister has remained tight-lipped on the future of the Shenhua coal mine on the Liverpool Plains.
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The government has the power to cancel Shenhua’s exploration licence, as eight years have passed without the“substantial development” of a mine.

Shenhua has requested it be exempt from the deadline, which was October 22, 2016.

When quizzed on the exemption in parliament, Resource Minister Don Harwin refused to shed any light on the matter.

“A mining lease application has not yet been lodged over the area; however, when it is, it will be rigorously assessed in line with the legislation and current government policies, guidelines and procedures,” Mr Harwin told the parliament.

“The company submitted an application for renewal of its exploration licence. This will be assessed by my department before a recommendation is made to me to consider in due course in accordance with normal protocols.”

In August, the government startednegotiations with Shenhua to buy back parts of the mine that encroached onto the black-soil plain, however Mr Harwin offered no update to the parliament.

Caroona Coal Action Group (CCAG) has placed renewed pressure on Mr Harwin and Premier Gladys Berejiklian to resolve the situation, particularly given the precedent set by the government when it bought back the neighbouring BHP Caroona coal mine.

CCAG president Susan Lyle said after 10 years and six premiers, the people of the Liverpool Plains were still living in limbo.

“With so much at stake, everyone nation-wide, must understand the damage that will occur to both ground and surface water, agricultural production and of course the loss that will occur to the Aboriginal sacred sites and the endangered koala population,” Mrs Lylesaid.

“This is not the place for a thirty-year whim.

“It is now time to extinguish this non-compliant licence and put an end to this debacle.”

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There’s a time machine hidden at the rear of my mother-in-law’s house. True story. We’ve kept it secret for a long time because we all love using it and don’t want anyone else muscling in on our good fortune. But now it’s time to let the rest of the world know how easy it is to journey back to another era.
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Come step into my mother-in-law’s backyard. Close your eyes. Now let your senses do the work. Smell that? That’s a ripe tomato. From 50 years ago. The way it used to be. The way it should be. Breathe it in –full of sweetness and an earthy pungency you can’t find any more. Look here – it doesn’t even bounce when you drop it on the ground like those you buy in the supermarkets these days. Now cut it open and allow that burst of flavour to roll down your tongue. How good is that? Better than a first kiss.

What about this – a cucumber that tastes just like they used to, not that sopping excuse for a salad ingredient they now serve up to us that turns to wet cardboard in your mouth. In my mother-in-law’s backyard even zucchini – that world champion of blandness – carries hints of sweetness. And don’t even get me started on her eggplant parmigiana. Hunched old men with desiccated tear ducts weep when they walk past and smell it baking in her oven.

Sadly, we can’t stay here forever. My mother-in-law, who migrated from Italy in the late 1960s from a poor village rich in home grown, home cooked food, doesn’t have enough 1970s-style furniture to seat us all. But she’ll always welcome you back because this backyard sanctuary of hers –a constant canvas of bright greens and reds and yellows –is one of the few places left where food grows and tastes like it should.

It’s why a trip along the aisles of my supermarket is nothing more than a sad excursion down alleyways of broken promises and fraudulent claims.

Food has followed our politicians – perfectly clothed, inoffensive and bland. Carrots plucked from the earth months earlier, tasting like the sterile cool rooms they’ve been stored in.

A decade ago an American study found that an array of more than 40 garden vegetable crops, along with many fruits, contained 20 per cent less vitamin A and 15 per cent less vitamin C than the same crops grown half a century ago.

For carnivores, meat has trodden the same sorry path. Chickens that are twice the size and half the price and have half the taste they didtwo generations back.

Cattle and pigs raised on artificially enhanced food, slaughtered young and way too often.

But as you sit down to a dinner tonight of limp salad from a plastic bag, don’t go blaming governments and greedy corporate multinationals for the slop on your plate.

Yes, we could do with tighter food regulation. And our store shelves sure could do with fewer preservatives and hysterical claims about the health benefits of the laboratory-inspired stuff we consume.

But don’t complain. Just fight back. You don’t have to don a kaftan or live in a yurt to make a difference to your life and the lives of those around you.

Last week I caught a bream and trevally off a local beach. Within 15 minutes they were cleaned, scaled and in the pan. Sweet and buttery, they tasted like fish should.

I’ve just finished building a raised garden bed that, with a little advice from my mother-in-law and loads of experimentation and patience, will hand back a fragment of the past. A time machine for those who have lost their taste for the present.

Don’t complain: Fight back. If you want food to taste the way it should, grow your own and enjoy the real taste.

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