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MARCH 2020 EDITION NO. 19

Riding for glory Action snaps and tales from Wallumbilla PAGE 2, 18-19

SUMMER RAINFALL PAGE 3

ROMA SALEYARD UPGRADES OPEN PAGE 6

Wallumbilla Rodeo Picture: Dusty Creek Photography

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What’s inside P3 – RAINFALL The summer has seen a rise in rainfall totals with significant weather events across the region. We compared this year’s numbers to the 2018/19 summer totals.

WELCOME

P6 – ROMA SALEYARDS THE first edition of Farmer and Grazier for 2020 is coming in on a more positive note for many. Rainfall numbers for the last three months are looking better than many areas received through the whole of 2019. New infrastructure through western Queensland, such as the Roma Saleyard upgrades and the in-progress Morven freight hub, are showing the agriculture industry is still growing an adapting every year. Innovations from retailers and manufacturers in the sector are supporting this, with better ways to complete necessary tasks being introduced every year. We here at Grazier and Farmer look forward to another 12 months of telling the stories of how our region continues to thrive.

CONTACT US EDITOR Shannon Hardy, shannon.hardy@dalbyherald.com.au ADVERTISING (WESTERN STAR) Carly Everitt carly.everit@westerntimes.com.au Stephanie Stonehouse stephanie.stonehouse@westernstarnews.com GENERAL MANAGER Erika Brayshaw erika.brayshaw@news.com.au ON THE COVER Action at the Wallumbilla rodeo, captured by Dusty Creek Photography. All material published in Grazier and Farmer is subject to copyright provisions. No part of this publication may be reproduced without prior written permission from the publisher. DISCLAIMER: The information contained with Grazier and Farmer is given in good faith and obtained from sources believed to be accurate. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher. The Western Star, Balonne Beacon and Western Times will not be liable for any opinion or advice contained herein.

New facilities at the Roma Saleyards were officially opened to the public in January.

P9 – BIOSECURITY New biosecurity methods being trialled at Melbourne Airport have helped increase the detection rate of restricted items coming into Australia.

P13 – INNOVATION A second round of funding into horticultural innovation has been approved through the Smart Farming Partnerships program.

WALLUMBILLA RODEO

Bronc win is twice as nice ELLEN RANSLEY IT WASN’T AJ Riley’s first rodeo, but Wallumbilla is among his favourites to compete in, and now he’s won it twice. On Saturday, he won the CRCA Open Saddle Bronc with a score of 68.5 points, the second time he’s won in that arena. “I’ve been competing in rodeos for seven years, bulls and saddle bronc first, and now for the past two years just saddle bronc,” he said. “Wallumbilla is a good local rodeo, all the community comes in for a good night. It’s a pretty lucky arena for me. “I rode well, Ocean Blue bucked pretty well. I did give him a little bit too much rein which showed towards the end and I couldn’t really get back under my rein to spur him. “I was awarded a reride because my first horse lost his footing.” Riley narrowly beat Tom Webster on 67 points and 11 other riders. “It was pretty strong competition,” he said. An impressive number of contestants com-

SUCCESS: Open Saddle Bronc winner AJ Riley.

peted over the afternoon, including 19 11-15year-old steer riders, 16 novice horse barrel riders, and 11 peewee barrel competitors. Matty Ahern, 13, has been riding mini bulls since he was two. “I love the adrenaline of riding,” Matty said.

Picture: Contributed

“My dad used to ride and my whole family loves the rodeo.” Two-year-old Dusty Rickets was the youngest competitor, and his parents reckon it’s just the beginning for their son. “He loves to give things a go,” they said.

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WESTERNSTARNEWS.COM.AU TUESDAY MARCH 24 2020

Rain in Roma.

Picture: Contributed

Cattle run across a flooded property at Teeswater, south of Mitchell. Picture: David Todd TOWN AWASH: St George at 8am on February 27.

Picture: Julie Davies

WEATHER BREAKS

Rain brings welcome relief SHANNON HARDY IMPRESSIVE rainfall and flooding has replaced the frequent dust storms across the Maranoa region. The 2019-20 summer rainfall totals for the vast majority of the region were a great relief to many after the low numbers of the previous summer season.

Charleville’s Bureau of Meteorology station recorded a total of 253.8mm this summer. The highest single rainfall day was February 23 with 86mm. Last summer’s rainfall total for the same station was 60.2mm. Cunnamulla’s highest single rainfall day for the summer according to BOM was January 26 with 25mm. The BOM weather station

recorded a total rainfall of 113mm over the summer months, significantly higher than last summer’s recording of only 10.8mm. Bollon and St George were also at the lower end of the rainfall chart last summer with 22.4mm and 6.2mm totals respectively for the 2018-19 summer. This summer, numbers were much higher with the BOM weather stations in each

town recording 101.9mm and 179.4mm. Surat received a total rainfall of 314.2mm this summer, 264.6mm more than last summer, and Roma recorded 385.4mm, 349mm more than last summer. Mitchell was the exception to the rule over the summer’s numbers, receiving 342mm this summer, but having recorded a phenomenal 551.4mm

from December 2018 to February 2019. Many of the numbers recorded by BOM for the 2019-20 summer are smaller than the daily and overall summer totals reported by individuals around the Maranoa regions. With the spotty nature of the rainfall within many of the summer storms, the varied numbers are hardly surprising.

When catchment areas across the region became too inundated with the wet weather, many towns and properties experienced flooding over the last two months. Major flooding occurred along parts of the Balonne and Maranoa Rivers in late February. Before the rainfall and flooding in recent months, the Balonne River had been all but empty.

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TUESDAY MARCH 24 2020 WESTERNSTARNEWS.COM.AU

CARNARVON HIGHWAY

Push to bring back 110kmh speed limit to St GeorgeSurat stretch THE LNP will raise the Carnarvon Highway speed limit between Surat and St George to 110kmh should the LNP win the forthcoming state election in October 2020. The Palaszczuk Labor Government lowered the speed limit on this section of road, which I objected to at the time. The road has been widened, and State Government has not returned the 110km per hour speed limit, and are simply revenue-raising by keeping this road at 100kmh. Major upgrades have been completed between Surat and St George and the road is now better than when it was previously a 110kmh speed zone. This road surface is better than some of the other roads in the Warrego Electorate that are already in the 110km speed category. The increased speed limit would not apply to heavy vehicles or other speed-limited ve-

hicles. As always I encourage every road user to drive according to the conditions, however if the conditions are favourable 110kmh is an appropriate speed limit for this stretch of road. Road Maintenance Update

… HOWEVER IF THE CONDITIONS ARE FAVOURABLE 110KMH IS AN APPROPRIATE SPEED LIMIT FOR THIS STRETCH OF ROAD. ANN LEAHY

I want to bring to your attention what the Auditor-General’s said in his Report to parliament on Integrated Transport Planning. “DTMR has calculated that it has a $4 billion renewal backlog for its road network as at 30 June 2017.” The backlog figure identified has now grown from $4

billion to $5.418 billion as at 30 June 2019. In South West Queensland alone, this figure is a staggering $894 million. This maintenance backlog and underspending has serious implications for road safety and productivity. Couple this backlog, with this State Labor Government’s declining funding allocations for road funding in the North West District, Central West and South West through Queensland Transport Roads Investment Program (QTRIP) and regional roads are copping a massive funding decline on two fronts. Funding allocations to these districts continue to be the lowest in the State at 2.7, 2.5 and 2.0 per cent respectively of QTRIP allocations across Queensland. A massive road maintenance backlog and declining funding shows regional roads are not a priority for Ananastasia Palaszczuk’s Labor State Government

Roma Office 74 Wyndham Street, Roma Qld 4455 PO Box 945, Roma Qld 4455 4570 1100 or 1800 814 479 Dalby Office 129 Cunningham Street, Dalby Qld 4405 PO Box 262, Dalby Qld 4405 4519 0700 or 1800 625 430 warrego@parliament.qld.gov.au

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PEACE OF MIND

If you don’t like it, they’ll replace it free ANDERSENS IT’S hard to find a business today that truly cares if the customer is happy with the job done for them. And in a town like Roma, doing a job well consistently will bring more customers in than any kind of advertising. We have guaranteed our customers peace of mind with our carpet for many years. Particularly with something like carpet where you mightn’t know how the colour will look at scale in your home, we have offered to come and replace the new carpet at our cost to ensure the customer doesn’t have to put up with something

they don’t like. Even with the best staff and advice, people can still make the wrong selection. We have recently extended our Peace of Mind Guarantee to 100 days across all categories, not just carpet. The reason being is that we don’t make many mistakes, our customers are more often than not very happy. But also. we want to prevent that awful feeling of being stuck with something you aren’t truly satisfied with. So it’s natural to be worried. What if you don’t like the way it looks? What if the colour doesn’t match or your furniture blends in too well? Well

with Andersens’ 100-day peace of mind guarantee we’ll replace any laid flooring if, after 100 days, you’re not 100 per cent satisfied with any other flooring. The best part? It’s completely free if you claim it within a 100-day period. So if you’re looking for real service with real people who really care, head on into Andersens with the peace of mind that if you don’t love your carpet they’ll help replace it absolutely free. Because we won’t be happy until you’re 100 per cent behind your flooring. Talk to the Andersens team in Roma for all your flooring needs. Picture: Contributed

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06 GRAZIER & FARMER

TUESDAY MARCH 24 2020 WESTERNSTARNEWS.COM.AU

ROMA SALEYARDS

$8.6M revamp is unveiled JORJA MCDONNELL

CUTTING of the ceremonial ribbon has marked the beginning of a new era for the Roma Saleyards. The new facility was opened to the public on Sunday night as part of Australia Day celebrations, and the public were treated to a first look at the $8.61 million upgrade, seizing the opportunity to experience the one-of-a-kind interpretative centre. Kicking off after a citizenship ceremony in the stud cattle arena, and the presentation of local Australia Day awards, current councillors were finally able to celebrate the culmination of years of hard work behind the scenes to get the saleyards upgrades off the ground. “In its 50 years, the Roma Saleyards has put 11 million head of cattle through these yards, and in that 50 years, into the economy of the Maranoa region and the regions we sell from, an amount of $5 billion

Roma Saleyards new facility. officially opened on January 26.

dollars,” Councillor Peter Flynn said. “Since its opening in 1969 the Roma Saleyards has become the largest cattle selling centre in the southern hemisphere, but that doesn’t just happen overnight. “That progress has occurred

over the past five decades, and is the result of hard work by many, many individuals.” The upgrades, including all new buildings, a new stud stock selling ring, and the audiovisual interpretative centre for tourists, have been a long time coming for the Roma

Picture: Jorja McDonnell

Saleyards. In fact, Mr Flynn had traced back the beginnings of the project to the first council meeting of the year, 17 years ago, where they outlined a vision for the saleyards which included an interpretative centre to attract tourists.

“June 11, 2003 was when the feasibility study for the beef interpretative centre first commenced,” he said. “The initial meeting was held on January 15, 2003; this has been 17 years in the making, and there has been a tremendous amount of work

that has gone in to it. “The final product is a major improvement for those working at the yards, and hopefully we can all use this facility much more.” Construction of the new buildings was completed in December, with the former condemned buildings of the original facility demolished earlier this month. The new facility is state of the art, with hi-tech systems connecting every room in the multipurpose centre to a live feed of information from the sales. “This project would not have been possible without the dedication, passion and working collaboration of countless people,” Mr Flynn said. “The Roma Saleyards is so much more than a cattle selling centre, it is a major part of the agricultural identity of this area. “This is a proud day for the Maranoa Regional Council – our whole region – as we come together to celebrate this important milestone, and the future of our saleyards.”

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WESTERNSTARNEWS.COM.AU TUESDAY MARCH 24 2020

MUCKING IN: Daniel Meacham, of Oakey Beef Exports, Mayor Annie Liston and Agriculture Minister David Littleproud turn the sod at the site of the future Morven Freight Hub. Picture: Contributed

WESTERN FRIEGHT HUB

Million dollar contracts awarded JORJA MCDONNELL THE Morven Freight Hub could be operational as early as May this year, after the Murweh Shire Council awarded two major tenders of about $1 million for the long-anticipated project. Suffcon Pty Ltd, a Romabased company, was given a $1.1 million contract for earth-

works and road construction at the hub. Cattle yard construction was awarded to national company SWS Pty Ltd, to the tune of $1 million. Decided in a special council meeting on Wednesday, February 19, the tenders are two of the biggest projects within the Morven Freight Hub, with other tenders to be awarded to local companies after the election, Murweh Shire Council

CEO Neil Polglase explained. “Originally Council was going to opt for one contract for the whole complex … but we have found it relevant to split the contract for the whole facility in to a number of smaller ones,” he said. “It is in part because of the timeline for construction, and also to ensure the local contractors are able to tender for other components.

“Council’s preferred option is to use local contractors, but a tender process is still a tender process, and there is an overall scoring for the most advantageous option.” A third, smaller quotation was also accepted for dust control on the site. The full facility is anticipated to be finished in September and run a total bill of at least $7 million, with Council

set to award other tenders after the upcoming election. “A development in the magnitude of this size, which by the time it is fully built will have a railway loop and connections to the highway, will probably cost in excess of $7 million The roadworks, earthworks, and cattle yards construction are due to begin in the coming weeks, Mr Polglase said. “We would like to see the

Hub operating in some shape or form as early as May this year, with the final completion of all the ancillary facilities earmarked for late September or early October. “These two large tenders have a very short timeline involved in them, and even though the recent rain has held us up for a couple of weeks, people will see the works on the ground soon.”

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08 GRAZIER & FARMER

TUESDAY MARCH 24 2020 WESTERNSTARNEWS.COM.AU

LEARNING

Ensuring the door to education stays open through the drought CONTRIBUTED INDEPENDENT and Catholic schools in Maranoa will take a share of more than $4.6 million in Federal Government drought support funds for improvements to support local students and their families, Maranoa MP David Littleproud said. “In times of drought, it is essential we ensure that students coming from drought-affected regions continue to learn,” Mr Littleproud said. “We all know drought takes a huge toll on businesses and families – we need to make sure our youth don’t face interruptions in their learning. “Supporting local schools means they will be there for the future and families continue to have access to quality education. “Our Government is providing $20 million to assist non-government schools facing financial issues as a result of the drought through the Special Circumstances Fund. “There are stories of schools subsidising and waiving fees to keep students enrolled and this $20 million in assistance will help take off some of the stress that schools are shouldering through the drought. “Our government is taking action so that schools awarded with special circumstance funds continue to support families impacted by the drought.

“Catholic schools will take a portion of $3.9 million through State-allocated funding, provided through the Catholic education authority. “Successful independent schools in Maranoa will make use of $763,087 to continue supporting families impacted by the drought. “Special Circumstances Funds are expected to reach school authorities in the coming weeks.” Drought support for public schools is being administered by the state and territory governments.

Maranoa schools will share in $4.6mil of funding. Picture: File

RIGHT: Drought support for public schools is being administered by the state and territory governments. Picture: Contributed

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WESTERNSTARNEWS.COM.AU TUESDAY MARCH 24 2020

FAST FACTS Since its deployment the five most common detections have been: Mail: Chicken/Duck Pork Beef Plant Pet Food Airport Fruit Meat Herb/spices Seeds Seafood

SCREENING: Bio-security management is underway at Melbourne Airport Picture: Contributed

BIOSECURITY

World first at work at airport CONTRIBUTED THE world’s first auto-detection algorithm for meat products is screening thousands of biosecurity risk material at Melbourne’s International Airport and Mail Centre. Agriculture Minister David

Littleproud said compared with conventional x-ray technology detections of biosecurity risk items have doubled at the airport and tripled at the mail centre since the rollout of 3D X-ray technology last year. “Australia is a world leader in biosecurity and we’re getting better. New technology

like this plays an important role in keeping pests out,” Mr Littleproud said. “The 3D X-rays are streamlining passenger and mail screening into Australia and allowing our biosecurity officers to do their work more effectively. “At the airport, the X-ray

has screened 95,059 bags and detected 6039 biosecurity risk items, including pork products, which can carry African swine fever. “ASF is right on our doorstep in Timor-Leste and poses a huge biosecurity threat to our pork industry. “The world’s first 3D X-ray

trial in the Melbourne Gateway Facility was due to finish on 30 November 2019, but following the project’s success, the technology will be set up permanently in Melbourne and Sydney mail facilities. “The meat algorithm is able to detect 60 per cent of meat products and it will only

continue to improve as it is refined. “This world first achievement is just one way the Australian government is modernising our ongoing biosecurity efforts at the border, keeping Australia free from exotic pests and diseases.”

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MARKET REPORT

Record high sale prices at Roma yards

STRONG START FOR 2020: The local store sale in Roma recorded some of its highest numbers in nearly two years this February.

JORJA MCDONNELL PREDICTIONS that cattle prices will rise have come true in Roma, where the local store sale in February has recorded some of its highest prices in nearly two years. Sale-topping droughtmaster murray grey cross steers sold for a whopping 400c/kg at Tuesday’s store sale, reaching a top of $956. The upturn has delighted Maranoa Councillor and portfolio chair for the saleyards, Peter Flynn. “February has started

strongly at the Roma Saleyards and I am hopeful we will see these strong prices continue,” Mr Flynn said. “The Roma Saleyards is a fantastic asset to beef producers within and beyond our region.” Last month, Meat and Livestock Australia released its 2020 Cattle Industry Projections report, which tipped cattle prices to rise, in part as a result the national cattle herd set to shrink to a record low. Thanks to a number of international factors like exchange rates and overseas pro-

duction, along with some recent rain in parts of the country, the projections indicated “historically high (if not record) prices will likely be reached and maintained in the next few years”. In addition, the forecast shrinking supply combined with robust demand for beef, both domestically and internationally, will continue to drive prices upward. “The global protein market experienced an exceptional year in 2019, with the impact of African Swine Fever in China creating a significant protein

deficit and reshaping the global meat trade as more product was directed to the China market,” MLA Senior Market Analyst Adam Cheetham said. “Australian beef exports were very much part of this shift, with exports to China growing 85 per cent and the market emerging as Australia’s largest market by volume. “The protein deficit in China is set to be just as apparent in 2020, but many shifts in the global landscape will impact how this unfolds, including the US-China trade

Picture: File

relationship, production and policies from South American suppliers and policy shifts within China itself. “Demand for beef from many other key markets around the world remains robust, but buyers must now compete more fiercely for that product.” As for seasonal improvement, recent rainfall may further drive support for Australian cattle prices, but only if there is follow-up rainfall. Should it transpire, and thus improve pastures, restockers,

feeders and processors will compete for a reduced pool of livestock. “Young cattle and breeding stock prices will be influenced significantly by the extent of the improvement in pasture availability,” Mr Cheetham said. “Even without good rain, finished cattle prices should remain at historically high levels as a result of the strong demand fundamentals.” The Roma Store Sale-topping cattle came from local vendors, LH and JD Schier, of Glenlea, Roma.

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those special bits and pieces that are one of a kind designs, galvanised mesh and fencing products, checker plate and the list goes on. Delmick are also agents for Coregas. Galvanised stair stingers and adjustable stumps etc from the Level Master range are also available. In our factory we can also design and construct any type of structure from a cubby house to massive commercial complexes and sheds. Delta Panels are also one of our pet products. This is sandwich panels for roofing, walls, anything your imagination can dream up. This is a product of the future made locally in Brisbane to strict standards. We even have a fully fire rated product for use in any type of construction. And just now we have taken on the Dincel preformed PVC formwork for concrete. Dincel is a super easy product to set up. Most farmers would be able to use this product themselves. Dincel is ideal for piggeries, retaining walls, headwalls, troughs feeders and the list goes on. It is 100 per cent

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WESTERNSTARNEWS.COM.AU TUESDAY MARCH 24 2020

ENVIRONMENTAL CUSTODIANS

Farmers leading the fight CONTRIBUTED THE Coalition Government is investing more than $2.9 million in new technology to help horticulturalists improve their environmental credentials through the second round of Smart Farming Partnerships program. Horticulture Innovation Australia Ltd is being funded to deliver the project “Digital remote monitoring to improve horticulture’s environmental performance’’ over the next four years. Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the project would help protect fragile ecosystems such as the Great Barrier Reef, Murray-Darling and coastal lake systems. “Farmers are the best environmental custodians we have and this will make them better,’’ Mr Littleproud said. “New technology is making on-farm environmental work easier and cheaper. “Good environmental stewardship will see farm-gate prices improve by building on Australia’s reputation for

INNOVATION FUNDING: More than $2.9 million has been invested to help horticulturalists improve their enviromental credentials.

producing the world’s best food. “This project has four pilot smart farms in the Great Barrier Reef catchment. “This could help reduce the

loss of nutrients and soil into the Great Barrier Reef lagoon, saving money and resources while improving environmental outcomes. “The industry is watching

this project closely for broader national applications. “We want to help agriculture become a $100 billion industry by 2030 and projects like this could be a big step to-

wards that goal.” The project is part of the $57.5 million Smart Farming Partnerships program. For more details about Smart Farming Partnerships

Picture: File

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14 GRAZIER & FARMER

TUESDAY MARCH 24 2020 WESTERNSTARNEWS.COM.AU

VEGETATION MANAGEMENT BILL

Farmers’ mulga plea gets toppled JORJA MCDONNELL CHANGES aimed at cutting red tape and providing more transparency for graziers pushing mulga have been voted down by state parliament. The Vegetation Management (Clearing for Relevant Purposes) Amendment Bill was brought forward by Member for Traeger Robbie Katter on Tuesday. Since his amendment’s rejection, Mr Katter has launched an offensive on Labor MPs in the parliament, accusing the party of “betraying” graziers and landholders. “As usual, the state government mischeviously tried to make out that the bill was advocated for broadscale tree clearing,” Mr Katter said. The objectives of the amendment were stated to remove “grazing activities” from the definition of “high value agricultural clearing” under the original bill, and create an obligation for the government to provide an explanation when it rejected land clearing applications. Mr Katter told parliament how current legislation restricts graziers pushing mulga on their properties. “The regimen around mulga is so tight that people will put in an application and be told ‘you knocked that over five years ago so you can’t touch that – you must touch this bit now’,” he said “Say you are carrying 500 head on your station. You might have rain in the bottom paddock of your property and have 500 head on the dry section where you are approved for mulga. “You will use all of the mulga you have been approved for to try and get a certain benefit, whereas if you have had rain down the bottom of your property you might need only half that quantity of mulga. “Deregulating the mulga,

especially when there is pressure on it, can lead to less usage of it because you do not need to use as much if you are using it more efficiently. “But that is not accepted down here, where people are not on the ground … no one trusts the landholder to manage these things.” The problem with Katter’s bill Mr Katter’s push for change did receive support from some members of parliament, including Warrego MP Ann Leahy. But the she was quick to point out that the amendment had some shortcomings: namely the fact that it was based on legislation that is no longer in use. The current legislation, Vegetation Management Act 1999, applies to the clearing of all vegetation in a grassland regional ecosystem. However, the Act in its current form does not mention ‘high value agricultural clearing’ – the sections Mr Katter was trying to change had been removed from the legislation in 2018, as Ms Leahy explained. “The thing with Robbie’s bill is that when Labor amended the Act in 2018, they removed ‘high value agriculture’, and ‘irrigated high value agriculture’,” she said. “His private members bill is trying to amend something that is no longer there, and is actually from two governments ago. “The changes by the Labor government basically stripped ‘high value agriculture’ from the legislation, and because of that, you can’t make an application to clear that land anymore.” In parliament, Ms Leahy made the case that Mr Katter’s legislation falls short for graziers trying to not just feed cattle, but effectively manage their land – both in drought and good seasons. She said her LNP shadow

BETRAYED: Robbie Katter, KAP leader and Member for Traeger goes in to bat for graziers affected by mulga clearing laws. Picture: Contributed

cabinet was on the record as having a comprehensive policy, which they had tabled in 2018. “The LNP has proposed that high-value and irrigated high-value properly made applications can be assessed against guidelines developed in genuine consultation with industry,” she said. “Furthermore, the LNP proposed a deemed approval process, giving even more certainty and a streamlined approval process to landholders

who make these applications. “The LNP had in place a workable fodder harvesting code when in government, and that worked during drought periods and when there was no drought. Why? Because landholders need to be able to deal with the thickening of vegetation. “They do not necessarily have the resources during drought periods to do that and, further, drought is not a time when they can re-establish grass growth in areas being re-

habilitated from vegetation thickening. “Landholders need to be able to harvest and thin mulga and manage its incredible ability to thicken. “They say that if you take down one mulga tree 10 others will come to its funeral – and that is so correct when you see what is happening across my electorate.” Ms Leahy told The Western Times the LNP is intending to bring vegetation management back to the chamber when the

party is ready. “We will be pushing (for it),” she said. “We are still working on our ag policy at the moment, but have the ground rules of what we have already put forward. “It may even go further, so we are working our way through that plan.” A spokeswoman for Mr Katter confirmed he intends to bring the private members bill back to parliament “in some form” after the October state election.

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WESTERNSTARNEWS.COM.AU TUESDAY MARCH 24 2020

SHANNON HARDY

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girders. The high tensile strands of wire a tensioned when the concrete is poured to give the post strength and durability. The 40 Mpa concrete is made to a special recipe with every batch certified, this ensures a consistent quality and peace of mind for their clients. ACP’s concrete posts are drivable which can save a lot of time and money when it comes to the task of fencing. Not to mention their longevity which means they won’t need to be replaced them in your lifetime. The harsh conditions of the Australian environment are no match for these lifetime guaranteed posts – fire, flood, termites, wet and acid sulfate soils, they’ll outlast it all. Customer satisfaction is their biggest priority, Richard and Alan believe the best part of their business is their clients. “We sell to people of the land who work day-in and dayout to make a go of it in our country’s extreme conditions. They’re hard workers and have a tough time,” Richard said. “Nobody loves fencing, especially farmers. “They deserve reliable products, like our posts, that will work just as hard as they do!”

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16 GRAZIER & FARMER

TUESDAY MARCH 24 2020 WESTERNSTARNEWS.COM.AU

FARM HOUSEHOLD ALLOWANCES

Making access easier for

farmers CONTRIBUTED

FAST FACTS

MORE red tape will be slashed for Farm Household Allowance applications with new legislation introduced into parliament. Agriculture and Drought Minister David Littleproud said the government was committed to making sure farmers could access the allowance when they need it. “I don’t want farmers jumping through hoops when it’s not needed,” Minister Littleproud said. “We’ve taken several recommendations from a farmerled panel to make the FHA applications more straightforward. “These changes are another step in simplifying the Farm Household Allowance. “Business income reconciliation will no longer be necessary in the new financial year. “This will prevent putting farming families in debt if they receive unexpected income. “Case managers will also be able to extend the time farmers have to complete farm financial assessments so they don’t miss out on support in complex

•Since 2014 the FHA has paid $398 million to more than 13,300 individuals. •$2 million per week invested in rural communities through the FHA. •Coalition reviewed the Farm Household Allowance in 2018. •Farmer-led panel made recommendations to refocus and simplify the allowance.

cases. “These changes build on improvements we’ve made over the past 12 months, such as letting couples apply for the FHA in a single online application – telling their story once. “Farmers making a loss can also offset their off-farm income up to $100,000 per couple. “We’ve made FHA available for four out of 10 years, instead of a three year lifetime limit. “We’ve also made Relief Payments for people finishing their first four years of FHA in recognition of the extended drought and unprecedented natural events.”

David Littleproud during Question Time in the House of Representatives in Parliament House in Canberra. Picture Gary Ramage Picture: File

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GRAZIER & FARMER 17

WESTERNSTARNEWS.COM.AU TUESDAY MARCH 24 2020

MONSTER HIRE’S COLOUR SPLASH

Bright pink for a bright future CONTRIBUTED FAMILY owned earthmoving hire company, Monster Hire, has welcomed a new and impressive machine to its fleet painted hot pink in support of their all-female staffed workshop. The new posi track is similar to others at “Monster” with an increased capacity loader style bucket, rear rippers and both high flow and high-pressure functionality for all attachments. Now while the industry jargon may not be understood by all, one thing is clear, this machine is sure to be noticed! Monster Hire, servicing the Western Downs and surrounding areas for the last decade with hire equipment and relevant attachments is doing their part to raise awareness and demonstrate support for women of all ages and backgrounds now working and/or interested in the earthmoving, construction and mining sectors. The Chinchilla-based company boasts a female-dominated workforce with a meticulous approach to their work. Customers receive consistent top quality machines with Monster Hire committed to following a methodical approach to their preventive schedule; ensuring quicker turnaround of equipment when requested for hire, lower breakdown rates out in the field and cleaner presentation for the operators working in traditionally rough or remote conditions. Di Kemshead, owner and managing director, commented that the construction sector can often miss out on attracting and retaining good talent. “There are a lot of women who can do this sort of work and would enjoy the roles that the industry provides.”

SUPPORTING WOMEN: Monster Hire’s Dianne Kemshead goes pink.

“We’re all about employing the best person for the job, and our experience to date has been that females can certainly hold their own, get the work done and don’t mind for a second rolling up their sleeves and getting dirty,” said Di. This new machine will definitely be one people notice. “By introducing pink into the branding of our business

over the years, we’re definitely supporting women in this sector but also having some fun with what we do,” Di said. “The company motto has always been Big Machines, Tough attachments and Great service, and that remains the case; but we’re also immensely proud of what the girls in the workshop have done and continue to achieve.”

Picture: Contributed

Di has been working with the Business Navigator Western Downs team to accelerate the growth of Monster Hire. Business Navigator Western Downs is a pro bono business consultancy supported by Shell’s QGC business. Business Navigator Western Downs Business Coach Suzie Wood said, “Di has such passion and commitment to

growing her business.” “We are looking forward to building on the strong foundations Di has built through her focus on delivering excellent customer service and planning for future progress for her business.” Di is looking to invite locals to play their part naming the new hot pink machine with a view to add even more indi-

viduality and personality to the growing fleet of hire equipment. Monster Hire is inviting members of the public to name the new machine and entries to the naming competition will be submitted via the Monster Hire Facebook page https:// www.facebook.com/MonsterHireChinchilla/ with entries closing on March 31.

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18 GRAZIER & FARMER

TUESDAY MARCH 24 2020 WESTERNSTARNEWS.COM.AU

Brady Swan and Renni Smith at the Wallumbilla Rodeo.

RODEO

A snapshot of the Wallumbilla bulls, broncs and barrels action LOCALS and visitors flocked to Wallumbilla on Saturday, February 29. From broncs to bulls to barrels, there was something for

everyone. The Central Rodeo Cowboys Association event is an annual crowd pleaser for the Maranoa region.

CHASING THAT EIGHT SECOND BUZZER: Open broncs rider Cameron Dixon holding on tight at Wallumbilla Rodeo on Saturday, February 29. Pictures: Ellen Ransley

Eryn and Jorja Crimmins at the Wallumbilla Rodeo. Sarah Greenwood and Michelle Geppert.

Bel and Bonnie Ricketts at the Wallumbilla Rodeo.

Rookie Bull rider Jack Banks.

Will Crosby on his bronc at the Wallumbilla Rodeo.

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GRAZIER & FARMER 19

WESTERNSTARNEWS.COM.AU TUESDAY MARCH 24 2020

Rookie bull rider Jack Banks.

An open bull rider at the Wallumbilla Rodeo.

sley

William Little, Alonna Laing and Cardea Little.

Camille Champagne, Ella Grimeau and Sam Willes at the Wallumbilla Rodeo.

Bonnie and Dusty Ricketts at the Wallumbilla Rodeo.

Open broncs rider Cameron Dixon at Wallumbilla Rodeo.

Marissa Proud and Sophie Sidney, who came third in pee-wee barrels.

What’s On...... MANAGING FOR THE EXTREMES 30th March - St George Cultural Centre • 31st March - Dunkeld Golf Club 1st April - Roma Saleyards Complex • 2nd April - Drillham Hall • 3rd April - Injune Memorial Hall ALL EVENTS: 9:30AM - 4:30PM • RSVP by 26 March, 2020 • 22nd & 23rd April - Pasture ID & Field Skills

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20 GRAZIER & FARMER

TUESDAY MARCH 24 2020 WESTERNSTARNEWS.COM.AU

KEEP OUT: Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk inspects a Ilfracombe farm near Longreach where wild dog fencing is being installed. INSET BELOW: Wild dog coordinator Ray Aspinall.

Picture: Liam Kidston

WILD DOG MENACE

Targeting feral killers CONTRIBUTED AGFORCE has appointed a new Central West Queensland Wild Dog Coordinator to help revive Queensland’s once thriving wool and sheep meat industries by reducing the threat posed by wild dogs. AgForce Sheep and Wool President Alan Rae said Ray Aspinall’s appointment would greatly assist to reduce predation on livestock from feral animals, in particular wild dogs. Mr Aspinall’s appointment has also returned AgForce’s Wild Dog Coordinators

Project to full strength, ensuring more of the State is protected. “This is a great outcome for sheep producers in the central west of the state,” Mr Rae said. “Each year wild dogs kill or maim millions of dollars’ worth of livestock. “That’s why industry needs experienced people like Ray to help landholders, communities, and local councils manage the issue of wild dogs and develop management plans that will leave a legacy for future control as well. “Wild dogs have been a growing problem in Queens-

land for many years, but if we properly manage the issue with measures like exclusion fencing, and baiting and trapping, we should see a significant return to agriculture, and to sheep production in particular.” Mr Aspinall will manage an area of Queensland that includes Boulia, Diamantina, Winton and Barcoo Shires, as well as the regions of Longreach, Barcaldine and Blackall Tambo. Mr Aspinall grew up on a farming operation near Warwick in the State’s south east and is an experienced shearer,

fencer, musterer, and wild dog trapper who now considers himself a Blackall local. “I’ve lived in Blackall since 1985, so I have a strong understanding of the issues faced by rural communities, and this region in particular,” Mr Aspinall said. “It’s important we continue to raise awareness about wild dog control. “I’m aiming to improve stakeholder participation in control measures and management so that we reduce the number of livestock lost to wild dogs. “It’s not only about building

an exclusion fence. It’s about using every control tool available to reduce the number of wild dogs within the environment and allow our farming families to sleep easy at night.” Mr Rae and Mr Aspinall said AgForce’s Wild Dog Coordinators Project was just one of the many ways AgForce was delivering high quality service

and advice to their members while standing up for all regional Queenslanders.

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GRAZIER & FARMER 21

WESTERNSTARNEWS.COM.AU TUESDAY MARCH 24 2020

AUSTRALIA DAY HONOURS

Agricultural trailblazer an OAM for being strong, vocal advocate

RECOGNISED: South Burnett land owner and Ag Force president Georgie Somerset received an Australia Day award.

EMILY BRADFIELD A TRAILBLAZER for women in agriculture and long-term advocate for rural and regional Australians, AgForce president Georgie Somerset was awarded an Australia Day honour last weekend. The Durong cattle producer and AgForce president was named a Member of the Order of Australia for her significant service to primary industry, women and the community.

Mrs Somerset was humbled to receive the accolade and said the honour was in being able to represent the men and women of regional Australia. “There are no more resilient, resourceful and positive people living anywhere in the world than here in the bush,” she said. “We are used to battling on with a steadfast resilience against whatever is thrown at us, raising strong families who remain positive when seasons are dire, knowing they will

continue this incredible positivity. “It is a privilege to be involved in helping provide a voice for these people and their businesses, as sometimes I think this resilient attitude is taken advantage of by governments and businesses to provide a second-rate service. “I am optimistic agriculture’s contribution to our economy and our environment will be more valued in the years ahead and I am committed to continuing the work

Picture: Contributed

I do to assist this.” Mrs Somerset has paved the way for women in agriculture, most notably as AgForce’s first female general president. She was also a founding member and later president of the Queensland Rural Regional and Remote Women’s Network, vice-president of the National Foundation for Australian Women and an associate member of the National Council of Women. She is also a board member of the Australian Broadcasting

Corporation, the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority and the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland). AgForce CEO Michael Guerin commended Mrs Somerset’s decades-long dedication in advocating for equality for people in the bush. “Georgie has been a strong and vocal advocate for the agriculture industry for many years, first as a member of the United Graziers’ Association, and for the past 20 years with

AgForce,” Mr Guerin said. “We are fortunate to benefit from her passion, her dedication and her vision as general president as we advocate on behalf of not just primary producers but the rural and regional communities of which they are an integral part. “In particular, Georgie’s support for women in agriculture has done so much to improve the recognition of their contribution and the opportunities available to them, leading by example …”

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22 GRAZIER & FARMER

TUESDAY MARCH 24 2020 WESTERNSTARNEWS.COM.AU

OWAWOOD

Harvest timber for export SHANNON HARDY

GOOD WOOD: OWAWOOD buys timber from southwest and central Queensland to export around the world.

Picture: Contributed

OWAWOOD Pty Ltd is an Australian company that specialises in the export of Australian native hardwood. Since obtaining their Federal Department of Agriculture operating licence in December 2019, the company has commenced operations at their site in Roma, packing logs in containers and moving them to the Port of Brisbane for export. General manager Grant Gurney said Roma was the ideal spot for the company to set up operations because in the southwest and central west areas of Queensland the native hardwood species predominantly sought are available in abundant quantities. “We primarily buy and export species such as brigalow, lancewood and red ironbark, as well as other species,”he said. To export their timber, OWAWOOD first needs to procure it. “We buy off local harvesting operators, who are often small businesses, like us, operating in the South West and Central West Queensland area, Mr Gurney said.

“We also engage directly with property owners, where we will negotiate a royalty and then facilitate the harvesting and movement of the wood off their properties.” Although OWAWOOD looks internationally to make their sales, they are very much a locally minded business. “All of our staff are Roma locals. We procure products, parts and tyres etc. locally, use local companies for servicing and repairing machinery, having welding done and so on, as much as possible. Many of these providers are also small businesses”. For farmers and landowners, finding ways to maximise revenues from the land, especially coming off the back of such a long, dry period is an important reality in the agricultural sector. Farmers across the Maranoa and other regions produce countless different products on their properties to be sold domestically and into overseas markets. Farmers and landowners considering selling the timber on their property can contact Mr Gurney and the team at OWAWOOD. The OWAWOOD team is ready to provide another way to reap the benefits of the land.

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