Presets sailing the Pacifica

The Presets are heading to Newcastle Panthers on February 10.It was poetic that an album called Apocalypso created a whirlwind of chaos for The Presets.
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After the increase in popularity that ­followed their 2005 debut Beams, a ­showbag of thumping club hits and ‘80s sheen, the Sydney duo dived head first into the creation of their sophomore record.

They shacked up on a farm in Byron Bay for two weeks and cooked ideas, then ­relocated to Berlin while touring in Europe.

The result, 2008’s Apocalypso, was a game changer – not only for the classically trained pair, but for Australian dance music.

Single My People, a sympathetic anthem about refugees, brought them international acclaim.

Apocalypso debuted at number one on the Australian charts and in 2008 it was the first dance record to win the ARIA Award for Album of the Year.

“When we made Apocalypso we’d been running a hundred miles an hour – we’d been touring so much and we’d built a bit of a name for ourselves – we worked really fast to try and make that record,” singer Julian Hamilton says.

“We had the fire – we were hungry and young.”

The Presets had earned a break and a chance to pause and reflect.

Therefore the making of their 2012 record, Pacifica, was “the complete opposite” to its predecessor.

Having both become fathers for the first time, Hamilton and partner in crime Kim Moyes had the perfect excuse to not rush into their third album cycle.

“We had more time up our sleeve and could afford to have a bit of time off the road,” Hamilton says.

“We’d been touring for six or seven years non-stop.”

Pacifica builds on the tongue-in-cheek hedonism and dark drones of the duo’s previous work, but broadens its sonic horizons.

From the futuristic throb of Youth In Trouble, to the primal sea shanty Ghosts and the radiant, effervescent pop of Promises, Pacifica suggests the duo are assured in the creative value of their ­experimental ideas.

For Apocalypso the duo wrote exactly what they needed – ten songs for an album.

This time they pieced together a wealth of material from which to shape Pacifica.

“We had about 30 or 40 ideas, so we just kept experimenting until we picked 12 or 13 songs,” Hamilton recalls.

“It was a lot more chilled out and relaxed – I wouldn’t say it was easier, necessarily – but we certainly had more time to go back into the studio and experiment and not rush things.”

Despite having a larger number of ideas to whittle down, Hamilton says the songs that made it on to Pacifica were easy to spot.

“Songs like Ghosts or Promises do stick out – you think ‘they’re really fresh, we like that’ – choosing the ones we liked was easy,” Hamilton says.

“But certainly there’s a whole bunch of offcuts floating around that you might hear in different guises in the future.”

While the duo had no specific musical vision for Pacifica, they did want to record the album more organically.

Both Hamilton and Moyes met at Sydney’s Conservatorium of Music in the mid-’90s but for The Presets have mostly composed using machines.

On stage Moyes plays live drums and Hamilton synths, alongside numerous ­electronic samples.

However, on Pacifica we can hear Moyes behind his kit and Hamilton at a piano.

“When we play live, Kim is beating those drums and it’s a different atmosphere,” Hamilton says.

“We wanted to get that live drum feel on the songs.

“I’ve played the piano since I was five years old, but this was the first time I’d ever had a piano in my studio – which is crazy.

“I was able to write and record a lot more songs at the piano.

“But I don’t think you ever go into the studio thinking ‘I want to make an album like this’.

“You go into the studio and start writing and recording and [the album] materialises in front of your very eyes.

“The trick is not to think about it too hard.

“Don’t force square pegs into round holes.”

Despite reaching the number three position on the Australian charts and being embraced by their fans, Pacifica has not equalled the overwhelming public impact of Apocalypso.

“The critics have really loved Pacifica– it has been the best received music we’ve ever made,” Hamilton says.

“It’s been getting way better reviews than our music in the past.

“But then again, it hasn’t sold as well as Apocalypso, but I think it’s just one of those things.

“Some music is going to hit a nerve with certain parts of society and other music won’t do that, but we’ve been thrilled with the response.”

Pacifica has also given The Presets the chance to further explore the visual tapestry of their music.

Their three album covers are appropriations of the same theme and were each designed by their friend Jonathan Zawada.

For the Pacifica live shows they employed the help of Martin Phillips, who designed the incredible pyramid set for Daft Punk’s 2007 Alive tour.

“He certainly makes us look a lot more interesting than we are,” Hamilton says of Phillips.

“It’s the same as the [music] videos, the album artworks and the T-shirts.

“We’re very lucky to have a whole bunch of video directors and graphic designers around us who interpret our music and add a visual element.

“It adds a lot to The Presets narrative.

“It becomes part of the myth even though we didn’t have any real hand in the creation of [the art].”

Hamilton hopes it won’t be another four years before The Presets story continues with a fourth album.

“Pacifica was a big album, mentally, for us to get out,” Hamilton says.

“We needed a break after the Apocalypso madness – it was a huge thing.

“It culminated in this wild success, which we were very thankful for.

“So I feel a real sense of relief that Pacifica is written and released.

“We’re already looking forward to getting into the studio and doing the next thing – who knows what that’s going to be?

“Maybe an album of string quartets – something that’s really going to upset our fans.”

The Presets appear at Newcastle Panthers on Sunday, February 10.

Tickets are available through Moshtix.

Alive has two double passes to give away.

For your chance to win simply fill out the coupon in today’sMaitland Mercuryby noon next Wednesday.

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Out of the fire

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire and when the smoke’s nearly gone, it’s good to know you count on your neighbours.
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The Upper Hunter Shire has extended a much needed hand to the neighbouring Warrumbungle Shire which has been hit hard this month after an extensive bushfire claimed 54,000 hectares of land and 53 homes.

Upper Hunter Shire mayor Michael Johnsen said he was pleased to be able to offer the shire some much needed assistance.

“I rang the mayor, (of Warumbungle Shire, Peter Shinton) to see if there was anything we could do to help.

“Of course we can always hand the money tins around to help with fundraising but we also wanted to be able to offer some practical assistance,” Mr Johnsen said.

The Upper Hunter Shire has since arranged to transport the council’s semi-trailer water cart, a converted milk tanker modified and licensed to cart potable water, to assist with the arduous post-fire clean up.

Warrumbungle Shire mayor Peter Shinton said he was overwhelmed with the support they had received to date.

“The fire is just about out thanks to the efforts of surrounding shires with their bulldozers, hardworking volunteers and fire services so now the clean-up begins.

“In many ways the recovery is harder than fighting the bush fire as so many people have lost their homes, livestock, fences.

“Some were underinsured, some not insured at all.

Cr Shinton said that since the bushfire had engulfed the district, blackened debris, sticks and mud continued to ‘fall from the sky’ contaminating domestic water supplies.

“In some areas we have had up to 50mm of rain and the debris and black mud that has fallen from the clouds is unbelievable.

“A lot of that debris is now on residents’ rooves and after the rain, in their water tanks, so we need to be able to flush those tanks out and replenish them with fresh water.

“Because fire retardants were dropped on houses as the fire wall came forward, of the 80 homes we managed to save, we also need to be able to wash away any remaining retardant so the water tanker will be put to great use,” Cr Shinton said.

As of last Friday the shire’s bush fire appeal reached $262,000 in donations.

Donations will be accepted at any Upper Hunter Shire office, Warrumbungle Shire office or log on to donate online to

neighbours: Mopra Rock stands tall and proud despite being ravaged by a devastating bush fire this month that has claimed 54,000 hectares and 53 homes across the Warrumbungle Shire.

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Medley bowls in Streaky

STREAKYBay Womens Bowling Club held their annual Medleys Day on
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Wednesday,January 23, sponsored by the Hotel Board.

Around16 ladies played in the competition, which was thoroughly enjoyed by all. Theweather was kind and there was a fun atmosphere, producing some great bowling.

TheClub would like to reproduce on Pennant Days, when they really need it.

RobStephens, representing the Hotel Board presented the winners with money prizes.

BettyKammerman, Isabel Brown, Jenny McEvoy and Gay Oswald were the big winners onthe day.

Jan Kenny, Kerry Johnson, Connie Robinson and AtholyHolland finished as runners up.

Medley winners: Rob Stephens of the Hotel Board presents to the winners, from left, Betty Kammerman Isabel Brown, Jenny McEvoy and Gay Oswald.

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LETTER: Breastfeeding is natural, but cover pregnant bellies

I HAVE been reading the many comments regarding that well-known TV personality’s comments on breastfeeding in public and find it very difficult to understand his reasoning.
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In this day and age when there are many beaches where nakedness is allowed and where his own medium depicts sexual encounters ad nauseam, it beggars belief that he can protest.

Apart from being entirely natural and certainly not sexual in any way, I think breastfeeding is a most beautiful sight – I wish more women would feed on demand, wherever they are.

A far more controversial topic is that of pregnant girls who parade their bellies like trophies.

I watched a young pregnant girl in Toronto a week or so ago. She was enormously pregnant and wore a tank top, and the ring in her navel, which had popped out, was septic and weeping.

I love pregnant women, but not like that.

What happened to those pretty smocks that ladies used to wear?

– Tom Edwards, Wangi Wangi

OUT THERE: What happened to those pretty smocks that ladies used to wear?

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Great day assure at Geurie Picnics

One Last Shot after winning the Peggy Fulwood Memorial Geurie Cup Cup last year. Pictured at the presentation is owner Sue McKinnon, jockey Ricky Blewitt, trainer and part-owner John McKinnon, strapper Justin Stanley and Terry Fulwood, son of the late Peggy Fulwood. Photo: JANIAN MCMILLAN (南京夜网.au).A calcutta tonight will kick- start the 2013 Geurie Picnic races.
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There’s no guarantee about the weather but patrons are assured of a great day out at the once-a-year races tomorrow.

That’s the view of club president Ray Fineran who has been working with a small committee to assure the meeting is another success.

“The Geurie Picnic Cup calcutta Friday night at the bowling club is an ideal way to start the weekend for us,” Fineran said.

“Tickets are currently on sale at the club and the Mitchell Inn Hotel and I’d like to think we’ll finish with a big pool.

“We’ll have some free hot nibbles and finger food and a phantom race call, which is always interesting.

“Then on Saturday we’ll head off to the races.

“There was a break of 10 years between race meetings at Geurie but now it’s penciled in on the picnic racing calendar and the people just love coming to the town.

“In a small community it’s not easy to attract sponsors for race meetings but we’ve been able to bring together total prize money of $12,000 to cover the five races and everything should be good.

“The nominations aren’t all that bad with 50 horses, including 11 for the main race which is the cup.

“The off-course entertainment will be good with all sorts of things happening for the patrons and their children. Myself, Ross Paxton, Rosemary Jackson, Farren Hotham and Tim Moses are part of the organising team and it should be fabulous.”

As you would expect the fashions on the field will be huge with several prize categories.

There will also be plenty on offer for the kids, including a jumping castle, face painting and novelty events between races – the latter sponsored by the Geurie Youth Club.

Fineran paid tribute to the business people at Geurie and around the district who have contributed to making the picnics successful.

“The Geurie Cup will be sponsored by Regional Auto Supplies but is also named to remember the contribution to racing in Geurie and the Central Districts Racing Association of the late Peggy Fulwood,” he said.

“Also coming on board are Outwest Pumps and Irrigation, Carter, Lindsay and Webber Stock and Station Agents; Don McDonald woolbrokers; Don Chad Wool; hay merchant and racing man Mick Nestor; and Wayne Lunn, a prominent owner who is also a shearing contractor.

“Without these people and their businesses we wouldn’t be able to provide the prize money needed to have the picnic races.

“We’re indebted to them for their contributions and look forward to seeing them at the races on Saturday, along with their staff and family and friends.”

The gates open at noon and admission prices are $15 for adults, $10 aged pensioners and children under 17 years free.

There will be a food and bars operating and no alcohol is to be brought into the racecourse.

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Fires to floods – Australia has it all

From fires to floods in a day – can our electorate get any more extreme? On Monday I visited the Coonabarabran Recovery Centre to get an update on where the community is up to in regards to fire recovery.
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There are still a number of people coming to the centre in need of their services. Therefore the centre will remain open and all agencies represented will be staying for some time to come still.

Rest assured, we are currently planning a formal emergency services de-brief meeting where the whole of the community will be invited to have their say.

And, of course, there has been widespread rain across Barwon where minor flooding has occurred. At this point no damage has been done, mostly only inconveniences being caused.

The rainfall has been welcomed in particular by the cotton industry as water levels were falling pretty fast as a result of such a hot and dry summer. Dryland farmers are also smiling from the rain which has helped set them up for winter crop planting. Not to mention the positive role this decent fall will have on stock feed levels.

Local Land Services Consultation Workshops

A series of workshops in Barwon have been scheduled to discuss and gather feedback on Local Land Services.

The workshops will enable direct consultation with the community to ensure the Local Land Services model best meets current and future needs.

The workshop Barwon locations and dates include:

Bourke – February 21, 11.30am- 2.30pm at Diggers on the Darling, 23 Sturt Street

Nyngan – February 22, 9am- 12pm at Nyngan RSL Club, 106 Pangee St

Moree – February 26, 9am-12pm at Moree RSL, 3 Albert Street

This is much more than an amalgamation of DPI, LHPA and CMAs – Local Land Services is a real opportunity to re-think how the NSW Government delivers agricultural and natural resource management services.

This is a significant piece of reform to improve services, accountability and transparency for rural and regional communities and we want to ensure people are aware of progress

A series of 21 workshops on Local Land Services will take place across the State from January to April.

The workshops will be led by John Keniry, as Chair of the Stakeholder Reference Panel, and Mick Keogh as an independent facilitator.

The workshops will cover the four pillars required to build the Local Land Services model: Governance, rating systems, functions and services, and boundaries.

The final draft of the Local Land Services regional boundaries has been released.

While the Stakeholder Reference Panel is broadly pleased with this map, there is still room for adjustments around the edges and people who cannot attend the workshops are invited to register any concerns via Have Your Say

Papers on governance; ratings systems; and functions will be posted on Have Your Say in January to help guide constructive input into the process.

Thumbs up

Happy Australia Day everybody. Wherever you spent it, I hope you had the opportunity to reflect on the beauty and opportunities our amazing country offers.

I spent the Australia Day holiday on Monday at Birriwa at the official opening of the Senior Constable John Ward Memorial Garden. John Ward died in the line of duty in 1865 and it is a credit to the people of Birriwa to still remember the sacrifice he made.

This was the perfect opportunity to appreciate the work the emergency services do for our state and country. The event was also in celebration of the 150-year anniversary milestone the NSW Police Force reached in 2012.

The winners of the Australia Day medals are also a great example of what our country has achieved and the advances that make Australia what it is today and in the future.

From Ita Buttrose winning Australian of the Year for the contribution she has made for women in media; to Akram Azimi, an Afghan refugee who settled in Australia 13 years ago and now a dedicated mentor to young Indigenous people and campaigner for people with disabilities, who received Young Australian of the Year. It sure does make you proud of your country.

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Next Council Meeting
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The next Ordinary Meeting of Narromine Shire Council will be on Tuesday February 19 2013 at Narromine Shire Council Chambers, commencing at 5.30pm.

Upgrades to Cale Oval

Residents are informed that Cale Oval will be closed to the public for the next two weeks so that Council can carry out upgrades to the oval’s irrigation system.

Warrumbungle Shire Mayor’s Bushfire Appeal

The Wambelong bushfire south of Coonabarabran has burned more than 47,000ha. The extent of the fire and the destruction in terms of loss of property, stock and destruction of wildlife is unprecedented in the area. Anyone who wishes to donate to the Warrumbungle Shire Mayor’s Bushfire Appeal can do so via a special account, details of which are at

Senior’s Week 2013

Senior’s Week will be celebrated during the week March 17 to 23, 2013.

A morning tea and concert will be held at Narromine this year, at the United Services Memorial Club on Thursday March 21. Further details may be obtained by phoning Suzanne at Council on 6889 9932.

One-way traffic flow in Derribong Street, Narromine

Pursuant to Section 122 of the Roads Act 1993, Council hereby gives notice of an order to temporarily regulate traffic on Derribong Street, Narromine.

One-way traffic flow on Derribong Street Narromine has been created in the area between Algalah Street (Seventh Day Adventist Church) and Manildra Street (saleyards).

Vehicles on this part of Derribong Street are only able to travel in the easterly direction towards the Manildra Street railway level crossing. This change is necessary to prevent excessive damage to the road pavement at the junction of Algalah and Derribong Streets.

Residents are encouraged to make themselves familiar with the changed traffic conditions in Derribong Street where the one-way condition applies. The changes may result in an inconvenience to some road users and your co-operation is appreciated.

Documents on Public Exhibition – 2012/2013 Fees and Charges

At the ordinary meeting of Council held December 12 2012, Council resolved to amend the fee for rezoning of the adopted fees and charges for 2012/2013 and place the draft fee change on public comment for 28 days.

Council is required to notify the public and provide the opportunity for submissions regarding this amendment to page 11 of the 2012/2013 Fees and Charges as follows:

The fee for an application for rezoning or change to minimum lot size is:

Stage 1- Base Fee $250, Per Additional Lot $50, Stage 2- Base Fee $1000, Per Additional Lot $200, Stage 3- Base Fee $3500, Per Additional Lot $700

The ‘Stages’ are defined as:

Stage 1 – Upon Initial Applicatiob; Stage 2 – Upon endorsement of Council; Stage 3 – Upon approval of the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure ‘Gateway’.

Anyone wishing to make a comment on the amended document can do so in writing addressed to the General Manager, Narromine Shire Council, PO Box 115, Narromine, NSW, 2821. Comments or submissions will be received up to 5pm Friday February 8 2013.

Community Workshops – “Have Your Say”

Council will be holding workshops with the community during February to assist with the development of the 2013/14 Delivery Program and Operational Plan.

If you would like to be involved and “Have your say” on the future direction of the Narromine Shire, please contact Councils Customer Service and Payments Centre on 6889 9999 to register your interest in receiving further information on the workshops.

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Woman in charge

History has been made this month with the Narromine Shire welcoming its first ever female police sergeant Sarah Johnston.
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The Narromine Shire welcomes its first-ever female police sergeant Sarah Johnston.

Sergeant Johnston, who has replaced Sergeant Darren Wilkins after his transfer to Dubbo, brings with her a wealth of experience.

“I was previously based at Brisbane Waters Local Area Command and before that based in Dubbo, so it’s nice to come back to a rural area,” Sergeant Johnston said.

“I started my role here on January 14 so have spent the past couple of weeks getting to know the troops and they are a great, fantastic bunch of very competent police officers, so that’s really good.”

Despite being the first female police sergeant in the Narromine Shire, Sergeant Johnston said she would be no different to any of her predecessors.

“I won’t do the job any differently to those here before me, however the reaction from the community may be a bit different,” Sergeant Johnston said.

“I absolutely love and am committed to the job and the challenges it presents; every day is different.

“It’s good to be in a smaller community though as I believe I will get to know people a lot quicker, however this role in the Narromine Shire will provide additional challenges that I haven’t dealt with before, especially more interaction with key community members and the media.”

Sergeant Johnston will take a prominent role with Narromine Eyewatch and is urging people to continue their support for this initiative, and of the police in general.

“We need to keep the message out there just how valuable Narromine Eyewatch is,” she said.

“And I want to encourage anyone with any information relating to crime to talk to us because if people don’t tell us things, we don’t know.”

Remember – if you have information about crime, witness a crime or see what you consider suspicious behaviour, contact the Narromine Police Station rather than posting on Narromine Eyewatch in the first instance.

Sergeant Johnston has moved to Narromine with her family; her husband who is a duty officer in Dubbo, and her two children, who attend St Augustine’s.

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Monitor your drinking habits

o A month off the booze may be calling; join febfast today.With drinking rates at a peak for women aged 45 to 54, now is the perfect opportunity to do an alcohol audit and check in with how risky your current drinking habits are.
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This is the message from leading women’s health organisation, Jean Hailes for Women’s Health, as the annual febfast campaign kicks off today, encouraging Australians to stop drinking alcohol for a month.

Young men drink at far riskier levels than older men, however when it comes to women, ABS figures show that only 9 per cent of women in their prime childbearing years drink at risky levels compared to 60 per cent of women aged 45 to 54.

Jean Hailes for Women’s Health psychologist Gillian Needleman said that drinking was entrenched into Australian culture.

“Having a few drinks has become the norm, whether it’s drinks with colleagues after work, at a weekend barbecue or night out,” she said.

“Alcohol can become a crutch that becomes a habit to rely on instead of seeking help and dealing with the issue.”

Excessive alcohol intake has both short and long-term health risks. Short-term effects include dangerous driving and violence leading to injury or even death. Long-term effects can include chronic conditions caused by injury or mood and anxiety issues.

“There are plenty of benefits to taking a month off the booze,” febfast National director Howard Ralley said. “Enjoy more energy, a better night’s sleep, better skin and even a better sex life according to previous febfasters!”

Ten tips to help break the habit of boozing

Do an audit on your alcohol habits to raise your awareness so you know what, when and why you are drinking;

Find other ways to relax or socialise – try walking with a friend instead of drinking;

Make special non-alcoholic drinks such as fresh juice and berries mixed with mineral water, ice and mint;

Sip your special drinks from a favourite wine or champagne glass;

Start with a non-alcoholic drink and alternate alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks;

Try low-alcohol drinks;

Avoid or minimise environments where you know you will find it hard to say ‘no’;

Try mixing with friends who don’t drink;

Learn to make choices and to drink, as with anything else, in moderation;

Remember, small changes can have a big impact on your health.

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More than 10 crop types in new trias

o The Department of Primary Industries (DPI) will sow almost 200 crop variety trials across the state this year.The Department of Primary Industries (DPI) will sow almost 200 crop variety trials in Trangie and across NSW in 2013 as part of the GRDC National Variety Trial (NVT) system.
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DPI technical specialist cereals, Peter Matthews, said work was underway planning this year’s program which would see DPI sow about 90 per cent of trials in co-operation with farmers on their properties.

“More than 10 different crop types will be trialled this year including durum wheat, barley, canola, faba beans, lupins and field peas,” Mr Matthews said.

“The trials are used to analyse performance in the areas of yield, grain quality, disease and crop management in different environments across NSW.

“Ultimately the best varieties make it through to release after an exhaustive and very thorough process.

“Nationally more than 630 trials are sown at over 250 locations each year as part of the NVT system.”

Mr Matthews said DPI would plant trials at four of its research centres:

o Wagga Wagga Agricultural Institute;

o Cowra Agricultural Research and Advisory Station;

o Trangie Agricultural Research Centre; and

o Condobolin Agricultural Research and Advisory Station.

The vast majority of trials will be planted on-farm across the State at locations including four research stations, they are Wagga, Cowra, Trangie, Condobolin, Lockhart, Walgett, Moree, Narrabri, Parkes, Merriwagga, Henty, Albury, Cootamundra, Ardlethan, Coonamble, Liverpool Plains, Cudal and Cumnock.

“The NVT trials evaluate the localised performance different varieties and are where candidate varieties can be inspected by growers and agribusiness at DPI/GRDC field days,” Mr Matthews said.

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Patchy rain hasn’t helped all producers

Dorothea Mackellar – oh yeah of “drought and flooding rain” prose. No doubt the climate change people are pointing their fingers fairly and squarely in your direction this week.
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How apt that our east coast deluge occurred over the Australia Day long weekend when most of the populace was up to its elbows in lamb sausages and XXXX.

From the grain market’s perspective – this answers at least one of the key points we raised last week regarding the “what could change this bullish sentiment” question.

Rain. It feels like we’ve had gutloads of it through much of Queensland and northern NSW – but it hasn’t necessarily reached everyone. In the short term, the largest influence is likely to be on market psychology, rather than a massive impact on the immediate domestic feed-grains supply and demand picture.

Sure, this will create a decent late sorghum planting opportunity in central Queensland, but further south the rain has been too late to have been of much benefit to standing sorghum crops. In fact, we are already hearing talk of sprouted grain in some earlier crops on the Darling Downs, and there will undoubtably be quality issues and potentially some yield loss around the Dawson/Callide region in central Queensland where up to 450mm of rain was recorded during the weekend.

Additionally, there has been flood and wind damage to road and rail infrastructure – particularly closer to the coastal areas – which could create logistical hiccups and delays in getting grain to port. And the further west you went, the less rain you got – which means we will still see plenty of cattle moving onto feed.

That said, there will be a greater willingness from some farmers to offload old season grain that they were otherwise holding as a “drought hedge”, now that they have confidence in either a late sorghum crop in central Queensland, or a winter crop in southern Queensland/northern NSW. This could increase “nearby” availability for consumers – thereby delaying a potential squeeze in supply.

The wash-up – pardon the pun – is definitely a reduction in the outright bullish sentiment, but that doesn’t mean that traders have turned bearish. This changing mood is reflected in the slight $2-3/MT adjustments to sorghum and feed wheat values so far this week.

To put things in perspective, it is useful to look at where the rain fell.

For Queensland’s central highlands the falls ranged from about 50-125mm. Official Bureau of Meteorology statistics have Emerald and Clermont at 69mm and 74mm respectively, with Comet on 121mm and Capella on 157mm.

For the Dawson Callide the rain was generally heavier, with 100mm to 450mm filling the gauges. Moura recorded 116mm; Theodore 127mm; Thangool 307mm; and Baralaba 424mm.

On the Darling Downs falls were far more varied and generally heavier in the east. Bureau of Meteorology readings included Dalby 156mm; Milmerran 83mm; Condamine 63mm and Pittsworth 151mm.

South-west Queensland saw heavier falls along the border areas, with Goondiwindi 235mm and Talwood 128mm. St George only managed about 28mm, while Roma received 62mm.

Northern NSW cropping regions typically saw falls of 150mm plus along the Newell Highway from Narrabri to Moree, but areas only 100km further west were lucky to receive 25mm.

From a long term perspective, this rain will:

a) set up a reasonable late season sorghum crop in central Queensland;

c)build a healthy subsoil moisture profile for winter crop planting in much of southern Queensland and the eastern half of north-west NSW

d) send another healthy flush of water down the northern reaches of the Murray Darling river system.

So, whilst we doubt the rains will do much to alleviate the short term tightness in the northern NSW/southern Queensland feed grains balance sheet, we may see a greater willingness from producers to turn old crop grain into cash. And on the longer-term time horizon, the whole supply chain will be feeling a little more comfortable with new crop production prospects.

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Local Land Services workshop planned

Farmers, landowners and interest groups have been invited to attend a workshop on Local Land Services, the new regional services delivery body that will be operational from January next year.
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A workshop will be held at the Wellington RSL on Monday February 11 from 1pm-4pm.

Natural Resources Commissioner and chair of the Local Land Services Stakeholder Reference Panel, Dr John Keniry AM, said the key to creating a purpose-built and locally managed organisation was to make sure local people and organisations were involved in the process from the start.

“That’s why we extend an opportunity to the local community to attend the workshop and put their ideas forward and to also hear about the good progress made so far,” he said.

Dr Keniry said the workshops would cover fundamental elements of the Local Land Services model including:

o Governance;

o Regional boundaries; and

o Services.

“We are particularly looking for input on these key pillars of Local Land Services which will form the building blocks of the new organisation,” Dr Keniry said.

Dr Keniry said the workshops would be interactive and outcomes from the meetings would inform the development of Local Land Services.

“The workshops will be focused on making sure attendees get actively involved in developing ideas and flagging needs and requirements specific to their region.

“I will be joined by Mick Keogh, executive director of the Australian Farm Institute, who will facilitate, along with other members of the Local Land Services Reference Panel.”

Background papers are being placed on the Have Your Say site for participants to read prior to attending a workshop.

Dates for all locations are listed at

From January 2014, Local Land Services will deliver functions currently provided by Catchment Management Authorities and Livestock Health and Pest Authorities and some of the agriculture advisory services of Agriculture NSW, part of the Department of Primary Industries.

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Bid to improve proposed Ovine Johne’s management plan

Producer representative bodies WoolProducers Australia and the Sheepmeat Council of Australia have vowed to improve on the proposed Ovine Johne’s Disease (OJD) National Management Plan.
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A discussion paper tackling the key areas of producer concern is being developed by the two peak bodies to assist in engaging industry in the review of the proposed OJD management plan.

The boards of both groups met on Monday, January 14, to determine the best way to unite industry behind a new national approach to preventing the spread of the insidious wasting disease OJD.

WPA president Geoff Power and SCA president Ian McColl acknowledged that OJD was a difficult issue for industry, with stakeholders approaching the problem from a variety of positions.

They said their organisations would work with industry to find common ground on a new national management plan.

“OJD causes significant economic loss to those producers with infected flocks, and every effort should be made to slow and ideally minimise its spread,” Mr Power said.

“It’s clear that the system in place since 2008 has not stopped the spread of the disease, therefore maintaining the status quo is not an option.

“WPA and SCA are committed to developing the most effective management system possible to prevent the spread of OJD, and which is also fair and widely supported by producers.”

Mr McColl said the two groups had begun the process of identifying areas within the proposed national management plan which could be revised.

“A combination of strategies will be required by producers and industry to limit the spread of OJD, including on-farm biosecurity measures, risk assessment tools and vaccination,” Mr McColl said.

“How those strategies are most effectively combined is what we will be examining with the help of industry.

“We will be providing more detail to producers on the discussion paper and the policy review process in coming weeks.”

A revised national management plan for OJD is due to be implemented by industry on July 1.


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Channel Seven ravenous for ratings in 2013

Channel Seven launched its 2013 ratings season in Perth with a star-studded soiree at Cottesloe’s newly-refurbished Beach Club.
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Delicacies and champagne were served throughout the evening but the hottest item on the menu was My Kitchen Rules judge Manu Feildel, who was there to hype up the hit show with Perth contestants Andi Thomas and Josh Maldenis and mother-daughter team Candice and Lisa Clarke.

Riding on a high after MKR’s ratings coup over Masterchef, Feildel said the show’s success was due to it having “normal” people.

“I think people can relate to it a lot more because they are normal people cooking in their own kitchen and who hasn’t done that?” he said.

Feildel, who is staying in Cottesloe with girlfriend Clarissa Weerasena, laughed off the attention and marriage proposals lavished on him and fellow judge Pete Evans by fans of the show.

“It’s funny, it’s nice to be liked, I suppose, but I won’t be getting married soon,” Feildel said.

He denied that jewellery designer Weeranesa had dropped any hints about what she wanted in her own engagement ring and said “we are happy the way we are now”.

Perth pair Andi Thomas and Josh Maldenis spent the evening fielding text messages from family and friends as their episode played out on-air.

“We really stuffed up in the first episode but we get better and better,” Thomas said.

“The instant restaurant didn’t go to plan; there were some definite stuff-ups.”

She cringed over the “dating hipsters” label they had been given on the show, but said it wasn’t too strange watching the show back because “what you see on the television is what we’re like in real life, we’re not putting anything on”.

A surprise performance from X Factor winner Samantha Jade delighted guests and among the 150-strong crowd were Seven’s Angela Tsun and Mark Gibson, 96FM’s Ian Blackley, Carmen Braidwood and Mark Pascoe, 6IX’s John Burgess, former MKR contestant Daniela Pirone, Mix 94.5’s Fred Botica, Paul Shepherd, Dean Clairs, Shane McFarlane and Kymba Cahill, 92.9’s Paul Hogan, Lisa Fernandez, Troy Nelson and Ross Wallman and boutique owner Zara Bryson, who had styled the slender singer for the night.

Basil Zempilas played MC for the evening and introduced Seven Network chief executive Tim Worner, Seven Perth managing director Mario D’Orazio and Seven West Media chief executive Chris Wharton, who nodded to Seven’s initial success in 2013, before moving to a show reel of Seven’s upcoming offerings.

Firm favourites My Kitchen Rules, Downton Abbey and Revenge featured heavily on the reel, which also introduced newcomers including home renovation show House Rules and celebrity diving school Celebrity Splash.Follow Tweet WAtoday on Twitter

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