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Ministers challenge: Ill drive you out to see how bad roo plague is

As farmers battle to maintain pastures in the drought, they have hailed the NSW Governments relaxation of regulations on culling kangaroos on farm as timely and overdue.

Baradine farmer and cotton agronomist Brad Purdy, “Raheen”, said the action was needed to address an issue that is on “everyones lips” around where he lives (and also in most of central and western NSW).

Every night he can hear shooting around his property and every night he finds about 50 roos up his driveway close to the house. In the bare paddocks which he is trying to protect for his 230 cows and 270 weaners, roos have got into the grass, eating out the cores. There were 48 kangaroos in that paddock he was trying to save on Tuesday.

On the road from “Raheen” to Coonamble at night he says you have to crawl along at 50km/h as you will see nothing short of 300 to 500 roos. There was some spilled grain near a bridge where 60-70 roos were at the grain, he said. Hes had two professional shooters on “Raheen” but they ..

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As farmers battle to maintain pastures in the drought, they have hailed the NSW Governments relaxation of regulations on culling kangaroos on farm as timely and overdue.

Baradine farmer and cotton agronomist Brad Purdy, “Raheen”, said the action was needed to address an issue that is on “everyones lips” around where he lives (and also in most of central and western NSW).

Every night he can hear shooting around his property and every night he finds about 50 roos up his driveway close to the house. In the bare paddocks which he is trying to protect for his 230 cows and 270 weaners, roos have got into the grass, eating out the cores. There were 48 kangaroos in that paddock he was trying to save on Tuesday.

On the road from “Raheen” to Coonamble at night he says you have to crawl along at 50km/h as you will see nothing short of 300 to 500 roos. There was some spilled grain near a bridge where 60-70 roos were at the grain, he said. Hes had two professional shooters on “Raheen” but they have done little to dent kangaroo numbers. They run out of tags very quickly.

The new regulations announced by Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair will give Mr Purdy more control to cull roos, easing many areas of red-tape, including having to visit a National Parks office to obtain culling licences and tags.

Mr Purdy has already just bought guns to do his own culling. “I will also get a recreational shooter on as well and that will make a bit of a difference,” he says. “Kangaroos have been increasing in volume for years and years and the problem is on everyones lips at the moment. Every night I can hear someone in the vicinity shooting.”

The new regulations will cut red-tape and allow farmers to:

  • apply for culling licences and report numbers culled by telephone or email
  • no longer be required to attach a tag to the carcase of culled kangaroos
  • use the carcases for non commercial purposes
  • allow more than two shooters to cull roos on a property

Times are tough to say the least around Baradine and Mr Purdy only survives by his off-farm agronomy service. He hasnt planted a crop for two years and can hardly register how much rain hes had this year its been so small. He fears now with any rain the roos will quickly move in on any new pick. Anyone bordering a forest or national park was facing the same predicament as hungry roos seek water and feed, moving far into farmland areas. Thats on top of kangaroos already on farmland.

“Its pretty futile when you are trying to protect a paddock. Ive got the cattle in smaller 100 acre paddocks to preserve some paddocks, but the roos have just moved in on those other ones,” he said.

Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair told The Land he pushed through the new regulations because it was obvious kangaroos were not only damaging farms that were already struggling with drought, but also causing a major public safety issue on the states roads. Mr Blair also said it was an animal welfare issue as well, as kangaroos struggled in the drought, and farmers saw them dying of starvation.

He also had a personal experience with the dangers of kangaroos. A friend cycling in the Southern Highlands was knocked off his bike by a wayward kangaroo and his friend suffered two broken vertebra.

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“I challenge anyone to say there has not been an explosion in kangaroo numbers in NSW,” Mr Blair said.

“But I wont debate this in the city, I will get them in the passenger seat and drive them out west and they can see for themselves. You can talk to any farmer and they will say the same thing of how bad the kangaroos have been. Not only that, its become a welfare issue for kangaroos with farmers seeing them die in distress.

“We only achieve 13 per cent of the cull quota and I wont debate the issue of kangaroo culling with anyone until we get to that 100 per cent of the allowed cull quota figure.”

“We are making it easier for landholders to manage high numbers of kangaroos. The changes will reduce red-tape and streamline processes for non-commercial licences.”

Government will also support landholders to connect with commercial harvesters which will provide landholders an additional tool to manage kangaroos.

This story Ministers challenge: Ill drive you out to see how bad roo plague is first appeared on Daily Liberal.

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Australia

Sydney seaplane crash: Exhaust fumes affected pilot, report confirms

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The pilot of a seaplane that crashed into an Australian river, killing all on board, had been left confused and disorientated by leaking exhaust fumes, investigators have confirmed.

The Canadian pilot and five members of a British family died in the crash north of Sydney in December 2017.

All were found to have higher than normal levels of carbon monoxide in their blood, a final report has found.

It recommended the mandatory fitting of gas detectors in all such planes.

British businessman Richard Cousins, 58, died alongside his 48-year-old fiancée, magazine editor Emma Bowden, her 11-year-old daughter Heather and his sons, Edward, 23, and William, 25, and pilot Gareth Morgan, 44. Mr Cousins was the chief executive of catering giant Compass.

The family had been on a sightseeing flight in the de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver plane when it nose-dived into the Hawkesbury River at Jerusalem Bay, about 50km (30 miles) from the city centre.

The final report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) confirmed the findings of an interim report published in 2020.

It said pre-existing cracks in the exhaust collector ring were believed to have released exhaust gas into the engine bay. Holes left by missing bolts in a firewall then allowed the fumes to enter the cabin.

“As a result, the pilot would have almost certainly experienced effects such as confusion, visual disturbance and disorientation,” the report said.

“Consequently, it was likely that this significantly degraded the pilot’s ability to safely operate the aircraft.”

The ATSB recommended the Civil Aviation Safety Authority consider mandating the fitting of carbon monoxide detectors in piston-engine aircraft that carry passengers.

It previously issued safety advisory notices to owners and operators of such aircraft that they install detectors “with an active warning” to pilots”. Operators and maintainers of planes were also advised to carry out detailed inspections of exhaust systems and firewalls.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55862128

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Australia unlikely to fully reopen border in 2021, says top official

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Australia is unlikely to fully open its borders in 2021 even if most of its population gets vaccinated this year as planned, says a senior health official.

The comments dampen hopes raised by airlines that travel to and from the country could resume as early as July.

Department of Health Secretary Brendan Murphy made the prediction after being asked about the coronavirus’ escalation in other nations.

Dr Murphy spearheaded Australia’s early action to close its borders last March.

“I think that we’ll go most of this year with still substantial border restrictions,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Monday.

“Even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated, we don’t know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus,” he said, adding that he believed quarantine requirements for travellers would continue “for some time”.

Citizens, permanent residents and those with exemptions are allowed to enter Australia if they complete a 14-day hotel quarantine at their own expense.

Qantas – Australia’s national carrier – reopened bookings earlier this month, after saying it expected international travel to “begin to restart from July 2021.”

However, it added this depended on the Australian government’s deciding to reopen borders.

Australia’s tight restrictions

The country opened a travel bubble with neighbouring New Zealand late last year, but currently it only operates one-way with inbound flights to Australia.

Australia has also discussed the option of travel bubbles with other low-risk places such as Taiwan, Japan and Singapore.

A vaccination scheme is due to begin in Australia in late February. Local authorities have resisted calls to speed up the process, giving more time for regulatory approvals.

Australia has so far reported 909 deaths and about 22,000 cases, far fewer than many nations. It reported zero locally transmitted infections on Monday.

Experts have attributed much of Australia’s success to its swift border lockdown – which affected travellers from China as early as February – and a hotel quarantine system for people entering the country.

Local outbreaks have been caused by hotel quarantine breaches, including a second wave in Melbourne. The city’s residents endured a stringent four-month lockdown last year to successfully suppress the virus.

Other outbreaks – including one in Sydney which has infected about 200 people – prompted internal border closures between states, and other restrictions around Christmas time.

The state of Victoria said on Monday it would again allow entry to Sydney residents outside of designated “hotspots”, following a decline in cases.

While the measures have been praised, many have also criticised them for separating families across state borders and damaging businesses.

Dr Murphy said overall Australia’s virus response had been “pretty good” but he believed the nation could have introduced face masks earlier and improved its protections in aged care homes.

In recent days, Australia has granted entry to about 1,200 tennis players, staff and officials for the Australian Open. The contingent – which has recorded at least nine infections – is under quarantine.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55699581

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Covid: Brisbane to enter three-day lockdown over single infection

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The Australian city of Brisbane has begun a snap three-day lockdown after a cleaner in its hotel quarantine system became infected with coronavirus.

Health officials said the cleaner had the highly transmissible UK variant and they were afraid it could spread.

Brisbane has seen very few cases of the virus beyond quarantined travellers since Australia’s first wave last year.

It is the first known instance of this variant entering the Australian community outside of hotel quarantine.

The lockdown is for five populous council areas in Queensland’s state capital.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the measure on Friday morning local time, about 16 hours after the woman tested positive.

Ms Palaszczuk said the lockdown aimed to halt the virus as rapidly as possible, adding: “Doing three days now could avoid doing 30 days in the future.”

“I think everybody in Queensland… knows what we are seeing in the UK and other places around the world is high rates of infection from this particular strain,” she said.

“And we do not want to see that happening here in our great state.”

Australia has reported 28,500 coronavirus infections and 909 deaths since the pandemic began. By contrast, the US, which is the hardest-hit country, has recorded more than 21 million infections while nearly 362,000 people have died of the disease.The lockdown will begin at 18:00 on Friday (08:00 GMT) in the Brisbane city, Logan and the Ipswich, Moreton and Redlands local government areas.

Residents will only be allowed to leave home for certain reasons, such as buying essential items and seeking medical care.

For the first time, residents in those areas will also be required to wear masks outside of their homes.

Australia has faced sporadic outbreaks over the past year, with the most severe one in Melbourne triggering a lockdown for almost four months.

A pre-Christmas outbreak in Sydney caused fresh alarm, but aggressive testing and contact-tracing has kept infection numbers low. The city recorded four local cases on Friday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government has pledged to start mass vaccinations in February instead of March as was planned.

Lockdown interrupts ‘near normal’ life in Brisbane

Simon Atkinson, BBC News in Brisbane

At 8:00 today I popped to the local supermarket for some bread, milk – and because it’s summer here – a mango. I was pretty much the only customer.

When I went past the same shop a couple of hours later it was a different story – 50 people standing in the drizzle – queuing to get inside as others emerged with bulging shopping bags. “Heaps busier than Christmas,” a cheery trolley attendant told me. “It’s off the scale”.

Despite the “don’t panic” messages from authorities, pictures on social media show it’s a pattern being repeated across the city.

While shutdowns are common around the world, the tough and sudden stay-at-home order for Brisbane has caught people on the hop here after months of near normality.

But while such a rapid, hard lockdown off the back of just a single case of Covid-19 will seem crazy in some parts of the world, I’ve not come across too many people complaining.

And I don’t think that’s just because Aussies love to follow a rule. This is the first time the UK variant of the virus has been detected in the community in Australia.

And nobody here wants Brisbane to go through what Melbourne suffered last year. Even if it means going without mangoes.

Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55582836

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