Debate over plans for Railton’s free van site

Sunday, January 20th, 2019

A stoush has erupted over aKentish Councilproposalto lease afree camper van area at Railton to the Campervan andMotorhome Club of Australia for the exclusive use of its members.
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Happy campers: Rodney McCarthy, of Railton, chats to Queenslanders Peter and Chris Blackley and Michael and Chris Chilcott at the free van site.

The plan has upset some Railton ratepayers who wroteto the council to object. Rodney McCarthy, president of the Railton and Districts Development Association,said the councilwas urged to consult morebefore adecision ismade.Kentish MayorDon Thwaitessaid the CMCA approached the council to develop the siteand waskeen to establish new parks in Tasmania. The CMCA told the councilitwould bring more vansto Railton.

“TheCMCA hasbig plans to improve the amenities at a number of parks which they would manage and get a caretaker in to look after their parks,” Councillor Thwaitessaid. It would cost CMCA members $6 a night to stay at the Railton site.

“We were trying toget as many low-cost campers as we could there,which seemed like a good idea,but Rodney is not convinced, andhe is asking us to look at analternative, and I think that’s fair enough,” the mayor said.

Hesaid the council would discuss the objections raisedata workshop on Tuesday night. Herejected theideathe council did not publicise itsplans well enough. “It was discussed at one of the regular community meetings we have every six months and people at the meetingwere in favour of it.”

Councillor Thwaites said this wasstill the consultation period andthe council hadnot made a commitment. Hesaid alease arrangement or development application would haveto go before council. Councillor Thwaites said if theCMCA did leasethe site, others could camp at afree site offered by the Railton Hotelor at Sheffield or Lake Barrington. He said the council toldthe CMCA anyoneshould be able to use thedump point if the lease went ahead.

“We’re not doing it for the moneywe’re trying toincrease the people staying there. Whatever we do wewill have to take a gamble,” the mayor said.

Mr McCarthy said the free area isused byself-contained campervans and caravans. He said itwas established by the community which negotiated to get the council to extend it. He said a Tasmanian Community Fund grant was used to add outdoor exercise equipment andbusinesses helpedwith donations. “Thereason the council isdoing this is so itcan wash itshands of it and minimise itsresponsibility for the area,” he said.

“I’m wary a deal has been done.”

Mr McCarthy said he understood adevelopment application has beenlodgedto take over the free camping area,which includesRailton’s onlyoff-leash dog area, for the exclusive use of CMCA members.“Forevery person they attract I think they are going to turn someone away,” he said.

“Overthree days I surveyed campers and 75% of people staying there were not CMCA members. It’s a town asset at the moment and the council wants to hand that to an exclusive cub which we’re not happy with.”

Mr McCarthy saidhe had nothing against CMCA members camping atRailton.

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Journey complete – Chewton man delivers proposed legislation to Canberra

Sunday, January 20th, 2019

Michael Smith with his bill outside Parliament House on Wednesday.Chewton man Michael Smith has returned home after completing an epic 650-kilometre trek from Chewton to Parliament House in Canberra last Wednesday.
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Mr Smith succeeded in his mission to personally deliver a proposed piece of legislation which would require the government to gain parliamentary approval before going to war.

He feels strongly that the decision to go to war should not be left in the hands of one person but should be made by the entire parliament.

After positive meetings with both sides of government on Wednesday and Thursday he is hopeful his legislation will be passed.

Mr Smith set off for Canberra on October 23 and was welcomed with open arms by many supporters along the way.

He arrived at midday on Wednesday and delivered the legislation to Bendigo Federal MP Lisa Chesters.

While Mr Smith said he was able to meet with all the main parties and cross benchers, unfortunately he was unable to attend the scheduled meeting with the Shadow Defence Minister Richard Marles.

However, Ms Chesters delivered a speech to parliament about Mr Smith’s journey and proposed bill, as he sat proudly looking on in the gallery.

“To walk 600 kilometres to come here to raise this issue is a fantastic effort and I know the people of Chewton are extremely proud of Michael,” Ms Chesters said.

“When someone takes the time to do something like this it reminds us of the great responsibility we have in this place. When one of our constituents takes this kind of effort we should take time to discuss this in our party room, in our caucuses to see what more we can do in this area. Congratulations Michael on your efforts,” she said.

Ms Chesters plans to bring the matter to the attention of the Labor caucus.

“I believe we’re going to be able to progress this, there will be more meetings and discussions this week,” Mr Smith said.

“I can’t tell you what an honour it has been to do this and how much I’ve loved every step of the way, the hills, valleys, streams, people, places, communities, I dived into a new world each day. It’s incredibly rich out there,” he said.

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Union helps fight breast cancer

Sunday, January 20th, 2019

GOOD CAUSE: Australian Workers Union secretary Peter Lamps says the union has been involved in fundraising for the McGrath Foundation.
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The McGrath Foundation’s Port Pirie breast-care nurse has been supported by members of the Australian Workers Union.

This has resulted from the foundation’sreceiving more than $33,000 raised at the annual union members dinner at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre.

More money is likely to be directed to the foundation as the fundraising continues next year.

Union state secretary Peter Lamps said in Port Pirie on Friday that some members had been touched by breast cancer.

“One of our male organisers actually had breast cancer,” he said.

He said the fundraising now and in future created scope for a breast-care nurse to be appointed at a location in South Australia by the foundation and supported existing services including Port Pirie’s.

“Our members attended the dinner from around the state –about 550 were from Port Pirie and Whyalla,” he said.

“We understand the money will in part fund a breast-care nurse in South Australia.

“We will meet the foundation before Christmas to see how we can make next year’s fundraising even bigger and better.”

Mr Lamps revealed that he had been indirectly affected by breast cancer.

“My wife had a double mastectomy,” he said.

“If you are the male, there is only so much you can do –you do need the support –it touches very deepty for both genders.

“My wife is fine now and lives life very well.

“It is just a pity there are not more breast-care nurses.

“I am glad they put them into the country areas, for example Port Pirie’s breast-care nurse Ros Mayfield.”

The foundation was startedwhenAustralian Test cricketer Glenn McGrath’s late wife, Jane, was diagnosed withbreast cancer.

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Welcome to NSW Touch State Cup

Sunday, January 20th, 2019

Countdown to Christmas
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Mayor Peter Besseling thanks everyone who made the Countdown to Christmas such a great success and welcomes people to the NSW Touch State Cup.

What a wonderful evening we enjoyed last Thursday for the annual Countdown to Christmas community celebration.

There was certainly something for everyone as we came together for the eventful and hilarious mascot race, the main parade which was led by our Paralympian Ryley Batt, the wonderful entertainment on the main stage, the lighting of the tree and of course the spectacular fireworks finale.

A huge thank you must go to the many volunteers and community groups who gave so freely of their time andhelped make the event such a success.

It is this true community spirit that really makes the Port Macquarie-Hastings such a great place to live.

To the many businesses that also supported Countdown to Christmas, your contribution is greatly appreciated.

If you couldn’t make it last Thursday, visit Council’s Facebook page for a video and photos from the evening.

NSW Touch State Cup

This week we welcome more than 239 teams to our region as they compete for bragging rights in the 40th running of the NSW State Touch Cup.

More than $3million will be injected into our local economy during the event, which is evidence of the growing popularity of touch football as both a competitive sport and for many a more casual form of recreation and exercise.

If you haven’t seen a game before you’ll be amazed at the skills and fitness of our top senior players.

There will be a lot of people aboutso expect increased traffic over the weekend, and if you are going to the airport please allow extra travel time.

Competition will take place at the Regional Sporting Complex & Tuffins Lane fields, kicking off this Friday 2 December with competition across the weekend, and finals being played on Sunday.

For more information including game times visit nswtouch南京夜网419论坛/representative/state-cup

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Pasture legume to bring saline areas back to life

Sunday, January 20th, 2019

GAME-CHANGER: SARDI senior research officer Amanda Pearce and Seednet national production manager Chris Walsh in a messina plot at SARDI’s Conmurra site, which grew 6.5t dry matter a hectare during winter.A salt-tolerantpasture legume is set to make a big difference insaline and waterlogging-prone areas ofsouthern Australia.
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SARDI and the Department of Agriculture and Food WA have spent more than a decade developing the messina cultivar and itsexclusive rhizobium, or nitrogen fixing bacteria.

Commercial partnerSeednet willmake 20 tonnes to 30t of seed available to growers in2017.

DAFWA senior research officer Phil Nicholssays the self-generating annual legume willoffera productivity boost forfarmers with salinity and waterlogging issues.

Messina came to the fore from more than 40pasture legumes collected from Mediterranean environmentsin aFuture Farming Industries CRC project.

Progress was delayed by the hunt fora rhizobium strain which could persist during summer in saline areas, after 70 per cent of early nodulation failed in the second and later years.

“A salt-tolerant rhizobiumhas been found, (and) it is criticalmessina is inoculated with it, otherwise regenerating plants will be yellow and stunted and unlikely to survive,”Dr Nicholssaid.

“Where evenbarley grass struggled to growwe have a nitrogen fixing legume to go with perennial grasses, such as puccinellia.”

Trials haveshown messina – a type of Melilotus –has similar protein and energy valueto clovers and lucerne.

Dr Nichols says sowing messina in a mix with salt-tolerant grasses orwith balansa clover and burr medics or even with saltbush was likely to be the best fit.

“You tend to find animals prefer messina when they also have access to other legumes, herbs and grasses,” he said.

“Once it starts floweringit is a little less palatable but the advantage is it can set seed without being grazed out.”

SARDI senior research officer Amanda Pearcesays it is a “game-changer”,especially with previoustrial sites regenerating for up to three years.

“It isreally exciting after such a long time to get to this point,” she said.

At Conmurrathis year itproduced6.5 tonnes dry matter a hectareand was impressive at a Cooke Plains saline demonstration site.

Grazing trials on non-saline land at Kybybolite haveshownliveweight gains in ewes grazing pure messina are slightly less than Monti sub clover, but animal production on saline land will be far superior from messina than barley grass alone.

Dr Nichols said a meat tasting panel also foundno difference in meat quality between lambs grazing messina and Monti subclover.

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$550 million redevelopment

Thursday, December 20th, 2018

ANNOUNCEMENT: NSW Premier Mike Baird announces the plans at Nepean Hospital today.Workwill begin immediately to upgrade Nepean Hospital’s emergency department as part of a $550 million redevelopment announced today (Monday) by the state government.
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NSW Premier Mike Baird visited the hospital to make the announcement, which will see a paediatric assessment and treatment area and a safe assessment room established in the emergency department, as well as the upgrade of the mobile duress systems and CCTV.

A new $26 million car park will also be delivered in addition to the $550 million worth of works.

“[This is] a $550 million upgrade to deliver the facilities that this community expects and deserves,” Mr Baird told reporters. “We will be delivering a world class hospital right here in Nepean that will continue to serve the catchment across western Sydney.

“This hospital …is long overdue for the sort of upgrade we’ve announced, we’ve done the work, we’ve secured the funding, and now we’re going to get on with it.”

Under the plans, chemotherapy chairs will be doubled from 15 to 30, the hospital’s MRI will be replaced, and planning for a third radiotherapy bunker and additional linear accelerator for cancer services will also be delivered.

A new helicopter landing pad will also be constructed.

An artist’s impression of the works at today’s media conference.

But the Opposition claimed the government had been“dragged kicking and screaming” into making the announcement, under pressure from staff, the community and the ALP.

There were alsoquestions surrounding whether the redevelopment would deliver a hospital big enough for the future.

Chair of the hospital Medical Staff Council, Dr Nhi Nguyen, told reporters doctors and nurses had spent “a lot of time” in the planning process and a clinical services plan had been submitted to the ministry.

“One of the biggest concerns for us is the projections in regards to the growing population and what we see every day hasn’t been fully factored in,” she told reporters. “At the moment the projections don’t include the increase in housing that will occur as a result of Badgerys Creek [airport].

“So when we talk about a build that takes us to 2025without that population projection, we already are worried that it’s not going to be enough.”

But Mr Baird and Health Minister Jillian Skinner said the government was “investing at record levels” and had already delivered, with continuous work on the site since coming to office.

Chair of the hospital Medical Staff Council, Dr Nhi Nguyen, speaks to media after today’s announcement.

“You can’t just make these sort of announcements, you have to do the planning work and there is significant planning work that goes into it,” he said. “We allocated the planning money to undertake that, we have been doing that, and obviously this is the culmination of that work.”

Mrs Skinner said the announcement was the second biggest by the government since 2011, and was the result of careful planning that would also utilise the network of care provided by surrounding facilities.

“Our planning always takes into account future projected growth for the foreseeable future but also new models of care, the networking with other hospitals,” she said.

“The model of care has changed, we provide services in different ways and that’s what we’ve taken into account in coming up with these fantastic new designs for this spectacular building.”

Opposition Health Spokesman Walt Secord, said the announcement was made to save Penrith MP Stuart Ayres following the deposing of former Lindsay Liberal MP, Fiona Scott, at this year’s federal election.

“This announcement is only about saving Jillian Skinner and Stuart Ayres,” he told reporters at a press conference outside the hospital. “We will be watching this project carefully.We will be making sure the Baird Government sticks to its timetable and actually delivers.”

Londonderry MP Prue Car said the community had “forced” the government into making the announcement.

“We all know this announcement only occurred because of overwhelming community pressure,” she said.

Mr Ayres said the announced ensured western Sydney had access to “world-class health facilities matched with world class health care”.

“This is the growth corridor in NSW with the strongest population growth and the strongest demand for health care,” he said. “Today is a massive step in making sure for the first time this community gets ahead of the game when it comes to delivering health care.

“It’s taken far too long to get to this point, but we have dealt with what has been an historical under investment.”

Penrith MP Stuart Ayres, Mulgoa MP Tanya davies, Health Minister Jillian Skinner and Premier Mike Baird at today’s announcement.

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Letters to the Editor

Thursday, December 20th, 2018

COMPANION: Keith Lofthouse’s beloved whippet Brooke was a companion and friend. She died midway through November. Picture: CONTRIBUTEDFarewell toBrookeTHEYsay a beloved pet will tell you when it’s their time to go.
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The hardest thing is getting their masters to agree with them.

Inevitably, love will lead them to leaving that final call until a little too late.

Brooke was never the same happy, energetic whippet after she was bitten or stung in an unknown attack at the tail end of 2014.

She was on a drip for three days and only came home because she wouldn’t take food at the vets. The homecoming was borne of desperate hope that she might recover in the comfort she was always blessed with.

And she did revive; at least 80 per cent of her did, after losing interest in romping with balls of all sorts, and with ‘Mousie’her favourite fluffy toy.

Brooke was not long back when Piper, her big sister, succumbed, not to the lumps and bumps that were said to be cancerous, but mostly to the fits that her medications finally ceased to fix.

Until she went deaf, Piper protected her sister with a fierce bark, but brindle-coloured Brooke was never heard to bark even once in her 17 years.

Months after Piper was gone, Brooke would do circuits of the house, searching for her, but never ventured near Piper’s grave.

Brooke rarely chewed on bones and declined the dental treats that would have kept her teeth in better nick.

For most of 2016 she had to be fed by hand, but still she had to be coaxed, encouraged and cajoledto eat small amounts of soft or finely chopped food, most of which she would nudge away.

For months I nursed her through good days and bad. Her kidneys were failing, but she was a fighter who rallied, weakened and recovered again, hanging on for dear life.

In her last weeks, her weight tumbled from 9.4 to 7.2 kilograms of skin and bone.

On Friday, Remembrance Day, Nic Pridan popped by. We sat in some rare sunshine, joked and laughed for a while.

We both teared-up, but tried to hide them, as men do, when I told my young friend he should say goodbye to Brookie, one last time.

Brookie had once loved the warmth of the sun, while snuggled into a nest of blankets stretched out on the deck, but she had given up on that too.

I sat with Brooke all through that unhappy night, on a couch at arm’s length from the warmth of bedding on her leather lounge. She slept peacefully; I did not.

Once, she perched her head on an armrest, and with questioning eyes seemed to ask, “What’s so special about this night?” Perhaps even, “Why don’t you go to bed?”

And softly I said, “You won’t eat. You can’t keep yourself clean anymore. You have to be helped into your chair. Your hind legs are giving way. It’s time”.

I tried to call the vet before 9am, but couldn’t muster distressing words. I opted to take the coward’s way out by texting a message, but rang by mistake, sputtered something while fighting the knot in my throat, and managed to be understood.

Brooke hadn’t stirred that morning, but eerily scrambled from her bed the moment the vet pulled up in the drive. She was as good as deaf and could not have heard.

She hadn’t been able to digest the liver snacks she loved, but was treated to her first in months. You can always tell when a dog smiles, with a simple flexing of their ears.

Brooke was kissed, caressed and comforted as the needle slipped in. The vet warned that she might give a last gasp. I was relieved when there was none.

Just whispers:“It’s alright to go, my beautiful girl,” deep sobs … and an empty silence.

Brooke was wrapped in warm, blankets, kissed and cuddled again after the vet had gone.

Let’s get real here. There is no heaven for dogs, just a grave for Brooke in an abandoned vegie patch, buried beside her sister, Piper, for eternity in the ground, but forever in my heart and mind.



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Narooma receives two grants for next stages of Memorial Hall upgrade

Thursday, December 20th, 2018

NSW Minister for Transport and Infrastructure and Member for Bega Andrew Constance congratulated Narooma School of Arts committee for its successful Grant applications for the next stages of work on the community-owned Memorial Hall. With him are School of Arts representatives Laurelle Pacey, left, John Doyle, Bob Aston, Joy Macfarlane, Jenni Bourke (half hidden), Ingeborg Baker, Mina Watt and Marg Ingamells. wo people not in the photo but instrumental in securtng the grants were Anne McCusker and Annmaree O’Keefe. Narooma School of Arts will receive two grants from the NSW Government totaling $101,619 towardthe final stages of its $300,000 project to upgrade and revitalize the Memorial Hall, which operates as the Kinema.
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Member for Bega Andrew Constance visited last week for the announcement and said it was“simply fantastic”that the management committee hadsecured these grants to enable this work to be done.

Committee spokesperson Laurelle Pacey said the committee was“absolutely delighted”with the news and with the Government’s support.

The first grant secured was $53,964 through the NSW War Memorial Grants Program in the Community Development Fund. The hall is the town’s memorial to its First World War soldiers.

“The War Memorials Grant is towards a large wraparound awning to provide more undercover space for patrons, repairs to the exterior and repainting in art deco colours, and restoration of the granite plaques on the front façade, all under the guidance of the shire’s heritage consultant,” Ms Pacey said.

This application was supported by Narooma RSL Sub-Branch.

The second, a $47,655 grant from the NSW Arts Regional Capital program, will include the construction of usable wing space on the stage and dressing rooms as well as contribute to the awning costs.

Mr Constance said Regional Capital funding supportedimportant small-scale infrastructure projects that maintained resources and facilities and builtcommunity participation in arts and cultural activities.

“This funding category encourages collaboration and partnerships in the regions, with NSW Government support being matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis with other funding from local government, community groups and organisations,” he said.

Minister for the Arts Troy Grant said the Government washelping revitalise arts and cultural facilities across NSW to ensure people can experience diverse activities regardless of where they live.

Ms Pacey said Narooma’s Memorial Hall wasnow 90 years old.

“The management committee is part way through an ambitious program to enhance it so it functions better as a venue for film and live performances, as well as to improve patron comfort,”she said.

“We’re currently renovating the bathrooms and hallway downstairs in art deco style, the era when the hall was built. It will be completed in the next week or so.”

She said the committee still neededto raise money from the community to complete the project, hopefully also from donations from Kinema patrons put into the Kinema Kate mannequinin the hall’s foyer.

The management committee leases the community-owned hall to independent cinema operators, John and Janette Griffiths.

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Town left in dark

Thursday, December 20th, 2018

The staff numbers at Blayney Essential Energy depot could be halved, and possibly even completely closed, after Essential Energy was given approval to cut 600jobs across NSW.
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On Wednesday November 23 the full bench of the Fair Work Commission granted the power companypermission to implement the forced redundanciesby July 2018.

Electrical Trades Union deputy secretary Dave McKinley said that the company’s true target was to halve it’s current workforce down to only 1600 by 2019, a move that would almost certainly see the depot closing, and response times increasing.

“Once 2018 is over, the company will have open slather on how many workers they can sack,” he said.“It means that depots like Blayney, Trundle, Molong could well close and call outs would need to come from under-staffed depots in Cowra, Bathurst or Orange.”

Mr McKinley said that Essential Energy were refusing to announce just what positions were being axed.

Essential Energy Chief Executive Officer John Cleland said thatcompany officials would be visiting 60 NSW sites in the next few days.

“We have no plans to implement the provisions before Christmas, except for those employees previously identified as redeployees (around 30),” he said.

Following the massive swing against the Nationals in the Orange by-election, Mr McKinley said that the employment figures since the coalition came to power in 2011 show just what can happen when government’s don’t listen.

“In 2011 there were 4,400 essential energy workers, now there are 3,200 and they want to halve that by 2019 to only 1600,” he said, “The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers are going to make big inroads into regional areas at the next election unless the local members stand up.”

The unions called on Nationals leader John Barilaro to intervene to save regional jobs.

“I am as concerned as everybody in relation to job losses, but I’m also concerned about prices of electricity for businesses and homeowners and making sure we have reliable power supply. We’ve got to find a balance,” he said.

“We will be therein place to support Essential Energy workers, let’s hope they will do this in a way that it doesn’t impact on regional communities and does it in the best way to support those workers.”

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Solly’s passion for rural sector earns high praise

Thursday, December 20th, 2018

GREAT WORK: Stock Journal columnist Ken Solly received the inaugural Rural Consultant of the Year award in the 2016 Australian Farmer of the Year awards in Canberra recently.
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​LONG-TIME Stock Journal columnist Ken Solly has been named the inaugural Rural Consultant of the Year at the 2016 Australian Farmer of the Year awards.

Ken received the honour at a ceremony in Canberra recently andhas received an overwhelming amount ofcongratulationssince winning the award.

“I’ve received about 130 texts and emails,” he said.

Ken won the award for hisNaracoorte-based consultancy that spans anumber of areas including farm business management,decision-making,sheepproduction improvement andrural journalism.

He also specialises in rural training and development,project management,conference speaking, coaching and mentoringand human resource management.

He has been running his consultancy business for the past 15 years.

Since it began, Ken has held various roles including chief executive officer of the MacKillop Farm Management Group and has run training and development programs for Meat & Livestock Australia.

“A lot of my work across the years has focused on succession mediation, farm finances and commercial viability of new projects,” he said.

“I’venever been one for telling people what they should do because if they haven’t made the decision themselves, they will be less likely to drive hard for the end result.

“I think my greatest strength is building up self-belief in individuals, so if they want to take on a new venture, by building up their self-belief and confidence, they will be much more driven to see it through.”

Ken’s award nomination came from SheepConnect SA co-ordinator Ian McFarland.

“Ken is a gentleman who has a real rapport with other farmers, and iswilling to share his experiences andknowledge,” Mr McFarland said.

Ken’s work has taken him right across Australia.

He has been especially active in encouraging and supporting young farmers in applying for Nuffield scholarships.

“I’ve done a lot of coaching with Nuffield scholars to help them with their applications and helping them run through interviews,” he said.

Ken has mentored a number of young consultants through Australian Wool Innovation’s Lifetime Ewe program in SA and Best LambBest Woolin Vic.

He also helpedin the establishment of Lucerne Australia.

“A lot of people also come to me with an idea and I do what I can to try and make it happen for them,” he said.

“I’ve always believed you create your own luck, and that’s certainly been true with my career.”

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