Farmers look to future at drought summit

Farmers are urging the federal government to look to the future as Prime Minister Scott Morrison prepares to reveal his latest plans to tackle the drought at a national summit.
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Mr Morrison has foreshadowed an announcement at Friday’s meeting in Canberra, where leaders and agriculture industry leaders will come together.

The National Farmers’ Federation wants a new agreement between commonwealth and state governments to provide a national approach to drought preparation, response and recovery.

NFF president Fiona Simson said while government support for the current drought was important, farmers would be better served by a holistic plan for dry times.

“I believe it is a well accepted view, from the prime minister down, that we can’t afford to continue to be reactive in responding to drought,” Ms Simson said.

The NFF will also propose effective and affordable agricultural insurance products be available to farmers to manage drought.

“We’re calling on the government to consider introducing a 150 per cent tax incentive for agricultural insurance premiums for five years,” Ms Simson said.

The bolstering and refinement of the Rural Financial Counselling Service and the Farm Household Allowance are also priorities for the NFF.

In an entree to the summit, Mr Morrison announced a $15 million grant program for regional community groups on Thursday.

Mr Morrison told reporters there would always be criticism of the government’s drought response inside the “Canberra bubble”, but communities backed more money to support local economies.

Ms Simson says the summit is a chance to get the farming sector together to take action on a long-term drought strategy.

“It is an opportunity not to be squandered.”

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the event would be a chance to review the government’s drought settings, praising Labor for their bipartisan approach to the issue.

“It’s important to understand the story of agriculture is still a good one – one of just add rain,” he told parliament.

A new drought finance task force bringing together major agricultural lenders, the government and the National Farmers’ Federation had its first meeting on Thursday.

NSW firearm amnesty nets thousands of guns

A sampling of the 8000 firearms turned in during a New South Wales gun amnesty.Police hope the 8300 weapons surrendered to NSW authorities during the latest gun amnesty will put a dent in the killing power of the state’s criminals.
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More than 1300 rifles, 400 shotguns and thousands of handguns were surrendered over the three months, NSW Police said on Thursday.

However, -wide there are still more privately owned guns and illicit firearms in circulation today than ever before.

University of Sydney gunpolicy成都模特佳丽招聘 research estimates there were more than 3.57 million legal and illegal firearms owned by civilians in in 2017.

In 1996, the year of the Port Arthur Massacre, there were an estimated 3.2 million guns, the research shows.

A historic 1851 navy six-chamber percussion revolver and eight .303 Lee Enfield bolt action repeater rifles were among the notable weapons handed in during the latest NSW amnesty.

About 80 per cent of the total guns collected were from regional areas with towns on Sydney’s fringe and farming communities identified as hotspots.

Police Deputy Commissioner Jeff Loy says the amnesty reduces opportunistic gun crime and lowers the risk of accidental shootings.

But he acknowledges criminals still seek out firearms for their trade.

“We understand that organised crime will always go to firearms for their criminal acts,” he told reporters in Sydney.

“But I think the community has shown very strong conviction today to really ensure that these (8300) firearms are off the streets of NSW.”

The Howard government’s gun buyback following the Port Arthur massacre saw the number of guns nationally drop by almost 700,000 but in the decades since the total has crept back up to surpass the previous all-time high.

Despite the increase in guns, the number of licensed firearms owners is close to its lowest point.

In the late 1980s, the last time there were more than 3.5 million guns in , there were more than 2.38 million licensed owners. But in 2016 there were just 816,000.

Data released by the ABC last year under freedom of information laws showed some residents of Sydney and Newcastle have assembled legal arsenals of up to 300 guns per person.

But the number of illicit firearms has also grown – last year there were an estimated 414,000 nationally, gunpolicy成都模特佳丽招聘 suggests.

Between 2006 and 2016 that number was hovering between 250,000 and 267,000.

NSW Police say the latest amnesty follows the success of a national operation in 2017 that resulted in nearly 25,000 guns being given up in NSW alone.

Mr Loy said getting a combined 33,000 guns out of circulation across the state was “a positive story”.

Catherine Hill Bay bowlo set to be demolished but long-term use of the club’s site remains unclear

VIEWS: Catherine Hill Bay Bowling and Community Club.Catherine Hill Bay Bowling and Community Club will be given a“last hurrah” on Saturdaybefore being demolished, but the long-term use of the coastal site remains uncleardespite plans for a new multi-use communityfacility.
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The club –built by locals and opened in 1954 – wasclosed by Lake Macquarie council in December because of asbestoscontamination. It wasslated for demolition this month.

The club had faced various financial battles over the years and closed brieflybefore being leased off council by community membersin 2012.

Up until itsclosure in December, ithad mainly been run by volunteerswhofocusedon social bowls, raffles and hostingevents, including weddings.

Now the picturesque club and its storied history is set to have one last community interactionon Saturday at ‘Farewell Catho Bowlo’.

‘Last hurrah’ for picturesque coastal bowling club WHAT A SPOT: Bowlers at the picturesque club in 2006. The Catherine Hill Bay Men’s Bowling Club still exists and plays out of Belmont.

AS IT STANDS: The now closed Catherine Hill Bay Bowling and Community Club. The building is set to be demolished in coming months and the site returned to natural parkland. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

HISTORY: Nancy Smyth with a picture of local WW1 soldiers which was salvaged from the club. The picture will be donated to an RSL. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

WHAT A SPOT: The club in 2006.

VINTAGE: Catherine Hill Bay Bowling Club in use in the mid-1950s.

BANDING TOGETHER: Life-long friends Sybil Mascord and Barb Martin, both of Catherine Hill Bay, in 2013. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

BANDING TOGETHER: Club secretary manager Lyn Hall prepares for the 2013 fundraiser for the RFS, following severe bush fires.

BANDING TOGTHER: A donations box on the bar in 2013. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

DESTRUCTION: Lyn Hall in scorched bush at the back of the club for a story about a fundraiser for local firefighters in 2013. Picture: Peter Stoop

STANDING TALL: Lyn Hall at the club in 2013 when it was struggling to stay open. Picture: Peter Stoop

STANDING TALL: Lyn Hall at the club in 2013 when it was struggling to stay open. Picture: Peter Stoop

TROUBLE: Lyn Hall with concerned members outside Catherine Hill Bay Bowling Club in 2011 when the club planned to close its doors. Picture: Phil Hearne

TROUBLE: Lyn Hall with concerned members outside Catherine Hill Bay Bowling Club in 2011 when the club planned to close its doors. Picture: Phil Hearne

RELIEF: The club are a Land and Environment court decision not to go ahead with a residential development in 2009.

RELIEF: The club are a Land and Environment court decision not to go ahead with a residential development in 2009.

RALLY: Debate over a resort development in 2002. Foreground Sybil Mascord. Picture: Brock Perks

CONCERNED: Fighting a rate rise in 2002 – Kate Northwood, 93, and Dorrie Trowbridge, 90, at the club. Both were life members who joined the club in the mid-1950 s. Picture: Darren Pateman

CONCERNED: Fighting a rate rise in 2002 – Kate Northwood, 93, and Dorrie Trowbridge, 90, at the club. Both were life members who joined the club in the mid-1950 s. Picture: Darren Pateman

VINTAGE: Catherine Hill Bay Bowling Club in use in the mid-1950s.

TweetFacebookHerald alsoreported in June ofMr Nicholson’s idea to relocate Catho pub to the bowling club site.

Catherine Hill Bay Progress Association president Sue Whyte said any new “integrated multi-usefacility”must“offer everything that we had before plus more” in order to cater for the suburb’spopulation boom.

“The population of Catherine Hill Bay is set to rise within the next 15 years by 1300 per cent,” she said.

AS IT STANDS: The now closed Catherine Hill Bay Bowling and Community Club. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

“It’s an enormous amount of people and we have to have the facilities to cater for them.”

She said the CHBPA was“currently writing to council to try and get someclarity” as there had been a bit of conjecture about whether the surf club would be upgraded to include new community space, oranew facility built on the bowling club site.

“The facilities at the northern end have to be built before the surf club,” shesaid.

“The new surf club is going to have to be moved back because it is in a hazard zone, but it is not falling into the sea in the next 15 years.

“We’d like to have playing areas, change rooms, desperately need toilets around graveyard beach, andwant to have a bowling green and other activities.”

Ms Smyth said the closed club was “sadly missed” by locals who enjoyed Sundays either on, or by the green.

“We don’t have a community facility anymore,” she said.

“Council seem pretty sincere about their hope to develop it with the sports field and bowling green.

“Hopefully that’s what is going to happen.”

Indi independent happy for Nats challenge

Cathy McGowan (R) says she looks forward to a potential challenge from Nationals’ Bridget McKenzie.Cathy McGowan has three words for the major parties trying to win her seat back.
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“Bring it on.”

The independent MP for Indi is also threatening to withdraw support for the coalition government if the Nationals bring Barnaby Joyce back as leader.

Nationals deputy leader Bridget McKenzie is moving her Senate electorate office nearly 300km to Wodonga in Victoria’s northeast, in preparation for a potential run at Ms McGowan’s seat.

“I hope Bridget makes her announcement pretty soon that she’s running,” Ms McGowan told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.

“I would look forward to her as a candidate.

“We’ll have National party, we’ll have Liberal party, we’ll have independents.”

Mr Joyce criticised Ms McGowan in her local newspaper for her threats about withdrawing confidence.

“Cathy, my door is always open if you wish to discuss anything with me that could be of such weight that you would make a public statement like you did,” Mr Joyce told The Border Mail.

“Alternatively, please desist with the gushy charade that is part of the disingenuous patter that you partake in every other time we meet.”

Ms McGowan said she probably was “gushy”, but there was a lot of anger in her country electorate about how the Liberals dumped Malcolm Turnbull.

Regional and rural ns would “not be happy” with a change of leadership in the Nationals, she said.

Nationals frontbencher Michelle Landry again hosed down speculation a challenge to Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack is imminent.

“Politics is a tough business, Michael’s our leader now and he has the support of our party room,” Ms Landry told reporters.

Last week she conceded Mr Joyce was likely to become leader again at some stage.

To contest the Nationals leadership, Senator McKenzie needs to be in the lower house.

Her Senate term does not expire until mid-2022.

Ms McGowan would not say if she would contest the next election.

“I’m working on a succession plan, so whether it’s this term or next term we haven’t quite got to that space,” she said.

“But at some stage I’ll stop being the member for Indi.”

Injuries as Typhoon Yutu hits Marianas

Super Typhoon Yutu has crossed over the US commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands as the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane, making it the strongest storm to hit any part of the US this year, the National Weather Service says.
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Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marina Islands’ delegate to US Congress, said the territory will need significant help to recover from the storm, which he said injured several people.

In a telephone interview with The Associated Press from Saipan, Sablan said he has heard reports of injuries and that people are waiting at the island’s hospital to be treated. He could not provide further details or official estimates of casualties.

“There’s a lot of damage and destruction,” Sablan said. “It’s like a small war just passed through.”

Nearly 200 federal emergency workers were in the Marianas to assist.

Maximum sustained winds of 290km/h were recorded around the eye of the storm, which passed over Tinian and Saipan early on Thursday.

Tinian suffered a direct hit. Saipan and Tinian will be unrecognisable. Fallen trees could isolate residents, and power and water outages could last weeks, the weather service warned.

Recovery efforts on Saipan and Tinian will be slow. All ports were closed, and flights into the Northern Marianas were cancelled.

The Northern Marianas have a population of about 55,000 people.

Waves of six to 12 metres were expected around the eye of the storm, and flooding is likely, forecasters said.

A typhoon warning was in effect for Saipan, Tinian and Rota. A tropical storm warning was in place for Guam and other southern islands.