Swampy’s saga over

MOYNE Shire has abandoned legal action against controversialpoultry farmer Swampy Marsh.
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MOVED ON: Moyne Shire is no longer taking legal action against Swampy Marsh’s Mortlake operation after he moved out in July. Picture: Rob Gunstone

The council lodged anapplication to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) seeking an orderto prevent Mr Marsh using theMortlake property for animal husbandry and asa warehouse.

But the long running saga between Mr Marsh and the council appears to have ended with Mr Marsh declaring the council had “finally bloody listened to reason”.

A council spokesman said the VCAT order was to prevent theoccupierusing theTownsend Streetproperty for animal husbandry and asa warehouse without a permit.

“As the premises have now been vacated, council has ceased proceedings at VCAT,” he said.

Mr Marsh said he had left the Mortlake site by the end of July and he had only two batches of chickensthere during two emergencies.

He said he submitted his defence to VCAT that the property had been used twice for a period of between eight to nine weeks.

“It was only ever an emergency situation and sadly the Moyne ratepayers have had to pay for their stupidity again,” he said.

He said the chickens had been housed there while he developed new methods for brooding and two hiccups hadforced him to find a home quickly for the birds.

“I was told to apply for a permit and that would take one month,” he said.

“Well in one month they would have been dead. I wanted to get a retrospective permit.”

Mr Marsh said shire officers then told him to remove the chickens but he believed if he did they would die and then he would face animal cruelty charges.

“I don’t want the $25,000 fine or the extra publicity so I just told them to bugger off,” he said.

The decision to withdraw the VCAT proceedings brings to a heada long-running battle between the shire and Mr Marsh, which dates back to 2013 when he blamed council inspectors for leaving a hole in a fence thathe saidallowed dogs to enterand maul chickens.

The shed, on commercial-zoned land behind one of the town’s supermarkets and across from residential land, was home to about 3000 chickens.

Mr Marsh said he still heldthe council responsible for the death of the chickens but said he couldn’tafford to take it any further.

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From a Pastor’s Pen

I was getting ready to fix a little item around the house this week, which meant that I needed to stick something that had come adrift.
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Before I started, I realised I needed to prepare the two surfaces properly before I tried to do the sticking.

Preparation is a critical step in any task that we might set out to undertake, isn’t it, whether it’s doing some glueing, painting, planting or even getting treatment for an illness?

If we don’t undertake thorough and proper preparation, the job we are starting to undertake has less chance of lasting as long as we would like.

If we consider that preparation is important for something in our lives here and now, how much more important is it to prepare for the time when we are going to move from our earthly lives to our lives beyond those on earth.

Jesus taught this principle in the parable of the wise and foolish builders.

The wise builder used a firm foundation and the foolish built on sand.

Here Jesus reminds us the importance of having the right preparation in our lives by building our hope and life on the truths of the Bible.

It is having this preparation, or foundation, that will allow us confidence to know we will enjoy the wonder of being in God’s presence forever.

Have you prepared for eternity, properly?

Brian Dixon, of Eden Church of Christ,

phone 6496 3367.

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Man lifts palm tree off crushed co-worker

An arborist who became pinned beneath a runaway palm tree at Stanwell Park has been airlifted to hospital.
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The 38-year-old man and a co-worker cut down a five-metre palm on Sheridan Crescent shortly before 1pm Wednesday.

It is understood the man was trimming the tree on an inclined surface once it was on the ground.

It rolled over his toes and across his body, then came to rest on his chest.

The man’s co-worker was able to free him by lifting the tree, which had a diametre of about 30cms and appeared to weigh more than a single man could lift.

NSW Ambulance Inspector Norm Rees said the man suffered stomach and chest injuries, and a possible fractured pelvis.

He lost consciousness for a short period before he was airlifted to St George Hospital.

He remained at the hospital in a stable condition late Wednesday afternoon.

File picture

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Library book-ed out

Whyalla Public Library has recorded a huge jump in visitor numbers in the last financial year. Pictured were library assistant Lynette Steele and city librarian Catherine McIntyre.The community has buried its head in the books with customer visits to the Whyalla Public Library up by more than eight per cent in the 2014/15 financial year.
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The library recorded 86,316 visits, an average of 245 per day, which is an increase of 6490 from the previous year.

City librarian Catherine McIntyre said the library had recorded an increase in numbers across the board.

“The demand for library services has increased over the last financial year as Whyalla Public Library firmly establishes its place as a central information, digital and community hub, adapting to meet the evolving needs of the local population,” she said.

“9035 people are members of the library, that is 40.9 per cent of Whyalla’s population, and not everyone who uses the library service have joined as members.”

Ms McIntyre put the increased visitation down to a demand for the library’s new digital services with the library offering much more than just books.

“This rise, an increase of 6,490 visits on the previous year, is in response to newly discovered library services and opportunities and is expected to continue as the library meets the demands of our information and technology driven, knowledge-based society,” she said.

A number of new digital strategies have recently been introduced to the library including online training resource LyndaLibrary and digital magazine catalogue Zinio.

Whyalla City Council group manager community Migelle Hiscock said she was pleased the facility was continuing to attract the community and was being well used.

“We are very proud of the Whyalla Public Library, and from the numbers of people using the facility, I think it demonstrates that the community is proud of the facility too,” Mrs Hiscock said.

“The library offers many wonderful facilities and services, and I am glad residents appear to be making full use of these services.”

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Going with the grain

A JOINT approach between Tasmanian grain growers, the dairy industry and a farming systems group has the potential to significantly boost the state’s wheat crop.
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Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) southern regional panel chair Keith Pengilley, of Conara, said Tasmania once had a foremost position in wheat production.

“We used to produce enough grain in Tasmania to feed the colony in Sydney,” he said.

Now, there are plans to reduce Tasmania’s reliance on grain imports, particularly for the dairy sector.

“In July, the GRDC committed to a five-year research investment project, with the Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) Australia, DairyTas and Southern Farming Systems to look at finding the best wheat and barley genetics from around the globe for high-yielding feed grains which would perform reliably in Tasmania,” he said.

“We want to get the agronomy and management right. How do we – as growers and advisers – maximise the yield potential around some of those varieties, which may not even exist in Tasmania at the moment.”

He said Southern Farming Systems would help to ensure the right agronomic package was available by looking at plant growth regulators, fertilisers and weed control.

Tasmanian grain could see a boost through partnerships and collaboration between industry bodies.

DairyTas is involved to provide advice on what kind of cereal to grow.

“There’s no point in growing something, at the end of the day, if it doesn’t suit the dairy farmer’s system,” Mr Pengilley said.

Tasmania imports 200,000 tonnes of feed grain, “which gives you some idea of the market potential, to start with, before you even look at any growth in dairy”.

Lachstock Consulting’s Lachie Stevens addressed a forum about new and emerging markets for Tasmanian grain.

“It’s probably not as big as it once was, compared with other states – we have more options in Tasmania, the poppy industry has grown and the vegetable industry has really grown,” Mr Stevens said.

“Freight equalisation doesn’t necessarily help grain growers, as grain coming in is subsidised at $40 a tonne.

“We are spoilt for choice and sometimes that can distract you from doing a few things well.”

Mr Stevens said the industry could grow significantly but needed capital.

“We need to find capital partners; we can’t borrow the money and there are not that many local investors – so we need to find other options to get capital into the state

“The ground is there, the infrastructure is there, the water is there, the market is there – we just need the desire and capital to make it work.”

Micro brewer Dave McGill, of Moo Brew in Hobart, said there was a role for supplying the local industry with malting barley.

“I talked about branding,” he said. “Farmers have a unique story, with lots of history, and as a brewer, we can leverage quite heavily off that agricultural side of things.

“The craft beer sector has a growing need for quality, malting-grade barley, along with the Tasmanian distilling industry.

“It is receiving some serious accolades around the world and we are trying to get an appellation tag, showing it is only Tasmanian barley used in the whisky.”

He acknowledged malting barley was an expensive crop to grow, and processors needed to be prepared to pay a premium price in order to support farmers.

In the same way as brewers were encouraging the hop industry, they were also locking in forward contracts for sale.

Moo Brew would take between 800 tonnes and 1000 tonnes of malting barley a year, which was too small for many of the larger operators.

“Hopefully, we can appeal to some of the smaller farmers, who have a lower yield but higher margin,” Mr McGill said.

The craft beer industry was growing at 10 per cent a year, which should encourage farmers to continue to grow the barley it needed, he said.

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