Greece implements ’emergency plan’ as daily COVID cases pressure health system




Greece tightened restrictions on movement and extended a lockdown in more areas of the country to stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic after a surge in new infections has piled pressure on its health system.

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Subiaco suffering intensifies amid feud over crumbling buildings


“I can understand the frustrations and concerns and I suspect if I was a business owner I would feel the same way but we do have a process to follow and the council has acted quite quickly in this regard,” Mr Frewing said.

Even if the City of Subiaco reopens one lane in the coming days, Hay Street won’t fully reopen until Sanur foots the bill to stabilise and repair the buildings, which could take up to two months.

The buildings are showing signs of serious damage.Credit:City of Subiaco

Sanur, which owns several blocks in the heart of Subiaco, has filed with the council to demolish both properties to build a commercial precinct on the site. The application is currently being assessed by the City of Subiaco, a process that can take up to 90 days.

It has since also flagged legal action against the local government over their building orders for the repair works, a move which locals fear could further delay the full reopening of Hay Street.

When asked about the legal challenge on Wednesday afternoon, Mr Frewing urged Sanur to think about the damage the closures had already caused local businesses before moving forward.

“We feel the businesses have been inconvenienced for too long as it is. We are aware that Sanur may take some form of [legal] action, obviously, we are prepared for that as well,” he said.

“They obviously have their own interests and their own agenda. We’d like to see Hay Street open as soon as possible with their cooperation.”

The City of Subiaco has pledged to provide advertising and promotional help for businesses affected by the closure but it is yet to determine what the support would look like.

Malcolm Mackay from Mackay Urban Design provided a statement to a special council meeting last month on behalf of Sanur saying the company purchased the buildings under a demolition order from the City in the 1980s, remediated them and given them an extended lease on life for 30 years, which had taken heavy investment.

The causes of the structural integrity problems were complex and the buildings had now reached the end of their lives.

“Contrary to public opinion, 424-436 and 440 Hay Street are not listed on any heritage inventory and, therefore, are not heritage buildings,” the statement said.

“The buildings have been identified as making some contribution to the character of this section of Hay Street, which is described in the City’s policy framework as a heritage precinct. However, this does not confer heritage status on them or require their retention.

“Sanur has told the City on numerous occasions over the last year, both via the planning manager and the [chief executive] about its concerns in relation to the structural integrity of the buildings and that retention was not a realistic option. Recent events have proven Sanur’s concerns to be correct and it is now in everybody’s best interest for the buildings to be demolished as soon as possible.”

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Melbourne Rebels coach Dave Wessels says his team’s challenge of playing on the road is a motivator in Super Rugby AU


Melbourne Rebels coach Dave Wessels knows that if his side can make the Super Rugby AU final this season — or even better, win it — the way his team has dealt with the deja vu feeling of playing a domestic competition on the road will have been a major factor.

“Yeah, definitely, but we’ve still got a long way to go,” he told ABC Sport this week, from his team’s home-away-from-home base in Canberra.

“We were disappointed not to get our first win against the Reds (last weekend in Brisbane), we feel like we let a chance slip there.

“And that’s what we’re chasing right now, we just want to win one game, and then once we’ve won that one, we’ll try to win two games, and then three games.

“Right now, the focus is on trying to beat a very good Brumbies team who are playing very good at home.”

After spending the entire 2020 Super Rugby AU season on the road, it’s been another rough start to this season’s campaign for the Rebels.

It was one thing to face both finalists from last year — still the overwhelming favourites in 2021 — in their first two games, but then they were confronted with the immediate need to get out of Victoria as the state entered its snap lockdown on Friday, February 12.

The day ended very differently to the overnight team camping trip Wessels had planned. Where he thought the team would “play the guitar around the fire and have a few beers”, they instead had to make for the Victoria-New South Wales border on just two hours’ notice.

“They had to get home, and some of them were probably an hour away from home, had to get home and pack and then immediately get in their cars and drive and try to hit the border before it closed at midnight.

“And to be honest, we weren’t sure where we were going to stay.

Melbourne Rebels haven’t played a home game at AAMI Park in over a year.(

AAP: Dan Peled

)

The Rebels had seen this movie before, having faced exactly the same scenario last year, a move which allowed the hastily arranged Super Rugby AU competition to get off the ground.

It was so similar this time around that Wessels copped a bit of grief when he delivered the news.

“Yeah, it’s funny, because they told us we were going to be gone for five days last year, and of course, we were away for three months.

“This time when we left, they told us it was going to be five days again, so when I announced this to the team, there was a bit of mirth and laughter from the team.”

Rushed planning and logistics on the run have become something of a Rebels specialty, and Wessels explains that moving 65 players, staff, and some partners at a moment’s notice is “nothing like booking a hotel online for a weekend with your wife”.

Personal stories are littered throughout the squad and the sacrifices made have become motivators.

Not all partners could make the trip, with plenty of families — including Wessels’s own — still juggling school commitments. Some members of the squad didn’t get to see their kids before fleeing the state, while one of the club’s physiotherapists was due to be married the weekend the squad had to shift to Canberra.

Thankfully, the travelling squad and the families left at home have been getting great support from the Melbourne Rebels organisation, and from Rugby Australia.

Rebels coach questions interstate rules

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“We’ve managed the expectation of our kids and families, and just told them we’ll be home when we can be home, and that sort of thing. It feels like things are looking a lot better in Melbourne, because there’s been no cases for a while,” Wessels said.

But interstate politics is never far away when it comes to border closures, and the Rebels coach raises some reasonable questions when it comes to those interstate decisions impacting rugby.

“If we’re not allowed into Queensland for whatever reason, why is that the problem of the Melbourne Rebels?” he asked.

“Why is that not the problem of the Queensland Reds? And if we can’t get into Western Australia, why is that not the problem of the Western Force?

“Why are we the team that has to be on the road, when our borders are open to other states? We can travel freely to many parts of Australia, and yet we’re the team that’s forced to go on the road again.

“Probably the Reds, and certainly the Brumbies and Waratahs have not really had to worry about much discomfort at all over the last few months, whereas we’ve only had one training session this year at our home base of AAMI Park.

“The rest of the time, we’re having to use other facilities, make a plan, extra travel, all this other stuff.

Rugby union team sitting in the stands getting ready for a team photo
Melbourne Rebels remain in good spirits despite being on the road for another year.(

Facebook: Melbourne Rebels

)

As it stands, it’s still only the Rebels and Force to have been impacted by state borders closing.

After both teams spent all of the 2020 season based in Canberra or along the New South Wales north coast, and the Rebels were forced back on the road at the start of this season, the Force also had to delay a pre-season match against the Brumbies by a few days, to allow them to get back into Western Australia safely.

The Brumbies and Rebels also swapped their rounds three and nine matches, to allow the Rebels to safely travel to Perth in round four after being in Canberra, rather than Melbourne.

Some forward planning and many crossed fingers saw 17 players and staff — not needed for the Perth trip — head back to Melbourne this week, partially solving the problem of getting upwards of 30 cars from the national capital back to the Victorian capital.

They all hope to reunite in Melbourne in less than a fortnight.

Playing for the big ‘V’

“There’s little personal stories around it. But I’m also mindful of the fact that we’ve got a great job. I mean we stay in a great hotel, we’ve got some really good people on our team and we enjoy spending some time together, and that sort of stuff,” Wessels said.

“We’re certainly not sitting around feeling too sorry for ourselves, it is what it is, we’ve got to get over it, and certainly the teams that we’re playing don’t really care. We’ve just got to deal with them and perform well.”

He said the team was not just confident about getting the job done against the high-flying, try-scoring Brumbies this weekend, but of going further than losing the qualifying final to Queensland last season.

“Everyone really just wants that first win for each other. The boys are all making these sacrifices and we want to play for each other.

“And everybody’s watching us from Melbourne. We haven’t played at home for more than a year now, and we just want people to watch us on TV or wherever and know that we’re representing them, and just be proud of the way we play.

“It means a lot to these guys.”

Super Rugby AU — Round 3

Friday: New South Wales Waratahs v Western Force, Sydney 7:45pm AEDT

Saturday: Brumbies v Melbourne Rebels, Canberra 7:45pm AEDT

Queensland Reds have the bye.

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Bending The Bars Exhibition – 40 Years Since Decriminalising Homosexuality In Victoria


Written by Staff Writers


Category: Arts


Published: Wednesday, 03 March 2021 17:39

The powerful Bending The Bars exhibition currently on display at Old Melbourne Gaol highlights and tells the story of the fight for equality, reflecting on darker times when homosexuality was illegal in Victoria, and celebrating the actions that led to a historic law reform overturning this.

Curated by Andrew Gaynor and the National Trust Of Australia (Victoria), it aims to be a step back in time for those both there to experience the movement and those wanting to learn more about queer history in Australia, and what it has taken to get here.

It’s a combination of text, images and artworks combined to reveal a life-affirming history, sharing stories of the key participants who created legislative change in 1981.

Here, Curator Andrew Gaynor answers questions about Bending The Bars.

Tell us a little bit about this exhibition.
Bending The Bars: 40 years since decriminalisation, celebrates the 40th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Victoria. The choice of the City Watch House as the venue is apt due to the building’s vexed history as a place of detention for those charged within Melbourne’s CBD under discriminatory laws based on sexuality. Bending The Bars combines text, image and original artworks to weave an engrossing narrative that focuses on the many positive aspects of the battle from the 1960s until today. Importantly, the exhibition also gives weight to darker episodes so, inevitably, there’s a strong emotional pull within the narrative as well.

As curator, what is your main task in putting it together?
A curator’s job is shaped like a wheel with multiple spokes. One wheel is research; another is locating artworks and images; a third may be establishing contacts and conducting interviews; and a fourth is the writing of the complete narrative so that the interlinking stories have meaning for the audience. These tasks, and others, all had their part in curating Bending The Bars.

And what has it been like to curate it?
Illuminating and inspirational – and a lot of fun too. As a freelance curator, success relies heavily on those who are in assisting or support roles. In this regard, the National Trust’s team has been wonderful to work with, truly. A huge constraint was the fact the show was commissioned during ‘Lockdown One’ and continued through the crawl of the next months too. Even with this added burden, there were so many highlights and discoveries that made it all worthwhile. A particular one was encountering the fascinating collection of the Australian Queer Archives (AquA).

Why do you think it’s important to commemorate this?
After 40 years, it is easy to forget the battles that needed to be fought to attain the openness of life now available for the LGBTQIA+ audience. Younger members of that community need to be reminded of such stories, lest they take things for granted. It also allows for otherwise unsung heroes of the struggle to be given centre stage for their efforts. Further, for those not of the community, the show allows for reflection on the appalling discrimination of the past that was committed under the name of those of their forebears, whether directly or not.

What’s the most important lesson to be learnt from this exhibition?
This is our shared past and present. ‘Hero’ is an over-used word these days, but this show is full of them, and across all genders.

BendTheBars 1

Do you have any personal connection/relationship with the content in the exhibition?
I grew up in Sydney and my early 20s had the appalling gay beat violence and murder as a sinister backdrop. I had a number of friends in the community and knew well of these acts. Equally challenging was watching as some of these friends die from HIV/AIDS. Although the violence and effects of disease has thankfully lessened over time, similar experiences of friendship followed me to Western Australia when I relocated in the late 1980s, and then in Melbourne from 1999. A number of these friends and colleagues are directly cited within Bending The Bars.

What effect are you hoping it will have on attendees?
As stated, my big hope is that the younger generation of LGBTQIA+ people (in particular) leave with a better understanding and celebration of their history; and a new appreciation of those before them who did the hard yards on their behalf.

Bending The Bars is currently on display at Old Melbourne Gaol until 17 May.



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Heard the one about interest rates rising? Don’t be so sure


Having thus woken up, investors have suddenly begun to demand a lot more to lend to governments over the longer term.

Indeed, the interest rate payable on 10-year US Treasury bonds has crept up from 0.5 per cent in the middle of last year to around 1.4 per cent now. The longer-term average is around 4 per cent.

Illustration: Dionne GainCredit:

Similarly, in Australia, the yield on 10-year Australian government debt has increased from a low of 0.7 per cent last year to around 1.7 per cent.

Over shorter-term lending horizons, like three years or five, the pressure has been less intense, but still there. Our Reserve Bank had to go into the market to buy up more three-year government bonds last week to meet its pledge to keep the cost of this debt at an ultra low 0.1 per cent.

Amid this financial market frenzy, it’s only fair for punters to wonder if mortgage rate rises may also be on the cards.

And when you see positive news about our economic recovery, as contained in Wednesday’s national accounts, it’s easy to get carried away.

But don’t.

The good news is the total volume of goods and services produced by Aussies shot up by 3.1 per cent in the final three months of last year, as Melburnians were released out of captivity and went on a mini spending spree.

It’s a stellar performance compared internationally, thanks largely to our success in controlling the spread of the virus, which has allowed life to return much closer to normal here than elsewhere.

Australians are spending again and our household savings rate – having reached 22 cents out of every dollar of income mid last year – fell back to 12 cents in the December quarter.

Shrinking savings is due to a combination of both rising spending and falling income. The first part is good news: we feel more confident and able to spend.

The RBA has outlined why it extended its bond purchase program.

The RBA has outlined why it extended its bond purchase program.Credit:Dominic Lorrimer

The second part is ominous, reflecting the fall away in government support for household incomes via JobKeeper, JobSeeker, cash payments and early withdrawal of super.

This fall in the household savings rate, then, is partly a confidence story, but also partly a story of necessity for some cash-strapped households. As government support payments continue to fall, economists are hoping the first part of the story will outweigh the later. We’ll see.

As fiscal support is withdrawn – albeit with some likely top-ups around budget time – the onus will fall more heavily again on monetary policy and the Reserve Bank’s determination to keep interest rates low.

Reassuringly, the coronavirus crisis has only sharpened our central bank’s resolve to fulfil its mandate of achieving “full employment” in Australia, or something close to it.

Even before COVID, it was struggling to do this. Wages growth was tepid; inflation well below target. Companies were not investing. Workers did not have sufficient power to demand significant pay rises. And productivity figures were hardly backing their case for one.

I called it the “econo-meh”.

Importantly, even in this pre-COVID economy, inflationary pressures were insufficient to justify interest rate rises any time soon.

COVID only makes a return to sustainably higher wages and inflation even harder.

It will be mid-year before we’re even back to the level of economic output we had before the pandemic struck – longer still before we’re where we would have been absent a pandemic.

Bad for business: airports were empty for much of 2020, as travel restrictions curbed flights.

Bad for business: airports were empty for much of 2020, as travel restrictions curbed flights. Credit:Kate Geraghty

Of course, for economic life to return to normal, we still need international borders open again.

But the true task of rebuilding our economy after COVID goes well beyond that.

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It goes right back to the same problems we were grappling with before the pandemic, of sluggish business investment and wages growth.

To really see inflationary pressures back on the agenda, we’d have to complete our original task of unleashing significantly more innovation and investment in our economy. Whether through radical tax reform or huge increases in investment in education and knowledge, that’s all likely to take time.

The task was huge before COVID. It’s even bigger now.

It’s true that, given bond market moves, fixed-term interest rate loans may not fall much further from here. Now is a good time to look at the potential savings from fixing in at ultra low rates.

But variable-rate borrowers can remove interest rate hikes from their list of things to worry about. That’s good news for household budgets.

But it’s a concerning sign about the strength of our economy in the years ahead. The road to true economic recovery is looking as long and bumpy as ever.

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Albury residents support Home Run for Julian Assange tour | The Border Mail


news, local-news, Julian Assange, Wikileaks, Albury

“Why is he in jail for telling the truth?” About 20 people gathered outside the old Albury courthouse to share their disquiet and even disgust over the continued imprisonment of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. The journalist’s father John Shipton visited the Border on Wednesday as part of the Home Run for Julian tour that began in Melbourne and includes Sydney, Canberra and regional centres. Helen Foster and Jenny Doxey travelled from Benalla, bringing their own signs, to show their support for Assange, now held in an English jail and awaiting the outcome of an appeal by the US against a judge’s decision not to permit his extradition. “Why are we persecuting a whistleblower?” Ms Foster said. “He’s a journalist, he’s got a Walkley award, he should be back here (in Australia), because otherwise we stop free speech, don’t we?” Albury councillor David Thurley, speaking on his own behalf, not council’s, said Assange was suffering a “terrible injustice” and the Australian government wasn’t doing enough to help him. “We need to be making representations to the US government and the British government,” he said. IN OTHER NEWS: “If he ends up in the United States that would be a disaster. “There’s too much secrecy and we need to be more open and fair about stuff.” John Hengstmengel, of Albury, said he was “really disgusted” by the Australian government’s attitude. “At least get him back to Australia, he is an Australian citizen,” he said. “I’d hate to be locked up and knowing the Australians probably won’t do anything about me.” Lloyd O’Keefe, of Thurgoona, and Albury’s David Bland said Assange had been exposing the truth and helping to hold governments to account. “If he’s not being charged he should be let go,” Mr O’Keefe added. Sandy Creek resident David Macilwain felt Assange was being held a prisoner because governments didn’t want his information to be considered credible. “(He) has to be restricted and debased and portrayed as a hacker and criminal,” he said. Mr Shipton said the Home Run for Julian tour aimed to thank people for their support and try to build the momentum for change. “To continue to push up into Canberra until the government realises that this is a terrible mess and also an imposition on an individual who’s made a solid contribution to journalism,” he said. “Just discuss things with friends, that’s enough, because that’s how we generate understanding amongst ourselves and then contact the local member, it works.” Melbourne 4 Wikileaks convener Jacob Grech, who introduced Mr Shipton on Dean Street, said previous situations had proven the federal government could advocate successfully for citizens jailed overseas. “It isn’t just about bringing one Australian home, it’s about saying this is what happens when you start telling the truth and exposing the lies and corruption,” he said. “We need to show the government that they need to grow some political will and go to England, go to the United States. “This government needs to intercede with the new administration in the US and say, ‘He’s one of ours, bring him here’.” Mr Shipton said he had spoken to his son from beside the Murray River on Tuesday night. “He said, ‘Is that crickets, can I hear crickets?’, he hasn’t heard a cricket in 10 years. “(I just) take things as they come towards me and do my best.” One older couple attended the rally just long enough to collect a pamphlet and meet Mr Shipton. “Are you his dad?” the man asked. “Congratulations, you’ve done a good job. “I wish him all the best, hope he gets back.” Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:

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Mars Australia begins offsetting 100 per cent of its power consumption with renewable energy


Food manufacturer Mars Australia has switched-on a deal with a regional Victorian solar farm to offset 100 per cent of the chocolate maker’s power consumption.

Mars has six factories and two offices in Australia and the offset agreement produces “enough electricity to offset our operations across our business”, the company’s commercial manager Savannah Wallen said.

The deal, mooted in 2018, means Mars pays the Kiamal solar farm in north-west Victoria to put green energy into the grid on its behalf.

The deal came into effect yesterday.

“So what we’ve decided to do is partner with [Kiamal Solar Farm].”

The company’s facilities, like the Mars Petcare factory in Bathurst, NSW, are spread across the country.(

Supplied: Mars Australia

)

Ms Wallen said Mars had ambitious goals to reduce its global greenhouse gas emissions and this would help the company achieve its goals.

Power purchase agreements

Called a power purchase agreement (PPA), these power offset deals are “win-win for businesses and the climate,” said Climate Council researcher Tim Baxter.

“By helping new renewable energy projects across the line, companies entering into PPAs are driving down electricity sector emissions,” he said.

But he said to reduce emissions, companies need to take action on energy efficiency and the electrification of their own fossil fuel use.

Aerial of a huge solar farm on a fairly denuded landscape.
The Kiamal Solar Farm is located near Ouyen in north-west Victoria.(

Supplied: Mars Australia

)

Mars has stated it planned to reduce its global emissions by 27 per cent in 2025 and by 67 per cent in 2050.

“Since 2017 we have reduced our emissions by [around] 3.5 per cent year-on-year, and by continuing on this trajectory we will reach our 2025 goal,” Ms Wallen said.

The director of renewable energy advocacy group ReAlliance, Andrew Bray, said PPAs were a growing trend in the renewables sector.

“Mars’ announcement is one of many that is happening. There’s been a number of large corporates that are buying their energy from wind and solar farms,” he said.

He welcomed the agreement and said it secured the future of Total Eren’s Kiamal Solar Farm for the period of the PPA agreement.

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WA top cop wants new stop and search laws to ‘wipe out’ meth supply at interstate border


Mr Dawson said when it did end, he wanted officers to continue to have a strong presence at the border with powers similar to those granted to biodiversity officers searching vehicles for fruit.

“There’s another pest out there and it’s called meth, and that doesn’t just destroy crops, economics and livelihoods, it destroys people’s lives,” he said.

“I’m not saying we stop absolutely every vehicle, what I’m saying is if we can refine the powers similar to what we do to protect the state’s biodiversity – meth is actually just as, or even more destructive for our community.

“We know it’s working through this state of emergency, why would we not want to stop meth coming in?”

Existing laws currently allow police to stop and search a vehicle if there is reasonable suspicion.

New powers introduced in 2017 also allow police to randomly search vehicles along a declared drug transit route.

Transit routes can be declared by a district superintendent who reasonably suspects a road is being used for drug distribution, however, the additional search powers are temporary, only lasting up to a fortnight, and limit the number of routes targeted at any one time to three.

Mr Dawson has hinted at lobbying for the powers to become permanent by seeking to introduce a legislative reform package through the Minister for Police and the Attorney General following the March 13 state election.

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“I’m not saying we want to live in a police state, we want to live in a state where we can actually wipe out drug traffickers, that’s the aim I’ve got,” he said.

“I’m also not naive, I know drugs will come through air, through sea, by road, by post – but with the success we have seen over the past year, why would we not take this opportunity to build it even stronger?

“In the most recent six months, we’ve seized nine trucks, nearly $50 million, and a whole stack of meth and that’s reducing crime.”

Mr McGowan confirmed on Wednesday the state government was not considering extending WA’s G2G entry pass after the pandemic was over, instead clarifying he supported an increased police presence at border checkpoint.

“If we can stop bananas, avocados and tomatos coming in, surely we should be able to stop meth, cocain and heroin,” he said.

Liberal Democrat MLC Aaron Stonehouse, whose party promotes civil libertarianism, on Tuesday flagged concerns over any increase to police tracking powers.

“Giving police a blank cheque to surveil and control our movement, that is a serious risk to our civil liberties and our freedoms,” he said.

State opposition leader Zak Kirkup described any mass monitoring or tracking of people entering WA as an “immense overreach” of power.

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Vegan Market at Queen Victoria Market



In exciting news for herbivores, Queen Victoria Market is hosting a Vegan Market that will bring together a mix of stalls including food, fashion, art, craft, …

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Murray Basin CRC proposes Dookie, Mildura research hubs | The Border Mail


news, local-news, Murray Darling Basin, ONE Basin Cooperative Research Centre, Goulburn-Murray, University of Melbourne., Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Technology

Local expertise will play a crucial role in work by a proposed ONE Basin Cooperative Research Centre to ensure the Goulburn-Murray’s farms, businesses, and environment have the resilience to weather a changing climate. The bid to set up the $170 million CRC has been pitched to the federal government by the lead agency, the University of Melbourne. The University is seeking $50m in federal funding for the 10-year research initiative and has proposed five regional hubs, including at Dookie and in Mildura. The other hubs are proposed for Griffith, NSW, Goondiwindi, Qld and Loxton, SA. The CRC aims to offer an industry-led and basin-wide approach to the science needed to manage the Murray-Darling Basin’s resources sustainably. Read more: Murrumbidgee Irrigation express support for ONE Basin Community Research Centre ONE Basin interim chief executive Mike Stewardson said the CRC aimed to support industry to increase its long term sustainability, profitability and competitiveness. “We have seen major changes and rapid pressure in the water sector over the last two decades; it’s not just variability in climate and the drought that has had a significant impact on the Basin, it’s also in terms of water management arrangements,” Mr Stewardson said. “But what is striking to me is that we are actually at the lowest point, in terms of research to support the water industry and users like irrigators, since the 1980s. “It’s absolutely extraordinary – and what is more concenring is there is a lack of collaborative arrangements, to work on water challenges, which is absolutely critical.” He said the proposed CRC would focus on rural industries, particularly agriculture and the associated services sector. “It’s a partnership with industry,” he said. “The idea is we will put most of the staff in regional areas. “We have plans to set up five regional hubs across the Murray Darling Basin, and we will have those closely linked with regional organisations, dealing with the problems defined by the region.” While there was a lot of research being done in the agricultural sector, water management had been neglected. “That’s where we are focussed, water management, climate risk, the technologies that are needed to enable and advance agriculture,” he said. The bid is supported by a coalition of industry and community groups, universities, government bodies, and businesses that have committed more than $120 million to its operation. At last count, there were 80 bid partners, including the Victorian Farmers Federation, Murray River Council, Greater Shepparton City Council, Riverland and Murray Joint Organisation, Southern Growers, Western Murray Land Improvement Group, Murray Darling Basin Authority, Hort Innovation and Local Land Services. NSW. Prof Stewardson said previous CRCs had been a significant forum for driving innovation. “We are not a decision-making body; the CRC is about exploring policy options and we can be a forum where they can be discussed,” he said. “We are looking to bridge the gap between that strong local knowledge and understanding about what the opportunities and challenges are around water management and the work that state governments and the MDBA do in water reform, management and planning to drive better outcomes.” Farmer groups and the industry were all “really enthusiastic” about that possibility, he said. Read more: ACCC says Murray Darling water market badly ruled and lacks integrity National Water Initiative report way dams funded slammed in water reform report by Productivity Commission The Goulburn Valley-Central Murray Hub will work with partners across a region that spans the Murray River and reaches south to Bendigo in Victoria and north to Deniliquin in NSW. ONE Basin CRC Goulburn Valley-Central Murray Hub lead Professor Tim Reeves said the regional centres would play a key role. The Goulburn Valley-Central Murray Hub, planned for Dookie, will work with partners across a region that spans the Murray River and reaches south to Bendigo in Victoria and north to Deniliquin in NSW. “What the hubs bring is this place-based approach to research that will help farmers, communities and industries adapt to what the likely new scenarios will be for water and climate, in the Basin,” Prof Reeves said. Specific, expert personnel would be hired to staff the hubs. “A key part of CRC’s is PhD training so there would be scholarships available,” he said. “Our idea would be that any new PhD candidates are working on issues, challenges and opportunities, identified by industry. “We want them to be tackling those things that are seen as really important to adapting to a Basin that is probably going to have less, and higher priced, water.” Prof Reeves said it was proposed the CRC would be an evidence-based organisation. “We look at options; we don’t make judgments on which of those options we find. “He said he hoped research would identify the most water-use efficient production system the industry could use. “One could think of the dairy industry, where there are quite a lot of people thinking about looking at, or using, more water-efficient crops, such as maise, compared to pastures and the system that goes with that. “It may well you have a total mixed ration approach and a cut and carry system where you are taking the feed to the cows, rather than the other way around.” Just applying technology provided only a marginal saving. “If you can change the mix, change the system, the add the technologies, you can get those synergies where you have much greater gains.” Federal Industry, Science and Technology ministerKaren Thomas is expected to announce the successful CRC bids in March, with funding issued in October.

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