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Western region update

December 2014

Christmas contact arrangements

We hope you agree that this photo by Jane Murray of Bourke sums up the Christmas spirit. It's called Age Apart but Close at Heart and was the black and white runner up in our 2014 photo competition. We hope you spend time with the people you love this Christmas.

All Local Land Services Western Region offices will be close on Christmas Eve and reopen on Monday 5 January.

In the event of an emergency over the Christmas period, please use these numbers:

In the event of an emergency dial 000
State Emergency Services 132 500
Rural Fire Service  000

Emergency Animal Disease Hotline 1800 675 888
Exotic Plant Pest Hotline 1800 084 881

Local Land Services Western Region after hours emergencies
24 Dec to 30 Dec – Tim Wall (0428 915 070)
31 Dec to 4 Jan – Colin Betts (0429 392 047)
The Western Local  Board and staff of Local Land Services Western Region extend their best wishes for a safe and happy Christmas season.

Board updates

Since the last newsletter, the Board has met twice - in Broken Hill and Cobar. Key items discussed and decisions that were made include:
  • Progression of the Draft Local Strategic Plan
  • Presentation from the Natural Resources Commission and their Performance Standards
  • Submission of Local Land Services Western Region National Landcare Program (funding program from the Australian Government for next three years)
  • Review of the spring wild dog baiting program
  • Development of an Ovine Johne’s Disease Regional Biosecurity Plan and sub- committee
  • Review of the Landcare NSW and Local Land Services draft Memorandum of Understanding
  • Review of recent storm damage in the Wentworth and Balranald Shires.
Further items of interest discussed are covered below.

New arrangements to serve you better

Last week, Chair of the Western Local Board, Tom Hynes announced a new structure for Local Land Services Western Region, which will see staff operating from three community service delivery areas to better support the needs of the diverse region.

The region will be divided into three areas, to service the communities of:
  1. Broken Hill, Tibooburra and Wilcannia
  2. Cobar, Bourke, Brewarrina and Wanaaring
  3. Balranald, Wentworth, Hillston and Ivanhoe.
Administration support will be coordinated from Broken Hill and there will be an increase in customer and community-facing roles through the new alignment of positions.

Mr Hynes said the new structure was adaptable and flexible and was designed to respond to future changes in funding and community needs. “The new structure has been designed to better deliver targeted, quality services that are valued by the community and to provide the leadership and strategic focus we need to meet the needs of our customers,” he said.

“This is a one-stop-shop model that will create a customer-focused organisation, with an emphasis on integrated services and continual improvement. Creating three regional Community Service Delivery teams takes us away from the functional silos we have now and puts the local back into Local Land Services.”

For more information, read the media release on our website.

Community groups chairs announced

In keeping with the three new community service delivery areas, the Board has appointed chairs for three new Community Advisory Groups. One group will represent each area, with the Chairs to work with the Board to fill several casual vacancies. The committees will be:
  1. Broken Hill, Tibooburra and Wilcannia - chaired by Louise Turner of “Goodwood Station,” White Cliffs
  2. Cobar, Bourke, Brewarrina and Wanaaring - chaired by Stuart Mosely of “Manuka,” Cobar
  3. Balranald, Wentworth, Hillston and Ivanhoe - chaired by Angus Whyte “Wyndham Station” Wentworth.
There will also be three Aboriginal Community Advisory Groups, representing the same areas. Expressions of interest for the remaining vacancies are open until February 2015.

Visit our website to download the Terms of Reference and Expression of Interest forms. For more information, email Erlina Compton or phone 02 6841 2750.

Funding and opportunities

Training and community activities fund

Southern district landholders and community groups are encouraged to apply for Training and Community Activities Funding in 2015.
Funds are available throughout the year for individuals or groups who want to undertake training or community activities that improve capacity or awareness of sustainable agriculture and natural resource management.
In the past year, we supported landholders to attend training courses such as conservation earthworks, livestock movement and management and grazing for profit. The funding has also supported several local carp musters and the Mallee Fowl Recovery Group National Conference. The goal is to increase the ability of land managers to adopt sustainable practices.
The funding covers course or activity costs, travel expenses and subsidised course material and accommodation costs, up to a value of $5,000. Funding guidelines and an Expression of Interest form are on our website.

Impacts of climate change on the rangelands

As part of the Australian Government’s Regional Planning for Climate Change Fund, a series of reports have been released regarding the impacts of climate change on rangeland environments, including the Western Region.

Potential changes in the distribution and abundance of vertebrate pest species is one of the topics covered in the reports. With climate change, the abundance and/or distribution of the cat, goat, pig, rabbit and cane toad are expected to decrease while camel, horse and donkey abundance and distribution are expected to remain stable.

The two species whose abundance and/or distribution are expected to increase in response to climate change are the red fox and the dingo. These findings will help Local Land Services and land holders in the Western Region to plan for the future.
All reports will be made available online. If you would like access to the reports, email contact Anna Hanson or phone 02 6870 8623.

Program to encourage sustainable practices

A field day near Cobar last month helped draw attention to the Western Division Resilient Landscapes Project, which is supported by Soils for Life and the Rotary Club of Sydney.

The project aims to encourage the adoption of improved landscape management by showcasing sustainable land management practices. It will provide opportunities next year for landholders to learn from each other and apply techniques to remain viable in rangeland grazing enterprises.

In case studies showcasing Gilgunnia and Wyndam Station, near Wentworth, Soils for Life illustrates what can be achieved by managing your property to minimise the impact of drought on production and landscape health.

For more information about the project visit the Soils for Life website.

Pest and disease management issues

Parvovirus Update
Most landholders will recall parvo vaccinations (providing immunity against canine distemper virus, canine adenovirus type 1 and type 2 and canine parvovirus) being available for their working dogs through the former Western and Darling Livestock Health and Pest Authorities.  

Since existing supplies of the vaccination were exhausted, Local Land Services Western Region has been unable to purchase from the supplier as the vaccine is listed as an S4 drug and this requires specific certification which we currently don't have.  Additionally, the historical arrangements cannot continue. 

The Board and staff are keen to maintain this service to landholders and are exploring alternative avenues.  We recognise it is a significant issue for landholders and will provide advice once we have a satisfactory outcome for all parties.

Record and monitor mice using MouseAlert
Grain producers in Western NSW can now use a new resource called MouseAlert to monitor and record mouse activity in their local area. While  mice numbers are generally low, there have been some localised increases in activity and landholders have been encouraged to monitor mice numbers and damage on their properties.

The best way to keep track of changes is to use the MouseAlert  website, which has been produced by the Invasive Animals CRC, CSIRO and several other partners. The site is easy to use and shows other activity in your area, as well as  fact sheets and management recommendations for key periods in the cropping cycle. Visit Mouse Alert for the latest monitoring updates. For more information email Peter West at the Invasive Animals CRC or phone (02) 63913887.

Updated codes and documents

Native vegetation self-assessable codes

Self-assessable codes have been released to allow for clearing of certain low risk activities without approval under the Native Vegetation Act 2003.

Assessment is required by the landholder and clearing must be done in accordance with the conditions of the codes.  The three self-assessable codes released are for:
  1.  Clearing of paddock trees in a cultivation area
  2.  Thinning of native vegetation
  3.  Clearing of invasive native species.
If you intend to use the Code, refer to the Ministerial Order for full details of how it applies. A Ministerial Order and the online tools to assist the application of the Codes can be found online. Landholders must notify of their intention to clear under the Codes, at least 14 days before clearing. This can be done with an online tool or by filling out a form and providing it to Local Land Services.

Clearing in accordance with a code may require approval under other legislation and this is the landholder’s responsibility. For more information, contact your nearest Local Land Services office.

NVD livestock form changes from January

From 1 January 2015 it will be mandatory to use the 2013 versions of the Sheep, Cattle and Goat National Vendor Declaration (NVD) forms. Livestock may be rejected at saleyards and abattoirs and may be ineligible for the export market if earlier versions of the NVD forms are used. More information is available online

Also a reminder that you need a current (July 2013) version of the Sheep Health Statement, as well as the NVD if you are bringing in sheep from outside the Western Local Region. This documentation should be lodged with your nearest Local Land Services office within seven days of moving the animals. You can order a new NVD booklet online or by phoning the Livestock Production Assurance helpline on 1800 683 111.

Upcoming events

Hog hopper workshops

Two pig control workshops will be held in the southern part of the region in January. The workshops will be hosted by Barry Kelly from ‘Got a Bug’ and will cover how to set up, use and monitor Hog Hoppers, pig traps and trail cameras.

Landholders, other agencies, Landcare and farmer groups are welcome to attend. Participants will receive Trap Handlers accreditation.

Tuesday 20 January -  Buronga
Full day workshop, starting in Local Land Services conference room, 32 Enterprise Way, with practical demonstrations in the afternoon
Lunch provided
Thursday 22 January - Balranald
Full day workshop, starting with classroom training at Homebush Hotel, 22km north of Balranald on the Ivanhoe Rd
Followed by practical demonstrations in the afternoon
Lunch provided

To register to attend, email Tanya Cooper  or phone 03 5021 9460.

Farm business management essentials workshop

A workshop aimed at graziers in the Broken Hill region in February will help them better understand their tax return and how to make the most of it to boost farm management. The workshop will be conducted by Mike Krause from P2PAgri who has over 29 years of experience training and working with farmers and graziers to support them in making better farm business management decisions.

The workshop will help you:
  • Better understand your tax return
  • Use your tax return information to make better farm business decisions
  • Learn the key financial ratios of your business
  • Improve communication with your bank
  • Achieve better financial deals.
Thursday 5 February
9am - 3.30pm
Musicians Club, 276 Crystal St, Broken Hill
Cost: $30 per business 
Morning tea and lunch included

To register to attend email Lucy Krause or phone (08) 8396 7122

Free workshop to help make meetings more effective

Free governance training workshops for members of Landcare and other community groups will be held at Buronga and Broken Hill in February.

The 'Making Meetings Easy and Effective' workshops are designed to help guide new committee members in carrying out their roles and understanding their responsibilities.

The workshops aim to:
  • Help committee members learn about their responsibilities
  • Suggest how to run effective community groups
  • Teach committee members how to effectively carry out their roles
  • Help committee members comply with current legislation.
Tuesday 3 February - Buronga
9am start
Local Land Services Western Region
32 Enterprise Way, Buronga
Morning tea and lunch provided

Thursday 4 February - Broken Hill
9am start
Musicians Club, 276 Crystal St, Broken Hill
Morning tea and lunch provided

To register to attend, email Kaye Gottschutzke, Regional Landcare Facilitator or phone 
(03) 5021 9460.
Photo: Dogs in the Grass, original by Chris Ferguson, 2014 Photo Competition
We welcome your feedback about this newsletter. Limited hardcopies are available by contacting your Local Land Services office. From next year, this newsletter will only be circulated electronically.

Local Land Services Western Region
Freecall: 1300 795 299