NEWS IN BRIEF
New bridge to open at Easter
The new $323.7 million Echuca-Moama Bridge project is set to open to traffic before the Easter holidays.
Locals and visitors are being invited to enjoy an early viewing of the new river crossing, which will connect the Murray Valley Highway in Echuca with the Cobb Highway in Moama, at a special community event on Sunday, April 10.
Visitors will have a unique view of the iconic bridge and enjoy the chance to walk the new road prior to opening to vehicles.
More information on the project can be found at: regionalrailrevival.vic.gov.au
Electronic quail callers banned
The use of electronic quail callers will be prohibited during the 2022 stubble quail hunting season.
‘Quail callers’ are electronic acoustic lures that emit the calls of stubble quail to attract and concentrate the birds into an area so they can be hunted.
After concerns were raised by the hunting community over the ethics of using quail callers, the Game Management Authority partnered with Deakin University to investigate the efficacy of the devices.
The research found that quail callers significantly increased the number of quail in the vicinity of the activated caller and concentrated the birds into a very localised area around it, making it easier for hunters to harvest the quail.
GMA chief executive officer Graeme Ford said the research showed the effectiveness of electronic quail callers and the need to suspend the use of them.
Stubble quail season runs from Saturday, April 2 to Thursday, June 30.
For more information on stubble quail hunting, visit: https://bit.ly/3c1Ve12
Fill your dams before drawdown
Now is the time for gravity irrigators and stock farmers to fill their tanks and dams before the three-month channel drawdown.
Goulburn-Murray Water will end the 2021-22 irrigation season on May 15.
In the three-month drawdown — also known as the off-season — channels will be lowered and dewatered completely to enable maintenance and removal of silt and weeds, cutting off farmer access to the water network.
Climate change action supported
The following organisations received grants to get new and innovative ideas off the ground to mitigate and adapt to climate change:
- Zero Carbon Tatura and GV Community Energy: $8200 to inform the Tatura community about opportunities to improve energy efficiency in their homes.
- Yea Wetlands Discovery Centre and 2030Yea: $8900 to hold three community sessions to raise awareness and skills to lead positive climate change adaptation.
- Murray Dairy: $10,000 to host a workshop for local dairy farmers to better understand climatic impacts and develop a key challenges report to inform the industry.
The Community Mini-Grants Program is part of Hume’s Regional Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, funded by the Victorian Government.
Reflect on our rivers
Tickets are now on sale for the second annual River Reflections regional water conference, on June 1 and 2 in Mildura.
The program includes a combination of on-the-ground tours, conference presentations, panel discussions and breakout sessions.
Demographer Simon Kuestenmacher will give an address on day one, sharing insights on trends created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the impacts and opportunities for basin communities.
On day two, MDBA chair Angus Houston will speak on the future of the basin and the knowledge needed to support industries, communities and the environment for the long term.
Tickets are $100 each (plus $6.59 booking fee) to attend in-person, including the conference dinner on Wednesday night, or you can register to attend most sessions virtually via live streaming at no cost.
To find out more and to book your ticket, visit: https://www.mdba.gov.au/news-media-events/river-reflections-conference
Call for investment in inland rail
NSW Farmers Inland Rail Taskforce’s Adrian Lyons says the Federal Government’s multi-billion-dollar freight project needs more work to fully benefit agriculture and the regions.
He said new modelling from the CSIRO claimed Inland Rail would cut freight transport costs by up to $213 million a year.
“But with freight bottlenecks right along the state’s east coast, farmers are still trucking their product to port rather than sending it by rail — a situation that could very well continue once Inland Rail is completed,” Mr Lyons said.
“There’s clearly a desire to simply lay a lot of track, but we’re saying we need the right tracks in the right place to actually deliver a benefit.
“The (NSW) Government has a huge part to play in this — we’ve already got these big freight bottlenecks at our ports that need to be removed.
“There must be benefit for all farmers in NSW out of this enormous expenditure, and there needs to be proper linkages right the way along the line.”