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Grass to blame for staggering death of ‘drunken’ kangaroos

By Jo Printz and Mark Kearney

Posted June 21, 2018 11:53:43

Photo: Kangaroos are reportedly suffering from ‘phalaris staggers’ that usually affects livestock. (AAP: Simon Mossman, file photo)

Wildlife rescue workers responding to reports of “drunken” kangaroos in regional Victoria believe a common pasture crop is to blame for the animals’ ill health.

Michelle Mead, from Central Victoria’s Wildlife Rescue and Information Network, said her service had received several calls from members of the public distressed at the sight of disorientated kangaroos.

“They stagger around, they shake their heads, and look very confused and disorientated,” Ms Mead said.

Footage of affected animals posted online also shows them falling over and struggling to right themselves.

WARNING: Video contains footage which may be distressing.

External Link:

From 0:55 onwards, video shows kangaroo suffering from ‘phalaris staggers’, a syndrome contracted after eating a certain type of pasture grass.

Ms Mead said the ailing kangaroos resembled someone who was under the influence of alcohol.


‘We can’t afford to pay it’: Farmers warn of grocery price rises if unions win horticultural wage hike

Updated June 21, 2018 15:55:04

Photo: Farm workers are not currently paid for overtime. (ABC News: Marty McCarthy)

Australian fruit and vegetable farmers fear a bid by union groups to negotiate higher pay conditions for casual workers could force them out of business.

The Fair Work Commission, unions and farm lobby group are currently in negotiations that will eventually see casual fruit and vegetable farm workers awarded overtime.

Farmers say they won’t be able to afford it and will have to leave crops in the field to rot unless supermarkets increase grocery prices.

They are also worried unions are moving to organise the largely un-unionised horticulture industry, to offset Australia’s shrinking manufacturing sector.

“I’m really dumbfounded. I’m wondering what we’ve done wrong, or have we upset the gods” Leo Skliros, a mango farmer in the Northern Territory, said.

“I keep checking for a note on my back saying, ‘kick me’, because I feel like we’re constantly under attack.


Paddock to Plate: Legislation and Regulation

All this week on Table Talk we are covering the theme of Direct Marketing.
This form of marketing is also referred to as Direct to Consumer, Paddock to Plate, Farm to Fork or Fibre to Fashion!

In our three articles on the theme we will concentrate on:

  1. An introduction to Direct Marketing on Farm: Should I? Could I?
  2. Direct to Consumer Food Businesses: Legislation and Regulation
  3. Direct Marketing: Producer Stories and Lessons

In our first post, we introduced the concept on Direct Marketing and supplied some handy guides to learn more. We noted the Australian landscape is a little hard to navigate on this subject due to the lack of material available to help you analyse and evaluate the potential opportunity and guide you to get set up.

Today, we try to make the process a little easier by rounding up relevant regulation you will need to consider and be aware of when setting up a direct food business. Ensuring you comply is just one step of the process and we recommend re-reading our first post to help understand the end-to-end business requirements.

What are my food safety requirements and obligations?

Every business in Australasia that handles food for sale in Australia (except those involved solely in primary production and do not process or sell directly to the public) are bound by the Food Standards Australia New Zealand. In particular, the Primary Production and Processing (PPP) standards are relevant – they “aim to strengthen food safety and traceability throughout the food supply chain, from paddock to plate.”

There are six standards:

What about horticulture? There has been a proposal to develop a standard for horticulture. However, “After reviewing submissions received on the first call for submissions report and after targeted consultation with stakeholders, the FSANZ Board agreed to abandon the Proposal in favour of non-regulatory measures.”

What about home-based businesses? If you undertake your business at home, you are subject to the requirements as other food businesses. Home-based businesses must comply with relevant parts of the Food Standards Code, including:

All food sold in Australia must comply with the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code for labelling. Everything said about a food on the label is also subject to Australian Consumer Law, which prohibits false, misleading or deceptive representations.

What about at a state level?

Depending on the type of produce and where it is sold, your obligations for registration and licensing will differ.


Food Safety in Queensland is the responsibility of Queensland Health. Safe Food Production Queensland “manages the operational aspects of food safety through industry-based food safety schemes for meat, dairy products, seafood and eggs”.

Your business may be required to have an accreditation with Safe Food if you produce, process or transport meat, dairy, eggs, seafood or horticulture.

  • Meat: inc. Handling of an animal at a place where the animal is killed for meat; handling, packaging or storing meat or a meat product; transporting meat obtained from an animal, at any stage from a place where the animal is killed to a retailer of the meat; retail sales of prepackaged meat or a prepackaged meat product if the package is sold opened.
  • Egg products: inc. Producing eggs for supply; washing and handling eggs at a wholesale premises; processing eggs to produce egg product.
  • Seafood:  Commercial fishing; aquaculture activities; land based seafood processing; oyster growing; oyster picking; storing seafood (cold storage and live fish)
  • Horticulture: Decontamination of seed or seed sprouts; soaking of seed; germination or growth of seed; harvest of seed sprouts; washing, drying or packing of seed sprouts.
  • Dairy: inc. milking an animal at a dairy; processing milk at a dairy; storing milk at a dairy; rearing an animal at a dairy for milking at the dairy; growing stock food at a dairy for consumption by an animal to be milked at the dairy; transporting dairy produce.

Queensland food safety legislation includes the Food Act 2006, the Food Regulation 2006, the Food Production (Safety) Act 2000 and the Food Production (Safety) Regulation 2014.


The NSW Food Authority licences 1,700 businesses in the dairy sector, 300 business in the egg sector, 8,000 businesses in the meat sector, 55 businesses in the plant sector and 1,000 seafood businesses.

The Food Authority in NSW has put together a great flowchart to understand your food safety requirements in NSW. Access it here.

Your business must be licensed with the Food Authority if you:

  • process meat
  • process seafood
  • process dairy
  • process plant products
  • produce/process eggs
  • produce food for vulnerable persons
  • transport higher risk food

If you sell food directly to the public you may have to notify your local council or need a Food Safety Superviser as you may be considered as a retail outlet.

In NSW, the Food Act 2003 (NSW) and Food Regulation 2015 apply.


In Victoria, any business selling food must be registered or notified with their registering council. All businesses selling food or drink in Victoria must have a Food Act 1984 registration from their registering council before trading. You may need to complete an application form and floor plans to your council. All food businesses must be classified, according to the food safety risk of the business. There are four classes and the most relevant class here is:

  • Class 2 – retail food businesses that prepare and sell potentially hazardous food, including cafés, restaurants, home-based food businesses, food vans, catering businesses and canteens. Class 2 requires a Food Safety Supervisor and food safety program.

Do I need a food licence? “Most primary producers will need to register with certain industry regulators. PrimeSafe is the regulator for most businesses whose main activity is selling raw and processed meats, poultry and seafood.  While, Dairy Food Safety Victoria regulates the dairy industry (Food Safety).”

According to Prime Safe:

  • Under the Meat Industry Act 1993, all meat and poultry processing facilities in Victoria require a licence issued by PrimeSafe in order to operate.
  • Under the Seafood Safety Act 2003, all seafood businesses in Victoria require a licence issued by PrimeSafe in order to operate.
  • At present, there is no licence category that permits the roadside sale of fresh meat and meat products from a vehicle or purpose built mobile facility.
  • The sale of pre-packaged meat and meat products at farmers’ markets is regulated by local council. For more information regarding farmer’s markets, click here.


Under the Food Act 2001:

  • a food business who is involved in the handling of food intended for sale or the sale of food. Before starting food handling operations all food businesses are required to notify their local council.
  • as a primary food production business, you are not required to notify your local council but are regulated under  Primary Produce (Food Safety Schemes) Act 2004 and Dairy Industry Act.

As stated by BiosecuritySA:

  • All meat processing and handling businesses must comply with food safety arrangements in the Meat Scheme
  • You require accreditation if your business is involved in growing poultry, killing and dressing of animals and birds, killing and processing of game animals in the field, boning out and/or further processing of meat and poultry, manufacturing of smallgoods, storing of meat and/or meat product in chillers or freezers, and transportation of meat and/or meat products.
  • Dairy production is regulated by Dairysafe (Dairy Authority of South Australia) under the Primary Produce (Food Safety Schemes) (Dairy) Regulations 2017.
  • Egg producers must be accredited if they are involved in any of the following:
    • Have more than 50 laying birds.
    • Produce and sell eggs to a food business such as a supermarket, café, hotel or bakery.
    • Produce and sell eggs to another egg producer.
    • Produce and sell eggs at a market (e.g. a farmers’ market).
    • Produce and sell eggs by wholesale.
  • Accreditation is required if you’re producing the following types of seed sprouts for human consumption:
    • alfalfa
    • broccoli
    • clover
    • onion
    • radish
    • sunflower seeds or other seeds
    • mung beans or other beans
    • snow peas or other peas.


If intending to sell food for sale, businesses must notify or register with a local government or Department of Health.

You are exempt from requirements of registrations if you are involved in the primary production and sale of fruit and vegetables under the Food Act Act 2008.

We were not able to locate the licensing requirements for a meat business.


If you sell food in the Northern Territory, you must be registered. It is valid for 12 months and must be renewed.

All food Businesses must be registered and comply with provisions of the Food Act 2004 and the Food Standards Code.

 It was difficult to find further information.


Compliance requirements for food businesses in the ACT are found in Food Act 2011. You have to register your businesses if it is permanent or a non-profit community organised selling food.

You are exempt from registration if:

  • A food business that handles or sells food no more than 5 times a year, where each time is no longer than 3 days and where the food handled or sold is either:
    • non-potentially hazardous unpackaged food (e.g. plain scones, whole fruit at a festival); or
    • food sold straight after thorough cooking, for immediate consumption (e.g. barbecue stall).
  • A food business that handles or sells food in or from a food transport vehicle that is registered in another State/Territory (e.g. a food van registered in NSW);
  • A food business that transports food but does not handle or sell food (e.g. courier);
  • A food business that sells only food that is contained in a closed package and is non-potentially hazardous (e.g. chemist or newsagent).

Find application forms here.

What else is required to set up a Direct Marketing Business?

Just like starting any business, sound business planning is required of which knowing your legal obligations is just one of them. Head over to our Build Library for some handy Business Planning resources. Steps include:

When you start a business

Running your business

There is a handy business guide here.

In our next post we will highlight some case studies and articles about producers who have gone down the direct marketing route.

Disclaimer: This is provided as a guide only and we do not accept responsibility for any decisions made in setting up your direct food business.

Now it’s harder to compare apples with apples as growers fight decline with designer varieties

Australia’s apple industry is countering the decline in apple consumption in the last decade by fighting back with designer apple brands.

Apple designer varieties Pick of designer varieties: Kanzi: originally developed in Belgium, this variety is a hybrid of Braeburn and Gala apples. It has a bright red colour and promises a crunchy bite with good balance of sweet and sour flavour Rockit: these miniature apples are packaged in trendy tubes and are marketed as the perfect fit for a school lunchbox or active lifestyle. Rockit apples are said to have 65 per cent more potassium, 19 per cent more energy and 10 per cent more fibre than the average apple Bravo: WA’s homegrown club variety is touted as “the world’s most unique apple”. It has a distinct dark burgundy skin, white flesh and a sweet juicy taste Jazz: developed in New Zealand and a cross between Braeburn and Royal Gala varieties, it has the tagline “always refreshing” and tries to deliver on it with a tangy-sweet flavour and juicy bite Redlove: developed through a Swiss breeding program and its parents are a trade secret. It has glossy red skin and claret-red flesh and is only being produced by 30 growers in Australia

While classic apples, such as Pink Lady, Royal Gala and Granny Smith are still a staple in the local fruit and vegetable aisle, some new names like Kanzi, Redlove, Bravo and Envy are stocking the shelves, promising a premium price and sustainability for apple growers.


Sydney coffee culture grinding its way into tea-loving India

A Sydney-born barista is on a mission to bring Australian coffee culture to tea-loving India after discovering he cannot get a good cuppa in the country he now calls home.

Shannon D’souza’s family runs a coffee and tea plantation in India’s south-west, employing around 400 people — but the local caffeine hit left a bitter taste in Mr D’souza’s mouth.

“When I got to India, coffee was something called South Indian filter which is very bitter with a lot of milk and sugar added to drink it,” he said.

“I couldn’t get a decent cup of coffee.”

Influenced by his time working cafes in upmarket parts of Sydney including Mosman and the Rocks, Mr D’Souza is now running a cafe in Mumbai.

Roasting coffee in the shop in full view of customers is part of the education process.

Roasting coffee in the shop in full view of customers is part of the education process.

But despite the city’s population of about 22 million, Mr D’Souza found good baristas hard to come by.

“We went through 40 interviews before we hired our first guy, it was very tough — a lot of the Indian coffee shops use automatic machines,” he said.


Digital disruption nets a new way to sell the day’s catch

Selling the day’s catch via an online auction is redefining the fish market for a New South Wales regional fishing cooperative

The new method allows freshly caught fish to be sold while the fisherman are still a sea.

The Coffs Harbour Fisherman’s cooperative has adopted the new technology as a way to survive and expand and now operate what it claims is the first Australian online auction of the catch of cooperative members.

While the first day of operating may have been a slow take up of the system, there is confidence that the scheme will become the norm.

“The buyer will be able to get on and enter their postcode,” said the Co-op’s general manager Andrew Mitchell.

“They will know how much they are going to pay for delivery and that will expand the pool of buyers, ” he said..

“I think this will really take off.”

A new way of selling

Photos of the catch will eventually be uploaded while at sea and auctioned even before landing.

Photos of the catch will eventually be uploaded while at sea and auctioned even before landing.

With the first auction only being available to local buyers, there were 11 registered bidders.


Dairy farmers walking away farms as confidence continues to fall

Dairy farmers are looking at walking away from their farms, as the dairy crisis starts to impact according to a national confidence survey of dairy farmers.

The annual national farmer survey of 800 farmers from around Australia, looked at farmer confidence, which showed that less than half of farmers surveyed remained confident about the industry’s future.

This figure has fallen from 75 per cent four years ago, and has been declining over the past three years.

The confidence of farmers has not been recorded this low since 2013 when it was at 43 per cent, which was at a time when farm gate returns were low, and there was challenging seasonal conditions as well as a high Australian dollar.

The trends were recorded across all dairy regions, however Victorian dairy farmers are the least positive.

Over a quarter of respondents in Western Victoria and South Australia are looking a leaving the industry, with 16 to 19 percent of farmers in these regions already in the winding down phase.

Pressure on small farms

Smaller farms of fewer than 150 cows were those most likely to be winding down.

The survey found that larger farms with over 500 cows were more optimistic about the future and were more likely to stay.


Traditional owner says awarding native title to cattle station ‘doesn’t offer much’

Updated June 21, 2018 00:16:44

Photo: Leo Abbott said being awarded Native Title on Henbury Station “did not offer much at all” to Indigenous people. (ABC News: Steven Schubert)

Despite being awarded native title over one of the Northern Territory’s most controversial cattle stations, a newly recognised traditional owner says the determination will “do nothing substantial to help Indigenous people”.

Key points: Native title awarded at Henbury Station, granting traditional owners access for cultural and hunting purposes Traditional owners tried to take the pastoral lease years ago, which would have given them an economic stake in the station One traditional owner said native title recognition “didn’t offer much at all” for Indigenous people

The Federal Court sat in the dry Finke River on Henbury Station, 120 kilometres south of Alice Springs, on Wednesday morning to recognise native title rights over the property.

But traditional owner and former Country Liberal Party candidate for federal parliament Leo Abbott said the finding was little more than recognition for traditional owners.


Bush users to attract higher charges under NBN pricing review

Posted June 21, 2018 04:39:20

Internet access in the bush is set to attract higher charges than in cities under new pricing being considered by NBN Co.

Key points: NBN Co considering new wholesale pricing for fixed wireless 50Mbps plan would cost more on fixed wireless than on fibre Fixed wireless network provides access to 240,000 Australians mostly in regional and semi-rural areas

The proposal means telcos ordering a 50Mbps connection for a fixed wireless customer would face a “slightly more expensive” charge compared with the same plan for a customer on a fibre service, according to an NBN Co spokeswoman.

Although satellite services have always been priced differently, such a move would end the tradition of equivalent pricing across NBN fibre and fixed wireless networks.

The fixed wireless network is located mostly in regional towns and rural areas.

NBN Co introduced new, simplified charging for retailers at the end of last year that provided a discount when telcos ordered a 50Mbps, high-bandwidth plan for a fibre customer.

This was done to encourage retailers to purchase enough bandwidth to adequately service their customers.


Live export company’s decision descends into political stoush

Farmers are reeling over the decision of one of the country’s largest live sheep exporters to halt their northern trade over the summer months.

The news comes after it was revealed the Western Australian Department of Primary Industries (DPIRD) had raided the offices of embattled live exporter Emanuel Exports on Tuesday.

WA Nationals MP Terry Redman has used Question Time to claim that the McGowan Government “is destabilising and causing uncertainty in the agriculture industry”.

WA Nationals MP Terry Redman has used Question Time to claim that the McGowan Government “is destabilising and causing uncertainty in the agriculture industry”.

The series of events has prompted a senior Nationals MP, Terry Redman, to tell Parliament the agriculture sector has lost confidence in the Government and its Minister for Agriculture, Alannah MacTiernan, who he accused of “destabilising” the industry.

Premier Mark McGowan has defended his Minister, and said animal welfare should be a higher priority for the live export industry.

Among heated public debate and intense scrutiny of the industry, Livestock Shipping Services (LSS) announced on Wednesday morning that it would redirect ships to South America while the exporter reviewed the commercial viability of operations in Australia.