Coles to pay $5.25m to dairy farmers after failing to pass on drought levy
Coles will pay dairy farmers at least $5 million after the competition watchdog found the supermarket giant failed to pass on a drought levy on fresh milk. About 200 dairy farms will receive $10,000 each after the ACC threatened to take Coles to court for short-changing its own brand milk supplier since April. In March, Coles announced it would be increasing the price of its own milk by 10 cents per litre to raise money for drought-stricken farmers However complaints were made that Coles wasn’t paying farmers the amount it promised.The competition watchdog said farmers who missed out would be fully compensated.
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When Charmaine Wong and Kenny Feather began breeding alpacas, little did they know that one day, they would be weaving baby wraps and selling to a tight-knit community of international customers at premium prices.
"Weaving was a way we could actually consume larger amounts of yarn and make something potentially useful to get out into the world," Ms Wong said.
"There are only so many jumpers or scarves that a small family of three can wear."
Families fight to keep their pets Capudo the alpaca and Rocky the pig at their homes as suburban council plans ban on farmyard animals
Two families are fighting to hold on to their beloved pets as their council considers banning farm-yard animals from residential blocks. Rocky the pig lived in a Brookvale apartment until he was adopted as a piglet by the Carters and taken to live at their Newport home, in Sydney's northern beaches. Calpudo the alpaca, of the Douglas family, has lived five kilometres south in Newport, since 2017 when he was rescued from a farm after his mother died.
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Alpaca industry was born in Europe and developed in South America with the ancient technology and tradition of the Latin American aboriginals bringing the finest raw and amazing material, which transformed, cover us in comfort and well being in our daily lives.
However, as the couple builds an online community around their specialty items, they are battling the relentless drought which threatens to downsize their herd of animals.
Threading by loom
Throughout their home in Orange, New South Wales, are several large, manually-operated looms which they use to create their one-of-a-kind pieces.
"It is quite therapeutic to sit at a loom and hit away, throw the shuttle, smash the beater and have a rhythmic process," Ms Wong said.
A four-and-a-half metre length of cloth used to make a baby wrap can take in excess of 20 hours to weave.
That is on top of the laborious and costly task of feeding and shearing the alpacas, processing the fleece, and then dying and spinning the yarn.
Exclusive sales approach
The wraps are not available for purchase in brick-and-mortar shops or conventional online stores but are offered exclusively to a small group of potential buyers through a closed Facebook group.
Drought-stricken farmers targeted with 'cruel and despicable' letter of abuse
Sky News host Chris Kenny says it is “cruel and despicable” that struggling farmers have been targeted with “vile abuse” normally only found on Twitter. New South Wales Police is investigating a letter sent anonymously to a number of drought-stricken farmers in the NSW central west. The letter said “if you cannot handle the drought, use a bullet on yourself. You know you want to. No one cares whether you live or die, not even your family”. “This is cruel, despicable, ugly, mindless and nonsensicle behaviour,” Mr Kenny said. The Sky News host urged anyone with information about the letter to phone the police.
Accessories. Scarves & Wraps . Baby . Business Gifts.
Alpacas are hardy and generally disease resistant. However, performing basic practices such as yearly vaccinations, monthly worming, and regular toe and occasional dental care are recommended to insure good health. Keeping a watchful eye on your alpacas can help maintain their good health.
Around 200 members of the group can express their interest and go into a draw, with the option to buy if they are randomly selected.
Ms Wong said, with prices around $1,000, the draws attracted people who appreciated the time and effort required to make the craftworks.
"It's not a product that you take to the local market because I'm unlikely to come across a baby wearer who wraps," she said.
"We're selling a very niche product."
Sending baby wraps on 'holiday'
Ms Wong said the online group was a way of connecting and sharing with a community of like-minded parents around the globe.
"It's another social world [where] otherwise you might feel quite lonely when you're just caring for a little child for many hours of the day on your own," she said.
The trust is so strong that members will mail the baby wraps to one another for wearing-in, before the article reaches the hands of its buyer.
Almost 70 per cent of Qld now in drought
Almost 70 per cent of Queensland is now in the grip of the drought, with eight new shires and councils added to the list. Almost 70 per cent of Queensland is now in the grip of drought, with eight new declarations expanding financial support for struggling farmers.Eight new shires and councils, all of them in the southeast corner, have been added to the state's list of drought-stricken communities.That means 67.4 per cent of the state is now officially in drought.
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A baby alpaca is called a cria. The average gestation period for alpacas is 350+ days. The best time of year to have female alpacas give birth is either spring or early fall. Do not cover the tail because it is a major scent area. The bubble wrap works just as well as a coat.
"Having multiple people wear it, and wear their babies in it, helps to soften the fabric up," Ms Wong said.
Mr Feather agreed.
"You buy it when you're six months pregnant," he said.
"You send it on a holiday for three months and your newborn baby turns up and you've got a beautifully worn-in baby wrap for your baby."
Weaving through drought
The creative couple's hard work could slowly unravel as their alpaca farm at nearby Mandurama endures dry conditions.
Mr Feather said he had begun offloading some of his stock, sometimes to sheep farmers who used the animals as herd guards.
"Everybody is looking at destocking, so you're looking at discount prices [and] that's pretty hard," Mr Feather said.
"I'm selling them to farmers who don't have any grass at all; they're dirt farmers, it's sad, it's very sad.
"It's kind of difficult to put an animal on the truck because I know they're going to a stark environment."
Surviving until rain
Other alpaca breeders are also feeling the heat, including Angela Smith who operates both a stud and a yarn fibre business in Murrumbateman, north of Canberra.
Her diverse business model brings income through walking tours and farm stays, craft workshops, and by selling the yarn she supplies to stores and weavers domestically and internationally.
But Ms Smith said she was spending around $3,000 a month to feed her 80 animals and she would not be breeding any new stock in the coming year.
"There's a strong possibility that we'll get rid of as many alpacas as we can and just keep a handful as pets," Ms Smith said
"I'd like to sell 30 alpacas but no one is buying because no one has got food to feed them."
Despite the challenges, she said the wider alpaca industry was "not all doom and gloom" and she was keeping an optimistic outlook for the future.
"We just have to survive until we get substantial rain to keep the industry growing," she said.
The 'sledgehammer tax': Drought-hit businesses call for payroll tax exemption .
Drought and bushfires are hitting the NSW Government's bottom line and regional businesses are demanding the state start pulling economic levers to save jobs and towns.The mid-year review revealed the state's budget had taken a big hit, with the surplus shrinking from $1.016 billion to $700 million, despite a significant rise in stamp duty returns from the housing market.