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Making news this week: Tom Cruise, son of Rambo

Making news this week: Tom Cruise, son of Rambo
Pension Day when was a young mum, by Doris Thomas, 2023. Image credit: Short Street Gallery.
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Anna Rogan
Anna Rogan Tallarook, Victoria
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Making news this week: Tom Cruise, son of Rambo. Plus missing phones, bird stuff and a really good pinot. Welcome to Galah Weekly, our newsy newsletter keeping you up to date with regional headlines that matter, plus other delightful things from life beyond the city.

Regional news round-up

No news is good news, says Meta

This week Meta announced it would not be renewing contracts with major Australian media outlets to pay for the news. The contracts are reportedly worth more than $200 million, and losing them will put hundreds of news jobs, including 60 regional positions at the ABC, at risk. The federal government is reportedly "considering options", which could include fines of up to $1.5 billion. Full story.

Money and jobs aside, the announcement raises broader questions about the future of news on social media. Meta has suggested that news is not important to users—and it has shown in the past that it's willing to prove it. In Canada, Meta pulled all news content from Facebook and Instagram thanks to a bill (similar to Australia’s News Media Bargaining Code) that requires tech companies to pay for news. There is concern Meta may do the same in Australia if the federal government decides to take action, impacting not just the big media publishers with current contracts, but all Australian publishers who use Facebook and Instagram to distribute news, as well as the users who like to read their news there. Full story here and here.

Maybe it’s time to buy a horse

Car costs increased at triple the rate of inflation last year, according to the Australian Automobile Association. Country drivers were worse off, with car costs rising 13.7% in regional areas compared to 12.4% in city centres last year. And with public transport in rural and regional Australia being unreliable at best and non-existent at worst, for many, the only option is to wear the costs. Full story.

But you don’t have to travel far from the city to experience a lack of public transport options. Families in Australia’s fast-growing outer-city suburbs are reportedly buying second cars (and taking on the extra cost-of-living pressures that come with them) thanks to so-called public transport deserts. Full story.

Health Insurance from a healthier place

(Partner message) If you’re in the market for health insurance that’s a little closer to home, or built on values similar to your own, you can’t go past Westfund. Based in Lithgow, NSW, and available Australia-wide, Westfund is more than a health fund. It's a not-for-profit organisation building a new kind of healthcare for collective good.

Join Westfund on eligible Combined Hospital and Extras cover by 31 December 2024 and get one month FREE cover. Use promo code GALAH24. New memberships only. T&Cs apply. Learn more here.

Farmers squeezed from all directions

Hating Coles and Woolworths has become something of a national sport, but a lack of competition exists at almost every link in the Australian food chain, leaving farmers, particularly those in the poultry industry, feeling the price squeeze from all directions. Full story.

BOM gets it wrong

It feels like summer isn’t quite over as I sweat over this round-up. Nevertheless, it’s March, which means it is over (if only arbitrarily), and we can officially look back on the weather of the season and blame it for all our woes. In September, the BOM warned of a dry, hot El Nino summer but, in reality, more than two-thirds of Australia had higher-than-average rainfall. The bureau copped some heat for the outlook, which some suggested had contributed to plummeting sheep and cattle prices. But BOM director Dr Andrew Johnson told Senate estimates he “would be very surprised if one forecast influenced the decision of one farm family, one farm business”. Full story.

Speaking of cattle

In eastern states of Australia, cattle prices have almost doubled since September. Full story. Meanwhile, the meat processing industry is bracing for growth, with Australian beef production predicted to increase by 12% this year to 2.5 million tonnes. Full story.

If bull prices are anything to go by, the industry is doing just fine. An Angus bull named Tom Cruise (son of Rambo) broke Victorian records this week with a sale price of $230,000. Full story.

More on last week’s gender pay-gap story

An eagle-eyed Galah went looking for two former employers in the Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s gender pay-gap reporting this week. But despite having more than 100 employees, neither employer was included in public data or on the non-compliance list. The source told us, and info on the WGEA website appears to confirm, that businesses in their first year of reporting that failed to provide gender pay data wouldn’t be listed as non-compliant (and wouldn’t face penalties, either). All of which could suggest that we’ll be seeing even more names on the gender pay-gap naughty list come reporting next year.

This week's newsletter is sponsored by Westfund

Tell us about it

It’s probably an ill-advised move for a team of millennials to attempt a new social media platform, but we’re nothing if not ill-advised.

This week on Threads we're asking: what do we need to know about dating in rural and regional Australia? How’s it different to dating in the city? Tell us about it, we wanna know.

Galah goss

Who you gonna call?

Exciting times at Galah HQ this week as Annabelle and Katie found our missing office phone. It was packed into a tub of overalls at the Murwillumbah shop and hadn't been seen since. But it’s been on the charger overnight, so it's now ready to take your calls. If you need a hand with anything Galah-related, you can talk to a human on the phone (if you like that kind of thing) on 0484 139 717. Phone from Monday to Wednesday and you'll find Katie at the end of the line, or you can leave a message, or email us, anytime.

How to be a writer

We're taking expressions of interest for our pilot “How to be a writer" program and would like to know what you want from a course like this. It will be taught live, online, over eight weeks in a small and intimate group. Each student will receive personal feedback from a Galah editor. And we’ll cover all the writerly things from our perspective at Galah, including finding a good story; interviews and research; the nuts and bolts of writing and editing; and the business of being a writer. If you’re interested, let us know

What's on

Twenty Mile, Everyone Swimming, 2023 by Grace Kemarre Robinya Australian, Anmattyarre / Arrente, b. 1942. Image credit: Short St Gallery.

Town Camp, Bush Camp

Everyone swimming at Twenty Mile. And all the dogs and families sitting on the sand dunes watching, looking. And all the birds ... Tracks all over the sand. Everyone at Laramba …” is the caption for Grace Kemarre’s work Twenty Mile, Everyone Swimming. See this piece and other new works from Tangentyere and Yarrenyty Arltere artists in the Town Camp, Bush Camp exhibition at Short St Gallery, Broome, until 14 March. Read more.

Bruny Island Bird Festival

A weekend of science, conservation, community, creativity and birds is on the weekend agenda at the Bruny Island Bird Festival. Enjoy a program of expert presentations, birdwatching tours and walks, market stalls, art exhibitions and evening events on 15-17 March. Read more.


On the subject of birds, Stockyard Gallery in Foster, Victoria, is currently showing Tweet, an avian-inspired group exhibition with stunning work created by local painters, printmakers, sculptors and ceramicists. Until 25 March. Read more.

In the flock

Jodie Odrowaz sneaking a taste of icing (who can blame her?). Photo: Kinship by Kristy.

Jodie Odrowaz, chef

Interview by Emma Hearnes.

After an apprenticeship at Melbourne’s Vue de monde, winning a Young Chef of the Year award in 2019, and working at Michelin-starred restaurants in Edinburgh, London and New York, Odrowaz has achieved her dream of opening her own place in her hometown of Warragul, Victoria. Messmates Dining is a contemporary European-style wine bar and restaurant that received a hat from The Age Good Food Guide just 12 weeks after opening.

What was the taste of your childhood?

Tomatoes. Fresh, sundried, transformed into chutney, sauce or soup. My parents were tomato farmers for 25 years and, after that, they opened Warragul Lean and Green. Growing up with wholesome cooking and surrounded by beautiful, fresh produce definitely sparked my interest in eating good food and caring about where it came from.

What’s an unexpected perk of opening your own place?

Being able to follow my creative whims fills me with a sense of freedom, so our menu is always changing. It's also a nice confidence boost when we receive positive feedback from guests. Oh, and choosing when to start in the morning is also a real perk, ha!

Who are the regional winemakers you're loving right now?

William Downie (aka Bill) is a local winemaker, based in Yarragon. Our wine list is always changing at Messmates but it will never not include a William Downie wine. We currently pour the Cathedral Pinot Noir by the glass and it's probably the most popular drop on our menu—for good reason. Bill and his partner Rachel (of Butterfly Factory, which provides us with delicious cheeses) are also Messmate regulars. 

We’re coming to your house for dinner. What’s on the menu?

Pickles (always), prawn head and tomato pasta with fresh tagliatelle and tarragon, charred sourdough, dressed leafy greens and probably, to finish, chocolate cake with sour cream and raspberries.

What’s the least cheffy thing you love to eat?

Hot chippies and chocolate-coated bullets—an absolute guilty pleasure.

One last thing

It’s not a lighthouse, but this cosy shack on Satellite Island with photographer Lean Timms would do. Photo: Lean Timms.

Make art, not lunch boxes

As I wrangle, coax and cajole my kids to get ready for school each morning, I fantasise about lighthouses and wilderness shacks and tents on mountains where lunchboxes don't exist, and I might even have time to write.

If I could paint, I’d consider a self-funded, live-in residency at the Nancy Fairfax Artist in Residence studio on-site at the Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre. Applications for residencies in 2025 are open until 1 May. Do any visual artists in the flock want to take my spot? Read more.

If I lived a little closer to Tasmania, I'd snaffle a spot on photographer Lean Timms’ Satellite Island excursion on 25 March and eat a meal made by someone who wasn't me (renowned chef Analiese Gregory would do nicely). I might even go early to catch the Bruny Island Bird Festival (see What’s On above) and do other wholesome things. Tassie Galahs, or those who can travel, maybe I could live vicariously through one of you? Read more.

What’s new(s)?

We’d love to hear about the news, events and people that should be making the headlines in the Galah Weekly newsletter. Share what’s new(s) in your neck of the woods with us at newsie@galahpress.com.