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Without you, Australia is buggered

Without you, Australia is buggered
Pulpit Rock and Willow Tree, 1984 by Arthur Boyd
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Anna Rogan
Anna Rogan Tallarook, Victoria
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Plus fan favourites and First Nations rights. 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. By Anna Rogan, who is ready for a bit of Queensland sun.

Regional news round-up

No doctor, no daycare

A rural coalition of farming bodies recently fronted up to parliament to demand stronger government action to improve childhood education and care access in regional and rural Australia (full story). 

Access issues and staff shortages continue to be a challenge for essential services in rural and regional parts of Australia. 44% of people in regional areas of Australia and 85% of people in rural areas live in “childcare deserts” (full story). In healthcare, rural intake of GP registrars has significantly declined over the past several years (full story). A third of regional psychiatrists are considering leaving the profession within the next five years due to burnout (full story). 

Where there’s a gap, communities step in. Local Indigenous health service Yura Yungi Medical Service recently took over management of an aged care home in Halls Creek in the East Kimberley region following an extended period of staff shortages and compliance breaches under former management (full story). Another regional medical centre in Victoria has opened its own in-house childcare service to help it recruit and retain staff (full story), while in some rural towns in outback Qld, parents roster childcare duties to share the load as a village (full story).

Notably, a growing number of staff for health and childcare services are recruited from overseas. One mining town in Qld recently hired 27 international childcare workers in response to increased demand for services (full story). Meanwhile, Australia’s registered nurse workforce comprises 6% international recruits. Many of these nurses are willing to work in remote areas and live away from their families in return for better pay and working conditions (full story). 

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Sunshine Coast native title

After nearly 30 years, the Federal Court has formally recognised the Kabi Kabi people as native title holders of 365,345 hectares of land and water on Queensland's Sunshine Coast including Gympie, Noosa, the Glass House Mountains, Maroochydore, Caloundra, Bribie Island and Mudjimba Island. 

The Kabi Kabi people's non-exclusive rights to the area represent the first time that the right to "take resources from the area for any purpose" is being recognised in South-East Queensland. Premier Steven Miles said the ruling would not have an impact on freehold land. "The Kabi Kabi people have said they want people to continue to enjoy what makes the Sunshine Coast great – the Glasshouse Mountains, Mount Coolum, the beaches," he said.

Kabi Kabi Peoples Aboriginal Corporation chair Norman Bond said the decision meant "stability and grounding to build the Kabi Kabi nation to where it should be… It means the Kabi Kabi people can be formally recognised by all tiers of government and by the public without feeling they have to justify who they are.” (full story).

Let’s hear it for the girls

First Nations communities living in remote areas will be provided with free menstrual products under a new Federal Government initiative that will help an estimated 12,500 women and girls each year. Period products can be almost double the price in some remote communities, with people paying $15-$25 on average for a packet of pads, compared to an average of $10-$15 in metropolitan areas. The program will be run by the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), who will work with local communities to distribute products (media release). 

Meanwhile, almost 300 Year 9 schoolgirls from regional schools in SA and the NT gained new insights into science, technology, engineering and maths at this week’s Flinders University STEM Enrichment Academy workshops, thanks to a new scholarship program for regional students. For the first time, students from as far as Alice Springs and Darwin in the NT will travel to Adelaide for hands-on STEM experiences under a $65,000 scholarship program (media release).

Windmills on the way out

Iconic rusty windmills dotting the rural NSW landscape will be replaced with safer, easier-to-maintain solar pumps by local land services as part of a $950,000 upgrade program. Local land services say the new pumps will allow them to remotely monitor water levels, to provide a safe refuge for farmers in times of natural disaster (full story).

First canned fruit, now dairy

Independent milk producer Gippsland Jersey Milk says its products have been stripped from most of Coles' Victorian supermarkets in retribution for refusing to give the supermarket a bigger profit margin. From next month, the number of Coles Victorian stores where Gippsland Jersey milk will be available will drop from more than 80 down to about 16 (full story). 

Last week we reported that SPC is reducing production of canned peach and pear products, with Australians favouring cheaper imported products (read more). Data also shows that Australians are also favouring imported cheese and butter over domestic produce (full story).

Straight from the farm

Supermarkets might be eyeing the bottom line but many Australians want to support domestic produce and are increasingly seeking ways to buy produce directly from farms (full story). As they always do, rural and regional communities are finding ways to fill in the gaps. Notably, growing produce in rural areas where the cost of fresh fruit and vegetables is prohibitive (full story), founding community-supported agricultural enterprises to improve food security (full story) and taking over local food stores that are at risk of closure (full story).

This week's newsletter is sponsored by Westfund

Tell us about it

“Without you, Australia is buggered”

News that SPC in Shepparton is reducing its production of canned peaches and pears and will be buying less fruit from local farmers struck a chord with Galahs and many of you reached out to share your dismay (read more). 

Sharon says, “I can’t begin to imagine how our farmers keep putting their families on the line so they can feed us all, so grateful I will fight for your futures. Without you Australia is buggered. I hope this crisis is solved very quickly & in a way that is satisfactory for our precious farmers.”

Bonnie says, “I am a staunch buyer of Australian food products only, a habit passed down from my mother, and have been desperately trying to come up with ways to convince my friends to do the same (I have not come up with much except pestering them by posting about it on my social media!). Anyways, I was wondering if you know of any farms or businesses that sell these products direct to consumers? I would love to support them.”

I couldn’t find details of SPC fruit suppliers who sell directly to consumers – if you know one, or are one, we’d love to hear from you. In the meantime, the Open Food Network is a fabulous resource for those readers who want to purchase directly from local farmers and producers. On the Open Food Network, you can search for independent retailers and producers across Australia and buy seasonal local food online for delivery or pick up (read more).

Galah goss

Brisbane sunshine

I’m heading off on leave for a couple of weeks, kicking off with a jaunt to Brisbane to soothe my winter chilblains and reader favourite, Michelle Crawford will be back in your inboxes while I’m away.

Speaking of favourites

Judging by your feedback, the cover of the upcoming Galah magazine Issue 10. could be our most popular yet. I’m also quite partial to the beautiful waratah artwork by Jenny Kee and reckon one of her scarves would make a wonderful present for a certain newsie correspondent who has a milestone birthday later in the year (if you happen to be my Mum or siblings here is the link to Jenny Kee’s store).

If you’re wondering about the rest of the Galah team, they all love the new cover too but Annabelle is also quite partial to the Arthur Boyd artwork adorning Issue 05., Lyndsie loves the iconic cockatoo on Issue 06., and Giota says Issue 01. will always be her favourite. Issues 01. and 05. are sold out, but Issue 06. can still be found online if you want to nab a copy before they’re all gone.

Win a Tipi Tent

It’s also not too late to subscribe for Issue 10. Go here and click the “start with current issue” option at checkout. Subscribe before 15 July and you’ll go into the draw to win a Homecamp 3.5 Tipi Tent, valued at $995.

All Galah magazine subscribers go into the draw to win a Homecamp 3.5 Tipi Tent, valued at $995. Prize drawn after 15 July.

What’s on

Juz Kitson, You are stronger than you think, You are more than you know, at Bundaberg Regional Gallery


Bundaberg Regional Galleries exhibit XX is a celebration of contemporary female ceramicists and the power of the female touch in shaping this medium as a vessel for self-expression. XX challenges traditional notions of ceramics, with works that are as artistic as their creators, and that lead the viewer on a storytelling journey. Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery, NSW, 12 July-8 September. Read more.

Wilder Times

A series of fourteen landscape paintings by renowned Australian painter Arthur Boyd are set to return to Bundanon – their place of creation – for the first time since 1984. The works record the Shoalhaven/Bangli River from dawn to midnight, capturing the passing of time and the changing of the light. Boyd’s paintings will be exhibited alongside more than 60 works by seminal Australian artists created at the time, providing a snapshot into a period of cultural dynamism in Australia, when ideas of landscape, land ownership and environmental protection were actively interrogated. Celebrate the opening of Wilder Times with a weekend of free festivities and a concert by iconic 1980s Australian reggae-rock band No Fixed Address at Bundanon, NSW 6-7 July. Read more.

Byron Writers Festival

A vibrant festival for literary types packed with high-profile authors and new voices is coming to Bundjalung Country for the annual Byron Writers Festival. This year’s theme is ‘From the ground up’ with the program exploring both our histories and the seeds of the futures that we begin to build today. The program features 160 Australian and international guests and offers writing workshops, book launches, kids’ activities, and events in Bangalow and beyond. The festival is hosted in Bangalow, NSW 9-11 August. Read more.

In the flock

Grace Ryan, regional correspondent photographed by Kirsten Cunningham 

Grace Ryan, Regional correspondent

Interview by Emma Hearnes.

Founder of The Catch-Up (TCU), a weekly newsletter that celebrates regional women and covers taboo topics you won't find anywhere else in your inbox, Grace Ryan is a woman after our own hearts. Just like the women she covers, Ryan is impressively multifaceted. Outside of TCU, she is also the deputy editor of Orange newspaper The Central Western Daily, a mum of two young kids, a wife to an “incredibly supportive dude”, a reader, a runner, a caffeine fiend and a fan of dorky lounge room dance parties.

Where do you live and work?

I live in Nyngan in western NSW. Between our beautiful river, fabulous parks and bush walks, great little coffee shops and fantastic town pool, it’s a bloody great place to raise little people. And it’s a great place to visit, too. Right now our little town is buzzing about The Nyngan, a boutique hotel in the heart of town opening in July.

Who was the first regional woman you covered for TCU?

Beloved Sunrise host Edwina Bartholomew. She's a regional woman herself, owns a farm and a hotel in Central West NSW and comes out west often to host events and do other valuable work. I was trying to get the TCU name and brand out there, so I slipped into her DMs but was shocked when she actually responded later that day! It really helped our first edition to have a face that people recognised.

What has surprised you about making your publication?

The community that TCU has built – full of amazing women from all walks of life. One week I made a throwaway comment in my ed's letter about feeling like I wasn't juggling motherhood and full-time work very well. I received four emails in return from working mums like me, telling me what a great job I'm doing and giving me little morsels of advice. I was overwhelmed with emotion.

What's a story you tell yourself?

I am always going on about time. We can't get more of it (I've tried) so I've started to value my time and the time of the people around me more. When people spend time with me, personally or professionally, I make sure I thank them. And I’m trying not to rush about so much. At 8.20 am this is not possible… but I live in hope. 

One last thing

Koala Lulu. Photographfrom the Koala Clancy Foundation

Return of the koala

For the first time in decades, koalas have been spotted on a historic sheep-grazing property in Victoria which had thousands of trees planted on it to bring the species back. This week, the International Fund for Animal Welfare and the Koala Clancy Foundation planted more than 8,100 trees on the property, which sits along the Moorabool River in Victoria, adding to 3,618 trees that were planted in June last year.

Early signs of koalas returning to the area were confirmed when, in early June, a koala was spotted on the property – the second sighting since trees were first planted in 2023. Audio recordings have also picked up sounds of koalas on the property in the past year.

“Hearing and seeing koalas so soon after we planted the first trees is such a promising sign. It’s proof that if you build it, they will come,” IFAW Wildlife Campaign Manager Josey Sharrad said.

“Every tree planted is a lifeline for koalas and other wildlife. To see individuals dedicating pockets of their land to this iconic species gives us hope for the future of Australian wildlife.” 

Koala Clancy Foundation President Janine Duffy said it had been 100 years since koalas had habitat on this riverbank, and these 11,718 trees would be the first step in giving the land back to wildlife.

The owners of the 459-hectare property, Liz and Ross Wilkie, are hopeful the recent sightings are just the beginning. 

“We wanted to dedicate part of our property to koalas because there has been a marked decline of koalas here in the past 20 years. Knowing koalas have already been spotted since last year’s planting gives us even more hope the population will bounce back while also improving the surrounding ecosystem for other native wildlife,” Ms Wilkie said. 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 newsy. Share what’s new(s) in your neck of the woods with us at newsie@galahpress.com