A SOPHISTICATED wool substitution racket with the potential to damage relations with China – Australia’s biggest wool market – has been uncovered.
At least 18 bales of Australian wool, worth tens of thousands of dollars, have been seized at mills in China in recent months after they arrived containing wool vastly different from that tested by authorities in Melbourne.
Victoria Police allege the bales were tampered with somewhere between testing in Australia and unpacking in China, with “high-value” fine wool stolen and replaced with “significantly” lower-value product.
The alleged scam, which comes amid record prices for Australian wool, has also thrown into question the integrity of the nation’s wool handling and export system.
THE meningococcal disease outbreak continues in central Australia, the Barkly, Katherine and Katherine west regions. To date there have been 25 confirmed cases of meningococcal W with one case awaiting final laboratory testing. All of those affected in this outbreak to date are Aboriginal people, and 19 cases are children under 10 years of age. The Northern Territory health authorities are working closely with their counterparts in the other jurisdictions to mount a co-ordinated public health response to the outbreak. The NT Department of Health has identified the close contacts of these cases and provided appropriate antibiotics and a vaccine to minimise the chance that the organism might be passed on to others. This week a mass vaccination program is being rolled out in the affected regions.
THE Gerang Gerung Feedlot is up for sale.
The Albrecht family has put the feedlot and 742-hectare Crimsondale Farm at Gerang Gerung, 22km east of Nhill, on the market.
GG Feedlot is run by Matt Albrecht and owned by his wife Gabrielle La Forgia.
Management of the feedlot has been the centre of controversy in recent years over alleged non-payment or slow payment of local farmers for grain.
Mr Albrecht owns the farm in partnership with his parents, Ian and Dianne Albrecht.
Property consultant CBRE is the agent for the sale.
CBRE communications manager Natasha Wallis said the Albrecht family believed it was an ideal time to sell the property to “capitalise on the strong market conditions” but also allowing them to make a lifestyle change towards retirement.
THE Federal Coalition is losing ground to Labor in regional Australia, with support dropping to 34% in the third quarter, the latest Newspoll shows.
The Government won the Federal Election last year with 44% of the primary vote outside the five capital cities, with the poll showing a 10% slump.
And despite the Government increasing its support in NSW, Victoria and South Australia, it has not been able to halt the national slide towards Labor, the poll conducted exclusively for The Australian shows.
Labor continues to lead the Coalition 53 to 47% in two-party preferred terms.
Malcolm Turnbull continues to lead Opposition Leader Bill Shorten as preferred prime minister.