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Category Archives: drought

Energy price bites

Anyone else notice electricity costs went up? We’ve just paid our three months of power consumption in Longreach to Ergon Energy and the bill was $1096.37. Our previous three-months’ bill (August-October) was $512.56. So … more than double.

The difference was air-conditioning, of course. As the weather heated up approaching and during Christmas and New Year, our air-conditioner use increased. Probably doubled, by the looks of it.

Here’s how Ergon charges people in the hot droughted Central Western region for power … take a look at Pages 15-17 (Section 5) … it makes interesting reading.

It’s based on the cost of supply and other considerations, especially in the Mt Isa region … basically electricity supply costs along the coast from Cairns to the Darling Downs “have a relatively low distribution cost to supply”, while anywhere else (except the Mt Isa region) “have a significantly higher distribution cost of supply than the East Zone”.

So if you live anywhere else than east of the Great Dividing Range, or in the Mt Isa region, expect to be slugged big time for your “lifestyle decision”. Hmmm, do we get a reduction in tax rates for the same “lifestyle decision” which results in lower service levels in everything else, including power reliability? Not likely! Let me know what you think …

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In the swim for Summer …

Coola Cozzies

Our friend and former Small Business Management student (now graduate!) grazier Julie Brown of Ilfracombe, has launched her new business (above) just in time for Christmas.

Coola Cozzies is Julie’s way of earning valuable off-farm income during the drought but this is no charity … have a look at these wow designs (all created by Julie).

Julie describes them as “Cool, colourful, comfortable women’s and men’s board shorts and UPF50+ rashies, swim shirts and sun shirts.”

Cunningly, Julie has also catered for people at my end of the market (generously composed) and sells men’s and women’s board shorts, men’s and women’s UPF50+ short-sleeve and long-sleeve rashies, and women’s swim tops in sizes to fit women’s sizes 10 to 24 and men’s sizes L to 4XL.

Coola pics 1

Coola pics 2

Do you believe in success?

currin cover final jpeg.jpg

Last Saturday we travelled 90 minutes south of Longreach to the little town of Stonehenge and cooked a few steaks and snags for the local Christmas Party on behalf of the Rotary Club. Desolate country at the moment but full of warm-hearted real Aussie people, kids and their parents. And out of this country has emerged our new hot Strictly Literary seller, Do You Believe in Dragons? by grazier Paul Currin. Paul and Julia Creek illustrator Maree Power have created a new world for young teens where horses, motorbikes, dogs, feral pigs and (well, there had to be …) dragons rule.

It’s a tale of fantasy based on the Currins’ real-life sheep property near Stonehenge. In the book, kids Ted and his younger brother Bill, along with their best friends Doug and Sarah, are on their school holidays enjoying everyday rural activities, including riding horses, motorbikes, going fishing and chasing feral pigs. Their holiday takes a strange turn when Sarah — the eldest, and only girl of the group — has an unlikely encounter with a magical dragon, which can’t be seen by anyone who doesn’t believe he is real. Excitement ensues, as one by one, the family members come to realise the existence of dragons. This awareness becomes increasingly important when a life-threatening situation unfolds involving the Ted and Bill’s father and a pack of dingoes.

Do You Believe in Dragons? is fine new Australian Outback fiction, professionally edited and produced at Strictly Literary and available for under $20 in paperback, or instantly for ePub, Kindle and for Android on Google Play. Perfect for the young jillaroo or jackaroo for Christmas!

Australian agroforestry movement gains momentum, farmers diversify into timber plantations @ABCRural

The golden rule for growth is diversification, as this report on the ABC last month demonstrates …

Australian agroforestry movement gains momentum, farmers diversify into timber plantations @ABCRural.

Is this the only expanding shop in Longreach?

natures_tonic

I walked into Leonie Huff’s little shop Nature’s Tonic just after Christmas and I have to say I was impressed. Packed shelves, fresh stock, friendly staff. It’s tucked away at the rear of the Merino arcade where our other retail mate, Sue Smith, runs Spinifex Collections (which we featured just before Christmas).

Six months later and Leonie has doubled her floor space by opening a juice bar across the arcade and filled it with tables and chairs. Now we hear that she’s become a magnet and other businesses are relocating to be close to this omen of success.

Sue, Leonie and other businesses in the arcade last month held a gala shopping night and the talk is there’ll be more.

Leonie might be the hot spot but Mike Lockrey’s “hydroponic fruit and vege factory” is also evidence of Longreach’s latest growth spurt.

This erstwhile pizza shop owner has branched out into hydroponic tomatoes, lettuce and cress and we’ve tasted them … they’re the best in town in our book.

If you’re a Grey Nomad or just a regular tourist who likes your veges fresh and not too expensive, he sells every weekend at the railway station but daily 10am-noon just on the north side of the Thomson River near the Golf Club at Cramsie. Here’s a map …

and his website

Don’t forget to buy my new book Shopping News online … where you can read lots of other ways to Shop Your Way to Success™ (soon to be a series of business seminars).

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