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Graeme Singleton

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LOVE WINS IN NATIONAL PARTY HEARTLAND

The yes vote prevailed in all three of the region’s federal electorates, but at levels lower than the national mark. In Cowper, the vote supporting marriage equality was 60 per cent. In Page, 59.7 per cent of respondents to the postal survey said yes… in Lyne that figure was 55.3. While the National Party has been opposed to same-sex marriage, Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker says he will now respect the wishes of his electorate. “As I have said throughout the survey period, should the Australian people decide a yes vote I will be supporting that on the floor of the parliament. That is what I intend to do. That has been my position all along.”

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$240 MILLION BRIDGE PROJECT RAMPING UP

The construction of Grafton’s newest bridge is starting to ramp up with five cranes and other machinery dominating the local skyline around the Clarence River. Teams working off barges are putting formwork in place ahead of the placement of the first steel sleeves, which will become pylons for the nearly 600 metre crossing. The $240-million project is due to be completed in 2019.

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COFFS STILL GOT THE BYPASS BLUES

Doubts have been cast over when work will begin on Coffs Harbour’s bypass. Shadow Minister for Infrastructure Anthony Albanese says a Senate Estimates Committee hearing was told there still hasn’t been any formal discussions between the state and federal governments about how the project will be funded, what it will cost or when the state government will put a business case for it to the federal government. Local MP Luke Hartsuyker says planning on the business case and geotechnical, traffic and planning studies have been underway for some time

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HOPE ON HORIZON FOR BERRY GROWERS

Local blueberry growers have welcomed an agreement between Australia and China, which will eventually provide them with access to the foreign country’s market. Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker says the deal will create opportunities for the industry – while warning negotiations can be scientifically complex and take time. The Australian Blueberry Growers Association says it could be anywhere between 12 months and 4 years before North Coast berries are sold in China. The news comes as berry production hits new peaks, causing prices to sink to all time lows.

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