(1) Liberals disappointing
(2) Leasing native vegetation ?
(3) Mixed reaction to farm dams policy - Vic
(4) Qld DNR loses water license case
(5) Land clearing laws get tighter - NSW
(6) Clearing laws forces farmer to sell up
(7)  Forestry & Govt at Loggerheads - SA
(8) Senator Hill & trees
(9) Ag Force Press Release
(10) Green house issues
(11) Getting Heard - New States?
(12) Human toll of property rights stress
(13) World Heritage HeartacheWelcome again,
                        Hope you enjoyed reading the views of Bood Hickson,
Jock Douglas, Bill Burrows, and Peta Seaton expressed in the last News &
views. Certainly  vegetation changes, how to ensure the landscape is not
degrading, and giving incentives for good management and just what should be
our society`s landscape goal, are issues we hope we can have some debate with
the contacts we are making amongst green groups and government people on the
e-magazine list. I will be passing on excerpts of people`s views from time to

A lot of Property Rights and legal Issues are in the news this last week.

First some of our news. Our emagazine is going quite well with several more
people asking to receive it.

Here is one comment from Mark Smith (CSE, CSIRO Townsville)

 I just had a look at your web site and first edition of the 'e-magazine'.
Invigorating, interesting stuff. I'd be very interested in receiving the
magazine regularly if possible.

Many thanks,
Mark Smith

Dr Mark Smith
CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems
Davies Laboratory

Only about a dozen politicians have asked to be excluded from receiving it.
It goes to about  600 politicians, 250 government people and 80 green group
contacts across Australia.
(1) Liberals Disappointing
Chris Dyer (Aramac Qld) was extremely disappointed with the 6 liberal
senators who came to Barcaldine recently. They said that Robert Hill was not
putting any pressure on Qld to produce certain tree management outcomes, and
that no federal money will be forthcoming for compensation to landholders
unjustly affected by Qld`s native vegetation laws. They said these are a Qld
matter and Qld alone has to pay. They also said that since rural people are
in the minority, they will have to put up with the majority (city) view.
We wonder if they say the same thing to other minorities such as Aboriginals,
immigrants, the elderly, Catholics, or the unemployed or do rural landholders
get injustices because they do not make enough noise? Have they ever heard of
 justice for all?
(2) Leasing native vegetation
The leasing idea that the Fiveways landcare group proposed where all
vegetation above a 15% retention rate (for maintaining sustainability via
biodiversity) was offered to government to lease has proceeded quite well.
44% of the landholders  in the Nyngan  region (NSW) have offered their extra
vegetation at a cost of $2.7 million annually. It is being considered by a
government department. Many landholders were very reluctant to give their
information and wanted to be sure of confidentiality so that the information
could not be used against them. Can you blame them?
The Fiveways Landcare group realises that even if the vegetation is leased so
it is not cleared, it does not mean it will remain stable, and should be
monitored as well, but that is another fight.
(3) Vic - Mixed reaction to Dams policy

- A very mixed reaction to what country Victoria is the most important state
government policy in the life of the Bracks government. Lower catchment
irrigators and those south of the divide appear happy with the farm dams
proposal upper catchment irrigators are furious. They say that they run all
sort of risks, being on properties where natural rainfall falls. They also
say that they do all sorts of work such as fencing and repairs that benefits
those downstream. They also say that its a 'right' to have water that falls
on their land and they're not going to pay for it. Lower catchment operators
say water is a precious commodity and the government's done what it has to
do, they don't say they're com[pletely satisfied with it, but that its long
overdue legislation, and is something that needs to be sorted out.

(4) Qld DNR loses water license case

A Qld dispute over irrigation licenses has sent the process into some
confusion when a St George irrigator took the Qld DNR to court .The reason
the government used for refusing a license (it would cause environmental harm
) was not able to be supported by the evidence. The DNR walked out of the


 (5) Land clearing laws get tighter - NSW

Farmers fears are being realised with the State's first Regional Vegetation
Management Plan being decribed as more restrictive thatn the old land
clearing laws, SEPP46. That's the claim of the NSW Farmers representative on
the Clarence Catchment Regional Vegetation Committee, who's plan is now being
considered by stakeholder groups in the North East of the State. The
so-called 'Draft of a draft' is the culmination of nearly three years of
tortuous work.
(6) Clearing laws forces farmer to sell-up -
The land clearing restrictions in NSW has forced one Clarence Valley
landowner to put his property on the market. Peter Austenfeild took steps to
fulfil his dream of farming cattle in the late 80's with the purchase of 4000
acres of land, much of it covered in native vegetation. He wanted to farm
1000 acres of his property but has only been allowed to clear less than 20
under the two hectare clearing provisions.
(* We wonder what resale value the land has now )
(7) Forestry and government at loggerheads over water licences - SA

The forestry industry and the government are at loggerheads  over water
licences for timber plantations. Industry representatives are meeting with
the Minister for Water Resources  to argue against water licences for
plantations, saying they are unjust and totally unnecessary.
 Meanwhile the CSIRO has released a report seriously challenging the
industry's view that timber plantations have a negligible impact on the water
resource. The Minister for Water Resrouces Mark Brindal said in November last
year that all new plantations may require a water licence, if the science
shows that they use up the water resource. That announcement effectively put
the plantation sector in SA on hold until a decision is made on the water
licencing issue. That decision is dependant on further research and a
strategic plan from the plantation sector. Well, both those are available
today. The CSIRO report says first of all that there is strong evidence that
ground water recharge is negligible under plantations. They say plantations
are also net users of water, particularly in areas where the water table is
shallow and soil types allow the tree roots to penetrate. It also says
plantations can exceed crops in the use of ground water. The CSIRO calculates
that there are approvals for 34,000 hectares of new plantations in the south
east, which will see the total area under trees expand by one fifth. That
could result into a whopping increase of 60% in the future demand for water
by plantations, because many of them will be located over shallow water table
The findings seriously challenge the forest industry's argument that
plantations do not access water from the aquifer. The initial response to the
CSIRO study from the industry has been one of concern over the accuracy of
the research. Forestry consultant David Geddes questions the basic figures
underlying the CSIRO's findings, including the assessment that there are
34,000 hectares of new plantations due to go in. Diana Lloyd, from the S.E.
Plantation Forestry Association is travelling with representatives of
Auspine, Green Triangle Forest products, Timbercorp and the prospectus
companies to present the Forest Industry Development Strategy to the
government today. The strategy states that "any impediment to forestry
development in the form of restrictions because of recharge is unjust and
totally unnecessary and would have significant impact on investor confidence
and the economic development of the South East". She says their analysis
demonstrates that plantations do not access water from the aquifer.

(* We are now in the era of the scientific Battles where scientific claim and
counter claim determines the laws.  Do we need a scientific tribunal rather
than costly court cases to determine which scientific data wins? otherwise
those with the biggest dollars get the research done in a way that will give
them the best data as well as being able to pay for the best lawyers  and
therefore win?)
(8) Senator Hill and tree management

The Qld Nationals call for Hill`s sacking
The Qld National party has called for senator Robert Hill`s sacking over his
handling of tree clearing issues, especially comments and pressure he has
continued to put on Qld. Senator Hill is defiant saying landholders in Qld
have to realise overclearing causes severe land degradation.

(9) From  an Agforce Press release
The facts are that in Senator Hill's home State of South Australia, there is
only 0.4 per cent of remnant vegetation left while in New South Wales there
is eight per cent remnant vegetation. ( from Environment Australia website.)

In Queensland, there still remains more than 30 per cent remnant vegetation.
In some areas, there are more trees now than there were 70 to 80 years ago.
There is room to clear some remnant vegetation in Queensland and still
achieve an outcome which maintains a sustainable environmental position.

(* We wonder what level of tree cover Mr Hill believes is a reasonable level
of cover - If it`s higher than SA`s level (0.4%) surely he should be doing
something to get  SA landholders to plant more native vegetation - if it`s
lower than Qld`s 30% he should be satisfied with Qld`s current arrangements -
landholders generally are satisfied with a 15% retention rate to maintain
productivity via a reasonable biodiversity level- unless  thorough research
shows otherwise)

(10) Greenhouse issues
We have all heard that the Bonn agreement was reached between 178 countries
(excluding the US and Japan) which may result in penalties to countries which
do not reach agreed targets occurs  and a possible carbon trading system be
established world wide.
One  of the injustices that probably still remains is that landholders who
have native forests growing on their properties are ineligible and cannot
become eligible unless they knock down those forests and plant other trees to
have a plantation that falls within the guidelines.

From ABC radio -Cattle Emissions
When it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions at home, politicans are
being warned, they should not look to the cattle industry as a low cost
solution. A recent study shows that while cattle contribute around 7% of the
nation's greenhouse gases, the cost of reducing that emission is around $35.
(*per year I suppose)
John Rolfe ( Central Qld Univeristy) is doing investigation research on this
and related  issues.

This week we feature some other information on Greenhouse & climate change as
it is in the news

 From several Web sites - Missing Sink
According to the CSIRO and other groups, there is a "Missing sink" -- Of the
estimated seven billion tons of carbon from human-generated carbon dioxide
going into the atmosphere each year, about three billion tons stay
there.(this can be calculated from the concentration in the atomosphere) We
know the oceans take up about two billion tons. Where is the remainder going?

CSIRO believes the remainder must also be going into the ocean or be taken up
by living plants.  (* have they thought of the timber thickening and
encroachment occurring in northern Australia and other parts of the world)

Protocol details
Australia's target is to limit growth in greenhouse gas emissions to 8 per
cent above the 1990 levels (often referred to as the 1990 baseline) by 2008 -
2012. Emissions are effectively averaged over the five years.

Sources that need to be counted in the 1990 baseline year are all emissions
from the energy, agricultural, waste, and industrial processes sectors.

Article 3.7 of the Protocol allows countries that had net emissions in 1990
from the land use change and forestry sector, to count these emissions
towards their 1990 baseline. Australia's land use change and forestry sector
was suppoably a net emitter in 1990 (because the government does not count
tree thickening as documented by Dr Bill Burrows over 37 years) and therefore
Australia is eligible to count land use change in its 1990 baseline.
This mechanism was included in the Kyoto Protocol in recognition that land
clearing contributes to a substantial proportion of Australia's total
emissions. The trigger mechanism will allow Australia to gain credit for the
efforts made to reduce emissions from land clearing. Most other developed
countries have net sinks from the land use change and forestry sector, not
net emissions, so Article 3.7 does not apply to them.

The United States cannot single-handedly block the Kyoto Protocol, which will
enter into force 90 days after it has been ratified by 55 states, but it can
come close to doing so. The ratifying parties must include countries
representing at least 55 per cent of the industrialised world's total carbon
dioxide emissions, and the United States alone accounts for 36 per cent of
that output. Australia accounts for about 1%

Interesting Quotes

Tom Wigley, one of the International program on climate change's most
prolific authors, gave Al Gore this news: If all of the nations of the world
do what they said they would at Kyoto, the earth's temperature in 2050 will
be 0.07°C cooler than it would be if we had done nothing. And by the year
2100? A grand total of 0.14°C.

Global warming is likely to be very modest. - United Nations
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) . In Chapter 9 of their new
report is an illustration of the average warming projected by dozens of
various "general circulation" climate models, the most sophisticated type. It
turns out to be around 2.5°C over the next 100 years. But it is well known
that these same models have, in general, predicted a bit more warming than
has actually occurred. With that in mind, two of IPCC's most respected
scientists, Myles Allen and J.F.B. Mitchell, asked the following question:
"Given the behavior of the atmosphere and our models, what is the most likely
warming for the next 100 years?" Their answer: 1.5°C. They published that
result in the October 4, 2000, issue of the prestigious journal Nature.

Discussion Point

(11)From Ian Moss ( Aust Forest Growers) Getting heard by Government

I commend you on the draft of your Just Terms policy but fear that this can
never be achieved in our current political form. Our problem is that we are
a rural minority who must convince an urban majority who have neither the
time nor the inclination to listen. It is, in fact, an unreasonable burden
to expect us to devote the time and resources that are needed to move these
people even one tenth of the way up the learning curve.

The American farming states clearly demonstrate that
regional economies and democracies function far better without the political
dominance of a big Babylon.
 individual State legislature?
While states like Nth & Sth Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas remain dependent on
the Chicago commodities and financial markets they have their own
legislature. There is no mythical "higher intellectual plane" that good
governance might achieve by having it filtered and sanctioned by people who
spend more than an hour in the traffic on the way to work, or who get most of
the input to their voting intent from the late night comedy shows (provided
there is no porn on another channel).

Indeed, there is a mountain of evidence that such people are singularly
incapable of even comprehending the problems of rural areas, let alone
getting workable solutions. To leave them in control of such a complex ship
is gross negligence.

Our rural body politic knows that there is something fundamentally wrong but
no amount of compromise, deal making or political skill will address the fact
that it is our minority interests that will continue to be subordinated.
Small States are effective
Our own smallest state, Tasmania, does have some problems but most of these
are caused by Bass Strait not by its 500,000 population. And as far as
getting rural problems dealt with quickly, effectively and with reasonable
input, no other state can compare.

Some could argue that extra states would be a needless duplication in an
already over-governed nation. And it might be for a multinational
corporation but it is no less inefficient than making an MP travel from
Longreach to Brisbane to listen to a debate about the South East Freeway

And no-one has bothered to ask regional voters the question: "how much of
your local government functions would you be willing to hand over to a State
government in your own region"?
Regional states in Qld & NSW?
There is the scope for two and possibly three regional states in Queensland
and certainly another two in NSW. All would have a population greater than
Tasmania's. They would receive the same share of federal funds that they do
now but it would all actually be spent in the region rather than in the
metropolitan seat of government.

The big question is, "will our regional politicians adopt a policy that will
actually make a difference"?

A reply from Leon Ashby (Qld & SA)

Ian, You probably do not know this but before the Aramac Landcare Group
called a public meeting on property rights (Jan 2000), there was (and still
is) a view in much of Qld that landholders will never get fairness and
justice with the current political arrangements and that at least one new
inland state should be declared. Jane and I even had talks with Bob Katter on
the subject discussing how the process could begin  with local councils
asking certain questions at their elections.
The long and the short of it is that if a concerted effort of rural lobbying,
and a couple of imaginative protests do not get the desired effect within the
next 12 months then people like ourselves will give up lobbying and resort to
that option.

(12) The Human Toll

It`s obvious that people who do not live, dream, sweat and breath a property,
cannot feel the intense frustration and anger when government people start
telling you the land you paid and worked all your life for is not yours to
manage anymore, and you cannot get out of the situation. They think if you
get emotional about it, you are over reacting.
Hair Fell Out
Craig Underwood (WA) said he and his wife Jane, got so upset when they were
unable to get their (legal) permit for clearing land renewed (a process that
was later deemed illegal), that Jane went grey very quickly and Craig lost
all his hair. Their doctor said it was stress related and he must have come
close to having a stress related heart attack. How many others have been put
through this unnecessary torture, I don`t know but cases of cancer,
depression, suicide, marriage breakups, and premature deaths are often
associated with long periods of stress.  

As Craig says a property is not just a property, it`s often your savings,
your livelihood, your home, your superannuation or a family heritage, and
when someone with uncaring power inflicts a loss of rights, income,
opportunity and emotional pain on you an outlet for that frustration is often
needed, or you can end up with bottled up emotions that appear in other

 If lobbying does not get results then, I believe we need to give landholders
the opportunity to let some of that emotional frustration out with a creative
and forceful protest.  We need a bit of solidarity for the community, so that
some of the violent feelings towards  governments and green individuals can
be vented positively. Any one who read the placards at the Winton and Roma
protests could see what sort of things had upset people.

Protest possibilities
Assuming the federal and state governments are not interested in  "Just
Terms",  we have been considering  if protests over the erosion of property
rights  and top down environmental management approach of governments  should
be organised at some appropriate moment either before the federal election,
or in the new year . Certainly the WA situation looks likely to be the sooner
as the appropriate moment.

Another protest idea mentioned to us, is to give a prize for the group with
the best publicity stunt associated with the protest(s).
Naturally any more imaginative ideas are welcome.

Finally we have a story we put in  emagazine no 2 to politicians etc
Till next time

(13) World Heritage Listing - 18 years of heartache - Ted & Marianne Richardson
*The following story is to illustrate how a lack of process to effect "Just
Terms" on land aquisition or any loss of property rights has affected one  
family.  "Just Terms" are talked about in the Australian Constitution but as
yet remain undefined with no process at all which should be set out to cover
all situations where a property right or rights are removed. "Just Terms"  
have also been deemed in the ACT and NT by the high court. If "just terms"
are proper they should surely apply across all legislatures.
Ted and Marianne Richardson live in the far southwest of NSW. They were
married in  1981, and purchased "Gampang Station" a property about
180kms from Midura, that had been owned by Ted's father, and had been In the
family for over 70 years.

In that same year, 1981, the Wran Government recommended to the Fraser
Government that Ted's property and those of sixteen of his neighbours should
be included in an area to be designated the Willandra  Lakes World Heritage
Area, under the United Nations World Heritage convention. And so the
heartache began.

Ted and Marianne only found out that their property was included In the World
Heritage area when local newspapers carried the story. They were reassured by
NSW government officials. that the listing would have little impact, and that
a plan of management would be In operation within 12 months.Little more was
heard about the listing.

Then suddenly in 1983, Ted and his neighbours were toId they could no longer
crop any of the land included in the Heritage area.  Not surprisingly, the
landholders were very upset and called for a socio economic study to be
carried out, which would  be the basis of any compensation they might
receive.Finally in 1985 the Commonwealth and State Governments agreed that
the study would be conducted. Despite the concerns of the farmers, nothing
much happened. They became caught in a bureaucratic "bIackhole" where the
Commonwealth and the NSW Government alternately blamed each other for the
lack of any action.

In  1989, eight years after the listing, a consultant was finally engaged to
develop a plan of management tor the area. That initial plan of management
was rejected and a subsequent plan was started in 1993. This resulted in what
was called a 'strategic issues document' being released in 1994. By this time
the powers-that-be had decided the landholders could resume cropping.

By 1994, Ted and Marianne had 5 children. Their eldest child who wasn't even
born when the area was listed was now ten years old, and still the
landholders were in limbo.During that year UNESCO visited the area, and
recommended that almost half of the land should be removed from the listing,
and the status of the rest significantly downgraded. This was vehemently
rejected by the relevant scientific experts in Australia, perhaps because it
would have cast doubt on the professionalism of their Initial assessments.

Work progressed on the management plan, and the June long weekend in 1995 was
set down for its release. All the relevant State and Commonwealth
bureaucrats, the scientific experts, and the landholders met over three days
at Mungo National Park to consider the plan.There was a lot of preliminary
discussion until finally the time came for the scientists to put up the maps
of each of the properties, with the areas at total exclusion outled In red,
and areas requiring special management in orange. It was clear to all that
seven properties would have to close down.

After that meeting, work finally started on the socio economic impact study
that would detemine the compensation each of the landholders should
receive.On and on went  the processes - draft socio economic study,
consultation, arguements between Federal and State, negotiations over
compensation, even negotiations over who should pay the legal costs
associated with the compensation.

Finally, the first of the landholders were paid some compensation for their
properties in mid-1997, sixteen  years after the area had been listed.
Settlement for the finaI two landholders was made in June 1999, eighteen
years after the area was world heritage listed.

Ted and Marianne live in Mildura now with their kids, the youngest of whom is
now ten There is some irony in the fact that Ted now leases the bulk of his
original property and runs sheep on it and as yet no work has been undertaken
to exclude the areas that were considered so 'Important''.