(1) WA property rights bill to cost up to $300 million
(2) Revolving fund for conservation in NSW
(3) Fiveways Landcare request
(4) Submission to a Vegetation Draft Strategy by Fiveways landcare group

Hi There,
             Firstly thanks to those who are sending in information and
photos - The material for the Web site is about 75% collected  Just a couple
of more research results  to track down.  People are still phoning in in
response to our "letters to the editor " asking for timber thickening
evidence. Here are a few bits of news from around Oz you may find interesting.

WA `s Property rights bill could top $300 M (edited from farm weekly March 1)
The erosion of landowners property rights has raised equity concerns across
WA`s farming sector. Craig Underwood said he had suffered years of
bureaucratic interference in his fight to clear land on his property, which
was given the go ahead years prior but has now been stalled (is this the
tactic more govts are going to use when they want an outcome that is not in
the legislation?)
Mr Underwood said, for people who had been in the fight for more than 12
months the matter was no longer about administration or compensation but
rather damages.
         Despite the support of Agriculture minister Kim Chance, there is no
possibility of landowners receiving compensation for unfair dealings or loss
of land. He said the compensation bill could be between $200M and $300M and
that is perhaps beyond the capacity of the state to make that commitment to
Thanks to Tom Price (WA)

Wednesday, 4 April 2001 press release from  NSW Farmers

Historic Conservation Trust passes through Parliament
Landmark legislation establishing the Nature Conservation Trust of NSW, which
today passed through state parliament, has been welcomed by the NSW Farmers'
Association and major conservation groups as a key to dramatically improving
conservation on private land.

The Trust will be an independent body, which will establish a revolving fund
to buy land with high conservation value, place it under covenant, and then
sell it to a sympathetic owner.

In addition, it will have the flexibility to enter into a broad range of
voluntary conservation agreements with landholders.

The Trust will be funded initially by $1 million each from the State and
Federal Governments, but its structure as a charity seeks to encourage
private investment.

The NSW Nature Conservation Trust has been developed by a working group
consisting of government agencies, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), NSW
Farmers’ Association, Greening Australia, and the Nature Conservation

"This legislation is an example of the positive outcomes which can be
achieved through a partnership between farmers, green groups and the
government," said Philippa Walsh, Southeast Australia Program Manager for WWF

"The Trust will also provide an opportunity to capitalize on the current
public interest in conservation and provide a vehicle for private investment
which isn't available in current programs," Ms Walsh said.

Chair of NSW Farmers’ Conservation and Resource Management Committee, Rob
Anderson, said producers are conscious that effective land management can
achieve both conservation and productivity.

"However, the bottom line can prevent farmers from setting aside land, or
adopting a new management regime. The activities of the Trust will assist in
overcoming some of these hurdles.

"The formation of the Trust is recognition that economic incentives are far
more effective than the 'big stick' approach to encouraging conservation
activities on private land," Mr Anderson said.

 Rob Anderson (Chair, NSW Farmers' Conservation Committee) 02 6754 6526 - h

(Could this set a precedent for an Australia wide process of  conservation
funding / landholder compensation?  It will be interesting to see  how it
works although a couple of $million isn`t going to go far)

This Request is from the FIVEWAYS landcare group

We have a rather strange request for any contacts in Western Australia - we
have been told that Neil Innall (of the ABC reporter fame, and now Chairman
of the Native Vegetation Advisory Council NSW) presented a paper at a
seminar in Perth a "few years ago" (sorry can't be any more specific) and
that it was a very '' uninformed green' attitude for a person that has ended
up with the
job he has now. (Chairman of the Native Vegetation Advisory Council NSW)
We are trying to find a transcript or some of the content of that paper, as
background information on the situation we are now faced with vegetation
management NSW style! (see following excerpt) If anyone can offer suggestions
on where to look, or
has anything helpful, I would really appreciate some help.

Gabe Holmes
Fiveways Landcare Group
Nyngan   2825  (email josephh@bigpond.com )

The Fiveways Landcare group has written a submission to the Govt on a draft
strategy - Here is an excerpt - It is exactly what people in the timbered
areas of Queensland have been  saying about Veg management as well

There is more to the management of native vegetation than has been offered by
this draft strategy - little consideration has been given to the place of the
landowner in this issue and the absolute imperative condition that he remain
viable.  He is the lynch pin to successful vegetation conservation, not
outside ‘stakeholders’.  There must be no loss of equity for the landowner
in any conservation measures that are introduced, the whole community must be
responsible for their desire to maintain a greater than reasonable vegetation

Government agencies and conservation groups all have a role in working in a
co-operative manner with the landowner to deliver sound, balanced
conservation, they have no right to assume the principal role of dictating
terms in this debate.  The most successful outcome will be achieved through
co-operation.  There has been a move towards the need for self-assessment by
landowners in determining the best balance of vegetation, grasses and
production that is suitable for his particular area.  This is an area that
requires further investigation.
The draft strategy offers no recognition or solution to the problems arising
from regrowth, and the severe degradation that is occurring in these areas.  
Instead we see the determined repetition of the public’s perception of native
vegetation management - that all the trees and vegetation that are left
outside of the metropolitan areas must be kept.  

The need to provide food and shelter for all Australian citizens must also be
considered as part of the equation - we do not live in Utopia, but in a
country that is capable of feeding the nation, (and exporting plenty as well)
whilst still allowing for areas of native vegetation that are well managed
and cared for.  This notion that the only management required for native
vegetation is to lock it up and remove all human intervention is short
sighted and highlights the lack of experience and knowledge of our land by
the very agencies that promote themselves as being the ‘experts’.

There must be an equal emphasis placed on the requirements for the flora,
fauna and humans that rely on our land for their sustenance.  Humans cannot
be removed from this debate, after all who pays the bills?  

The contention in the draft strategy that this singleminded intention to
retain all of the remaining vegetation (no matter the condition that it is
in) will not impose any net costs to 65% of landowners does nothing to offer
any support for the remaining 35% who will carry the burden of this
retention.  Where is the equity in this scenario?  The fact that you have
taken to include this little gem in your strategy demonstrates how far from
the real world the debate on native vegetation has moved.  The maintenance of
native vegetation is not an industry to allow for the employment of every
Tom, Dick and Harry with a university degree or the time to sit on 40
committees to contemplate the effects of ‘this’, and the outcomes of ‘that’
until the end of time.  This land needs an active management strategy applied
now - not after all the rhetoric.

The quality of the vegetation retained should have more consideration placed
on it than the quantity.  The state of the environment in heavy regrowth
areas is not something that can be condoned - there must be a restriction on
populations of woody weeds in those areas that need them.  The balance
between trees, native grasses and good consistent ground cover to protect our
precious soils must be maintained.  

If this draft strategy is implemented in our region, it will lead to the
escalating of soil degradation, extension of the already severe gullying that
is present, and may lead to the extermination of all native species over
time.  If there is no food and water available then the species must either
move on, or be lost.  With a managed approach then this degradation can be
prevented, controlled and the landowner receive some production return to pay
for this work.

The whole idea that is promoted through the native vegetation debate is that
there can only be one option - retain native vegetation or have production!  
We find this thought process offensive: the people doing the most to conserve
their environment and to maintain its health and vitality are the people that
own the land, and rely on it to provide for them for generations to come, as
it has for generations past.  

There is no future in the ‘make a buck and move on’ mentality, and I don’t
know of any landowners that operate under that premise.  However it is this
accusation that is leveled at landowners continually and used to discount the
views that they offer for total land management options.

Fiveways Landcare group, Nyngan NSW