22/10/01
Hi All,
         Not that much news from our end to report this week. Thanks for the
many comments and information.
Just a quick comment on web sites. If you are trying to get on a site, but it
says "cannot find" or similar. It is often a system fault, so just try the
site again.  

(1) Nationals in farm dams delay - Vic
(2) Vic Farmer to sue State Govt over wild dogs
(3) Maquarie Valley Irrigators walkout of another committee
(4) Labor plans to halt tree clearing
(5) NSW Farmers give some support to Labors policy on Property rights
(6) Craig Underwood comments on large fines for vegetation clearance
(7) Flying Foxes ring EPBC Alarm Bells
(8) Qld Climate Change Seminar
(9) Global Warning fears sunk by science
(10) John Kingston gives details of Qld NRM inadequacies
(11) Paradigms, Grazing management & Ruminants versus Marsupials
(12) David Chambers replies on Karri forests / ALMS
(13) Lean Tree Guards available
(14)  AUSTRALIAN ASSOCIATION OF NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
CONFERENCE AT DUBBO
(15) Property Rights comments from The House of Representatives Standing
Committee public good conservation report
(16) Taku & Greens strategy to shut down areas of Canada
(17) Salinity water test fraud?

======================================================
(1) Nationals in farm dams delay - Vic

 The National Party has now agreed to move amendments to the Bill, but it
still might not be enough to appease landholders. The National's want the
issue of exchange rates for water trading settled and changes made to the
Stream Flow Management plan, ensuring environmental flows are calculated
realistically, and reflect the flow of a stream under natural conditions in
dry years, so in seasons of low flow, farmers entitlement's are not
sacrificed.

 The group of landholders from the North East agitating for change say  it's
still not enough. Tallangatta farmer Brian Fraser say the group wants three
per cent of rain that falls on a farm to be available as a statutory right,
allowing a a dairy farmer to wash down his or her yards without an irrigation
license. There's also the complex issue of the exchange rate for water.
Basically it surrounds the concept that for each megalitre of water delivered
downstream, losses are incurred due to evaporation and seepage. For example,
one megalitre delivered downstream to Mildura, might need two megalitres just
to get there. Upper Catchment farmers argue if they buy water and transfer it
upstream, closer to the source of the water, they reduce those losses and
should be able to claim that extra water. They want the exchange rate set at
two megalitres for one megalitre.

=======================================================

(2) Vic Farmer to sue State Govt over wild dogs

A North East farmer is today in the Supreme Court in Melbourne, giving
evidence that wild dogs have cost him his farm near Corryong. Ron Stockwell
is claiming damages from the State Government for more than a million
dollars. He says there were few wild dog problems on his sheep property until
the area that surrounds it, was declared protected in 1983. John Maitland is
the lawyer representing Ron Stockwell he says there is strong evidence to
suggest departmental policy ruined Mr Stockwell's farm by preventing him from
controling wild dogs in adjoining land. He says the department then forced Mr
Stockwell to destock because of the trauma his stock was being subjected to
by the wild dogs.

Mr Stockwell's lawyers told the Supreme court in one attack in 1986 he lost
12 sheep and in another attack the same year 25 sheep were killed and another
30 had to be put down. In 1988 losses were put at 150 ewes and 250 lambs. In
1990 Mr Stockwell was forced to destock when a Department of Agriculture Vet
advised him he was at risk of prosecution for cruelty to animals. Mr
Stockwell's lawyers argued the State Government and the then Department of
Conservation, Forests and Lands showed a total lack of understanding of the
problem and offered no solutions. They also contended that funding for wild
dog control was inadequate and the small amount of funding provided was
poorly allocated.

*We should watch this case as it could define any number of rights and
responsibilities towards animal management
======================================================
(3) Maquarie Valley Irrigators walkout of another committee

In yet another blow for the NSW State Government's resource management
process, irrigators in the Macquarie Valley in the Central West of the State,
have passed a vote of no confidence in the regional Groundwater Management
Committee. A meeting held in Narromine yesterday to discuss the Committee's
recommendations to the State Government, attracted an unhappy crowd of around
60 irrigators. Following suit from landholders on Vegetation Committees at
Walgett and Nyngan, those irrigators will now start drawing up their own
plan, rejecting the State Government's attempts at community consultation.

====================================================
 (4) Labor plans to halt tree clearing

The Federal Labor Party has brushed off criticisms that suggest it won't be
pouring enough money into the fight against salinity, if it wins office. The
ALP says it'll boost current funding by an extra 170 million dollars over
four years....nearly all of which will go towards compensating farmers in
areas where land-clearing would be banned. The Greens, however, have been
quick to point out that a study last year showed $6 billion was needed
annually to repair our land and water.

But Shadow Environment Minister, Nick Bolkus, says that by controlling
land-clearing, Labor would be doing the single biggest thing it can to
reverse land degradation. The National Farmers Federation, meanwhile, is
concerned at Labor's plan to change environmental laws, in a way that allows
the Commonwealth to stop land-clearing. It claims this would add another
layer of bureaucracy, adding that not all land-clearing adversely affects
biodiversity and conservation. But Greens Senator, Bob Brown, has criticised
the ALP for not going far enough. He says the pledge to make land-clearing a
trigger for Commonwealth involvement contains a major loophole.

"The Commonwealth would be involved under a Beazley Government if a landowner
planned to clear more than a 1000 hectares over two years. It's far too big.
We think that should 100 hectares over one year. This is a very serious
loophole that's going to allow landowners up and down the country, not least
in the Murray Darling Basin to serially clear their land to get around the
hurdle that this trigger is."

Tree clearing is turning into a big election issue for landholders in
Queensland. Kim Beasley's  has promised strict landclearing limits by 2005,
along with possible moratoriums on clearing in areas which drain into the
Great Barrier Reef. It also includes some compensation for landholders, the
Qld Premier Peter Beattie has welcomed the policy but says more money may be
needed. And in the other corner of the tree clearing debate, is the Deputy
Prime Minister, who says compensation is a state issue and that's that.

 =========================================================
(5) NSW Farmers give some support to Labors policy on Property rights

As we come to the mid point in the Federal election campaign, the New South
Wales Farmers Association has stepped up its calls for property rights. The
Association has come out in support of the ALP's policy on property rights,
which has caused a bit of a 'stir' around the ridges. President of NSW
Farmers, Mal Peters, say despite not making a lot of friends, he'll continue
his strategy.
========================================================
(6) Craig Underwood comments on large fines for vegetation clearance

Craig Underwood (WA Landholder & JP) has made the comment that the proposed
$1.1 million fines in NSW for a land clearing offence & $110,000 for every
additional day will be a useful tool for landholders to use as a value of
their vegetation.
Craig says getting a valuation is often a difficult task, but once a govt
declares a value for  fines, then that can be used in compensation / legal
determinations in the future.
For instance if dozer operators usually chain 220 acres per day, and the fine
is $110,000 per day then the vegetation could be argued to be worth $500 /
acre.

If you have public good conservation imposed on your property, you could then
go to court demanding  that amount.
The EPBC act also has fines of up to $500,000 for landholders.
=====================================================

From QFF

(7) Flying Foxes Ring EPBC Alarm Bells

QFF has called for a total review of the Commonwealth Environment Protection
and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act)   This week’s Federal Court
decision to prosecute a North Queensland lychee grower using the World
Heritage trigger under the EPBC Act has sent a very strong signal to rural
industry that the Act can - and will - be used in potential situations beyond
the farm gate.
In what is thought to be the first legal action instigated by a member of the
community under the EPBC Act, a volunteer with the North Queensland
Conservation Council filed an application in late 2000 for an injunction to
stop a North Queensland lychee grower using electrocution to eradicate flying
foxes from his lychee crop.  The flying fox species in question is not yet
listed as a Nationally Threatened Species, and thus, the Threatened Species
trigger under the Act did not apply.  However, the plaintiff argued that the
removal of flying foxes had an impact on the ecology of rainforests in the
Wet Tropics World Heritage Area in close proximity to the lychee grower’s
property.  By upholding the injunction, this case demonstrates the potential
for legal action to be instigated by third parties under the EPBC Act.
As outlined in QFF’s Election Statement http://www.qff.org.au/hotissues.htm
  (Click here to view), the
impacts of the Act on farmers are wide-ranging, from inconsistencies with
State legislation such as the Vegetation Management Act in the case of tree
clearing, to vexatious nominations of day to day farming practices as ‘key
threatening processes’ under the Act.  QFF strongly supports Queensland Fruit
and Vegetable Growers in their research efforts to find cost-effective,
non-lethal control methods for flying foxes.  
=====================================================
(8) Qld Climate Change Seminar

A Qld climate change seminar was held on 17 October 2001.  Titled ‘Climate
Change for the 21st Century - A Queensland Perspective’, this seminar
provided an update on CSIRO regional climate projections and the potential
impacts of climate change.  

 The State Government intends to  develop management and planning tools for
agriculture, biodiversity conservation, waterways and the coastal zone, and
to assess the impact of climate change on extending the ecological range of
pests and diseases.
=======================================================
From the Courier Mail ( page 9 of the Courier Mail 18th October)

(9) Global Warning fears sunk by science

Fears the Pacific's atolls are disappearing as global warming raises lea
levels may soon be left high and dry.  

New scientific evidence appears to dismiss the myth of the sinking isles.  
Previously, concerns over the forecast ecological disaster have prompted
appeals for help from Pacific nations, fundraising efforts from Green peace,  
and a media hunt for early victims.

The atoll nation of Tuvalu earlier this year appealed to Australia to grant
citizenship to more of its people, saying their homes were disappearing
beneath the waves.

But, saya a scientist, the South Pacific ocean has not risen in the past
decade.

"The data does not support any sea-level rise at all," said Wolfgang Scherer,
the director of Australia's National Tidal Facility at Flinders University in
Adelaide.

The facility, funded by Australian aid, has over the past decade installed
tide gauges across the Pacific, including one at Tuvalu's denslely populated
capital atoll, Funafuti.

Paani Laupepa of Tuvalu's Ministry of National Resources, told Radio
Australia that authorities were palanning to evacuate its population of 10500
from its nine tiny atolls within 50 years.

Australia and NewZealand have shown reluctance to take these"environmental
refugees" - prompting anger from Tuvalu officials.

But Dr. Scherer said data from Funafuti undermined the argument.  "As at June
2001, based on the short term sea level rise analysis....show a rate of 0.0
mm per year, that is, no change in average sea level over the period of
record,"  he said.

We have several articles on Global Warming on our web site click on what you
want to see
glacier photos  graphs of temp & CO2 levels
  sunspots may be better
explanation

environmental myths
===================================================
Excerpts from  a speech by Dr John Kingston (Ind Maryborough Qld)

(10) Details of Qld NRM inadequacies
I have recently harvested my cane crop. Pigs reduced the yield from 20 tonnes
to 10 tonnes per acre. The local DNR adviser, gave the wrong advice to
canefarmers and limited their access to 1080, the DNR's recommended poison.
The QDPIF south of Gympie has given up trying to control groundsel (a weed).
Every south-easter brings us a cloud of seed courtesy of this neglect and
restriction of funds. The DNR manager for the Maryborough region limits
organised dingo baiting whilst our calves are being maimed or killed because,
in his opinion, there are no dingoes in the national park close to us. Of
course, it is not his calves or his cane being damaged. He works from 9 to 5,
and dingoes are nocturnal; the two never meet.

RFA  comments
The Minister claims that there was comprehensive consultation. There are four
highly organised groups of SGP holders in south-east Queensland: All of these
groups have written repeatedly to the Minister or his advisers as requested
and asked for consultation. With what result? Not one reply!

The Minister claims that the end result was an agreement welcomed by all
stakeholders. I am starting to suspect that not only are the Minister and his
advisers out of touch with reality and with the stakeholders but that there
is also a need for an interpreter.

VEGETATION MANAGEMENT

Inherent in the RFA and the vegetation legislation introduced by this
government and passed by the parliament is the unstated assumption that
farmers and graziers are not responsible custodians of their land. Further,
this government assumes that the judgments concerning what is responsible
land use have to be made by bureaucrats—bureaucrats who infrequently leave
their offices, and are short of resource-use practice

Henry Nix, now Professor of Environmental Studies at the Australian National
University, started his life as part of a grazing family. Then he became a
soil scientist, mapping and planning a significant section of the brigalow
scheme. He has never stopped reviewing the progress of land development in
Australia. He is a member of the world Chernobyl committee, the world ozone
layer committee and so on. Thus, he is respected world wide by genuine
conservationists. A major study by Henry Nix in the last few years has
identified that the majority—80 per cent—of land degradation caused by
farming and grazing occurred in the first 30 years of settlement.  

This (Vegetation) legislation impacts on our current farmers and graziers.
Essentially it denies that our farmers have learned anything about
conservation and land care since settlement. I personally find that
insulting, as do all responsible land users.
As Bill Burrows, a deservedly respected woodlands scientist, says,
politicians come and go but good science remains forever. Bill has developed
management tools that define rapidly and accurately how many trees should be
retained on any site in Queensland to maximise grazing productivity and
sustainability of herbage and tree cover.

Throughout south-east Queensland there are grazing families who have
concurrently nurtured and sold trees and cattle. They are often equally
reliant on both sawlogs and beef for their income. Over the years—often over
three generations—their production of both end products has improved
substantially and they have halted and even reversed any degradation that had
occurred before they assumed custodianship. Often their land borders land
owned by the Queensland forestry department. Only a fence separates them from
Forestry owned land, but they sustainably outproduce Forestry by a factor of
three to four times.

Whilst I am talking about the Queensland forestry department, I have to
mention the fact that private land-holders have to maintain their land free
from noxious weeds but the forestry department does not. Groundsel, lantana
and rat-tail grass flourish in many exotic pine plantations and infest
adjoining privately owned land. Thus, land controlled by this presumptuous
government is allowed to exist in a degraded state for which private
land-holders are fined. I have repeatedly invited members of the government
to visit some of these silvicultured properties with me, but never—not
ever—has any government member had the courage or the genuine interest to
come. Today I repeat that invitation to the new members of the government.
Surely amongst 66 there will be somebody who is interested.

Speech by
JOHN KINGSTON
MEMBER FOR MARYBOROUGH
=========================================================
From Richard Makim (Julia Creek, Qld)

 (11) Paradigms, Grazing management & Ruminants versus Marsupials

Leon,
I`m wondering why is the total system picture we are looking at so plain and
so clear to many of us? And yet not to others such as David (Chambers). Is it
like one of those 3-D pictures that were around everywhere a few years back.
You know the ones.... the ones you had to concentrate on, look beyond and
maybe squint your eyes and wait until suddenly a picture would jump out as
clear as a bell. You could never
understand then why you couldn't see it before. And it was never as hard to
see again. Is that the difference betweeen traditional and conventional
grazing management and Holistic Resource Management?
David, I'm a 4th generation  grazier west of the Divide and I've only got
this picture in the last 5 years, so don't despair.
Whatever the explanation, it's critical we get better at explaining it.

We need open minds to even begin crossing paradigms.
 Why is this so important? It is because it's affecting our lead time in
Science.

There has been a move nationally to wind down grazing research  "because we
(supposedly) know 95% of what we need to know" and environmentally, we are
seen by the " wider community" as "iffy" or a maybe a "sunset" undustry.

 Meanwhile the HRM people are discovering that this is directly opposite the
truth for good environmental management. Instead of (the community) viewing
imported grazing ruminants (exotic stock) as a necessary environmental
management tool, some people are locked behind paradigms set by yesterday's
grazing management, e.g. cloven hoofs, land degradation, methane production
etc.

The "wider community's" generally held view is creating an unfortunate
situation which may have detrimental long term effects on the very
environment it is concerned about. The politics at present is being driven
by ignorance,  partially informed, dated or emotional  "knowledge". This
affects funding, which in turn drives the career paths and choices of
Scientists and then on to the young choosing
Agriculture as a future. The results are easily checked by the numbers
and morale of those involved and the average age of farmers in this country.

It's not all bad news. Some Governments appear to be turning the corner.

 I think it would be useful to get the discussion right back to basics so we
are all on the same hymn sheet. From here we can move forward.  Maybe we need
"chat forums" to examine photosynthesis and the action of soil nutrients,
sunlight and air on our plants.
 Let's examine what happens when our plants are correctly grazed and rested
and the various results, some of which of course have only been available
with the recent
advance of technology, e.g. polyethylene  pipe and electric fencing.

We can then move to include what is happening to all growing plants that we
encounter and use, not just trees. And not just above ground, but below as
well. From here we include the soil biota, carbon sequestration, (mulch,
roots, dung beetles etc.)
microbes, fungi and so it goes on.

When we get some common ground and understanding, let's move to examine the
differences between monogastric marsupials and ruminants and their
respective grazing needs.Bear in mind this dry continent has an abundance of
dry, low quality pasture at some part of each season - only digestable by
ruminants, fire and white ants.
The marsupials are renowned for following ruminants and fire
onto short green regrowth.  As an aside, the Chinese have recently doubled
their cattle herd to take advantage of  lower quality roughage and straw.

If we can agree to move to optimum management of our land, we will learn
early that total exclusion of grazing is counterproductive to it's health.
Recent genuine research is already showing this. Should this  management
require ruminants in a pulsed or measured way, let's do something
constructive about minimising or totally eliminating methane production from
the stock. This should be simple enough with better pasture management and
health, efficiency of stock genetics and supplements like nitrogen. In the
wings are vaccinations and rumen bug manipulation if needed.

Cheers,

Richard Makim.

* To back up Richard`s comments on animal digestive systems. During a drought
on Barcoorah, I saw dozens of kangaroos dying because they could get little
nourishment from the same dry native grasses thousands of sheep were able to
survive on.
======================================================
 (12) David Chambers replies on Karri forests / ALMS

Leon,

1.Thanks for your response to my input. One thing that is puzzling is the
statement that it is necessary to clear fell to retain Karri and prevent
invasion by Marri. This begs the question. How did the Karri stands establish
in the first place without Marri invasion or is it a fact that the Karri were
few and clear felling has changed the balance to suit our harvest plans? (A
considerable ecosystem change in the latter instance).

2. Re ALMS. This project certainly has our support. It is an expansion, with
more visiblity and support, it would seem, on our work (farmer directed) to
encourage farmers to farm within the Australian eco-system.
Hopefully our work and that of ALMS can combine to build upon what we have
found to be a difficult task, in the past
Best regards,

David Chambers

(* We would be interested in what the Karri Foresters would say in reply to
your  excellent question David )
=======================================================
From Arthur Boyd
(13) Lean Tree Guards available

Hi,
    I,m  passionate about trees. I am a head Gardener
and to see people using wooden stakes and bamboo for tree guards just
about makes me ill, and they call them selves conservationists . So I
looked around for something better and I found what I was looking for,
Lean Tree Guards, a wire frame two parts and a plastic sleeve. The wire
frame has a locking device on the top that allows the whole frame to
move in the wind and the sleeve willn't come off in any weather
Most of what I am using at the moment are over ten years
old for less than $1.each.
For those interested Phone number 0354289202 or Mobile 0419897721

Arthur Boyd
=========================================================

A few weeks ago we had a phone call from Ken Rodgers, who  is organising the
following conference. He wanted to encourage our group of landholders to
consider speaking at conferences. Ken recognises people with actual
experience need to be leading the debates. Unfortunately he had this
conference organised before finding out about us. Here is the Blurb.

(14)  AUSTRALIAN ASSOCIATION OF NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
CONFERENCE AT DUBBO

Taking Charge of Change

23 & 24 November 2001, Dubbo.

Where are we heading with resource management and use with all the planning
and reforms that beset us in NSW? This conference is for people who want to
find out and be involved in working out if we want to change.
Tim Flannery is our keynote speaker, with Siwan Lovett (LWRRDC) translating
science into practise. Chris Guest will espouse current government policy and
reform updates and the future, and the Central West Catchment Board shares
their views on catchment change. We will also hear about work in salinity,
biodiversity trading in California, EMS in agriculture, .community
involvement
and implementing planning from around the state, and native vegetation and
precautionary approaches . And that not all. This is your chance to share in
the
vision of responsible resource management, and help set the direction and
goals
to achieve it.
A workshop will help develop where we will be in 2020 and work out how did we
get there.

For further details contact Ken Rogers at Dubbo City Council on phone (02)
68814270 or email:kenr@dubbo.nsw.gov.au. Check the www.soil-water.org.au site

Click Here
========================================================
(15) Property Rights comments from The House of Representatives Standing
Committee public good conservation report

 Here are several points made in the report on pages 27-29 regarding property
rights

 Dr Murray Raff , a constitutional and property law expert is reported as
saying
(1) There is no absolute property in Australia, all tenure including freehold
is still held of the crown

(2) Expectations that landholders may have had when purchasing the land does
not give rise to a legal claim for compensation if the land use changes and
the expectations become unrealisable.

(3) In the absense of a declaration of human and / or  private property
rights, the crown can resume ALL types of land tenure without compensation

 The report says that at present landholders have only "various percieved
moral rights" to compensation.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--------------------------------
In the light of these statements, it is obvious there is NO CERTAINTY  for
ANY landholder to obtain justice if one or all of their current management or
property rights are removed by any level of government.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

--------------------------------
The committee also said

* This uncertainty is unacceptable and investment in ecologically sustainable
agriculture will only occur if property rights are certain, and
* Property rights should be clearly understood between landholder and the
Crown, and if they are varied, entitlements specified. (pg 131-132)

========================================================
(16) Taku & Greens strategy to shut down areas of Canada

Annette Davis (QLD) has found information about "behind the scenes"
strategy`s used to shut down an area in Canada.  The tactics include landuse
studies and coordination between various Green and Aboriginal groups. This
same strategy is being applied by many similar networks to stop economic
activity worldwide in the name of saving nature.

Some brief details are as follows  

Campaign goals and objectives

1. Stop the Tulsequah Chief Mine

The strategic objective in the early stages of this campaign will be to stop
the mine from proceeding in such a way that establishes a moratorium on the
area for further development. This will be achieved through several tactical
components including:

  a.. A coordinated trans-boundary political effort
  b.. A comprehensive economic analysis of Redfern Resources.(Mining Company)
  c.. Solidarity and support for the Taku River Tlingit First Nation ( An
Aboriginal group). The TRTFN have been considering taking further legal and
political action based on their aboriginal rights to oppose the approval of
the mine.
  d.. The International Joint Commission.

2. Ensure a Development Moratorium


3 3. To ensure that a comprehensive Land Use Planning process is completed
that is agreeable and inclusive of the Taku River Tlingit River First Nations


Campaign Structure

There will be several components to the campaign structure to ensure quick
campaign development, decision-making and proper tactical assignments. The
structure will be as follows:

  a.. Taku Network:  This will be an information sharing Network with
organizations receiving regular briefs and a being called upon for specific
actions when necessary.

  b.. The Taku Steering Committee:  The members of this committee will
include:
Taku Wilderness Association
Nakina C. A. L. L. (Center for Aboriginal Life and Learning)
Sierra Club of British Columbia
The River League
BC Spaces for Nature
Sierra Legal Defence Fund
Northwest Institute
Environmental Mining Council of British Columbia
American Rivers
Southeast Alaska Conservation Coalition
The David Suzuki Foundation
Earthjustice Legal Defence Fund

 a.. Media and communications:
 The group will include David Suzuki Foundation, Sierra Legal Defence Fund,
The River League, Sierra Club of B.C., Earthjustice Legal Defence Fund.

  a.. Economics:
This group will initiate a review of the underlying financial assumptions of
the Tulsequah Chief Mine and the real costs and benefits of development in
the Taku wilderness.


* We once noticed David Suzuki had come to Australia and quickly denounced
Tree clearing. It just happened  within a few days of the ACF and Senator Bob
Brown also making anti tree clearing media releases. - Coincidence?
============================================================
(17) Salinity water test fraud?

 From Noel Austin (Vic)

 A landholder in Victoria recently had his water tested by a Govt department
and the level was 9000 ppm salt. He was then advised he  would have to plant
trees etc . The Department decided a $60,000 salinity project was also in
order and promptly applied for it.

The Landholder knew his water wasn`t six times the maximum usable level of
salt (1500 ppm), so he had 3 tests done over several months. All the tests
came back at 300 to 600 ppm.
He then called the person who had taken the original water test and said the
9000 ppm was wrong.
The govt employee refused to accept the original test was incorrect, and
would not even do a retest - by this stage the $60,000 was not far from being
granted. The landholder then had to ask his local MP to become involved
before the issue was resolved.

We think you can guess the moral of the story.
Cheers