22/11/01
Hi all,
        Now the election is over, we are wanting to re focus on our goals.
For those who have just joined, we are essentially a nation wide lobby group
that tries to perform   complementary actions to other groups with the
similar aims of sustainable conservation, sustainable production and
landholder rights. We are voluntary and are prepared to do whatever may be
necessary (publicly or behind the scenes) to achieve our goals. We also
believe our collective experience of positive land management, makes our
views very important for governments to hear.

Our primary lobbying tool is email with many landholders also taking whatever
personal opportunities they can as well.

Since "Landholders for the environment" has formed, these things have
occurred.

# A lot of landholder groups now realise they have a lot of Australia wide
support for their resource management views and have a greater sense of
solidarity.

# Several landholder groups have begun challenging State Govt authority on
their dictatorial method of resource decision making and are planning to
unravel the system by organising their own resource management guidelines
(based on good science, and local experience).

# All federal political parties now support landholders being reimbursed /
compensated where they lose their property rights (e.g.in the interest of
public good conservation).

# A number of landholders are also getting "legal opinion" on their situation
in preparation for court battles.

Now for some news & views

(1) Request for suggestions for future lobbying
(2) WTO and food production
(3) Qld Vegetation Committees ignore helpful technologies says MP
(4) LAND & WATER AUSTRALIA 2001 - 2006 R&D PLAN
(5) ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS IN AGRICULTURE -  A
DISCUSSION PAPER
(6) Peter Wren (South West Proivate Property Action Group) has concerns with
EMS
(7) Wild dogs in Vic
(8) Farmers declare a (small) win on land clearing in NSW
(9) No grids for flying foxes
(10) Flying fox money criticised
(11) Tas Fox Fears Confirmed
(12) Two members of the SA`s south east drainage board resign
(13) Qld Water Act Amendments Debated by the State Parliament
(14) Australian Salinity Action Network
(15) Negative headlines on very low chemical residue news
(16) Jock Douglas Responds to Richard Makim's comment about lack of vision
for the
Australian Landscape:
(17) Dr Bill Burrows comments on Sustainable Agriculture
=============================================================
(1) Request for suggestions for future lobbying
----------------------------------
We are asking for views on what lobbying issues should be addressed next.

Denis Fahey (Qld) suggests we should now lobby for flat (rather than
hierarchial) regional decision making processes.
Presently the hierarchial decision making process frustrates landholders
because of the time wasting working through decisions, only to be over ridden
by someone higher up.
This suggestion would require the minister or his rep to come to meetings and
negotiate agreement and decisions with the stakeholders face to face, rather
than be a dictator that avoids discussion.

Lobbying for this should receive some attention because landholder groups are
rebelling from the hierarchial system anyway and governments are uncertain
what to do. They should welcome a positive solution.
----------------------------

Jane Ashby has suggested we should also lobby for a process to get clear
scientific determinations. Without agreed science, it is nearly impossible to
get agreed outcomes on resource / conservation issues.
.
Jane would like to see a process where a group of people who are disputing a
government`s scientific view could ask for either an independant  tribunal to
look at all the evidence and determine a position, or influence the govt to
undertake specific research.

Having a tribunal look at issues such as the following would progress the
resolution of many issues.

* The cause of salinity. (is it caused by tree clearing or perennial grass
decline?)
* What level of native vegetation retention is required to keep a landscape
at optimum  productivity (sustainably)
* What is a landholders biodiversity duty of care
* What is the minimum level of water flow needed to keep a river`s ecology
functioning
* Is the sea level rising and if not, is global warming being exaggerated?
* Which precise species (if any) are threatened by current treeclearing
practices

Some disputed issues currently being researched are

* If tree thickening is occurring in Qld
* How much water plantation trees use from watertables.
* If the Great Artesian Basin has a recharge area  
 QFF & Agforce also state that resource decision making should be based on
science.
Let us know your thoughts.
------------------------
The idea of holding a conference to publicise a lot of the science that
supports Landholders views, and presenting landholder environmental solutions
is being kept on hold until we see what sort of communications strategy comes
together from  MLA . Paul Fordyce (Qld)  believes a conference COULD create a
"them and us" divide in parts of the community, which might be better to
avoid just at this stage.  

The communications strategy soon to be put to MLA is being planned to bring a
balanced and positive view of land managers and their achievements. The
conference idea may not be needed if the communications strategy gets up and
if  we were  successful at getting better scientific research.

====================================================
From Cathy McGowan`s viewpoint on ABC radio

(2) WTO and food production

I was sitting next to a gentle man and his security tag said the World Bank.
After the preliminiaries he said "It's about food and making sure we have
enough! By 2025 we will need to be able to feed two more China's and by 2050
we estimate that we will need to increase the amount of food by 48%. Where's
it going to come from?".

I don't know. I am here at the WTO talks to try and understand how the system
works. I certainly don't have answers to food security issues for the year
2050.

But what I do know is that as a global society, we need to build the capacity
to feed all these people - for the long term.

Moving around the meeting, talking to delegates from every corner of the
globe, it's clear the issue of food 'security' is not only about trade. It's
about access to water. Its about education. It's about legal rights to land.
It's about traditional customs and ways of including people in the economy -
it's about who is 'allowed' to benefit from increased income. Who has access
to education?

Enough food - it's further complicated because there is not a lot of room to
develope as new farms - an estimated 10% and the rest will have to come from
efficiencies and productivites.!! A big ask. That's where trade becomes
important - competitive advantage and open borders.
============================================================
(3) Qld Vegetation Committees ignore helpful technologies says MP

John Kingston (Ind member for Maryborough & member of the Coastal Wide Bay
Vegetation Legislation Committee) has expressed some concerns with the
vegetation committees. They include

* Technological bases upon which the implementation will rely on are limited,
conservative, and prescriptive (thus limiting innovation)

* Implementation is reliant on regulation, rather than the more effective
methods of education & extension, monitoring etc

* Much Technical work is ignored e.g.
# work done by Dr Bill Burrows (optimal tree cover modelling) ,
# SALT technology used in the Phillipines for erosion control, &
# Alley cropping, used in SE Asia to prevent Soil & Nutrient loss

* Tradability of responsibilities has not been considered (e.g. where a
landholder could trade / be paid for something that another landholder finds
difficult to achieve)

* Measuring biodiversity levels accurately is extremely difficult.
Predator eradication is probably the greatest need for fauna conservation and
unable to be achieved by landholders (or park managers)

* John concludes the committees need
# more access to specialists & data
# Increased technical  flexibility
# More time as deadlines are too short.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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(4) LAND & WATER AUSTRALIA 2001 - 2006 R&D PLAN

Australians respecting and understanding our unique and diverse
landscapes is the vision for the 2001-2006 Research & Development Plan
for Land & Water Australia.  
Land & Water Australia invites people to read its current
five-year R&D Plan and assess its national leadership in generating
knowledge, informing debate and inspiring innovation and action in
sustainable natural resource management.  A snapshot brochure is also
available.
Land & Water Australia is a statutory corporation established under the
Primary Industries and Energy R&D Act 1989, within the Commonwealth
Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry portfolio. The Corporation is
specifically
responsible for R&D aimed at the productive and sustainable management
of the land, water and vegetation resources underpinning
Australia's primary industries and regional communities.
The Corporation's R&D portfolio of more than 1300 research projects is
managed under a matrix of five Arenas and four integrating Themes.

The Arenas are:

1. Improving sustainability and addressing contemporary issues in primary
industries.

2. Managing Australian River Landscapes.        

3. Managing Vegetation in Rural Landscapes.

4. Future Landscapes and Compatible Industries.

5. Cross-cutting activities.

The Themes are:

1. How we perceive and value our environment.   

2. How we learn about and understand our landscapes.

3. How we live in and manage our natural resources.

4. How we organise policies, structures and institutions (governance) at a
societal level.

The R&D Plan is available as a printed document and in three www formats:

Please see:
http://www.lwa.gov.au/html/publications/catalogue/general/r&d_plan_2001-
2006/research.htm or click here
=========================================================


(5) ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS IN AGRICULTURE -  A
DISCUSSION PAPER

Community and industry input is sought on a recently released discussion
paper, Towards a National Framework for the Development of
Environmental Management Systems (EMS) in Agriculture.
You are invited to present your views on:

* The value of and interest in EMS in agriculture;

* The practicality of the proposed framework;

* Its applicability at various scales;

* How it could be improved; and

* Appropriate roles for government and industry in facilitating EMS adoption.

The proposed framework would support further voluntary development of
EMS in agriculture in a consistent manner. It aims to provide a context for
improving environmental management on farm and across landscapes and
to inform industries and landholders of links to regional and catchment
environmental objectives. Appropriate links with supply chain management
will maximise trade and market access advantages from improved natural
resource management.

The paper is available from: The EMS Contact Officer, GPO Box 858
Canberra ACT 2601; email: ems@affa.gov.au  Fax (02) 6272 4960 Tel (02)
6272 3443/4531, or on the Internet at: www.affa.gov.au/ems_framework  or click here
Please send your comments before 31st March 2002.


========================================================
(6) Peter Wren (South West Proivate Property Action Group) has concerns with
EMS
Leon,

I urge Landholders for the Environment to participate with their comments and
views on the above . I feel that the concept of EMS is the outcome of a merge
between the reports of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on
Environment and Heritage--Co-ordinating catchment management-- and Public
good conservation:Our challange for the 21st Century. Catchment environmental
objectives require land and water use monitoring which will have the effect
on water and land use per se.

I believe private property owners should be vigilant and proactive towards
the initiatives of  EMS to ensure that property rights are recognised and
protected, especially in light of the proposed reconvening of COAG
negotiations at state and federal political levels. We must make the message
loud and clear that "landholders" as conveniently categorised by discussion
papers on such matters as EMS are in fact private property owners with rights
that may or may not be negotiated with in varying degree as to the allocation
of registered title and possession. Some but not all of these are rights to
occupation, use, exclusion and relate to land, water, native biota, minerals,
basic raw materials, and landscape features (including inherent values).  

The more I see the use of the word Crown in relation to ultimate ownership
the more convinced I am as to the contrived ambiguity of the term. Which
Crown? The Crown as representing "states rights" as to the tenure of land,
water, and minerals as devolved at the time of federation? Or the Crown as
representing the federal government utilising international agreements as a
basis to make ambit claim through environmental legislation on property
rights and ownership that were enshrined by entitlements before and at
federation ?

The will of parliamentary sovereignty is not in dispute. Parliament does and
always will have the upper hand. It is the attitude used by many in positions
of discretionary delegated contol that negates workable outcomes. You can
compare it to parenthood whereby in nature and circumstance and even in law
(Parliament) the parents have complete control and responsibilty - the upper
hand - over their children. However, having the upper hand over children does
not mean or ensure their welfare is respected or ultimate rights are
protected. It is an ongoing process that one must breathe and live.

Of such a similiar nature are the property rights and responsibilities we
have in our hands. And a wise Parliament would well recognise and protect
this as fundamental to the very fabric of our free flowing form of society.
The legislative protection private property owners require is from the lack
of respect, abuses, and-or favouritism of those with discretionary delegated
control who interpret and administer the will of Parliament. Only then will
there be measured (quantified) and beneficial environmental and ecological
outcomes of value coming from private property owners.  

Most dispute resolution related to natural resource management issues is not
about ownership as such, but centers on the ability to utilize resources in a
way to establish value and seek gain. The use of a property is governed by a
mix of expected and actual rates of change brought on by human intervention
or the lack thereof.  For example a restrictive covenant as a way to ensure
biodiversity is a loss of property rights and value today because it
partially affects the private ownership of title and negates potential rights
of use.  

If in some convoluted way restrictive covenants on land use prove to be
valuable as a form of security and attract investment than ownership of the
"land" could become a unit or medium of exhange much the same as monetary
exchange values exist without the need for a gold standard. Although of
course the natural world is subject to a rate of change much greater than the
flux of gold, again in a way somewhat related to human intervention or the
lack thereof.

 Perhaps land with restrictive covenants to secure natural values should be
yielded as a resource and floated on  the stock exchange and backed by the
Federal Reserve (certainly if the Feds lean on property owners to the benefit
of the environmental agenda and lobby they are obliged to morally protect
property rights and values; when it comes to votes they have no qualms at
throwing bucketloads of NHT money at the feet of the burgeoning natural
resource cum environmental experiment industry). Costs of upkeep and
management can be built into the price like any other commodity or managed
unit of exchange.  This example of a changing concept of property ownership
and use value is one of many that does require in-depth study and preparation
for upcoming COAG debate and negotiations.  
.
Keep up the good work--

Peter Wren
Deepdene WA

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

(7) Wild dogs in Vic

Fear surrounding wild dogs in the high country have been heightened further
after the most threatening personal case so far. Dargo farmer and long term
resident, Diana Hurley reported last night being chased and then bailed up
for 20 miutes on her own by a pack of 4 wild dogs after her ute broke down.
This latest story adds to the list of close encounters with wild dogs that
are becoming more aggressive with the infusion of hunting dog blood into
packs of dingos.
The Vic government says currently there are 19 doggers operating in the areas
prone to wild dog attacks.

* I also heard on talkback radio a Vic landholder saying since doggers had
been restricted in how they could trap dingoes / dogs by "dark green" members
of beauracracy, the dog situation had gotten far worse
========================================================
(8) Farmers declare a (small) win on land clearing in NSW

Farmers have welcomed proposed changes to the land clearing exemptions,
declaring a "win" after seven years of dogged campaigning. But despite
claiming a victory, the NSW Farmers Association Still says the land clearing
laws are fundamentally flawed. Chairman of the Conservation Committee, ROB
ANDERSON, says the removal of the ten year time-line on the regrowth is good
but is worried that it won't become effective until July 2002, by which time
farmers will have ploughed up paddocks just to make sure they are not cuaght
up in the old regime of rules. He says there is not enough trust in the State
Government and unitl the laws become "black and white" farmers will continue
to interpret current rules as they apply today
==========================================================
(9) No grids for flying foxes

The Federal Court has handed down final orders preventing a North Queensland
lychee grower from using electrical grids to kill crop-destroying flying
foxes.
Last month, Federal Court judge Catherine Branson granted an injunction to
conservationist Doctor Carol Booth who'd sought to stop Cardwell farmers
Rohan and Frances Bosworth from using the grids.Dr Booth had argued that the
killing of the spectacled flying foxes was threatening the species which play
a vital role in enhancing the biodiversity of the wet tropics.

She argued the action was therefore in breach of the Federal Government's
Environment protection and biodiveristy Conservation Act.It is the first time
a third pary has used the Act for legal action.Dr Booth is claiming a victory
for the environment after Justice Branson made her final orders, which
prevent Mr Bosworth from killing flying foxes or causing them bodily harm. Mr
Bosworth says he is decimated by the decision and has applied to the federal
minister to allow him to use the grids. He says he would be devastated if
costs were awarded against him.


=======================================================
(10) Flying fox money criticised

The State Government has just announced twenty thousand dollars towards the
trial of a new flying fox control system. It involves the use of non-lethal
ultrasonic units which emit high-pitched sounds that will hopefully scare the
animals away. While welcoming the money, the industry says it had hoped for
more, and is still critical that not enough is known about the flying fox.
The Qld Opposition is also critical saying the money is too little too late.
Meantime the state government is defending its performance on the issue
saying it has to start somewhere and the technology employed has a history of
success.
====================================================
(11) Tas Fox Fears Confirmed

Tasmania's worst fox fears have been confirmed. DNA testing of the two foxes
shot recently in northern Tasmania have proved that they were related,
suggesting that they may be part of a breeding population. Leader of the Fox
Task Force Peter Mooney says DNA testing of the fox shot at Symmons Plains in
September has shown it was related to a pelt handed to them anonymously,
which was claimed to have been shot earlier this year near Longford. While
the testing cannot prove if the foxes were born in the state, Peter Mooney
says the results confirm that Tasmania has been home to multiple foxes.

==================================================
(12) Two members of the SA`s south east drainage board resign

Just a week after the Premier was opening another stage of the Upper South
East drainage scheme and applauding the achievements of its board, two
members have decided to resign in a very public manner. They claim the
project has been high jacked by environmentalists and the board no longer has
control because the funding comes with so many strings attached. The
presiding member of the Upper South East Drainage Board, Julien Desmazures,
says the board can't do anything without taking advice from outside bodies
and he has been reduced to a puppet.

He believes the project needs a shakeup and a decision needs to be made on
funding and landholders shouldn't be asked to pay more. Mr Desmazures says he
finds it nearly impossible with the way the funding has that many strings
attached to it. He says it appears you spend most of your money meeting their
red tape requirements and the rules are all being set and a body like the
South East Board of Conservation and the Drainage Board in the future is
going to be given that much advice on how to manage surface water by bodies
outside, it will just become like a puppet.

====================================================
From QFF
(13) Qld Water Act Amendments Debated by the State Parliament

State Parliament passed the amendments to the Water Act this week.  The
amendments were principally of a machinery nature to improve the
implementation of the legislation.
Some important amendments included:

Property owners who will not complete started works under a moratorium may
apply for an extension but must stop construction at the completion date and
await extension approval.

Property owners will be required to notify DNR of works they are constructing
to take overland flow in areas not subject to overland flow regulation to
help DNR to better monitor overland flow development.

A Water Resource Plan and a Resource Operations Plan may be prepared
concurrently.

 Also a further draft water resource plan may be issues if there are
substantial adjustments as result of consultation on the first draft.
Improved arrangements are put in place for banks to register mortgages over
properties before water allocations are separated from the property titles.
Failure impact assessments for on farm dams are to be prepared and approved
before commencement of construction of the dam.

The taking of underground water immediately below or adjacent to a
watercourse may be regulated in declared areas if these works could impact on
the water in the watercourse.
Construction of levee banks and drainage works and maintenance and
construction of referable dams are to be assessable under the Integrated
Planning Act 1997.
===========================================================
(14) Australian Salinity Action Network

The Australian Salinity Action Network (ASAN) links landholders, business and
community leaders, politicians and government agencies.  It provides
information on efforts being undertaken around Australia to combat salinity,
and promotes international exchange of scientific and technical knowledge
relating to salinisation.  To find out more details about ASAN, the National
Coordinator, Dr John Bradd, can be contacted on salinity@aol.com or (02) 4229
6162
==========================================================
From Jennifer Mahorasy (Canegrowers)

(15) Negative headlines on very low chemical residue news
 The headline to this story in the Courier Mail could have been,

"0.01% of chemical used still found on farm, 0% found in the marine
environment,
therefore not the issue we thought" - but,

 TOXIC TRACES IN CANELANDS
 TOXIC chemicals such as DDT and dieldrin are still in north Queensland
 soils more than a decade after they were banned, a study has found. But
 most of the residues have evaporated or decayed, with no trace of the
 insecticides found downstream in the estuarine mudflats of the Great
 Barrier Reef Marine Park.
 In a study largely funded by the Sugar Co-operative Research Centre, Jo
 Cavanagh took more than 50 soil samples in the Burdekin and Herbert
 canelands over two years for her PhD at James Cook University.
 From 1947-1987, an estimated 3900 tonnes of hexachlorocyclohexane, 40
 tonnes of aldrin and 46 tonnes of heptachlor were used to control cane
 pests in the two regions, which account for about a third of the state's
 sugar crop.
 The chemicals were phased out because of their toxic and long-lasting
 effects on plant, animal and marine life as they accumulated in the food
 chain.
 "There were easily detectable concentrations in the soil samples, and what
 I was finding predominantly related to what was used by farmers in terms
 of insecticides," Ms Cavanagh said.
 But the concentrations were low - less than 0.01 per cent of the
 insecticides originally applied and, in most cases, within national
 standards for environmental health.
 There was also no sign of the chemicals in the marine sediment samples
 taken from nearly estuaries - a "good news story for farmers", Ms Cavanagh
 said.
 Fish collected from creeks that drained sugarcane land were also tested
 for organochlorine residues and for an enzyme responsive to chemical
 loads.
 "Most of the (fish from) sugarcane land showed an increase relative to the
 pristine regions, but not a large increase," Ms Cavanagh said.
 Her PhD supervisor, Dr Gregg Brunskill from the Australian Institute of
 Marine Science, said THAT given the quantities of DDT, dieldrin and other
 insecticides used, it was still "a little bit of a puzzle where it all
 went - 99.9 per cent of this stuff".
 He said the chemical residue could have been transported by groundwater,
 evaporated into the atmosphere or lost to bacterial or photochemical
 degradation.
 "In the tropics, you'd expect a larger proportion of these materials to go
 into the atmosphere and be transported across the world," Dr Brunskill
 said.

* To check out environmental issues and the cane growing industry see

http://disc.server.com/Indices/167739.html or click here

======================================================
From Jock Douglas

(16) Responding to Richard Makim's comment about lack of vision for the
Australian Landscape:

I suggest that it's difficult and perhaps may be unhelpful to develop a
general landscape vision for Australia. Why? Because we have many
landscapes. Because people who are in these landscapes should be the ones
who have the vision and share it. I'm talking about community of interest
here and at scales of operation where people can interact - just as in each
eco-system the component features and species interact.

Something better to aim for may be:
"An astute Australia in 2020" where -
The condition of natural resources is measurably improving with natural
resource managers widely engaged in innovative action and being strongly
supported in doing so through recognition and reward for good management.

The people of Australia are internationally renowned for their affinity with
their remarkable landscapes and for their management of them.
Australians are generally proud of their recent natural resource management
record, seeing this as one of their finest achievements.
Many Australian food and fibre products are achieving advantage in domestic
and export markets, being recognised as clean, green and safe.

Regards
Jock

* At the MLA AGM it was announced that Australia`s clean, green, safe beef
was being promoted in Japan by several companies including McDonalds since
the single BSE case in Japan. This has meant Australia`s beef sales are not a
badly affected as  the US or Japanese beef.
On the vision issue, we wonder if there are two levels that need to be looked
at, the individual - regional level and then the conglomerate - overall
vision .

 For instance, the northern part of the Cooper creek catchment has a lot of
supporters for getting extra water into it`s area, but the southern part of
the catchment is against the idea. As you say Jock, each area should be able
to formulate it`s own landscape goal as a community, which can then be
brought together in an overall plan.

The predominate question is what are the options and the social,
environmental, and economic cost / benefit? of each option
=============================================
 (17) Dr Bill Burrows comments on Sustainable Agriculture

Leon
Re your request for comments/suggestions on "sustainable production &
conservation".
 When addressing groups & meetings on such subjects these days I challenge the
audience to contest the statement that "the only sustainable agriculture is
profitable agriculture".  No one has argued against this point - although I
readily concede that it is possible to have (for a time) profitable
agriculture that is not sustainable.  About 90% of Queensland's land surface
has been assigned by government for agricultural purposes - farming,
grazing, horticulture etc.  Seems to me we have Buckley's chance of
sustainable production on this land unless we are able to make a profit.  If
this is not possible (e.g. because of changed markets or new regulations)
then government needs to seriously think about withdrawing such land from
agricultural land use or reconfiguring its allocation so the land can be
managed both sustainably & profitably?  

A final point - sustainable use of agricultural land does not necessarily
require the conservation of all natural organisms, but rather the
conservation (maintenance) of ecosystem processes (nutrient and hydrologic
cycles, soil integrity etc.).  For example, in Queensland's Central
Highlands ecosystems have been reconstructed to have greater agricultural
productivity by replacing a tree with leaves unpalatable to livestock
(brigalow - Acacia harpophylla) by an introduced tree with highly palatable
and nutritious leaves (leucaena - Leucaena leucocephala).  Likewise the low
productivity understorey grasses (Paspalidium spp., native Chloris spp.)
have been replaced by the introduced buffel grass - Cenchrus ciliaris.  This
'new' system maintains the processes of the old, but is far more productive
from an agricultural viewpoint.

Cheers
    Bill B.

* Most urban people would forget that if any government reconfigures the
amount of the land  for agriculture, there will still be substantial
maintainence costs - feral animal control, fences, fire management, rates?-
which taxpayers would have to support anyway.
Profitability - An Israeli professor I talked to said The Israeli Govt has an
"incubator system" where new arrivals work on the land in a community for so
many years until they have enough credit to pay for their own land or
enterprise to be profitable on their own. This reduces one of the "becoming
profitable" hurdles - debt in the start up years.
Could Australia have somerthing similar for "First Farm Buyers"?