Hi Folks,
             The big news this week is that Federal Cabinet is currently looking at approving  a Property Rights position to take to COAG.

Once again Salinity issues dominate this edition.

You will notice an attachment with two different salinity maps of the same area on this email. One is Peter Beattie`s Salinity hazard Map. The other is a geophysical survey map. I`m not sure how Peter Beatties Map was drawn up, but the geophysical map is indicates levels of salt in the top 5 metres of the soil. The colours by both maps use red as the high salt value and blue as the least.  Beatties map is almost all red, with the geophysical map showing far less red. What these maps demonstrate is when different scientific perameters are used, we can get vastly different indications.

Since dryland salinity also requires rising water tables near the surface, it would be good to overlay these maps with another map showing where water tables are within 5 metres of the surface and rising and we would have an even more accurate idea of precisely where salinity is likely to be an issue. If there are no rising water tables, or no  water tables close to the surface then dryland salinity will never be a problem.
- Leon

(1) Timber communities want tougher penalties for protesters
(2) Vic DNRE "out of touch"

High court native title rulings

Fox Issues
(5) Lance Jones (Rolleston Qld) reports on DR David Kemp`s visit
(6) Margaret House (Aramac Qld)  Trees, Salinity, & public debates
(7) Water Reforms to Wash Out Coonabarrabran Abbatoir
(8) SA Northern plains rising water table 'hot spot'
(9) Qld Salinity Summit comments
(10) Middle ground needed on GM debate says Scientist

(11) WA water plan  

(12) Pesticide resistance threatens world's food supply

(13) Greg Burrows replies to Leon Ashby`s comments
(14) Microbes & controlling diseases - Chris Salter
(15) Johannesburg Summit Petition:
(16) some words of wisdom

(1) Timber communities want tougher penalties for protesters

Timber workers are calling for tougher penalties for environmentalists who disrupt logging operations.
About thirty five members of Timber Communities Australia  picketed the office of Ballarat MP Geoff Howard in bid to get the government to bring in tougher legislation to deal with protestors.
State Manager of Timber Communities, Kersten Gentle says protestors invading logging coupes creat a dangerous situation for themselves and timber workers.

(2) Vic DNRE "out of touch"

The Department of Natural Resources and Environment has come under fire from a number of groups with many saying it's out of touch with the country and too bureaucratic. Minister Sherryl Garbutt fronted 25 representatives at a statewide conservation and land management forum held in Mount Beauty recently to nut out some solutions and whilst some were happy with the forum, others felt their pleas were ignored. The resounding message was that the DNRE is too top heavy, all the decisions are made in Melbourne and it's workers are out of touch with the concerns of people in the country. Ms Garbutt says consultation is always going on and there are regional managers in the country. She says they need to work out how to make people feel satisfied over the level of consultation between the department and country people.    

* In my view, the grassroots people cannot be guaranteed to be listened to when the so called "consultation process" is a system of beauracracy receiving  submissions which they can ignore.

I believe we need to work towards decision making processes that are open debates that go backwards and forwards with everyone having the opportunity to put points forward. They should  work towards win - win solutions that are ultimately decided by the people affected.
Anything less is not "of the people" and therefore not truly democratic.


High court native title rulings


he High Court of Australian gave two decisions ruling that native title is not completely extinguished by pastoral or mining leases being granted over the land, appearing to uphold the previous Wik decision. In one case, New South Wales farmers were seeking to have a clarification on the previous Wik decision arguing that operating farms should not be subject to Native Title claims. Two seperate cases were handed down simultaneously a short time ago, the Muriuwung Gajjerong case in WA and the New South Wales centred Wilson case. Land Rights lawyer Mark Love says the decision upholds the rights of both Aboriginal claimants on the one hand and on the other farmers that are operating lease hold properties



Fox Issues

A fox trap that can

catch up to half a dozen foxes or wild dogs in a night using a single bait has been displayed at  the farm inventions competition at Sheepvention. It's a revolving fox trap and was invented by Geoff Leynhellom and his dad , Arthur explained the idea came when a friend was having trouble losing lambs at Penshurst

Photos upsetting
SA grazier, Chris Wright (Kongorong) was featured in his local paper with a dead fox and a dead lamb mauled by a fox. Chris has shot 150 foxes this year, and says rthey are out of control and a bounty in SA is needed.
Apparently the local paper had a father complain about the photo of the dead lamb because his young son couldn`t sleep after seeing the photo.
Chris says the reality of how the natural world operates is not politically correct and we need to educate society where their food comes from and what has to happen to get it to consumers
He cites one of his solicitor contacts who didn`t realise sausages contained animal meat - she thought the butcher just "made them somehow".

Fox bait "Baa"
The country's first public land trial of an automatic fox bait dispenser, will soon begin in Mount Scott Conservation Park, in SA`south east. Known as the "Fox Baa", the carousel bait dispenser was designed to make 10-80 baiting easier. But because the machine doesn't bury the baits, as required under South Australian law, the six-month trial can only use non-poisoned baits. Foxes and wild dog numbers have meant that in some parts of Australia it's unsustainable to have sheep grazing properties because of the high attack rates. It's hoped that this Fox Baa machine will help in the fight against foxes and wild dogs not only to protect sheep, but also native animals. And that's why Roger Davidson from Mt Scott Conservation Park, put his hand up to trial the machine. "Our parks are basically islands that are surrounded by a lot of clear land acting like an area of cover for the foxes which is why we've got such high numbers. By having something like this here we can get them when they're breeding -

But the trial won’t lead to a reduction in fox numbers, even if the machine does work because South Australian law, like in New South Wales, states 10:80 baits have to be buried under ground. The creator of the Fox Baa, Ken England, hopes a successful trial will help speed the legislation process. "There's some conjecture at the moment whether this thing actually buries the baits or not. We would contend that the way the baits are presented they are affectively buried anyway."
The Fox Baa has had a 100% success rate on the trials conducted on private land with non- poisoned baits and Mr England hopes it will be available in the next 12 months.
* On one occassion after I buried some 1080 dingo baits, a crow dug one up and delivered it into our house yard . I recognised the bait as being one that had been buried over a kilometre away.

(5) Lance Jones (Rolleston Qld) reports on DR David Kemp`s visit  


Just a short note to let know how Dr Kemp`s visit went.

Dr Kemp , his advisor Frank Jackson and Secretary [I think ] Kathy Bolt along with Agforce President Larry Acton and David Capel arrived for Smoko after looking at "Lowesby" next door where there is a massive problem in regard new veg laws on leasehold country. Tthe place is one hell of a mess  due to family breakup and many other reasons but with new laws it would appear the place's value could easily down by some 30/40 %.
Dr Kemp felt that something should be down to relieve the the loss as it appears.

We drove Dr Kemp around most of our place were able to show him the 100000:1 map our 25000:1 map and then the "on the ground" reallity.  He told Larry later that he couldn't believe the amount of timber we had left compared to what the maps show. The Minister was extremely interested in the work we have done [and doing ] We have a photo of him inspecting our Blade Plough, and the work it has done over past 15 years.

He was very interested in the veg strips we have left and our work to try and avoid a monoculture of Buffel. We also showed them where we had cleared small gullies and these are now fully grassed, whereas what we left is still timbered and eroding.  Dr Kemp was quite amazed.

Over Lunch we discussed many enviro  issues incuding Salinity ETC. I gave all of the party a copy of 'Bushvision' and Dr Kemp promised to read it on the way home. I also made him a pen out of Brigalow [Waste of course] and  said that, other than the fill, it had the same warranty  as our comitment to the land and the enviroment 'Lifetime'. It went down very well !!

I feel he is a very committed man ,and not from a rural background had a very definite need to come and look for himself to get a feel what grass roots have to say and not what beauracrats and others want him to hear .

Also at  the Agforce State confrence last [ he was keynote speaker ]    he stated that if something came through and he wasn't sure on it, he would come back to grass roots and check .

They went from here to a property near Springsure to look at Leucaena and Blue grass. The owner wants to plant more Luecena but in not allowed to account the bluegrass is protected even though they can show how  it has actually thickened in the stand , also how bluegrass has come back natually in old cultivation country that has been let go.


(6) Margaret House (Aramac Qld)  Trees, Salinity, & public debates

Dear Jane & Leon,

I just want to comment on a couple of things in your latest News & Views.

Re trees and Salinity, yes, we all know how in South Aust and WA  that the removal of the trees and their replacement with cropping, application of fertilizer etc each year  has lead to a huge salinity problem.
However every area is different and it is very dangerous to assume that the same problem applies to all land types all over the country.  What is most important is continuous monitoring, and viewing the results holisticly and with an open mind.

In our area in the Desert Uplands  tree clearing has been a relatively recent phenomenon (began about 50 years ago but most has happened in the last 15 years).
Previous practices had left the native pastures pretty much flogged out, massive "tree thickening" had occurred, so that in many land types we had heaps of trees but the gound cover underneath was in poor condition.  We didn't pull our trees down to introduce farming.
We replaced trees in the Gidyea, Box, Ironbark and Brigalow country types with fast growing tree regrowth and thick deep rooted Buffel grass has filled in many erosion gullies, and provided not only plenty of groundcover but significantly improved the economic position of many enterprises.  
Bernie Masters mentioned that young trees use a lot of water in their most active growing stages, help lower the water table, and are providing a solution to salinity in WA.  
After pulling in our country, besides the grass we plant, we get a lot of regrowth i.e. young fast growing native trees.    Over the subsequent few years the grass thickens and the young trees flourish.  Its a completely different senario to what has  happened in  farming areas.
We have very little salinity. (* very little underground water except for the GAB 400 ft down)
 Of course, ongoing monitoring needs to occur not only for salinity but  of the native wildlife, vegetation, soil, water, economics and social factors, and so on.................with all results interpreted holisticly and with a very open mind.

One thing that worries  me , is that there is now talk in Qld of controlling what happens to regrowth.  I shake my head with dismay.  Didn't anyone learn anything from the recent tree clearing debate ??
As soon as  landholders perceived the threat to  their livelihoods because of the push to prevent tree clearing, they rushed out and pulled down thousands of acres, many of which would have still been standing today had the threat not been there.  This is a normal human reaction.
Now, if the regrowth debate fires up, the perceived threat may lead to thousands of acres of grasslands with no trees at all, as we landholders attempt to secure our livelihoods yet again, by making sure that we have no regrowth left for the Govt to control.

Can we have debates in an atmosphere where nobody feels threatened?  So that we don't feel the need to race out and act so impetuously??   Surely it would be more constructive  to change the debate from the negative big stick approach to finding ways of providing reasonable and practical enticements, and rewards for good environmental practices?

Just an aside - because the drought started so early here (last good rain in Nov last year) lots of young trees are actually dying around here now.  Young Box and Ironbark trees, current bush , Quinine and Paperbark trees are most noticeable.  Will be interesting to see if they reshoot again when it rains or whether they are really dead.  So maybe things really do settle back into equilibrium over a long enough period of time!!  Droughts have their advantages!

All the best,
Margaret House


(7) Water Reforms to Wash Out Coonabarrabran Abbatoir


n yet another example of the angst being caused by the NSW  Govt's water reform process, The Bungenbah Meat Company's Coonabarrabran abbattoir is lobbying for survival under the new water sharing restrictions proposed for the Castlereagh river below Binnaway. Bungenbah fears their operation will be treated as any other irrigator, so when times are dry, their water supply could be cut off, forcing the abbattoir to close, and putting 22 employees out of a job.

Bungenbah pleaded their case at a public meeting in Coonabarrabran , and

seem to have won public support for a more secure water allocation under the new plan, but the final decision will be made by the Minister for Land & Water Conservation, John Aquilina. The Central West Unregulated Streams Mangement Committee is formulating recommendations for the Minister on the water sharing plan for the Castlereagh below Binnaway, and staff from the Department of Land and Water Conservation are meeting with Bungbah Meats today

   (8) SA Northern plains rising water table 'hot spot'

High value horticulture enterprises on the North Adelaide plains are under threat from a rapidly rising water table, and associated salinity. It appears the aquifer has recovered 17 metres over the last 18 months. Gerry Davies, Director of the Virginia Horticulture Centre, said it's unclear what caused this quick recharge. "Some people noticed that it was getting very, very wet and it's got progressively worse. Over a period of years it seems the problem has been withdrawal of the groundwater to such an extent that there's been what we call a "cone of depression", or a lowering of the groundwater. So a series of measures have been put into place to monitor that. What was an unexpected turn of events was it appears that the aquifer has recovered in a very short period of time. We're not quite clear why this happened. There are a number of issues that might contribute.
(9) Qld Salinity Summit comments from Hansard

* I have just read the speeches & comments from the Qld Salinity Summit from Hansard and here are some interesting comments that were made

Peter Beattie - This (salinity hazard) map scares the daylights out of me.

Stephen Robertson - (When) Professor Batterham rated Salinity as Australia`s no 1 issue affecting Australia (Three years ago)..... I did not know what he was talking about

David Kemp - I do not believe that there is another country in the world that is attempting on a continental scalewhat Australia is now attempiting in relation to salinity,water quality and vegetation issues.

Don Blackmore  (MDBC) -  the Goulbourn broken catchment (Victoria) ....the water tables are now between two & five metres below the surface...(this is dryland agriculture).....by2050......we have water in what is called the capillary zone.(near the surface)

Glen Walker (CSIRO) - In the Wanilla catchment (Eyre peninsular,SA) An analysis was done of the ground water systems. To all intensive purposes the ground water system acted like a bath without a plug hole A lot of water went in, just filled up and you had a lot of the water table rising to the surface.

Larry Acton (AGFORCE)- We need morescientists working with landholders on providing the information systems and decision support tools on which local people can make risk - weighted decisions

Felicity Wishart (QCC)- We need Minister Kemp, Premier Beattie & minister Robertson to lay down the rules, rto show leadership and to have the guts to say what we know is right.  

Gary Sansom (QFF) We have to work together in an agreed framework......It is critical to us that the policy be revised to adresss farmers rights of tenure and access to natural resources together with our obligations...

Noel Platford (local Govt) - To premier Beattie,  I say your people need to rethink their current model and processes itf wee are to have any chance of sustaining our natural resources.

Barry Traill (Wilderness Society) We believe that tree clearing - removal of bushland- has to be very rapidly phased out in the Qld Murray Darling Basin....I am very unexcited by saying that we will have more local processes...

Wayne Wharton (traditional owners federation) -  We are not pure conservationists.....Without equity - every stakeholder participating at the table - the process is flawedand is not a true partnership

Hugh Brown (MDBC) The science of our natural resources is not exact

Rod Gilmour (Regional Veg Management Committee) - The community does not want to lock up land that is not affected. We have to recognise that salinity is not just a vegetation management issue.
the community has come up with a range of options ...incentives, tax credits, extension & communication, and promotion of alternative land uses.

Leon`s view of the Salinity summit

The summit is a good first step, but there is no agreement on a (decision making ) process.
The (dark) Green idea is to have govt`s enforce rules and dictate to the community. It seemed like everyone else wants to see a totally cooperative grass roots driven process which is then brought into play by cooperation between govts and the community.

Several people mentioned open processes, trust, and good will.
I believe setting up a defined process which is perceived as open and fair by landholders and other grass roots stakeholders is the foundation on which success will come.

Interestingly, no one mentioned a need for a communication vehicle such as Australia wide community television for the whole rural community to be able to come together to assist solving these issues. Such a communication tool could assist

(1) Understanding the whole picture
(2) Be used to conduct catchnment / landholder / community meetings   and
(3) be able to assist with true grass roots community decision making.


(10) Middle ground needed on GM debate says Scientist


ith the world's population expected to exceed nine billion within the next 50 years producing enough food to meet demand is going to be a major challenge.

Dr Conway says the GM debate has been dominated by two extreme

sides, the anti-GM lobby groups and the multi-national seed companies. He says GM crops will not be a magic solution to world hunger but they do have an important role to play in developing countries. "Even then it's not just about new varieties...you’ve got to provide markets, roads - you’ve got to get the produce to the market, you’ve got to provide water/irrigation systems. But it would be wrong to stop people from countries using GM crops when they need them."


(11) WA water plan


n recent times the most outspoken voice for changes to the way we manage our water resources has been Ernie Bridge. The former Kimberley politician has long supported the piping of water from the Ord south to WA's major agricultural areas. Now another plan has surfaced which incorporates water from the Ord, plus water from the little publicised Officer Basin. Mechanical Engineer Paul Nipperess has spent much of his working life finding water for mining teams in the state's north, and says water from both sources could be brought down through a lot of the inland and assist those communities and eventually reach Perth

BushVision comments - Judith McGeorge (Quilpie, Qld)

Dear Leon and Jane,
                            Margaret has a great idea- Regional Women's Alliance had a segment- Myth Busters- which I feel is appropriate- to provide answers to eroneous claims from various groups claiming credibility.

I recall during the Eastern States drought-" 1970-1973" that we had an environmental bod (think his name was Butler) who claimed NOTHING would ever grow again in Inland Oz-he had massive media coverage- no one questioned his credibility- but it was all disproved by the arrival of copious rain-
He subsequently went to work for a mining company and changed his tack!! Interesting- depends who pays the piper!

Science is another thing that should be questioned- science before publishing conclusions required 96% substantiating data- this is not happening today- environmental science is a misnomer- it is not conclusive- but deals in hypothesis- and
I maintain that we should progress with caution to observe effects- but to halt progress will leave all to starve.

Global warming  has as many if not more contrary scientific opinion than acceptance.

Journalism today is subjective and lost the plot-it was a reporter who was sent out to gather the facts- the journalist wrote the facts and the publisher distributed them - today our journos tend to interpret the facts according to subjective belief and don't source both sides of an arguement.

I maintain Australia is a resilient land- it only takes water -  Ernie Bridge of WA  had some great ideas on watering Australia!
Our cities are our most unsustainable environments- yet they continue to proliferate and point their admonitory fingers at agricultural production. Water is a scarce commodity- but swimming pools explode in number!!

I think the aims -objectives and structure of BushVision is a hit the nail on the head concept.

Regards Judith McGeorge


Pesticide resistance threatens world's food supply


ood and fibre crops worldwide are increasingly under threat of attack from so-called "super" insects that continue to grow in resistance to chemicals. In a report just published, a panel of scientists is warning that the world food supply could be hit if something isn't done to more effectively combat insect pests. Biological control or rotation of chemicals are two possible options. Experts are warning that crop yields are already down by 40 per cent, and this will worsen if left unchecked

* Bacteria, worms, insects etc that are resistance to chemicals and antibiotics are really the result of selective breeding - (all the non resistant ones are destroyed, but the resistant ones remain which breed up with other resistant ones) . To maintain some sort of control, we (the community) may have to breed non resistant insects etc to compete in the same niche as the resistant ones, then after they dominate the environmental niche they live in, we can use chemicals and antibiotics again for a time.

(13) Greg Burrows replies to Leon`s last comments

G'day Leon
Just a quick reply.
Again as I told you before I am farming around 3,000 acres, so I have the responsibility, as for showing others how to do it, Im not sure who judges that.
I can assure you Im not on the sideline.
As for constantly improving our Land, I dont agree with that - which is the point I was trying to make.
Some farmers are losing stock in drought, but that is the environment that this business is undertaken in.

Greg Burrows

* Hi Greg,
             We obviously have a difference of view about improving the landscape.
I would be interested in you detaioling the reasoning behind this. I can only assume it is to do with a philosophy based on no human interference being the best thing - Am I wrong ?

The basic Australian principle called "what works best" (for the goal being desired) tends to lead landholders like myself into balancing soils, improving grazing management, finding a more productive mix of grass species, finding an enterprise (or a mix of enterprises) that  suits the country, having shelter belts of trees, monitoring water quality etc etc.

Your approach sounds quite different. I hope you will explain it to everyone.

Re: Showing others how to do it, & who Judges. - Wouldn`t you agree that the standard anyone critcises others with, should be also be used to judge themselves and vice versa e.g. if someone has never improved the environmental performance of a property while being highly in debt, then who are they to criticise others who are in such a position.

(14) Microbes & controlling diseases - Chris Salter
Snr Livestock Consultant
(These comments are from a dairy email newsletter)

I have to agree with Rochie's statement that adding soil microbes doesn't
work. This has been done to death in intensive horticulture with the same
results - it doesn't work, with the exception of soaking seedling plugs'
root systems prior to planting for a very temporary benefit. It is adverse
soil conditions (physical and chemical) which create an environment which
encourages the rapid proliferation of undesireable soil organismns. This is
basically a numbers game, and adding a few million / billion to a hectare
achieves absolutely nothing.

The answer is (yawn! you've all heard this before) balancing soils allows
the whole system to correct, for example research in to "blackleg" a
"disease" of cruciferae has been funded in Australia (millions have been
spent around the world) yet it can be eliminated simply and permanently and
yes we have proof.

Grass tetany is easy to eliminate from any property with acidic soil; foot
rot can be reduced substantially; mastitis can be influenced positively;
however I still have to disagree with some of Pat Coleby's claims - feeding
elemental sulphur and dolomitic limestone (to non ruminants)etc for example.
I will now park my hobby horse in the shed and give him some hay


Chris Salter
Snr Livestock Consultant, Dairy
EO, SA Dairy Network

Flaxley Agricultural Centre
Strathalbyn Rd Flaxley
PO Box 1571 Flaxley SA 5153
E   salter.chris@saugov.sa.gov.au

(15) Johannesburg Summit Petition:
Put People and Freedom First!

(This petition is being passed around, and you may be interested.
If you want to be noted as signing it, then email  petition@sdnetwork.net with your  name, organization/affiliation (if any), town, country, and state.)  

We the undersigned call on world leaders and others gathered at the World
Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, in August
2002, to recognise that true sustainable development can only occur when
people are free, both economically and politically.

For this to occur, the following fundamental human rights must be respected
in all nations:

o The right to own and exchange property without bureaucratic intervention
o The right to associate and to contract freely with others
o The right to freedom of speech
o The right to legal remedies when harm is inflicted on person or property
o The right to equitable treatment by courts of law

In addition, governments must decentralise ownership and control of natural
resources and other assets. Decentralised ownership, when combined with
respect for private property and the rule of law, will encourage
entrepreneurship and environmental protection. The result will be sustained
economic growth and environmental improvement. As economies grow, people
will be able to afford better technologies, clean water, superior energy
sources, better healthcare, and insurance. The result will be sustainable

There is a risk, however, that sustainable development could be undermined
by green imperialism. International environmental treaties, especially those
predicated on the precautionary principle, such as the Stockholm Convention,
the Kyoto Protocol and the Biosafety Protocol, are supposed to improve human
health and the natural environment. In reality, these treaties pander to
vested interests in the rich world. If they were to enter into force, they
would act as restraints on open, rules-based trade, and keep poor people

We call on you to reject any attempt to ratify these and other international
treaties that are predicated on the precautionary principle, which is
antiscientific and blocks vital new technologies that can improve the lives
of billions of people.

We also implore leaders to end other forms of neo-imperialism, especially
those promoted by the World Bank, the IMF and bilateral aid agencies. For
far too long these agencies have implemented inappropriate and unworkable
policies at great cost to taxpayers around the world, and have supported and
sustained governments that abuse basic human rights.

We urge you to recognise that true prosperity can only be achieved when
individual freedoms are guaranteed. Environmental treaties and global
agencies that undermine these freedoms in favour of neo imperialism and
centralised power will only perpetuate poverty and environmental

Best regards,
Kendra Okonski
Coordinator, SDN

(16) And to end here are some Words of Wisdom

"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with
sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forgo their use" - Galilei

"The greatest evils which stalk our earth are ignorance and oppression, and
not science, technology and industry, whose instruments, when adequately
managed are indispensable tools in overcoming overpopulation, starvation and
worldwide diseases" - Dr. Norman E. Borlaug

"He who asks is a fool for 5 minutes, he who doesn't ask is a fool forever"
- Chinese Proverb

"He who joyfully marches in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He
has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would
suffice." - Albert Einstein

And my kids reckon this one is especially for me
"If at first you don`t succeed - then redefine success"