Hi Everyone,
The focus of this edition is communications, and the start of a landholder institute for writing articles which support landholder views.

The Vegetation Quiz, is now on the Landholders web site at http://landholders.tripod.com or click here to go straight to it. You might need to see the photos to make sense of one of the discussions this edition.

For those who didn`t see 60 minutes and a brief debate between Bjorn Lomborg & Peter Garrett about whether the world is getting better or worse environmentally - the program didn`t give many facts, but the one that was aired was Lomborg saying how the numbers of starving people in the third world have reduced from 920 million in 1971 down to just under 800 million in 1997. Garrett just replied with - "but people are still starving"
The question / debate was about the trends and Garrett didn`t appear to have an answer with any facts.
It wasn`t much of a program really - full of arguments, but with little factual substance for anyone to make their own mind up with.

(1) Helpful hints about photo attachments
(2) Massive water resource being untapped
(4) Marsha Isbester (Cobar, NSW) standing for next NSW election
(5) Leon Comments on rural politics
(6) Dr. Ashok Khosla wins UN environment prize
(7) Educational Web Site games to check out
(8) Depression & droughts - Ruth Quigley & Leon Ashby
(9) East End Mine Action Group Inc (Qld) makes contact
(11) NFF and BushVision
(12) Vegetation Quiz discussion - Greg Burrows & Dixie Nott
(13) Landholders Institute begins

(1) Helpful hints about photo attachments

Dear Leon,
What a nasty experience. Just in case someone has not advised you. If you have an adequate photo processing software you can reduce photos via JPEG format eg such a program can have a sliding scale that will allow you to JPEG the file from 0 –100%, lower the number being lower resolution. Using this method you will achieve the desired result. To Zip will not help, just shrink with JPEG software. The package I use is PhotoImpact 6 - there are others. I attach an example that was already reduced to 45Kbytes and I further reduced to 12Kbytes !!!
Hope this helps
David Chambers
Western Australia.
Leon, there are several alternatives , by using Photoshop and using the image reduction facilities and then publishing the document as a PDF will dramatically reduce file size

John Roydhouse
Rural IT & Web Pty Ltd
"Echo" Triamble RdHargraves. NSW.
Internet http://www.ruralitweb.com/ and

(2) Massive water resource being untapped - excerpt from on online opinion (Peter Dillon CSIRO)

Many people have commented that Australians inhabit the world’s driest continent, yet we are spendthrifts in how we use our water. To take one example, 86 per cent of our water from sewage treatment still runs to waste.The good news is that attitudes to water are starting to change – surprisingly quickly, actually – and this is especially promising for agriculture and regional communities, who stand to gain most from new water becoming available.

If we go about it intelligently, Australia need hardly be short of water for anything. This is because a massive amount of extra water is potentially available, simply from wise re-use of our existing water. The total volume of recoverable water is immense, over 2000GL – enough volume to support an urban population of 16 million people.

Local research and international water companies have helped bring in new technologies for better treatment of water, so it can be safely reused. The result has been spectacular growth in the amount of high-quality reclaimed water available – and hence, opportunities for re-use.

The volumes of potentially recyclable water from most of our cities are very large, and generally far exceed the amount the city itself is likely to need. An estimated 1350 GL of effluent is currently lost. The amount of stormwater is greater still, though we cannot recapture and store it all. In total our recoverable water is likely to exceed a full Warragamba Dam (2050GL or 4 Sydharbs) – which holds enough water to support Sydney for four years.


Howard Hobbs - Qld Shadow Minister for Regional and Rural Communities said the Qld Government TV ads linking drought to salinity were untrue and misleading.

Howard says
* The television commercials that have been aired, peddling misleading and emotive messages that the current drought is linked to salinity, are completely untrue."

* taxpayers funds have been used to pay for the misleading advertising campaign

* “It is quite possible that the footage is from interstate and not genuinely representative of Queensland landscapes, therefore it could seriously be misleading viewers,” and

* “$1.5 million has been diverted to prop up state government departmental self interests and bureaucrats rather than help stakeholders work in partnerships.

(4) Marsha Isbester (Cobar, NSW) standing for next NSW election


Just a note to let you know that I haven't dropped off the face of the earth! Instead I have entered politics.

I was pre-selected "resoundingly" on September 22 (out of a field of four) by the National Party to run in the Murray-Darling Electorate. This electorate is 344,692 square kilometres which encompasses 44 % of NSW. So I have spent a good bit of time just driving around.

I made the decision to accept this challenge for these reasons:

1) With my career background in Ag, Water and Natural Resources policy, my life experience and my practical knowledge of the Western Division, I believe I'm well positioned to represent this region;

2) I believe Bob Carr is trying to break landholders, close down this Western area, and turn it into one big National Park...That's the only thing I can think he's doing as his policies cetainly aren't considering the social and economic pressures he's placing on landholders with his Native Veg policy and Threatened Species Act the RACAC process, Water reforms, centralisation of services away from rural areas etc. etc.

So I'm speaking about these various policies and how-- if Sydney labor was truly concerned about the environment-- they should be changed to actually work for the benefit of us all.

3) And ....It's in my blood.


(5) Leon Comments on rural politics

Congratulations Marsha. I don`t envy your task of becoming known in such a large electorate. I remember one election in Qld where many candidates in large electorates had next to no publicity. They were only known in their local part of the electorate and due to a snap election, they struggled to be known widely, let alone for what they stood for.

I`d like to think improving rural political information is another area that BushVision could reduce the disadvantage to rural people - getting both rural people and issues known better, so rural politicians like yourself can be more effective.

The sort of thing I believe Bushvision could do is to not only televise important rural debates, but have a "live" dimension to them by allowing the public to ask email /phone/faxed questions to the speakers while being broadcast live.
I know we graziers enjoy a question & answer forum where we can grill whichever politician / beauracrat is getting up our nose, so maybe BushVision could develope new ways to have this sort of interaction.

As I see it, BushVision could become a dynamic tool for not just reacting to political issues, but to lead them in the best direction.

For Instance, in September the Qld parliament debated property rights.
While the National party tried to progress the debate, the Qld govt used the line that Qld landholders are wanting property rights but are not prepared to accept a duty of care to the land.
As you know thats a lot of garbage, but no media has taken up this issue to bring out where grass roots thinking is on the subject and the property rights issue stays unresolved as it has for three years.

With BushVision, we could
* highlight landholder stories,
* hold informative TV debates between landholders, politicians & others,
* confront political statements that are incorrect with factual material, &
* present visionary "win - win" ideas for public discussion.

That would assist rural politicians (of all persuasions) , but especially those with a balanced grasp of the issues, and the rural community`s interests at heart.

All the best Marsha

(6) Dr. Ashok Khosla wins UN environment prize - Sent in by Margaret House (Qld)

One of the world's great environmental thinkers and innovators, who has combined life in the glittering hall of academia with on-the-ground livelihood and development schemes for the rural poor, has won this year's prestigious United Nations Environment
Programme Sasakawa Environment Prize.

Dr. Ashok Khosla has worked tirelessly to demonstrate both the theory
and practice of "sustainable development" through his teaching and
fostering of environment-friendly and commercially viable technologies. These
range from village power plants which use agricultural wastes as fuel to
mini-factories that recycle paper and local enterprises that make
low-cost roofing tiles.

Much of his recent work has been achieved through Development
Alternatives, a group of organizations headquartered in New Delhi, which he founded
in 1983, to help bring people and nature directly into the design and implementation of his nation's development strategies.

Dr. Khosla said: "We set out to improve life in the villages of India and the journey
led us to new ways for creating sustainable livelihoods - jobs that use local
resources to produce goods and services for the local market, thus
generating purchasing power, satisfying basic needs and regenerating
the ecosystem, all at the same time. Mini-enterprise was the means we
found most effective to create these livelihoods and good science,
technology and management support systems the best instruments for helping these
enterprises meet their triple bottom line imperatives: financial,
social and environmental sustainability.

One of his great achievements has been to bring
government institutions on board, creating partnerships that last and
rural programmes that endure.

(7) Educational Web Sites keep improving

As many of you realise, the BushVision concept is about all sorts of communications ideas centred around community television. One of the extra communications tools is educational web sites

To give you an idea of how good some of the educational games are getting, you can check out this site. http://www.eduweb.com/adventure.html

If you would like to try a mystery game that teaches you about art history click here (http://www.eduweb.com/pintura/index.html)

To try a site that teaches you how you use art principles like balance, contrast, movement, and proportion to compose a powerful work of art click here

Our Kids use these sorts of programs as part of their schooling - Leon

(8) Depression & droughts - Ruth Quigley

You hit the nail on the head with the bit about when the drought breaks the depression will worsen
Did you know that the Rural Financial counselling people have made a video about farmers and depression?

* Hi Ruth,
Depression is usually left to "Experts" to talk about, but maybe it should be recognised a lot more as a part of life.
When Jane & I were televised on channel 7 in 1993, we were in desperate circumstances (drought, low wool prices etc) Nobody else knew at the time, but Jane was battling severe depression before our story went to air. The supportive reactions we received from letters and phone calls after the story aired countered the depression for a fair while. We also noticed others identified with us and it gave them some encouragement to keep going as well, which was also helpful

We had calls & letters from some who were being threatened with being sold up, some were homeschooling their kids like we were, some had a handicapped child as our third son is, while others wanted to help people in the drought and didn`t know where to start so they sent us food, clothes, & hay etc to pass around our local community.

But back to depression. The one thing we found was the greatest problem was that ever time we did a budget, and our desperate financial reality was being wrestled with, Jane would go into depression for about 4 days.

Maybe it`s a common thing amongst farmers & someone will come up with a name for it one day - something like AIDD - Agricultural Income Deficiency Depression


(9) East End Mine Action Group Inc (Qld) makes contact

Dear Mr Ashby,

I am the Secretary of the East End Mine Action Group that is involved in a 7 year old dispute with Queensland Cement Limited, DNR&M and EPA about cumulative depletion of our water table, including loss of a number of perennial creeks, due to QCL dewatering their open cut limestone mine, and the way the technical information/assessments have been handled.

I was interested in the comments in the Courier Mail about your situation.

Yours sincerely,

Heather Lucke
East End Mine Action Group Inc

* Heather & I had a chat on the phone. They have done a fantastic job trying to get good science recognised in their situation which is being ignored by QCL & Govt depts.
4 corners have been approached but.......



Applications are now open for Australians interested in undertaking an overseas investigative project of a kind that is not fully available in Australia
Over 2600 Australians have already benefited from the Churchill Trust with a Churchill Fellowship since its establishment in 1965,
Each year the Trust awards about 100 Fellowships at an average cost of $20 000 each

A Churchill Fellowship is not an award of a specific sum of money, but is payment by the Trust of travel expenses and allowances approved by the Trust, usually airfares, fees and a living allowance

Fellowship recipients spend about eight weeks overseas investigating topics that will benefit Australia and add to Australia’s knowledge base

The aim of the Churchill Trust is to give opportunity, by the provision of financial support, to enable Australians from all walks of life who, have exhausted opportunities within Australia, and desire to further their search for excellence overseas

Merit is the primary test, whether based on past achievements or demonstrated ability for future achievement in any walk of life.

Applicants must be Australian citizens, and over the age of 18 years, and no upper age limit is prescribed.

applications with references close on 28th February 2003 for Fellowships to be awarded in 2003 for travel from 1st September 2003.

Information and application froms are available from the Electorate Offices of Howard Hobbs (Qld) in Roma 1800 814 479 and St George 1800 625 430

Does anyone want to study community TV overseas? (Canada & US, etc)

(11) NFF and BushVision

* After a number of emails and phone calls to various NFF people, talking about the BushVision concept, we received this reply.

Dear Mr Ashby,

Thank you very much for forwarding me the bushVision business plan. It is certainly an ambitious project.

Unfortunately, NFF is not in a position to provide you with any financial support nor do we have the resources available to provide any other "in -kind" assistance.

I note that you intend to lobby members of parliament re support for your project, and would also suggest that you contact the Federal Departments of Agriculture, Fisheries Forestry, and Communications, Information Technology, and the Arts to ascertain what assistance, if any, maybe available through existing programs.

I wish you well in your endeavours, and thank you for taking the time to keep us informed of your discussions.

Yours Sincerely

Anna Cronin
Chief Executive Officer

* I believe I should also comment on a few other points that became apparent while talking to people in the major lobby groups.

# The NFF has a lot on it`s plate and a communications strategy is not going to be high on the list for some time.

# Most people indicated the concept was a good one, but didn`t know enough about all the technical aspects to give a useful opinion.

# Because the BushVision concept is very ambitious and probably too large a concept for most lobby groups to get their thinking / discussions around, it was difficult for the lobby groups to express a firm view on it.

# Until BushVision gets going, the lobby groups have little spare funds and are unlikely to allocate money towards the concept.

* While we will keep all the lobby groups informed of progress with BushVision, we will have to forge the path.

(12) Vegetation Quiz discussion between Greg Burrows (WA landholder) & Dixie Nott
(Qld landholder, whose photos are in the quiz) click here to view the quiz

The Quiz has 3 photos of identical land with three different types of management
(1) is regrowth, controlled by tordoning, with good grass cover.
(2) is regrowth without any control, and very little grass cover, but classified as "remnant"
(3) is a much truer remnant area

Greg`s questions preceeded by GB
Dixie`s replies preceeded by DN

Can I answer your (quiz) questions with some questions?

How long will it take for the second site reach a climax system?.

(DN) Hard to say. Dont know of any science that would give an indication either. This
general area is one of the many that are opportunistically invaded by rainforest pioneer species but site 2 is on the 'dry' end of the range so slow moving. Rehabilitation with chemicals is cheap and restores the community to a more vibrant copy of the original state in 2 seasons and certainly saves a lot of soil in the process.

GB) What is the state of temporal and spatial development?.

(DN) I Must be a somewhat dated Ecology student as I don't have much of a handle on
these terms.. Without measurement not sure I can answer this even if I was familar with the terms. All I know is I have counted stems/ha and the regrowth is 10x thicker than unrung country and the species are not the same in that the Loftersternum sp. have changed from understory to co dominance. Even after 2 driest years in 131 years the natural thinning rate is very low but a lot of the crowns are cactus so don't expect any increase in biomass in future.

(GB) What are the goals, conservation and a return to a balanced system or production and an unbalanced system?.

(DN) We have placed over 1/2 of this property in a Nature Reserve so its probably not hard
to envisage that we want to use the rest of it to earn a diversified income from cattle and value added timber. These income avenues complement the thinning process and work with this environment where trees grow equally aggressively as grass so one can't afford to only harvest grass. I have a view that production and conservation are not incompatible. Indeed that production can enhance conservation. What is the definition of a " Balanced system"? Is there any science to support the view that conservation and production have to be diametrically opposed?

GB) What population of termites are in any of these in relation to recycling?

(DN) Termites are big around here. Hows that for a subjective assessment? As a
timber person I would say they would be most abundant in Site 2 followed by Site 1 and Site 3 least abundant. Site 3 has lowest numbers of standing dead timber and least timber lying on ground. Not as many hollow trees compared to the locked up regrowth. Result of regular burn episodes in Site 3.

(GB) If say site 3 was fenced off compensated for at local real estate price (production) would the landowner want to keep it as part of his land under whatever title and be payed a annual management fee, (fire,feral, weed etc) or give it up to be managed by someone else either a/ a government department (joke)
b/ a locally group funded either by gov or private or shire that would operate with direction from farmers and employ local people to protect, promote local natural heritage.
This would mean young people (& old) being trained or training others in use of machinery, Tractors, trucks etc , Chemical management and application, Horses , motorbikes, fauna surveys, flora surveys, culling etc etc
or should they all get paid the dole and be encouraged to do not much & feel like not much. .

(DN) Well Site 3 is virtually fenced as separate area and has been that way since
settlement. So the management appears to have been spot on without "agency" management. Its geography has managed it in that it is on an eastern facing slope which has been burnt on an approx 3 yearly cycle (usually by escaped fires). Because it has not suffered the fate of cultural management( ringbarking) followed by thickened uncontrolled regrowth, the thick high grass body remains & has ensured the fires were fast & cool . We are fairly supportative of the nature refuge system in Qld. It suits landholders who want to leave land as they want to see it preserved.

In other words for our refuge area, we decided to makes its prime purpose nature
conservation ,though it is one of the few which has a very conservative level of timber harvest written into its legislation.We were equally involved in the formulation of its management plan and we conduct this management however suits us best. Could be Conservation Volunteers, or ' lay about' family members in need of training, even. Certainly there are big reasons to use nature to encourage young/ older people in all sorts of life skills and enjoyment.