Saturday, 30 March 2013

Advice from an old Farmer

Sourced from Friend a Farmer facebook page

Take a little good Advice from an old Farmer:

Photo: Take a little good Advice from an old Farmer:

Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.

Keep skunks and bankers at a distance.

Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.

A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.

Words that soak into your ears are whispered... not yelled.

Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.

Forgive your enemies; it messes up their heads.

Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.

It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.

You cannot unsay a cruel word.

Every path has a few puddles.

When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.

The best sermons are lived, not preached.

Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen anyway.

Don't judge folks by their relatives.

Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

Live a good, honorable life... Then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.

Don 't interfere with somethin' that ain't bothering you none.

Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a Rain dance.

If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.

Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.

The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin'.

Always drink upstream from the herd.

Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.

Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in.

If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around..

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply.
Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight,
he'll just kill you.Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.

Keep skunks and bankers at a distance.

... Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.

A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.

Words that soak into your ears are whispered... not yelled.

Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.


Forgive your enemies; it messes up their heads.

Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.

It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.

You cannot unsay a cruel word.

Every path has a few puddles.

When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.

The best sermons are lived, not preached.

Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen anyway.

Don't judge folks by their relatives.

Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

Live a good, honorable life... Then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.

Don 't interfere with somethin' that ain't bothering you none.

Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a Rain dance.

If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.

Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.

The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin'.

Always drink upstream from the herd.

Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.

Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in.

If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around..

Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply.
Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

It Only Takes a Minute

It Only Takes a Minute by Gavin Kedar 

How many times have you heard that phrase?. And to what was it applied to?. Maybe someone popping into a shop, “It will only take a minute”. Or to fix something up, “I’ll have that done in a minute”. Whatever the context, the implication is something that will be quick, convenient, and of little effort on behalf of the one to whom the phrase is spoken to. Is it always the case?. Twenty minutes later , “Oh, I saw some things on special, I just had to have a better look and try one on”. Or, “I’m sorry, but we found a few more problems, so come back in 3 hours and it will be fixed, as long as we have the parts on hand”.
And so starts Lee Rhiannon's support of the campaign by Animals Australia to ‘fight factory farming’.

It is all very polished, and promises the reader that if they email their photo, it will go in the national newspaper ad. This is what they say. “ We want YOU to star in our history-making Make it Possible newspaper ad — an ad that will unite thousands of Aussies in a unique and powerful statement against factory farming. To join in, simply upload your photo by March 31st and we'll show Australia that together we have the power to free millions of animals from needless cruelty and suffering.”

And so you will star. Wow. Images of Hollywood?. A reward for your support to ‘fight’. Becoming a star?. And, it will only take a MINUTE…..according to Lee.

The very sad thing about such campaigns is that there is little effort put into the action. Something quick and simple, just take a minute, and you will do your part in ‘saving the world’, and will have a sound sleep, knowing you did your ‘bit’….and all in just 60 short seconds too!..

It seems in our ‘age of social media’, that the urban dweller can take part in so many ‘causes’, with little thought of the real outcome of their actions. Yes, it ‘only takes a minute‘ to become part of a newspaper ad campaign, then emailing off the picture from the future ‘star’s’ computer to the Animals Australia office is processed in a few seconds or less, and the ad emailed to the newspaper in similar time. Such is our modern technology.

The trouble is, that people do not consider the consequences of their actions. A few taps on the keyboard does not allow the brain to have time enough to process and think through what the outcomes are from the results of the message just send from the computer.

Do they consider, in ‘just one minute’ why many of us have to ‘factory farm’, not just some animals, but also many crops?. Do they consider that as a consumer, their demand for cheap, convenient and consistent food and clothing, has driven the development of ‘specialist farms’?. Do they take the time to question what would happen if we returned to a more ‘traditional’ style of farming?. Experience tells us that most do not. They tend to live for ‘the minute’, and not the decade.

Yes, our communications technology has gone from taking a week or more for a letter to arrive with a developed photo in it from my Uncles and Aunts back in the UK in 1980, to 2013, when the latest photos and news from my cousins, arrive in a few seconds.

However, Agriculture has not been privileged with the same speed. Even with the mass of science behind us farmers, we still take several months to grow a crop, stock breeding still takes the same time frame………….Sorry, just daydreaming……imagine if we could have the same proportional timeframe change as communications in the past 33 years. A crop of wheat, from planting to harvest in 25 minutes. A heifer, bearing it’s 1st calf at 3 days old!!........ Back to reality. Cane is being planted in the Burdekin at the moment. It will be ready to harvest about July/August 2014, and the grower will receive final payment for the crop about August 2015. Not winging, just stating facts. We do not have the luxury of ‘just one minute’.

As with all things in Agriculture, much time and thought and re thinking and planning and backup planning has to take place, with the rewards coming in ‘just one season, or one year, or even, one decade’, but never, ‘one minute’.


Gavin Kedar  Grew up on a mixed farm in the UK. Emigrated to Australia in 1979. He has been involved in a variety of farming enterprises, including farm worker, farm managing, share farming, and owning a farm. Areas include dairying, beef production, pig farming, dryland and irrigated crops, including cotton, cereals, pulses, hay, seed production and cane.

Betrayal of Trust - Part 4

Continuing on from     Betrayal of Trust – Part 1
                           Betrayal of Trust – Part 2
                           Betrayal of Trust – Part 3


There was a time when there existed a very positive relationship between Government agency staff and landowners. In my own area great strides of progress were made in an environmental problem of soil loss under traditional farming practices. QDNR staff brought new information, the building of contour banks and later on zero-till farming.
Photo, contour bank construction 1960 era
This was taken to the farmer and together, landholder and the Department cooperatively rectified a serious problem In 1999 the options were open to the Qld Government in what laws it used to implement this new philosophy of vegetation management. They chose a very authoritarian approach and both oppressive and punitive to the people it applies to. Trust is not going to happen within the current legal/ administrative structure.

A co-operative model has been replaced with a coercive one.

The power of the State is now available to determine what landowners can and can’t do in very significant ways in managing their own properties. The highly significant change in the role of agency staff and the employment of compliance officers has resulted in a change of culture and a change in attitude towards landowners. These changes have been directed from the political realm at the top and influenced by the extreme end of the environmental movement.

To drive results the approach is now all stick and no carrot. There appears to be an inability to recognise and to congratulate progressive practical, hands on conservation work by individual landowners or by community groups such as Landcare. The perversion of the original Landcare ethos that was rewarded by NHT 1 funding to Catchment Management Authority’s with the power of prosecution is very worrying indeed.


  •  Prior to the 1990's a relationship of trust & respect developed between landowners & departmental field staff.  

  •  There was a shared two way exchange of information & ideas to improvement in on farm productivity & environmental outcomes  

  •  Soil conservation work is a good example of using contour banks & then zero till farming to combat soil erosion  

  •  Qld Govt. chose to ignore some of the available science in the passing of the native vegetation laws & the like.  

  •  Research appears to be now suppressed.  
  • eg. burying in cabinet documents the report the Govt commissioned Dr Bill Burrow's to undertake

  •  There has been a change in culture and a change of attitudes towards landowners. Inaccurate stereotypes have not been helpful; in some cases developed to the degree that justifies an approach of vindictive vilification towards landowners.

  •  Changes of agency staff roles have been directed from the political realm at the top and influenced by the extreme end of the environmental movement.  

  •  Qld Govt chose to ignore local expertise & dedicated effort when it ignored significant portions of the Regional Vegetation Management Plans.  

  •  The attitude of a few in Govt & DNR head office towards the few landowners with poor environmental record imposed on all an approach of animosity & adversarial.  

  •  Co-operation between landowners & departmental field staff was replaced with coercion  

  •  All Department field staff have been affected, not just vegetation management officers  

  •  All landowners have been affected: not just those with significant percentage of remnant vegetation.  

  •  Loss of national productivity from the agricultural sector: hard to measure but logically must exist in a climate of distrust with little focus on farm productivity. 

  •  Within landowners there has been a rise of negativity, reactionary attitudes; a hardened mindset 

  •  The lack of recognition of landowners continual contact & life time observations of their land had profoundly impacted the Landcare movement.  

  •  Community organizations like Landcare & Greening Australia have lost the original concept of community direction. As quoted previously from a paper by James Whelan, “no longer have the capacity to engage meaningfully in either decision making or on-ground environmental projects.”  

  •  Direction now comes from Govt which is often not meeting community needs  

  •  Funding is now through Regional Bodies that were supposed to channel monies to the community level  

  •  Regional bodies have been allowed to operate beyond their guidelines and have absorbed much of the funding in establishing their own governance system.  

  •  Local community Landcare groups and environmental organisations are being strangled out of existence.  

  •  In some States, Regional Bodies have been called Catchment Management Authorities (CMA's) with the power to report & prosecute: Will this eventually happen in QLD as well?  

  •  CMA's have perverted the Landcare ethos drastically to be yet another adversarial, coercive force against landowners  

  •  There is no system to congratulate or reward good environmental endeavours by landowners  

  •  There has been a chronic misunderstanding of the culture of rural Australian communities

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Betrayal of Trust - Part 3

Continuing on from Betrayal of Trust – Part 1
                             Betrayal of Trust – Part 2 

Impacts on the Landcare movement

The approach by the Qld Government has not changed in its dealings with landowners from the time of the above quoted article in 2003. State Government has learnt little to improve its relationship with those closest to the land itself. This is illustrated by the quote below following the announcement of proposed vegetation regrowth laws in this article from September 2009 called, Bligh to move on regrowth.

“Injune landholder Wally Peart said he felt betrayed by government.

Mr Peart - who was the inaugural chairman of Landcare in Queensland - said the landholders who had developed their land in the most sustainable and appropriate ways were the ones being suffering the greatest penalties.

"Under Landcare we encouraged people to leave scrub, retain shade-lines and leave country untouched," said Mr Peart.

"But the people who cleared their country wall to wall are the ones in the best position.

"I feel absolutely betrayed."

In the above quote a very prominent member of the founders of the Landcare ethos in this nation, Mr Wally Peart, has come out publicly and has said in effect that the principles of Landcare have been betrayed. What has happened to cause this betrayal on the most successful conservation programs that was willingly embraced by the majority of Australian land managers; that is farmers and graziers?  

This following passage is quoted from a paper written by Brisbane academic, James Whelan. Written in 2005 the present day issues were already well apparent; the paper is called, Six Reasons Not to Engage: Compromise, Confrontation and the Commons

“A third explanation for community sector reservation about community engagement is that this discourse has been applied to decision-making processes that fall well short of the democratic ideals appropriately associated with community engagement. At times, expressions such as community engagement, consultation, partnership and collaboration are used to describe top-down, decide-announce-defend approaches to environmental management. Community engagement activities are frequently conducted after political support for specific outcomes has already been announced. The expression ‘partnership’ is applied to governance arrangements that clearly maintain or entrench power differentials between government agencies and non government organisations.

The evolution of the Natural Heritage Trust, one of the nation’s most significant exercises in community engagement and regionalisation, highlights the potential for a mismatch between rhetoric, actions and consequences. During the first five years of this environmental fund, recipients of government support were selected by panels with strong community representation (NNRMTF 1999, p. 30). The second phase of the scheme relies on regional organisations to determine priority natural resource management interventions. Although the scheme is consistently described by the state and national funding agencies as ‘community-led’, the bilateral agreements between these two levels of government make it clear that while significant responsibility for NRM has been devolved to community-based organisations, this is accompanied by only limited power. Under these arrangements, government bodies retain the authority to endorse and fund regional plans.

Furthermore, the transition from the first phase of this scheme to the second involved a lengthy hiatus during which community groups that had relied on government funding languished. Many of these groups, including extensive networks of ‘carers’ (landcare, bushcare and waterwatch groups), no longer have the capacity to engage meaningfully in either decision making or on-ground environmental projects. Government failure to genuinely share power with regional NRM organisations, or to maintain funding for groups that facilitate community engagement in environmental governance, suggests a lack of “credible commitment” to sustainability that would entail a “demonstrable agenda of appropriate and believable reforms within policy and institutional systems” (Dovers 2003, p. 16).”

The implication for local Landcare groups from a change in Government attitudes towards land managers resulted in changes to guidelines and funding for local community Landcare groups and Greening Australia.

There were detrimental impacts such as funding is no longer given directly to local community Landcare groups but under current funding arrangements is distributed to a structure of Regional Bodies. The original concept was for the regional bodies to have a small staff and they were to outsource office and on groundwork with farmers to Landcare groups, Greening Australia and other consultants. These regional bodies have become bloated bureaucracies, absorbing most of the funding, will not work with individual farmers and have effectively cut off the majority of funding to community Landcare groups. These Regional Bodies must be made to comply with guidelines established early in 2003.

In some States these Regional Bodies have now been called Catchment Management Authority’s (CMA’s) and have been given additional powers of reporting and the prosecution of landowners. Such arrangements must not be allowed to disguise themselves as part of the Landcare philosophy; this has been an evolution into a completely different beast
Later published

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Resource consultants 'like supermodels who won't get up for less than $5000 a day'

(From last Saturday's Queensland Telegraph) By John Mikkelsen

AN ENVIRONMENTAL medicine specialist has compared consultants working on major resource developments with “supermodels who won’t get out of bed for less than $5000 a day”.
The claim was made by Save the Reef spokesman Dr Andrew Jeremijenko, an occupational physician who once worked as chief medical officer for Woodside Petroleum in WA. He has also provided “Telemedicine advice” to major coal seam gas and Curtis Island LNG proponents, QGC and Origin over the past three years.
His scathing assessment of the resources consultancy industry followed the release of a report last week by the Federal Government’s Independent Scientific Expert Committee. This raised a number of issues over Arrow Energy’s Surat Gas Project Environmental Impact Statement, including underground water and threatened species.
Dr Jeremijenko told the Telegraph, “This demonstrates how broken the EIS process has become.
“In my view environmental consultants are becoming more like supermodels than protectors of the environment.
“They won't get out of bed for less than $5000 a day. They go and take a few pictures and sell the product (namely the resource company CSG project).
“If you have the patience to read their ‘glossy’, it is shallow. It doesn’t address issues like cumulative impacts. They are paid by the resource companies and they do their bidding.
“Very few projects get knocked back and they don’t get sued by the Queensland Government if they say, ‘ It will all be ok’ but are proved wrong … All you have to do is look at the Dee River or at Ensham to realize these consultants get it wrong” .
Dr Jeremijenko said the expert committee was set up at the instigation of Federal Independent MP Tony Windsor, who had been dissatisfied with government scrutiny of new coal and coal seam gas projects.
“The committee has found that the Environmental Impact Statement for Arrow Energy does not adequately address potential impacts to matters of national environmental significance.
“It considered the EIS modelling inadequate as it does not assess cumulative impacts and they found the project has the potential to significantly impact on aquifer integrity in the region,” Dr Jeremijenko said.
“Mr Windsor and fellow independent Rob Oakeshott have successfully lobbied for a "Water Trigger’ to be included in the EPBC act. The resource companies continue to lobby against it. They know they are having cumulative impacts on the water…. You can't drink coal or gas," Dr Jeremijenko said.
Save the Reef believed the expert committee had highlighted problems with the whole EIS process. Environmental consultants had lost their independence and had become “the voice boxes for industry”.
“The current system rewards environmental consultants with repeat work if they write what the resource companies want….
“The government then approves projects without adequate review of these ‘independent’ EIS. If later there is an environmental disaster the environmental consultants know there is little chance they will be held responsible….
Dr Jeremijenko said the EIS for Arrow’s gasfield project was unfortunately one of many found to be flawed.
“In my view, Environmental Impact Statements are no longer worth the paper they are written on,” he said.
“The Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area may be put on UNESCO’s ‘In Danger List’ on June 1 partly because environmental consultants for the LNG plants and Western Basin Dredging and Disposal project said that environmental impacts could be managed and would be small to negligible.
“The consultants had stated in one EIS for a Curtis Island LNG plant, that Gladstone Harbour was an area of low sensitivity despite a table stating that World Heritage Areas should be classified as high sensitivity. Gladstone Harbour is a turtle haven and dugong sanctuary.,” Dr Jeremijenko said.
His claims follow a CMC probe into recent allegations that the former Bligh government had pressured senior public servants into rushed approval of earlier EIS reports by other major coal seam gas companies constructing pipelines and LNG export terminals on Curtis Island

Betrayal of Trust - Part 2

Continuing on from Betrayal of Trust – Part 1 

Vegetation Management Act
Instead of concentrating on education and using scientific research as a guidance as what to do; from around the year of 2001 the then Premier of QLD, Mr. Peter Beattie, suppressed the research and created the expectation in the near future of closing down any further land development; therefore strangling many farming families’ opportunity for future income. The result was panic clearing.

Image - print by William Strang, Farmer kneeling before justice.

The Beattie Government continued to fuel these expectations for two entire years until amendments made to the Vegetation Management Act came into effect in 2003, where the balance of all other remnant ecosystems was banned from clearing; all broad scale clearing stopped.

To this day I have a sense of sadness over this entire farce. The opportunity was lost. Landholders at the time would’ve been responsive to this research and moved forward in a positive way to the benefit of both farming and the environment. Currently, landholders have an even greater reason to mistrust Government with amendments to Act in 2003, additional amendments in 2005 and the moratorium on regrowth in April 2009 and the subsequent legislation on regrowth in October 2009.

To offer some evidence to the statement above that the QLD Premier and Government suppressed research, the following quote is from Michael Thompson, a senior Rural Press reporter who writes in the article, Lost battle of Queensland farming,

“Dr Burrows and a team of Primary Industries and Natural Resources scientists and economists were asked to prepare a paper for submission to the Productivity Commission. What that team found was distinctly unpalatable to the Queensland Government, which then decided to withdraw its participation in the PC inquiry, and took Dr Burrows’ research into Cabinet to prevent its public release.”

Regional Vegetation Management Plans

In the early stage when there was the possibility that tree clearing would, in the future, be regulated, a process of consultation was undertaken. Regional committees where assembled of various stakeholders to write management plans called, Regional Vegetation Management Plans (RVMP’s), of future regulation of vegetation management at the catchment and property level. Many people considerable time and resources making an honest effort completing this task using local knowledge and generational experience. The Regional Vegetation Management Plans were completed only to have the Government immediately completely disregard them or use small parts of them out of context with the original intent.

The disregard of the role the rural community played in development of the RVMP’s and also to the lack of recognition to landowner conservationists that retained considerable remnant vegetation only to be aggressively stood over by compliance officers after the introduction of the Vegetation Laws in 1999 and the Amendments that followed. “Compliance Officer” was a new role created in the QDNR after the Vegetation Management Act 1999 came into effect. It saw the change of agency staff working with farmers in an atmosphere of goodwill and mutual respect to that of policing, prosecution and distrust. Previous important conservation measures such as soil conservation work was abandoned and these personnel moved into vegetation management work

Impacts on Landowners

In January 2003, State councillor for Agforce Gus McGown wrote a newspaper article called, Long-term policy for resource management must engage landholders; in which he warned  

“Media stunts, though, does not make successful policy.

As an exercise in winning the hearts and minds of primary producers, it fails.

Whether it is encouraging voluntary conservation measures or water use efficiency, it is the carrot rather than the big stick approach that gets the thumbs up.

The cheapest way to get things done does not involve enforcement or heavy-handed administration.

If we are to achieve a sustainable future for rural Queensland, cooperation from landholders will be necessary.

Decisions based on access to Commonwealth funding and alienating primary producers might produce backslapping over coffee in the State Government's Executive Building.

However, it makes the development of a long-term policy for integrated natural resource management increasingly difficult.”  

Later in 2003, sadly all too common became stories such as this one in September 2003, Disappointment and anger at guilty plea. After reading this article there is no doubt as to some of the reasons for landowners feeling vilified, victimised and alienated from Government and agency staff.

“Last week the Surat grazier was forced to plead guilty to a case he could have won, with the Crown's case built around information he volunteered while allegedly being secretly tape-recorded.

But due to the "horrendous" financial cost of fighting the comparably unlimited legal resources of the Department of Natural Resources and Mines, Mr White was forced to succumb to the contentious charge.

Now Mr White, 60, is filled with disappointment and anger.

Even in cutting his losses, he still faces $15,000 in his own legal fees, plus $4800 in Crown legal costs as awarded by Magistrate Dennis Butel, who fined Mr White $600 but ordered that no conviction be recorded.

If Mr White had contested the charge he was facing legal fees of about $30,000 if he had won, or up to $50,000 if he had lost, a heartbreaking prospect on the back of a devastating drought.”

Continue to read

Monday, 25 March 2013

Betrayal of Trust - Part 1

Reform of land clearing laws in Queensland, NSW and WA is about to become a hot issue.  I’m breaking down a document into manageable blog size bites for you to digest and think about. This document was written in 2010 in response to a Senate inquiry into vegetation management laws. All four people involved in preparing this document were once and one still is deeply involved in either Landcare, Greening Australia or a Basin Association.

There is material in this document that will challenge the concept you may hold about land clearing. I encourage you to respond to this series of blogs with your thoughts and questions but please do so in a civil manner. I do have a lot of extra information and references that I can share on this subject.

The document is not designed to be primarily about the rights & wrongs of land clearing itself but how by abandonment of the cooperative approach against coercion does not work. It’s about a deplorable era in Qld state politics were the urban/ rural divide was used as wedge for political expediency. 

The views in this document are deeply felt by myself. There was so much that was possible thrown out of the window. 

Loss of trust, cooperation and changed mindsets from new laws

Compiled by: Mr Dale Stiller
Edited by Mr Steve Cupitt
In consultation with Mr Jock Douglas and Ms Roxane Blackely


This document aims to bring to your attention a regrettable change in the relationship, and especially trust, between Government agency staff and landowners. This has been to the detriment of maintaining balanced outcomes for farm productivity and environmental values caused by a quantum shift in Government policy, regulations and Acts. The landowners operating farming and grazing enterprises have been impacted by a worldview influenced by extreme environmentalism. This has effectively stopped cooperation with Government agency staff with landowners being forced to comply (with no consultation), with directives manufactured from afar and external to the realities of the landscape in which they have lifetime experience.

Throughout the late 1990’s there was much field research into best practice land clearing that would fulfil the needs of farming families to generate a viable income and to maintain a balance and integration between conservation and production. The most notable and comprehensive was the research conducted by rangelands scientist Dr Bill Burrows. In the lecture, Seeing the wood(land) for the treesAn individual perspective of Queensland woodland studies (1965–2005), Dr Burrows speaks of starting his body of work in 1965. By the late 1990’s Dr Burrows had a wealth of data on the dynamics of the tree-grass relationship that enabled him to clearly demonstrate to landowners that in terms of dollar returns of production that it was best not to clear fence to fence, but to retain 20% of remnant timber in strips or shade-lines. The data from the extensive trial work conducted in the region of Dingo, Queensland, was quite compelling.  

There were others studying the relationships on tree density to grass production with particular reference to the scientific research conducted by Dr Chris Chilcott on properties in central QLD and the Darling Downs where the advantages of vegetation retention and management was demonstrated clearly. I can recall a booklet released during this period of time by the QDNR of case studies of best practice of tree clearing.  

Through my involvement with the local Landcare Group, we completed a study funded by the National Heritage Trust (NHT) on the valuation of variable widths of retained strips of timber left behind by a blade ploughing operation. This study involved a comprehensive collection of data of population densities of fauna & flora, grass growth and temperature variables.

In a grazing situation there are benefits of cooler temperatures in summer downwind of a tree corridor because of leaf transpiration & warmer temperatures in winter because of the windbreak effect and retention of warmer air held captive within the vegetation. The study showed at the correct widths between these corridors of retained trees, that there was a positive benefit for grass yield. Measured in kg/ha, there was close to zero kg/ha dry matter at the tree-line. This amount climbed in amount of kg/ha out to 60 meters from the tree-line. From 60 to 100 meters kg/ha dry matter remained stable & after 100m production fell away again. At the 100 m mark the benefit the timber was having on the grass had disappeared.  

This project of the Taroom Shire Landcare Group (TSLG) aimed to quantify the actual benefits; what was the level of production and what the benefits to the native fauna & flora were. Government agency staff and independent researchers partnered the project. The local rural community identified the need for research, completed the field component and assisted in all technical aspects. The methodology used to set up the research was done by expert partners, who also interpreted the data. To view further details of this project, download this report and refer to page 30.  

TSLG not only had extensive data from our own study but also had compiled research from many other sources. Our group was well down the path in planning the development and implementation of field days and workshops. It was our belief that farmers & graziers would have been receptive to this information as at that time, there was a good relationship and deep trust between agency staff and landowners. The clearing of trees is very expensive and with increased benefits proven to be available in retention of 20% of vegetation, this could equate in a decrease of 20% of the cost.  

The evidence quite clearly showed that it wasn’t tree clearing as such that was a problem but rather how it was conducted and level of planning developed prior to clearing. In the lecture delivered in 2002, page 12, (link provided in first paragraph of submission), Dr Bill Burrows says,
“Frankly, I consider that we would all benefit by concentrating in the future on educating, rather than further regulating rural landholders. Foremost amongst these lessons would be the need for more thought to be given by those clearing land to pre-clearing planning and post clearing management, rather than the clearing operation itself.”
The above quote from 2002 was after the Vegetation Management Act of 1999 came into effect which had placed a blanket ban on all mapped dominate and sub-dominate endangered regional ecosystems. Some regulation was in place; there was a lot of research being undertaken; urban public opinion was changing, in my belief due to campaigns by extreme environmentalists; political pressure was mounting and rural landowners were facing an uncertain future.

Land and Water Australia in its journal Thinking Bush reported ongoing research by Dr Chris Chilcott and others, expressed many of these tensions and dilemmas.

To continue pleased click on the following links

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Illusion on Illumination

Viv Forbes sent me a me a media release about Earth Hour but a friend of this blog, Jim Fryar, has already published Viv's efforts so I will post the link for you to read it over there. While I'm at it I thought that I will provide a few other links as well.

Photo sourced The Age. In Sydney, they made the Opera House “green” this year while the rest of the city (seen in the background) seemingly ignored the idea.

Energy Roulette Week (The antithesis of Earth Hour)
Viv Forbes has come up with an alternative proposal to Earth Hour, an opportunity for those driven to observe this event to go beyond the tokenism of Earth Hour and enjoy the full experience of the possibilities of life without electricity in Energy Roulette Week.

What happened to “Earth Hour”?
asks Joanne Nova in her blog posting. Joanne points out how this event is loosing momentum like a dying candle. A lot of the media in 2013 are only paying it lip service. Joanne also provides this quote from Lomborg
Lomborg argues that more than a billion impoverished people around the world have no switch to flip, lacking the electricity that we take for granted. Earth Hour, he implies, demonizes a technology that has lifted great swaths of humanity from lives of great burden and toil — and which the globe’s poorest still so desperately want and need.
 Tonight’s ‘Earth Hour’ is not only futile, but sends the wrong message
Anthony Watts writes
Electricity has been a boon for humanity. And the cozy candles that many participants will light, which seem so natural and environmentally friendly, are still fossil fuels  (paraffin comes from petroleum) —and almost 100 times less efficient than incandescent light bulbs.
Fundamentally, cutting emissions in the short run is no easy task. Today, green energy is too costly to be a viable solution. Real breakthroughs in energy technology will only come with more investment in research and development.
An Hour of Self Delusion
Donna Laframboise writes
It’s time WWF activists and sanctimonious IKEA executives stopped deluding themselves. There is no evidence whatsoever that the public is prepared to endure “large scale change” in order to combat global warming.
Nor is there any reason to believe that symbolically turning out the lights for one hour out of a possible 8,760 each year will alter that fact.
 The futile gesture of Earth Hour
From Bishop Hill
Like the Saturnalia, Earth Hour comes round once a year, bringing with it back-to-front thinking, upside-down reasoning and many ripe opportunities for ridicule.
Bjorn Lomborg is more seriously minded of course, and his take on the annual switch-off is here. There is a related video.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Power price rise link to Powerlink

Power price rise link to Powerlink
by Kerry Ladbrook
First published in a condensed version on the Village Green page of The Courier Mail 23rd March 2013 
No wonder Qld has just experienced a 21% RISE IN ELECTRICITY when High Voltage Projects in rural locations that solely benefit privately owned Coal Seam Gas Companies and their shareholders are able to follow a process and have their costs of construction subsidised  by the Tax Payer.  The antiquated Acquisition of Land Act(ALA) 1967 needs a major overhaul. 

POWERLINK QUEENSLAND intends applying for designation as community infrastructure the Wandoan South to Eurombah  and Network extension in North West Surat transmission projects located in the heartland of a newly proposed coal seam gas development between Roma & Wandoan.

Designation will be decided by Minister for Energy & Water Supply Mark McArdle under the ALA.  Mc Ardle details in a letter dated 25th October   “I note the planned expansion of the network will not only meet the electricity requirements of the CSG-LNG projects and mines in the region, but will also reinforce and improve supply to nearby townships”.

The only problem with this Mark, is that these projects are in the middle of nowhere where there are no towns and no community infrastructure.  Powerlink Queensland has advised no landholder can connect into these high voltage lines.

If it was true that the proposed transmission lines between Wandoan & Injune were for community infrastructure as Powerlink has asked the Minister to designate them; then there would exist a situation as ridiculous as depicted in this John Spooner cartoon.
The transmission lines are for providing electricity to coal seam gas projects, not the community


This will be the start of many such infrastructure projects across the state all for the benefit of private coal seam gas or mining companies. 

Rural Queenslanders are Angry.

Landholders are not given any input into the proposed study corridors for these projects before they are designed.  These are massive projects to provide electricity to each and every gas well that ORIGIN and SANTOS  will have operational and we believe it should come under Coal Seam Gas Rules and not the very ineffective and out of date land act  that has  ANGERED  landholders threatened  by readily available Power of Entry Notices to gain access, private land accessed without permission by Powerlink and Environmental staff, inadequate consultation in regard to transmission lines & substations, poor weed washdown procedures and no compensation detailed.

Powerlink staff can waste time with personal leave but will rush  the consultation process in order to have an equally rushed environmental investigation which does not respect landholders businesses, location of protected flora & fauna , fire impacts, overgrazing,  devaluation, helicopter mustering, no payment for our time, legal consultation and accountancy.   

If these Projects are privatised, then essential services can be retained.  This will help ALL QUEENSLANDERS  save money  and retain the services they need.  Please support our e-petition (can be under 18)and sign on the attached link, so this is  addressed by Minister Mark McArdle.  



Friday, 22 March 2013

Our Labor Government - Chaos stood and was re-elected unopposed

An apt summary of yesterday's three ring circus in Canberra from Senator Barnaby Joyce:

Shadow Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Water


Leader of the Nationals in the Senate

Regional Development and Local Government left unrepresented

Yesterday the Labor party caucus called a ballot. Chaos stood and was re-elected unanimously.

Former Labor party leader, Simon Findlay Crean, Member for Hotham, said things had to come to a head and instead he lost his.

Cartoon by Broelman

The problem we have now is that I am Shadow to a person that does not exist. There is no Minister for Regional Development. And this toxic amalgam of Green, Labor party and Independents, far from looking after regional areas, has left them completely and utterly disenfranchised.

The person who said he was going to drive through constitutional recognition of local government is now gone. The Labor party has sat on the Spigelman review, which recommended a referendum on constitutional recognition of local government at the 2013 election, for over a year. Now less than six months from an election we have no response, no legislation and no Minister.

Is this the sort of stability that the Member for New England, Mr Windsor, and the Member for Lyne, Mr Oakeshott, were requesting when they decided to support the Green-Labor-Independent government?

Who is now representing Regional Australia? Who is now representing Local Government? For that matter, who is now running the country? Who is preparing the budget?

It has taken me exactly ten minutes after walking down the street this morning to find out what the Australian people think of all this. They are appalled, they want it all to be resolved and soon.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Lord Monckton at Parramatta, Sydney tonight.

Reminding people in the Sydney area that Lord Christopher Monckton will be at Parramatta Town Hall tonight from 7pm, exposing the flaws behind the Global Warming Hoax and Agenda 21.

Lord Monckton is sponsored by the NO CARBON TAX Climate Sceptics Party.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Meat Free Misinformation

Photo Tegan Kristine, sourced from the youtube 'Where does my meat come from?
First of all there has been the Meat Free Monday’s campaign with its sweeping statements of helping to stop climate change, saving the environment, health improvements and even helping world hunger. Fiona Lake answered very well these promoted benefits of abstaining from meat once a week in her blog article, Meat Free Monday Propaganda.

Now thanks to Voiceless this very week, March 18thto 24th, has been promoted as the designated week to go without meat in their Meat Free Week campaign. The same sweeping misinformed statements about saving the environment and also reducing perceived animal cruelty from what is an emotionalised  manufactured term, ‘factory farming’.

If we were taking notice there was a warning of this event back on the 1st of March in his Choice Cuts opinion blog on farmonline Brad Cooper wrote in Voiceless campaign gains traction:

A CAMPAIGN urging Australians to eat less meat proves that some people truly do have more dollars than sense with a reported $60,000 already pledged to the cause. 

…The majority of the funds raised go to my old friends Voiceless, who wasted no time in climbing into me last week after I called them a “pro-vegan organisation opposed to producing food from animals”.

Well, given that Voiceless is prepared to pursue its own profit from a campaign aimed at discouraging people from eating meat – peddling misinformation, sucking in the gullible and misinformed, and undermining free enterprise – it’s not difficult to see which lifestyle it prefers 

The Beef Central article, Farm leaders question Meat Free campaign, gives quotes from NSW Farmers president Fiona Simson and VFF Egg president Brian Ahmed. From Fiona Simpson:

Ms Simson said the campaign seem like a good way to raise the profile of groups such as Voiceless campaigns like these organised by animal activist group Voiceless, but failed to take into account the people it was affecting the most.

She said there were 44,000 farming families in NSW whose livelihoods depended upon consumers eating the produce they worked hard to grow and this campaign lacked compassion for farmers - many of whom had recently experienced multiple natural disasters from bush fires to floods.

Ms Simson said farmers were committed to high animal welfare standards and many had been extremely distressed witnessing the deaths of their own livestock during recent natural disasters.

"I find the timing of such a campaign ill thought out and I encourage consumers to ignore the pleas of such groups and get behind our farmers who work extremely hard every day at growing the best for us to eat," she said. 

But the best response so far to the Meat Free Week misinformation comes from Tegan Kristine, a NSW beef producer in a youtube clip, Where does my meat come from? Tegan writes in the introduction to the youtube clip:

This Meat Free Week, Voiceless asks consumers to learn more about where our meat comes from. Come for a tour of Yandilla Beef Farm to find out more about beef production, animal welfare and the environment!

So let’s do just that and play the youtube, available at the link immediately above.