Tag Archives: agriculture

Barnaby Brings The Elephant Into The Room

27 Jul

From the Australian Financial Review via Queensland Country Life (emphasis added):

Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce asked a question at a federal Senate inquiry during the week that went to the heart of the issues surrounding coal seam gas miners’ controversial use of land.

He asked representatives of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, including former Santos vice-president Rick Wilkinson: “You are giving landholders $10 million to $15 million a year [in compensation] while you are collecting $8.5 billion a year. You would have to say that’s a pretty good deal, right?”

Although there are countless protests about gas miners’ impact on prime farming land and water tables, Senator Joyce’s question brought the elephant into what was an already packed room, reports The Australian Financial Review .

In Australia, where miners have the right to walk on to a property and take out what they like from the ground, compensation packages are relatively frugal.

Texas land owners in the US control the subsurface and, as such, control much bigger cuts of the exploited resources.

Some critics hope for a moratorium on CSG projects until environmental effects are better understood.

But that is unlikely to happen where governments estimate the gas industry based in just one region such as Gladstone could generate 18,000 jobs and up to $850 million a year in royalties.

Cotton Australia’s Michael Murray revealed in the Senate inquiry that specific requests from the federal Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Tony Burke, to protect the Condamine Alluvium were knocked back by the Queensland government.

He said that the requests by the minister were amendments of an environmental impact statement provided by a gas company seeking to start exploration in the area.

The reason why Australian farmers – and our precious agricultural land – are treated like dirt by the mining industry, is a complex and nuanced reality.

One which can be summarised easily.

And brutally.

That reality is this.

Our nation is a quarry.

A quarry to be exploited.

By the mega-wealthy international banking class.

And by the myriad of bottom-feeding parasites, who live very well indeed off the not-inconsiderable crumbs that fall from the table of the banksters’ globalised feeding frenzies.

As I always say, in a world where nothing is as it appears – Life is actually quite simple.

If you want to know what is really going on …

Follow The Money.

Barnaby: “Make Sure Your Voice Is Heard On Coal Seam Gas And Mining”

5 Jul

Media Release – Senator Barnaby Joyce, 5 July 2011(my emphasis added):

Make sure your voice is heard on coal seam gas and mining

Senator Barnaby Joyce today announced public hearings for the Senate Rural Affairs and Transport Committee’s inquiry into the impact of coal seam gas and coal mining developments in southern Queensland. Hearings will take place in Dalby, Roma and Brisbane on the 18, 19 and 20 July.

Serious concerns have been raised about the impact of mining development on aquifer health and agriculture productivity. This inquiry gives people a chance to directly communicate their issues and concerns with government.

Mining is vital to the economy of Queensland but people rightly want to make sure that it is not at the expense of the nation’s most vital asset, prime agricultural land and our scarce water resources.

I encourage everyone to have their say at these inquiries. The Committee is also taking submissions. More detail on how to do so is available here http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/rat_ctte/mdb/index.htm or submissions can be sent to the addresses below.

The Rural Affairs and Transport References Committee will examine the economic, social and environmental impacts of mining coal seam gas on:

• the sustainability of water aquifers and future water licensing arrangements;
• the property rights and values of landholders;
• the sustainability of prime agricultural land and Australia’s food task;
• the social and economic benefits or otherwise for regional towns and the effective management of relationships between mining and other interests; and
• other related matters including health impacts.

For further information, contact:

Committee Secretary
Senate Standing Committees on Rural Affairs and Transport
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: +61 2 6277 3511
Fax: +61 2 6277 5811
Email: rat.sen@aph.gov.au

More Information (Senator Joyce’s office) – Matthew Canavan 0548 709 433

Tony “Waterboy” Windsor Lies About Water Buybacks

25 Jun

Media Release – Senator Barnaby Joyce, 23 July 2011:

Windsor Misleads Basin Residents

Tony Windsor today claimed that “Water buybacks have been minimised by the Government” in response to the House of Representatives Regional Australia Committee Inquiry into the impact of the Guide to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

This is an out and out distortion.

The Government is not in any way “minimising” water buybacks. What the Prime Minister actually said in response to Tony Windsor’s question last Wednesday was that:

The government’s response to the interim findings was to act on a number of issues to which the committee drew attention — for example … introducing smaller rolling tenders for water buyback to allow a more modest presence in the water market.”

This will not reduce the money spent on water buybacks nor the amount that is spent over time. It simply means that each tender will be smaller and will be conducted on a rolling or ongoing basis.

The Regional Australia Committee actually recommended that “the Commonwealth Government immediately cease all non-strategic water purchase in the Murray-Darling Basin and take a strategic approach to water purchases that prioritises the lowest possible impact in communities.”

Only three days after Windsor’s committee reported, the government opened another water buyback round on 6 June 2011. Tony Burke, the Minister for Water, told the Adelaide Advertiser in a story titled “Windsor river buyback ignored” that:

“We cannot have reform without buyback,” Mr Burke said. “There are tenders that have already been advertised that are open (today). They will open (today).

“We support buyback.”

The Coalition, however, announced last August, ahead of the 2010 election, that it would take steps to make the water buyback program more strategic.

The Coalition will approach water buybacks in a more strategic way. It will consult more closely with irrigators and local communities to establish the true costs of removing irrigated farming in different areas and the impact of restrictions on land use imposed as a result of buybacks or exit grants.

The Coalition remains committed to make water buybacks more strategic. All Mr Windsor has to do to get a better outcome for the Murray-Darling Basin is to support a Coalition government.

Windsor, T. 2011, ‘Murray-Darling Inquiry sparks government action to support irrigators’, Media Release, 23 June 2011, http://www.tonywindsor.com.au/releases/110623.pdf

House of Representatives Hansard 2011, 15 June, p. 49, http://www.aph.gov.au/hansard/reps/dailys/dr150611.pdf

House of Representatives Standing Committee on Regional Australia 2011, Of drought and flooding rains, May, Canberra, p. xx, http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/ra/murraydarling/report/fullreport.pdf.

Adelaide Advertiser 2011, ‘ Windsor river buyback ignored’, 5 June, http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/windsor-river-buyback-ignored/story-e6frea6u-1226069710576

Coalition Election Policy 2010, The Coalition’s plan for real action on the Murray-Darling Basin’, http://www.nationals.org.au/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=EGmylhxd0XY%3d&tabid=61

Barnaby: We Must Realise Water Is Wealth

20 May

A must-read article by Senator Barnaby Joyce.

From the Canberra Times (emphasis added):

Canberra, as I have stated before, is an example of an effective policy of regional development.

What makes it possible relies on many ingredients, two of the most important being employment and water. Canberra has an obvious source of jobs and the third longest river in the Murray-Darling basin, the Murrumbidgee. This makes possible Canberra’s ability to invest in an 87GL dam on the Cotter River.

Recently I visited the Gulf in Northern Queensland. This area provides immense opportunity for further development in our agricultural sector. Georgetown sees at least 4000GL go down the Gilbert River every year. The people of Hughendon and Richmond have access to about 2000GL – of which about 5 per cent is currently used. These flows meander down through vast tracts of deep, self-mulching loams with immense food producing capacity.

At the moment there are no large storages to harness this water and use it to produce more food. That is not the fault of the locals, many of whom want to encourage economic development and build the infrastructure to do so.

People like Fred Pascoe, mayor of Carpentaria Shire and head of the Gulf Savannah Development Corporation. He sees that the only way for his fellow indigenous people to get ahead is to have access to the jobs and opportunities that other Australians take for granted. I wish people would speak to Mr Pascoe before they start making decisions about his life and his people.

What Australia has lacked is the vision to develop our water resources for the benefit of the people who live here, for the benefit of our nation as a whole and for the benefit of those who are hungry all over the world.

Instead, what Australia has been doing of late is to take Australia out of the agricultural market by locking up wild rivers, imposing inflexible native vegetation laws and providing tax concessions to plant forests where there used to be livestock and crops. Very handy if we are going to evolve into a higher form of termite but not much use if we want to prevent Australia from becoming a net importer of food.

Just the other night I heard from a farmer in northern NSW who wanted to install a more efficient irrigation system. To do so he would have to clear a grand total of 42 trees. The Government said yes as long as he bought the adjoining property and planted nearly a million trees on it. He has not taken up the offer.

The result is that in 1980 Australia had 496 million hectares of farming land. In 2010 we have 399 million hectares. In 1980 we had roughly 136 million sheep. In 2010 we have 68 million sheep.

What this shows is that in a world where the population is getting bigger we are either producing less or staying stagnant. We are getting more proficient but we are not producing more.

It is no wonder because we are not investing in the capital to do so.

We have not built a major dam for over 20 years. In 1980 we could store in dams about 4.5ML per person. Now the figure is just over 3.5ML. By 2050, if we don’t build any more dams, it will be below 2.5ML per person.

That is why the Coalition will build more dams. The Coalition’s dams task group, that I am the deputy chairman of, is the first step in that process.

Water is wealth and dams make hungry people happy. We should realise that domestic environmental policies have a real effect on real people beyond our nation’s borders. We also should have a quiet little wake-up call to ourselves that we are importing more and more of our food, predominantly from South-East Asia.

I always thought that we would be feeding South-East Asia not being fed by South-East Asia.

When you make the conscious choice for Australia to eat somebody else’s food you are implicitly endorsing their environmental practices: strip fishing, clearing of jungles and rainforests, endorsement of sweatshop labour as a preference to Australian awards. That is your choice.

I would prefer that we have a clean, green agricultural sector in Australia but to do so we have to make the investments which allow it to grow alongside our population.

For all those “green” cargo cult members who oppose building more dams, whilst at the same time crying poor on behalf of poverty-stricken nations abroad, please consider the following news story from AAP:

Nepal faces malnutrition crisis as UN scales back

The United Nations is to stop distributing food to nearly a million people in remote western Nepal because of funding shortfalls, threatening a major health crisis, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Nepal is one of the world’s poorest countries, with more than half the population living on less than $1.25 a day. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) says 41 percent of Nepalese people are estimated to be undernourished.

But the WFP says it does not have enough funds to continue flying supplies by helicopter to western Nepal, where road access is patchy and around a million people rely on UN food aid.

More dams, means more food.

More food, means cheaper food.

For more human beings.

Barnaby is right.

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