Tag Archives: coal seam gas

Barnaby To Fight Miners

11 Sep

From the Australian:

 Billionaire Gina Rinehart turned up at Barnaby Joyce's post-election party in Tamworth. Picture: Peter Lorimer Source: The Australian

Billionaire Gina Rinehart turned up at Barnaby Joyce’s post-election party in Tamworth. Picture: Peter Lorimer Source: The Australian

OUTSPOKEN Nationals frontbencher Barnaby Joyce has vowed to protect prime farm land from mining and coal-seam gas, and ensure that an inland railway line connecting Brisbane and Melbourne is built by 2026.

Mr Joyce said he would maintain his steadfast support for protecting prime farmland from mining and CSG, despite having a close friendship with influential mining magnates. Billionaire Gina Rinehart attended Mr Joyce’s election night party. He said prime farmland and aquifers should be “off limits” to mining and CSG, while “people’s quiet enjoyment of houses should be protected”.

In the battle between good agricultural land and mining, farmland should “win every time”. He said he had been “more vociferous than others” in parliament about these issues, and he pledged to remain so in government.

Mr Joyce supported the need for effective and transparent regulation and monitoring of the resources sector.

In regard to CSG production, he said farmers should earn a percentage of the value of production of gas on their land.

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Barnaby Calls For CSG Moratorium On Prime Ag Land

12 Mar

Take note, Green-inclined voters.

Barnaby is right.

US Government Confirms Link Between Earthquakes And Hydraulic Fracturing

13 Nov

From what your humble blogger has read, it appears that Barnaby Joyce is one of the few politicians in the country to adopt a commonsense position on the increasingly heated Coal Seam Gas debate.

Unlike others who have sought political advantage by jumping boots and all into one or the other of the opposing camps, Senator Joyce has instead, typically, taken the pragmatic view.

That we need to be cautious, and more thoroughly investigate the science, before taking any unnecessary risks with the environment and in particular, with our vital “food bowls” (ie, alleged threats to aquifers, prime agricultural land).

Now this from Oilprice.com:

On 5 November an earthquake measuring 5.6 rattled Oklahoma and was felt as far away as Illinois.

Until two years ago Oklahoma typically had about 50 earthquakes a year, but in 2010, 1,047 quakes shook the state.

Why?

In Lincoln County, where most of this past weekend’s seismic incidents were centered, there are 181 injection wells, according to Matt Skinner, an official from the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, the agency which oversees oil and gas production in the state.

Cause and effect?

The practice of injecting water into deep rock formations causes earthquakes, both the U.S. Army and the U.S. Geological Survey have concluded.

The U.S. natural gas industry pumps a mixture of water and assorted chemicals deep underground to shatter sediment layers containing natural gas, a process called hydraulic fracturing, known more informally as “fracking.” While environmental groups have primarily focused on fracking’s capacity to pollute underground water, a more ominous byproduct emerges from U.S. government studies – that forcing fluids under high pressure deep underground produces increased regional seismic activity.

As the U.S. natural gas industry mounts an unprecedented and expensive advertising campaign to convince the public that such practices are environmentally benign, U.S. government agencies have determined otherwise.

According to the U.S. Army’s Rocky Mountain Arsenal website, the RMA drilled a deep well for disposing of the site’s liquid waste after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency “concluded that this procedure is effective and protective of the environment.” According to the RMA, “The Rocky Mountain Arsenal deep injection well was constructed in 1961, and was drilled to a depth of 12,045 feet” and 165 million gallons of Basin F liquid waste, consisting of “very salty water that includes some metals, chlorides, wastewater and toxic organics” was injected into the well during 1962-1966.

Why was the process halted? “The Army discontinued use of the well in February 1966 because of the possibility that the fluid injection was “triggering earthquakes in the area,” according to the RMA. In 1990, the “Earthquake Hazard Associated with Deep Well Injection–A Report to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency” study of RMA events by Craig Nicholson, and R.I. Wesson stated simply, “Injection had been discontinued at the site in the previous year once the link between the fluid injection and the earlier series of earthquakes was established.”

Twenty-five years later, “possibility” and ‘established” changed in the Environmental Protection Agency’s July 2001 87 page study, “Technical Program Overview: Underground Injection Control Regulations EPA 816-r-02-025,” which reported, “In 1967, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) determined that a deep, hazardous waste disposal well at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal was causing significant seismic events in the vicinity of Denver, Colorado.”

There is a significant divergence between “possibility,” “established” and “was causing,” and the most recent report was a decade ago. Much hydraulic fracturing to liberate shale oil gas in the Marcellus shale has occurred since.

According to the USGS website, under the undated heading, “Can we cause earthquakes? Is there any way to prevent earthquakes?” the agency notes, “Earthquakes induced by human activity have been documented in a few locations in the United States, Japan, and Canada.

The cause was injection of fluids into deep wells for waste disposal and secondary recovery of oil, and the use of reservoirs for water supplies. Most of these earthquakes were minor. The largest and most widely known resulted from fluid injection at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal near Denver, Colorado. In 1967, an earthquake of magnitude 5.5 followed a series of smaller earthquakes. Injection had been discontinued at the site in the previous year once the link between the fluid injection and the earlier series of earthquakes was established.”

Note the phrase, “Once the link between the fluid injection and the earlier series of earthquakes was established.”

So both the U.S Army and the U.S. Geological Survey over fifty years of research confirm on a federal level that that “fluid injection” introduces subterranean instability and is a contributory factor in inducing increased seismic activity.” How about “causing significant seismic events?”

Fast forward to the present.

Overseas, last month Britain’s Cuadrilla Resources announced that it has discovered huge underground deposits of natural gas in Lancashire, up to 200 trillion cubic feet of gas in all.

On 2 November a report commissioned by Cuadrilla Resources acknowledged that hydraulic fracturing was responsible for two tremors which hit Lancashire and possibly as many as fifty separate earth tremors overall. The British Geological Survey also linked smaller quakes in the Blackpool area to fracking. BGS Dr. Brian Baptie said, “It seems quite likely that they are related,” noting, “We had a couple of instruments close to the site and they show that both events occurred near the site and at a shallow depth.”

But, back to Oklahoma. Austin Holland’s August 2011 report, “Examination of Possibly Induced Seismicity from Hydraulic Fracturing in the Eola Field, Garvin County, Oklahoma” Oklahoma Geological Survey OF1-2011, studied 43 earthquakes that occurred on 18 January, ranging in intensity from 1.0 to 2.8 Md (milliDarcies.) While the report’s conclusions are understandably cautious, it does state, “Our analysis showed that shortly after hydraulic fracturing began small earthquakes started occurring, and more than 50 were identified, of which 43 were large enough to be located.”

Sensitized to the issue, the oil and natural gas industry has been quick to dismiss the charges and deluge the public with a plethora of televisions advertisements about how natural gas from shale deposits is not only America’s future, but provides jobs and energy companies are responsible custodians of the environment.

It seems likely that Washington will eventually be forced to address the issue, as the U.S. Army and the USGS have noted a causal link between the forced injection of liquids underground and increased seismic activity. While the Oklahoma quake caused a deal of property damage, had lives been lost, the policy would most certainly have come under increased scrutiny from the legal community.

While polluting a local community’s water supply is a local tragedy barely heard inside the Beltway, an earthquake ranging from Oklahoma to Illinois, Kansas, Arkansas, Tennessee and Texas is an issue that might yet shake voters out of their torpor, and national elections are slightly less than a year away.

Labor Underwater On Coal Seam Gas

18 Sep

Media Release – Senator Barnaby Joyce, 14 Sept 2011 (apologies for delayed posting):

Labor governments underwater on Coal Seam Gas

The National Water Commission has delivered a damning indictment of the Labor government’s record on water reform. Perhaps the most damning revelation is that “COAG has not yet responded to the Commission’s recommendations in its previous biennial assessment, released in 2009.”

In its review the National Water Commission has found that the regulation of coal seam gas developments is not being fully integrated into water planning arrangements. The Commission notes that while the NSW government has introduced reforms which require coal seam gas developments to obtain water licences, Queensland’s arrangements “remain outside water planning and management frameworks.” The Commission has found that the coal seam gas industry could extract around 300 GL per year from groundwater systems over the next 25 years, compared to the 540 GL per year currently extracted from the Great Artesian Basin.

Well yet another Labor Party belly flop. They have been so busy in their concern for CO2 that they seemed to have ignored H2O. COAG has not yet responded to the Commission’s recommendations in its previous biennial assessment, released in 2009. The Labor party is just so busy frolicking that up to 300 GL (300,000,000,000 litres) a year of water from one of the nation’s most precious resources, the Great Artesian Basin, that it seems to have been given away without water licences to coal seam gas operators. Some farmers have lost up to 95% of their groundwater in NSW. Just another one of the mad paradoxes of Labor in its varying guises of incompetence.

We should not be surprised that Anna Bligh is putting the mining royalties over water security. That is what happens when you start heading towards $85 billion in debt.

The Nationals passed a motion at their recent Federal Council which called on the government to ensure that the regulation of coal seam gas developments “are properly evaluated under national water planning processes.” But this government can’t even bring itself to respond a report released in 2009. How can we expect that they can manage the complicated impacts of an industry which will potentially increase the water extracted from the Great Artesian Basin by over 50%?

The National Water Commission also finds that the Commonwealth Government’s progress on recovering water for the environment has been “disappointingly slow”.

This government has delayed the release of the draft Basin Plan three times this year. If it can’t even release a report, what confidence can people have that this incompetent government won’t mess up the Murray-Darling Basin which produces 40 per cent of Australia’s food.

Why I Hang Farther To The Left Than Bob Brown

18 Aug

Got your attention with that headline?

Good.

Because on the topic of Australia’s last remaining real source of wealth – “our” natural resources – and, on the directly related topic of who should own them, you may be shocked to learn that your humble blogger hangs waaaaaaaay way out there on the so-called “left”.

With the likes of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Russian Prime Minister and former President Vladimir Putin.

And the government of Norway – which consistently ranks as the happiest nation on earth, and, the most prosperous.

[You see, when you are not beholden to group-think, and the false Left vs Right paradigm, then you can author what the Fairfax media called a “tribute site”, dedicated to supporting the debt-and-deficit views of a so-called “extremist” “far right” politician, and yet, hold “far left” views on other specific issues.  Independent, issue-by-issue critical thinking is a wonderful thing.]

Explanation to follow.

First though, a little background via this media release from Senator Barnaby Joyce, 17 August 2011 (my emphasis added):

Some towns are more equal than others

The Queensland Labor party obviously believes that all towns are equal but some towns are more equal than others.

I note that Queensland Natural Resources Minister Rachael Nolan is already backtracking from the Labor party’s decision to only ban mining within 2 kilometres of towns with more than 1000 people.

Ms Nolan also attacked the Federal Coalition saying that:

This government does not believe that landholders are entitled to the resources beneath the ground. They have never been and to change that now would represent a massive windfall to the agricultural class, to the detriment of those who own the resources now – that is, all of us.*

Ms Nolan is wrong. It is concerning that a Minister does not seem to understand the basic aspects of her portfolio.

Farmers in Queensland owned the petroleum and gas resources under their property until 1915, when the Queensland Government took them off them to protect the resources for the crown during World War I. From my latest investigations I think World War I has finished but the resources were never handed back to farmers.

To quote from section 4 of the Petroleum Act 1915:

… it is hereby declared that petroleum on or below the surface of all land in Queensland, whether alienated in fee simple or not so alienated from the Crown, and if so alienated whensoever alienated, is and always has been the property of the Crown.

Resources have been taken in other states in even more recent times, with the last being the NSW Coal Acquisition Act in 1981.

If Ms Nolan does not believe me, perhaps she would believe former NSW Premier Neville Wran, who stated in his second reading speech on the Coal Acquisition Bill 1981:

The proposal is not without precedent. In 1938 a Tory government in the United Kingdom acquired all coal then in private ownership. In 1953 the Menzies Government resumed all minerals, then in private ownership, in the Northern Territory.

In 1971 South Australia followed suit and acquired privately owned minerals. All petroleum in New South Wales was vested in the Crown without compensation, by the Petroleum Act, 1955 …

* Ludlow, M., Dunckley, M and Kerr, P. 2011, ‘Mining ban expands’, Australian Financial Review, p. 5.

As a fine, upstanding, and outstanding representative of the interests of the rural community, Senator Joyce advocates strongly for the rights of farmers and rural landowners. Especially of late, in their critical challenges with mining interests seeking to explore for Coal Seam Gas (CSG) resources beneath their land, placing our food and water security at risk.

I strongly support the rational, objective, common sense basic position put forward by both Senator Joyce and the Greens – that agricultural land should be very carefully protected against any risks from the mining sector’s activities.

Indeed, I support going even further than either Barnaby or the Greens on this issue.

Why?

There are no “resources” more vital to human existence, than water #1, and food #2.

If proposed mining activities pose any plausible risk to water and/or food security, then protection of our water and ability to grow our own food must always take top priority.

To argue otherwise, you must either be an idiot. A troll. Suicidal. And/or genocidal. There are no other options.

Where I differ with (or perhaps hold a more nuanced position than) Senator Joyce – and most definitely differ with the Australian Greens – is over the question of how best to maximise the benefits for all Australians of our Great South Land’s natural resources.

Senator Joyce is quite rightly concerned with the rights of rural landowners.

The Greens appear to be concerned with the protection of agricultural land – as should we all.  But in truth, the Greens are far more interested in taxing the crap out of the mining companies, whilst paying hypocritical lip service to the quasi-religious notion of “stopping catastrophic climate change”.

I am interested in the national (human) interest.

So, I advocate for nationalisation of Australia’s mineral, petroleum, and natural gas resources.

In our world of facile, intellectually-lazy “labelling” of every one and every thing (in lieu of reasoned, nuanced thought), that viewpoint places me right out there on the “extreme left”. Yes, right alongside “evil” socialists like Hugo Chavez.

And the government and people of Norway – the happiest and most prosperous nation (per capita) on earth.

Why is Norway so happy and prosperous?

One very big contributing reason, is that the Norwegian government nationalised their North Sea oil reserves decades ago, and has retained tight control over this vital resource sector ever since, including via the 67% government-owned StatOil. Profits are returned to a now-massive sovereign wealth fund, on behalf of all the citizens of Norway.

(This is used to finance what many would label a “welfare state”; the generally-understood definition of which I do not broadly support – another nuance, for another time).

Beginning in 2007, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez moved in the same direction. He began an ongoing nationalisation drive, stripping foreign-owned companies of control over vital national resources, especially Venezuela’s vast oil reserves, along with food and key industrial production.

(The fact that it was predominantly US multi-national petroleum companies who lost out as a result of Chavez’s actions goes a very long way towards explaining the true reason why he is painted as an “evil” “insane” “socialist” villain by Western politicians and lapdog mainstream media … and thus, why you probably believe Chavez is all bad, and all wrong. How dare he be more concerned with the national interest of Venezuelans, than with the profits of multi-nationals or the deceitful ideologies of “free trade” and “globalisation”!)

In Australia, we have a ridiculous, unintelligent, ill-considered, short-sighted, shallow, and polarised “debate” over national resources.

Many argue for a mining “super profits” tax, to help “spread the wealth” of our here-today-gone-forever-tomorrow mineral resources, via a sovereign wealth fund.

Others mount high-minded, impressive-sounding arguments against this.

Many argue for restrictions on foreign ownership of Australia’s resources, including prime agricultural land.

Others mount high-minded, impressive-sounding arguments against this.

Those who argue against restrictions on foreign ownership of vital Australian resources include the treasonous “independent” Reserve Bank:

The Reserve Bank has warned that the economy’s increasing reliance on mining exports has left it more vulnerable to global downturns but suggests foreign ownership of the sector could help reduce those risks.

A paper co-authored by RBA assistant governor Philip Lowe and presented at the bank’s annual conference highlighted the benefits of foreign investment in mining at a time of intense political scrutiny of the industry’s ownership and profits.

The Greens correctly point out the fact that it is foreign-owned interests who benefit most from our country’s “poor white trash of Asia”, quarry-to-the-world status:

In June, Greens leader Bob Brown used a National Press Club address to slam the size of mining payouts to offshore investors and demand higher taxes on the industry to ensure Australians received their fair share.

He released research showing that $50 billion in mining company dividends would end up in overseas hands over the next five years — far more than the government’s watered-down mining tax would collect for taxpayers over the same period.

“Most of Treasury’s planned super-profits tax is now due to end up in the deep, deep pockets of millionaires in Switzerland, London, Calcutta and Beijing, rather than in Australian schools, hospitals or railways,” Senator Brown said at the time.

The Greens’ solution?

A bigger mining tax.

This sort of small-minded, tax-and-spend idiocy typifies the problems with our country.

Our politicians huff and puff a lot of high-minded hot air. While doing sweet FA, or at best, tinkering around the edges of critical issues.

Because most do not really have the national interest at heart.

They mostly have only their own interest at heart.

It does not have to be this way, dear reader.

Look at the example of Norway.

Then look at Bob Brown’s comment I’ve bolded in the above quote.

And ask yourself a simple question –

“Why dick around with half-arsed ‘solutions’ like mere “bigger taxes” on foreign-owned interests who are profiting off our national resources? If you’re serious about our national interests, then why not go the full monty – just like Norway and so many others – and nationalise our vital national resources?!”

Let us be quite clear.

My views on the topic of foreign “investment” (ie, ownership) of vital Australian natural resources, is far more than just “far Left”.

It is not automatically an anti-capitalist, anti-“free market” (a myth which has never existed, by the way), anti-liberty, anti-democratic, or anti-freedom position.

Instead, it is a nuanced viewpoint.

I strongly support the rights of Aussie landowners to have their livelihoods protected against risks from mining exploration/extraction.

I strongly support the absolute, unequivocal primacy of protecting agricultural land and water resources, over and above the interests of mere mining profits (you can’t eat and drink coal or iron ore, or the profits from them either).

I strongly support just and proper compensation for landowners wherever their property and/or livelihood may be impacted by the activities of other industries.

I strongly support the right of all Australians and their descendants, to enjoy peace of mind thanks to assured, long term water and food security, above all other “economic” considerations.

And, I strongly support the right of Australian citizens and their descendants, to have their interests protected (by their elected government) against the redistribution of wealth from the soil of our land, into the already-bloated bank accounts of foreign interests.

At the end of the day, that is the very heart of the matter.

All the confusion, and rhetoric, and theory, and ideology, and spirit-sapping noise over the relative alleged pros and cons of mining/agriculture/taxes/”free”-markets/socialism/capitalism … is all just a great big load of intellectual onanist #JAFA crap, that only serves to achieve one thing, whether intended or accidental.

It keeps our nation divided into warring tribes, all squabbling over red herrings … while the Big Fish make off with our big fish under the cover of theoretical, ideological, and philosophical darkness.

Why piss about arguing over the merits/demerits of a mere “tax” on foreign-owned mining companies?

Why piss about arguing over how big or small such a “tax” should or should not be?

If you really believe your own rhetoric … that Australia’s natural resources are vital to our national interest … then why not back your conviction with action, put your balls on the block, and simply nationalise the lot?

Despite what you have been led to believe, this is not a far out, “extremist” idea at all.

See for yourself the long list of countries – many of them iconic so-called “capitalist”, “free-market” countries like the USA and the UK – who have all nationalised key resources, infrastructure, and/or industries, for their national interest.

Of course, to do so here in Australia would require a government of adults. Not the current crowd of self-serving, incompetent halfwits … on both sides of the House.

Which is why I also advocate that we change the electoral laws, to only allow real adults to run for public office.

And, it is why I advocate above all for fundamental monetary reform. A complete decentralisation of the power of “money” and “credit”. Thus rendering moot the inane, archaic, 19th century, debunked-by-reality “free market” “capitalist” arguments of the RBA and the banking sector et al that we “need” “foreign investment”. Because when the RBA, the banking industry, #JAFA economists, and/or politicians say that we “need” foreign “investment” “capital”, what they are really saying is this –

You ‘need’ to remain slaves … to foreign credit-suppliers”.

You see, dear reader, the reason why I advocate these “far out” solutions, is because I am Australian.

I believe national sovereignty stands in the way of transnational tyranny.

And I believe that to continue selling the farm, and/or what is under the farm, into the hands of foreign interests (whether ‘national’, ‘multi-national’, or ‘private’) under the guise of “foreign investment”, is both 100% unnecessary, and not in our national interest.

To quote another infamous political figure … “I make no apologies for that.”

UPDATE:

And in timely overnight news, the gold price jumps on revelations that the “evil” “leftist” Mr Chavez will nationalise Venezuela’s gold industry –

Gold settled at record highs today after Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez said he planned to nationalise the country’s gold industry.

Venezuela President Hugo Chavez said today he plans to nationalise the country’s gold industry in a move to take over production and grow international reserves.

Speaking on state television via telephone, the leftist leader said he would be introducing a new decree to put exploration and extraction of gold into the government’s hands.

It will be “a decree to take the gold sector,” which still remains in the hands of a “mafia and smugglers,” Mr Chavez said.

“We don’t only have oil wealth, we have here one of the largest reserves of gold in the world … Let’s convert it into our international reserves because gold is increasing in its value.”

Mr Chavez also plans to move the country’s existing gold reserves out of European banks and into vaults owned by the country’s central bank. Venezuela’s official gold reserves, of 365.8 tonnes as of June, make it the 15th largest gold holder in the world according to the World Gold Council. The Latin American country is well behind the US, which leads the pack with 8113.5 tonnes, and second place, Germany, at 3401.0 tonnes.

Vast oil reserves.

A gold industry.

A President with brains and balls.

Lots and lots of pretty women.

Venezuela’s lookin’ better ‘n better all the time 😉

By the way, how does Australia compare with Venezuela for official gold reserves?

Badly.

Less than 80 tonnes, compared with Venezuela’s 365.8 tonnes.

Why?

Yes, all thanks to our stupid/treasonous Reserve Bank, who sold off most of our reserves early this century in a blunder to top all their (many) blunders:

Just over ten years ago, Australia’s central bank the RBA sold off most of the countries gold reserves under the belief that the price of gold would continue to remain flat, and that as an asset, it would no longer play any role in the future financial system, or any crises that may result.

A paper written by the central bank which recommended selling off the gold reserves conceded that that asset whilst the assets served as “insurance against a breakdown in the international financial system”, it was not necessary to hold.

The central bank’s justification for reducing its gold reserves so drastically was that gold represented a poor investment, and Australia had successfully integrated itself into global financial markets, and that it need not worry about access to those markets during a financial crisis.

Since the sale of the gold reserves the global financial systems has experienced severe stress on a number of different occasions, starting with the implosion of the technology bubble at the start of the millennium followed by the September 11th terrorist attacks, and more recently the global financial crisis in 2008.

The price of the precious metal over that time frame has risen spectacularly and the asset has begun to play an increasingly important role in the global financial system since the  financial crisis.

The central bank argued that continuing development of financial system meant that circumstances which would require Australia to call upon our gold holdings for economic reasons looked increasingly remote.

Idiots.

Or traitors.

In either case, the RBA should be disbanded.

End the RBA.

Follow the lead of Hugo Chavez.

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: The Bush Has Been Rorted

21 Jul

Senator Joyce writes for the Canberra Times:

Australia must invest in the regions that are the source of our wealth. It is nauseating to hear the pejorative “pork barrelling” used for what is strategic investment. We must think of the benefits of regionalism logically: where are the coal mines, the iron ore mines, wheat paddocks, cotton fields, the cattle and many of the tourism attractions?

Why is a bus network in a capital city “nation-building investment” but a road in regional Australia welfare?

Ask yourself a very simple question: how many of the consumer items that reflect your standard of living came from overseas? So who is sending something in the other direction to pay for all of this?

While only one-third of Australians live in regional areas, over half of our exports come from regional Australia. If a person with $2 goes to a table of four and kicks off a series of transactions that move the coin around the table, then broadly speaking the gross domestic product of that table would be $10. The person with the coin is often regional Australia and, if they didn’t turn up, the GDP of the four remaining people would be zero.

People often lose sight of the fundamental economics of Australia by failing to think of the source of our wealth, not just its location. My shire of Balonne in western Queensland produces $600 million of cotton, over $100 million of grain, about $30-40 million worth of cattle each year, as well as sheep, wool, grapes, onions, kangaroo meat, wild pigs and free range eggs. about $750 million of annual renewable income from about 5000 people.

Investing in the areas that produce this wealth would seem to me to be a pretty smart thing to do, especially if we want to pay off our $197 billion in gross debt, plus a similar amount in state government debt.

Canberra, if we don’t start paying off debt rather than just accumulating it you might not have a job.

Parts of Queensland and NSW are currently living with the coal seam gas boom.

In some areas the roads are getting wrecked. There are people charging over the land in white Toyota wagons with red flags on what looks like a fishing pole strapped to the bullbar.

Some of their wells are producing $1million a day in gross income. For this, farmers get anywhere between a slab of beer at the worst and up to about $10,000 a year at the best. So the farmer gets less than 1 per cent of the income stream from the wells that sit on their place, affecting the land’s value and in some instances completely compromising how the farm works.

Are there new houses in these regions? No, generally not, just trucked in demountables called ”dongas”, lined up like barracks. It looks like you’ve been invaded by an army. Their lifestyle is not very good and their contribution to the community is generally not very good either.

When the wool industry came they developed the pubs, the roads and the towns. The money stayed local and was spent locally. With wool production in regional Australia we were the richest nation on earth.

With the cattle industry we had the development of Northern Australia and genuine progress in the income of indigenous people in some areas and genuine dignity in having their own business and the prospect of greater independence for their communities.

But in some areas, if the coal seam gas industry left tomorrow, the only legacy they would leave is potholes. Sure, state coffers would be upset, but in some areas of regional Australia they couldn’t give a toss, in fact they would be better off without them.

Royalties must be reinvested in the regions that generate the income stream; not all royalties, but a substantial proportion. Taxation rates must be adjusted so that we can develop regions. People must be encouraged to fly in, stay and live, not fly in and fly out.

Australia must have a genuine vision for a much wider development of our regions, otherwise what we are will be as good as it gets and over time we will become tired, worn out and diminished.

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