Newsletter 14th February 2017

Members’ Newsletter

14th February 2017

Congratulations to Marlborough & Charters Towers communities

There were a number of PRA members who were to be compulsory acquired from the expansion of both Shoalwater Bay and Townsville military training areas. At Charters Towers Blair Knuth was very active and clearly stating his family’s property was not for sale, not for acquisition. At Marlborough the government had another thing coming if they thought an old warrior like Alf Collins was going to take one single backward step. Alf did some very good interviews on radio and TV. For someone before the January 9 Marlborough meeting claimed never to have done any public speaking, Rick Bowman stepped up to the mark. Rick spoke to media and hosted politicians. Special thank you to Joanne Rea, who with husband Elwyn, were to lose “Edengarry”.  Joanne represented PRA on a number of occasions and had to present calmly and objectively. This is a tough call as an affected landowner, you don’t feel anything like calm.

This is the presentation that Joanne gave at the Jan 9 meeting at Marlborough –

The benefit promoted for the Rockhampton region is the injection of $1 billion under the agreement in the Singapore Australian Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. This document (link below) compares that benefit to the cost of the permanent loss of a 60,000 head cattle herd in the area near Marlborough sought to be compulsorily acquired by the Defence Force.

Joanne has a report later in this newsletter.

Beef sustainability Framework – your immediate attention required.

The PRA board believes this is very important for all cattle producers.


As the Australian beef industry we are faced with a dilemma: we cannot afford not to be involved in the question of what is sustainable beef because that void will be filled by someone else seeking to do so on our behalf but not with our interests in mind. That is exactly what occurred when the radical environmental group WWF, working through the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB), tried to do so. At the time, PRA was forthright in the debate that rejected those outside Australia seeking control.

Industry leaders across the beef supply chain were brought together in what was called the Beef Squaretable meeting. A process was started that later commissioned the Sustainability Steering Committee who have prepared this sustainability framework now available for your feedback.

The Beef Squaretable meeting was based on the premise that Australia has its own very good, positive, beef sustainability story to tell the world.

Australia is a first world country with a first world reputation in science, innovation and governance. In regards to sustainability there already exists in Australia a high level of legislation, regulation, and certification and vendor declaration. There is a need to collate and then to communicate these high standards.

Please fill out survey

The Sustainability Steering Committee has prepared a draft Beef Sustainability Framework for feedback which closes very soon on February 17. The format and content are of the steering committee’s design. Therefore you can suggest changes not only to the content but to the very structure.

My apologies to our members who receive the newsletter mail only as the following will have internet site links and the survey itself is online.

This is the web site the steering committee have prepared –

The 4 areas the sustainability framework covers are – Animal welfare, Economic resilience, Environmental Stewardship, People & community

 From the above link you click on one of the 4 framework areas, a table will be on the page which you can click on to enlarge. It will show priority areas, indicators, definition and measurement. How it can be measured that the beef industry is achieving each sustainability indicator.

Mail only PRA members these 4 framework area tables will be attached to the newsletter.

This is where to register to provide feedback which closes on Feb 17. Can you please do so ASAP –

Opinion about the sustainability framework

Much of my early reaction to the draft sustainability framework can be found in this Beef Central article. I ask you to go read it as it will save a lot of writing in this newsletter. –

Rather than starting with a clean sheet of paper and stating what the beef industry have done that is right, the steering committee has ended up conforming to approaches taken by various other bodies including environmental groups. Both WWF and GRSB were consulted by the steering committee as “stakeholders”. Rather than creating or confirming our own programs, a program has been designed to fit with the very program this was designed to combat. As much has been confirmed by former Cattle Council Australia Chair, Andrew Ogilvie, who in this video, (in the following link), also reveals CCA’s culpability in betraying the interests of Australian cattle producers.

As written above in ‘Background’, from the Beef Squaretable came one central important theme – Australia has its own very good, positive, beef sustainability story to tell the world. Communicating our story has become secondary in the draft framework. It is there but only as a web page link.

From the Sustainable Australian Beef Home page (1st link above) if you click on any of the 4 framework areas – Animal welfare, Economic resilience, Environmental Stewardship, People & community – on the new web page there will be these words  – “Click here to see what the industry is currently doing……………………………. “  

Our story, in the draft is to be found by knowing what link to click on, this then takes you elsewhere. It needs to be the top, central feature of every page. All the four different framework areas must have information of the high level of legislation, regulation, and certification and vendor declaration that the Australian beef industry has to comply with.

Take note that the Sustainability Framework has a format simular to a certification program. It is not supposed to be yet another level of certification but be aware that sometime in the future, pressure by activist organisations could be laid on a compliant government to make it so.  In that light read the indicators – would you be able to comply?  Is it too complicated? Does it try to encompass too many areas? Are there some areas that beef producers should not be held responsible for? Will it be too costly for small enterprises whereby a very large enterprise can afford dedicated staff for paperwork?  Is it structured to suit small southern beef properties rather than large northern properties?

Another aspect the approach taken in how each indicator is written defined and measured.  It would take too long to properly explain but I get the feeling that in places the framework conveys an apologetic, at fault approach rather than a positive. This is the reality. This is our story.

Linc Energy contamination at Hopeland

Further bad news for the landowners in the Hopeland district, near Chinchilla, Qld. It is now been confirmed that what was feared to be a possibility has come to pass, that contamination is moving within the soil and is now beyond the 314 square kilometre excavation caution zone.

It is not good enough that Hopeland landowners were not directly informed by government, rather the news came to them via the media.

Community campaign beat Defence Compulsory Acquisition by Joanne Rea

PRA has members in both of the areas targeted for Defence expansion of the Townsville Field and Shoalwater Bay military training which were under threat of compulsory acquisition. That threat has now subsided with the Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce announcing last Tuesday, January 7, that there would be no compulsory acquisition although they would still be acquiring from willing sellers.

Most landowners had no idea that the army training areas were to be expanded until they either saw a notice in their local paper or received letters from the Defence Department that they were to be acquired and that if they did not agree to sell they would be compulsorily acquired.

This avoidance of mentioning expansion was a deliberate strategy of the defence Department and the Defence Minister who in estimates in May 2016 spoke only of “upgrades” as did the Defence White Paper. Yesterday Minister Payne admitted to knowing about compulsory land acquisition in June 2016. This deception was maintained until November 2016 in the case of Charters Towers and Marlborough landowners. 7th Nov 2016, was the first occasion on which “expansion” was mentioned in parliament. Most if not all landowners missed it.

What followed were periods of doubt, shock, anger and depression which eventually resulted in meetings where all the issues were covered and support garnered.

A vital component of the campaign to save our land from compulsory acquisition was that all sectors of the community supported one another to point out to Government that these actions would lead to the destruction of an entire hard-working, law-abiding community as well as businesses designed to serve the community and the cattle industry.

Deputy Prime Minister Joyce was pivotal in having compulsory acquisition taken off the table but there is no doubt that the pressure exerted from The Labor Party representatives and Pauline Hanson tipped his and the Government’s hand in our favour.

One of our constant questions was why defence needed so much more land when they already had such large areas including 1.1m acres at Shoalwater. It has since become clear that environmental constraints on almost all military training areas in Australia place restrictions on their frequency of use ect. which eventually renders them unfit for purpose. Documentation with respect to Shoalwater bay refers to a balance between defence and the environment but the balance no longer exists and environmentalism has overtaken the needs of defence.

Stock Routes and Rolling leases

There are two separate Qld parliamentary inquiries occurring at the moment. The first about stock routes, PRA because of a work load between too few volunteers, consciously left alone, because we believed Agforce had a good handle on it. The second that will affect landowners’ rights under a rolling lease did get by your board to write a submission. We are will now wait for the report to the parliament and then make a public statement in response.

Native Title

A recent court decision will adversely affect all parties of some previous Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUA) finally bedded down in what is an over long, arduous process. The ramifications go beyond the area in this particular court case and in unrelated instances it is not a good result for native title groups and pastoralist landowners.

Yesterday the Federal government announced that it will introduce legislation to, “reverse the effect of the full court’s decision, which changed what the previously understanding of the law had been,”

Removal of service obligations for telephone landlines – by Anne Clarke

The Productivity Commission is deliberating over the removal of community service obligations for the provision of telephone land lines for people in rural and remote areas. This will have a catastrophic impact on regional and remote landowners’ ability to contact medical, emergency services, do business, access education and family and friends outside our areas. Apparently the NBN will be the communications provision and thus far has been anything but reliable. Mobile service is obvious by its absence and only as good as the signal if you are close to a small town where capacity is already at its limits and worse during tourist season. It is unavailable to many due to distance. Government needs to understand the plight in which we will be placed should that obligation be removed, as a cost saving measure.


Dale Stiller

Dale Stiller


Property Rights Australia

Phone:  07 49 214 000
Fax:       07 49271 888