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Home Page ButtonFarmers Changing Attitude, The Save the Bush Toolkit,
Environmental Problems, Responsibility And Other Initiatives On Conservation
"CHANGING ATTITUDES ON THE LAND"
The Institute for RURAL FUTURES, University of New England, Armidale has completed a National Opinion Poll on Rural Economic and Environmental Issues. The study is public opinion research based on two national surveys of farmers in 1991 and 2000.

It has found:

  • an increase in the level of concern about chemicals,

  • a decrease in the level of concern about land degradation,

  • slightly more favourable, but more polarised, views about the environment,

  • little difference in the changes in opinions amongst Landcare members and those not in Landcare.


  • Copies of the report can be obtained from the project web page at:

    http://www.ruralfutures.une.edu.au/about/envimpact/lwafarmatt/lwafarmattcomment.html

    "The study shows that, while there have not been large changes in opinions over the Decade of Landcare, there have certainly been many statistically significant changes which, taken together, present a fairly cohesive picture of changes in opinion. Overall, it appears that rural environmental issues are better understood than they were in 1991. In the nine years since 1991, farmers have gained a fuller appreciation of the policies of environmental organisations but their support for these organisations has declined. For many issues, more farmers appear to be aware of the complexities and uncertainties in these issues, and fewer are inclined to believe there are simple solutions".

    "The amount of changes in opinions about environmental issues between 1991 and 2000 is about the same among Landcare group members and those who are not members. The findings show more favourable opinions among those who report they are actively involved in a Landcare group".

  • Among all landholders with income from agriculture and/or properties larger than 50ha, those actively involved in landcare amount to only 10 per cent of landholders.
  • About 40 per cent of landholders have serious concerns about the safety of agricultural chemicals.
  • About 46 per cent of respondents agree with the proposition that: If Australian agriculture is going to have a long term future, there will have to be a lot of cleared country put back to bush and forestry plantations.

    "STRIFE ON THE LAND"

    In 2001 the average age of Australian farmers was 58. (Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics).

    Back in 1978, the average age was 54 and in 1990, it was 53. The fact is, farming in Australia is no longer a young man's game.

    "This trend can't continue forever," predicts Lloyd Davies, an agricultural economist with Tocal Agriculture College in NSW's Hunter Valley. "there is some young blood coming into farming,"

    According to ABARE statistics, rural debt has been running at a massive $19 billion and net income at only $3 billion.

    Almost 99% of Australian farms are family owned.

  • A NEW TOOL FOR CONSERVATION FARMERS
    If you are one of these farmers and wish to do something about the future of your land - IT IS TIME!

    For most Australians and for farmers in particular, the bush has rich and valuable associations. Most farmers are now concerned about the future of their diminished remnant vegetation and have been seeking ways to not only preserve what remains, but to assist its regeneratio

    THE SAVE THE BUSH TOOLKIT:
    By the Environmental Studies Unit, Charles Sturts University, Bathurst and Orange Agricultural College, The University of Sydney.

    There are actually nine do-it-youself kits:
    Kit 1: Assessing Farm Bushland
    Kit 2: Managing Farm Bushland
    Kit 3: Assessing Scattered Farm Trees
    Kit 4: Managing Scattered Farm Trees
    Kit 5: Assessing Farm Watercourses
    Kit 6: Managing Farm Watercourses
    Kit 7: Surveying Farm Flora
    Kit 8: Surveying Farm Wildlife
    Kit 9: Farm Planning for Bushland and Wildlife

    The Save the Bush Toolkits have been specifically developed for use in the CENTRAL WESTERN REGION of NSW. However they will be useful within similar land systems elsewhere in Australia. It is for landowners to assess the natural resources of the farm and develop management strategies that they believe are appropriate for their future.

    Copies maybe obtained from GREENING AUSTRALIA, PO Box 1305, Bathurst, 2791 and for any advice on this tool suitability for your area please write to: Save the bush-Central West, Environmental Studies Unit, Charles Sturt University, Panorama Avenue, Bathurst 2795


    ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS, THE RESPONSIBILITY AND OTHER INITIATIVES:

    ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS :
    "Environmental problems by clearing, overgrazing and intensive agriculture cost around $3 billion a year to repair. We require systems solutions to landscape problems at regional and catchment scales. Eventually farm income may consist not only of income from the sale of commodities, but also income from the provision of ecosystem services: clean water delivered downstream, salinity reduction, carbon sinks and even improvements in biodiversity." Dr Graham Harris, Chief, Land and Water Division, CSIRO
    THE RESPONSIBILITY :
    The conservation of endangered and vulnerable species is the responsibility of all levels of government and all Australians: Conservation efforts by landholders are vital and should be encouraged. The success of efforts to save endangered species will be based on the degree of public support into increasing action.

    "As natural systems continue to degrade, there will be a greater need for an expanded commitment to manage and expand our national park network, assist the recovery of threatened species, accelerate support for private land conservation, and deal with animal and plant pests. These are core financial responsibilities that should be funded by the Government on behalf of all NSW people." Andrex Cox, executive officer, National Parks Association of NSW

    "It is vital for the private sector to complement and, if necessary, challenge the conservation approach made by Governments. Above all, involvement of the hearts and mind of the community is crucial."Andre' Schmitz and Martin Copley, Karakamia Sanctuary

    "The effective implementation of any conservation program is also determined by the successful running of community associations, while keeping in mind the responsibility of accountability towards sponsors, State and Federal Governments for their grants and the community at large. It demands a complete commitment by the members of any association management committee." Dr Gianni W D'Addario, President, Friends of Oolong
    NEW TAX INITIATIVES! FEDERAL CHANGES TO THE INCOME TAX ASSESSMENT ACT 1997
    The changes to the Act (Income Tax Assessment Act 1997) affecting environmental donations are part of a larger Federal Government push to facilitate philanthropy and strengthen partnerships between business and community groups. Taxpayers receive greater financial benefits from donations valued at more than $5,000 to relevant environment and heritage organisations. Donations may include land, buildings, shares, vehicles and other property. Tax deductions on larger donations of property to eligible organisations to be spread over five years.
    More details on new tax incentives for conservation are at Supporters
    THE TEN-YEAR ENDANGERED SPECIES PROGRAM :
    The National Farmers Federation joined with the Australian Conservation Foundation in a Decade of Landcare. The Federal Government adopted the initiative and in 1989 the Prime Minister announced a 10-year Endangered Species Program. The State and Territories were the major participants. Local Governments are to play a significant role in conserving endangered and vulnerable species.
    THE NATIONAL ACTION PLAN FOR SALINITY AND WATER QUALITY, THE NATIONAL WATER COMMISSION AND THE NATIONAL WATER INITIATIVE:
    A seven-year, $1.4 billion plan, was implemented in November 2000.
    "After two-and-a-half years, only about $160 million has been approved and $70 million released for the plan". Professor P. Cullen, Chairman.

    In December 2004, the Australian Government established the National Water Commission, under the chairmanship of Professor Cullen, to help with the implementation of the National Water Initiative. In June 2006 The National Water Initiative Agreement was signed by all governments except Tasmania, (which signed in June 2005 and Western Australia, which is yet to sign). For any progress made since in this initiative we refer to the activities of the National Water Commission, its Water Smart Irrigation Proposals- Special call for irrigation proposals. Guidelines, March 2006.
    The National Water Commission is an independent body in the Prime Minister's portfolio. Its role is to drive the national water reform agenda.
    For details: enquaries@nwc.gov.au
    A NEW MODEL FOR LANDSCAPE CONSERVATION IN NEW SOUTH WALES - NEW NATIVE VEGETATION POLICY:
    The Wentworth Group, a group of concerned scientists, produced in November 2002 a BLUEPRINT FOR A LIVING CONTINENT. They are advocating radical and fundamental reform to halt further degradation of Australia's landscape. In February 2003 the Group submitted the report on a new model for landscape conservation to the Hon Bob Carr, Premier of NSW. The NSW Governement accepted, on March 2003, the Wentworth Group's model as the basis for its new native vegetation policy.

    The report recommands the establishement of a new $120 million Native Vegetation Investment Fund to help pay for the management of native vegetation on farms and less money to go to writing reports and managing bureocratic processes.

    For copies of this report please contact WWF, Australia on publications@wwf.org.au or call (02) 9281 5515.

    BOOK LAUNCH:
    The Honorable Senator Judith Troeth, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Senator for Victoria, on 3 September 2003 at the Edmund Barton Conference Centre, launched the book:
    Greening
    farm subsidies
    The next step in
    removing perverse
    farm subsidies. 2003

    This publication was prepared by:
    Centre for International Economics (CIE)
    http://www.thecie.com.au/publicat.htm
    on behalf of:
    Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC)
    http://www.rirdc.gov.au
    and
    World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)
    www.wwf.org.au

    When a government policy is damaging both the environment and the economy, it should be obvious that such a policy needs reform. This is the case with many agricultural subsidies. However, governments around the world have so far failed to tackle this problem, even though the harm farm support does to an economy has long been recognised. Now there is growing recognition of the environmental cost of farm subsidies. This has led to an emerging alliance of interests keen to see comprehensive reform. To this end, the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation and the World Wide Fund for Nature have asked the Centre for International Economics to asses why perverse agricultural subsidies persist and how they can be removed. This study has been published by RIRDC as part of its Global Competitiveness R&D Program.

    More about the study from:
    http://www.thecie.com.au/pub_green_farm_subs.htm

    Copies of this publication may be obtained from RIRDC by visiting their website www.rirdc.gov.au . View report online... (958Kb)
    THREATENED SPECIES CONSERVATION IN NSW:
    Threatened Species Conservation in NSW: Reform Proposal is provided to assist stakeholders who are interested in the Threatened Species Legislation Reform Bill tabled in Parliament on 1 September 2004. Available as PDF (248kb)
    from the Department of Environment and Conservation (NSW)
    www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/tsreformprop.pdf
    Email:info@epa.nsw.gov.au

    If you wish to discuss any matter related to conservation or require further information please Contact Us
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