Bushfires are Getting Worse

“IT is too late to leave, you need to take shelter in your home and actively defend it.”

That’s part of a government warning issued today to residents in the Shire of Augusta-Margaret River in south western Western Australia. Twenty homes have already been lost.

Roger Underwood, Chairman of The Bushfire Inc, an organization devoted to improving the standard of bushfire management in Australia, has been warning of potential disaster for many years. At the organisation’s website, Underwood explains:

“For a 25 year period after the 1961 Dwellingup fire there was a comprehensive fuel reduction program in WA forests that gave us a very high level of protection from serious bushfires. Up until about 1985 the majority of the jarrah forest, for example, was burned by low intensity fires every 5-7 years to keep fuel loads down. After that time, the fuel reduction burning program fell away badly and the area of bushfires began to rise. Now, about half the forest area will support an uncontrollable crown fire – a tragic situation.

“There is a similar situation on private land in the South West of the State. For about 25 years the Bush Fires Board and volunteer brigades carried out a vigorous fuel management program, which maintained low fuel loads in rural areas. When the functions of the Bush Fires Board were taken over by FESA, this program also fell away, as FESA’s prime focus is fire suppression, not fuel management.”

The Australian landscapes needs to be actively managed to keep it safe and biologically diverse. This reality is not understood by many of those currently responsible for the development and implementation of land management policy, not just in Western Australia, but across Australia. This reflects a broader myth within the Australia community that when people are excluded from landscapes they will revert to a natural state, a natural order. But none exists.




85 Responses to Bushfires are Getting Worse

  1. spangled drongo November 24, 2011 at 6:06 pm #

    “Up until about 1985 the majority of the jarrah forest, for example, was burned by low intensity fires every 5-7 years to keep fuel loads down.”

    That’s all it takes to prevent these serious problems, a cool burn every 5 years or so but for some reason there doesn’t seem to be the will.

    I whipped the local authorities into a frenzy to do our district this year. It should have been done last year but all the rain prevented it and so we got all the breaks done and ready 2 months ago but we were advised at the last minute that the window of oportunity had passed. After a dry November the fuel-load is dangerous and the cool burn was looking remote.

    Then we got 2 inches of rain last night and the window is now open again for a short time for a cool burn but they seem to have gone into a huddle.

    There are always oportunities but the authorities have to be paying attention.

    “FESA’s prime focus is fire suppression, not fuel management.”

    The only way to get fire suppression is to have cool burns which generate wetter forest areas.

    I could honestly do it better on my own but they would put me in gaol.

  2. Julian Braggins November 24, 2011 at 8:22 pm #

    I think it boils down to the ‘green’ of the watermelons think that all flora and fauna is worth more than humans, and the ‘red’ of the watermelons think that the ‘proles’ are worth less than the organisation that they happen to be members of, or that they control.

  3. hunter November 25, 2011 at 12:12 am #

    In the US green based forestry management, which suppresses all wildfires, led to diseased, over grown forests that eventually fueled mega-fires destroying the very forests the greens claimed to care for.
    The intersection of big government with an over-protected civil service class means relentless growth in bureaucracies. To look busy, the bureaucrats find new ways to tell other people what to do.
    Since lefties are attracted to under worked over paid tax payer funded jobs like flies to sugar, we end up with a bunch officious lefties pushing the agendas they and their pals like from the safety of seldom-if-ever reduced jobs, and forcing us to pay them over median salary and benefit, while working less than private industry.
    Screwing up eco-systems, rationalizing tax increases, pushing apocalyptic clap trap are all ways for over employed tax payer paid ‘workers’ to fill their time.
    Look at how the Luke, our very own hive mind of government bureaucrats, looks down on his employers, and pushes his bilge by way of a mild example.

  4. spangled drongo November 25, 2011 at 6:47 am #

    Yes, and what you also get in today’s economy is restricted budgets which always impact on the actual workers on the ground but never on the bureaucrats.

    It’s all chiefs and no indians.

    And the workers now are mostly volunteers which further limits their ability to act quickly.

    I have had to prepare most of the fire trails and breaks with my machinery and my fuel [even in the national parks] and because they didn’t go ahead I have to do it all again.

  5. Luke November 25, 2011 at 8:54 am #

    Hunter at 12:12 – what an amazing array of fantastic fabricated nonsense. The density of bulldust greater than a depleted uranium shell.

  6. el gordo November 25, 2011 at 5:06 pm #

    Give up ‘the cause’ Luke, you’re on the losing side.

    Hunter makes sense and there is a political solution to this problem of ignorance and self serving public servants, but it will have to wait until the Coalition captures the Treasury benches.

  7. RWFOH November 25, 2011 at 6:46 pm #

    I had a forlorn hope this article might stimulate some informed and constructive debate but it has turned into another forum of “ideology for halfwits”.

    In Hunter’s world we can happily ignore hundreds of years of logging whereby a long standing ecological balance is degraded and inherent fire resistance in forests is compromised and simply slate the resultant landscape onto “environmentalists” (even though “environmentalism only really got legs in the 60’s in response to ecological devastation). The wilful stupidity and ignorance of rednecks appears to know no bounds.

    I’m surprised no-one has taken the opportunity to open fire on DCE over the Margaret River fires.

    Here’s a few talking points on that:

    The burn was started over the weekend and had been going for 4 days before it ran. ( I could swear I heard that the fire started in September and had been managed by DCE but when I listened to the interview again it wasn’t there – would the ABC edit the recording upon request? – or did I hear it from another source?) Either way, I’m led to believe the fire had been going for days.


    Prescribed burning at any time has risks. According to the interview above, the MR region had had rain on 15 of the last 23 days but the recent climate was drier than any time in the last 100 years.

    DCE were trying to fuel reduce in a complex environment with volatile coastal scrub growing around farmlets, small acreages, homes on small allotments and virtual suburbia. You can imagine the mix of people living there and tye difficulty in trying to accommodate all views. E.G. “I don’t like the smoke”.

    And what resources, both physical and monetary, are required to burn in such environments? How much should we subsidise people who want to live in a fire prone landscape but fail to accept and plan for the risk or demand to turn their patch into a moonscape to protect themselves? If everyone does it, why are they there anyway?

    If DCE don’t burn and wild fire does the job they get crucified, if they do burn in Spring because wine growers don’t want smoke tainted grapes from Autumn burns, and the fire gets away, they get crucified. How can they win? Personally, as much as I distrust such agencies, I’d have to trust them more than the halfwits I read online.

    Alternatively, you could let ‘spangled drongo’ types loose on the environment. That should work out just fine. Just one thing drongo, your assets will have to be available for compensation if you stuff up or you’re going to have to find an insurance company to insure you and you can pay the premiums. Good luck with that!

  8. spangled drongo November 25, 2011 at 7:59 pm #

    Left Wing Festival of Fluff,

    If only you had some idea of what you’re talking about we could probably have a sensible discussion.

    If only….

  9. Luke November 25, 2011 at 8:46 pm #

    Yep moronic support from Spangled and El Gordo in support of a ranting Hunter. You guys have no idea on fire management policy or intentions by government. You assessment is simply extracted sans butt. At least try to offer something intelligent.

  10. Johnathan Wilkes November 25, 2011 at 9:00 pm #

    “extracted sans butt”

    Please explain!
    “sans”, as far as I know means “without”, not having smtg, absent

  11. spangled drongo November 25, 2011 at 9:26 pm #

    “You guys have no idea on fire management policy or intentions by government.”

    Lukey luv,

    I’ve been involved in bushfire control on my Pat Malone and in RFBs since 1955.

    That’s a fair while. How long have you been at it? [and I don’t mean wanking]

    And in those days you often rode your horse to a fire with a beater over your shoulder and just kept beating the fire and leading your horse day and night until you put it out or it rained.

    And as for govt policy the best they have is to promote cool burns to get the best regrowth that will limit wildfire. It’s not rocket science but you have to pay attention and start burning at the first oportunity. And keep burning as soon as it will burn. Not wait till all of it will burn when some parts will just burn but some will explode.

    Hot fires can kill everything. Cool burns don’t even kill the lizards.

  12. spangled drongo November 25, 2011 at 10:24 pm #

    When you’ve sat on your horse and watched helplessly from a safe point as a thousand ewes and lambs [about two thousand in all] rush downhill before a fire face that is travelling at twice their speed, hit a six strand wire fence and become a mile long kebab in seconds, then after the face has passed and you’ve put out the side fire you start cutting a thousand throats of horribly burnt but still alive sheep…..you tend to develop a fire management policy.

  13. unter November 26, 2011 at 2:20 am #

    “hundreds of years of logging”?
    You are not making sense.
    The US policy of suppressing all fires started far earlier than the 1960’s.

    It is only recently that a flexible approach to fire fighting has emerged.

  14. Binny November 26, 2011 at 6:18 am #

    There is one simple rule of the Australian bush – either you burn it, or it will burn you.

    You can not stop the Australian bush from burning, you can only try and make sure that it burns at a time of your choice .

    After more that 200 years some people still havn’t learnt this.

  15. el gordo November 26, 2011 at 6:21 am #

    Many farmers and graziers know from first hand experience the best fire management policy. Thanks for that story, spangles.

    O/T John Howard is getting political again.


  16. spangled drongo November 26, 2011 at 8:39 am #

    Where we have lived for the last 20 years we have found areas that had been hot burnt regularly, still growing rock orchids, maidenhair fern etc. and we realised that with a bit of regen and cool burns the rain forest would come back and reduce hot fire risk. This is now happening but it needs managing for many years if not forever.

  17. Bronson November 26, 2011 at 9:47 am #

    You guys have no idea on fire management policy or intentions by government – which policy and which government Luke. Each state and territory has a variety of policies and resultant legislation that give effect to and affect fire management. Government intention varies from level local, state, and federal as well as between states and between particular political parties. At present there is no national fire policy, however, there is a draft that has been through several of the COAG ministerial councils.

  18. kuhnkat November 26, 2011 at 10:53 am #

    Little Lukey,

    “The density of bulldust greater than a depleted uranium shell.”

    is actually describing the porosity of the Believers mentality to information that does not agree with its agenda.

    The NATURAL cycle is a boom/bust. Wherever man does not MANAGE the resources we see disastrous droughts, animals breeding to fill the ecosystem until they can no longer be supported and then an enormous die off etc. Sadly the so called ecological types simply have no idea of what nature really does having never been exposed to it and not paying attention to, or actively disregarding, any information at odds with their mythology of a friendly Gaia. Of course, I could be wrong and some of them prefer the idea of the regular die offs. If they will volunteer I would be more willing to accept the idea.

  19. Luke November 26, 2011 at 11:04 am #

    Bronson summarily ignores long held departmental expertise that still exists despite political silliness.

    KookyKat – jeez you’re a right blow-in little import ain’t you matey? tell us what would you know about the Australian bush eh? ” Wherever man does not MANAGE the resources we see disastrous droughts” Huh? so much for El Nino and lack of rain…. and if you anything doofus you’d realise that by “man” – i.e. graziers inserting bore drains into a water scarce environment that we have actually created much greater plague levels of kangaroos which then consume all before a great (and unsightly) die-off ….. sigh

  20. spangled drongo November 26, 2011 at 11:20 am #

    “i.e. graziers inserting bore drains into a water scarce environment that we have actually created much greater plague levels of kangaroos…”

    Well Luke, who’d ‘a’ possibly thought that with man’s improved management that the natives would increase?

    Those bloody graziers again! By providing affordable food and clothing to the world the bastards have actually created another even more affordable food and clothing resource.

    But of course not if the greens have any say in it.

  21. Bronson November 26, 2011 at 11:50 am #

    Like summarily ignores the effect of political inertia on departmental expertise which with continuing state budget cuts and baby boomer retirement is a shrinking and endangered resource.

  22. spangled drongo November 26, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

    Well put Bronson,

    In a decade or two we won’t know what hit us.

  23. spangled drongo November 26, 2011 at 12:25 pm #

    I posted this in the Climategate 2.0 thread but in case anyone missed it I’ll post it here too:

    BTW, today is king tide day, the highest tide of the year in SEQ.

    Gold Coast Seaway 8.48 am 1.79m

    And guess what?

    It is around 150mm LOWER than it was about half a century ago!

    That’s CAGW for you. It pays to look out the window.

  24. Luke November 26, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

    Well no wonder you’re a drongo? Condition of the river system, current flow, canals and developed area behind the seaway c.f. 1960s ? Yes pays to engage the old noggin before ranting doesn’t it?

    Affordable food and clothing while degrading the shit out of SW Qld …. hmmmm …. affordable? Of course there is this technology called bore drain capping and controlled watering points.

  25. spangled drongo November 26, 2011 at 2:27 pm #

    And sadly you’ll never amount to more than a fleabrain.

    All the Gold Coast canal estates that were developed during the ’50s and ’60s had revetment walls required by council to come to king tide levels at that time. And they did. But only just.

    Developers did not spend anymore than they had to and these walls were often topped by the king tides of that period.

    I’m not referring to floods or cyclones. Those extremes went way over the walls but the last one of those was in 1976 [another incredible aspect of “the warming”].

    Also, since those walls were built around half a century ago, the GC Seaway has been installed, and channels dredged, increasing the flow enormously which has brought the Broadwater, estuary, river and canal tides much more in equilibrium with the ocean IOW lower low tides and higher high tides. Even without any SLR these king tides should have increased simply based on the change in hydraulics.

    Today, the highest tide of the year, was 150mm below the top of all those walls.

    If sea levels have done nothing in half a century you can move on.

    There’s nothing to see here.

    “Affordable food and clothing while degrading the shit out of SW Qld”

    So it’s OK for aboriginals to clear scrub by burning but not for graziers to do it by clearing.

    And this country is still carrying 1000 times the livestock it was previously even now when the bore drains have been removed.

  26. spangled drongo November 26, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

    By livestock I mean of course animals both native and feral.

  27. spangled drongo November 26, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

    The extent to which native wildlife has increased since white settlement, is instanced at Bowra, near Cunnamulla where birdlife has bloomed to the point where the Aust Wildlife Conservancy has bought this sheep and cattle station and turned it into a birdwatchers retreat. This is largely due to the bore drain along which there is incredible biodiversity and the Conservancy is seeking a special indulgence from Peter Garrett to be allowed to keep the bore drain open and flowing because they know if the bore gets capped they are left with a white elephant.

    And this same Conservancy got a grant from the same bloke to buy it. Only about a million or two of taxpayer’s funds.

    Interesting how the battlers have to tow the line but the do-as-I-say-but-not-as-I-do Lukes of this world can just swan on by.

  28. el gordo November 26, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

    ‘Cool burns’ need to be explained to a wider audience… effective and safe.

  29. spangled drongo November 26, 2011 at 4:03 pm #

    Yes EG,

    Cool burns are where you almost have to make it burn.

    When you have a huge fuel load like at present after all the rain and growth and you look at the ground, you see this organic matter that looks almost like bales of hay lying side by side.

    If you let this dry out and then burn it you get an inferno that takes everything with it. It will kill hundred foot high gum trees. If OTOH you burn it damp and/or partly green you can get a cool burn that leaves a fair part of this OM to go back into the soil, preserve the micro organisms and build carbon content and still get the fire effect for regrowth that the forest needs.

  30. Schiller Thurkettle November 27, 2011 at 6:30 am #

    Just how do you simultaneously “take shelter in your home and actively defend it”? Squirt water out your windows? Just wondering.

  31. Luke November 27, 2011 at 7:57 am #

    “And this country is still carrying 1000 times the livestock it was previously even now when the bore drains have been removed.” wank wank wank


    about as good as your personal analysis of the tidal impacts from land use change on the hydrodynamics of the Gold Coast seaway. It’s well known that the seaway impacted broadwater tides and the greater mass of water now in canals would have a considerable impact on backflow speeds.

    Shall we say “spanglers pers comm” – and clueless “ex bum” EXposition

  32. debbie November 27, 2011 at 9:47 am #

    Binny may have said it all,

    ‘There is one simple rule of the Australian bush – either you burn it, or it will burn you.

    You can not stop the Australian bush from burning, you can only try and make sure that it burns at a time of your choice .

    After more that 200 years some people still havn’t learnt this.’

    RWFOH and Luke have apparently not learned this simple lesson. They appear to be relying on the theoretical and expensive waffly meanderings of largely clueless bureaucrats. Bureaucracies have cut down amazing numbers of trees to produce their beautifully glossy reports that manage to completely stop anyone from taking action when it is necessary. Fire management and fuel management will not be successful if it is subject to long lists of contradictorary rules. All that happens is NO ONE has the authority or the guts to make decisions when the decisions actually need to be made.

    Sorry boys….from another ‘bush resident’ who has seen the absolute devastation poor fire management creates…you are truly way off the track.

    You have either forgotten or you never knew that the Australian Bush is not your benevolent friend. It will most certainly wipe you out if you do not learn this very basic lesson. Leaving it alone will not return it to some utopian wonderland….ask the aboriginals and the real bushies who have generational knowledge. If the fuel load is not managed even a simple lightning strike will spell disaster for whole areas. Unfortunately for us all, we now have many other igniters of bushfires than just lightning…..it just makes it all even more dangerous and therefore more important that it gets sensibly managed.

  33. Another Ian November 27, 2011 at 11:10 am #

    Last week was just right for our planned burn. Wind in the north, large black line to the south, brakes in, gear and help ready. And rain very likely within two days.

    But Brisbane canned all permits.

    Our fire warden has a sense of humour though. Two days into the last rain he rang to say he’d just had a call to say he could now issue us a permit.

  34. spangled drongo November 27, 2011 at 11:28 am #


    I really doubt if you have ever been west of the divide.

    Places like Cordillo Downs in the NE corner of of South Aus and all that far SWQ country didn’t even have dingoes before white settlement. There was nothing for them to eat. That’s why for the first 50 years it was unfenced sheep country. The wool scours are still there. There were no kangaroos in that country because there was virtually no permanent water.

    Apart from the hundreds of thousands of cattle that are now there, there are similar numbers of camels, donkeys, brumbies, not to mention dogs, foxes, cats, rabbits AWA kangaroos and emus. Probably the only animals that have reduced are the bilbies.

    My claim of 1,000 fold increase is modest in those areas which cover a huge part of the continent.

    WRT king tide levels on the Gold Coast, there is no need to rant and froth, just supply any provable observation that shows I am wrong.

  35. spangled drongo November 27, 2011 at 1:47 pm #

    BTW Luke, those K/T levels apply also for canal estates like the old sections of Biggera Waters and Runaway Bay that were developed in the ’60s and are very close to the Seaway where there is minimal time lag and minimal hydraulic drag [but what there is has been reduced by the Seaway construction anyway, so they should be recording higher SLs, not lower].

  36. spangled drongo November 27, 2011 at 1:54 pm #

    “Our fire warden has a sense of humour though. Two days into the last rain he rang to say he’d just had a call to say he could now issue us a permit.”

    Ian, our fire warden won’t even do that in jest because he knows I’d take him up on it. He wants a perfect cool burn over 100% of the country in a single attempt. I don’t think that is possible with a high fuel load like we have at present.

  37. Another Ian November 27, 2011 at 6:28 pm #

    SD @ 1:54pm

    First that was at about 45mm of the 90mm that we got – so short of napalm we’re on hold for a while.

    Second is that he’s on the list of people that help

  38. spangled drongo November 27, 2011 at 6:44 pm #

    Can’t have too many of them.

  39. MikeO November 28, 2011 at 6:40 am #

    spangled drongo I grew up in a small NSW country town where bush fires were always very much of a concern. The local bush fire spent most of their time clearing fuel loads by controlled burning. There where many serious situations when large fires approached the town but seldom was a house lost. I do not understand how controlled burning can be centralised and from what you say it can’t. Now I live in Canberra well in from the edge and with the current lunatic ideas about bush fire I am very glad of it. I think I now understand how come when there are fires suddenly arsonists appear but never are any caught!

    Hypothetical what do you do if you are in a grass plain and a fire is coming? You light a fire!

    I guess your name refers to the bird, when I was a kid people were called drongos, but that was over 50 years ago and you certainly aren’t one.

  40. spangled drongo November 28, 2011 at 8:11 am #

    “what do you do if you are in a grass plain and a fire is coming? You light a fire!”

    MikeO, yes that’s about your only option and it works if you can get enough time to burn a big enough patch. Stand to windward for as long as the situation allows and then run through the windward side of the fire [which is usually only small].

    Those grass plain fronts often travel at 100 kph so you have to move quick. A box of matches is essential kit at a bush fire.

    Oh, I’m a drongo alright like most of us, but spangled [fortunate], also like most of us.

  41. kuhnkat November 28, 2011 at 8:55 am #

    Little Lukey,

    I know nothing about the Australian Bush that I haven’t read. What do you know about anything but sucking the gubmint teat and trying to support climate alarmism, which is picking up speed in its collapse??

  42. Luke November 28, 2011 at 10:13 am #

    1000 fold – guffaw ! ROFL Mate there are surveys galore about the land degradation issues in these areas – soil erosion, woody weeds, invading Mulga

    And there has been no canal development since the 1960s eh?

  43. spangled drongo November 28, 2011 at 11:04 am #

    I wouldn’t know about your surveys Luke, but here are some facts:

    I worked for a bloke at Poeppel’s Corner who had 2.5 million acres that his grandfather took up in 1870 and ran sheep on completely open range because there were no predators. There were also very little in the way of native animals because there was no permanent water. They sunk wells mainly, for permanent water. Dug them by hand to huge depths and put windmills on them to water stock.

    When I was there in the ’50s this place carried around 10,000 head of cattle, 30,000 head of brumbies, thousands of camels, donkeys, wild dogs, kangaroos and emus. There were no sheep then as the dogs killed them but the increase in total population would conservatively be 1,000 fold.

    We shot 10,000 head of brumbies in a concerted effort to reduce the numbers and we could not see any difference.

    All his neighbours were in a similar situation over a huge area.

    “And there has been no canal development since the 1960s eh?”

    I have never said there hasn’t. But if you were paying attention you’d see that I listed those canals right on the Broadwater closest to the seaway. Later canals have been built with barrages that reduce tide bore.

  44. Luke November 29, 2011 at 7:18 am #

    Herbivores eat grass. You are suggesting you have a technology that could increase the carrying capacity of a landscape in western Qld from say 1 sheep per 3.5 ha to 1000 sheep per 3.5 ha.

    Bullshit !

    And of course you wouldn’t know about the legions of research done in that environment. Google Charleville Pastoral Laboratory.

  45. spangled drongo November 29, 2011 at 7:32 am #

    Don’t you understand maths?

    If you’ve got country with nothing on it and you incresase that zero by only one, you have increased the carrying capacity by infinitely more than 1000 times.

    1000 times zero is still zero.

    Bit like luke logic.

  46. Mark A November 29, 2011 at 11:33 am #


    I think Luke is deliberately missing the point you made, ie. the lacking of permanent drinking water previous to settlement and bores, not the fodder.

    But what’s new heh?

  47. kuhnkat November 29, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

    Little Lukey the foul mouthed bore:

    “KookyKat – jeez you’re a right blow-in little import ain’t you matey? tell us what would you know about the Australian bush eh? ” Wherever man does not MANAGE the resources we see disastrous droughts” Huh? so much for El Nino and lack of rain…. and if you anything doofus you’d realise that by “man” – i.e. graziers inserting bore drains into a water scarce environment that we have actually created much greater plague levels of kangaroos which then consume all before a great (and unsightly) die-off”

    Ahh, I see, you wil twist what we say. Nothing new there. I will ploddingly say that, yes, I ran on my sentence so that portions had a juxtaposition that allowed you to imply that I meant that man could control droughts. Then again, no I won’t you cute little Wallaby!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    Ya see, here in the US we have an excellent example going on of drought and man’s intervention. Without man pumping fossil water and dams Texas and Oklahoma would be a disaster area as bad as the Dust Bowl in the 30’s. Nature does not have an intelligence to plan ahead for the convenience of the mobile or immobile biota. Those biota, except for man, also do not have the intelligence to plan ahead for these extreme events. Without man everything DIES you cute little Wallaby!!

    Unfortunately for Man, cute little Wallabies like YOU have had the controls for the last 40 years or so cutting back on dams and energy production so that we were not as well prepared as we might have been. Still, it would have been much worse without man to ameliorate its intensity.

  48. Dave Shorter November 29, 2011 at 2:53 pm #

    Hi Jennifer,
    Sorry this is totally off topic.
    What is the salinity situation in the lower Murray since the flooding ?There seems to be a big push from the emotional blackmailers for water to be taken away from production for human need for “flushing”.How much merit does flushing have ?

  49. Luke November 29, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

    Spanglers (last) resorts to sophistry.

    No KuknKat – you’re way off the Mark. In south-western Queensland early settlers drilled bores into the Australian basin to provide water for stock. The water emerges very hot and was let flow away for kilometres along a “bore drain”. Sheep obviously can drink the water but kangaroos do also. In drought situations the kangaroos do not succumb early to declining conditions and the bore drains aid them no end. Graziers who do the right thing and sell their domestic stock (sheep) to avoid land damage find that it’s all ineffective due to marauding plague levels of macropods (roos). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRlqhfVaGBw Vast amounts of money have been spent to cap bores (also to improve basin pressure) and controlled watering points.


    Even to the point of experimenting with restricting access by image recognition http://www.contextualise.com/articles/print/article/recognition-technology-reducing-grazing-pressure/

    KuknKat – the roos eventually die in major droughts anyway through lack of feed (grass). You do not understand the environment in semi-arid sheep grazing lands in Australia – it’s NOT about making the desert bloom. Bore water in these areas is unsuitable for irrigation anyway.

    And controlling watering points and capping bores is good environmental management.

  50. spangled drongo November 29, 2011 at 4:12 pm #

    No sophistry Luke, simply what I claimed from the start. That whiteman’s water improvements made it possible for animals, native and feral, to increase 1,000 fold over a wide area. The feed was always there. The water wasn’t.

  51. Pikey November 29, 2011 at 7:31 pm #

    There is NO merit in further flushing of the lower Murray in relation to salt or anything else for that matter.
    Facts are that there was a salt problem in the lower Murray back in the 70’s and 80’s but thanks to interdiction works carried out over a couple of decades the daily salt levels in the lower Murray have for many years been falling and are presently at levels of healthy rivers around the world.
    It needs to be recognised that all rivers carry salt to the sea.
    That is one of the reasons the sea is salty.
    All soils contain salt and whenever it rains and there is run-off from the land this results in salt content in our rivers.
    It is interesting that the Government and the MDBA are presently demanding 2,750,000 megalitres of water should be returned to the system annually to satisfy “the environment.”
    This in a year when over 22,000,000 megalitres has flowed through the mouth of the Murray to the sea.
    It is also the year when the NSW Office of Water on a whim, decided to release all of the water in Lake Victoria (600,000 megalitres) to flush the lower Murray just at the beginning of the irrigation season and then argued that irrigators could not have full allocations until Lake Victoris was refilled.
    All this after the Murray had been in flood or very high flow for 12 months.
    That is the nonsense that is water management in Australia at present.
    Luke would no doubt approve of this bureaucratic waste of water and resources.

  52. kuhnkat November 30, 2011 at 10:20 am #

    Little Lukey,

    You keep conflating what I am saying with WHAT YOU THINK I SAID!!! Where did I say that man’s maintenance would stop all negative effects of every climate variation?? Even in Texas and Oklahoma they have lost a lot of crops and cattle. This time they did not have mass migration out of the area yet and hopefully won’t. The issue is that man CAN and does have a positive impact on natural climate excesses.

    Y’all alarmists are trying to convince us that y’all can geoengineer the earth to reduce the CO2 impact and you are seemingly claiming that man can’t even kmitigate droughts!!


    You alarmists are a HOOT!!!

  53. Debbie November 30, 2011 at 11:39 am #

    You are a hoot Luke.
    The master of obsfucation.
    You and KK are almost furiously agreeing with each other.
    KK has not claimed that environmental enhancement is perfect. No one does.
    You just harp on and on and on ad nauseum about the fact that we make mistakes and then hold that up as a reason to do nothing.
    Then you want people to be gentle on the climate scientists and the environmental movement because they make mistakes too? But we should just forge ahead anyway? Because. . . ? ? ?
    You are truly a hoot.
    We can and we should mitigate for drought for fire and flood. We can and we will make mistakes. But as Pikey points out on another subject, we can also fix them.
    This post also highlights fire mitigation and how the environmental movement has made mistakes. Instead of working to fix them you all come up with more reports justifying the incorrect management decisions.
    Get over it. You are just as fallible as everyone else.
    The rules ain’t working. Property and livelihoods and even lives are being lost. Ironically, so is native habitat.

  54. Luke November 30, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

    Well KK – perhaps you should not be so obtuse.

    There are a number of issues – inserting uncontrolled watering points into a semi-arid Australian grazing environment has had unforeseen effects from supporting excessive kangaroo populations well into drought and causing severe pasture damage in concert with domestic stock.

    Nothing to do with greenies.

    And Debbie might contemplate how know-it-all farmers like herself have converted an area the size of Tasmania into a massive woody weed unproductive thicket in NSW Western Division. Nothing to do greenies my dear. Not economic to fix – so thanks Debbie.

    And we can add Mulga thickets and Eremophilia (turkey bush) invasion of the same areas. Again nothing to do with greenies – but everything to do with you mates grazing management and non use of fire.

  55. Debbie November 30, 2011 at 1:16 pm #

    I rest my case Luke.
    BTW, not a woody weed in sight here and wasn’t that what the Kyoto treaty wanted out there? Them darned complicated environmental treaty based rules! It wasn’t the farmers, they dont want the woody weeds, they’re not allowed to clear them or burn them because of those darned complicated rules.
    Keep up the negative obsfucation, it helps me to enjoy my life.
    Also cracks me up when you accuse others of being obtuse.

  56. Luke November 30, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

    Well of course not – they don’t grow in rice paddies. Nice attempt to lay smoke and escape Debbie. As usual lower MDB myopia setting in.

    “wasn’t that what the Kyoto treaty wanted out there” HUH ????????

    Don’t you think if it was a simple as now burning them that a match may have been lit? Pullease.

  57. debbie November 30, 2011 at 2:50 pm #

    I don’t usually like to supply links….but here you go:
    It’s just one of many.
    You can also Google Kyoto protocol and native vegetation.
    You’re probably right, the farmers just should have ignored the rules and stuck a match in it.
    As you have pointed out…it’s too late now.
    Be careful of your habit of pointing fingers however.
    Most often when you’re pointing your finger at someone, there are 3 others pointing straight back at you 🙂

  58. debbie November 30, 2011 at 2:56 pm #

    BTW Luke,
    You don’t honestly believe that all we do is grow rice here do you?

  59. Luke November 30, 2011 at 6:50 pm #

    You haven’t a clue Debs – woody weeds and thickening don’t satisfy the additionality criteria. Simply irrelevant and part of the business as usual background.

    Debs – try sticking a match in it ! Think nobody has tried? for heavens sake.

  60. Debbie November 30, 2011 at 8:06 pm #

    What additional criteria are you referring to Luke?
    What have people tried?
    What business as usual?
    You’re right, I have no clue about what you have posted.
    I do however have a clue about that Kyoto protocol and the resultant waste of land due to woody weed infestation.
    BTW it will just burn up one day when conditions are right. As Binny pointed out earlier, it’s a simple rule of the Australian bush.

  61. Another Ian December 1, 2011 at 5:46 am #


    “And we can add Mulga thickets and Eremophilia (turkey bush) invasion of the same areas. Again nothing to do with greenies – but everything to do with you mates grazing management and non use of fire.”

    Don’t worry – CATER is promoting this FOR carbon credit income!

    “You haven’t a clue Debs – woody weeds and thickening don’t satisfy the additionality criteria.”

    Maybe then you’d better bring this to the notice of CATER?

  62. Luke December 1, 2011 at 5:58 am #

    Jeez Debs – additionality as a principle – NOT additional.

    Offsets integrity standards

    The environmental integrity of the scheme will directly affect consumer confidence and the amount that buyers are willing to pay for CFI credits. For this reason, it is important that abatement credited under the CFI meets internationally recognised offsets integrity standards designed to ensure that abatement is real and verifiable. These integrity standards include:
    • Additional – a project must result in abatement that would not have occurred in the absence of expected returns from the sale of CFI credits. There would be no reduction in emissions as a result of the CFI if the project activity would have occurred in the normal course of business.
    • Permanent – permanence is an important characteristic of any offset project that involves the removal of carbon from the atmosphere and its long-term storage in plants, soil or other carbon sinks. There would be no real abatement if carbon were to be stored and subsequently released to the atmosphere. For practical purposes, biological carbon stores are generally considered permanent if they are maintained (on a net basis) for at least 100 years.
    • Accounting for leakage – material increases in emissions elsewhere, which nullify or replace the abatement that would otherwise result from the project, must be identified and accounted for.
    • Measurable and auditable – abatement must be credibly measured or estimated to ensure each offset credit represents one tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) of emissions reduction or removal. Data collection, estimation and modelling approaches must be consistent over time and enable abatement estimates to be audited. Projects must be audited by an independent, qualified third party.
    • Conservative – conservative assumptions, numerical values and procedures must be used to ensure that abatement and other claims are not over-estimated. Every CFI credit must be equivalent to at least one tonne of CO2-e abatement.
    • Internationally consistent – estimation methods must be consistent with (not necessarily the same as) Australia’s National Greenhouse Accounts, where relevant, and internationally agreed methodologies and reporting practices adopted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
    • Supported by peer-reviewed science – where emissions estimation methods are not the same as those used for Australia’s National Greenhouse Accounts, scientific evidence used to support the estimation methods must be peer-reviewed. The methodological assessment process will provide for peer-review of estimation methods.

    So under the new Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) you won’t get a carbon credit for business-as-usual poor rangeland management (overgrazing and poor fire regimes) that results in shrub encroachment and woodland thickening.

    You are clueless about Kyoto. Don’t have yourself on.

    And you are clueless about the NSW woody weed patch.

  63. debbie December 1, 2011 at 8:04 am #

    You had better let CATER know Luke,
    As per usual, all these prescriptive rules and lengthy ‘peer reviewed’ reports are working at cross purposes, causing more damage and causing inertia.
    Theories are just theories Luke.
    It is what happens in practice that matters.
    While you are very well versed in theory, you are in fact clueless about practical application and the inevitable results of over prescriptuve rules and regulations.
    We can see the results of this very clearly with our very own eyes….it is not necessary to have another inquiry or another peer reviewed study…..JUST OPEN YOUR EYES!
    Same goes for the absolutely ridiculous rules that have prevented local people from establishing good bush fire management…..along with a myriad of other centralised rules.
    Maybe you need to research where the ‘business as usual’ you are referring to actually came from?

  64. Another Ian December 1, 2011 at 10:54 am #


    In the past I’ve summarised the gist of what you’re saying as

    “There is a belief within the hierarchy that blind faith and regulation will fix current problems

    – largely caused by past belief in blind faith and regulation”!

  65. debbie December 1, 2011 at 11:16 am #

    Well said Another Ian!!!!
    Did you catch that Luke?
    Have a good look at the history of where all the rules came from that caused all the damage that you bleat about and then argue that the same people can now fix by essentially doing more of the same.
    In the process they are wasting your tax payer dollar just as much as they are wasting mine.
    They are also causing all of us who have to live with their nonsense excuses a great amount of mental anguish.

  66. Luke December 1, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

    Clueless as usual Debs – CATER is about letting previously cleared land with current regrowth – reach maturity. IT has NOTHING to do the land degradation (shrub invasion, woodland thickening) we’ve been talking about.

    “history of where all the rules came from that caused all the damage ” – you mean – no holds barred – let’er rip – laissez-faire – WHAT RULES !

    Unbelievably clueless. Your comments are simply inept.

  67. Another Ian December 1, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

    Time for that joke again

    “Why do Western Lands graziers wear elastic sided boots?”

    “Because Western Lands regulations won’t let them tie their own shoe laces”.

    More on CATER at http://www.climatechange.qld.gov.au/pdf/factsheets/5primind-n3.pdf

    – not the V8 job though

  68. debbie December 1, 2011 at 10:47 pm #

    No Luke,
    It has everything to do with what we’ve been talking about.
    You’re just ignoring the issue.

    Seriously Luke…when did over prescriptive regulation by centralised bureaucracies ever, ever work successfully?
    It is at the bottom of the the damage caused by bushfires in the last decade.
    Go check what happened at policy level. They blamed the wrong culprit and then took away the ability to sensibly manage fire risk at the local level.
    The same behaviour is also at the bottom of the woody weed infestation….exacerbated by Kyoto/native vegetation legislation.

    Good joke Another Ian….I don’t think Luke will get it though.

  69. Luke December 2, 2011 at 8:48 am #

    Don’t try to wiggle out Debs. Kyoto has zero to do with human induced woody weeds. It’s called land management. Try looking outside your subsidised agrarian socialist rice paddy for a change.

    Yes I kacked at A I’s joke.

  70. debbie December 2, 2011 at 9:27 am #

    Oh dear Luke,
    You need to go and check….
    who dictated the “land management”?
    You are correct that ‘management’ is the problem…you’re just not noticing who/what created that problem.
    If you pick on the wrong culprit and miss noticing what the real problem actually is….then you don’t solve the problem.
    No one is arguing that some mistakes have not been made….it cracks me up that you always accuse me of saying that.
    Kyoto has quite a lot to do with human induced woody weeds….I can’t believe you don’t know that.
    Maybe it’s because you only read the bureaucratic reports on rules and regulations and how they are always right because they followed their own rules?
    It can’t possibly have anything to do with myopic centralised bureaucratic management because all their inquiries say they just did their jobs and followed their rules.
    We’ll just ignore the fact that their stupid impractical rules were actually the problem 🙂
    How about you try looking outside your protected world?

  71. Luke December 2, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

    – this is now amazing !

    “who dictated the “land management”?” Well Debs there these government inspectors who tell you how many sheep to buy and when. They also tell you when to burn your paddocks. They’ve been doing the rounds out there for 100 years – HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    “Kyoto has quite a lot to do with human induced woody weeds….I can’t believe you don’t know that.” – well do tell my dear …. you have the floor …. (hmmm I wonder when Aussie signed Kyoto – gee those woodies sure responded quickly didn’t they) ….

  72. Luke December 2, 2011 at 12:05 pm #

    And gee those govt inspectors are even international as woody weed encroachment seems to have occurred in South Africa and Texas too. Yee har !

  73. debbie December 2, 2011 at 6:34 pm #

    I hate providing copious links but here you go Luke:
    A recent Senate Enquiry on Native Vegetation Laws, Greenhouse Gas Abatement and Climate Change Measures concluded that:

    It is unreasonable that the burden of broad environmental objectives is borne by a small number of Australians. Where the current native vegetation laws have resulted in reduction of property value for landholders, this is unjust and it is inappropriate that this burden is borne by individual landholders. This situation should be addressed to better balance competing objectives, the cost burden of achieving these and to redress the current situation.





    And there are so many more of them.

    What you’re failing to recognise is that people were encouraged by government to settle inland Australia and they were also ordered to clear the land. If they didn’t they were either severely fined or they lost their land.
    In my patch they also had water allocations (or part thereof) confiscated if they did not totally clear the land.
    These people knew it was wrong…they would have prefered to partly clear…. However, they had to choose between totally clearing the land or losing their land (or water).
    It has nothing to do with numbers of sheep, government inspectors or anything at all to do with South Africa and Texas.
    Good or bad farming practices occur world wide but it is not what we are discussing at this post.
    Take particular note of the bushfire submission because it is highly relevant to this post.
    It has to do with the fact that it was centralised government regulations….not farmers…..which caused the over clearing of land. However, you along with many others have extrapolated that it’s the famers’ fault that the land was over cleared.
    The Kyoto protocol has now caused the lock up of land and yes….in the process has contributed to the infestation of woody weeds.
    The treaty actually stipulates a height and density which is just as easily covered by the woody weeds as anything else.

  74. Another Ian December 2, 2011 at 8:59 pm #


    NO RULES??

    A few for QLD –

    There were the rules that went with selection

    There were the rules that went with prickly pear

    And there were the rules that allowed management and stocking restrictions in the 1960’s

    No rules?

  75. Debbie December 2, 2011 at 9:52 pm #

    We signed in April 1988.
    A lot of growth can occur in 23 years.
    We are talking about the native vegetation section, not what Rudd ratified in 2007.
    Is that where your confusion stems from?

  76. Luke December 2, 2011 at 11:19 pm #

    Jeez you’re good Debs – so the transformation of western Qld mulga zone, NSW Woody Weed patch and Pilliga forest is due to Kyoto.


    Oh Debs – do do do wank on !

    It has everything to do with South Africa and Texas – similar response of a savanna woodland to human disturbance. The changes in Australia too all pre-date Kyoto by a mile !

  77. Luke December 2, 2011 at 11:25 pm #

    And we signed in 1988 did we? hahahahahahahaha oh Debs ….

  78. debbie December 3, 2011 at 8:50 am #


    even this mob spotted the problem.

    And I beg your pardon…1998…I pushed the wrong key on the number pad.
    Just like everyone else, I make mistakes too.
    BTW, I noticed you totally ignored the point I was making and now you are claiming that I said everything is due to Kyoto.
    I did not claim that at all….I most definitely said it has contributed.
    Over exaggerating other people’s arguments does not necessarily enhance yours.
    That is a very poor engagement and debating tactic.
    My point remains that centralised legislation and cross purpose rules are a major culprit.
    While everyone pretends this is some sort of battle between the environment and farming, we are not going to solve anything at all.
    No one has said at anytime that rural practices have been perfect. We have made mistakes and they need to be fixed.
    Just be very careful about pointing those fingers Luke.
    It astonishes me that you think the ‘gummint’ can fix it with further over prescriptive and cross purpose rules that make them look perfectly innocent and make farmers pay for all the ‘gummint’ mistakes as well as their own.
    That hasn’t ever worked well….that’s my point.
    The native vegetation laws are just a further example of that.
    The laws re fire management which is the actual subject of this post are another example.
    The people who live and work in these environments can help to fix up the mistakes.
    While people like you keep harping on INCORRECTLY that it is all their fault and they must be lambasted and punished and fined at every opportunity….it is impossible for them to help.

  79. Luke December 3, 2011 at 10:30 am #

    23 years Debs – No idea my dear. You were simply constructing a sophistic position.

    International evidence of land degradation in savanna woodlands implicates anthropogenic management of grazing animals and fire.

    Your last two sentences are simply verballing me.

  80. debbie December 3, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

    Yes I know…I apologise… I made a mistake with the date and then compounded that with my addition from the mistake. It’s therefore 13 going on 14 years.
    I’m fully prepared to admit that I am fallible and will make mistakes.
    I also know that I learn from them if I accept I make them.
    It does not however negate the argument or the point no matter how hard you try to claim otherwise.
    Notice I don’t bother picking up on your mistakes Luke?….you do make them BTW….I prefer to look at what you’re arguing….not your ability to be perfect with numbers or spelling or grammar or punctuation or any other form of communication.
    Pay attention to the actual point that is being made.
    I wasn’t verballing you either…despite your claim otherwise….unless you want to take huge exception to the fact that I included you (like you) in the attitude I was criticising.
    Unless you qualify this statement in terms of the arguments at this post:

    International evidence of land degradation in savanna woodlands implicates anthropogenic management of grazing animals and fire.

    It is just a meaningless statement that points out some mistakes have been made.
    Where oh where has anyone said that mistakes have not been made?

  81. Luke December 3, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

    Accepted. Just pushing back that the green movement is responsible for humanity’s inadvertent impact on every natural system. Having said that I support fully landholders needs to remedy such situations (chaining, herbicides, fire) and the sheer difficulty of the problem involved. And any greenies who have tried to stop such attempts (in a few situations) thinking they are protecting quality pristine environments are uninformed twits .

    The international statement simply says that tropical and sub-tropical savannas worldwide seem to have a propensity to thicken up with woody weeds from overgrazing and lack of fire.

  82. debbie December 3, 2011 at 6:41 pm #

    Thank you Luke,
    Landholders do need to take remedial action and they do try to.
    As mentioned before they are too often blocked by cross purposed, over prescriptive, over regulated centralised legislation.
    Unfortunately for all of us the ‘uninformed twits’ are the ones who are making all the noise in the public arena.
    They do not seem to be interested in either recognising the problems or even wanting to try and fix them.
    While we have people pointing fingers and trying to frame a polarised political debate between the green movement and agriculture it is nearly impossible to gain sensible, practical outcomes.
    We get left with a mess.

  83. roger f December 5, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

    Well worth reading is Bill Gammage’s “The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines made Australia”. (In Luke’s case, someone should read it to him.)

    In page after page Gammage painstakingly lays out the how and why of Aboriginal burning practices. He then digs up scores of colonial landscapes and revisits the spot where the artists stood. The change between the then and now is astonishing — and an indictment of modeern land “management.”

    But wait, there’s more!

    In a magnificent appendix, he demolishes — no, destroys — the Whelans, Hortons, Bowmans and Lines who cannot credit Aborigines with systematic burning and astute eco management. It is a tour de force.

    You can see Gammage explain himself here:



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