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(generated from captions) This program is captioned live. Good afternoon. an immediate ceasefire Lebanon's PM has called for its attacks on the country. after Israel again escalated In the worst incident, were killed 11 children and their parents by an Israeli air strike. when their minibus was hit continued to fire rockets Hezbollah militia have also deep into Israel. in the latest attacks. Several people were injured the Government is looking at ways The PM John Howard says on a ferry to Cyprus. to evacuate Australians from Lebanon Now, it's a tragic situation. who are worried. I feel for the Australian families I share their concern. everything we can. We are trying to do because there is a war going on. But it is not an easy situation, Mr Howard says for the crisis. Hezbollah is primarily responsible has voted The United Nations Security Council on North Korea. to impose weapons-related sanctions the North suspend all activities The resolution demands missile program. related to its ballistic with North Korea It calls for a ban on trade in weapons of mass destruction. of materials that could be used

at the weather. Now for a look Melbourne and Adelaide. A few showers in Canberra, for Perth. A fine day

in Sydney. Partly cloudy in Brisbane. Rain clearing for Hobart. Drizzle is forecast International Pty Ltd Captioning and Subtitling Closed Captions produced by

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THEME MUSIC in northern Australia - Illegal fishing by foreign boats have been apprehended. so far this year nearly 200 boats and even the burning of boats, Despite heavy fines is strong enough it seems no deterrent to stop this illegal traffic. Also today - biggest floods seen in Australia. a major anniversary of one of the 50 years ago, the very existence of several towns. the mighty Murray threatened Hello. I'm Sally Sara. Welcome to the program. In the past, in Australian waters Indonesians fishing illegally as greedy. have often been stereotyped from Tim Lee But now, in a special report are also being exploited we see that Indonesian waters by foreign ships, of sympathy from local crews. and that there's a degree That story shortly. First to the news summary, with confirmation and we begin this week winter harvest that Western Australia's is expected to be half the average. The WA Agriculture Department says to be down the crop yield is expected to just 6 million. from an average of 11 million tonnes that's worth about $1 billion. In dollar terms, or 40% of their expected income. Some farmers will only get 30% The Farmers Federation says an inevitable flow-on effect. this will have businesses will be the first ones The country towns and the local

of this drought. who will feel the effect Scheme has come under question. The viability of the Snowy Hydro was told An inquiry into the scheme's future would not spend money the NSW Government in other states. to build infrastructure The inquiry also heard concern change of direction. about Snowy Hydro's an irrigation supplier, It's gone from concentrating on water, to more of a electricity generator. The Weather Bureau in the NT says has revealed an analysis of Cyclone Monica west of Maningrida Category 5 Monica struck for Darwin It would have been very bad very bad for anywhere. and, in fact, it would have been

in an inhabited area, If it had have made landfall it would have been disastrous.

a fish farm in Darwin Harbour A company which wants to start would be an environmental disaster. has rejected suggestions that it it would kill reefs and native fish, Opponents of the fish farm say that would not be the case. but the Marine Harvest company says It's in our own best interest as healthy as possible. to keep the environment it's our bottom line, directly. If we degrade it, An Adelaide company says completely disease-free grape vines. it's developed Australia's first are expected to produce more fruit The so-called clean vines and use less water. better juice, better skin colour We are getting about 20% more fruit, and on blind trials in wine-tasting, we've had better wines. two years out of three want to register the name Tasmanian beekeepers 'leatherwood honey' international food code under the same use of the word 'champagne'. that gives the French exclusive is recognised as a unique product A spokesperson say leatherwood would protect it from imitations. and such registration to customers So that it's a guarantee, really, what they expect, that they're getting a certain standard. that we can guarantee them has found Independent research in Victoria

could save that future wind farms in the State of greenhouse gas emissions a year. more than a 250,000 tonnes of taking 60,000 cars off the road. That's the equivalent This report clearly demonstrates greenhouse gases that wind power reduces of wind power into the future. and that we must have a level Peter McGauran remains unconvinced. But Federal Agriculture Minister The report doesn't take into account land holders' property values, the devastating effect on adjoining

nor the scarring of the landscape. still no evidence to suggest Mr McGauran also says there is governments should subsidise of wind turbines. the expansion of giant fields a record $500 million The Federal Government has allocated in Australia's northern waters. to combat illegal fishing from Queensland, NT and WA Last week, the Fisheries ministers met with their federal counterpart to spend that money. to discuss the best ways It was decided

of patrols, arrests, fines, to continue with the approach and even jail. But that strategy has some surprising critics. In this special report, Tim Lee has gained unprecedented access to those who patrol Australia's northern waters. The Australian coastline makes up 37,000km of coastline of which 11,000km is in the Northern Territory area that we're in now. And the area of operation in the waters extends to 4 million square kilometres of ocean that needs to be patrolled or have surveillance aircraft coverage. Protecting Australia's vast territorial interests from illegal foreign fishing

annually costs the nation more than $500 million.

Combating illegal fishing is a complex problem. Tackling it relies on no less than 10 Federal Government agencies working together. We have a fleet of eight patrol vessels operated by Customs and then we have the Royal Australian Navy that contribute to the surface patrol area as well, and that's supported by 17 Coastwatch aircraft that are based at four different locations around Australia.

Today, the 'Geraldton' is readying to sail from the Darwin naval base. We're heading out for a 7-to 10-day patrol in patrolling our northern waters and protecting those waters from illegal fishing. Sir, once we depart this afternoon, we will head south-west, conducting a handover with 'Launceston' at 1000 tomorrow. We will then be patrolling this western area over the course of the next week. So expecting to be fairly rough out there? Expecting sea state 3 to 4, sir, 20 to 25 knots of east-south-easterly winds over the course of the next few days. Alright. Well, let's go on patrol. The issue of illegal fish is commonplace news in northern Australia, especially during the wet season when activity is at its greatest. We're expecting significant tidal stream as we exit the basin. Assume control state 3 Condition - Yankee. The 'Geraldton' is one of the workhorses of the Navy. Using charts and radar, it plots the position of foreign fishing vessels. In their quest for lucrative catches,

many of them play a game of cat-and-mouse along the imaginary line which marks Australia's 200 nautical mile exclusion zone.

Slower stern both engines. We will often see groups of fishing vessels that just sit north, only a few miles north of the line, so they are not in our waters. But we have got to be very aware of their positions. REPORTER: And they are obviously very aware of their positions as well? Most of them will be. Most of them are aware of where our fishing boundary ends and where their waters start. Our main aim is to deter the fishing vessels from coming and incurring across our line.

In terms of - we work closely with the surveillance aircraft. They actually spot the incursions into our waters

and then we respond accordingly to those reports. MACHINE-GUN FIRE

REPORTER: Behind us here we are hearing machine-gun.

In what circumstances might that be used? We sometimes need to use the machine-gun when the fishing vessel decides to be belligerent. We are well-trained in the use of the machine-gun and we fire out appropriate warning shots. It sends a very clear message to the fishermen

and to the master of the fishing vessel. And in almost every case, they stop once they get warning shots fired upon them. More often than not, yes they do.

There have been situations where - I have personally been involved in situations where they won't comply and I would suggest that it's probably where they have got something - they've got a catch, a significant catch,

and they are basically running for the line as fast as they can to get out of our territorial waters because, I guess, it's worth quite a lot of money for them to do that, to get over the line. Foreign boats caught with contraband are apprehended and escorted back to a northern Australia port.

The crew is put in detention and the sea's vessels are moored while legal proceedings take place. This Indonesian vessel ran the gauntlet of the authorities and lost. The master has been to court and convicted. This vessel was intercepted inside the Australian fishing zone. When it was intercepted, the captain of the boat would not stop. Essentially the Navy had to board the boat while it was under way and warning shots had to be fired across the bow to coerce the master into stopping his advicele. The 'Harapan 1' is a 22m vessel constructed from thick planks of Indonesian rainforest timber. She is known as an ice boat

simply for what she holds below deck.

PETER VENSLAVIS: Because the catch that it takes or the crew takes is kept on ice in holds on board the boat. Essentially these types of vessels can take up to 40 tonnes of fish. When we boarded the vessel, we found about 50 kilos of fish which means to us that we caught it early on in its illegal fishing expedition, so to speak, into the AFZ. This boat was targeting valuable reef fish. Illegal boats may take everything from sea slug to harvesting shark fin. Damage to fish stocks is one issue. The quarantine risk such boats present is an even greater one. PETER VENSLAVIS: As you can see, it is a wooden boat and we have inspected these in the past and found them full of termites, exotic mosquitoes, so, yes, a significant quarantine risk. Probably the most important thing to do with a vessel like this is you've got to have a systematic approach. To get rid of rats, we basically have to ensure there is no alternate food sources for the rats left on board and then we can begin a baiting program. On this ship, four rats were found. REPORTER: You're very thorough - even look under the hull and see what's below water? Yes, inspections are made to make sure there is no mussels or any exotic marine growth on the bottom of the vessels as well because we need to make sure we don't get a re-occurrence of the Black Striped Mussel like we had in Darwin a few years ago. We've got an extensive protocol that starts when the boat is first detained at sea where we use knockdown spray to get rid of mosquitoes.

Then we come in and do the inspection with the guys

like you've seen today to make sure if there is any obvious quarantine risk,

we can do something about it until the boat goes through the court process and then is destroyed. There are recent reports of a dog being landed

near and Aboriginal settlement in Arnhem Land. They found illegal fishermen coming on shore with a dog. That's a big threat to our biosecurity.

This dog can carry rabies. This dog can carry rabies to our wild dog population and the dingoes. If this happens in Australia, we've got a problem. These illegal fishermen come in with birds. Bird flu is a threat in Asia. These people bring products from Indonesia, from other places. If we get foot and mouth disease here in Australia, our trade with South-East Asia, live cattle export, is dead. I'm talking about $200 million a year live trade. Trawlers dogs carry exotic diseases like surra that we are worried about, and you do get dogs on vessels like this occasionally. Foot and mouth is not in Indonesia, but, of course, it's in countries near Indonesia, so we are obviously monitoring that. We do risk assessments while visiting Indonesia, Timor, New Guinea, with our scientists to keep us aware of what the risks are. Rabies, of course, is another disease that we are worried about. So there are a number of issues very close to our shore and it is important that we do this right. These boats are very difficult for us to inspect. There is a lot of area that's hard to access,

a lot of hiding spots, a lot of spots where there are potential risk items for us - termites, rats - a lot of places for them to hide. We've had false bulkheads where they've hidden catch in there

so we go over the boat with a fairly fine-toothed comb. And each boat has numerous inspections by AQIS as well. It will have its initial inspection and then several other inspections before its destruction. Along with being convicted, the skipper of this boat was also fined $13,000. All the crew were deported and flown back to Indonesia. Some commercial fishermen feel the penalties for illegal fishing are far too lenient. We are living in a country which is compassionate and rightly so - so we should - but we shouldn't be compassionate with organised crime, and I think that's organised crime. So there is a two-fold thing. One is we are losing our fish resources and some of the sharks have already had a hammering from those people. I mean, what we are catching compared to what they catch in our waters is piddly. I think we have to be harsher. If we throw cotton balls at them, I don't think that will stop them and that's what we are doing at the moment. This year we've apprehended 190 boats - that's this calendar year. Last year, 281 boats were apprehended. With the recent injection of funding coming into the program across all agencies, we're aiming to increase that by at least 100% and target 650 boats in the forthcoming year. Determining which vessels are conducting illegal activity is no easy task. During a cyclone, for example, international law allows foreign vessels a right of passage, to seek shelter inside Australian waters. We use a suite of electronic aids and needs. They include radar imagery, night vision image, surface radar, video surveillance, camera still photography. The illegal foreign fishing program is a whole-of-government approach and it requires a lot of cooperation from all Commonwealth agencies. Australia's enforcement efforts were substantially boosted

in the recent federal Budget. Of the $390 million, $25 million goes to providing rapid-response, long-range helicopters, $66 million towards building or establishing processing centres for detained illegal fishermen across northern Australia, and also $19 million goes to better mapping of the Torres Strait and northern Great Barrier Reef.

The Australian Navy is getting a better patrol fleet. It's all yours, Peter. You should be able to go down there and light that rope and it should go up. What, this one here? In Darwin, Federal Treasurer Peter Costello got a fiery first-hand look at how some of the funds would be spent. Getting hotter, hotter. (laughs) In Darwin Harbour, the Treasurer and Fisheries Minister Eric Abetz also stepped on board a pair of seized Chinese trawlers. Known as pair trawlers, such boats use a drag-net method known in the fishing industry as a "wall of death". In this case, a total of 35 crew were detained and prosecuted. Several weeks later, an arsonist totally destroyed the trawlers, further complicating how the authorities can get them safely scuppered. This is certainly a commercial operation, no doubt about it.

These guys are in it for the money. They know where they are. They are using sophisticated navigation equipment. Some of them are fitted with radar. For example, this boat has got radar.

We found GPS systems on board when we inspected the vessel, so essentially they know exactly what they're doing, where they are

and what they are targeting. Traditional measures of fishing is permitted in certain areas and certain conditions apply,

but when you start using sophisticated electronic aids

that are really advancing your ability to plot locations and return to similar areas, then, of course, that is an issue for us and can be a clear sign that people are not fishing under a traditional framework. There is a vast range of vessels. You will see anything from effectively a canoe with an engine on it up to trawlers that can have 40 people on them, so you will find a range of different vessels in our waters. The issue of illegal activity is further clouded by the traditional fishing rights of our near northern neighbours who, for centuries, fished our waters and landed on our northern shores. The Northern Territory Museum houses some final examples of their boats,

mostly seized from small subsistent fishers, mostly from some of the 17,000 islands which make up the Indonesian Archipelago. Many can still legally fish the Australian territory, known as the Timor Box,

an area near Ashmore Reef in the Timor Sea. The real problem is that the extent of illegal fishing in Indonesia is driving traditional fishers now from their traditional fishing practices to being literally slave labour on these large, illegal fishing vessels. In some cases, they are legal vessels owned by mainly Chinese Indonesians for whom they work, or they are illegal deep-water fishers with a flag of convenience flying, but the traditional fishers increasingly to survive

have simply had to become effectively slave fishers on illegal boats. I don't exactly the truth to the story,

but I do know that the Chinese mafia do have quite a bit to it that live in Indonesia which were established about 200 years ago, and they do have a lot of push over the Indonesian fishermen, yes. For these people, there is a surprising amount of sympathy from Australia's commercial fishermen. Look, I think it's desperation. When you see the boats that these people are in - they are small, they've got no refrigeration, they've got no airconditioning, they've got no living accommodation, they are just basically just a dinghy. And to go to sea and to travel from Indonesian waters down into Australian waters in a vessel like that is desperation. They live, to use a better term, on the bones of their bums. They can't just shoot down to the supermarket and buy food.

A lot of it they have to grow themselves. I don't think the illegal fishing that those people are doing

is anything other than feeding their families. Clearly that is how the Mr Bigs and the financiers of these illegal fishing operators are getting their crews because there is poverty in Indonesia. Dr Merrilyn Wasson, a former chair of the Arafura and Timor Seas Experts Forum

argues illegal fishing is part of a global problem.

The forum represents the countries to Australia's north whose fishing stocks, Dr Wasson argues, are being plundered by large, foreign-owned interests. She singles out Danish and Spanish fishing companies which lost fishing territories under European Union trade agreements and cites Taiwan and Thailand as lesser offenders. What tends to happen is that the nations that lost out, flag of convenience their mega deep-water fishing trawlers and they end up in the waters of developing nations. You will find them off the coast of Africa. In Indonesia, there are over 4,000 illegal deep-water fishing trawlers. Indonesia should be getting from its marine resources US$4 billion per annum - US$4 billion. So large is the problem of illegal fishing that it gets only $700 million. That means that $3.3 billion per annum goes to other nations. The issue that has focused world attention on illegal fishing is the universally condemned practice of taking shark fin. The issue that has focused world attention on illegal fishing is the universally condemned practice of taking shark fin. It's a terrible sight to see, a shark - they can't swim, they go around in circles - the most cruel thing I think I've ever seen in my life, I think. REPORTER: And they what, slowly descend and die? How does it work? No, they stay on the surface. They can't submerge. Basically they are just there waiting for the next predator to come and take them. I have seen shark fins hanging up, also skins, meat,

hanging off lines from one end of the boat to the other. I've seen them packed in boxes or just pretty much layered throughout their living spaces or hanging up inside their living spaces to dry out.

so more often than not we find shark fin on these vessels. This one doesn't look quite as fresh. The dry product itself is quite lucrative in terms of the price that it can fetch. These operators can get between $200 and $600 per kilo on the Asia market for their product, so it makes it a major economic incentive if they can successfully illegally fish inside the AFZ. However, it's our job to catch them. At more than half a billion dollars, some question the annual cost of enforcement. We're trap fishing in the northern scalefish fishery which is the very top end of WA, the Kimberleys, and we do a lot of our fishing up along the Australian/Indonesian border. We quite regularly see Indonesians coming and going at will. Perhaps we should be looking at buying their boats in Indonesia and trying to change them to an agricultural-type society and playing them a living wage. To me, running the cost of the Navy and Coastwatch and Coastguard and whatever else they like to put, it's probably a lot cheaper if they gave them some money up there so they don't have to go fishing. Federal Fisheries Minister Eric Abetz, just back from a high-level meeting with his Indonesian counterparts believes the landmark talks are a major breakthrough. What I sought from Indonesia in assisting us in this fight was assistance on the ground with villagers

to seek to dissuade them by education campaigns. We sought assistance in relation to joint patrols, joint information sharing and the Indonesians were of the view that a regional forum may be of assistance, and, of course, that is something that I fully supported, whereas if we can get countries like China, Thailand, the Philippines and other countries involved, we might be able to stop the Mr Bigs who are financing these operations and if we can stop them, that would be of assistance. Of course, if we can stop incursions into Indonesia's waters by other players,

then one would hope the Indonesians might find our waters somewhat less attractive and they would remain within their own waters. Our total package has a suite of arrangements which does include some AusAID assistance to those local villagers to try to encourage them into alternative forms of employment, so we are looking at that.

However, the minister's offer of staging joint Australian-Indonesian fishing patrols was not agreed to. It may be because the Indonesian Navy is less forgiving of illegal fishermen in its own waters. OK. If we are worried about the losses, then we simply have to got to start working regionally in the Arafura/Timor seas with Indonesia and especially with Timor-Leste once the crisis has settled down to control it unitedly.

That's the only way it's going to work. This is the 'Harapan 1's last voyage. At dawn on a high tide, she is towed into harbour. Under the watchful gaze of authorities, the seized boat is hauled ashore, laced with diesel accelerant and set alight. The boat will burn for about 12 hours

and any residual that is left after the burn will be taken out of the pit and recycled. The metal bits of the boat - the prop, the propeller shaft, the engine and fuel tanks. About 100 boats have been burned at Hudson Creek over the two-year period, so it's quite a substantial number. The confiscation and destruction of their boats so that they don't get it back is probably the strongest deterrent. Opponents of this practice contend on-shore burning presents a pollution risk. They argue boats should be stripped of fuel and scuttled at sea, a less costly approach which they say poses less of a quarantine risk. Even better, don't take their boats, just destroy their catch, pour diesel into their holding tanks.

You destroy the fish, they can't sell it, and you destroy their holding tanks. That means they have to go back to Indonesia, to rip it off and put in a new one. Let's do that over time and see how quickly these people get the message. We're seeing more and more boats over there and people are actually also much more organised than they have been, say, two or three years ago. Seeing illegal boats hover frequently inside the Australian economic zone Horst Fischer suspects there is a sophisticated network. Convenience. It's too often happen

when they disappear just before the plane comes over, so they must get some warning from somewhere. If that intelligence comes from shore here or out at sea, I couldn't tell. There are 11,000 legal, large-scale trawlers in Indonesia. It's claimed that most break the law. Some of them are owned by Australian companies and the Australian companies are quite blatant about the fact

that whilst they might be legally operating with their Indonesian fishing fleets, they are taking way over quota. So we are by no means the innocents that we would like to think we are. As another seized boat is reduced to cinders, Australia will continue to ponder how best to counter this global problem. It's really good that this has been made a priority. It's something I feel very strongly about. I've served in three Fremantle class patrol boats and and it's something I would like to see dealt with or sorted out as quickly as possible. Tim Lee with that report on illegal fishing in northern Australia. Well, it might seem remarkable given the current conditions, but 50 years ago, much of eastern Australia was experiencing heavy rainfall. The result was a wall of water which swept down the Murray-Darling system. Thousands of people from Wentworth to the Murray mouth were involved in desperate struggles to save their towns. The flood crossed State borders and was described as the biggest natural disaster in South Australia's history. Now, 50 years later, we look back at the floods of 1956. OMINOUS MUSIC It was just month after month of very heavy rain. It was the mother of all floods. It was the biggest one in white man's history. It was just a phenomenal occurrence that grew on us. The power of it and the huge dimension of it - it was very hard to describe it in words. Max Fatchen was a 36-year-old journalist working for the 'Adelaide Advertiser'

when he was sent to cover the biggest rural story of 1956 -

the rising floodwaters of the Darling, Murray and Murrumbidgee rivers. My brief was to go up and write the human stories that were everywhere. When I arrived, there was a great stretch of water in the whole valley. Everywhere there were the flood banks, there were trucks carrying sandbags, there were people filling sandbags, there were people watching the river itself and I realised that I was in the middle of a great crisis. This is the River Murray, and it's here near Wentworth that the Darling joins it. In 1956, both of these rivers were overflowing and, when they met, they created the largest flood since European settlement. It was a flood that threatened dozens of communities. Wentworth is on the floodplain of the Darling River, as it enters the Murray, and Wentworth also has the awkward position of having three parts of the town so that were three ring roads of levee banks required. Nobody really knew how high the river was coming, but it kept coming and coming and coming, so it was really quite desperate. At the time, Michael Keenan was just a teenager, but that didn't stop him joining hundreds of other river locals in building levees around the town of Wentworth. We might have to get a jack under it. Their aim - to stop the waters from swamping their town. Fruit grower Bob Pollock also pitched in. Bob was part of a war service land settlement out here at Coomealla, and part of their issue was a grey Ferguson tractor to open up their farms. So there was a ready supply of almost-new tractors which came to the rescue, because of their agility

and some of their attachments that could help build levee banks. It was right at the peak when it looked as if Wentworth and Curlwaa could be washed away. The Ferguson tractor has a fondly held place in Wentworth's history. For miles around, growers and farmers sat atop their Fergies for hours on end, holding back the water. They were going through the night, particularly when it was critical, and so it was really lights and a couple of tractors went over the bank and into the river and they had to be rescued, and there was a bit of drama around as well. The little tractors' place in history is remembered every five years during Wentworth's Festival of the Flood. This year, the 50th anniversary will be even more special. Hundreds of tractors will take to the main street to remember the flood that came so close to washing them away. The town of Renmark is a few hundred kilometres downstream of Wentworth. By the time the flood reached this South Australian fruit-growing region, the force of water was a massive 340,000 megalitres a day - 100-fold on today's flow. And as the water streamed in, so did the volunteers from all across the country. Max Fatchen remembers it well. The women were the sandbag fillers as well as the feeders and they were just marvellous, and they kept up the men's morale. There were various plans to evacuate people, but it was a constant state of tension and alert. As a citrus grower in part of the community, life just stopped in that interim period of three months. We had little time to pick fruit and little place to get it packed. With a lifetime spent on the Murray - first as a grower, later as a horticultural consultant - Ian Tolley remembers the '56 flood as a time when growers and volunteers worked feverishly to build levee banks around Renmark. In the fruit block area, the growers supplied the resourcing with all their tractors and scoops and trailers. They just came out of every block.

In the end, we worked on 20ks of floodbank surrounding Renmark and the settlement to protect it. Without the banks, Renmark would have washed downstream. But despite the effort, the levees did not always hold and the crops and homes they were meant to protect

were flooded.

On one occasion, a clean break - it just slid away and here we have now a massive pottage.

And men, risking their lives with sheets of iron being put in vertically from both sides of a break,

trying to hold it and then suddenly being swept away and having to fight your way through the mud and these sheets of iron flying away in the water, with all sorts of debris, so it was quite a dangerous situation.

It was the night that everybody dreaded to a degree because the river would start to infiltrate. No floodlights, no night lights. It was winter - it was pitch black. By August 1956,

it seemed as if the remaining residents of Renmark would have to evacuate. It kept rising, and so when it got to 30 feet, there was a good deal of suggestion

we'd reached the point of no return all-out and that's when the steamer was ready to take the last of the people away to get them to the railway linkage and then at that point, the river level stabilised. Within a week, it dropped half an inch and we were saved. GUITAR STRUMS While the town of Renmark was saved, further downstream again, it was a different story. Mannum was inundated. Here, the wide-sprawling plains had given way to steep cliffs and hills, walls that hemmed in the rising floodwaters. Baker, Neil Bormann, had just bought into his business in Mannum's main street. Much of his time had been spent building walls of sandbags to keep the rising floodwaters out. August 24th is the night - it was a Friday morning. Our local fire chief came in and said, "There has been a break in the levee."

RE-ENACTED SIREN WAILS So I slipped on my knee boots which were always by the back door, took two steps down and I was well up past my knees in floodwaters rushing in. SONG: # How high's the water, mama? Two feet high and rising... # We had yeast and dough all on trays, buns being made, so we had to empty everything else and let it float in the water. # Make it to the road in a home-made boat # 'Cause that's the only thing we got left # Cars gave way to paddle power

as streets began to resemble the canals of Venice. The ground floors of the town's two pubs were flooded, not that it stopped the locals from having a drink. The pub was operational. You would row your boat up to the top balcony. They had a hole cut in the railing. You would tie your boat up and you'd just go and drink from both hotels which had top bars operating. When the waters receded, Neil Bormann was able to return to his bakery and rebuild his business. But not all victims of the flood were so lucky. We went in for a poultry farm here and from about '52 or '53 up to the '56 flood time. We were just starting to build up something nice and big. We had washing machines, incubators and God knows what. We were starting to do well. These days, Sid Villis has just a couple of chooks in his backyard.

In 1956 he was a budding poultry farmer in the riverside hamlet of Moorook. We took our birds out to an old farmhouse. It was pretty rough. We had to fold up papers and push in the cracks of the walls to keep the wind out, but it was alright, and the birds were just let run wild. Sid Villis has never learned to swim, but as his birds free-ranged and the water level kept rising, he got about in an old wash tub.

We had an old three-compartment wash trough and we went around in that. We would stand in there. I had my two heels in two and my brother was up the front with one heel in a hole with a lump of wood for an oar.

When you think about it later on, you think we were damn fools. We could have drowned quite easily.

Obviously he lived to tell the tale, but an attempt to rebuild his farm on higher ground failed. Two years later Sid Villis walked away from his dream of owning his own poultry business. Worked like dogs to try to make a dollar. All of a sudden - as you can see, there is nothing there now. The water flooded more than 600 buildings and 20,000 acres of irrigated property in the riverland alone. The areas affected, like the vineyards and the orchards, took about three to five years to be repaired.

Orchards take about three years to be replanted and then be productive. The stonefruits take about five years. In terms of rebuilding houses and other infrastructure, houses could take up to 10, 15 years, depending on the processes. Trevor Jacobs, manager production with the Murray-Darling Basin Commission, is considered something of an expert on the great flood of '56.

He says two consecutive years of rain within the Murray and Darling catchments led to the record flow. The flood plain is about a million hectares and this would have flooded about 900,000 hectares of the flood plain. On the Darling, even larger numbers

because the river spreads everywhere there. It's flatter. In today's terms,

the flood caused more than $300 million worth of damage where it hit hardest in South Australia.

Some of those who went through it believe it will never happen again. This was an exceptional thing. It was something far beyond the norm and I don't think that it will ever come again. It can happen again at any time. Although irrigators draw more than 11,000 gigalitres of water from the basin each year and dams have been built since the '56 flood,

Mr Jacobs warns nothing can completely prevent a repeat of history.

The consequences of a '56 flood now would be higher than then because of the increased development

both in agricultural pursuits and other developments. Most councils now restrict construction of new building to above the 1956 flood peak and levees surround many of the growing regions and towns,

but ironically, the banks designed to protect could worsen the situation. The water still has to go somewhere, so if you block it off from one area, it goes somewhere else. So there is always controversy associated with levee banks, but they are effective when managed properly. Former Mannum baker Neil Bormann had his business flooded a second time in 1974, but it hasn't stopped him joining the hundreds of retirees and holiday-makers who have built new homes on the banks. So for us sitting here during the '56 flood level, I would be more than a metre under water. Do you think we are prepared for the next big one? Yes, I do. It depends on what extreme, because substantial levee banks have been built around Wentworth and the surrounding urban areas and hospital area,

and they've just recently been restored and rebuilt. Yes. Higher and stronger,

so I think they are well prepared for anything like this. What the question might be is, "How high does the river come?"

That's it. That's it. When it happens, will it happen? Nobody knows, but we're prepared. Cattle look to be still pretty strong. The magic ingredient for a price surge is surely rain. Wheat has a long term positive glow. Canola remains hot. Sugar and cotton are OK. And wool had a so-so week. We begin with export cattle: Big news from North America is the detection in Canada of their seventh case of BSE.

That's the highest point since March. Meatworks are choosing to reduce shifts rather than lift their bidding. Australia's beef exports last financial year totalled a massive 892,000 tonnes. That's a fall of 6% on 2004/2005. 43% of our exports went to Japan, 33% to America and 14% to Korea.

Incidentally,

the first shipload of wheat to Iraq under the recent contract is on the water. With the Chicago Board of Trade wheat futures for December 2006, profit-takers moved in

and forced the price down 9.5 cents to 416.25 US cents a bushel. However, there seems universal agreement

that the 2- to 3-year outlook for wheat is extremely positive.

Finally to our wool report, and only Melbourne was in operation last week. The market there dipped just over 1%. Of course, China was dominant with some support from topmakers and buyers from other countries. As mentioned, no sales in the east or west last week.

Sales will be in recess, in fact, in Melbourne, Sydney and Fremantle for the next two weeks. So that's the commodities report for the week ending Sunday 16 July. Well there was some very handy rain last week but very little fell where it could do a great deal of good.

Have a look at that map. Somehow I can't see too much farming going on in that desert country. Elsewhere, Tasmania was again very wet and North Queensland had some good rain as well. To the numbers:

And that's where the rain's been falling over the past week. Well, that's almost it for today. If you want some further information on the stories we've featured in the program, you can look at our website: Now, next week we'll be taking a close look at a practice which is ripping off consumers in the egg industry. Caged and barn-laid eggs are being passed off as free range, and consumers are unwittingly paying the difference. The person that's using that product,

paying extra money for a true free-range product

and they're not necessarily getting that product. I think that's extremely unfair. That's next week - the egg substitution racket. Well, that's all we've got time for today. I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend. I'm Sally Sara. Until next time, goodbye from Landline. Closed Captions produced by Captioning and Subtitling International Pty Ltd

This program is not subtitled You know, this is what good gardening is all about. It's about enjoying it, walking around and looking at the trees. And, to me, in the winter, I think it's absolutely marvellous. But good gardening also includes pruning and digging and all these other things. And that's what this program is all about. It's about proper gardening. Let's delve in. THEME MUSIC

This week, how to save water by re-using it, as Josh sets up a grey water irrigation system. And how to prune raspberry and brambleberry plants as John gets right into it.

But first of all, let's go to Sophie.