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(generated from captions) the citrus canker saga, Today, we will check out and as you will see, a nasty disease. it is not just a tale of There is possible smuggling, bureaucratic bungling of buck-passing the most extraordinary level governments. between state and federal an isolated disease outbreak The end result is that

turn into a major threat has been allowed to

the entire citrus industry. hovering over This program is captioned live. Time for Landline once again. Hello. I'm Joanne Shoebridge. Welcome to the program.

has highlighted the importance Our citrus canker investigation and pests out of Australia. of keeping exotic diseases is found, Even if the culprit in this case they could possibly make up there is no way

this outbreak has cost. the many millions of dollars That's up shortly. Also today, historical homesteads up for sale, one of our most famous a leading economist and we will hear from about the impact of the drought. According to Saul Eslake, right across the economy. a prolonged dry can cause damage This time around, the drought,

if it turns out to be, say, as the most recent one, even half as bad after the most recent one, but coming so soon likewise be fairly significant. the impact on the economy could Chief Economist with the ANZ Bank. That's Saul Eslake, We'll hear from him a little later. First up it's the news summary the looming battle and we start on one side, involving the Victorian Government up against high country cattlemen

of Canberra. who have the crucial support The Bracks Government says

in the alpine region permits to graze cattle will not be renewed

Association has responded and the Mountain Cattlemens' the issue to the High Court. by saying it's prepared to take alpine national park now, If it's still a pristine after that amount of time, then it's got to say something our cattle up there, for the way we manage is managed up there. the way the environment Ian Campbell Federal Environment Minister for the mountain cattlemen. has made no secret of his support

letting them graze there Droving cattle up into the alps, at the end of summer and bringing them back down again of the Australian Story. is an absolutely central part Still in Victoria, has tipped in more money and the Bracks Government drought relief program. for its State-based to local councils $4.5 million has now been allocated and community support. for improved services we've got a young family that, We are very concerned that

are starting to leave you know, the services because people can't make a living are currently giving them. out of what the farmers even tougher water restrictions. Residents of Sydney are to face has called the drought The State Government European settlement" "the worst since hand-held hoses and drip irrigation. and has ordered cutbacks on The Opposition is not impressed, could be made. citing an area where real savings to water re-use The lack of a commitment

that continues in Sydney and the joke drinking water is lost where 10% of our clean in seepage from the pipes.

has approved construction The Western Australian Government for the State's south-west. of a coal-fired power station Environment Minister Edwards says station will have strict guidelines the $300 million, 200 megawatt relating to emissions. on this project. I'm placing a number of conditions part in the greenhouse challenge The first is that they have to take

management program. and have an ongoing greenhouse gas have been told Tasmania's potato growers their contracts will be cut by 15%. has advised growers The Simplot company

that the McDonald's chain of their chips from New Zealand, has decided to source 50% from Tasmanian suppliers. reducing the amount needed from central Australia The wattle seed kitchens and restaurants. is finding a place in the world's

the bush food A Sydney manufacturer is using to create wattle seed ice-cream. lucrative market at the moment. Well, it is not a terribly for growth, There is a good deal of room a lot of potential there for it. but I think there is to Japan for the World Expo. Several crates have been sent of the success of the ice-cream. The bush food company is proud

a full livelihood, It's never going to provide is really important money but it's something that

for a brief period of time that people can go out and it is a thing that they're really proud of and they do something that uses traditional knowledge. apparently tastes The wattle seed ice-cream

coffee, hazelnut and chocolate. somewhere between

Well, first up, buck-passing a tale of suspected smuggling, and bureaucratic bungling. from central Queensland. It is the citrus canker saga Now, this is a specific location, but there are warnings in this story of Australia. for every fruit-growing area almost 12 months ago. The outbreak began about $100 million. The cost so far to growers -

another $13 million. The cost to Government -

canker arrived in Australia? What do we know about how citrus least nothing that can be proven. Well, officially not much, or at

OMINOUS MUSIC PLAYS BIRDS SQUAWK

for a primary producer than this. There are no more devastating scenes years of labour, These trees represent superannuation. many more of potential income, it looked as though Until last week,

would have their crops destroyed. only two infected properties of citrus canker on a third, With the latest discovery authorities are considering and backyard citrus tree the destruction of every commercial within a 50km radius of Emerald. a major quarantine breach, This is the story of a devastating disease, a swag of government bureaucrats and ministers shifting blame,

allegations of a bungled investigation into suspected illegally imported plant material, and a handful of growers whose future hangs in the balance. What are these trees?

These are Imperials. These should have been finished by now. Now, DPIF tells us that we're gonna...

They want another two weeks - two week's time to make a decision,

but these in two weeks' time will be worth nothing. Over the past four months, Joe Cordoma had no choice but to stand by and watch as variety by variety of his ripening fruit has been allowed to fall to the ground.

We got 20 acres of domestic varieties. If we don't pick any of that before the end of June, we've lost anything up to $4 million of income in the last 12 months. When Landline visited his property last month, Joe Cordoma was taking desperate measures. Ineligible for government help and running short of the cash to service his debts,

Joe Cordoma threatened to harvest his crop and sell it on the black market,

breaking the embargo on Emerald fruit and risking a $75,000 fine. When the Queensland Department of Primary Industries gave them a 70% chance of getting their fruit onto the market by May, the Cordomas decided to continue tending the crop at a cost of $8,000 per hectare, per month. If industry and government and other States came and said to me,

"Don't worry about looking after your orchard "because there is no chance in the world "that you're going to get into the domestic market "within six months or 12 months or two years," I probably would have bitten the bullet, bulldozed them all out, saved my money on what I spent on fertiliser and water and maintenance, and gone out and grown watermelons

which I could probably today walk away with

probably $500,000 to a $1 million profit. His property, just south of Emerald, is not yet infected with citrus canker. It was given disease-free status by the DPI. But that certificate, it appears, is not worth the paper it's written on. 10 days ago, another property, also with disease-free status,

was found to have suspected canker. Even worse, it looks like the disease is at an advanced state. Maurie Iddles' property had been declared clean. He says growers, normally the first line of defence, have been treated like a hindrance. We requested many times to be able to go to 2PH and the Pressler family agreed that we could go there and actually view the bacteria in its natural state, you know, on the trees,

and the DPI, they said they would go away and look at it and they answer would come back, "No". and we requested that probably six or seven times. Dave Parlato is an Emerald agronomist with 13 years' experience. He and other Queensland citrus experts offered to help look for canker as early as July last year. It's ridiculous. Like, we offered our services.

We weren't asking for money for our services. We wanted to help. We wanted our industry to survive this,

and we were totally shut out and not allowed to help. Just over a week ago, a few rows from where this vision was filmed on Maurie Iddles' property, canker was found. Minister, a third property

is now potentially infected with citrus canker.

Doesn't that indicate that the eradication program has failed? Oh, far from it. Part of the eradication campaign is surveillance, and this is part of our routine surveillance, and the fact that there is a suspect canker outbreak on the third property means that our program is working. But you're back at square one, aren't you? Well, it's certainly set back the grower concerned, and it has also set the Queensland Government back.

We could have done without this, but the fact that canker has been detected shows that our surveillance is working and we will just have to continue our program. That really beggars belief. It's working as it should because we found another outbreak on another property? I really can't come to grips with how that assumption can be made.

Authorities comprised of federal, state and territory plant health officials look to Florida to combat the disease. Often spread by Florida's fierce hurricanes, canker eradication has cost that State $640 million since 1985, and has involved the destruction of four million trees in 20 counties.

The Florida method involves destroying a radius of 600 metres around an infected tree. It's called the "cookie cutter" approach. The greatest majority of that spread is within a very short distance of the infected tree. So the 600-metre destruction zone is based on the probability of being able to contain the very largest amount of the disease from that point of spread.

With the Fairbairn Dam in 1982, and water, came investment, first in cotton, then in citrus and grapes. The Pressler family's 2PH farms boasted almost 250,000 citrus trees and 251 hectares of table grapes. 2PH was the largest enterprise until a wealthy Fillipino businessman bought two large cotton properties in the late '90s. Phillip Se is a billionaire lawyer

who made his money importing and exporting fruit in the Philippines. By 2004, Evergreen farms comprised 250,000 citrus trees and 526 hectares - or 900,000 grapevines - among other ventures. It was going to be the largest citrus - he wanted to be bigger than Pressler's, in any case.

Definitely. Robin Price ran the nursery at Evergreen. I think it was - 5,000, 6,000 hectares? A big place. I mean, the plan was to have something like 500 acres of citrus, and there was gonna be 600, 700 acres of grapes. So, yeah, there was plenty of money spent.

The $100 million property was managed by Mr Se's Australian children, Michelle and Darwin King. Disaster struck when a plant pathologist working on Evergreen noticed suspicious symptoms on mandarin trees in June last year. The Kings duly reported the disease, and Australia had its first outbreak in a major citrus-producing region of the dreaded canker. NEWSREADER: Orchards in central Queensland infected by citrus canker

have been quarantined, leading to an interstate ban. REPORTER: The Central Queensland property

at the centre of the disease outbreak was quarantined a week ago, when an employee of the orchard notified the Department of Primary Industries of his suspicions.

There is bare ground at Evergreen now where once citrus trees stretched to the horizon. By late last year, Evergreen had raised all 240 hectares of mandarins, lemons and limes.

Management says they've moved on - out of citrus. But this wasn't the first controversy to enshroud Evergreen farms. In June 2001, the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service, or AQIS, received a call on its red line from a man calling himself 'Wayne'. Hello, is that the red line? AQIS? Yeah, look, it's Wayne here. 'Wayne' was in fact Wayne Gillies, the production manager at Evergreen farms.

He alleged his employer, Phillip Se, had the importation of: - bypassing quarantine.

The court heard when AQIS raided the farm six weeks later, they found grapevines indicated on the hand-drawn map provided by Mr Gillies were missing. Instead, there was freshly dug soil, inconsistent with the rest of the vineyards.

Evergreen's owners suggested the area had been recently weeded.

When the owners of Evergreen appealed against the quarantine order in the Federal Court in August 2001, the investigating officer, Stephen Watson, told the court: When AQIS officers investigated,

they found no evidence of citrus canker. That may be because there was none to be found, or it may be because the disease can lie dormant for months or even years until the right conditions occur. What they did find was another exotic disease, which is rife is parts of Asia, including southern China. Southern China is where Wayne Gillies alleged the illegal budwood was imported from.

AQIS ordered the destruction of 600 orange trees. I thought it was fairly ordinary. The day that AQIS came onto the property, they probably would have spent half an hour in the actual nursery itself. At no stage was I interviewed by AQIS itself. Wayne Gillies was sacked the same day AQIS officers raided Evergreen.

The Se family says it was because of gross incompetence. Mr Gillies sued the Ses for unpaid entitlements. They are countersuing him for $300,000 in plant losses. Niether was able to speak to Landline because of ongoing legal claims. In the only public statement, published in two newspapers, Evergreen Farms claimed:

Do you know of any material that was brought into the property that might have been illegal?

Well, the possibility is there. From me, no. I just received it all, did what was instructed, and, yeah, if it came for us. Yeah, in the early days, tell you where it came from. a lot of the stuff, yeah, I couldn't accusations might have happened, So it's possible that Mr Gillies' no specific knowledge? although you have

Yes. Yes, that's a possibility. Before taking the job at Evergreen, for the Pressler's at 2PH Wayne Gillies worked for almost nine years. Did he have anything to gain speaking up about it? by coming forward,

Quite obviously, he didn't have, other than a knowledge of fair play the Australian citrus industry. and the wellbeing of

And, you know, history shows now by the turn of events that he's been devastated with legal action and litigation, and he is a person to a very large extent who has suffered financially because of it all. The Commonwealth DPP recommended a strong enough case AQIS did not have or its owners. to prosecute Evergreen Farms

Despite its enormous scale, of an interest than a business Evergreen Farms was more

for Mr Se. hold property here His raft of Australian businesses worth more than $300 million. are also highly litigious - Evergreen's owners and contractors. they've sued numerous businesses Mr Se was a lawyer. Were people frightened of him? Oh, most definitely. There was... there was a lot of law cases. Being a lawyer,

in suing people. He had no hesitation of arrangement with Evergreen AQIS entered into a deed to secure access to the property. by keeping the terms confidential, It infuriated other growers on its website later publishing the deed after a public backlash. In the 2001 deed, two AQIS officers Evergreen agreed to allow once quarterly to inspect the entire property

for a period of 18 months. one million items. Which amounts to about for that to have had - Now, it is a total impossibility occurred under that circumstance. for proper surveillance to have So it wasn't given the seriousness, that it deserved? it wasn't treated with the gravity from the government I think it was sheer fright as to the legal actions implied or otherwise, by Evergreen. that were threatened,

surveillance Isn't that manifestly inadequate

for such a massive property? When AQIS entered the property, had already been destroyed. the grape material In October, that was under suspicion - all of the citrus material even though it was never proved

illegally imported - that the citrus had been

that was also destroyed. was already gone by October. So all the imported material was about checking So this additional surveillance on the property, that if there was any disease other parts of the property. whether or not it had spread to of imported material were made, Three years after the allegations

the last inspection by AQIS, and 18 months after on Evergreen Farms in July 2004. citrus canker was found

of Primary Industries The Queensland Department and widespread. said it was well-established the inspection process seriously. John Pressler says AQIS never took hasn't been done very well And it quite obviously of being there because their time-frame by the end of March 2003. was to be there DPI Queensland have identified was there early 2003 or before, that the incursion over there

so quite obviously are either fools or liars the DPI Queensland that was the timeline, when they say that a stuff-up, or AQIS just had what you call and they didn't do it properly. as the deed was signed, At the same time the disease that was identified the DPI was concerned that might have spread to other farms.

of all Emerald citrus properties. The DPI tried to arrange inspections conditional access John Pressler granted wasn't acceptable. that the Department said And we said, "Yes, do come in. as you like, "Please take as many samples requirement, and that is "but we have got one small agreement about this with Evergreen, "that you can't have a secret

"and that all the results to check for the disease "that are taken on this round "are made known to the industry." to be shafted again by AQIS. Now we considered - we weren't about We weren't gonna allow that. in doing that surveillance There was no point if we were only going to cover in the Emerald area. 20% or 30% of the trees

That was not going to give us in the Emerald area, a true picture of this virus if indeed it existed. So as a consequence, landholder agreement, because of the lack of we had to abandon that program. What difference might it have made, continued? had that surveillance program in there Obviously we would have had staff working for a period of time, surveillance on the citrus to be able to undertake on all of the properties there.

have made any difference It may, it may not, of citrus canker. in terms of the detention In October last year, was found on Evergreen, three months after the disease on John Pressler's property, 2PH. it was picked up 80% of the citrus in Emerald. Evergreen and 2PH make up more recent than the first, The second infection was found to be spreading from Evergreen to 2PH the most likely cause of it stormy weather in January 2003. was identified as a week of John Pressler proposed that be knocked out all citrus in the Emerald district

to prevent the disease spreading other crops or start afresh. and give growers a chance to grow was treated with suspicion The so-called 'Pressler Plan' by the National Management Group. eight months, actually - And for the last six months - and allowing it to escape, they have been managing that canker and it could have been all gone. So it's on their heads. If it's escaped out to the greater Australia,

it's on their heads, because they wouldn't listen. There were some very significant financial elements associated with that plan, and the proponents of that plan were not prepared to separate the financial and the technical justification, and as a consequence - as that plan was presented to us in its entirety, it couldn't be accepted. They wanted compensation? There was a significant compensatory element

in the costs involved in that process. After six further infections were found on 2PH - the most recent just two weeks ago - authorities finally agreed to destroy the entire property. But there is no compensation and only very limited assistance available for growers, of which none has been received from either State or Federal Governments. Growers say the National Management Group's prime concern

has been their budgets, not growers' welfare. You see, we've got to remember that the growers that have been impinged upon here have done nothing wrong. Even the industry itself doesn't want to help out, so we just - we're up in the air. We don't know what to do. Since December, Nick Ulcoq has sat on the National Management Group meetings as an official observer. You know, it's almost counting down to the very last penny

to make sure anything they don't spend anything to help growers, and I think it really is starting to undermine Australia's biosecurity. If growers are left seriously financially hurt here, it's sending a message to other primary producers not to report signs of potential disease incursion, isn't it?

I mean, you could cost them their business. And that's why it really is important that the Federal Government reconsider its position.

Well, the destruction is occurring under Queensland Government law and the Queensland law does not provide for compensation for growers affected by a disease. That law is similar to the law in all other States. We are currently negotiating a new plant health agreement. That agreement will provide for some limited compensation

for those people who notify authorities of a disease on their property. But compensation is not straightforward and is likely to be expensive. At a very conservative $75 per tree destroyed, the cost could amount to between $50 million and $60 million. It could set a precedent that could cost governments hundreds of millions of dollars for future disease incursions. It could also mean compensating the first infected property,

Evergreen Farms - politically, highly explosive, given the allegations

of illegal importation of plant material in 2001,

the 2004 canker outbreak. which could have led to Minister Truss says will appoint its own arbiter the National Management Group to review the campaign. He denies there's been a reluctance the quarantine breach. to investigate to those It would be a very important signal

if we were able who has breached the law. to successfully prosecute somebody unless you've got evidence. But you can't mount a case It's AQIS of Agriculture or the Federal Department into its own operation? doing a review

come out with an answer Do you think they're going to that criticises their operations? No way. it's Caesar investigating Caesar. As far as I'm concerned,

This is a serious, serious mess... The Senate Rural Affairs Committee an investigation of its own, is undertaking with the power to call witnesses. and in other parts of Queensland Growers in both Emerald taking their claims for damages haven't ruled out to the civil courts. is anything to go by, If the Florida experience cause to Australia's citrus industry the possible damage canker could

if it were to escape from Emerald can't be overestimated. Do you have any confidence that's currently being engaged in that the process from the district? will eradicate canker all the citrus is destroyed. No, not until basically that does concern me - And the one thing themselves - and the DPI have said this like, bush lemons around here. there are native citrus, And the longer this goes on,

of spreading to them, the more chance it has get rid of this disease. and we may never, ever, and destroy it Hopefully we can come to agreement

before that problem happens. I suspect it will be some time of the citrus canker outbreak, before we hear the last how it all started. especially in relation to

Now, moving on to matters economic. in recent weeks Several issues have emerged primary producers. of relevance to Australia's of course, There's the drought package, speculation about interest rates, revaluing its currency. and talk of China with the ANZ bank. Saul Eslake is the chief economist with Kerry Loneregan, He spoke about these issues of the drought. starting with the economic impact they're headed anywhere, Kerry. Well, short-term, I don't think

again this week The Reserve Bank will be meeting will leave interest rates unchanged, and once again we expect that they and probably over the winter months the cash rate they're likely to keep at the present level of 5.5%. Further out from that, a little more murky. the picture becomes The financial markets have, dispointing news in the wake of the past week's on retail sales and economic growth, started to price in the possibility

could be downwards, that the next move in rates that will happen soon. although they're not betting that For myself, I still think is going to do anything that if the Reserve Bank over the next 6 to 12 months, an increase rather than a reduction. it's more likely going to be

that some people are. Obviously, you're not the pessimist In some circles, going to as much as 9% they're talking about interest rates over the next couple of years.

You don't hold that view? Oh, no, not at all. those views are coming from. I really do wonder where some of that inflation, for example, I find it hard to imagine

2 or 3 percentage points is going to rise by as it would have to, from the present level, to warrant interest rates rising of about 7.5%, if we're talking mortgage rates as some people are forecasting, to around 9.5% happening. I just can't really see that So if rates are going to go up

if they're going to do anything, and as I say, that they will go up a bit, it is more likely than down a bit. it will be a bit, But if are going to go up, or a half a percentage point by which I mean a quarter over the next year or so, of 2 percentage points or more. and certainly not magnitudes the drought. Saul Eslake, I'd like to touch on right across the economy? Can this current drought impact as severe as the one in 2002/03. Well, it could if it turns out to be

fall by almost a quarter That drought saw farm production and slice about a percentage point of the economy, off the overall growth rate damage to our external accounts, as well as doing some significant to our current account deficit. Now, this time around, the drought -

as bad as the most recent one, if it turns out to be say, even half the most recent one, but coming so soon after likewise be fairly significant. the impact on the economy could that we can point to so far - The one key difference and it still is early days yet assessments - for making any conclusive is that the drought conditions to the eastern States, seem to be confined insofar as wheat is concerned, and that at least conditions in Western Australia - in the country - the largest wheat-producing State

are likely to be such as in crop production we won't see big falls across Australia as a whole as a result of the conditions in the eastern States. that are developing So at least in that sense, the eastern States Western Australia may save in rural production, from the full effect of a downturn such as we saw in 2002/03.

the Renminbi, Now, the Chinese currency, or the yuan as it's written - will China revalue? I don't think they will. Well, in the short-term, They are obviously under of political and rhetorical pressure an enormous amount from the United States from Europe, and to a lesser extent, to revalue their currency. why I am sceptical And indeed, one of the reasons that they will any time soon

large, sovereign nation, is because as a proud, China is going to be extremely reluctant

to appear to be buckling to foreign pressure. They just simply don't like to be pushed around in that way.

When you are running a surplus, as China is, and attracting large amounts of foreign capital inflows, as China is, you have a lot more latitude

to make decisions at your own pace, in your own time, than you do when, as, for example, Argentina was two or three years ago, running large deficits and losing domestic capital

to the rest of the world. So to the extent that there is a need for a revaluation of the Chinese currency - and many Chinese officials would contest that - it is a decision that will be taken at a time that suits them and not in a way that gives any appearance of responding to pressure from the United States or any other country to do so. If they did revalue, that would be a great advantage to our primary producers,

would it not, especially our wool producers? Oh, absolutely, because it would make Australia's primary production exports cheaper to Chinese and other Asian buyers whose currencies would probably move more or less in lock step with any change in the Chinese currency. In effect, a 10% revaluation of the yuan against other currencies would be the equivalent for sales into Asian markets such as China, of a 7 cent fall in the value of the Australian dollar

and in that sense, it would be welcomed by Australian primary producers, just as much as a big fall in the value of the Australian dollar itself would be. But I would guess not welcomed by our miners, for example? Well, for them I guess it would be the same thing,

except to the extent that they have hedged any future export receipts for movements in the currency,

but in the sense that our exports of coal and iron ore and other mineral products are invoiced in US dollars, then a revaluation of the Chinese currency against the US dollar would make our products - and for that matter, competitors from Brazil and elsewhere - cheaper and more attractive to Chinese buyers as well. It would be a benefit across-the-board to Australian exporters, whether they're primary producers or miners.

But in summary, not likely to happen, at least not in the short or medium-term? In my view, not in the short-term, over the medium term, a distinct possibility,

but in my view, not until after the Beijing Olympics, and it could be in those circumstances that a revaluation of the Chinese currency coincides with a sharp rise in American long-term interest rates around the world, and actually results in lower growth many of the benefits which might offset that would otherwise accrue and elsewhere, to producers in Australia of the Chinese currency. from an upward valuation thanks for your time on Landline. Saul Eslake, once again, You're welcome, Kerry.

effort in recent years Australia has made a pretty good to hang onto our rural heritage. This is especially so from the 19th century with some of the grand houses the great properties of that era. which characterised many of is the homestead on Nindooinbah - One of the best examples Indigenous Australians - or "Nindoowinba", as it's said by a grazing and farming property

south of Brisbane. about 70 kilometres it's another world. Inside Ninduwimbah,

It's like an Edwardian time capsule, of Queensland's squattocracy reflecting the gracious lifestyle in a bygone age. and its homestead But now the 1,100-hectare property are changing hands. Nindooimbah before a new era begins. 'Landline' takes a look at PIANO PLAYS

that it's like going back in time. You often hear the phrase it's true. It's not a cliche, through those gates You come to Nin, you drive in and you pull up really could be at any era and it's like you and it's quite special. for the last 100 years

Nin, as it's affectionately known, Nindooinbah, Nindawindah, or just was first settled way back in 1842. Since then it has been associated Australian pioneers and squatters. with some of the who's who of AW Compigne was a member

Legislative Council of Queensland's first original homestead in the 1850s. and he built the homestead in the

John Collins and sons, In the early 1900s,

Australian Pastoral Company, NAPCO, who co-founded the Northern as it's now called, and Gwendoline Collins. bought Nin for William their grand-daughter, Margaret, It passed down to gentleman painter and grazier, who in 1982 married Patrick Hockey.

the house to its former glory. Together they set about restoring definitely lives on in this place. Oh, Margaret and Patrick's spirit You can feel it still today. for this place. They had a real passion Patrick, if you like, had the eye to get it done. and Margaret had the real passion and famous house guests. Nin became known for its parties

and Barry Humphries to name a few. Rex Harrison, Lauren Bacall that Patrick Hockey's nephew, It was during this time Tim Stevens, became a regular visitor to Nin. when I was at school. First started coming here a schoolboy to come to It was a very scary place for because it was really grand very important people here. and there were always

Patrick Hockey died in 1992 died last year. and Margaret Purse-Hockey and left Nin to Tim Stevens. They had no children It has been very hard. It's the sort of place -

that you fall in love with. Nin is the sort of place You can't help it. in love with it straight away You walk into the place and you fall

the garden, and it's not just the surroundings, and so forth, the beauty of the architecture that you always dreamed as a child it's also just the sort of place that you want to live in. And while is may seem idyllic, Tim Stevens says he and his wife Connie it is a dream that are letting go. to wine-making. I'm completely addicted I don't feel, The climate up here, is conducive to wine-making, to stay in Mudgee. so I'm sort of quite determined place is an incredible place. It's also just a matter that this as I said, time capsule It's the most amazing, happened through the years, and representation of what's but that takes money. Before Nin's sale, architect Fiona Gardener Tim Stevens asked conservation homestead's remarkable contents to help decide what of the

on the Queensland Heritage Register. should be included in Nin's listing to find a homestead It is extremely rare

and intact condition, that is in such original turn of the century period especially from the sort of and you have the furniture that go with that, and all the fittings and items so it is a very special place, Queensland, not only in the history of

but in Australian terms.

Fiona Gardener says Nin is so well preserved one of the reasons hands of three generations of women. could be because it's been in the including light fittings, Around 100 items will stay, Patrick Hockey painting, door handles,

in the dining room the silky oak table and chairs in the pink room. and almost everything

wonderful rooms in the whole house. This has to be one of the most It is just so, so special. all its soft furnishings, even. This room retains It's got the bed covers, in the room, and all the decorations and everything, the pictures and the paintings about the taste, you know, of 1908, really tell us a lot

such as this. of how you decorated a room

to the original 1850s house. In 1906, two new wings were added to 2,000 square metres, This almost trebled its size with 10 bedrooms and six bathrooms.

Queensland architect, Robin Dodd, an overseas-trained designed the extension.

to the original style, He remained true architectural ideas but melded the latest European of building in timber. with the Queensland tradition And that was really -

his special genius, I suppose, that were available in Queensland, was using the materials

the timber, arts-and-craft mode but designing in this interest in craftsmanship. which was about in climate He was also very interested and easy to live in. and making these houses cool Nin's heritage status means might want to make that any changes a new owner Queensland Heritage Council first. will have to be approved by the

The aim of the Act and the Heritage Council is to preserve what's important about these places, whilst letting people continue to live and add to the story of them. The Dodds' designed gardens are also part of the listing. The oriental influences reflect Gwendolyn and William Collins' travels to Japan on their honeymoon.

Patrick Hockey's tea house was built on this theme. Also protected is the woolshed. Built in 1857, it is one of the oldest surviving in South-East Queensland, and a reminder of the changing patterns of Australian agriculture. And while the history of the place might seem romantic,

Nindooinbah is also a working property. Presently its 1,100 hectares of country runs around 600 head of cattle, has a registered feedlot and 450 hectares under cultivation. Manager Ray Navy has been at Nin longer than anyone living. He has worked at Nin for nearly 50 years and lived here for 39. It is really like a national park, as far as living here. Many of my rellies and others come here and say, "Oh, you live in paradise." I'm inclined to agree with them a little bit. He hopes it will attract someone who enjoys farming. Yeah, it would be good to see it continue. We hope somebody comes in who is really interested in that type of thing and invests a bit of money in it because it can still be made quite nice and quite profitable

if they're willing to put enough money into it, but it is a shame to see it finally go out of the family. It has been in there a long, long time. Tim Stevens would also like things to stay as they are.

Margaret and I spoke a lot prior to her death about what would happen to Nin and where it would head, in terms of the future.

She was very firmly of the view that it had to stay in single hands and that it had to stay as a family-owned operation. So, in an ideal world, hopefully we will find a family to live here who has a passion for agriculture, and a passion for gardens and the heritage of the place. An absence of sales history makes it difficult to predict what Nindooinbah will fetch at auction. what Nindooinbah will fetch at auction. Nindooinbah ranges from beautiful river flats, to timbered forest country. The river flats would have a value of approximately $6,000 an acre through the clear undulated country, around $3,000, to the timbered country, probably about $1,200 to $1,500 an acre. So breaking that up you come up with a land value of approximately $8,

you come up with a land value of approximately $8 million but the unknown quantity is the homestead and the gardens. How do you value it because of what it is, because of what it is. and it's totally irreplaceable really, yeah. So that's the unknown quantity

And when the hamper falls, with a new story to add, Nin will have a new owner goodbye. and Tim Stevens will have to say in the last 12 months I've spent a lot of time really enjoying the place, spending a lot of time on my own,

and relatives chatting to all the ghosts and that sort of thing, and so it will be sad to go. I will miss the most I think the thing of Margaret and Patrick are particularly the memories who were very dear to me through life, and really guided me a lot this wonderful treasure. and in the end, they left me

Well, it's the first week of winter, so it is a good time for the next few months. to check on weather prospects Dr Roger Stone. Joining me as usual is climatologist Dr Stone, welcome to Landline. who is going to get rain, Can you tell me and who has got enough moisture who has got it

to plant this winter? we can still pick up some rain, Well, as we're heading into winter, aren't brilliant - so even though the prospects from the outset - I have to make that point brilliant winter ahead of us, we don't have a particularly certainly in eastern Australia - in-crop growing rainfall the chances of getting normal is the key question at the moment. a little bit So the chances have actually risen and northern Victoria, through southern NSW but they're not so good still southern Queensland. through northern NSW,

they've dropped a little there In fact, and South Australia. and parts of Western Australia So to be more precise, 20% or less in years like this, we get normal winter rain at about aren't particularly high, so the odds southern Queensland, northern NSW and those sort of odds are in and Western Australia. and parts of South Australia Other parts are a little bit better. They're still not brilliant, of getting normal winter rain. but they're about 30% or 40% chance

for the June to August period. That's to be more precise again the wheat crop this winter? So how are we looking in terms of Well, because of that and because of the point you've made that the subsoil moisture, soil and moisture levels are so poor in many parts of Australia, that even getting a bit of reasonable rain here, which can still occur, won't be enough to give us a normal wheat drop at least. We might still get a poor crop here and there. But again the chances, the odds of getting a decent crop,

as you might expect, aren't brilliant. There are a few pockets around the NSW ranges, around Gunnedah and so on which are a little bit better, but by and large, through most of eastern Australia, most of southern Australia, the chances of getting a normal wheat crop are between about 10% and a few areas, perhaps up to 30%.

So the odds in eastern Australia, I have to say, are fairly poor for the coming wheat crop.

Western Australia is a little better, I should make that point. Western Australia stands out as being somewhat better. But certainly for eastern and southern Australia, the odds are pretty low. We've got a map to show our viewers of where the winter wheat crop is most likely. Can you explain, talk us through that's what all about? You notice on this map, which joins climate forecast models with the amount of subsoil moisture.

We know how much soil moisture there is right around Australia and the types of soil, and put all that together with what's called a wheat crop model, we can see that those dark red areas are where the chances of getting a normal crop this winter are less than 10% and that covers a lot of the northern Darling Downs, a lot of the southern south-west NSW, I'm afraid, and parts of northern Victoria and South Australia. So less than 10% chance. Not impossible, perhaps, but less than 10% chance. The yellow areas and the orange-yellow areas, between about 20% and 30% chance. So that's the bulk of the remainder of the shires. You may notice here and there there is a few isolated pockets that could do a bit better than that. is somewhat better. Western Australia - there are some shires there where there is a 70% or 80% chance of getting a normal wheat crop except for a few pockets there, again. So it is not a uniform story necessarily throughout, but I guess the overall picture, really, is that the odds are very low in eastern and southern Australia of getting a decent crop, but they're somewhat better in Western Australia.

And just lastly, what are the odds of getting drought-breaking rain any time soon? Well, those odds are very poor, in terms of what I would call drought-breaking rain. We can still get some decent thunderstorms as we run into spring and summer in some areas. But we need what's one of these La Nina patterns that we haven't seen really in large numbers since the 1950s or 1970s.

We need to return to those types of overall patterns

to spring us out - to get us out of this dilemma we're in at the moment, or this poor state we're in at the moment. And that's not likely within the next 12 months. Dr Roger Stone, thank you or joining us again on Landline. Now here is Kerry with the commodities and the rainfall.

Well, the bears are well and truly into the cattle market. Numbers available have been down, but prices are up, and the reasons are obvious. Now, grain prices are starting to rattle. A bright future for cotton, maybe, and another ordinary week for wool. Let's start the price check as usual with export cattle.

Quality is a real problem here as winter bites alongside the very poor seasonal conditions. The controversial tariff snap-back provisions are very likely. That's where the tariff on our beef goes from a mere 38.5% up to 50%. There is a lot of boxed meat on offer at the moment,

but the feedlots remain very tight.

And how about this? In the west, sheep are getting fat by grazing on paddocks,

considered too wet for cropping! To pigs now. Pig farmers are still celebrating the Federal Court decision knocking out a import risk assessment on imported pork. Here is the international dairy market.

Incidentally, applications are in to import feed wheat from Canada.

It can get here for around $240 landed. A trifle dearer, perhaps, from the UK or Europe. To barley prices.

A lot of experts are tipping a bright future for cotton. The NAB says cotton will go up by around 17% next year The NAB says cotton will go up by around 17% next year and our dollar will slip as well, to around 70 cents by this time next year. Finally to wool. With the big dries injecting a lot of stored wool onto the market, on-farm wool stocks are now down to an estimated half a million bales. At the auctions last week, prices slipped a fraction. Pressure was again on the 19.5 to 21 micron range in a market dominated by China with good support from local top makers.

To the regional indicies. Sales this week will be in Sydney and Melbourne where more than 36,000 bales will be rostered for sale. And that's the commodities report

for the week ending Sunday 5 June. It will be a rather brief rainfall summary this week, simply and unfortunately because there is not that much to report. Have a look at that national map. It is almost pathetic.

Rain on the east coast of Tasmania and some storms up in the north elsewhere. Moisture was very, very scarce. Let's start in Queensland -

That's where the rain has been falling over the past week.

We're almost out of time, but just before I go, I've got a moment to tell you about one of our features next week - lot-fed lamb. Like many good ideas, this one grew out of necessity - the survival ration to keep valuable sheep alive through the drought. As we've seen with the beef industry, grain finishing is also a way of delivering consistent quality and continuity of supply all year round. This season, land producers have been flocking to lot-feeding seminars across the country, so there is a good chance that your next Sunday roast will be grain rather than grass-finished. Depending on the time of the year, probably 5% to 10% of the lambs would have been finished either heavily supplemented on farm in a paddock situation or put throughout a feed lot. I wouldn't be surprised, the way things are going, particularly with the changeover in the producer mix where we're having less producers on the production side for breeding use, if you like, and more producers looking for the store lambs, I wouldn't be surprised if we sort of approached 30%, 40% of our lambs, on an average, across the year. Lot-fed lamb. One of the stories on the menu next week. But that's all we have time for today. I'm Joanne Shoebridge. Until next time, goodbye from Landline.

Captions by Captioning and Subtitling International.