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The top stories from ABC News. US President Barack Obama says America is ready to strike against Syrian targets but he will seek congressional approval first. Mr Obama again accused the Syrian government of carrying out a government of carrying out a chemical weapons attack in Damascus. But he said it was important to have a debate and to vote on any possible military action. The Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, is preparing to launch Labor's national campaign in Labor's national campaign in Brisbane as he tries to re-energise the party's bid for re-election. Labor will use the event to make a range will use the event to make a range of policy announcements, including tax relief for small business. The party is also announcing new rules to bolster the number of apprentices. The Federal Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, says the Coalition will release its full list of costings by Thursday. The Coalition has refused to spell out its savings measures until it has announced all its policies. Labor accuses it of hiding its cuts from voters. Ambulance Victoria has suspended the use of helicopter winches after a patient fell to his death. The man, who had broken his ankle while bushwalking, plunged 30 metres to the ground as plunged 30 metres to the ground as he was being lifted through the door of an ambulance helicopter near Mansfield. Investigators are questioning the paramedic and crew involved. And those are the latest headlines from ABC News.

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# Theme music

On Landline today -

animal activists now using
airborne drones to spy on farmers. So wherever we're suspicious
or where we get intelligence

then we will use, deploy,
the hexacopter to fly over that area and document the evidence.

I think every farmer would feel it's
an infringement on their privacy

and especially when
they have no understanding

or idea that this is going on

until they see the drones
coming in over.

And a new abattoir for Broome.

You can't put your fork
in a cow and eat it.

It's not food until it's in a box
and it's on a barbeque.

And our special tribute
to Bill Peach.

It would be no good
if we just flew around Australia

and looked out the window
of the plane

and never got on the ground,
never met the people,

never saw things close up.

So it's not about that,
it's about doing it in every -

getting every dimension
of the Australian experience.

Hello, I'm Pip Courtney,
welcome to Landline.

First up, a story that's going
to cause a great deal of controversy.

Landline can reveal that
for the first time in Australia,

Animal Liberation activists have used
a drone aircraft to spy on farms.

The animal rights charity now says

aerial footage taken
from the remote-controlled aircraft

will become a key element
of its ongoing campaign

against intensive livestock
production.

And it warns the spy camera
will be used this summer

to test the legality
of cattle feedlots.

Sean Murphy investigates.

They call it Hector

and it's a new weapon
in Animal Liberation's campaign

for their demands for fairer
and more humane farming.

It's a $17,000 hexacopter drone

fitted with high-definition video
camera with special stabilisers

and a 10x zoom lens.

So it gives the opportunity
to be able to document

from high above 10m and below 30m
and it is lawful.

So the key to the remote-controlled
device

is that it's actually vision
that's obtained without trespass,

it's obtained lawfully
in our air space

and so what it documents
is something that can be used

by all the authorities,
police, and the courts.

Good, good. Just go nice and slow.

Today the animal rights charity

is gathering evidence at a free-range
egg farm at Dora Creek

on the Central Coast
of New South Wales.

See, that's all really lush green.

Yeah, there's no evidence at all.

No evidence that the chooks have
been scratching in any of that.

Animal Liberation has provided
these pictures

to the Australian Competition
and Consumer Commission

for an investigation
into whether this farm,

and another further north
at Maitland,

are really free-range.

If it's a free-range operation

the birds must have access
to outside palatable vegetation,

shade, light, dust, etc
to fulfil their needs,

which is what consumers expect
to be the case

if they're paying the premium
for free-range eggs.

We flew the craft over the operation
alongside all the sheds,

around the whole complex,
not one bird was out of those sheds.

Animal Liberation is hoping
the investigation

will highlight the confusion
in Australia's egg market

and the lack of consistent standards
on what is free-range.

The consumer rights magazine Choice
says labelling standards are a mess.

There's a range of approaches
in different States.

Queensland, for example,

recently had a standard that was
1,500 birds per hectare.

They've increased that
to 10,000 birds per hectare.

In other States
there's no requirements at all,

but what Choice wants to see

is the States and Territories
getting together

and getting behind what's called
the Model Code of Practice,

which sets a limit of 1,500 birds
per hectare.

We think that's the best thing
we've got going at the moment.

It is a voluntary standard,

but it's the best thing we've got
at the moment.

Back at Dora Creek, the hexacopter
mission was over in minutes

but it was long enough to attract the
attention of one of the farm owners,

Glenn Moncrieff.

My name's Mark.
Glenn.

Glenn?
Yeah.

We're just filming in the area,
that's all.

Why?
Sorry?

Why? I just got a phone call

to say that somebody was flying
something over our farm.

Oh, right, right. Yeah.

Well, that's just some of the things
we do, we document things,

we film things around the area
that are of interest to us.

Where are you from?

And that's probably pretty much
all I'm going to say.

Why didn't you just tell him
what you were doing

and put your allegations to him?

Well, because I gave
him the opportunity to ask -

to tell me what was going -

He asked you first, though.

Yes. Well, the reason is,
we're not an authority.

We're not a regulator. We document
information, we gather information,

and it's up to the regulatory
authorities to make a decision

as to whether it's he's doing
the wrong thing or not.

So I don't think I'm in a position

or nor do I have the authority
to intimidate somebody by starting to take them to task

on what I think
they may or may not be doing.

Later Mr Moncrieff told Landline

that his 65,000 hens were just
confined on this day

because they were being dewormed.

This is an allowable welfare practice

under Australia's Model Code
for Poultry.

We are going through,
systemically deworming that flock.

So that's why they're not out
today. You can't do that.

You can't deworm and have birds out
at the same time.

How often do your birds get outside?

Every day from about 12 o'clock
till -

they go back in at dark, actually,
or a little bit after.

How do you feel about being spied on
with a drone camera?

I find it extremely intrusive.

I don't believe these people
should have the right

to do what they've just done.

If they come and knock on me door
and want to talk to me about -

ask questions, happy to help.

If they want to fly things
over my fence,

I just don't agree with it.

Mr Moncrieff would not give Landline
permission to film on his property

but we shot these pictures from
the roadside later on the same day

showing hens grazing outside.

Animal Liberation claims
it has more evidence

captured on a camera secretly
installed inside this farm

as well as vision shot
by its operatives inside the premises

without permission.

We've decided not to broadcast
those images because of legal issues

but Animal Liberation says it's
confident the public's right to know

would protect its members
from any prosecution.

I have been charged numerous times,

arrested and charged for trespass
numerous times, about 12 times. I have no conviction
as a consequence of those,

because the judge and the courts
look at the situation -

'OK, a person has gone and filmed
and documented something

but look at what
they've documented.'

NSW Primary Industries Minister
Minister Katrina Hodgkinson

says the law is failing to deal
with what she calls agriterrorism. I have had correspondence
and personal conversations

with some of the people that have
been victims of this type of thing

and they have been terrified
as a result of this.

You've got people living in houses,
these are family properties,

and they have been terrified
as a result of these break-ins

and you could actually call it
a form of agriterrorism.

So in this case,
where they've admitted trespass,

should the police investigate?

Look, I think that anybody that
breaks into somebody's business

and risks biosecurity

absolutely they should be
investigated by the police,

there's no doubt about that.

Hello, there, I'm standing for the
Animal Justice Party in the Senate.

A voice for animals in politics.

Thank you. OK, I'll read it.
Good on you. Thanks.

Mark Pearson admits the timing
of the free-range egg investigation

is designed to aid his bid
to become a NSW Senator next week.

I think people are interested
to see the truth

and to see what's behind
closed doors.

The Animal Justice Party
is very much about, and supports,

the exposing of what is being kept
hidden from people

in the treatment of animals.

The National Farmers' Federation

says its members will be angered
by the use of drones.

I think every farmer would feel it's
an infringement on their privacy

especially when they have
no understanding

or idea that this is going on

until they see the drones
coming over.

Would you be concerned

if your members took the law
into their own hands

and dealt with this hexacopter
with their guns, for example?

Well, I think that would be
counterproductive.

I know the temptation is there,

but they would be breaking
the law themselves

so they don't really achieve
anything in the end,

so I think cool heads
are required here

and - to better understand
their motives.

Animal Liberation has trained three
operators to fly the hexacopter

and says it will now be conducting
a range of new investigations

into other intensive
animal industries.

So wherever we're suspicious

or where we get intelligence
that there are situations

where animals are being abused,

then we will use, deploy, the
hexacopter to fly over that area and document the evidence - legally.

So that's the beauty
of this instrument,

is that it is a way of legally
obtaining information

which will be admissible to court

and so that the people
who are breaking the law will be taken to task by the police
or whatever.

This summer, it says, its key target
will be cattle feedlots.

We believe that we have enough
veterinary experts

who will support the fact

that to allow cattle to be suffering
from heat stress -

just so you want to load them up
quickly with weight

and not have to spend a lot of money
on, you know, space for grazing -

that to to put them through that
day in and day out

in a very hot period of a heatwave,
that itself -

we're going to take a test case

and ask the police to run
a test case that that itself -

that act of allowing those animals
to suffer heat stress

for three, four or five days,

is an offence every day
they do it, to every animal.

That is a goal for this summer.

If they believe there is a -

they suspect there might be breaches
of animal welfare,

then surely they should be talking,

rather than taking this sort of
action straight away.

And I just say
to the general public,

would they want these sorts of
machines

hovering over their backyard
or their house or whatever,

infringing on their privacy

on the suspicion
that you might be kicking your dog

out the back of the yard?

I mean, where do you end up
with these sort of things?

I'd be very concerned if that's
the way they're going to extend it

and, again, the way they use
the footage out of it.

A new abattoir is being built in
the far north of Western Australia.

With the closest abattoir
more than 2,000 kilometres away,

there's hope the new development

will provide Kimberley producers a
real opportunity beyond live exports of getting their processed beef

into both Australian
and South-East Asian markets.

Bronwyn Herbert reports from Broome.

Jack Burton's cattle empire
takes in as far as the eye can see,

more than a million hectares
of Kimberley scrub.

Over 20 years, the cattleman
has built up his herd

from nothing
to more than 60,000 animals

His hard work was almost entirely
wiped out

by the live export ban
two years ago

and that has pushed him to diversify
by building his own abattoir.

You can't put your fork in a cow
and eat it.

It's not food until it's in a box
and on a barbecue.

If we want to be a part
of this food boom,

then you've got to produce food.

You know, producing live cattle -
eventually it's food

but it's certainly not food
when it leaves our properties.

This flattened red earth
an hour's drive from Broome,

will be home to the Kimberleys
first meat works in 20 years.

So the footings will go in this week
and then within two or three weeks

there'll be some pretty reasonable
structure here.

And by January you're expecting the
actual abattoir to be open?

Yeah, so we're hoping that
it's lights on later in the year

and then we need to operate
for three or so months

to gain all our accreditations
for export,

so we'll operate,

do all our own product for our
free-range beef lines that we do

and that will be our initial set-up.

And then come the cattle season for
next season, sort of April, May,

then we'll be into full swing

and have our expert licences and
everything underway and ready to go.

It's a $20 million Singapore
investor-backed development

that will slaughter 50,000 head
a year,

providing more options
for local cattle producers

whose closest abattoir is near Perth,
more than 2,000 kilometres south. 60%-odd of what we're putting
through will be manufacturing beef

and a lot of the cattle that
are not suitable for life export

and the other 30 or 40% will be
basically be beef for our own line, for our own shops,

and also some high-value stuff going
to some of the higher end markets.

So the angle there
is obviously due to the fact

that with the halal requirements
and facing Mecca,

that the animals are coming there
to achieve our halal status.

The entrepreneurial farmer
and his wife, Vicki,

moved from southern WA
to the Kimberley in the early 1990s

to grow potatoes.

Over the years they expanded
their business and their family.

But in 2011,

evidence cattle were being mistreated
in some Indonesian abattoirs

changed the live export industry
overnight.

Last night I ordered
the complete suspension

of all livestock exports
to Indonesia

for the purposes of slaughter

until new safeguards
are established for the trade.

The northern cattle industry says

several hundreds of millions
of dollars was wiped from the economy

because of the Federal Government ban

that lasted for a month
but had lingering impacts.

Everyone was pretty devastated
that happens to our cattle. Anything that's cruel to animals
affected everyone.

I think the issue was how it was
handled and the fact that -

look, it happened over Easter
and an abattoir in Turkey -

it happened in America
over a Turkey abattoir,

and in them cases, what happened
is the perpetrators,

which were the individuals
who committed the cruelty,

were taken to task, sacked

and then taken to court
and charged with animal cruelty.

They didn't stop and crucify
the whole industry.

Got about 60 kilos of jerky.
Of topsides? Yeah, right.

That's when the cattleman's
abattoir vision evolved.

If this ever happens again,
we're in a different place.

We're set up differently
and we can -

we love this industry,
and it's a great industry,

our kids want to be
in this industry,

we want our kids to be in it,

but I'm not going to send them to
their death financially because I -

because it's about thinking what
can happen and what might happen.

After Australia lifted its suspension Indonesia slashed the quota of live
cattle it would take from Australia

by more than a third.

The industry hasn't fully recovered

but there has been some positive news
in recent weeks

on the back of Kevin Rudd's visit
to Jakarta,

with Indonesia announcing

it would accept another 25,000 head
of live cattle from Australia.

We were totally let down
by the Gillard Administration.

Absolutely and to the nth degree.

I don't think
there's no argument there.

I think we were just
the sacrificial lambs

that were basically thrown
to the wolves.

For whatever reason,

Rudd decided to go to Indonesia
and try and fix it,

and talk about the aslyum seeker
issues and live cattle. For whatever reason,
the outcome has been good.

Jack Burton's ultimate goal

is to be less reliant on the live
export market

and process organic
and free-range beef

straight from the Kimberley region.

At Kilto Station, production
is already vertically integrated with irrigated Rhodes grass

ensuring there's feed for cattle
all year round.

This is what is integral
to the success of the abattoir.

Every year you have this -
basically a drought every year,

in November, October-November,
it's hot and dry,

and what this does is means that
even though it's hot and dry

we can still produce
a high-quality fat product

that's suitable for our market.

And while the Kimberley

is thousands of kilometres
from the populations centres

of Australia,

this remoteness has one clear
financial advantage.

It's just a few days by ship
from Broome to Indonesia

and a three-hour direct flight
to Jakarta,

meaning Kimberley beef

can be in Indonesian supermarkets or
fast-food chains in a matter of days.

I don't want to get a stampede
and get knocked over.

Broome-based cattle buyer
Andrew Stewart

is a big supporter
of the new abattoir.

'Cause we're so seasonal here,
too.

So when the wet's on,
everything just shuts down

and everybody goes away.

But if there's an abattoir
going here

and people get more organised
with feedlots and stuff like that

we'll be selling cattle
all year around,

which is ultimately what everyone
wants to do.

He buys cattle across the north

and is trying to get animals ready
for the next ship to Indonesia.

This is perfect. They love their
floppy ears, long nose, the hump.

Perfect Brahman.

For Jack Burton,

he wants to make the most of the
Kimberley's vast potential

and is hopeful the worst
is behind them.

I think definitely the pain's
behind us.

The industry is definitely
on its way out of that.

You know, the Kimberley
is pretty reliable

so mother nature looks after us
pretty well,

so we don't have a lot
of the vagaries

and issues about chronic droughts
and that sort of thing.

So long as the droughts
and the floods and the fires

are under control

and the politicians behave
themselves,

we should be right.

Last week we looked at the growing
discontent in the bush

about the low profile of rural issues
in the election campaign.

Well, this week both parties finally
started talking about agriculture. Even the Prime Minister weighed in
with his concerns

about the impact on farmers
of supermarket power.

Here's a look at the rural issues
that made election news this week.

With headlines like this
and polls like this,

with two weeks of the campaign left,

it was clear bush voters
were getting restless. Farmers have felt neglected
and marginalised.

I think rural and regional
has Australia has felt neglected

and marginalised.

And I think we do need to understand
the potential that our industry has

and recognise the importance
of our industry to the country. Finally, though, on Wednesday night,
two big rural issues broke through. Foreign ownership.

Under a Coalition Government,
should we win the election,

the threshold for Foreign Investment
Review Board

of foreign land acquisitions

will come right down from 200-odd
million to about 15 million

and we will publish a register

of foreign land
and agribusiness holdings.

I'm not quite as free market as Tony
on this stuff

and I'll just explain to you -

maybe it's because I grew up
on a farm, I'm not sure -

but I think in the future
if I see a good model

for how we should develop some of
our undeveloped agricultural lands

or some which need a whole lot more
investment,

I reckon joint venture approaches
are much better,

where you've got equity in it
from farmers,

maybe even through farming
cooperatives,

and if you need a whole bunch of
capital to develop a land further,

domestic investment
or some external investment.

But I am a bit nervous,
a bit anxious, frankly,

about simply an open slather
on this.

So your question is,
what would our policy approach be?

I am looking very carefully

at how this affects the overall
balance of ownership in Australia. I'm thinking particularly
of our agriculture sector

but the impact in certain cities
also.

And supermarket power.

But I'm also worried

about what the virtual duopoly
in Australian retail,

in food retailing,

does to the prices which are
able to be earned by the farmer,

wherever the farmer is,

whether it's in the fruit sector,
the vegetable sector or whatever.

I was out at Flemington markets the
other day, not far from here,

and talking to folks who have
been on the land for decades,

and often two generations,

and they are saying they are getting
more squeezed and more squeezed

and more squeezed
by Coles and Woolworths.

So therefore, I'm now worried
about that, big time.

My son's fourth generation.
G'day, mate, how are you?

Is there going to be any future
for him, Kevin, on the farm?

I think there is going to be
a future for him.

'Cause we're getting pushed out
slowly.

Kevin Rudd says the issue's arisen
countless times during the campaign.

And therefore
what we've got to look at,

if we're returned
by the Australian people,

is how we provide better guarantees

for proper competitive conduct
out there

so that the man and woman on the
land

is not actually having
to carry the can for everything.

So that is a deep, sort of, response
and feeling that I have about what's going on out there

and I pick it up right across
the country,

state by state, sector by sector.

Labor won't announce
a formal agriculture policy,

saying its national food plan

and its response

to the National Farmers Federation's
election score card is enough.

The Coalition's agriculture policy
was released by John Cobb.

A farmer, he wants to be
Australia's next Ag Minister.

The centrepiece was $100 million
for R & D over four years. We will target cooperative research
across all sectors

and set objectives to improve
the transition of good research

into profitable outcomes

and this will not need
matching funds by industry.

There was also $15 million in rebates

for export certification costs
for small exporters,

$20 million for quarantine,

the promise of a white paper
on agriculture,

and a commitment to overhaul
the culture of the department.

What I think is one of the most
important parts of our policy

and that is in refocusing the
Department of Agriculture.

I want the Department of Agriculture
to be the partner for agriculture,

and not the problem.

I want a Department
that bends backwards for industry

and does so enthusiastically.

I think it's good to see Government
putting agriculture up there

as one of the five pillars.

I also think it's good to see
some new money on the table.

I think if we add up all those sorts
of incentives,

it's round about $150 million
of new money for agriculture,

and that is very welcome
in this sort of an economic climate.

We want to see agriculture
given a priority by this Government.

While it was a lean kitty,
farm groups were heartened

to hear the Coalition's toughest talk
yet on supermarket power,

though John Cobb fell short
of giving farmers what they want -

a mandatory code of conduct.

This is a big one.

The review of the Competition and
Consumer Act,

which will tackle
the power of the supermarkets.

Whether that means the need
for a mandatory code of conduct,

more information available
to Government

about what is happening in the sale
of agriculture around Australia,

we shall see,

but obviously the review will be
absolutely vital for agriculture,

particularly commodities that
are locked into the domestic market.

ANNOUNCER: Today
at the National Press Club,

leader of the Nationals,
Warren Truss.

On day 26 of the campaign,

the so-called Wombat Trail
arrived in Canberra,

with Nationals leader Warren Truss

announcing a Coalition Government
will set up a stronger regions fund.

This fund will have a capacity
to generate billions of dollars

of investment in the most depressed
regions of our nation,

with an initial allocation of $200
million per year,

at least a billion dollars
over the first five years.

This fund is long overdue
recognition

that when regions are strong,
so is our country.

As leader of the Nationals,

I'll make sure we put
regional Australia

at the heart of the national
economic discussion

and in every Cabinet decision.

Warren Truss says

the Coalition has earmarked hundreds
of millions of dollars for the bush,

to be spent on bridges, roads,
inland rail,

opening up northern Australia
and fixing mobile phone blackspots. Should we win Government
in just over a week's time,

I'll continue the proud tradition
of leading a strong National Party in a strong Coalition

and we'll ensure that regional
Australia's interests are heard and acted upon.

The regions have been ignored
for too long.

We will not let them down.
Thank you.

(Applause)

Coming up, we look back
at Bill Peach.

Broadcaster
and outback tourism pioneer.

Very often I found out travellers
had been everywhere else.

These are Australians
but they hadn't been to Australia,

and they said,
'Thank God you came along.

We were wanting a way to do this

but we weren't going to go out there
and beat up the bush tracks.'

A big country like Australia
is made for aviation,

that's why we've always been good
at it, I think,

but it just shrinks the distance.

And secondly,

you have unrivalled flight-seeing,
as we call it, on the way.

And I always say to people, 'The way
to look at the Gibson desert

is looking out the window of the
plane sipping a gin and tonic.'

It's a lot easier that way.

Somebody once said that farming
is a profession of hope.

Hope about the rain,
hope about droughts,

floods, pests and even prices.

Well, hope got a hiding last week
over farming country

and Queensland's Darling Downs.

After weeks of balmy weather,
with temperatures well above average,

a thick and bitter frost descended
on consecutive mornings

and caused devastation through wheat
and chickpea crops.

A typical frost victim
was Michael McCosker

from a property near Meandarra.

Michael had more than 1,300 hectares
of well-advanced chickpeas.

Now it's 80% written off

and the rest will go the same unless
there's rain in the next week or so.

Michael says he's just one of many
farmers in the district to suffer.

The agronomist had a bit of look
at the crop on Friday

and discovered
there was a bit of damage.

and I came back on Sunday,

had a look Monday morning
and I could see it was very obvious that our crops were probably
80% out in pod,

and just about everywhere I looked
it was almost totally - all those pods were pretty
well frosted.

There'd be, say,
six bag to ten bag -

or ten bags,
two tonne to the hectare,

and we sort of were working on
around that $4.50 farm,

you can work it out,
it's a lot of money.

So tough times for farmers

and their ongoing battle
with the extremes of weather.

Now, my old mother used to say,

'Don't blame the weather for
anything.

If it weren't for the weather,

nine out of ten people couldn't start
a conversation.'

Moving on now, let's start our
check on prices with some good news,

and this week it's emerged
out of the wool auctions,

which had their strongest week
for many years.

The first designated superfine wool
sale led the way,

where gains of up to 50 cents a kilo
were recorded.

Strong buying was witnessed
at all centres,

as China struck competition
from European dealers.

Now I'm not sure if there's any more
really good news,

but the cattle market stiffened
a little,

despite big numbers across
Queensland.

There's still substantial numbers
of poorer cattle coming from the west

and heavy grown steers are getting
harder and harder to find. Restocker action is very subdued.

They want some better news about
possible rain

and that's just not there at present.

It's different in the south,
where a lot of rain tightened supply.

Now to the live trade,
where if you could eat rumours,

you would be very fat, very fast.

Latest rumour I've heard is that
Indonesia will, or might,

announce a lift in quotas
for the last quarter.

The number being bandied about
is quite substantial, 60,000 head.

And meanwhile, there's some activity
with boats heading north,

and not all to Indonesia.

Lamb numbers are down

as wet conditions encourage producers
to hang on and feed -

that's if they've got feed.

Both restockers and processors
have been relatively quiet.

The lamb indicator scored
a nice lift.

Sheep numbers, though,
have risen through August,

with a lot of old ewes
being turned off.

In Victoria, sheep numbers
are actually up 40% on last year.

Now to grains,
where there's growing concern

about the quality and the quantity
of wheat crops

across southern Queensland
and northern New South Wales.

Chicago trading saw some selling
later in the week

but there was a significant
positive tone earlier in the week.

Strong American export sales
are underpinning prices,

although, like Australia,

the US appears locked out of some
lucrative markets in the Middle East,

purely on price and transport costs.

However, Australian exports around
Asia might also face some problems.

CBA points out the Indian rupee
went into freefall

just as that country announced
a big wheat surplus,

which, of course, they will export.

Now to dairy news, where Fonterra,
the New Zealand dairy giant,

has announced that products which
provoked a global contamination scare

did not, in fact,
contain botulism-causing bacteria.

The botulism claim caused widespread
withdrawal of Fonterra products

but the firm has now declared there
was a bacteria present, certainly,

but it was not botulism.

So dairy prices, meanwhile,
have strengthened,

In fact, these prices
look like heading back

to the near-record levels
of three or four months back.

Back to New York now
for the soft commodities

and here we see cotton holding up
after last week's short-selling dump, and sugar continuing to struggle.

The elephant in the room for sugar is
Brazil,

where the tumbling Real is causing
mills to turn from ethanol to sugar

and world cotton stocks are said to
be enough

to make everyone on the planet
two pair of jeans.

That's a piece of trivia
I'm sure you want to pass on.

And that's the Landline
check on prices.

Wild dogs have bred up in big numbers
on both sides of the dog fence,

to the extent experts now believe

the days of sheep grazing on
the rangelands could be numbered.

with 1080 baiting programs
haphazard at best

and local wild dog control laws
not enforced,

it's largely being left
to individual landholders

and the last remaining
professional doggers.

The ABC's rural reporter, Pete Lewis,

this week met up with one of the best
in Queensland's south-west.

And a warning.

This story contains images
some viewers may find upsetting.

Just about everything Don Sallway
needs he can sling on his motorbike.

Like his prey, the dogger needs to be
clever, resourceful and nimble.

Often covering 200 kilometre a day,
checking his traps

and the telltale sign
that he's on the right track.

That dog track has his back heel
and his four toes.

You have to get them to a pattern
to work on the trap,

you can't just put a trap anywhere
and expect them to come to it.

You know, at $1.66 a litre,
you wanna -

if you're putting traps and that in,
you want them in the right spot.

so you do a lot of research.

I might ride for three days
before I find the right area.

And while patience may be the key
to the dogger outsmarting predators,

that's wearing thin among people
on properties around Charleville

in Queensland's south-west.

Graziers and the Shire Council

have put a big price on the scalp
of every wild dog he can bring in

to keep what's left
of the local sheep industry viable.

The onset of spring and lambing

normally should be
a cause for celebration,

yet in recent years,

this has become the most
heartbreaking time for graziers

as growing packs of wild dogs

target the vulnerable ewes
and their offspring.

All up, we lost probably 1,200 lambs
in the year

and we're people that have been
involved in dog control

for a long time.

And we're on top of it,
we're always looking,

we're baiting,
we're setting traps all the time

and these dogs still came in.

In one week, probably,
they virtually destroyed us.

Over the past 25 years,

he's seen sheep numbers
across Australia decline by 40%

but in Queensland,
the collapse is even more dramatic,

from more than 20 million
to around two million sleep.

Some graziers made the switch
to cash in on good cattle prices

but many just sick of the terrible
toll wild dogs were taking

on their flock, their bottom line
and their psyche.

Every time you go up there, you just
hope you don't see another dead one.

Or we go up there

and find ten lambs bloody walking
around with their guts hanging out.

You get that way you don't want
to go there, you know?

But we just gotta keep going there
and putting baits out and traps out.

A scientist from the Invasive Animals
Cooperative Research Centre

recently estimated that within 30 to
40 years,

sheep will be a thing of the past

on the more extensive rangeland
properties like this.

That is, outside the dog fence
that stretches 5,300 kilometres from the Great Australian Bight
in South Australia

to Queensland's Darling Downs.

I suggested he takes a zero off that

because it's got to that stage now
that it won't be 30 years,

it will be lucky if it's 10 years.

Part of the problem

is that there's now as many predators
inside the dog fence as outside,

thanks to complacency,

fewer farmhands to keep up regular
poisoned baiting programs

and not nearly enough
experienced doggers.

Nor, for that matter,
much interest in it as a career.

We get some enthusiasm
from young blokes,

but some of them spend about
two weeks doing it

and it's a bit lonely out there
and so forth.

And it's a pretty hard
existence and that sort of thing,

and we're finding it very hard

to get any young person
to really get involved in it at all.

Intuition honed over 20 years
as a dogger

has drawn Don Sallway
to this fallen log

and one by one,

he drags the six-week-old pups from
the safety and snugness of their den.

He'll use them as bait

to draw in their parents
to traps he's laid nearby,

then they'll be destroyed.

Because as cute as they are
right now,

it's just a matter of time until they
develop their own killer instincts.

There will be people, of course, who
are a bit squeamish about culling,

eradication
and particularly targeting dogs?

No-one wants to see cruelty
or anything

and it's cruel when we've gotta go
and see a sheep that's been mauled

and go and put it down.

You think, 'Well,
what are we doing this for?'

I mean, those photos
I don't think everyone needs to see

but it happens and that's the way.

We don't like it and I don't imagine
anyone else does either.

We're out here looking after
animals,

and we've got to do our best
to look after them

and that's what we've got
to deal with.

We're looking after our animals,
so the dogs will come second.

Jim McKenzie heads up the committee

that's just released a draft
National Wild Dog Action Plan,

which aims to convince Government

that it needs to refocus and
refinance a coordinated strategy

for individual landholders,
local councils,

community and farm lobby groups.

In other words, dog control
that again has some bite.

We're hoping to be able to draw on
everyone's success

and look at people's failures
and why and what-fors and put all those tools together

so that we've got all these
different tools that we can use,

and show people that you don't have
to do this, you can do this,

and we're trying to sort of
make it all -

we're not trying to reinvent
the wheel,

we want to move ahead as
quickly as possible.

While authorities continue to argue

about the most appropriate
control measures

and who'll pay for them,

the business of wild dog management
continues across Australia.

And for doggers like Don Sallway,
business is booming.

This is just two months work on 20
properties around Charleville.

Each of these scalps is worth $500
to the dogger.

Half that comes from local councils
committed to wild dog control

and the balance from syndicates
of graziers,

who are competing for his services
with other hard-hit communities.

Do you think there's enough money
in the game?

Oh, I make a living.

But I work at it, I'm seven days
a week, all year around.

And just to try and keep ahead -
like, when we can get funding,

if we don't use it
then they take it back.

So while the funding is going,

I've got to keep going
to help keep people in sheep.

Don's the best in the business.

He's doing a mighty job

but we need probably 1,000
Don Sallways to make an impact.

Baiting is still the most
cost-effective way to clean dogs up

and then bring your traps in.

We had Don Sallway to come in
after baiting programs.

At times I've got 180, 200 traps out

and I know where every one
of them is.

It's all GPS'd in up here.

Probably seven million acres
of GPS in up here. Don't need map.

I can go back into country I haven't
been in, in two and three years,

and pick up on the same spots

where the dogs used to scratch
in the past.

(Dog yelps)

His traps and those pups he caged up
for bait have done the trick.

In case you thought this is just
an issue for outback graziers,

part of the latest research

is looking at the growing threat
wild dogs pose

to the fringes of our major cities.

So what we're planning on doing is
expanding our knowledge in this area

and really looking into
a wide variety of diseases

that we think could possibly
be carried by wild dogs

and all these diseases
that we're looking at

are either transmissible
to the human population,

or they have an economic importance
to a variety of livestock species. But the draft Wild Dog Action Plan
is no silver bullet.

I think we've got to get used
to the fact

that we're gonna have dogs for quite
a while before we lessen the numbers

and it's gonna be the people
on the ground, you know,

it'll be farmers, graziers, miners,
National Parks -

everyone's going to have to be
involved and get onside.

And they'll all need to commit

a lot more time and a lot more money
to dog control

than they have over
the past 20 years.

Fencing, baiting, trapping
and shooting.

I'm hoping that
this new organisation -

the look that they're having at it,
that they're putting up -

will get everyone involved.

I am concerned that
that won't happen,

but we've got to try a different
avenue and it's a good start.

At the end of the day, a dogger
will work 60,000 to 100,000 acres

and you've got to stand him on that
plate, on that trap, to catch him.

And that's the task, you know.

It's a skill,
and it takes a long time to learn.

And anyway, it's worked out well,
so it's two less in the equation.

The national weather picture
appears to have reversed somewhat.

A couple of months back,
the West was desperate for rain,

now it's much of eastern inland
Australia,

where it's been cold and dry
for too long.

And that change has been confirmed

by movement
of the Southern Oscillation Index.

It's been slipping for some
time now,

and slowly moving very close
to negative territory.

Now to rainfall over the past week.

And the national map reveals
a fairly typical winter pattern,

clear skies, cold in the mornings
over much of the north,

while consistently wet in the south
and cold.

Weipa - 16mm.

Albury - 11mm.

Harrietville - 20mm.

Meander - 15mm.

Maitland - 10mm.

Gove - 3mm.

Cowcowing - 19mm.

And that's the Landline
check on rainfall.

And sad news this week

with the death of beloved ABC
broadcaster, Bill Peach.

When he left the
ABC 30 years ago

the big surprise was he wasn't
retiring or switching channels,

but starting a tourism business.

Bill Peach's dream was to show
Australians their own country,

particularly the outback.

But he wanted to do it by plane,
not a rattling four-wheel drive.

I was lucky enough to do a story
with him

to celebrate his 25 years
of being in business.

Here's a look back.

It would be no good
if we just flew around Australia

and looked out the window of the
plane

and never sort of got on the ground,
never met the people,

never saw things close up.

So it's not about that,
it's about doing it in every -

getting every dimension
of the Australian experience.

Bill Peach called the very first tour
he put together

the Great Australian Aircruise.

And the reason for that is
we thought,

these are the great
Australian things

that people should know about.

The outback trip is the company's
most popular tour

and takes in Longreach,
Katherine Gorge, Kakadu, Darwin,

the Bungle Bungles, Kununurra,
Broome, Uluru,

the Olgas, the MacDonnell Ranges,
Alice Springs and Birdsville. In 12 days you really do have a
grasp on what this continent is like

and by the time you've come back,

you've flown halfway to London

without leaving the mainland
of Australia,

that's how big this place is.

For 25 years, Longreach has been
the first stop on the trip. Well, folks, welcome to the outback.

We're coming into Longreach.

Once landed, we'll be heading out
to Longway cattle farm

to meet Rosemary, who'll be hosting
our barbecue for the day.

The mayor of Longreach says Bill
Peach has been great for the town.

When he first started 25 years ago,

he was certainly a pioneer
in his day.

He started his tours out of Sydney
and opened up the west a great deal

just through his dreams
and his vision.

Rosemary Champion reckons for many
visitors the outback is a tonic.

You get people fly in from San
Francisco, have a sleep in Sydney, and they wake up and
they're in Longreach the next day,

and they say,
'Where the heck are we?'

And we say, 'You're alright, you're
in the centre of the universe.'

Any of your worries
that were mountains when you left

are mole hills
by the time you get to Longreach.

Bill Peach wanted you to show people,

what did he want people
to get out of a visit here,

and what did you want to show them?

Absolutely the real, genuine,
authentic thing.

Nothing Mickey Mouse, Walt Disney
stuff, you know.

What you see is what you get
and, you know,

basically, it's a working cattle
property

and that's what
we like to demonstrate.

The Champions enjoy the blow-ins.

Cattle are our core business

and tourism has just been a lovely
way to network

with the rest of the world, really.

With Warwick Champion on the barbecue

and Bill Peach holding court
on the verandah,

the travellers start to get
their heads around outback life.

And the people who come here not
only say,

'What nice friendly people,'

but they say,
'that's how people live.'

Yeah, you have to be born to that.

I couldn't, being a city slicker.

I only lived in Paddington
and Bondi all of my life.

That was it, you know.

And I'm really grateful
of what they do

and I appreciate every bit of it.

Here we go, 25th birthday.

(Laughter)

There it is.

Well done.

Bill Peach says he didn't know
25 years ago

if his idea would work.

It's very special for us to be
25 years old

because we didn't know if we'd be
1 year old.

You don't know.

A travel venture is like
anything else,

you don't know what the demand
is going to be.

And here we are in our 25th year,

so there must have been the germ of
a good idea there, Pip.

But what made Bill Peach decide to
give up a great job,

fame and a huge profile

to show tourists this world
in the first place?

# Music

Well, oil is not the only one of
Australia's natural resources

that's in the news this Friday.

Bill Peach made his name
at the ABC in the 60s and 70s

presenting the current affairs
program 'This Day Tonight'.

After eight years, the self-confessed
sticky-beak left to make make documentaries,

becoming a household name
in the process.

Instead of sticking in that studio

I began to travel right around
the country

and make these documentaries about
Australia's history, the colourful stories that
we had to tell,

the wonderful scenery that
we had to show,

and I found that there was so much
in this big country. In fact, we calculated in two years
of doing Peach's Australia

that we'd travelled five times
around the world

without leaving the continent.

He says even when he was writing
and presenting TV shows like peaches Australia,
The Explorer,

Gold and Holidays with Bill Peach,

he wanted to show Australians
their country

and tell them about their history,

especially the outback.

It's a very important element
of Australia,

and a lot of our legend,

our pictures of ourselves,

they come from this,

and I'm very much in sympathy
with it.

He says he knew life as
a tourism operator

wouldn't be easy.

We had to change the concept
in a way of what a holiday was,

because a lot of Australians
in those days

felt it wasn't really a holiday
unless you went overseas,

staying here that didn't qualify.

He had a plan though,

that he thought would turn
that around.

For after years of rattling around
the outback

in four-wheel drives with
the ABC,

he figured people would go see
the outback

if they could see it in a plane.

Very often I found our travellers
had been everywhere else,

these are Australians,

but they hadn't been to Australia,

and they said,
'Thank god you came along,

we were wanting a way to do this

but we weren't going to go out there
and beat up the bush tracks.

He started with two Fokker
Friendships,

now it's Dash-8s.

A big country like Australia is made
for aviation.

That's why we've always been good
at it, I think.

But it just shrinks the distance.

And secondly, you have unrivalled
flight-seeing

as we call it on the way.

And I always to say the people,

'The he way to look at
the Gibson Desert

is looking out the window
of the plane

sipping a gin and tonic.'

It's a lot easier that way.

Aircruising, while not cheap,
has proved a winning idea.

You can travel enormous distances
in great comfort

to see places that you haven't
seen before.

And the more I see of it,

the more I admire those
early explorers.

This is our 23rd trip.

We first started in 1986.

We've done this a few times,
we've done this particular -

we've done the Great Australian,
I think, five times.

No, four.

And I think I'm right.

(Both laugh)

Do you mind if we have a little
bit of a...

We'll leave you to it.

Leave us to it. Yes.

and a lot of it is word of mouth

and, I think, in travel that's
really important.

Bill Peach Journeys dome normally fly
to Winton.

But for the birthday trip

a detour to the town famous for
being the home of Waltzing Matilda

and the birth place of Qantas,
was arranged.

Winton also's famous for its
dinosaurs.

And at Lark Quarry, is a dinosaur
tale like no other, for here are the fossilised
footprints

of the only recorded dinosaur
stampede on Earth.

The story the 3,000 footprints tell

is of a four tonne dinosaur chasing
a couple of hundred smaller ones

across a mud flat 93 million
years ago.

You can't come to Winton and not go
to Carisbrooke,

the sheep and cattle station run by
Charlie Phillott,

boasts breath-taking scenery that
even Bill Peach had never seen. And then suddenly you come into
this quite dramatic landscape

and it opens out on both sides,

and it's like this country,

it's like full of surprises.

And is it great that you after
all this time travelling

can still get a surprise like that?

Yeah, that's what you always
hope for.

You don't want to be jaded
with things

and think, 'Oh god,
I've done this or seen that.'

It's wonderful when you see
something new

and it hits you right in the eye.

And that's what this country does.

The silver anniversary tourists say

Bill Peach's air-cruising formula
is just the ticket.

There are lots of
great bits of Australia

that are separated by great bits
of nothingness, and you fly over those.

We've had a look at those as well

but this way you get to see
the little jewels.

I don't think there's enough
Australians

come to the outback areas to see
what their country looks like. Thoroughly enjoyable seeing the bush

well and truly in the middle
of the country,

'cause you're in the middle
of the desert.

Seeing places that I'd never
been before

and seeing outback Australia,
it's been fantastic.

I've been a city slicker all my life

and it's opened my eyes
tremendously,

it's been great.

Well, happy travelling,

it's been a pleasure to meet you.

Alright, well I hope to travel
another 25 years.

OK, all the best. Gotta go.

See you, John.

So long. It's been nice to know you.

Well, folks, we're now leaving
Winton,

leaving the outback behind and
heading to tropical Hamilton Island.

There's nothing like seeing it
and I did do it on television.

And I know that being there
is different,

better than 1,000 pictures.

Next week on Landline,

better times for the Australian
citrus industry.

We've come to the party
a little bit late

but it gave us the confidence

when we're watching this fruit
being eaten and demanded

in other parts of the world,

that it will take off here.

And the reason is China.

The Chinese are very interested
in our knowledge

and our growing skills.

But we're also making sure

that we then bring back
the knowledge

of what those consumers want
in that market place

which then helps our growers
make decisions

about what varieties they should be
putting in the ground.

That's it from us.

I look forward to your company
next week.

Bye for now.

Captions by CSI Australia

# Theme music

Hello and welcome
to Gardening Australia where we're looking at
experimentation. It's something
that all us gardeners do. It's hands-on, it's unpredictable,
it's exciting and it's what this episode
is all about.

Sophie visits
an organic market gardener to see what she's up to
in the world of vegies. Over in Perth,
Josh and I have a look around what was once a disused part
of the CBD and which is now a vibrant,
productive community hub. And Jerry's in far north Queensland exploring the gardens at Paronella
Park, a truly amazing place.

But first,
let's head to Angus' place, his hotbed of experimentation,
to see what he's up to now.

It's time to fertilise
my native garden for spring, to stimulate a whole lot
of new growth which in turn will lead
to an abundance of flowers through the warmer months.

This year, I've decided to experiment with some alternative natural ways
of fertilising because about a year ago I had a
hazard reduction burn on the property and I tested the soil
before and after and found a dramatic increase in
nutrients in the soil after the burn and that stimulated
a whole lot of new growth and it's synchronised the flowering
in my Gymea lilies.