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On Landline today, of cattle cruelty. a special report into a case in our own backyard. Not overseas but right here for no reason whatsoever That number of cattle have died and they suffered, and no one's been made accountable they suffered big time. farmers and miners The latest on the stoush between richest agricultural areas. in one of the country's foreign investment There is a large amount of purposes slipping under the radar. that is actually to all intents and And we catch up with Allan Savory, of farmers and land managers who's convinced generations to think outside the square. welcome to Landline. Hello, I'm Anne Kruger, lately about animal welfare. We've seen and heard a fair bit

the handling of Australian cattle With most of the outrage aimed at

exported live to Indonesia. a shocking case of cruelty But today, we'll show under the noses of government that occurred right in the Northern Territory. and university authorities of mis-management and neglect It's a sorry saga that's dragged on for nearly 2 years.

recommending prosecution, And despite a high-level report no one has ever been charged. special report for Landline Prue Adams prepared this and we should warn in this story distressing. some viewers may find images In case your un-aware,

to the serious nature I wish to draw your attention of the cattle at Mataranka Station. of the animal welfare state starts with one small step. Every journey forseen the destination Toby Gorringe could never have almost 2 years ago. of the journey he began and that of a handful of others. It's changed the course of his career

high-level inquiries, It's led to several losing face, a well regarded university departmental and legislative changes. and a government scrambling to make is far from satisfied. But still this stockman and teacher my life, that's all I've ever done. I've been in the cattle industry all

and whatever in the bush, If I wasn't mustering cattle or shoeing horses or something. I was working in the meat works all my life. So I've been around animals happened there, that was just cruel. But you don't have to see what Just no other way to describe it. I can't believe it. And they got away with it,

came into being 8 years ago When Charles Darwin University on Mataranka Station. it inherited the lease An hour's drive south of Katharine, 770 square kilometres. Mataranka covers

PAUSE Brahman herd, The property and its largely for training students have provided a useful tool who want to work on the land.

a real life opportunity So it provides in the Northern Territory, for pastoral industry training which is vital of the Northern Territory's economy. for a very substantial part

But in mid 2009, that all was not well at Mataranka. a picture started emerging chairman, Ian Gray, A former NT Brahman breeders was the station manager at the time in an earlier Landline story. and is seen here Toby Gorringe worked under Ian Gray.

that cattle were starving. He says he complained to his boss the dead and dying animals. Photos were taken of some of I've seen cows lying down and can't get up.

for them to get up and they can't. And their calves are waiting around and dead calves together So I've seen dead cows ants, pigs, things like that. and dingos have eaten them alive,

to the HR of CDU. This is a letter I wrote and horse management, A vocational trainer in beef cattle further up the line Toby Gorringe took his complaints within Charles Darwin University, including to the vice chancellor.

Still not satisfied, to several members of Parliament in October of 2009 he wrote

the Office of the Ombudsman. and in January last year contacted until I got to the Ombudsman, I kept going right up I didn't trust anybody. and at that time And it's still hard to trust someone I was shut down. because everywhere I went The complaints were certainly valid quite widely and it has been documented cruelty cases in Australia. that this is one of the worst animal Territory's Deputy Ombudsman. Julie Carlsen, is the Northern Western Australian police officer, A former of investigating what had, she was put in charge by the beginning of last year, staff, students become a series of complaints from and teachers at Mataranka Station.

The nub of the investigation found provided to the animals, that inadequate food was being if it was provided at all. That watering points had broken down in an appropriate time frame. but were not being repaired had died in that period? And how many cattle did you find and that estimate is based Our estimate was up to 800, to us by the students, on the information provided by the staff members themselves, by contractors who attended,

by the name of Tom Stockwell, a independent investigator to conduct an investigation. who was employed by the University are actually flies. These black marks around its neck Oh! at the station A history of poor record keeping the previous year and the death of hundreds of stock due to a badly managed bushfire, of cattle that died means the exact number will never really be known. Ombudsman's figure of 800, The University disputes the to be just over 200, saying it was more likely which the Auditor General confirmed the University's own evidence. based on PAUSE of the station's cattle, Nevertheless between 5% and 18% and at least 2 horses, perished. tabled in Parliament last October, And the Ombudsman's report, makes for grim reading. months of suffering by the horse. This only occurs when there has been Charles Darwin University and... The ombudsman blamed CDU, And the Office firmly believed prosecuted for animal cruelty. someone should have been No one ever has been. I personally can't see the importance it deserved. why this matter was not given that died, That the amount of animals

whether it was 200, or whether it was up to 800 was not significant enough for some action to be taken. Hello Mr Glover, how are you, pleased to meet you too. The University's vice chancellor is Professor Barney Glover.

We met at a tour of Mataranka Station late last month. The University accepts the view of the Ombudsman in relation to that matter is that very poor management at the station, primarily related to the station manager at the time, was a major cause of the difficulties that we faced. But on top of that I think it's also fair to say that the response to the crisis at the time, and I'm on the public record in acknowledging that by the university, was not quick enough to get supplementary feed to the cattle that were in distress and we should have been able to do more, more quickly. So what went wrong? To begin to answer that question you have to go back a few years when it was decided Mataranka Station would not just act as an education and training site but would also be operated as a commercial venture. Cattle would be bred for sale.

In May 2009 the beginning of the 6-month dry season,

one of those sales fell through. Meaning the station had more stock than it was able to carry during the hot, dry weather. Well, I seen cattle locked in small paddocks which are holding paddocks, but they were locked in there for - Well they turned out to be in there for over 4 months.

And the weaners that were taken off their mothers were locked in the yards for 4 months

and you could see the condition falling off them on a daily basis. Cattle that are locked in yards for that period of time don't get the supplements they need because you can't feed it to them, they're not being cattle, they're just - they can't act like cattle because they can't go and walk and have a feed and have a drink when it suits them. The Katherine research station is about an hour's drive north of Mataranka Station. It was from there, in early September 2009, that government livestock officers were dispatched

to check out Toby Gorringe's complaints. The inspectors later told the Ombudsman they were... They reported the animals were tick infested and starving. There were insufficient water troughs. A departmental vet read the manager, Ian Gray, his rights, because.. Another officer later told the Ombudsman - The inspectors said they distributed some feed themselves, Another officer later told the Ombudsman - and even shot cattle that had fallen and couldn't get up. But when it was reported back to their own Department of Resources and to the University,

the situation was hosed down. Landline's attempts to speak with the inspectors on camera have been unsuccessful. A departmental email apparently warned staff not to be involved with our program. Instead, we were referred to Fran Kilgariff

who is new to the role of Animal Welfare Authority

in the Department of Housing, Local Government and Regional Services.

Well, I think what went wrong was that the animal welfare branch, historically, had been focused on small companion animals, dogs and cats and pets, and were largely un-prepared for something on that scale and with large animals. She agrees with the Ombudsman that there was confusion as to which authorities were responsible for livestock welfare. Look, I think it's fair to say that in many areas people were not focused on what - perhaps not focused is not the right word, there was not a clariyy about what people's roles were or what the responsibilities of various bodies were, and it's only when you get an incident as tragic as this that people are actually jolted to think that they actually need to be really clear about what their roles and responsibilities are. In the Northern Territory,

to teach with animals, the institution needs a licence. And also needs to establish an Animal Ethics Committee in line with the Animal Welfare Act.

At Charles Darwin University, the same person who held the licence for Mataranka Station was also the chairperson of the ethics committee, as well as being Deputy Cice Chancellor of the university. The Ombudsman called it... That man is Professor Bob Wasson, who appeared before a Parliamentary inquiry earlier this month. Were you part of the first inspection by the animal ethics committee, of the station after the complaints were made? Yes, I was. And in that inspection, did you check the shed to see how much hay was in that shed? Yes, there was zero. In his role on the ethics committee, Professor Wasson was notified very early on about the neglect at Mataranka Station. Another AEC member reported... I just want to make something very, very clear, and this is not an attempt at any way to shift responsibility. The AEC was not the manager of Mataranka and I think some of this conversation has sort of blurred that boundary.

When that conflict of interest was brought to his attention he immediately resigned to resolve the conflict of interest. Certainly my observations - From the committee but not from the university? No, but my observations of the Deputy Vice Chancellor's role during the period of late 2009 and 2010 was someone deeply concerned about the condition of cattle at Mataranka and very committed to trying to address those difficulties.

In October 2009 this man, Tom Stockwell, independent grazing consultant and owner of Sunday Creek Station was contacted by Professor Bob Wasson

to investigate the situation at nearby Mataranka. His report backed up Toby Gorringe's account of animal neglect and he recommended dismissal of station management.

But Mr Stockwell's recommendations were largely ignored. Now it seems to me that it was quite apparent by late in 2009 -

October, November 2009, through Department of Resources reports and also the report by Tom Stockwell

who was employed by the University to have a look at the situation - Contracted by the university. Contracted, it became very apparent that the management were somehow lacking here. Why wasn't the manager, Ian Gray, sacked? We took into account, and the advice that was provided to me, the report from Tom Stockwell, which was a very comprehensive report.

We also took into account the responses to that report by those who were named in the report adversely, in the context of natural justice. We took that into account while the station manager was stood down. And the recommendation to me was to reinstate the station manager but with a series of conditions attached. So they put him back on, said he had no case to answer.

He's done nothing wrong, so Ian goes in there thinking he's done nothing wrong.

So CDU must be at fault there somewhere because they've already told him killing those cattle is not wrong. That's how I look at it.

They put him back on, you have no case to answer, that's how it looks to me. Ian Gray was finally encouraged to leave Mataranka in June last year, almost a year after the first complaints were lodged

and just as the Ombudsman's findings were coming to light. The University negotiated a termination of employment contract of the station manager and he left the university. I don't believe it constitutes any sort of inducement. When the cows come up... After a 30-year career, Mr Gray says he's unable to get a cattle industry job.

And now works in mining.

He's bitter about being targeted by the university, the Ombudsman and the media and doesn't want to appear on camera. His supervisor and the man who steadfastly supported Ian Gray, in the face of mounting criticism,

was qualified university veterinarian, Dr Brian Hyme. He told the Ombudsman...

He's left the CDU to take up a job at a Queensland agricultural college. We spoke at length on the phone but he didn't want to be quoted for fear of dragging his new employer into the saga. In April this year, 6 months after the Ombudsman's report was tabled

in the Northern Territory Parliament, Minister, Malarndirri McCarthy, announced there would be no prosecutions. There's just 12 months to bring a charge under the animal welfare act and that time had expired. It is deeply disappointing that no one will be prosecuted and yes, clearly it is too little too late. The Minister released two legal advice documents,

one from January warning - And the Opposition claimed

it proved the Government was well aware time was running out. The fact that the Government sat on the January report when they still could have brought a prosecution, demonstrates that they were never interested in a prosecution in the first place and I wonder why that might be. In case you're unaware I wish to draw your attention...

In fact Toby Gorringe and his partner sent emails to several members of Parliament including the Chief Minister as far back as October 2009. And a freedom of information request lodged by Landline

reveals Minister McCarthy was being kept informed of the situation from the middle of last year. The Deputy Ombudsman met with the Minister in late June

and showed her the photos of dead and dying animals. I don't agree that a prosecution was not warranted. My personal view, is that had action been taken, when it was first brought to the attention of the university, by us, and also the fact that the Minister was advised, that a prosecution probably would have been successful.

and also the fact that the Minister was advised, There have been allegations the Northern Territory Government has stalled any action to make someone responsible for the events at Mataranka,

in order to protect its own departmental handling, and the reputations of both the university and the cattle industry. Despite my numerous attempts, the Minister responsible would not make herself available

to answer those allegations. When the Northern Territory Government came out in April and said that there would be no likelihood of a prosecution, did you, as an organisation, Charles Darwin, as an organisation, feel you'd dodged a bullet?

If the prosecution should have occurred they should have occurred and if they didn't, that was a mistake on the part of the relevant agencies,

not to have prosecuted. That's not a matter of dodging a bullet. My view, based on the wealth of information that's available now

as a result of the very detailed Ombudsman's report, and the significant investigations the university's undertaken, I would be surprised if a prosecution should not have proceeded in 2009. CDU maintains it issued instructions to 'keep stock alive,' and hundreds of cattle were sold to reduce the load.

The Vice Chancellor is adamant the university did not interfere in any way with the Government's decision to not prosecute.

But as far as I'm aware never, at any time, was any suggestion made that anyone take it easy on the university. Our obligation was to fix the problem and to ensure it could never occur again.

We were responsible and we needed to take action.

So we did not ask for,

we did not seek, and we certainly never covered up any suggestion of the Government taking it easy on the university. OK, and then - Is that clear enough? That is clear enough, that is clear as a bell, thank you. Nothing exists. With many of its students coming from interstate,

the university is at pains to point out With many of its students coming from interstate, that things have changed for the better here at Mataranka Station. Hundreds of thousands of dollars has been spent on infrastructure. The animals are well fed and a new manager is under contract until 2013. We'll just go for a quick drive out.

We'll head up the laneways here. With experience running other cattle stations, Brad Walker is in charge of making sure there's better use of paddocks, that there's appropriate feed and supplement and that breeding the Brahman and composite cattle gets back on the right track. There you go, there's one cow just had a calf. Sitting on the ground there now. Oh, wow. A large, new dam provides an inviting spot for a herd of heifers. The university's grievance handling procedures have been overhauled

and there's a body which meets regularly to discuss the workings at Mataranka. I'm an independent chairman of the Mataranka Station advisory committee and that comprises of one person of the University,

two industry people,

and a person from the Department of Resources in Katherine. So we have a fairly independent view of what's going on. And are you absolutely convinced that if you found some element here that was not up to scratch, that the university would take immediate notice? Yes. The Vice Chancellor, I report to the vice chancellor after every meeting and he's very aware of any issues that may arise

having had to deal with the issues in the past. And I need to see you riding in this yard... Charles Darwin University is also considering getting out of the cattle business. Maintaining the training at Mataranka but relinquishing the herd. From certainly the perspective of the university council, our view is we should be focused on our core business

and our core business is really training and education. our view is we should be focused on our core business And so for us to be operating a working cattle station is risky, this is not our business. The saga at the station has also kicked off a series of changes within government, including the appointment of more animal welfare officers. We now are in no doubt that the department,

that our department, Animal Welfare Branch, is the lead agency in any prosecution. That wasn't really clear before. With the results of a council of Territory cooperation inquiry, due next month, the Animal Welfare Act is also under scrutiny. Currently the statute of limitations within that act is 12 months, we're looking at that to see whether that needs to be extended.

I think nobody wants to sweep this under the carpet. It's been such a tragic and disastrous sort of issue that nobody wants to sweep it under the carpet. What we need to do is learn from it.

Toby Gorringe resigned from Charles Darwin University last month.

What we need to do is learn from it. And has embarked on the next phase of his life at a community a few hundred kilometres away on the Roper River. He will be teaching indigenous teenagers how to ride horses. Horses can teach kids to be anything they want to be. He's been scarred by his experience,

and believes amidst the current live export debate

Horses can teach kids to be anything they want to be. the case at Mataranka focuses attention on animal welfare Horses can teach kids to be anything they want to be.

the case at Mataranka focuses attention on animal welfare Australia wants to go and complain about what's happening in Indonesia

and rightly so, so they should, but they want to have a look at their own backyard first. This is a training organisation, has done as bad or worse than what's happened in Indonesia. So the Government wants to have a look at their own backyard

before they go over to Indonesia and tell them what to do. So it's been two years now, is it time to move on? Yeah, it's time to move on, I've moved on. I've gone to work for the school, but it's very hard to move on mentally

because no one's been charged for what has happened at Mataranka Station. They seem to have got away with animal cruelty which I don't believe in. And how they got away with it I'll never know.

There's been a change at the top of one of the largest farm lobby groups in the country. Fiona Simpson successfully challenged the incumbent, Charles Armstrong,

for the presidency of the NSW Farmers Association.

A victory that as much as anything underscored just how significant the stoush over mining prime agricultural land has become. Farmers are worried that their livelihoods, and Australia's longterm food production is being jeopardised by the ever widening search for resources. Paul Lockyer reports from Fiona Simpson's power base, the Liverpool Plains, in north-western NSW.

The winter grain crop is popping up through the rich black soil of the Liverpool Plains. Come spring, this valley will be bursting with food as preparations are made for harvest. On a nearby ridge, other plans are under way. The second pit will start just down the bottom of this hill and take this hillside out and go down to 150 metres off the edge of the black soil plains.

Joe Clayton is the project director of a huge open cut mine proposed by Shenhua Watermark, a Chinese Government controlled mining company.

edge of the black soil plains. It's hoped that the mine in the NSW north-west, near the village of Breeza, will yield 200 million tonnes of coal over 30 years. Shenhua paid $300 million to the NSW Government

for an exploration licence covering almost 200 square kilometres of farmland and forest.

The reality of the situation is, there is a state asset under the ground that the State owns, and will want to develop to help improve the State for everybody.

All fighting the whole thing in total, there shouldn't be a mine on this sort of land. Absolutely. Landholders on the Liverpool Plains have been fighting mining projects in this region for six years. They've blockaded a property to prevent BHP drillers from exploring below the farmland. But BHP still has plans for mining in the area

and the farmers are determined to try to block them and to block Shenhua. Well the battle here is enormous.

What we are standing in here is the foodlands of Australia. The foodlands of Australia and in fact the foodlands of the world. From her Liverpool Plains farm, Fiona Simpson carried the fight against the resources sector to many other rural communities. It struck a chord. Last week she was elected president of the powerful NSW Farmers Association.

Food security across the world

is going to be one of our biggest issues.

Yet by the same token we see exploration licences and mining licences being granted over some of our most valuable agricultural lands. Shenhua's decision to buy the farmland it intends to mine has brought the company more un-wanted attention. Triggering a debate over foreign investment controls.

I think the community is suddenly finding that there is a large amount of foreign investment that is actually, to all intents and purposes, slipping under the radar. How much have you paid and how many people have you bought property from? We've purchased 14,700 hectares and we've paid $167-million for that. Shenhua has bought a total of 43 properties,

offering well above market value for the land. I would suspect that most of them have got more money

than they thought they would ever dream possible for their places. When Shenhua presented its offer to Chris Rowarth he was quick to accept. He had been juggling off-farm work to make ends meet. With a young family and a bit of ambition

really the decision was made for us. But he was targeted by some mining protestors as a sell out. We got a little bit of stick for selling but I think any reasonable person put in the same position would come up with the same decision. And look, you live with your own decisions would come up with the same decision. and I don't have any trouble sleeping. Chris Rowarth has leased the farm back from Shenhua

and will try to work around the mining

while using most of the windfall from the sale of his property to expand his operations on country elsewhere. The Clift family,

descendents of the first settlers of the Liverpool Plains, are determined to hold on to their farmland in the Shenhua mining zone. Michael Clift's property stretches from the black soil plains

into the ridges that will be mined. I won't be going anywhere in a hurry, that's for sure. You don't get quality land like this anywhere else. So I just love farming and this is where I will be staying. Shenhua insists that its land purchases are only for the life of its mining operation. All the land we've purchased has come under the Foreign Investment Review Board rules

for mining purposes only. So we can only own the land for mining purposes. When the mine is completed we have to sell the land. I think a lot of people now are seeing purchases, such as the Shenhua purchase, for example,

where they are going to be mining our coal, they are basically going to be sterilising our agricultural resource for two or three generations. And exporting that coal, as to not necessarily serving much of a national interest.

In nearby Gunnedah, there's mixed feelings about the new mining boom. On one hand, you know, it's been hugely beneficial economically, the creation of jobs, the new businesses, On one hand, you know, it's been hugely beneficial economically, the new industry that's come as a result. It's provided a much needed boost to a town that had begun to question whether it had a future.

Gunnedah began to decline a decade ago with the closure of the abattoir and three coal mines. Just as drought descended on the region. Coal mining has long contributed to the economy of the area

but Gunnedah still sees itself as an agricultural centre

and the mayor, Adam Marshall, worries about the impact that the new exploration areas will have on the farmers. Government releasing exploration licences in very sensitive areas where agriculture is strong, where food production is the main stay and we're seeing now a lot of conflict between mining interests and agricultural interests that we've never really seen in this area. On the Liverpool Plains it's as much a fight about water resources

as it is about coal mining. There are major concerns about how the proposed mining operations could affect the precious supplies of underground water that grow the food.

This is about whether we compromise water resources and prime agricultural land for extractive industries, it's as simple as that. It's not very hard to imagine what it's going to do here. Tim Duddy and others who led the fight against BHP's exploration attempts won agreement that a study should be conducted into the ground water supplies before any mining could be considered. But news that Shenhua has decided to drill 3 deep test holes on a block it's bought on the Liverpool Plains has triggered a new alarm. It's like putting a hole beneath your bath tub basically,

drilling a hole with a drill through your bath tub just to have a look at the floor underneath. Neighbour, Andrew Purshouse, suspects that Shenhua is searching for Coal through your bath tub as it carries out its water sampling. And he fears that drilling through the main aquifer

could disturb and contaminate the system. Anything to do with this aquifer, I don't think it's worth the risk, because you can't put it back together. One will go in and test the aquifer and in the fractured rock of the basement material, the permium and in the fresh permium material. And it's purely for water monitoring purposes.

No sampling for coal at all? No. And it's purely for water monitoring purposes.

But Andrew Pursehouse is unconvinced, and he plans to form a blockade to stop the drilling rig. I want future generations to know that farmers in the Liverpool Plains took a stand on this and it has to stop. Landholders believe that unless they stop mining now the coal reserves under the Liverpool Plains will inevitably be targeted.

Over time the community will come to understand that we are serious about what we say and we are concerned about the aquifers and the environment in this area. But all the assurances

have been greeted with a high degree of scepticism on the Liverpool Plains.

There's an atmosphere of distrust, and it's spreading to many other rural areas

where mining companies are widening their search for resources. Concerns that are being fueled by the controversial tapping of coal seam gas reserves. There's concern about coal seam gas is the water and the effects on the water, the effects on the water table of changing the pressures underneath the surface of the Earth, and of course what are you going to do with all that water they pump up to extract the gas? And the salt, the heavy salts and metals and things in that water. Never before have there been such deep tensions between the agricultural and resources sectors. I think in parts of NSW and Queensland

we are heading very quickly towards an ignition point. Tony Windsor, the Federal Independent MP who was raised on the Liverpool Plains believes state governments have mishandled the resources sector

and he's introducing legislation in the next session of Parliament to give the Commonwealth greater powers to intervene. To over-rule the States in terms of some of these developments. So, I guess that's a veiled threat in a sense. The States could have fixed this some years ago. Shenhua has already made a huge investment in these hills. It's not about to fold and leave. The farmers are gearing up for a long battle. You know 100 years down the track will we just be a quarry? Or will we still have some decent farmland

to produce food for the people of Australia? And next week on Landline we'll bring you a full report

on the fiery Senate inquiry into the coal seam gas industry on Queensland's Darling Downs. To our news summary now, and there are been calls this week for the Federal Government to take over the regulation of the coal seam gas industry. Farmers in western Queensland have told a Senate inquiry it's a conflict of interest for the State Government

to regulate an industry that it stands to make so much money from.

The Senate committee into rural and regional affairs and transport

flew into the heart of gas country to take evidence for its inquiry. We're going to make sure that the Government's accountable

and that people's rights are respected.

The committee heard farmers were struggling to cope with this booming new energy industry. Some landholders are just signing the initial agreements because it seems too daunting and they feel under immense pressure. Kate Scott and her husband John run a beef property that's been earmarked for gas.

We have many nights where we wake up in the middle of the night feeling this isn't the way we ever imagined it was going to be. The gas company with rights to drill the Scott's property, Brigadoon,

has told the couple that in 3 years they will install 15 wells plus underground pipes,

overhead power lines and roads connecting each well. The couple have not been able to get assurances from the gas company

whether that will be the end of the development here. How is agriculture expected to survive with this sort of intrusion. We don't think the current legislation will protect us.

The boss of one of the biggest beef businesses in Australia told the committee beef prices could rise

as the gas industry moves further into cattle country. And that he's worried about the environmental impact of gas drilling. The unknown puts the whole Queensland beef cattle industry, at risk. He says it's a conflict of interest for the State Government to regulate the industry.

When the regulator is one of the significant beneficiaries

will the regulation always be fair and even handed? On the other side of the continent,

thousands of people gathered on Broome's Cable Beach for the biggest protest against the proposed Kimberley gas hub so far.

Organisers say it was a celebration of Broome's unique environment which they fear will be destroyed if Woodside's allowed to build a $30 billion LNG processing precinct just north of the town.

I think it should send a clear message to the Government

that the community of Broome likes its lifestyle, does not want to become a mining town or an industrial town like the Pilbara. A final decision is due by the end of the year. South Australian farmers say, a monopoly held by the state's main grain bulk handler needs to be broken to improve competition in the industry.

If you're a body of any description, and you want to export bulk grain out of this State you have to put it through a Viterra site. A Parliamentary inquiry has been told, Viterra's hold on the grain supply chain is stifling smaller operators. 90% of the grain is stored in one entity and they have full control of the ports. Many were angry over delays at Viterra's silos

and the downgrading of grain which was assessed visually rather than by machine. The company's defended the process during a Parliamentary inquiry and denies there's a monopoly. There is no barrier to entry for storage and handling to be invested in, either on farm, or at other facilities across the State. Still in South Australia, citrus growers have visited Adelaide's Central Market to show why they're facing one of their toughest seasons

despite a bumper crop.

They say the high Australian dollar means it's too expensive to export their product and the oversupply is threatening to send some out of business.

It's a serious glitch but we've re-done our budgets on our farms and but we are here to really sell the message - a positive message that farmers don't want a handout, we just want South Australian consumers

to buy our very, very, very best navels. Shoppers could soon find that easier to do, with orange prices expected to drop within weeks.

And finally the Royal Flying Doctor Service, the RFDS, threw open the doors of its hangar to celebrate the official opening of its expanded facilities in Dubbo, in central western NSW. Along with an education centre the base now has a new treatment area.

Last year the service acquired a second aircraft for Dubbo and a large chunk of it was paid for through fund raising. And a service such as this

is what makes Australia such a unique and great nation.

An air of gloom remains over Northern Australia despite the decision two weeks ago,

to end the suspension of the live cattle trade to Indonesia. Not one boat has been booked, let alone loaded. And it looks like it could be atleast another three or four weeks before exporters get Australian Government approval. The financial impact is building by the day. We need to see Government, very much, focused on assisting industry to stay alive,

to put it on life support. Because at the moment, we have people who are going - Due to financial circumstances, and physical, logistical circumstances that they're now being placed in, is some pretty bad territory. A question everyone is dodging at present perhaps because there appears to be no logical answer, is what happens to upwards of 300,000 head of cattle which won't go north to Indonesia this year, because exporters will bump into the wet season

when it's almost impossible to muster or transport cattle? Now, here's a typical Northen Territory mob. when it's almost impossible to muster or transport cattle? If they're not on a boat to Indonesia very soon,

they'll stay in the paddock and almost certainly

get fatter and fatter. No doubt, by the time the next dry season comes around they'll be well above the 350 kilo limit set by Indonesia. So where do 300,000 fat brahmans then go? Too fat to export, and if they're sent south

the taxi-fare would be $150 to $200 a head. And on top of that, most of them would need to be fed even more to attract the interest of meat works. The economics of the export ban are now devastating. The bottom line is no income for many individuals and companies

for three months or more.

On Friday, Beef Central Newsletter quoted a rural counselor as saying,

'many territory businesses are on the financial brink and the situation is getting worse by the day.' So what happened last week at the sale yards? Well, there was a mix of signals with throughput up, restockers very active despite the slowing of fodder growth, and strong competition for tight supplies of prime cattle. restockers very active despite the slowing of fodder growth, Trade cattle prices continue to yo-yo up and down by much the same margin on alternate weeks. Jap-Ox prices reflect the toughness of the export market.

Cow demand is firm and feeder steers are popular, lifting eleven cents. And predictably, there's little news on the live trade. Some breeder cattle are being shipped but I'm told the new supply chain protocols are proving extremely difficult to implement

and even the biggest companies are failing audits. The Eastern Young Cattle Indicator has lifted 2% since June and remains 6% higher than this time last year at $3.80.

Wet and cold conditions impacted on lamb and sheep markets, throughput last week was down 32% on the same week last July. So our lamb indicator went up 3c and a drop in quality saw mutton slip 6c a kilo.

And the pig market was again firm, rates for bacon and pork are steady across all states. Dairy farmers appear to be doing OK. At least that's the case if you export,

but that cheap supermarket milk remains a real problem. Export prices for butter and skim milk powder are softening somewhat and might slip even further in coming weeks. But those prices remain historically high. To grains now where wheat is coming into sharp focus as export competition emerges as the key element in world price levels for wheat. Russia is now looking set to become a major export player in contrast to last year when they exported just about zilch.

So wheat slipped 22c in Chicago, corn also fell despite ongoing concern over drought conditions and soybeans remained steady on the back of handy sales to China. Our ASX traded significant volumes and values were softish. The Commonwealth Bank agribusiness report says, east coast wheat will need a kind spring to meet production forecasts.

Old crop prices are strong for wheat, steady for canola,

while sorghum slipped to a 12 month low. Back to New York for the softs and further contract cancellations put more pressure on cotton, while sugar has consolidated recent gains. Cotton dropped below $1 a pound for the first time since last September and sugar buyers are still unsure about the size of the Brazil crop. Most of the sentiment is very bullish. Wool sellers and buyers are on vacation back in a few weeks.

So that's the Landline check on prices. Longtime Landline viewers will remember the handful of yarns we've done over the years with the father of wholistic management, Allan Savory. check on prices. The Rhodesian born US based biologist and rancher has been challenging generations of farmers and land managers to rethink the way they make the key decisions

that affect their sustainability and profitability of their enterprises.

Allan Savory's been back in Australia for the fast few weeks and as he told Landline executive producer, Pete Lewis, he's been intrigued by the current political debate over climate change and carbon tax. I know it will get awfully messy because they're trying to create a very complex policy and it's hard to do that where people are not deeply reflecting

and where they're just getting into argument and counter argument. and it's hard to do that where people are not deeply reflecting

So I think they've got great difficulty, and because of our work on how to formulate complex policies like this we're aware that it's almost impossible to do it in the environment in which they're trying to,

in the way they're trying to do it. So I wish them all the best but I think it will get messy. Now you've been coming backwards and forwards to Australia over many years,

do you get a sense that agriculture is any more receptive to the need to take action on climate change than other parts of the economy?

Again it's difficult to assess when you're just a passing visitor. I think that the work we're doing which is absolutely essential to being able to truly address climate change

is beginning to grow rapidly. We almost seem to be reaching a tipping point so that I do sense and see but I don't know to what extent we're talking to the choir. It's hard to pick up what the mainstream thinking is, but I suspect that the mainstream thinking is still aggravating the problem. What I mean by that, is if Australia is to address the floods and droughts,

80% or so of which are man-made and don't have anything to do with climate change yet, if they're to really address that, the mainstream thinking of science, not just in Australia but worldwide, is to do so using technology, resting land or fire. And with those tools it's simply not possible to seriously address

or reverse decertification and thus climate change.

And with those tools it's simply not possible to seriously address You're fraught with difficulties what you're trying to do here. And with those tools it's simply not possible to seriously address One of the problems that we have here is that everybody, science and everybody, was looking for some silver bullet, some magic, some technology, to be told what to do. Nobody, least of all myself, was looking for a new way to make decisions.

We weren't even looking in the right area. None of you get it. Do you know what the secret of life is? No, what? This. Your finger? One thing, just one thing. You stick to that and everything else don't mean shit. That's great but what's the one thing?

That's what you've got to figure out. What Allan Savory has in mind, is a decision making process focused on a single wholistic goal. Holistic means the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

In other words, never take your eye off the big picture when making decisions about the detail. Some people get it very quickly and it's profoundly simple.

And some people have come to training year after year after year and they just never get it. I first encountered Allan Savory and wholistic management at a conference in Orange in central western NSW, back in 1999. Many of us find our comfort zone very hard to break out of and do things that are quite different that many of our neighbours might not quite approve.

But unless we do, you'll just go down with the rest of your neighbours who are complaining all the time about how the world is crashing commodity prices, how the world is cruel,

how the Government ought to do something. But it's you that is the answer. The Professor hit on the one thing that seems to distinguish wholistic farmers from everyone else,

they all seem powered by positive thinking.

So what's the take up been like in the 12 years since we did that story? Well, it's been better than any other continent. get a detailed training.

And they're very skilled coaches and teachers and in the Savory Institute now where we're going to be calling on people like this worldwide,

I'm afraid we're going to be looking to Australia where we're going to be calling on people like this worldwide, for some of our best people that trained with us some years ago. So you have them here, you've had a lot of media attention, etc,

you are a smaller bureaucracy, a country that's able to move more easily than giant countries and bureaucracies so I have high hopes for here.

Because of the Australian mentality, the attitude, size of the country and the quality of the people you've got. So I think you are going to end up world leaders. George King convinced his family to give wholistic management a go on their property near Orange. A continuous farming enterprise since colonial days, Coombing Park was very nearly history itself. We couldn't afford to improve it traditionally

nor could we afford not to improve it.

Both ways we would have gone broke, so we had to make some massive changes. The main change we made was about the end of January last year. We put all our mobs together. Going from about 25 mobs of stock to 1 mob. What did your neighbours think? They think we're mad, I think. Just through basic lack of understanding.

Now from your experience, do progressive family farms tend to adopt this new way of thinking quicker than corporates, universities and say bureaucracies? Yes, definitely without question. Families tend to adopt it earliest. Tragically often coming to us when they're nearly broke. We can still help them, but that's tragic.

And then governments, universities, they follow much later and that's the norm. Individuals within government, individuals within universities have worked with us for many years but for them to get institutional change is as difficult as it is for me. It takes a long time to get institutional change. An example of that is over-grazing of plants.

We've known for over 60 years that that's not due to animal numbers. And ranchers, farmers, independent scientists have picked that up, worked with it for 60 years. And governments, environmental organisations, even ranching organisations have yet to accept that 60 years later. I've made quite a lot of mistakes in the first year. We're sort of pioneering this a bit in this district.

But it's all learning experiences and a lot better than what we were doing the previous year. So has George King won over all those sceptical neighbours? Not yet, I don't think. The neighbours look over the fence and say you're getting more rain. I think that's common worldwide. Allan Savory, we appreciate your time, thanks again for joining us again on Landline. Thanks again for your support.

It's been an unusual week weather wise. Some really unseasonal big falls in the east and some handy rain over wide areas of the west. First the Southern Oscillation Index. There's the graph, a reasonable upwards spike now plus 8.5.

I'll wait to see if that's an ongoing trend but for the moment it doesn't say too much one or the other about any radical change. To the rainfall and the map will tell the story. That rain on the east coast included a big dump on Sydney, more than 200 millimetres in some suburbs and it was cold as well.

Victoria was cold and damp, and the surprise came from Western Australia

where you can see that big drink stretching into the Great Victorian Desert.

To numbers now, Cunnamulla in Queensland would have enjoyed that 20 millimetres. In the New South Wales farming country readings included 11 at Parkes. Reeves Knob in the West Gippsland of Victoria scored 164 millimetres. 5 was the reading at Rotherwood in Tasmania. Myponga in South Australia had 24. Two millimetres was found in the gauge at Gove Airport, while Meckering in the southern wheat belt of WA picked up 29 millimetres.

And that's the landline check on rainfall. Next week, there's finally going to be some independent science into coal seam gas. We felt and feel that there's a need for some credible independent research into different areas

to help inform policy makers and our own decisions

to get the maximum benefit from these projects that we can get for Queensland and the communities of Australia. Playing catch up on coal seam gas, one of our stories when Landline returns next week. Don't forget you can follow us on Twitter - @abclandline.

And keep up with what's happening behind the scenes on our blog - The Overflow.

We'll see you next time. Bye for now. Closed Captions by CSI