25th November 2014
The court case started yesterday on the 24th November. Last week there was pre trial argument where the Commonwealth Government Solicitor and the NSW Crown Solicitor were able to challenge the witnesses that Spencer wished to subpoena. Three witnesses survived this process, they are: Dr David Kemp – who was Minister for the Environment and Heritage from November 2001 to July 2004; Mr Mal Peters OAM – past President of the NSW Farmers; Mr Charles Armstrong – who followed in the role of President of the NSW Farmers’ Association. These people will be extra to the witnesses who voluntarily agreed to be a witness in this court case.
Monday 24th was taken up largely with an opening statement by Mr Kirk, the barrister for the NSW Crown Solicitor’s Office. On Tuesday Mr Lenehan for the Commonwealth Government Solicitor will make his opening statement and Peter Spencer will make his in the afternoon. A long way to go, it has just begun.
Spencer has to prove that the Commonwealth gained a benefit from and encouraged the States to impose vegetation management laws and therefore the Commonwealth has to pay compensation for a loss of a property right. The biggest stumbling block will be the defence that the States were going to undertake this action anyway.
This is a new web site dedicated to the Peter Spencer court case which will be regularly updated as events unfold. https://joinpeterspencer.wordpress.com/
Thank you to those who have made donation. I am very aware that some of you in agricultural businesses are looking at the third year in a row of bare earth. Everyone in agriculture are not well off financially because of extended dry periods at a time when costs have gone through the roof and commodity prices have flatlined. Those who can please send in a donation; the court case is set down for 3 weeks and there will be many costs incurred.
Property Rights Australia will accept a cheque in the mail payable to PRA Fighting Fund Account. Please include a note that the funds are earmarked for the Peter Spencer’s court case and a return address so that a receipt can be issued. Send the cheque to PRA Office PO Box 609, Rockhampton Q 4700. If you would prefer to Direct Deposit the details are as follows:
Bank: Suncorp Account Name: Property Rights Australia Fighting Fund BSB: 484-799 Account Number: 03722- 4400
Forest grazing leases
Now would be a good time for any members with Qld forest grazing leases to approach the department with any concerns. The influence of green activism has hung around with over prescriptive conditions included in leases renewals. Government ministers have been made aware of the situation in this case by Agforce and appear keen to rectify the situation. Another issue members may wish to approach the department with is that of control burning. Those in the western hardwood region are only too well aware that without a fire every few years the grass quality for grazing becomes next to useless.
Leasehold titles & freeholding
The PRA board has no reason not to believe that the Qld government has made considerable improvements in these areas. If you have experienced difficulties with the changes the government has put in place please leave us know.
Review of biosecurity regulations
PRA made a submission to the Qld government review into biosecurity regulations where the government had foreshadowed the option of a fee being applied to all PIC numbers. The PRA submission stated that we strongly believed all Biosecurity Protocols are for the good of all Queenslanders and all communities. No producer should incur any further costs. The submission pointed out how poorly managed the Brahman BJD quarantine has been managed. All biosecurity outbreaks could be better responded to if biosecurity staffing levels be returned to regional areas.
This is an example of stress & hardship inflicted on a landowner by poor biosecurity management.
P&E Law seminar
On the 12th November I attended a mini 2 hr seminar at Taroom run by Matt Patterson & Adam Phillips from P&E Law. I found it to very good especially how it took you back to the basics giving a better understanding how one resource Act fits in with the others.
Shine will hold a seminar at Wandoan Cultural Centre on Wednesday 3rd December. Topics will include: Scale, scope & character of the QGC Wandoan project; ‘Make Good’ agreement negotiation strategies; New approach QGC has taken with negotiating Conduct & Compensation agreements; Updated tips & tricks.
Changes to resource legislation
This remains an area that the board is deeply disappointed about and it is extremely frustrating when there already was an imbalance of power that the Qld government is amending legislation to further favour resource companies. There have been a lot of developments in this area and another newsletter will follow in quick succession to this one covering State Development Areas, Regional Planning Interest regulations and amendments to the Water Act.
Next month you will receive your membership renewal. The board is updating the system so that we can account for individual members. In the past membership was paid & recorded on an enterprise basis only which does not allow us to know how many individual members PRA has.
Dale Stiller, Chairman
Property Rights Australia
Phone: 07 49213430
Fax: 07 49213870
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