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TAS Country : August 12th 2010
18 Tasmanian Country Friday, August 13, 2010 You Say email@example.com Scaremongering unwarranted This tells the whole story of what is happening in all rural areas of Australia --- not just Tasmania.' FARMGATE prices are a con- cern to farmers, and costs along the food supply chain to the supermarket are something only the Federal Government can look into and fix --- along with labelling to stop us eating in- ferior imported foods. These issues cover all the primary industries in Australia. My trip to China was not running dairying down in Aust- ralia. To the contrary, we spent time at the World Dairy Expo promoting Tasmania as a whole, not just dairying. They loved the countryside and the pictures of our farms. And why not? We live in a beautiful place and they could not believe that we own our own farms. Their interest has certainly been misinterpreted and, to be honest, this scaremongering is not warranted. They looked after us and treated us with great respect, and with all of this rubbish going on, it makes me wonder why I ever bothered trying to help others. The Circular Head District is reliant on the rural industry and it is important that cropping and dairy are both viable for farmers. Another problem that is going to face Australia soon is whether a young farmer is going to be able to afford their own farming property. Unless a scheme for them is put into place very soon, what hope do they have? I have discussed and made public this idea because there was a low cost government loan for farmers years ago and this should be reintroduced. At the forum, a commitment was made to make the Federal Government aware that if they do not look after our primary industries, we will be importing all our food. What will happen to our food sources in Australia? All farmers want is a fair price for their products. Costs have kept increasing to run farming properties and with power increases likely, how can farmers absorb more costs? We are certainly not saying the industry is ruined, but what we are saying is that the multinatio- nals should have regulation and that farmers should not have to receive less than a fair price for their products. I chose to go to China and search for buyers. They were from other coun- tries too. I see no difference in going there or to NZ field days. Some farmers would like to get on with their lives in another direction, and for whatever reason, have exited the rural sector. I have been getting calls from farmers on the mainland hoping that there may be a buyer out there. This tells the whole story of what is happening in all rural areas of Australia --- not just Tasmania. Maybe a survey could be done of all businesses in Smithton. I am sure that for many, the past 12 months have been tough. We rely heavily on the rural sector, and it is well known that farmers are hurting. There had been no mention until last week of any primary industry policies in the federal election campaign. I have sent emails to Tony Burke and Bill Heffernan, mak- ing them aware that rural indus- tries (not just city industries) in Australia create a lot of jobs and need assistance urgently. BETTY KAY Manager Landmark Real Estate Smithton Game managers best equipped for population control Quality game managers have a better chance of achieving a good result than deregulation ever will.' I have been a wildlife manager/hunter for the past 30 years and have been a member of a prop- erty based game manage- ment group for the past 14 years. I have studied our group' s achievements of the past 14 years and I am very proud of the results. As game managers we are not rangers and we have no agenda other than to ensure that future gener- ation have access to pro- ductive trophy hunting areas. We understand that this needs to be balanced with the needs of property ow- ners, government groups, legislation and data collec- tion and our members. Our hard work has ta- ken our small hunting area from bad to great. I would like to offer this as an alternative to deregu- lation, which in my view is similar to erecting a do not enter sign on the gate but leaving it open. We need to make it easier to manage deer, not make it easier for the criminal to steal our wild- life. I suggest that we encour- age more game manage- ment via our Game Man- agement Services Unit and an easier process for prop- erty owners to protect their crops. We started our property based game management about 14 years ago, starting with the writing of a prop- erty assessment, set goals for the property owners and hunters, formulated a property based solution for browsing animal control. .It was extremely tough to begin with but the re- sults have been fantastic. I would like to share some of our achievements which demonstrate that quality game managers have a better chance of achieving a good result than deregulation ever will. In our first year we had 130-plus hunters, who har- vested four stags with an average of 9 antler points, 4500 wallabies, 4000 pos- sums and 200-plus antler- less deer. The low stag quality and quantity resulted in our group members reducing quickly, hunters moved to more productive deer hunting areas, some gave up hunting fallow in Tassie and chose to hunt sambar in Victoria as an alterna- tive. We had to force deer hunters that remained to have at least two wallaby and two possum control trips a year or they would lose hunting access to deer during the stag season. Our group reduced over the next four to five years to our present number at 70 to 80 members. The remaining members have benefited along with the cooperation of great property owners. For the past five years we are harvesting around 800 to 1000 wallabies, 300 possum and no antler-less deer for the past three years, for the past five years we have averaged 20 stags with an average of 19.7 antler points and regu- larly take 220-plus Douglas score trophy animals. All members contribute more than six times the licence cost directly to the property owners for ac- cess. We have reduced the antler-less deer numbers from thousands to around 350 on our property, re- duced wallabies and pos- sums and increased our stag harvest. The value to the prop- erty owner would be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars over the time of our agreement, the rec- reational benefit for our members and families can- not be measured. The property owners, members of the public, Government departments and hunters alike would lose under deregulation. Is our trout fishery next as trout are also an intro- duced species? ANDREW WINWOOD Culled wallabies going to waste Areportofacullof1 million wallabies and pademelons (rufous wal- labies) in the Mercury goes on to say there is a popu- lation of 10 million bennets and 10 million rufuos wal- labies in Tasmania. These figures are based on spotlight surveys, done by driving around with a spotlight counting num- bers over a given route and one of the most question- able ways of doing a sur- vey. Jan Davis from the TFGA said we must have the ability to utilise culled animals in a productive manner. She goes on to say that the Federal Govern- ment refuses to grant ap- proval for such a licence --- a position the TFGA finds untendable. In truth perhaps Ms Davis should check her facts. Flinders and King Is- lands have had export li- cences for wallabies for some years. However, peo- ple setting up for a harvest- ing plan have not been able to make it pay, and it seems that the licences have not been used for some time and therefore may not have been re- newed. It appears to me, alth- ough the population is large in both rufous and bennets, the size of the animals is a major ob- stacle. When you have an animal weighing probably less than 5 kilograms in most cases and mainland roo shooters having roo probably weighing 50 kilograms of meat then we have a problem. In the case of possums I understand that the DPI wildlife department has been working on a harvest plan over the last 12 months. This plan appears to be awaiting a tick off when the election is over. Possums will not only yield meat but hair when mixed with wool. We all have heard of the New Zealand jumpers made from this mixture and it seems that one local wool spinner is also in- terested in a wool/possum blend. If only we can get wall- aby skin as well as meat then we might get people setting up to harvest the animals. I feel certain that if we could actually suc- ceed in getting a market for these animals it would be possible to get an export permit just like possums. 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