The introduction of improved pasture species into our regions has …

Comment on Fire in the desert: a formidable threat and a tool by Steve Brown.

The introduction of improved pasture species into our regions has been a great blessing for pastoralists, improving our soil’s fertility and producing vast amounts more fodder from every rainfall event. Naturally the greater productivity also brings with it greater fire risk. Risk that must be managed. The very small available population to take on that greater management role must raise questions about overall land use and structure in Central Australia. Government should be giving serious consideration to allowing pastoralists whose properties can demonstrate marked pasture improvement by species such as buffel to subdivide into smaller more manageable lots, this way also lifting the population of available personnel to deal with major fire events and other land management issues.
There is however one fundamental issue that must be addressed by our various land management agencies in order to make way for a more sustainable management of our landscape. That is to change the fundamental misconception rife within land management agencies that country needs to burn, “that it is OK to burn”!
It is not OK! It does not need to burn,ever! The attitude derives from a paternal belief about Aboriginal fire stick farming, that in some way it is good for the country. This is a totally false premise. Burning, especially repetitive burning does enormous damage to our soils, our landscape and our wildlife. Despite popular belief country struggles to come back from major fire events and can quite literally take decades to return to its former productivity. That is why it must become the watchword, the all pervading philosophy of all involved agencies to stop, to prevent fires at all costs!
Can you imagine taking your car and pranging it into a wall in an effort to prevent the greater damage caused by a head-on prang or pushing the front row of glasses off the shelf before they could fall by themselves? Sounds stupid, doesn’t it? Yet we take that same idiotic approach to fire risk management. We know there is a good possibility of fire in the season ahead so we start the fire before they can start themselves, supposedly cold, fuel [not feed] reducing fires.
Looking back at past seasons, what has been the result of this practice? We’ve burnt the grass in case it burnt, supposedly a cold burn that did less damage but was that really the case? What have we actually saved? The grass is gone, any unsound tree goes, fire hot or cold, we’ve ended up with no pasture, less trees, much less wildlife and returned our pastoralists to drought conditions unless there is a rainfall event, so what exactly did we save???
These burn offs and allowing the fires to run, which is common practice, these deliberately lit, so called cold fires have been the birthplace of nearly every large destructive fire in recent times, especially those originating in national parks. Because of the ingrained attitude of, “it’s better to let it burn now, in case it burns latter”, vast swathes of the countryside have been allowed to burn.
Nowhere is this practice more evident than just to the west of Alice. The once pastoral lease of Simpsons Gap now under the management of Territory Parks who in their bumbling efforts to manage very successful pasture growth saddled by patronising paternal beliefs about firestick farming have set out to cold burn the park on every occasion there has been a bit of dry grass in sight. On nearly every occasion they have lost control of their burn and instead of burning small parcels have burned nearly the entire park and its surrounds, creating an ecological disaster, wiping out colonies of rare wildlife, threatening their own and the town’s infrastructure.
So what did they achieve with the burn? What did they prevent?
I hope those reading this will gain some understanding of the fundamental stupidity of our present approach to fire management and take a long hard look at how we go about it. Yes fire has to be used to prevent and contain fire but the emphasis must be on the word prevent!! It is simply not OK to burn!!
Fire management must concentrate its energies on the establishment of graded fire breaks at considerable greater frequency. Emphasis must be put on fire intelligence and rapid response with an all out goal of extinguishment of any fire event as rapidly as possible. Much greater emphasis particularly in national parks needs to be given to grazing – eat the dam stuff, it’s food! The grazing of cattle and national parks are not mutually exclusive nor is the survival of wildlife, understand that country, industry, people and wildlife are immensely damaged by fire, minimise its presence on our landscape! Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to burn the house – can’t live with the risk of it catching fire any longer.

ED – The Alice Springs News Online will offer right of reply to Parks and Wildlife about the burns at Simpsons Gap.

ED – A spokesperson for Parks and Wildlife provided the following response:

The Parks and Wildlife Service has demonstrated sound management practices undertaking prescribed burns on park estate with Traditional Owners for over 30 years. It has been proven through numerous reviews and studies (including the recent Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission’s response) that country will eventually burn and burn more extensively and hotter if just left until the occurrence of lightning strike fires or “accidental” ignition, especially in extensive fuel load situations that prevail following extended periods of above average rainfall, whether grazed or un-grazed.

Steve Brown Also Commented

Fire in the desert: a formidable threat and a tool
Don’t you just love that little comment from our wonderfully competent friends in Territory Parks! So if an Aboriginal person stands alongside you when you drop the match to light a fire does it burn differently than if you do it yourself? Would you agree that an attitude of accepting that it does could be regarded as patronizing paternalism or in fact just plain racism used to justify an unjustifiable position?
So to prevent the possible event of some supposed impossibly hot fire you are prepared to burn again and again and again which in a period of twenty years may mean you’ve burnt dozens of times to prevent a possible fire that may never have occurred naturally in that time?
Just this week you been hooraying the wonderful find of our local possum species the same ones that your cold burn policy wiped from existence on Simpsons Gap some years ago probably explains your relief at the new find. Nice to know that a cold burn wasn’t responsible for the extermination of the last of the species, then again got any cold burns coming up soon at Ormiston?
The fact is your policy of cold burning has been an environmental disaster of which your department should be utterly ashamed! Time to take a fresh approach. Use fire to prevent fire around vital infrastructure. Forget the Victorian bush fires. Concentrate on your own region where the management issues are completely different. You are not burning off to prevent fire damage to nearby infrastructure as in Victoria. You are burning off because some academic heard somewhere that that is what traditional owners used to do. It is simply not true!
If they had they would have starved to death in half a generation! Stop the blatant vandalism of our parks by blow-in racist academics.


Recent Comments by Steve Brown

Pine Gap and the Nobel prize the Oz government ignores
@ Hal.. My comments relate to the American efforts in the Pacific not Europe. It would behove every Australian to member those efforts, together we turned the tide against the Japanese in New Guinea and in the huge naval battle, The Battle of the Coral Sea! These Battles, strong Australians and Americans standing up, laying down their lives for what we believe. It is they who you can thank for the last 70 years of Peace! Not lefty activist hanging on fences, Australians should never forget that fact. We should not bite the hand that held so strongly to our own, in our Nations hour of peril, Love or Loath their politics, we owe them a great debt, “Yep” The good Old USA!


Pine Gap and the Nobel prize the Oz government ignores
Kind of odd that your Dad didn’t note after escaping the Germans that the only thing that stood between him and the Japanese was the strength and commitment of the USA. Or perhaps he arrived after the work was done and failed, like yourself Russell, to acknowledge those who did that work.
Those who sacrificed their lives, bringing about the “peace” that you seem think you have some claim on.
Peace is brought about by strength, Russell, not by cringing appeasement or for that matter by dirty unemployed blow ins climbing on the fences of our nation’s defences! Acting Russell for those who would tear us down, not for peace!
People in general across the world, including Americans, want and strive for peace, Russell. Funnily enough they actually do not like or appreciate the efforts of so called peace activists, in attempting to break down their positions of strength, because, Russell, those who read history, who understand human nature, know that only the strong find peace and hold it only while they remain strong.
Just as we have seen with North Korea, years of cringing appeasement instead of an early strong stance has led to escalation allowing the creation of a nuclear armed rouge state! A threat to the entire world!
The only thing that will bring North Korea to the negotiating table, Russell, is if they truly believe America is intent on attacking them.
That makes Donald Trump the most likely person to bring about peace! Try not to choke, lunatic lefties!
In the event Korea can’t be forced to disarm all the peace activist in the world hanging on fences all around the world will not make the slightest difference to Kim Jong-un unless of course they succeed in weakening the American position which of course would leave a laughing Kim Jong-un free to wreak havoc and mayhem upon the world. Because that, Russel, will be thee inevitable outcome.
Look back through your history books and see how long appeasement has ever kept a bully at bay.
Appeasement escalates!
It is not the road to peace it is the road to war!
Yes that’s scary, you’ve a right to be afraid, but don’t worry just as they have on every occasion before someone else will stand up for you and you better hope like hell that those Yanks you love to sling off at, are among them, or we, Russell, all of us, are in bloody big trouble!
Wisdom tells us that its not a particularly smart idea to bite the hand that feeds you. I can absolutely assure you that neither is it a particularly smart idea to bite the hand of the only nation that stands between you and annihilation!
America and Americans have stood beside us Aussies through thick and thin they have shed countless lives to protect us as we in turn have done for them.
They are our brothers and sisters defenders of western democracy at all costs and they have been a great big fantastic contributor to the town of Alice Springs, a huge rewarding contributing part of our community, for some 50 years!
A contribution that vastly exceeds the very questionable contribution of a few disaffected peace activists whose true intent was tearing our society down. Yes, the left over rejects of the failed Communist era.


Master plan for town, reconciliation plan for Australia Day
More divisive green party identity politics…
Just making sure those Aboriginals are separated out from the rest, nothing wrong with apartheid if you’re on the right concerned and well meaning side of it.
Aboriginal Aussies need to be reminded every day of their isolation and victim status, especially the kids, can’t have them thinking they’re just like everybody else, equal to the rest of us.
We can easily achieve this goal by flying separate flags, can’t have Aboriginal people thinking of themselves as equal partners in the Australian Nation! “Not one of the mob”! If we allow that how are we going to justify speaking for them, patronising them, creating wonderful government programs at huge expense to look after them? “Yes”, of course at a small fee, Greens have to live too. This is all for their own good, they are victims you know….
Yes all of the above is to be read with dripping sarcasm.
Segregation, Paternalism, Apartheid are our enemy not our friend, deeds done in another race’s name not at their request is what’s known as Paternalism or being Paternalistic. It is the most vile and the most destructive of all forms of racism, it steals away other people’s souls, their identity, their equality and their lives!
Yep, that’s Green Party politics.
Anzac Hill belongs to all of us.
it is there to represent and commemorate the Nations War dead it was given over by the TO’S specifically for just that purpose. We should recognise and respect that dedication.
Anzac hill represents the Nation that means all Australians regardless of race, in this place we are one! Reconciliation is about helping Aboriginal Australians to be comfortable with, or accepting of, being “part of the mob” it is about forgiveness and moving on! It is not about perpetual isolation!
Extending Apartheid!
Its about being “Equal” and perhaps most importantly, about “feeling equal”!
You do not achieve that outcome by exacerbating division!
By flying separate Flags in a place where we gather as a Nation remembering those who sacrificed their lives for all of us Australians, regardless of our genetics.


Tourism, cattle, mining, oil, gas: The world’s your oyster, Stuart.
I agree with all that you say Scott the real question is what are you going to do about it?
You’re the man in the chair.
Over some 63 years of living and working in the bush I came to understand the aspirations of Aboriginal Centralians – especially the kids are just the same as yours and mine.
No-one wants to be left sitting in the bush condemned to an existence somewhat akin to living museum piece, belittled and patronised while being force fed a hopeless going nowhere culture of victimhood, propagated of course by those with vested interest in the status quo!
Yes, Aboriginal people are aspirational! Of course, they are!
That is the driving force behind the ongoing fight for total equality.
It will allow individuals to be able to be the masters of their own destinies to receive reward for their efforts as individuals. It will allow individual ownership and control of homes of land of royalties, just like other Australians!
Equality will allow those who are aspirational and prepared to get off their backsides and work to benefit from their efforts, as opposed to the present system of community ownership, very like the failed Communists systems where those who did want to get ahead were dragged down by those who couldn’t be bothered.
This must change Scott. Break down the stranglehold of the Land Councils, they are parasitic organisations that simply feed bureaucrats while the average Aboriginal person lives and dies a pauper under their rule.
While I understand this will take a long time to achieve we must begin the conversation, show direction give those with aspiration hope something to strive for.
In the meantime, Scott, we have a more urgent problem: Your Labor Government has only been in for a bit more than a year yet we are already seeing the funds sucked back to the North to feed a luxurious lifestyle of Darwinians at the expense of the regions.
GST revenue intended to benefit and advance the lives of all Territorians are once again benefitting those in the capital, while we simply miss out!
Work is running low in the Centre. Love or hate Adam Giles while he was Chief, we saw more even, fairer distribution of revenue under his rule.
So, what are you going to do about that, Scott, Chansey, Dale?
Not much going on down here and we are relying on your voices at the table.
Which kind of brings me to the larger subject the eternal battle of the regions to gain a fair share of revenue, no matter who’s in Government in the North.
I can’t ever see that changing. Centralians are now even weaker with the loss of a seat.
Unless the people of the regions are prepared to put aside party politics and act as a block supporting whichever side they may choose in Government.
Looking back over a chain of failed [from a regional point of view] governments, it is quite clear that the talent pool of experience long term Territorians who understand and can represent the issues is quite small across all parties.
Given that councils made up of members from all kinds of political backgrounds can work it out and perform their role, maybe it’s about time Territorians outside of Darwin considered the establishment of a regional party which puts aside the normal Labor, Liberal divide, and worked jointly to advance the interest of the regions.
Which of course in the end are also the interests of the capital – healthy productive regions, a booming capital.


Environment: The devil needs to be in the detail
@ Evelyn and Domenico: Don’t know whether you missed it but these comments are published for all to read.
I am waiting with bated breadth for Jimmy to answer the question posed by my comment. The silence to date would tend to say that my information is correct would it not?
Now as for solar power as referred to in this article, I’m really interested in Mr Cocking social conscience and priorities given his run for Mayor.
I would like to know what consequence renewable power policies of the kind Mr Cocking espouses will have on the disadvantaged.
I want to know who comes first in Jimmy’s thinking, people or fanatical climate politics. Just as before, just posing the question.


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