Don’t you just love that little comment from our wonderfully …

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

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.

Steve Brown Also Commented

Fire in the desert: a formidable threat and a tool
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.


Recent Comments by Steve Brown

Aboriginal flag on Anzac Hill: the nays have it 
@ Concerned Arrernte Man: If you were indeed a concerned Arrernte “man” you would use your real name, like a man, so that we locals know what your word is worth.
What I suspect is that you aren’t local at all. We are trying to put our town together not rip it apart, your intention is clearly the opposite.
Anzac Hill was sincerely and solemnly dedicated by TOs many years ago to the purpose which it serves respectfully to this day.
It was and remains a joint community effort, if indeed you are a Arrernte man you would do well to respect and to learn from the decisions of your elders.


‘Dangerous, alarming’ property tax strongly opposed by council
Yeh Evelyn I used those words so as not to go into a long winded conversation about the technicalities of Drilling for Gas as it has nothing to do with the conversation at hand… However I am extremely well aware of the dangers or otherwise of Drilling. I have drilled water bores myself and I have family in the exploration business who own their own Rigs. Horizontal Drilling has been in use for a long time it has been developed simply to save costs because you don’t have to drill as many vertical penetrations through the water bearing Aquifers as such it is actually a much safer less expensive method of extraction. Further to this my comment around safety of some forms of Fracking refers to Coal Seam Gas which I substantially oppose.


Aboriginal flag on Anzac Hill: the nays have it 
It is important when dealing with issues that stir emotions and threaten to deepen the divides in our community that we remember and respect that we are One Nation called Australia. That we are a Democracy! We regard all our citizens as equals! In a democracy decisions fall in favour of the Majority, regardless of race, gender or religion.

Separate recognition is not respect! It is a continuation of, a deepening of, the Politics of Apartheid and Victimhood.
Nothing, but greater and greater division will come of it!
No good ever comes from Apartheid.
Only the institutionalised acceptance of lower standards and less expectation, for those on the wrong side of it.
Previously as a Councillor and Political Candidate I was approached time and time again by locals of Aboriginal background, Aussies who are sick to death of division who just want to get on with their lives just like the rest of us, stating that they do not want to see separate flags flying on Anzac Hill because that sends the message that they aren’t accepted as Australians.
I am also aware of Councillor DeBrenni and other efforts to consult widely on this front, checking the views of many locals Aboriginal and non-alike, making sure that their views are expressed clearly in Council.
Many local families don’t wish others to know their views as in a small town it can lead to family infighting as we have witnessed firsthand with a small group of locals attacking views expressed by Councillor Price. They rely heavily on their Elected Representatives to put forward their view and to stand up for them.
This whole flag flying issue was instigated by Labor MLA Chansey Paech its only intent to create disruption dissent and division its only intent to divert attention from his failure to stand up for our Community while once again it comes apart under a Labor Government.
The ladies who approached Council did so with a letter about respect reconciliation and working together. There was no mention whatsoever of flying flags, nor was it mentioned by Catherine Satour when presenting the letter. From events later in the evening it came to the fore that the letter was actually apart of an attack on Councillor Price because of her expressed views on the very things that should also be of great concern to these ladies.


‘Dangerous, alarming’ property tax strongly opposed by council
Evelyn, So easy to make throw away green propaganda statements without taking any responsibility for dealing with the consequences.
Firstly under many circumstances Fracking is perfectly safe!
We’ve been Fracking Conventional and Tight Gas wells for some fifty years. There is an established industry already operating in the Territory and many reliant on it, including for that matter nearly all the Territory’s power supplies!
Further if we stand in the way and don’t further develop our Gas Supplies as the rest of the country expects us to, there is a price to pay!
We are going to receive less GST!
After all why should the rest of Aus. who already have Fracking, support what you believe at their expense?
In response to this issue you are suggesting that we ask struggling Territorians to pay another level of Tax similar to a second lot of rates every year.
This, in a shrinking economy!
We are already struggling with affordability, Land Taxes will translate into higher rents and Higher costs all round.
I don’t think Territorians can or want to afford that. Especially given that much of the country already receives revenue from “Fracking”, which surprisingly enough, is why their eyebrows are somewhat raised in our direction.
So we might want to give it all a lot more thought than cheap throw away lines. Not that I’m saying Fracking is the only answer to our revenue issue, it certainly isn’t. We have a shrinking economy because it is being strangled by our Government suffocating any industry that offers potential growth and strangling the life from existing business. The real answer is actually to strangle Government and return to a private enterprise driven economy.


‘Dangerous, alarming’ property tax strongly opposed by council
The amounts I’ve heard quoted for the initial land tax are far in excess of $300 but even if they weren’t initially they pretty soon would be.
The Territory has a revenue problem alright. Why? For one reason only!
We have taken money supplied by other Australians to both develop the North to a point where it can take advantage of the simply enormous economic opportunity that surrounds it, and to improve the plight of our Aboriginal population via similar means.
Instead of that we have taken the massive extra funding we receive over and above other States and Territories and we’ve built a giant, cumbersome, enterprise stifling, parasitic bureaucracy!
This is to a point where any Federal attempt to fund development is like throwing the proverbial at a blanket – very very little gets to its intended destination.
The answer to our revenue issue isn’t more business and entrepreneurial activity stifling tax!
The answer is less tax.
Much, much smaller Government along with a huge cultural shift in the attitude of our capital that thinks it is OK to milk of funds and use them to provide lavish recreational facilities and lifestyle for the those that live in the capital while regions struggling with basic infrastructure can’t get their developments off the ground.
Yeh, we’ve got a problem alright!
The sooner the Feds enforce their enquiry into funding the sooner we will be able to do something about it.


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