Mick Franklin, Glenugie
My name is Michael Franklin (Turtle or Swampy). My parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents have been breeding horses, logging, and farming in the Grafton area since the 1800s. We have a great love for the land and everything has been done with consideration to the future viability of our property to sustain a decent lifestyle. I worked in Queensland after going to TOCAL Agricultural College. I started as a jackaroo and went through to head stockman for AA Company. I loved the way of life up there; the attitude was do what you wanted as long as it wasn’t at someone else’s expense.
I have just returned from the CSG gasfields around Tara/Chinchilla on a fact-finding tour. I went to people’s properties whose bores were contaminated. Not drinkable, and no idea of if, or when, the water will ever be drinkable. They have an admission from the company to interfering with the Aquatard, not the aquifer, so no responsibility taken. They have now had to build dams and, if you know Queensland, you would realise that dams are there in the good years but when it comes dry it’s all bore water. What happens then? It is not just one farm; they are numerous, and any farmer worth his salt knows that clean water is our most valuable resource.
I went to the Wiembiella Estate, where the ‘blockies’ live. This is a motley crew of people, who have bought a piece of Australia to live on and raise their families in peace and quiet, only to have it shattered by being turned into an energy hub. Thousands of vehicles a week, hundreds of trucks. I mean this is in your face 24/7, it just never goes to sleep. It’s total disregard for your fellow man, the land and the water.
We drove 15km around a dam just being built to fill up with toxic water to be cleaned and pumped back into the river that feeds the Chinchilla water supply. All they are taking out is the salts, not the radioactive materials or the heavy metal elements. The water is also used to irrigate crops and to water feedlots. I have done my quality assurance training and assessment course for beef cattle production and I am concerned about the quality of what the Australian consumer may be eating or drinking. I have never considered fertilising my paddocks with lead, yet The Land newspaper has reported that up to 90kg/ha annually is going onto the fields irrigated with produced water. I expect that the meat will be sold on the domestic/local market because of stringent export quality standards. You are what you eat.
I think that reusing emissions and renewable is the answer to our ‘power problem’. Septics/sewage, piggeries, dairies, sawmills, and rubbish tips and biofuel can all produce power. Then there is solar, solar-thermal, wind and tidal energies. It’s more than enough and the proof is out there.
I am riding to Canberra against CSG. I believe in respecting thy neighbour. Even if you don’t like your neighbours, I don’t believe that poisoning them is justifiable. Common decency says that you do not have the right to interfere with or threaten the wellbeing of your neighbours. I will also be promoting Australian owned, Australian made and Australian grown because I believe that we should be supporting Australian business and farming as a sustainable future rather than the inevitable ‘bust’ that will follow the mining ‘boom’. I would rather see Australia as a food bowl than a gravel pit.