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Thompsons part 4: Every slope is a watercourse

!UPDATE!  Things are desperate.

Matt Thompson has just advised me that NAB showed up today and have appointed administrators. Behind the scenes a few key people are trying to convince the NAB to rescind the administrator and give the Thompsons 90 days. Now is the time to email politicians and media. Can someone email Tim Blair?


Background: This is the ongoing saga of how Big-Government uses complexity to play Kingmaker. Their story was summed up a few days ago in a post that with Watts Up has swept up support from around the world.

UPDATE on Donations: $27,000 plus from 670 people. Thank you!

When Matt and Janet first came to Western Australia they were told they could run a feedlot without regular licenses, as long as they were not within 100m of a watercourse. It makes a big difference: if a farm is a category 68, it can run thousands of cattle without being licensed (and many dairy farms do).

I didn’t think I’d ever find agricultural codes interesting, but by paying attention to the detail we can see just how powerful the Department of Environment (DEC) is, and how selective it can be. You would think it would be easy to measure 100 m toward a waterway, but how do you define a waterway? You might expect that it would have banks, or that in a 100 year flood the water flowing in the gully might have a chance of reaching a body of water big enough to have a fish. If so, don’t apply for a job at DEC in WA!

DEC has declared that Narrogin Beef Producers are a Category 1 property needing licenses because there are watercourses to the north of the feedlot, and to the southwest. This picture  is a photo (slightly amended) of the paddock to the north, in winter (the rainy season). Would you call this a watercourse?

A photo of the northern "watercourse" on the Thompson's property. (Sign added.)

This is the “watercourse” to the southwest, a remnant waterway.

The Thompson's southwest "watercourse"

This is a dry gully visible in aerial shots in the south western edge of their property (see the map image below). There’s no running water in it, and there hasn’t been as long as the Thompsons have been there. Even in the event of a major flood, the gully leads to nowhere in particular. It doesn’t flow into anything. You can follow the tree line of these dry gullies in a google map and see that they eventually might meander into salt pans that are kilometers away.

It’s not about the environment

The ostensible point of protecting watercourses from runoff is presumably to stop manure or residue flowing into rivers where it could create an algal bloom. And that’s all well and good. But the definition of a watercourse means that virtually anyplace in WA can be declared a watercourse, even if there is no chance that run-off will cross paths with a fish.

This is a map of the “watercourses”. The red lines are 100m roughly to give an idea of scale.

There is another gully to the north in the next property, but it’s much further than 100m from the property boundary.

You can see on the aerial view that the 100m distance from waterways is clear. It’s also easy to see just how close the piggery is from their backyard, and how close the Thompsons themselves live to their visiting cows (if only there were some cows there now…).

The Thompson’s property boundaries are in green. The red bars mark 100m.

The company Narrogin Beef Producers leases the active part of the property(marked in orange) from Janet and Matt Thompson. It’s more than 100m from a watercourse, but DEC decided not to recognize the lease arrangement boundaries. How convenient.

Here’s the kicker

We could make a fuss about the definition of a “waterway” — but in the end, when the Thompsons spoke to the Appeals Convenor, he said that even if they won the right to be a Category 68 unlicensed property, DEC would just change the rules and make all feedlots — regardless of size or watercourses — subject to licensing.

The real problem here is that DEC are kingmakers who divide and conquer, detail by detail.

The minutae bore the pants off the average citizen, and by splitting up each industry group into smaller and smaller divisions, DEC can make key rulings without triggering a revolt from any serious combined opponent. Why can’t the rules be simpler and apply to all cattle farms? Isn’t a cow a cow? Not if you are a bureaucrat who decides which businesses rise and fall — you can play them off each other, rely on them being busy, and slip in numbing complex clauses until almost no one can predict in advance whether they are meeting the rules to the letter.

Rule by law has effectively been replaced with rule by bureaucrat. Such situations generally lead to corruption eventually (power corrupts…).

Something as simple as knowing if they were going to require licensing ought to have been obvious to an entrepeneur searching for sites from the other side of the world. Yet here are the Thompsons, nine years after they bought the property, and there is still a debate.

Just for the record

From the 31 page Appeals Convenors Report to the Minister for Environment 5 June 2010, we get a summary of what the Thompsons have been though with details. (I’ll post more on what this document reveals soon).

What is a watercourse?

The expression “watercourse” as it relates to prescribed premises is not defined in the EP Act or Regulations. There is however, reference in other parts of the Act to watercourses, which are defined with reference to the Rights in Water and Irrigation Act 1914. This Act defines a
“watercourse” as:

3. Meaning of “watercourse”

(1) In this Act, unless the contrary intention appears —

watercourse means —
(a) any river, creek, stream or brook in which water flows;
(b) any collection of water (including a reservoir) into, through or out of which any thing coming within paragraph (a) flows;
(c) any place where water flows that is prescribed by local by-laws to be a watercourse,
and includes the bed and banks of any thing referred to in paragraph (a), (b) or (c).

(2) For the purposes of the definition in subsection (1) —

(a) a flow or collection of water comes within that definition even though it is only intermittent or occasional;

(b) a river, creek, stream or brook includes a conduit that wholly or partially diverts it from its natural course and forms part of the river, creek, stream or brook; and

(c) it is immaterial that a river, creek, stream or brook or a natural collection of water may have been artificially improved or altered.

The Works Approval was for 14,940 head of cattle

Remember it took 12 months to get this:

30 August 2002, the then Department of Environmental Protection (now the DEC) granted Narrogin Beef a works approval for the construction of the Feedlot with… a maximum production capacity of 14,940 animals at any time.

Narrogin Beef producers

The bottom line

The Thompsons came to Australia from Oklahoma with expertise and their life savings, they’ve ticked every box, did everything the government asked them to do, but the long delays, impossible conditions and ever-changing rules, mean they face losing everything. They are in desperate need of help: people to send out emails, and to donate to help their four children in the event of bankruptcy which is an imminent threat.

The Thompson family have no funds available to them to face being thrown out on their ear by the bank. Donations are needed ASAP to help provide a roof over the children’s head. Please consider donating into the following bank account that has been set up so as any donations can’t be seized with all other assets of Matt & Janet including the few dollars left in their own bank account.
UPDATE: for international transfers:

I’ve set up a special paypal donation button (in US dollars). This will go to my bank account, with an ID that means it will be recorded as a donation for The Thompson Children (Kate Abbey Luke and Will). I will transfer it. Thanks — JN




Account name – L&S Ballard
BSB – 016 770
Account number – 439863697
Discription – Kate/Abby/Will/Luke

ANZ:  Bintamilling Arcade, Egerton Street, Narrogin, Western Australia
SWIFT Code:  ANZBAU3M

Other posts on this topic:

4 Days notice! The Thompsons are given 4 days to pay

Tyranny: How to destroy a business with environmental red tape

Smell that evidence

Watts Up With That has been providing fantastic support to The Thompsons in A Call To Action for the WUWT Community!

PS: For those wanting a science thread (rather than a political one) I posted this tonight too News from the NIPCC

Australian media and politicians contacts: (please send in more ideas).

Please always be polite, short and to the point.

Letters to the Editors

The Australian — <letters@theaustralian.com.au>
The West Australian — <letter@wanews.com.au>  (08) 94823111
The Daily Telegraph — Daily Telegraph <letters@dailytelegraph.com.au>

The Age  — <letters@theage.com.au>

Editor Financial Review <edletters@afr.com.au>

Courier Mail Brisbane crutcherm@qnp.newsltd.com.au

Western Australian statewide rural newspaper

W A Radio – Perth National:

ABC News Radio
ABC News Rural
ABC Midwest & wheatbelt

Thanks to Dale Stiller from WUWT

It makes a big difference if political staffers and the media get emails and letters. They can ignore one or two, but they can’t ignore a flood.

Premier The Honourable Colin Barnett MEc MLA

Minister for State Development
24th Floor, Governor Stirling Tower,
197 St Georges Terrace,
PERTH Western Australia 6000
Tel: (08) 9222 9888 Fax: (08) 9322 1213
e-Mail: wa-government@dpc.wa.gov.au

The Honourable Brendon Grylls MLA

Minister for Regional Development & Lands; Minister Assisting the Minister for State Development
9th Floor, Dumas House,
2 Havelock Street,
WEST PERTH Western Australia 6005

Tel: (08) 9213 7000 Fax: (08) 9213 7001
e-Mail: Minister.Grylls@dpc.wa.gov.au

The Honourable Terry Redman MLA

Minister for Agriculture and Food
Address: 11th Floor, Dumas House, 2 Havelock Street, WEST PERTH WA 6005
Telephone: (08) 9213 6700 Fax: (08) 9213 6701
e-Mail: Minister.Redman@dpc.wa.gov.au

The Honourable Donna Faragher MEd(Hons) BA(Hons) GradDipEd JP MLC

Minister for Environment
10th Floor, Dumas House,
2 Havelock Street,
WEST PERTH WA 6005

Tel: (08) 9213 7250 Fax: (08) 9213 7255
e-Mail: Minister.Faragher@dpc.wa.gov.au

UPDATE:

Matt writes in #14, Janet in #29 and #31. See their comments below.
See also John’s take in #10.
Thanks to all the people writing letters. :-|

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.5/10 (2 votes cast)
Thompsons part 4: Every slope is a watercourse, 5.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

Tiny Url for this post: http://tinyurl.com/2vlbdvz

54 comments to Thompsons part 4: Every slope is a watercourse

  • #
    Greg, San Diego, CA

    Donation on its way through Paypal. God bless the Thompson’s in this trying time. I hope that the world comes to their rescue!

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  • #
    John from CA

    I hate to say it but this looks like a land grab; fraud. The Thompson’s developed the property and are now being forced out by new regulation. Any idea which Bank holds the lean against the property and its banking relationship to DEC WA?

    Also, the feedlot uses state of the art waste management – bird waste would represent a bigger concern and if water quality was the concern, a water drainage colvert would have been a simple solution.

    The whole situation stinks, I’m very surprised the farming and ranching community isn’t up in arms and circling the wagons — they’re likely to be next.

    00

  • #
    pat

    here’s some “dross and drivel”… or, as reported, “drizzle”:

    20 Sept: SMH: AAP: Industry backs tax: NSW Minerals Council
    “The principle of a carbon price is one that the industry supports,” NSW Minerals Council chief executive Dr Nikki Williams told AAP on Monday.
    “That is the only way you are going to shift any economy to a low-emissions trajectory and it is the only way you are going to bring on the technological solutions, whether that is in renewables or low emission coal technologies.”…
    “There has been so much dross and drizzle around climate change policy here in Australia, governments and leaders have risen and fallen on it,” she said….
    http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-business/industry-backs-tax-nsw-minerals-council-20100920-15jcw.html

    00

  • #
    Richard

    The more you hear about this story the worse it gets. The picture sums up the madness. I’m sure you could find 10 worse pollutants near to the town without really looking too hard. This story needs to be kept alive, who has a vested interest in the feedlot or the land. Are we about to see a new sub-division application from the council or will the piggery and college take over the established area. This stinks but not of cowsh*t.

    00

  • #
    Grant

    I think the vegetarians and animal welfare nazis have seized power. In New Zealand there is a belief being spread that pastoral farming is dirty and polluting. There are even ?educated? people who are advocating conversion of farmland to suburbs because the environmental impact is lower. Hello! I don’t see to many cows driving to work in the morning, and taking their lunch wrapped in cellophane, or wearing clothes and disposing of cellphones because they are 6 months old and out of date.

    00

  • #
    Binny

    There is no economic agenda here, this is Enviro nazism showing its true face. And also revealing just how deeply it has managed to embed itself into the system. This didn’t happen overnight they have been working on this for more than 30 years.

    00

  • #

    This is getting to be a rather disgusting display by the government.

    00

  • #
    Tim

    Texas is a good example of a state that can think for itself and its citizens. If only some of ours had some appendages.

    http://radio.woai.com/cc-common/news/sections/newsarticle.html?feed=119078&article=7606198

    00

  • #
    Colin J Ely

    Does anyone have access to an Army Survey Map of Narrogin? It will have marked all ‘perennial’ and ‘non-perennial’ streams

    00

  • #
    John from CA

    I’m finally starting to put it all in context — sorry I’m a slow study.

    Jessie on WUWT says:
    September 20, 2010 at 5:12 am

    “But a report for Dept Environment and Conservation (DEC) on improving waste management and landfills in the Wagin area – which includes Narrogin Town.”
    http://www.narrogin.wa.gov.au/Strategic%20Waste%20Management%20Plan.pdf

    TOWN OF NARROGIN
    poulation: 4,238

    The major local industries supported in the region include agricultural services, education, health and aged care services, timber milling, brick making, concrete, light engineering and cabinet making. The Rev Heads Motor Show is a significant local event attracting many tourists to the area.

    Town of Narrogin: survey comments about their own town:

    - The cemetery is a disgrace.

    - Narrogin lacks badly in getting rid of rubbish, hence footpaths with broken glass on them, empty cans, plastic bottles, rubbish, hence the need for more recycling. Our streets are a disgrace go walking everyday and see it all. Also people who walk dogs but no poo bags used. It is very sad when past residents visit Narrogin and can’t believe how the Town has gone backwards. No tidy Town for Narrogin.

    - This region is behind in every aspect of recycling, coming from the east and before that Sydney. We are amazed at the lack of interest in the environment.

    - Dragging rubbish out of the town and throwing it in a big hole is not a waste disposal policy. Develop one now, crawl out of the dark ages.

    - Need to train public to stop throwing stuff out on street when walking past.

    - We need new public toilets.

    So let see if I’ve got this straight, a town that doesn’t care about the environment, doesn’t have a recycling program, and dumps waste (formerly including medical waste) without a disposal policy in a “hole” outside town, complains about a business owner who had been employing the equivalent of over 5% of the population of their town and DEC takes immediate action?

    Why doesn’t DEC give the town some toilets or at least a pot to piss in so they don’t pick on their neighbors? The people of Narrogin should be ashamed of what they’ve done.

    00

  • #
    Baa Humbug

    Yes John from CA, I’d like to know what the people of Narrogin are doing about this.
    Are they silent? Are they lobbying to save an industry that provides employment for them? Are they calling their local radio station, writing into their local paper?
    Has their local members, federal and state, been inundated with protests from these locals? DO THEY CARE?

    00

  • #
    Louis Hissink

    For what its worth, I was present at a bush camp resort in the north Kimberley region ~ 1997 when it was being certified by the EPA. Those EPA people sincerely believed that the planet was over populated and “something” had to be done. Machiavellian that I am, I sort of muttered agreement we were overstocking Australia to gain their confidence (don’t think that ploy would work now given I’ve raised my sceptical flag up the mast)- these people are quite serious about destocking rural Australia of humans (Aboriginals excepted).

    The EPA and CALM are quietly alienating pastoral leases by buying them up and converting them to reserves etc, Muggon station in the Murchison being one of the more recent acquisitions.

    The long term game plan seems to lock up land as parks, reserves etc, that are accessible to the state only.

    Ultimately it is the silent destruction of private property that is being achieved, whether by Native Title or Nature Reserves etc etc. all in the name of sustainability.

    The Thompson’s farm seems the latest victim in this sleazy process.

    00

  • #

    [...] 20, 2010 at 2:59 pm I don’t believe it! The Thompsons have had the goalposts moved AGAIN! http://joannenova.com.au/2010/09/a-waterway-no-fish-will-swim-in/#more-10364 Now their paddocks have been classified as “waterways” so no cow can cr*p on the land [...]

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  • #

    John,

    The local government authority which is the Shire (like a county) has supported us and appealed our license on our behalf on numerous occassions. Individuals have appealed on our behalf and signed petetions in large numbers. DEC does not consider positive comments or submissions. People in town have offered us their homes, their cars, and brought us food. Walking through the streets of town people have handed me fifty dollar notes and told me to keep fighting.
    We do have our opponents locally but they are a very small group, and we have many many friends who have bent over backwards to help us in our time of distress.

    00

  • #
    Iren

    What I find absolutely staggering is that I haven’t seen a single mention of this whole affair on any normal news site. There seems to be a complete news blackout.

    00

  • #
    Cate S

    Been there, seen the so called “water courses” all i can say is what a load of total BS!
    Enough of this green whinging whining bureaucracy of EDO / DEC and the damn neighbors!
    What a case of discrimination and out right bastardization of this family!
    The problem is that it is happening across Australia – i have had enough – msm – is too gutless to follow up this story – mind you i bet they liked not having to pay extra tax ie ETS!
    This family is living in a crucible – and only people here (well mostly) and on Anthony Watts site – a few on that site Agmates – are standing up!
    How about we really stir up the politicians and the greens who think that this is “fair” and for the good of the environment –
    Come on Karen Gow – lets hear your side of the story? Where are you – come on out now and substantiate your claims – Jo’s site is fair – so speak up if you and your group is being fair dinkum?

    00

  • #
    Richard

    Another letter gone to the editor of the Courier Mail in Brisbane, others may want to back it up with their thoughts.
    crutcherm@qnp.newsltd.com.au
    Michael Crutcher.

    00

  • #
    Cate S

    Well i have heard it all – more of this case of just epic proportions to come out – Jo maybe a call to be in order!

    The gloves are off now! Not since my family were at risk facing a similar situation have i ever been so angry at our gutless politicians!

    Bring it on DEC and NAB! The public are waiting!

    00

  • #
    Baa Humbug

    Matt: #14
    September 21st, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    The local government authority which is the Shire (like a county) has supported us…….and we have many many friends who have bent over backwards to help us in our time of distress.

    Thanx for posting Matt. I’m glad to know the locals are supporting you. I feel this is very important.

    Good luck to you and yours

    00

  • #
    Ferdinand

    After sending a donation, it would be appropriate to send a letter to the Head of DEC. What is his or her name and address please ? These people need to be told of the views of those they are supposed to serve. This is giving Australia a very bad name.

    00

  • #

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Joanne Nova, Joanne Nova. Joanne Nova said: More ridiculous claims by the government in it's quest to ruin the Thompsons: Every slope is a watercourse href=http://tiny.cc/5uufl [...]

    00

  • #
    Amabo

    Hows the fishing?

    00

  • #

    I’ve added details to the post above.

    Who’s in charge of DEC?

    The Honourable Donna Faragher MEd(Hons) BA(Hons) GradDipEd JP MLC

    Minister for Environment
    10th Floor, Dumas House,
    2 Havelock Street,
    WEST PERTH WA 6005

    Tel: (08) 9213 7250 Fax: (08) 9213 7255
    e-Mail: Minister.Faragher@dpc.wa.gov.au

    Better to write to Colin Barnett at this stage — Faragher seems like a weak puppet who obeys the DEC bureaucrats.

    Details at the bottom of the post.

    00

  • #
    Geckko

    Seems like the same problem everywhere. Look at who is supposedly Minister for the Environment

    “MEd(Hons) BA(Hons) GradDipEd JP MLC”

    Basically a teacher.

    00

  • #
    Thumbnail

    I just emailed Tim Blair
    Hi Tim,
    I usually follow your blog, but thought I would give the heads up about the Thompsons. I have met them personally.

    Please if you could help raise money. They are being turfed out of their house by the environmentalist DEC and the EDO in WA.

    Matt and Janet Thompson have tried to meet every insane condition, every precarious rule and have lost millions of dollars of their business, all of their cattle and now they stand to lose their home. They have four children to house and clothe.

    Their feedlot manager committed suicide earlier this year because he could not take any more abuse from the DEC in WA.

    Help. Please. Now.

    Some recent coverage:

    http://joannenova.com.au/2010/09/a-waterway-no-fish-will-swim-in/

    http://joannenova.com.au/2010/09/4-days-notice-the-thompsons-are-served-notice-of-eviction/

    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/clean_green_and_broke/

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/09/20/urgent-a-call-to-action-for-the-wuwt-community/

    Tim, please – you have a great profile. This story has gone on blogs round the world. Donations are coming in. Let’s help turn it from a trickle into a f**king torrent to help these people.

    Excuse me.

    00

  • #
    Richard

    Thanks for the contact details, 14 e-mails gone to: papers in UK, USA, Brisbane, editors, MP’s, Tony Abbott, and the shower in charge of WA. Plus lots more to my contacts through work in rural areas.
    Janet & Matt Thompson deserve to be helped, I met them in Emerald at the Property Rights Australia meeting, they are a genuine family, (only had to drive 10 hours from Brisbane)
    This needs to be bought out into the open and sorted out. How many more farmers need to be forced off their land before someone notices that we are buying our food from overseas. In the meantime we are creating National Parks that will be overun by Ferals. The farmers make the best stewards of the land, leave them to it.

    00

  • #
    Geckko

    I’ve emailed the Premier via his general office email address.

    00

  • #
    Cate S

    Done thanks Jo for the update…time to really turn up the heat – obviously the pollies, DEC and neighbors are not getting the point that there is a public out cry of this situation.

    00

  • #

    Hi Everyone-

    It’s been a long and tiring day. Administrators appointed by the bank contacted us this morning, and were onsite by mid-day. They did not tell us to vacate yet, but given the fact that they gave us 4 days to repay, and two of those days were a weekend, we’re not very hopeful of them “working” with us.

    I took a part-time job earlier this year to help put food on the table and keep the lights on while we continued our battle — to try to restore common sense and a reasonable licence. As part of that job, I had meetings in Perth today, so poor Matt had to face these three goons alone. He’s worn out and has gone to bed.

    This whole business is exhausting, but because of your kindness, generosity and moral support, we are more determined than ever to fight in whatever way we can.

    I think we are in a unique position. We did not have deep enough pockets to pay the piper. And we are not the usual small people that just “go away.” Maybe, just maybe, we are in this position at this point in time for a reason.

    Assuming we lose everything, are unable to pay back the millions that we owe, and have to move and start over….surely we can use our horrendous story to make a positive difference for others (including our children). We are heartbroken that Lindley is gone, and we know we can never bring him back. But maybe we can honour him.

    As we’ve said before, “Thank You” is not enough, but it’s all we’ve got right now.

    Thank You.

    Janet

    00

  • #
    John from CA

    Matt:
    September 21st, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    John,

    The local government authority which is the Shire (like a county) has supported us and appealed our license on our behalf on numerous occassions. Individuals have appealed on our behalf and signed petetions in large numbers. DEC does not consider positive comments or submissions. People in town have offered us their homes, their cars, and brought us food. Walking through the streets of town people have handed me fifty dollar notes and told me to keep fighting.
    We do have our opponents locally but they are a very small group, and we have many many friends who have bent over backwards to help us in our time of distress.

    Thanks Matt,
    I meant to offense to the good people of the Town and Narrogin Shire. Its difficult to garner a true perspective and beyond tragic that DEC has chosen to ignore the needs of the people. The comment I posted points to positive things DEC could be doing instead of killing jobs.

    WUWT post from last night:

    goldie says:
    September 20, 2010 at 10:57 pm
    Sorry to have missed this earlier. If its not too late, I may be able to help arbitrate this issue as I have a long track record in odour assessment in WA and a good working relationship with DEC. Let me know if I can help – would be happy to look over the issues and meet with DEC gratis.

    Is it possible to hold a Press Conference with the help of the local news media and invite leaders to walk the land and discuss the issues openly?

    The good people of the Town and Narrogin Shire are likely to attend and show support as well.

    Wishing you the Best,
    John

    00

  • #
    John from CA

    error in my last comment: it should read I meant No offense to the good people of the Town and Narrogin Shire.

    00

  • #

    Hi Guys-

    I wrote this on Saturday. It’s all about perspective.

    ******
    Today was Kate’s birthday. She’s 10. She celebrated her first birthday in Australia. Never had one in the US. She had friends come home with her after school yesterday, and I had to put on a party after a chain of events that was not exactly inducive to partying. What a freaking roller coaster ride yesterday (about 6 days duration!) was.

    I was planning to go to Perth for a meeting, and intended to stop by the lawyer’s office in Perth to drop off our DEC (Department of Environment and Conservation) files. Kate’s class was presenting at assembly that morning, and I was planning to be there, as she had a lead role.

    Reading through the Freedom of Information (FOI) material on our case, before going to school, I was once again taken through the negative valley of what we’ve been fighting for the last 3 years. I hate the job of sifting back through the detail of our story. It’s negative and non-productive. Anyway, in attempting to get all the info together for my trip to Perth, I was late getting away. On the way into town, I looked at my clock: 9:02, and thought to myself (or maybe even said aloud), “Damn! I’m going to miss her presentation!” Sure enough, I was late and had missed it.

    On the way from school back out to the car, a friend of mine asked me how I was going, and I broke into tears. I was so disappointed that I’d missed my child’s event, which I had really looked forward to seeing. DEC had once again screwed with my life in a way impossible to account for.

    Forty minutes away from Narroign, on my way to Perth, I got a phone call from Matt. I immediately slowed down to turn around. Something was terribly wrong. Matt was sobbing. My first thought was that he had run over our 4-year-old, Luke — and that Luke was dead.

    He was only missing, though. Matt had been looking for him for 30 minutes. “He must at least be unconscious,” Matt said, as Luke would have heard him calling for him, and would have responded by now if he could have.

    A heat wave blasted my body. Then I went cold. I turned around, and sped toward home, praying. Matt is not one to ask for help. The fact that he had asked me to come home scared the hell out of me. And his pleading voice pierced my brain, as I tried to come up with answers while stuck in a car that could not go fast enough. I expected Matt’s second call to come any minute, saying that Luke had been found. It refused to come. I rang Matt again, and again. Did you look here? There? Every minute that went by without that call led me deeper into anguish. I was shaking uncontrollably. I tried to think. I rang two sets of friends: “Go to Matt. Help him look.” I was worried that Matt would be alone when he found our dead child.

    Five minutes away from home, I finally got the call I was increasingly despairing of receiving: Luke had been found. Completely unharmed….and unaware of anything except that Daddy had sounded angry, and he had therefore not come forward when called.

    When I pulled up in front of our house, our friends were there, as was a strange vehicle. A man was waiting outside near that strange car, and when I introduced myself to him, he seemed aloof, and said his wife was inside.

    Expecting a huge hug from my husband upon seeing him, I was disappointed that he barely paid any attention to me, engaged as he was in the conversation with this unknown woman.

    “What’s going on here?” I asked, still in a state of un-reality…still shaking from what I had thought would be.

    “NAB’s serving papers on us,” was Matt’s reply.

    “Oh,” I said, not caring in the least what our bank, National Australia Bank, had in mind.

    My little boy was alive, and my friends had dropped whatever they were doing to help us – and were celebrating the fact that it was a false alarm.

    Is anybody richer than I?

    I got my hugs from Matt throughout the day after the strange woman left.

    We’ll deal with whatever comes. A house…a car….a lifetime of building…money. All are worthless without priorities and the real treasures in life. I’m thankful that I’m one of the wealthiest people in the world.
    *****

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    Chris G

    My prayers go out to you and your family. May God protect you and bring you peace.

    I do not find this that unusual. I hope criminal charges can be brought up against any and all who facilitated this travesty. For others (who may already be aware) this is happening all over, a death ‘by 1000 cuts’ to people who just want to live out their lives in peace.

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    Many parents will recognise your awful dread. Presumably the NAB agents were merely ‘doing their job’ as a result of the actions of the odious DEC. Poor old Australia, once a byword for freedom and decency! The more the left gain control, the worse your environment, your economy, and the well-being of your communities will become. This is merely an empirical result, based on the 20th century in much of Europe, much of South America, Cuba, China, North Korea and other parts of Asia, notably Burma, and of course much of Africa. When did the rot begin? With Rudd? Anyway, good luck with dealing with all of this. Sounds like almost all of your own community is right behind you, and you have seen a remarkable level of international support which may be some consolation. I think people of your calibre will win out in the end.

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    Jacki Mott

    As Australians we all need to take a greater commitment being involved politically….aside from internet comment….there is a real need for the individual to become politically active if we are not going to be taken over and dictated to by crap!….If we want the best descisions made for us we also have to make a contribution to support our leaders and hold them to account in a physical sense or we will only have ourselves to blame….whats happening at Narrogin right now is evidence enough of what we need to do….I have to commend the Brits on their plan to return their vote to the people and use it …I intend to start right now!

    http://www.eupledge.com/Home.html

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    Water runs down my driveway after we have rain. Guess I’m living with a ‘watercourse’ too.

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    kae

    Hi
    I can’t read the page because the side column on the left is through the text – even if I use the full screen to view.

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    Bulldust

    Just curious about the funding mechanisms as I was intending to lob in a few quid. Is there a difference in fees between using Paypal and direct transfer? I assume Paypal ain’t in this game for nothing and so a direct transfer will be more effective? After my recent experience with banks (which isn’t resolved but so trivial by comparison) I am wary of fees nibbling at the transfer. Also are the Ballards friends of the Thompsons?

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    kae

    grr, now it’s OK.

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    Bulldust

    Sent to The Australian – Perth Office contact email address:

    There is a tragic story unfolding as I write in rural WA and the mainstream media is dead silent on the issue. For background see any number of blogs:

    http://joannenova.com.au/2010/09/a-waterway-no-fish-will-swim-in/

    Links to the earlier parts of the story are under the donation area. This has also been picked up by WUWT:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/09/21/plight-of-the-thompsons-takes-top-5-in-wordpress/

    and reached the number 4 spot in WordPress.

    Still dead silence from the media… this an Australian story involving real people in genuine distress. I really do not need to know what Paris Hilton is wearing today (that should be directed at the SMH of course), but this is the kind of story that does need exposure.

    Is The Australian up for it?

    I hope so… The heart of the nation, right?

    Cheers,
    Bulldust

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    Keith

    The Thompson’s plight can be multiplied many times over in this once free country.
    Another way of being involved is through Property Rights Australia who are attempting a more strategic direction in funding legal test cases to establish precedents to protect land holders and farmers. They have several cases on the go. Worth a look, even if you don’t actively support. fwiw.

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    Bulldust

    Well for those that followed the story, which pales into laughable insignificance with this one, I just had a win with Westpac on the US$25 issue I raised a few days ago. They are going to make up the difference in the foreign bank account out of their own cash. The moral victory for me was plenty, I shall send an extra $25 to the Thompsons.

    Hopefully my small bank win is an omen of better things coming their way :)

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    Richard

    Slightly Off Topic but this is where we are going to end up if we allow big brother to control every aspect of our life and change rules to suit their requirements: From the Daily Express UK:

    THE taxman could soon be getting his hands on all our hard-earned gross pay before we see it, it was revealed yesterday.

    In a move branded “off-the-wall” and a “recipe for disaster” by financial experts, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs has revealed it wants details of all our gross earnings passed by employers straight to a central computer.

    The taxman could then deduct income tax, national insurance and any student loan payments – before money is paid into our bank accounts like a parent doling out pocket money.

    http://www.dailyexpress.co.uk/posts/view/200988

    Look how well they managed the nurses pay in QLD.

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    Richard

    Not a mention about Matt and Janet Thompson in the Perth news, 50 comments about banning kites and digging holes on the beach…
    BEACHGOERS could soon be fined up to $500 for flying kites, using oversized umbrellas, taking photographs or digging holes at a popular Perth beach.

    Under a proposal to be considered by the Town of Cottesloe in Perth’s western suburbs this month, 60 clauses will be added to the council’s beach law, banning a total of 100 listed activities at the famous beach.

    According to an officer report, the current law lacks in certain areas and requires more specific controls over beach activities.

    I tried to get a comment on but it never made it, either off topic or they are not interested in real news.

    http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/national/kites-toys-and-alcohol-could-be-banned-at-beach/comments-e6freooo-1225927869151

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    Cate S

    I reckon we should name and shame the media too who will not tackle this! Any thoughts?
    How about a list?

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    Jacki Mott

    I think the best way of getting media attention right now is if we go and sit up on Matt & Janet’s roof and threaten not to come down until the DEC has set licencing guidelines that cannot be revoked once a licence has been issued.

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    Ian Hill

    I sent a letter by email to the Adelaide Advertiser yesterday but it wasn’t published today. Maybe they are saving them up.

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    B Hyland

    Thought I would try to help.
    Armed with an A4 sheet bearing the following account details:

    Account name – L&S Ballard
    BSB – 016 770
    Account number – 439863697
    Discription – Kate/Abby/Will/Luke
    ANZ: Bintamilling Arcade, Egerton Street, Narrogin, Western Australia
    SWIFT Code: ANZBAU3M

    I entered the local branch of the ANZ Bank (Atherton North Queensland) brandishing an inadequate $20 note.
    I was told I could not deposit the money in the nominated account because the details were only valid for internet banking.
    Drawing on some usually well hidden tenacity, I succeeded in accomplishing the transfer via my credit union.
    Are all banks shackled by negativity??

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    Roy Hogue

    kae @37,

    I have that problem from time to time also. Try this, it works for me. Go to the top of the page and click the link to the previous page. Then click the link back again.

    I’ve no idea what’s going on but this has always worked so far.

    Roy

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    Roy Hogue

    The U.S. is no stranger to using water against people either. If you have a place on your property that holds a mud puddle after a heavy rain and you propose some development that the powers-that-be don’t want to see happen they are very fond of declaring your puddle a wetland and thus protected from development. Never mind that it’s high and dry 95+% of the time. Theoretically this could happen in anyone’s back yard, making your own yard off limits to you.

    This stuff seems to be a favorite trick of the environmental fringe. But in the case of Matt and Janet it looks even more sinister.

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    Roy Hogue

    Louis @12,

    The long term game plan seems to lock up land as parks, reserves etc, that are accessible to the state only.

    Ultimately it is the silent destruction of private property that is being achieved, whether by Native Title or Nature Reserves etc etc. all in the name of sustainability.

    The Thompson’s farm seems the latest victim in this sleazy process.

    Another favorite trick of the environmental fringe; aided and abetted by the UN “Wild Lands” initiative. If we’re ever to get free of this stuff it’s going to be essential to expose the UN for the enemy it is and get the major nations of this planet to unilaterally withdraw from it and stop all financial support. This will be a very tough nut to crack but absolutely essential for the survival of individual freedom the way I see it.

    Many hint at the UN as a source of nothing but trouble. The obvious solution, however remains unspoken. It’s time for it to be out in the open. The UN is not a friend of anyone but itself.

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    [...] within 100m of a watercourse. You can go to their farm (we have photos I can send you) and film the so-called watercourses and mock the DEC. The watercourses are flat paddocks, with no banks, nor beds, nor flowing water. [...]

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    mags

    If this is a DEC issue has action been sought in the Lands Court?

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    [...] investment towards other less mobile tax bases such as land, resources and consumption.” Lives have been ruined, arbitrary interference in development, arbitrary acquisition of private property, displacing [...]

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