21 complaints about farm smells and an idiotic bureaucracy – enough to ruin a life, a livelihood, and a family home

This really, really, pisses me off. It stinks, and the stench isn’t coming from the animals.  WUWT’s call to action and generous readers have helped raise over $30,000 to keep a roof over the head of the Thompson children. Now we find that only 21 complaints are the sum of the issue.

Jo Nova writes:

Dear Mr Barnett, (Premier of Western Australia)

Please help the Thompsons in Narrogin and intervene to delay the administrators.

The Thompson’s followed every rule, broke no law, have no outstanding infringement notices, but the plans and rules kept changing. After they had put their money and hearts on the table the DEC added conditions that no one could meet, dangling them by a thread month after month as the Thompsons complied but the debts piled up. They passed all the tests, have local support, but they are being driven to bankruptcy by the Department of Environment and Conservation of WA.

People overseas are shocked at what can happen to honest hardworking entrepreneurs who come to WA. It’s sending a dreadful message of sovereign risk to the world. The receivers are just days away from making this injustice very hard to put right.

Federal politicians are standing up for West Australians, but not our state government?

In the last week hundreds of thousands of people all over the world have read their story. Hundreds of people have donated and in just a few days $30,000 US dollars has been given to help their children. The word is that tomorrow (Wednesday) one or two federal politicians are meeting with Cameron Clyne, CEO of NAB to try to solve this. Things are dire. The administrators are visiting the house today. A family with four children face eviction and loss of their life savings.

The Community wants them to stay

Their Timeline of success and ruin

All the basic information and links

A good place to start: 1. Tyranny: How to destroy a business with environmental red tape

Thank you for your immediate urgent attention and help to stop this train wreck. I applaud the way you stood up for WA against the Federal Health take over.

But one local family desperately needs you, and they have a growing band of thousands of supporters.

The overseas site Watts Up With That gets 100,000 hits a day and has covered this three times in the last week.

Please ask if you need any more details.

Sincerely,

Joanne Nova

UPDATE : DEC decisions against the Thompsons were based on only 21 complaints — they ignored community support.

This family is being destroyed by a few complainants (with a lot of help from the DEC), all of the complainants moved to a rural area, near to a piggery, but now complain that they don’t like the smell. Some of those who complain even moved in after the Thompson’s Beef feedlot was set up. Some of those who complain have also applied to rezone their land so they can subdivide.

from JoNova

Thompsons Part 7: Welcome to Investment Hell

http://joannenova.com.au/2010/09/my-letters-and-emails/

Support:

• 900 people signed a petition in their support (that was back in 2007 when they were running with 10,000 cattle).

• People give Matt $50 notes in the street and tell him to keep fighting.

• The local shire has written in support urging the DEC to allow them to run the full 14,490 capacity they have works approval for.

• Barry Carbon who wrote the 1986 EPA legislation chaired a local committee and also supports them and agrees they should have permission to run.

• Their two closest neighbours want them to stay and increase their cattle holdings up to the original design.

• 6000 recordings of smells taken in the town show the odours are not unusual or a problem. Most days no one in town can smell anything.

• We have raised $30,000 around the world in a week to support their children. Many people in the US are appalled at what’s happened to them. They are asking why Australians would do this.

The Thompson’s followed every rule, broke no law, have no outstanding infringement notices, but the plans and rules kept changing.

TIMELINE

  1. The Thompsons spent a year getting Works Approval from the Department of Environment and Conservation in WA (a year!) to run a feedlot 4.5 km from Narrogin for up to 14,490 cattle.
  2. They invested all their money and time, and complied with every request.
  3. They gradually built the farm up to 10,000 head, by 2007, and then applied to increase it to near 15,000.
  4. But suddenly in March 2008, they were cut back to 6,000, after they had paid to build the farm to carry 15,000, and locked themselves into the contracts for feed and water.
  5. They appealed immediately. The appeal for their 2 year license took 14 months. When it came through for them, there was only 9 months left. The banks won’t loan The Thompsons the money on a license that short, and the DEC had written in clauses effectively saying that the farm would lose it’s license if any one person complained about the smell. So if a few people don’t like the Thompsons all they have to do is ring and complain and the farm will be shut down based solely on their opinion and no evidence. We don’t convict people in court based on something so insubstantial. Yet we’ll ruin a family. The Thompsons wanted the DEC to set emissions limits that could be measured. The department refused to.

Some other beef farms don’t need licenses in WA — even large ones – they are registered, but not subject to licensing. The Thompsons were told originally they wouldn’t need licenses either. But then the DEC changed it’s mind, and said they’d have to because they were 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. Even in a 100 year storm any run-off would eventually wash into distant salt pans, threaten no birds, no fish, and cause no algal bloom. This is not about the environment.

Is there a vendetta by some green elements of the DEC against the Thompsons?

What has the world come to when people think we can move to farm land and then shut down the farms, even when they are run with world’s best practice measures?

This sends a dreadful message to the world. “Don’t invest in WA because the government can’t be trusted to keep their side of the deal”. The Thompsons had an agreement to run a farm of 14,490 cattle, as long as they stuck to the rule book. They did, but the government won’t let them have more than 6000 cattle now, and the banks won’t loan them money to run because they know the license can be withdrawn without warning.

I have documented all this on my website. Two federal politicians are taking up the cause in Parliament.

I am ashamed of our government and the mental torture it has put these good honest people through.

Are we a country run by rule of law where the law applies equally to everyone?

The Thompsons are under seige, trapped in their farm for fear the administrators will take things away if they leave their home.

If you’d like to help the Thompson’s, please go to this link to read over sample letters you can send in support.

http://joannenova.com.au/2010/09/my-letters-and-emails/

To our State Government

To: peter.abetz@mp.wa.gov.au, frank.alban@mp.wa.gov.au, Premier.Barnett@dpc.wa.gov.au, ken.baston@mp.wa.gov.au, liz.behjat@mp.wa.gov.au, geraldton@mp.wa.gov.au, ian.britza@mp.wa.gov.au, troy.buswell@mp.wa.gov.au, Minister.Castrilli@dpc.wa.gov.au, john.castrilli@mp.wa.gov.au, vincent.catania@mp.wa.gov.au, jim.chown@mp.wa.gov.au, peter.collier@mp.wa.gov.au, elizabeth.constable@mp.wa.gov.au, murray.cowper@mp.wa.gov.au, mia.davies@mp.wa.gov.au, john.day@mp.wa.gov.au, wendy.duncan@mp.wa.gov.au, phil.edman@mp.wa.gov.au, brian.ellis@mp.wa.gov.au, Minister.Faragher@dpc.wa.gov.au, joe.francis@mp.wa.gov.au, philip.gardiner@mp.wa.gov.au, nick.goiran@mp.wa.gov.au, brendon.grylls@mp.wa.gov.au, philippa.reid@mp.wa.gov.au, kim.hames@mp.wa.gov.au, liza.harvey@mp.wa.gov.au, alyssa.hayden@mp.wa.gov.au, colin.holt@mp.wa.gov.au, barry.house@mp.wa.gov.au, albert.jacob@mp.wa.gov.au, graham.jacobs@mp.wa.gov.au, rob.johnson@mp.wa.gov.au, carine@mp.wa.gov.au, bill.marmion@mp.wa.gov.au, john.mcgrath@mp.wa.gov.au, sandra.scott@mp.wa.gov.au, wanneroo@mp.wa.gov.au, michael.mischin@mp.wa.gov.au, andrea.mitchell@mp.wa.gov.au, norman.moore@mp.wa.gov.au, helen.morton@mp.wa.gov.au, mike.nahan@mp.wa.gov.au, simon.obrien@mp.wa.gov.au, christian.porter@mp.wa.gov.au, terry.redman@mp.wa.gov.au, darlingrange@mp.wa.gov.au, michael.sutherland@mp.wa.gov.au, max.trenorden@mp.wa.gov.au, twaldron@mp.wa.gov.au, grant.woodhams@mp.wa.gov.au


From: James Doogue

Subject: Matt and Janet Thompson – Feed lot Narrogin WA

Dear Members of the Coalition Government in WA,

No doubt you are aware of the case of Matt and Janet Thompson who have had their lives turned upside down by bureaucratic red tape and obstructionism in trying to develop a successful feed lot business. This project was given the green light and was planned and built on the basis of approvals received. Since then the goal posts have been continuously moves, ostensibly on the basis of environmental concerns and complaints from a small group of people. The feed lot is some 4 kilometres from town and next to a very large piggery, and is in a rural area yet most of the issues which have been raised are related to odours. Any greenhouse gas concerns raised are mischievous because if these cattle are not producing GHG’s at this feed-lot they will produce them else where. Stopping this project from operating will not reduce net GHG’s in this state.

At a time when country populations are declining because there are no local jobs, it should be a priority to support long term jobs in country areas. The vast majority of the vocal community support the feed lot. The State Government needs to take up the cause of this business immediately.

There are five steps I believe the state government of WA should take immediately:

  1. Firstly suspend any State charges being levied on this business for unused allocations of water.
  2. Refund payments for unused water allocations made while the bureaucrats have denied this business to operate at it’s originally approved level of production.
  3. Ask the local government to refund rates and other charges paid during this period the Thompson’s have been forced to operate at a loss.
  4. Step in and approve the feed lot operation and original specifications and with a long term licence grant to allow these people to earn a living and reduce debt.
  5. Consider an ex gratia compensation payment to the Thompson’s for the unnecessary red tape, delays and interference and damage the government bureaucrat have caused.

If you are not familiar with the story then I direct you to:

a) A summary of the story.

b) All related links and information (including evidence, maps and graphs).

c) A review of complaints show activist motivations and how limited the opposition really is.

d) Part I and Part 2 of the story in the Thompson’s own words at Youtube.

I hope you will do what you can to help this family and a potentially beneficial business.

Most Sincerely

James Doogue

Perth Australia

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I ask WUWT readers to help elevate this and make media aware. So far, dead silence from MSM. This could happen to any family farm the way regulations are being hurled at agriculture these days. Make your voice known.

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UPDATE: It was brought up in Australian Parliament, Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Senator BERNARDI (South Australia) (6:54 PM) —I rise tonight to speak about the plight of a family on the cusp of losing everything they have worked for. Matt and Janet Thompson came to Australia from the United States in 2001. They had expertise in cattle farming and they applied their life savings to establishing a feedlot in Narrogin in Western Australia. It took a year for them to receive approval from the Department of Environment and Conservation for that feedlot, which is nearly five kilometres from Narrogin. Approval was given for the construction of a feedlot to house up to 15,000 cattle—or slightly less than 15,000 cattle. They invested their time and their money and they are at risk of losing it all.

I am advised the Thompson family have broken no law, they have no outstanding environmental infringements, they have done everything asked of them by government, they are popular in their local community and nearby towns, and yet they still face ruin. They run a profitable business—or they ran a profitable business. But an over-officious and what would appear to be an overzealous government bureaucracy has cut the profitability of their business and their ability to access any capital.

We go back: the Thompsons applied for construction approval for a feedlot. They received it and they gradually built their farm up to house more than 10,000 head of cattle by 2007. By all reports it was a very successful business. By all reports they were turning away business because people wanted to tap into their expertise. So they applied to further increase their licence to house the maximum of 15,000 cattle. And this is where the problem came in. They were advised to apply for their licence, which they did, and it took a full 11 months for it to be approved. But the unsettling case is that in 2007 the department started to make further inquiries into the feedlot operations because of complaints about the smell. What I neglected to mention before is that this feedlot is located next to a piggery. The piggery has been in operation for some decades in Narrogin, and apparently in the town some people have been complaining about the smell. They have not been complaining about the piggery smell; they have been complaining about the feedlot smell. I am not quite sure how you determine the smell of a pig versus the smell of a cow when they are located next to each other, but somehow the department has concluded that it is the feedlot that smells.

The end result of this is that rather than continue their licence for 10,000 head of cattle which the Thompson family had invested in—they had entered into contracts for feed and water for those cattle—the licence was cut to 6,000 for the Thompsons’ feedlot operation. They could not sustain that. They could not sustain their operations and fulfil their contractual operations with only 6,000 head of cattle. Everything, all the capital they had invested—some $10 million in input costs in the previous year—had come to nowt because this licence was cut unilaterally.

Even the department, in a meeting with the Thompson family, acknowledged that there are procedures and processes that need to be gone through in order to cut people’s licences. And in a meeting on 15 December 2009 a department official said: ‘This is true. The Thompsons have not been treated in a fair and proper manner by the department. There was no process.’ So there was no appropriate process applied by the government department. There has been no law broken by the Thompson family, and yet they still stand on the cusp of losing everything simply because the department decided to change the conditions of their licence.

In the department’s defence, whatever departmental defence I can mount for them, they did, after some 15 months of stalling, give the Thompson family the ability to have 10,000 head of cattle on their property once again. The difficulty was that the licence was due to expire only months after it had been approved and no bank would lend or advance capital, on the assumption that all licences were in such short-term supply and that there could be a reduction or a change in licence conditions without notice, without due process, at the whim of the department. So the Thompsons have not been able to access the capital necessary to sustain their operations.

Today the Thompson family have administrators at their gates trying to enter their property because they cannot continue their operations, which were approved in the initial instance. The difficulties come because the department has also said that if one complaint about smell is received then the licence can be removed and they will have to reduce the number of cattle on their property again. Primary production business cannot continue to operate like this. When people come to this country, become Australian citizens, raise their families, invest their money, break no laws and establish profitable businesses, why is it that government departments can shut them down without due process?

There are other alarming aspects to the Thompsons’ case. In 2008 they hired attorneys in Perth because they did not think they were going to get a positive outcome from the Department of Environment and Conservation. After the attorneys got up to speed with the case, the solicitor and barrister recommended they meet with a gentleman who was an environmental attorney skilled in property matters such as this, Dr Schoombee. The Thompsons met with Dr Schoombee, who advised them that they had no legal standing for the approval of the original feedlot and that they should apologise to the Department of Environment and Conservation for their initial development. In his advice, which took 40 minutes, Dr Schoombee recommended that he should be continually retained to meet with the department and smooth things over.

By the Thompsons’ account, for the original 40-minute consultation they were charged $4,000—at $100 a minute it is not bad money if you can get it. But people can charge what they like and give the advice that they like as long as it is competent and impartial. What is disturbing is that Dr Schoombee is the convenor of an organisation called the Environmental Defender’s Office. The Environmental Defender’s Office is a non-government organisation, but it is actually funded by government and it advises and teaches a small group of complainants how to file writs and appeals and target businesses or practices with regard to environmental matters. This is all a matter of fact which the Thompsons have put on the record, I believe, at a Western Australian parliamentary inquiry hearing. The fact is that Dr Schoombee is a convenor of the EDO and on its website the EDO lists ‘the fight against Narrogin Beef Producers’, which is the Thompsons’ business, as a major accomplishment in 2008. Dr Schoombee won lawyer of the year, partly for his work with the Environmental Defender’s Office.

I would suggest that something smells in Narrogin, but I do not think it is the Thompsons’ feedlot. Something smells when people come here, invest their money and seek unbiased advice and then find that government departments are running roughshod over people who have not broken any law and have complied with all the environmental requirements made of them and find that individuals who are advising these people on how to deal with their problems are also running organisations which specialise in advising people on how to mount such spurious complaints. Something does smell in Narrogin. Having now raised it in this place, I feel it might be too late for the Thompsons. But there is a lesson for all Australians: we cannot allow government bureaucrats and departments to ride roughshod over common sense and common decency. We cannot allow government to become unruly and unwieldy in its restraint of decent businesses. To do so would send a very poor message, not only to people intent on building up their own investments in Australia but to people who are interested in investing here from overseas, like the Thompsons.

I raise this issue not because I think it can make a great deal of difference to the Thompson family. It may be too late—though I hope it is not. I hope that they can retain their farm and that the people of Narrogin, who have already pledged a great deal of support, will be able to rise up and ensure that this previously successful business can continue to operate. But a point that I think we all need to be aware of is that the way government officials or people in public office respond to constituents is absolutely important. The Thompsons’ case needs to be aired publicly; a number of people are trying to do so. I stand with them and wish Janet and Matt Thompson and their family a successful outcome.

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You need a LICENSE to have a specific number of livestock?
Regardless of how things turn out for the Thompsons, Australia is in deep trouble if you have a bureacracy that has the power to decide how many of what kind of livestock you can have on your ranch.

Enneagram

The administrators are visiting the house today.
Our hope is that these “administrators” of other peoples’ property show they are not so stupid. We need to know their names ASAP in order to remember them!

Enneagram

This is the kind of liberal dictatorship which is looming over the world. “Tomorrow will be too late” if we don’t stop this Global Madness of Global of environmentalism.
Those to blame for this are not in Australia but in a well known building in NY: At the UN.

Curiousgeorge

This problem the Thompson’s are dealing with needs a aggressive investigative reporter. There’s something going on here that goes beyond just a Greenie vendetta.
BTW, the US EPA is about to issue several new regulations that, according to reports, will result in ~ 1 million jobs lost for a supposed benefit to the “environment”. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/09/28/inhofe-says-epas-new-boiler-rule-kill-nearly-manufacturing-jobs/ . This on top of other regs concerning “farm dust”, and other green agenda items that are being pushed.
I don’t mean to hijack this thread or seem unfeeling about the Thompson’s plight, but they aren’t the only ones getting grief from government zombie’s.

Dr T G Watkins

C’mon guys and gals. $A 30,000 is peanuts when compared with the numbers who have read about this story. £/$ 5 will hardly break the bank ( 2 beers ). Easy to do via Jo Nova’s site.
Make an effort and feel good.

Myron Mesecke

Sounds like some powerful people want to start gobbling up land and make money off of it. If they win against the cows you know the pigs are the next target in their sights. Never have understood people wanting to move to the country and then complaining that it is too country. Here I am wishing I had bought some land 20 years ago so I can get away from the sounds and smells of the city.

Phil M2.

I have quite a few friends in Oz. Ozzies generally are very laid back, can’t get more so without dying. But even my easy going non-political friends are getting angry about what’s happening over there. What’s destined for Obama shortly is going to fuel a wave of discontent against these greens across the globe.
Not going to be painless, but necessary.
Vive La Revolution

Fighting Spirit

Matt has kept them off his property yesterday. By himself, with a camera in hand, a chain and paddlock on his gates, and 4 young children in his home. He was alone.
No MSM, no local papers to report.
Here in Australia there are people ringing, emailing, all MSM but they WILL NOT help not only Matt and Janet but any of the working class people.
Anything to do that has a NEGATIVE exposure for green based regulation is blocked here in Australia in MSM.
How did we stop this?
The meeting today with banks and politicians will be watched across the country, indeed the world. Thank you Anthony for your continuing efforts, you truly are a life line and your supporters for Matt and Janet, but for all farmers / graziers in Australia.
There is a post on Jo Nova’s site that i think sums up yesterday’s events.
http://joannenova.com.au/2010/09/thompsons-part-5-community-support/
Blunt:
September 28th, 2010 at 2:11 pm
A man alone, gate chained, desperately fighting for his rights.
His only defence a camera…
His right as a father to save duress from his family
His right as a protector to save his children from feelings of intimidation, security that only a father can give.
His right as a human being to have his day in court
His right as a husband to ease his wife’s fears
His right as an Australian to live without intimidation
His rights have been eroded once again.
No news crew, no local papers to help document this on his property, no moral support in the flesh…yet..the unwavering support that this man, Matt Thompson has taken from his friends, the National and International words of encouragement on this site, Anthony Watts and Property Rights Australia on Agmates have given him the strength to endure today’s event.
Well done Matt Thomspon you have made your family proud, and us your supporters.

Jeremy

How is it that a governmental agency can refuse to set measurable emissions standards and instead rely on a single complaint from another citizen?
So, if I were near a military base in Australia and I complained about the noise, I could force Australia to create a standing army of ninjas? Bureaucracy in this world needs to be slapped back to the stone age, they’re taking powers not granted to them in many westernized democracies.

richard verney

There is something going on that stinks and that smell is not coming from the farm

Phil M2.

How many greens does it take to fill a salty. Juries out on that one mate. Check back next year and we will have all the data you need.
🙂

PJP

Dr T G Watkins says:
September 28, 2010 at 2:41 pm
C’mon guys and gals. $A 30,000 is peanuts when compared with the numbers who have read about this story. £/$ 5 will hardly break the bank ( 2 beers ). Easy to do via Jo Nova’s site.
Make an effort and feel good.
Yes!
Please donate – even if its only $5!!!

What got me the most was the ‘complaints’ from the Ag. College. I went to an ag college that had cattle barns On Campus. If you don’t like the smell of manure, you don’t belong in farming… or an ag school.

In other States of Australia a watercourse is defined as a blue line on a government map. It would be interesting for them to look at the legal definition of a watercourse as a lot of the issues seem to surround that.
More on watercourses here;
http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=3&ved=0CB4QFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.water.nsw.gov.au%2FArticleDocuments%2F35%2Flicensing_rights_harvest_dams_where_can_they_be_built_without_licence.pdf.aspx&ei=bGyiTNa7D46WvAOg-d2UBA&usg=AFQjCNGbQ0SX2VcAwuggJ8oZRQEOmaZITA&sig2=saiEPUe357-zk4TOrKIvsA

ZT

This is what happens if you forget to weave the word ‘organic’ into your submissions to the local regulatory authorities.

Alan Simpson not from Friends of the Earth

Hells’ delight! This is worse than a drive by shooting. Australia has become a Marxist state, we unfortunates in Englandistan aren’t far behind. As usual American politics is our only hope to stop this utter madness.
The only sliver of consolation I can take from this, is that the usual trolls have not dared to show their face. Sigh.

Stephen Brown

Would that we could turn the clock back a century or more to when this statement still rang true: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
I would willingly stand shoulder to shoulder with Matt Thompson at his gate, bearing arms, in order to stop this iniquitous process.
Bureaucrats all over the world are busily chipping away at the concept of Freedom; they don’t like it and they don’t want it. What they want is total control so that they might direct in whence lives and businesses go.
Anthony says that he is pissed off, I’m a trifle more agitated than that, I am absolutely FURIOUS.

Larry Fields

I second the reasonable recommendation to not invest in Western Australia. But let’s up the ante a bit. How about a purely voluntary tourist embargo that applies to the Australian states with the most draconian environmental regulations. Lets not reward the Greenies for their shortsighted policies. Because of the plight of the Thompson family, WA is definitely on the list.
Victoria is also on the list, because of the Black Saturday Bushfires of 2009 that killed more than 170 people. Some of these deaths could have been prevented if the powers that be had allowed homeowners in places like Marysville to cut down highly flammable eucalyptus trees near their homes.
I’m also throwing in New South Wales, on general principles.
On the other hand, Queensland has an older demographic, and a higher proportion of the population that live in rural areas. ‘Banana Benders’ may be slightly better informed about rural issues, and slightly less militant, as compared with people in the other states that I mentioned. Visit beautiful Queensland.
Better still, forget about the twin ‘ecotopias’ of the Southern hemisphere, and visit beautiful Northern California! Our coastal redwoods should be on everyone’s ‘bucket list’.
My day-hiking friends tell me that even at the peak of the Summer tourist season, when Yosemite Valley is a zoo, you can find camping spots in Lassen Volcanic National Park.
If you don’t count Canyon Creek, the backpacking opportunities for experiencing Nature and solitude in the wilderness areas of the Klamath Mountain system (in the extreme Northern part of the state) are outstanding. I’m talking about the Trinity Alps and the lesser-known Marble Mountains.

Stephen Brown

… and I’ve donated again, though I can ill-afford it. At least I have a roof over my head.

wayne

Bet nearly every one of the 21 complainers are hard-core environmentalists. You in AU, find out, you still have the right to talk and listen don’t you? File a class-action suit against them for distrurbing the peace of the entire community! 900 to 21 should do it. Kick ’em out of town.
Here is a great description of these people protecting “their own little habitat, their own little corner of this world” only now they have gone further and added “Worrying about the odor”.

Curiousgeorge

Stephen Brown says:
September 28, 2010 at 3:52 pm
Would that we could turn the clock back a century or more to when this statement still rang true: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
I would willingly stand shoulder to shoulder with Matt Thompson at his gate, bearing arms, in order to stop this iniquitous process.
Bureaucrats all over the world are busily chipping away at the concept of Freedom; they don’t like it and they don’t want it. What they want is total control so that they might direct in whence lives and businesses go.
Anthony says that he is pissed off, I’m a trifle more agitated than that, I am absolutely FURIOUS.

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Saw a hand drawn sign at a rally the other day: I’ll keep my Guns, Freedom, & Money. You can keep your “Change”.

John from CA

Curiousgeorge says:
September 28, 2010 at 2:40 pm
This problem the Thompson’s are dealing with needs a aggressive investigative reporter. There’s something going on here that goes beyond just a Greenie vendetta.
EPA…
=====
That is the really odd part of the mess. This isn’t an environmental issue. The water courses aren’t at risk because they don’t exist and the odor problem was clearly shown to be a none issue.
The issue is either power mad DEC administrators who vindictively used delays and grandfathered licensechanges to force the business into insolvency or DEC administrators who are so inept that they deserve to be sued.
To top it all off, you’ve also got the National Australia Bank triggering insolvency 2 months early and DEC as well as the Politicians in Western Australia ignoring the will of the people of the Town and Shire.
Administrators showing up before the actual eviction to pillage the property is an abomination — they’re morally bankrupt.
Property laws and rights in Australia must be nonexistent, unenforced, or very bad.
Your comment about the EPA is dead on. EPA licensing and policy needs to be carefully crafted and constantly monitored or we’ll end up suffering the same fate.
The farm dust issue is a good example of an EPA 2 bricks shy of a full load.
EPA to Crack Down on Farm Dust
http://www.news9.com/Global/story.asp?S=12899662
OKLAHOMA CITY — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is considering a crackdown on farm dust, so senators have signed a letter addressing their concerns on the possible regulations.
The letter dated July 23 to the EPA states, “If approved, would establish the most stringent and unparalleled regulation of dust in our nation’s history.” It further states, “We respect efforts for a clean and healthy environment, but not at the expense of common sense….”

Enneagram

[snip] This comment was inappropriate, you’ve been warned on other occasions. Now you will have your comments automatically sent to the troll bin. – Anthony

Been a bit busy on the home front lately. 🙂 Know that we appreciate your support immensely.
But remember always: this is much bigger than Matt and Janet Thompson. If we can tie our horrendous story to the underlying problem (increasing centralised control) and use it to make a difference in our world, we must.
Seems to me, in reading the comments, that you all get this very well. That makes us happy.
Another deep breath, and into the day.
Cheers,
Janet (and Matt and kids)

Ann

Maybe this comes down to being a simple case of: follow the money.
I’m sure a subdivision brings in more revenue to the government than a feed lot does. When in doubt, look to see who gets money in their pocket.

jaymam

There’s a similar situation in NZ, where neighbours complained about the smell of compost used for growing mushrooms. The firm was one of the biggest employers in the small farming community, and will be moving to where people want jobs.
I wonder if the neighbours are now happy.
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10676445
About 160 jobs will go in Morrinsville when Meadow Mushrooms closes there – but jobs will be created in Christchurch, where the company is expanding.

The Waikato Times reported that neighbours of the company’s Taukoro Road composting plant last year successfully opposed resource consents for emissions from the plant, describing the stink as being like “dead cows”.
The court found the smell was in breach of existing resource consents, and after compliance requirements were deemed to be too expensive, the company decided both it and the Avenue Road factory would close.

Gary Pearse

Can’t we get newsmedia from some other country to go down there and embarass and scoop Oz press? Maybe Fox News, Delingpole, or somebody. Isn’t there a 60 minutes or W5 program that would be interested? I can’t believe this isn’t news.

Wucash

This kind of reminds me of the time the Belgian GP was at risk because of ‘noise pollution’. Turns out it was the local green party creating some ruckus, getting fellow local people to complain about the noise, no matter how much revenue the area gets from hosting the annual F1 racing weekend. There was some serious doubt as to whether it would be held again, but needless to say, Bernie Eccelstone, the sports promoter (of sorts) sorted it out quickly behind closed doors.
However, that race is only held once a year. About the smell, one could imagine the stench that many cows can produce. If I was a local I wouldn’t want to live anywhere near the place, especially downwind. What’s worse is if someone’s property value shot through the floor because of this mega-ranch – same perdictiment as the Thompsons.
I think the way this family’s been treated is awful, but I don’t think we’ve seen every angle to this story yet.

DCC

I wonder who wrote that poster. (Welcome to Investment Hell.) Are they emigrants or immigrants?

captainfish

I have sent that letter to those people listed by Jonova.
Let’s do a massive email campaign to these people. Keeping it nice and professional.

Wow! and I thought that in Argentina we were subjected to a insane tyrany. So, Australia is one of those countries I would never think of settling in as North Korea, Sudan or Ethiopia. Perhaps the greens are doing it just for keeping foreigners away.

Leon Brozyna

And it was thought by some that Ayn Rand exaggerated when she said that without property rights, no other rights were possible.

Pamela Gray

Moving to a rural farming area for the sole purpose of getting away from the stress, noise, violence, and smell of the city is about as senseless as moving to an industrial area for the same reasons.
If you want to move to the country, or (note to my three grown kids) visit the family ranch, bring work clothes. If all you have are Bermuda shorts and sunglasses, don’t bother.

Pamela Gray

I’ve seen the same kind of thing in Oregon. Someone didn’t like living next to bees used to pollinate rye grass fields because they got stung occasionally. Someone didn’t like living next to fields that were burned every fall because it put a film of straw ashes in their backyard pool. Someone didn’t like living next to a mint field because for only a small part of the year, the field smelled like rotting mint compost. The list goes on. City people who move there just to smell the country air should be banned from living in the country.

James Sexton

I don’t believe Australia shares the same history as America. But, we share the same heritage and beliefs…..I’ll share this, as a gift……
“… but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to them in discipline and use of arms, who stand ready to defend their rights ..” — Alexander Hamilton

Bill Sticker

I think it might be a good idea if some video of the Thompson’s plight was available via Youtube or even the censorship free service Eyetube to pass the message around the Liberty loving members of the blogosphere . Make the movie, post the links and pass the word.
If their story is told well it will run, and run, and run.

Theo Goodwin

The complaints about farms smells are an example of Clueless Arrogant Yuppie Syndrome. When gentrification hit some of the US’s older cities in the eighties, Yuppies would move into rehabbed 19th century mansions located in neighborhoods that were situated between wealthy neighborhoods and impoverished neighborhoods. Invariably, yuppies would demand locked fences around their neighborhoods. Of course, existing residents saw this as destruction of the neighborhood. The Clueless Yuppies were shocked that they could not have the same lifestyle as their parents out in the suburbs. What was the source of conflict? Well, if a Clueless Yuppie left a bicycle on the lawn overnight it was gone the next morning. Existing residents accepted this as part of the turf and understood that any object on a porch behind a screen latch would be undisturbed. So much for the empathy and love pouring from these Clueless Arrogant Yuppies who, invariably, were Liberals. I predict that the developed world will see great suffering at the hands of Clueless Arrogant Yuppies and their favored organizations such as the Sierra Club.

John from CA

Gary Pearse says:
September 28, 2010 at 4:45 pm
Can’t we get newsmedia from some other country to go down there and embarass and scoop Oz press? Maybe Fox News, Delingpole, or somebody. Isn’t there a 60 minutes or W5 program that would be interested? I can’t believe this isn’t news.
==========
ABC News AU Tip line:
http://www.abc.net.au/news/investigations/contact.htm
Phoning into a local US radio talk program frequently gets the news in the papers. If you know a local news director, send them an email.

James Sexton

Pamela Gray says:
September 28, 2010 at 6:22 pm
City people who move there just to smell the country air should be banned from living in the country.
========================================================
Or, they should be forced to live with the consequences of their actions. I have a particular disdain for people that move into a rural setting expecting things that are unreasonable.

John from CA

While I was digging around on the ABC site looking for any references to the Thompsons a ran across their Special Reports tab and found a 2 day special report on protecting Australia’s food base from China and Middle Eastern interests.
It looks like DEC missed that story as well.

Scarlet Pumpernickel

So where are you supposed to put cattle if you can’t have them in the country?
On floating rafts?

Sam

Try to find Germaine Greer and get her interested. She’s based now in or near Melbourne where she bought some land. She is a genius when it comes to the media
Given what she used to write in her much missed column in the Telegraph, she is very environmentally savvy but would be up in arms about the job-destroying bureaucracy involved here. She loves tilting at windmills and puncturing the pompous. And she will see the wider picture, instantly

Noelene

If you have 6,000 head would the smell be stronger with 15,0000?
Manufactured reasons to destroy this family.I hope they can sue for compensation.

KenB

The worst of this is that Western Australia has one of the only “liberal” state Governments, remaining in Australia. This is the political Party that is supposed to be about protecting small business, fostering economic growth and in Coalition partnership with the National Party, looking after the interests of the Farmers and rural industries throughout Australia.
The Thompsons and their present plight are the very people that this Liberal coalition should be breaking their necks to help and protect, yet they seem bogged down in a mire of political correctness, inaction and powerless against the powerful bureaucracies that have been built up as successive governments have done deals with the “greeny” leftists to remain in power. The WA Liberals were swept into power to undo the damage of the previous leftist State Labor Governments, but don’t seem up to the task given the power and impact of the environmental would be could be’s that seem to have the power and influence. Its these same behind the scenes people who spent their lives in government feather bedded luxury of Education, Environment, Universities that are the fellow travellers of the leftist green environmentalist wreckers pushing the same agenda that is trying to derail the rights of US Families, introduce secret legislation, control by excessive regulation and remove the rights of the individual.
Australians will wake up and lament their loss of freedom and their formerly wonderful laid back style of life, but it will be too late.
I have emailed key members of the State Government and the Leader of the Federal Opposition. Its time to make a stand and show what can be done on behalf of the democratic rights of all of us.
The response so far is like shell shocked silence, and probably the reason we have a minority government in power overall in Australia in our recent Federal Elections, there were too many willing to sell their souls to gain the middle ground rather than fight the insidious agenda of the Green left.
They can prove me wrong if the party that claims to stand for small business, rural industries and the ordinary people that are willing to work and make Australia listen to Jo Nova and ignore the agenda of the wreckers, the environmental Left who hate any sort of prosperity, initiative or drive to success.
Yes we, the old silent majority ARE upset at what we see happening under the guise of “saving the world for our children” a cover for wreck the economy re-distribute wealth and impose control by stealth.
Sorry for that passion Anthony, it comes out of total frustration in seeing this great country fall by the wayside.

Fighting Spirit

I am Australian, i read earlier up the post an idea regarding overseas tv media!
Yes, yes yes!! Brilliant idea!
Please do it – if anyone has any connections – 60 mins here in Australia know about the Thomspons – as do other current affairs shows, major news papers, all forms of radio – YET they still pander to political favour’s it seems – a cone of silence to the farmers here down under.
I email daily, and ring twice a week as many as i can – i also state Anthonys site, and Jo Novas are covering it and many people are outraged, and are donating.
Yet, still nothing! maybe the Australian media are doing it because not only do they not care about the Thompsons, and thousands of families like them, but its peeved them off that Anthony and Jo are covering this and getting support as well? What does any one else think?
If this is the case, boycott Australia! (yes, i am Australian!)

Chris in Queensland

James Sexton says:
September 28, 2010 at 6:52 pm
Or, they should be forced to live with the consequences of their actions. I have a particular disdain for people that move into a rural setting expecting things that are unreasonable.
=========================================================
Like I just love the mob who moved into new houses in a new housing estate at the end of a regional airport runway here in my home town. We have one Virgin 737 landing and taking off once a day at midday. The airport has been there for ever, yet they have formed and “Action” group and get themselves on TV at least once a week to complain about the noise. The leader of the group is a member of the Green Party.
I wonder what we are going to do with the airport if they get their way.

Oliver Ramsay

The tone of the comments appears to have drifted away from the very suspect motives and actions of the relevant bureaucracy and towards the vilification of neighbours complaining about the smell.
The 21 complainants are fully entitled to raise objections and it makes sense that they would be investigated. The authorities are not entitled to act in arbitrary and peremptory fashion and I reserve my outrage for them.
With that said, I’d like to point out that it’s not just recent urban emigrés that might take issue with neighbouring feedlots; there are plenty of old-fashioned ranchers around Lethbridge, Alberta, for example who bemoan the recent trend of intensive cattle finishing lots.
The world is a changing place and there’s no doubt that 50,000 head of cattle on a handful of acres is quite different from a herd of Herefords roaming the foothills.

Chris in Queensland

Fighting Spirit @ September 28, 2010 at 8:33 pm
Maybe it has something to do with the $250 million Senator Stephen Conroy, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate, handed out to the TV stations a few months back.
The people in Australia are still wondering what the TV stations did to get this “GIFT”.
One can only guess ???????

John from CA

Anto says on JoNova:
September 29th, 2010 at 1:32 pm
Just to let you know, Senator Bernardi DID raise this matter in the Parliament last night.
Link to his statement is here:
http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;adv=yes;db=CHAMBER;id=chamber%2Fhansards%2F2010-09-28%2F0076;orderBy=_fragment_number,doc_date-rev;query=Dataset%3Ahansards;rec=0;resCount=Default

Bernd Felsche

One of the problems is the migration of “weeds” (greens sprouted from the concrete of the cities) to idyl — which is never as perfect as their imagination. Rural life isn’t about cuddly animals or living in harmony with nature.
It’s an incessant struggle against nature.
Narrogin, for those who are unfamiliar with Western Australia, is an isolated town that is a 3-hour drive away from the the next “big smoke”, Perth. It is cold at night. Usually very hot and dry in the day in summer. And usually dusty when it’s not muddy.
Getting there.
People choose to live there mainly because they choose to work the land or to provide services to those who do. They help to put food on the plates of the world. Even the plates in front of the weeds.