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Land and Environment : Agribusiness Assoc. of Australia

Contents - 2006

Connections is refereed by Glenn Ronan and Bill Malcolm. The name reflects its origins, its intentions and the medium. It is a joint product of the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society (AARES) and The Faculty of Agriculture and Food Systems, The University of Melbourne.

Connections is an extension publication, connecting material in farm and agribusiness, in marketing and management, in environment and resources.

Paper 47

Big hole in PM's water plan

Paul Kerin

Melbourne Business School, University of Melbourne

Published with permission of the author (this article was printed in the Australian Financial Review 7/2/07 )

Market mechanisms will best solve the allocation of water and save tax payers money.

Paper 48

AWB's cosy deal cuts returns to growers - desk has run its race

Paul Kerin

Melbourne Business School, University of Melbourne

Published with permission of the author (this article was printed in the Weekly Times 6/9/06 )

A free export market for wheat would benefit growers. Many reports have highlighted the substantial benefits to be gained by eliminating or restructuring the single desk. Accenture estimated annual supply chain savings of at least $150 million; ACIL-Tasman, savings of $11.70 a tonne in WA; Allen Consulling, $56 million to $223 million; the Centre for International Economics, $120 million to $360 million; and Kronos, at least $9.33 a tonne.

Paper 49

New Water for Western Australian Rural Towns

PDF Version

Jo Pluske

School of Agriculture and Resource Economics, The University of WA

The Rural Towns - Liquid Assets project commenced in 2004 with the aim of developing integrated water management plans for a number of WA towns at risk from salinity. One of the major outcomes of this program is to produce a new source of long-term water for these towns. An important finding from this work is that the marginal opportunity cost can be used to establish price but for it to be effective, all of the parameters that make up this cost should also be considered.

Paper 50

Coping with change – farm level adjustment and policy reform

David Harris

Freelance Economist, Melbourne

Agricultural structural adjustment is often portrayed as a process of decline involving farmers being forced to leave their farms. It is a perception associated with the pressures to improve farm performance in order to obtain a satisfactory farm income. In reality this is a limited perspective of a process that has more to do with self-improvement and industry development.


Paper 51

Adoption of conservation practices by rural landholders

David J. Pannell, Graham R. Marshall, Neil Barr, Allan Curtis, Frank Vanclay and Roger Wilkinson

Much of the focus of government policy for land and water conservation is on changing the behaviour and management practices of rural landholders. Adoption is based on subjective perceptions or expectations rather than on objective truth.

Note: This is a summary of: Pannell, D.J., Marshall, G.R., Barr, N., Curtis, A., Vanclay, F. and Wilkinson, R. (2006). Understanding and promoting adoption of conservation practices by rural landholders. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 46(11): 1407-1424. The full paper is available at the journal web site:

Paper 52

From Sam Wadham To Blue Gums

Peter Small

An occasional talk to the associates and members The Navel and Military Club, Melbourne, 31st August 2006.

With Australia having limited amount of agricultural land in the secure rainfall zone shouldn’t we as a nation be revisiting our national policy of locking up vast areas of old growth forests? Isn’t it possible to manage these forests and to harvest them in a none intrusive way so that the environment is safeguarded and our national resource used productively? Or do we leave the trees to mature and die or burn as the case may be?

Paper 53

Time to Kill 'The Supermarket to Asia' Myth

David McKinna

Principal of the International Strategy Consultancy, Strategic Insights.

Travelling to food markets around the world, I feel a great sense of frustration and a sadness at the generally held misconceptions regarding the competitiveness of the Australian food industry.  Despite the daily stories in the media highlighting the declining fortunes of our food industry, there is still a blind belief and confidence amongst producers , which is fostered by many trade officials, that Australia is a leading force in global food.  This self perpetuating myth needs to be killed once and for all.

Paper 54

Exposing the ‘clean and green’ myth

David McKinna

Principal of the International Strategy Consultancy, Strategic Insights.

As the ‘country of origin’ labelling bandwagon hits the Hume Highway this week, everyone seems to have overlooked the underlying fundamental that has brought this issue to the forefront. Although the talk back callers around the nation’s airwaves would all like to blame the woes of our farmers on supermarkets or multinationals, the fact of the matter is that many of Australia’s agri-food industries have failed to remain competitive in what is now a global food arena.

Paper 55

Integrating Agricultural and Resource Economics into Multidisciplinary Programmes: Some challenges for teaching and learning

Jo Pluske

2006 Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society (WA Branch) Presidential Address

It would seem that discussion of topics focusing on the use of economics in research and/or teaching and learning often only arise when one is accepting a prize (e.g. Longworth 1992) or presenting a presidential address (e.g. Mullen 1996;  Malcolm 2004). Perhaps an indication that there is little interest in such topics and hence a lack of funding (or vice versa) or, perhaps people faced with a captive (define how you wish) audience find it difficult to pass up an opportunity to offer their point of view on a subject that they think should be of interest? Being in such a position it is my intention today to suggest to you that having to integrate economics into multidisciplinary programmes is going to increase in both research and teaching and learning. In the following discussion I will present some reasons, based on my experience, why this will occur and how we might deal with such challenges especially from a teaching and learning position.

Paper 56

Contemporary Issues in Water Policy

Alistair Watson

Freelance Economist, Melbourne,


Positive signs are emerging from bureaucratic and political effort in the water industry.

The Commonwealth and State Governments have grudgingly accepted that the cheapest way to secure water for environmental flows is to obtain water on the market. The possibility of an easy way out through water savings in irrigation and urban water recycling has been exaggerated.

Paper 57

Dryland Salinity: New Knowledge with Big Implications

David Pannell

Professor, School of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Western Australia

There have been major improvements in our knowledge of dryland salinity over the past decade. This article describes a selection of those improvements, and discusses their implications for government policy making about salinity.


Bill Malcolm Glenn Ronan

Co-editor and
Associate Professor
School of Agr & Food Systems Faculty of Land and Food Resources
The University of Melbourne
Victoria, Australia

Co-editor and
Principal Strategy Consultant, Corporate Strategy and Policy,
Primary Industries and Resources South Australia


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