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Friday, August 1, 2014

Wheat farmer pushed beyond despair

Ian Turnbull

It's a sad state of affairs when a farmer can't do what he wants with his own land, but that's how it is now in NSW.  Somehow, someone gave the government the power to over-ride all the owner's rights. And they spy on them with satellites to make sure they do what they're told.  

And because of this stupid law, right now, a decent, well respected wheat farmer, Ian Turnbull is sitting in a country jail charged with murder, denied bail and an innocent man doing his job is dead.  

On Tuesday, Glen Turner 51, a government employee of the NSW Environment Commission paid another visit to the Turnbull farm. The court was told that Mr Turnbull fired a number of shots at Mr Turner before a bullet struck him in the back and killed him.

Glen Turner

Basically, Mr Turnbull was in trouble for clearing his land.  The Land and Environment Court ruled he had breached the Native Title Vegetation Act.  Give me a break!

Mr Turnbull's family yesterday described how their grandfather had suffered because he wasn't going to fold, he intended to fight, but it cost him dearly, especially his health, he couldn't sleep and was severely depressed.

A bullet hole is visible in the window of Glen Turner’s vehicle

"He has held all this in, he has crumbled, he has tried to carry this all by himself" a family member said. The family also extended their condolences to Mr Turner's family, including his two children, aged 9 and 10.

How this law ever came to be passed is hard to understand.

 * NSW farmers wishing to clear land containing native vegetation     must obtain a property vegetation plan or development consent      from the state government.
* Approval can take months or even years.
* Permission from councils and the federal government may be        required as well.
* Penalties include fines of more than $1 million.

The NSW government is using satellites to enforce its despised land-clearing law and the Native Vegetation Act 2003 prevents even the smallest of land clearances without strict and cumbersome consents.

The bitter dispute involved a series of appeals in the Land and Environment Court culminating in Mr Turner's death and the blame for this death lies entirely at the feet of the NSW Environment Office.  The law was introduced by a Labor/Green alliance in 2003.