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Community decision making: guns and herbicide
There’s an AGM, we have to have that to fulfil the requirements of the cooperative. You have to have your accounts done and all that. We’re actually changing one of the by-laws this time in relation to fire arms. Previously, the old Buddhist – peace, peace, peace thing – fire arms are bad, but of course on a farm you occasionally need to put down a cow and of course now that we’re slaughtering. You know, a gun comes in handy for that and yeah, so that adjustment’s being made. JJ actually owns guns but he’s got to keep them someplace else because of our current rule, which is silly.
So that’s one thing – and the wording of that by-law has been negotiated over the last, probably six or seven business meetings, fine tuning to make everyone happy. So that will be ratified and that’s gone out to the absentee members and they gave their feedback. So yeah, that’s the formal side of it I suppose. We have business meetings every month and things come up and they get decided by consensus usually. It’s not a majority, it’s got to be consensus.
So if a significant number of people are opposed to something it won’t happen. If it’s just one, that person will sort of – acquiesce – and they can lodge a dissenting opinion in the minutes. The use of herbicides was a big one a few years ago. When we put the covenant on the place a bit over five years ago I started to get interested in bush regeneration and I was starting to wind back my research at uni, I realised the place was going backwards pretty quickly. A lot of the areas, you know the sally wattles, Acacia melanoxylon, a lot of them were falling over and just lantana taking over and a new method of dealing with lantana had just been developed called splattering, in which you don’t spray the whole thing you just put down a line of large droplets. It’s slightly more concentrated, ten to one rather than a hundred to one which was the spray. But you can dodge around trees and so that’s something we hadn’t done before. We’d used herbicides, we had to get rid of weeds back in the old days when there was a lot of groundsel bush on the place, so cut and paint. But this was a new thing, so some people felt uncomfortable with it. So that took a long time to get through.
It’s a big issue on other communities as well, so the weeds people have been getting me to go out and talk about my experience with a PowerPoint presentation which is actually on You Tube if you want to have a look at it. If you just Google my name in You Tube it should pop up. There’ve been about two hundred hits on it or something; it seems to be pretty popular. Other people find it useful.
It took about a year to get through, information, provision of information about the potential hazards, which are very minor, it’s a low toxicity herbicide, I forget what they… they said it’s the lowest of the classifications, yeah. And various promises not to do it near creeks and all the rest of it, you know, so a whole set of guidelines. I’d never done it before in my life, but I wrote a two page submission to the community about what you can do about lantana and what happens if you don’t. Never done that before here. I’ve sent that to interested people on other communities yeah.