Volume 18, Issue 1

Newsletter of the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society Inc.

Volume 18, Number 1, April 2006


Call for Nominations for Secretary of AARES

Call for nominations for Manager – Promotion and Development


Guest address at 50th Anniversary AARES conference dinner - M. John Phillips AO


CONTACT DETAILS for office bearers and central office



The Society staged another most successful conference at Manly in February and much credit must go to John Madden and his helpers on the Local Organising Committee. The venue was great from professional and social perspectives. The Conference was our 50th and we were graced with the presence of seven of the original members of the society – Harold Bell, Peter Druce, Malcolm Hill, Roger Mauldon, Warren Musgrave, John Phillips, and Bob Thomas. They all attended the Conference Dinner, some accompanied by wives (and Christine Hill, Malcolm’s daughter), where Warren Musgrave proposed a toast to AARES and John Phillips gave the dinner address – both with great eloquence. Bob Thomas attended most of the Conference and his unflagging inquisitiveness was an inspiration. We congratulate again Alan Randall, Vic Wright and Ron Duncan who became Distinguished Fellows of AARES.  The conference was opened by the Governor of NSW, Professor Marie Bashir who identified with Ross Kingwell’s reference to Hanrahan. She grew up in Narrandera and knew John O’Brien. 

Thanks again to our premier sponsors, NSW DPI and NSW Premier’s, to our principal sponsors, DAFF, ABARE, ACIAR, RIRDC, PC, LWA, GRDC and URS and to our associate sponsors, University of Sydney, MDBC and CSIRO. Sponsorship of our conference facilitates the invited speaker program at our conference, ensures its financial success and contributes to the financial stability of AARES.

My thanks to the Invited Speakers and to all those who gave contributed papers. It was a most stimulating conference for all of us. During the Conference Cheryl Kalisch moderated a session with young and not so young professionals enquiring into how the services offered by AARES are presently viewed and where they might be improved. I think the most important lesson for me was that we take for granted that it is easy for new members to fully participate in AARES. Since the Conference I have written to all new members informing them of how and where to get access to the services provided by the Society. At the start of our conference in future we plan to have a welcoming session for those new to the Conference to explain how the Conference works and to introduce them to members of the Society with similar interests.

Our next conference is at Queenstown, NZ – sounds like a brilliant venue again. Ross Cullen heads up the Local Organising Committee. John Rolfe has suggested Rockhampton as the venue for the 2008 conference but Federal Council is also approaching the ACT and SA Branches for their interest.

August 12 - 18 AARES is helping to host the triennial conference of the International Agricultural Economics Association on the Gold Coast. The local organising committee is being led by Julian Alston, Phil Pardey and Mal Wegener. Already in terms of the numbers of contributed papers submitted, there is unprecedented interest in this conference and we encourage members of AARES to provide a strong Australian presence at this important international conference. AARES is providing up to 20 fellowships to support attendance at the Conference. ABARE is organising a conference session on the Australian and NZ agriculture and resource sectors and the annual AARES symposium will be held in conjunction with the Conference with a focus on water economics. Conference registration is now open with early bird registration available until June 10. Information about the conference can be found by following links from the AARES website. See you there.

I’d like to welcome Alan Rae as President Elect. Alan will be responsible for the Invited Speakers program at Queenstown. I’d like to thank Deb Peterson for the conscientious and graceful way she undertook her duties as President during 2005. We say farewell and thanks to Jeff Bennett for his time on Federal Council. Thanks are due to the other members of the Executive, Branch Councillors and to Annie Hurst, who runs our central office at ANU. Thanks are also due to those who serve the Society on prize giving committees and Branch Councils.

Unfortunately two of our hardest working people, Tennille Graham as Secretary and Lili Pechey as Manager, Promotion and Development have to step down. Most of you are aware that Tennille’s very young daughter Abigail has been suffering fits since our Manly conference. Tenille reports that she and James are confident in managing Abbey now but the road to full recovery is a long one and she needs to devote all her attention to Abbey. We wish Tennille and her family all the very best. Lili has changed jobs, changed towns and is pursuing postgraduate study, so life is pretty exciting for her at present. We wish her well and thank her and Tennille for their very valuable contributions over the last few years.

Of course this means we are looking for a Secretary and a Manager, Promotion and Development. The pay is great, the travel opportunities and the company are fantastic so please respond to the job ads featured below.

After a long gestation period, we have finally made arrangements to have the back issues of the AJAE and RMAE digitised and made available on the web later in the year. Thanks to David Pannell.

An important task in the year ahead is to appoint an editorial team for AJARE to take over from Bob Lindner, Ross Kingwell and David Pannell for the 2008 – 2010 issues of the Journal. There is a call for Expressions of Interest below.

The pace in 2006 doesn’t seem to be slackening

Call for Nominations for Secretary of AARES 

Tennille Graham has been our very enthusiastic and skilful secretary for the last couple of years. Unfortunately Tennille’s baby daughter has become seriously ill and Tennille is stepping down. We thank Tennille for all her efforts and we wish Tennille, James and Abigail a speedy return to the normal life young families should lead.

The Society is calling for nominations to fill this very important position. Key responsibilities of the position include:

-          At the four Federal Council meetings each year and the AGM :

                  o       Prepare an agenda

                  o       Table a Secretary’s Report

                  o       Prepare and distribute minutes

-          Facilitate the PhD and Masters Awards by writing to Australian and New Zealand universities inviting them to submit theses and subsequently to liaise with the PhD and Masters Committees

-          Liaise with the Heading North/South Committees to facilitate the Heading North/South Young Professionals Exchange Travel Awards

-          Liaise with Branch Secretaries to facilitate the Undergraduate Awards

-          Prepare certificates for all prize winners to be presented at the Annual Conference Dinner

-          As Returning Officer for the President-Elect ballots, count the votes

This is a great opportunity to become involved with the Society and to share in shaping its future.

Please contact AARES central office manager, Annie Hurst (aares) to make a nomination for the position before May 21, 2006. For more information ring John Mullen on 0263 913608. 

Call for nominations for Manager – Promotion and Development

The Society is looking for a new person to fill the (very small shoes (Lili Pechey, Pers. comm..)) of Lili Pechey who is reluctantly resigning from the position to focus on the joys of postgraduate study.

Key responsibilities of this Executive position on the federal council include:

This position is a great opportunity to become involved within the Society and to share in shaping its future.  

Please contact AARES central office manager, Annie Hurst (aares) to make a nomination for the position, before the 21st May 2006. More Information can be had from John Mullen (0263 913608) or Lili Pechey (0408748749)



President’s Report - Deborah C Peterson

 In this report, I will provide an overview of the state of our Society and review our major activities during the year, including some of the new initiatives. Many of the issues addressed in this report have been described in more detail in News and Views during the year, and are covered in the reports of other Office Bearers at this AGM.

Overview of the State of the Society

The Society is in a strong position in terms of its finances with generous cash balances relative to our normal expenditures and financial risk. Our net income has remained around $47 000, despite an apparent decline in membership from 657 to 533 people between 2004 and 2005.

The increase in gross income from $115 000 in 2004 to $142 000 in 2005 is mainly attributable to increased income from subscriptions which rose from around $53 000 to nearly $85 000(About a third of this (paid in April 2005) represents royalties outstanding for 2004, with the remainder (paid 6th June 2005) being an advance on royalties based on budgeted 2005 membership), and a large surplus from the Annual Conference held at Coffs Harbour .

Our expenses (around $95 000) exceed income from AJARE subscriptions. However, we are now regularly earning a surplus from our annual conferences and symposia (see below), The annual conference alone contributed around 30 per cent of our 2005 income (final accounts from the symposium held in Perth are not yet available, but a small surplus was achieved). In the last three years we have also earned $10 000 to $13 000 from interest bearing accounts, advertising and CD sales.

                                      Net surplus from conferences and symposia ($)

                                      2005                2004                 2003                2002

Annual conference           43 336             48 367              24 86l               23 527

Symposium                    na                    1 415                18 943              7 980

Our expenditures increased from $68 000 in 2004 to $95 000 in 2005 About 40 per cent of this is due to the timing of the 2004 branch payments, which were paid in 2005 – in other words, there were two years of branch payments in the 2005 accounts. Some of the increase was related to strategic decisions to support and promote professional activities (see below) as a service to existing members and in expectation that such expenditure will pay off in the longer term through retained and new membership. Expenditures on the AARES Central Office increased, reflecting the Society's growth to a larger business with increasing complexity in its arrangements. Another factor was slightly higher annual conference expenses in 2005.

Over time, our expenditures are increasing as our operating environment changes: employers, for example, are less willing to subsidize the Society's activities by providing air fares for Council members to attend Council meetings, or to cover postage and incidentals. In other words, the cost of running the Society is becoming more transparent.

 As noted above and in the report of the Manager of Promotion and Development, membership records as at 21 December indicate a decline in members, although we are seeing signs of growth in some branches. However, these numbers do not include new members (around 90) who subscribed at the Perth and Canberra Symposia, and the E-CReW conference. These people will receive membership for the 2006 calendar year.

Trends in our underlying (long term) membership are masked by the effect of people who are non-members automatically receiving membership when they attend a conference or symposium. Many of these people do not renew their membership. We could, for example, be holding steady or even growing in terms of long term members but have a varying number of non-members attending the conference, with numbers depending on location (among other factors). We need careful analysis of our records over a number of years to reveal the true story. Such analysis would also help us monitor the effectiveness of promotional activities involving free membership.

Membership on an calendar year basis poses some issues for promotional strategies and pricing structures of events held later in the year. Council will explore the possibility of membership renewal on an `any time start' basis, which means membership would be for a year from the time of joining. 

New initiatives and promotional activities

This year saw the introduction of a number of new initiatives and promotional activities. Examples include:

-                     Providing up to 20 fellowships to the value of A$850 for members to attend the upcoming IAAE conference. This move was echoed by a number of branches who also agreed to sponsor member attendance.

-                     Co-sponsoring an Environmental and Resource Economics Early Career Researcher Workshop (E-CReW) held at Charles Sturt University in October. This workshop involved participants giving a presentation on their work-in-progress research and receiving feedback from a number of mentors.

-                     Introducing three new prizes: the Quality of Communication Award (for superior communication of concepts or knowledge in agricultural and resource economics); the Quality of Research Discovery Award (for significant contribution to the field of knowledge in agricultural and resource economics) and an award for the best Connections article. These prizes will be awarded for the first time in 2006.

-                     Establishing an agreement through Laurian Unevehr, the President of the American Agricultural Economics Association (AAEA) in 2004-05, for AARES to host an Organised Symposium each year at the AAEA meetings (with no cost to AARES). The aim of this arrangement is to raise awareness among US agricultural and resource economists of AARES and issues relating to agricultural and natural resources in Australia and New Zealand.

-                     Encouraging branches to increase their services to members with success evident in the growth in activity of some branches compared with previous years

Key events on 2005

A number of successful events were hosted by the Society in 2005. The year began with the Annual Conference, held in Coffs Harbour and hosted by the New England Branch. The conference was a tremendous success in terms of its contribution to the Society’s income and its contribution to members’ professional development and social enjoyment. The inaugural AARES Organised Symposium was held at the AAEA meetings in Providence, Rhode Island in July. The symposium stimulated on-going exchanges of ideas and information between participants. The 2005 AARES National Symposium was held in Perth in September. The subject of the  symposium, water policy, was very topical and the symposium was well attended. The ACT branch displayed initiative and hosted a symposium in November on 'New horizons in market based instruments', featuring experts from both Australia and overseas, Thanks to the many people involved in running these excellent events.

Future events

We look forward to  the International Agricultural Economics Association (IAAE) conference on 12 – 18 August,  to be held on the Gold Coast in Queensland. The conference is being co-hosted by AARES and the IAAE, with an agreement to share equally in any surpluses or deficits associated with the conference. The agreed budget's breakeven point was based on 700 registered delegates (around 820 total attendees). The organising committee, led by Julian Alston, Phil Pardey and Mal Wegener, report considerable success in attracting sponsorship. A total of 840 contributed papers were submitted, the highest number of submissions ever received for an IAAE Conference. As well as offering important professional opportunities for AARES members, indications are that the conference will be a financial success for the Society.

Arrangements are already underway for the Society’s next Annual Conference which will be held in Queenstown, New Zealand on 7 – 9 February. The organising committee comprises Ross Cullen, Richard Lynch, and Katie Bicknell, with Allan Rae putting together the conference programme.

I hope that members will take advantage of both of these opportunities to present their research, exchange ideas and share a few beers with their colleagues in Australia, New Zealand and other parts of the world.

Taking care of business

A subcommittee headed by Bob Farquharson has been looking at ways to improve our website. A new domain name, www.aares.info, has been registered and the new site will be ready shortly. The committee are investigating redesigning the website appearance and structure; hosting the members' directory; allowing access to AJARE through the website; and the possibility of holding Society Presidential elections online and payment of membership fees in a secure area of the website. There will also be an area for branches to provide information to members. The committee is conscious of the need to consider the skills required and costs of setting up and maintaining the site. Thanks to Bob and the committee members, Atakelty Hailu, Felicity Flugge, Fiona Scott and Lili Pechey, for their endeavours in this area.

Through Blackwells Publishing, we have secured an arrangement to offer three year membership and processing of membership by direct debit in 2006. Provision of past volumes of the Australian Journal of Agricultural Economics and the Review of Marketing and Agricultural Economics on-line on an open-access basis is under investigation.

One area I have focused on during the past year has been our governance arrangements. To aid transparency and accountability of our expenditures, financial delegations arrangements were established. Reports of expenditures approved outside of Council meetings are required to be made at the next Council meeting, giving details of the amount paid, who to, and reason for payment.

A policy related to funding of travel for Council members to attend meetings was developed and approved, and the Treasurer will itemise by name in reports to Council and the AGM all costs of attending Council meetings, all honoraria, and all meal costs associated with Council meetings.

Doubt has been raised over the tax status of our Society, and we were pleased to receive a ruling from the Australian Tax Office clarifying that we are exempt from income tax as an association not carried on for the purpose of profit or gain of its individual members established for the purpose of promoting the development of an Australian resource in accordance with section 50-40 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997. Many thanks to Glenn Ronan for pursuing this issue.

Council has been reviewing the duties of various positions, including those of the Federal Treasurer, Central Office Manager and Manager, Promotion and Development, seeking improved work arrangements. The potential to re-introduce a ‘Business Manager’ position is being discussed.

As an input to our strategic planning, at the start of each financial year, the Treasurer will prepare a budget for approval by the Council. Expenditures must be made within budget or within an agreed variation to the budget, previously approved by Council. We should be working towards longer term strategic planning that integrates services (our products, including conferences, symposia, AJARE, Connections, and branch activities), promotional activities, price of our products and place of operation (whether this be physical location of meetings or operation through the internet).

Looking ahead, key factors influencing the financial outlook in the next couple of years include the success of our Annual conferences and Symposia, the success of the IAAE conference, trends in membership and readership of AJARE. Work remains to be done in tidying our business arrangements, including reviewing our Policy File, looking closely at how we handle subscriptions and analysing membership data. We would also benefit from a better understanding of our insurance coverage. These matters, along with strategies to enhance service to members and promotion, are items on Council's agenda for 2006.


Throughout the year I have received invaluable support from many people. I would like to thank all those on Federal Council and the Local Organising Committees for our Annual Conferences and Symposia (Perth and Canberra) for their enthusiasm and hard work. I would like to give special thanks to Julian Alston for his advice and assistance on a wide range of matters, and for his enormous contribution, along with Phil Pardey and Mal Wegener, in organising the IAAE conference. Finally, I would like to acknowledge the significant contribution of Annie Hurst in the business office, and Glenn Ronan for taking on the challenging role of Treasurer and upgrading our capacity to manage our financial affairs efficiently.


Secretary’s Report - Tennille Graham

Activities of the Society during 2005 

1. Council of the Society

The 2005 Annual General Meeting was held on 10 February at the Novotel Pacific Bay Resort, Coffs Harbour. At the meeting, the following office bearers were elected:

President: Deborah Peterson (via earlier ballot)
President Elect: John Mullen
Secretary: Tennille Graham
Treasurer:  Mal Wegener for part of year, after which Glenn Ronan was instated by Executive Council.

Manager Promotion and Development:  Lili Pechey
Editor, News and Views:  Richard Reeve
Jeff Bennett
automatically assumed membership of Council on becoming Immediate Past President.Bob Lindner is the member of the Executive Council representing the Editors of AJARE.

During 2005, the following members represented their Branches at Council meetings:

Australian Capital Territory:       Jeff Bennett, Lili Pechey
New England:             Bob Farquharson
New South Wales:     John Maddon, John Mullen
New Zealand:            Frank Scrimgeour, Ross Cullen

North America:          Thomas Marsh, Julian Alston
Queensland:              Mal Wegener, George Antony
South Australia:         Glenn Ronan
Victoria           :          Gavan Dwyer

Western Australia:        Bob Lindner

2. Business of Council

Council met five times since the last AGM: 11 February 2005, 5 May 2005, 21 September 2005, 1 February 2006 (phone meeting of Executive Council) and 7 February 2006.

Some of the prominent matters considered by Council in 2005 were:

·        The 2005 (Coffs Harbour), 2006 (Sydney), 2007 (New Zealand) AARES Annual Conferences

·        The 8th Annual AARES Symposium held in Perth entitled ‘Water Markets: Prospects for WA’. Organised by Donna Brennan, Michael Burton and Sally Harvey

·        The AARES Symposium held in Canberra entitled New Horizons in Market Based Instruments and was organised by Stuart Whitten (CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems), with assistance from Anthea Coggan, Famiza Yunus and Mandy Yialeloglou

·        IAAE 2006 Conference

·        Developing closer links with economists in New Zealand and Australia

·        Financial management of the Society

·        Society promotion and development

·        AARES Website              

3. Committees

The following members were appointed to committees of the Society in 2005:

PhD Thesis Award Panel:                Steve Schilizzi (chair), Robyn Hean and Quentin Grafton
Masters Thesis Award Panel:                     Sarah Lumley (chair), Mark Morrison and Frank Scrimgeour

4. Branch Activities

Branch office bearers listed are those as at 31 December 2005.

Australian Capital Territory

President: John Kerin
Treasurer: Andrew Jacenko 
Secretary: Brenda Dyack
Councillor: Jeff Bennett, Lili Pechey

 Seminars held in 2005




Wednesday, 27th April

Thilak Mallawaarachchi, Ph.D., Senior Policy Officer at the Natural Resource Management Division of DAFF .

Modelling water allocation in the Murray Darling Basin: incorporating uncertainty using the state-contingent approach

Wednesday 20th July

Alex McMillan (Executive Director) and Di Bentley (Assistant Commissioner), NSW Natural Resources Commission

'Natural Resource Management: matters for targets?'

Wednesday, August 3rd 2005

Dr Brian Fisher, Executive Director, ABARE.

Topic:  'The state of the agricultural economics profession'

Wednesday, September 14th

David Trebeck member of the Agriculture and Food Policy Reference Group, preparing a report for the Agriculture Minister. Founder of ACIL Tasman)

‘White Paper on the Future of Agriculture’ -  The issues, the process and the state of play

Tuesday October 18th

David Pearce, CIE

Planning for future ACT water supplies - The role of Economic Benefit-Cost Analysis

December 20th

Kym Anderson and Will Martin

Agricultural Trade Reform and the Doha Development Agenda

Other branch activities

7 Meetings including the AGM August 3rd in addition to the Seminars listed above.

AARES Symposium 2005  - New Horizons in Market Based Instruments

Symposium summary:

Location:   CSIRO Discovery Centre CSIRO Black Mountain Canberra

Dates:      11th November 2005

Organising structure:       Stuart Whitten (CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems), with assistance from Anthea Coggan, Famiza Yunus and Mandy Yialeloglou                                          

Key numbers from the Symposium:


Total number of delegates to the symposium


Speakers at the symposium


Sponsors who helped us to achieve the goals of the symposium.

 Christmas Social

In conjunction with the December 20th Seminar, joint with the Economics Society with approximately 50 attending.

Undergrad Prize Winner – 2005

Hugh Rex Green

New England

President                   Christie Chang
Treasurer                   Garry Griffith
Secretary                   Fiona Scott

Councillor                   Bob Farquharson
President-Elect         Terence Farrell

Meetings held in 2005




22 March 2005

Dr Kef Mekonnen, (winner of the AARES 2005 PhD Prize)

"The economics of developing water resource projects in the Ethiopian Nile River Basin, their environmental, and transboundary implications"

9 August 2005

Dr Janaki Alavalapati

Associate Professor

School of Forest Resources and Conservation

University of Florida, USA

Economics of Enhancing Biodiversity on Private Forests”

Other branch activities

The branch hosted the AARES annual conference in Coffs Harbour, NSW on February 9th-11th 2005 at the Novotel Pacific Bay Resort.

The New England Branch AGM was held on 22nd March 2005, at which the above office bearers were elected.

A branch lunch and dinner was held on May 19, 2005, in association with the UNE-sponsored inaugural Jack Makeham Memorial lecture. Bill Malcolm presented the well-attended lecture at UNE, Armidale, entitled “Makeham Farm Management”.

New South Wales

President       Tihomir Ancev

Treasurer       David Buckland
Secretary       Matt Arthur
Councillor        John Madden

Meetings held in 2005




17 March

Dr Michael Harris

Pigou and Coase Re-visited: Ethics, Norms and Markets – Implications for Environmental and Resource Economics.

11 August

Jason Crean

Seasonal climate forecasts as an agricultural innovation.

6 October

Lili Peachey

Third-party effects of water trading and potential policy responses.

8 December

Mick Keogh

Agricultural economists - Defending the sector, or defending the orthodoxy?

Other branch activities

The NSW Branch members have been responsible for the organisation of the 2006 Annual Conference via the Local Organising Committee.

Local Organising Committee members and their respective roles are listed below:

§         John Madden – Chair of Committee

§         Matt Arthur – Committee Secretary

§         David Buckland – Treasurer

§         Jason Crean – Contributed papers

§         John Mullen – Invited speakers

§         Emily Gray, Naushee Rahman, Jarrod Greenville – social committee

§         Tiho Ancev – NSW Branch President

§         Michael Harris

§         Lily Pechey (ACT Branch Member) – Conference sponsorship

Three LOC meetings have been held over the year, prior to the general NSW Brach meetings, to determine the conference venue, social event and program.  The selected venue is the Manly Pacific Hotel, Sydney.  The social event to be held on Thursday 9th February will be at the historic Quarantine Station at North Head, Manly.

Further details regarding the 2006 Conference can be found on the AARES website.     


President       John Rolfe
Treasurer       Ryan Daley
Secretary       George Antony

Councillor       Malcolm Wegener

Meetings held in 2005




2 March



5 September


Qld Branch revival discussion

27 October


Extraordinary General Meeting and election of office bearers for 2005-2006

15 November

Fabio Queiroz

Ethanol and the sugar industry

 Other branch activities

Co-sponsorship of the Ecosystem Services Workshop, held on 7 October 2005 in Brisbane, organized by the Office of Urban Management (a section of the Qld Department of Local Government, Planning, Sport and Recreation).6 Qld AARES members took part in the workshop.

Co-sponsorship of the AGSIP Resource Economics Workshop ’Identifying Production – Environment Tradeoffs at the Farm Level’, held on 28 October 2005 at the Central Queensland University, Rockhampton.  10 AARES members took part in the workshop.

South Australia

President       John Ward

Treasurer       Matthew Ferris
Secretary       Jack Langberg
Councillor       Glenn Ronan

Meetings held in 2005





Mike Young & Jim McColl

"Contemporary Water Reform Policy in Australia"

The following is an extract from the 2005 Annual General Meeting minutes describing the concern over lack of activities within the SA Branch and some alternatives to overcome this.

“At the last meeting there was discussion about making the SA Branch more active.  It was reported from the National AARES Executive that the recent Victorian experience where informal lunchtime meetings had lifted enthusiasm and resulted in an improved level of Branch activity.  This new format recognised the difficulties of people not necessarily being able to attend evening functions.  It was also noted that making meetings less formal may result in boosting new and younger membership in the Branch.

In the general discussion, there was consensus that future SA Branch activities experiment with a mix of lunchtime and evening, and formal and informal, functions to capture different peoples' availability to attend. 

Jack Langberg (continuing Secretary) and Thea Mech (former President) observed that a barrier to more meetings had been finding suitable speakers and that when a speaker was found, then invariably there had been a respectable attendance at meetings.  John Ward (new President) noted that a number of visiting economists to CSIRO would provide the Branch with good 'speaker options' over the coming year.”


President       Gavan Dwyer
Treasurer       Dave Appels

Secretary       Dave Appels
Councillor       Gavan Dwyer

Meetings held in 2005





Dan Armstrong

Dairy farm productivity - a long term case study


John Freebairn

Early days with water markets


Donald MacLaren

The agricultural trade negotiations in the Doha Round: Are they going anywhere?


Gary Stoneham

Economics Issues in Biosecurity


Jo Chong

IUCN experiences


Bill Malcolm

Makeham Farm Management


Arthur Ha

Incentives, Information & Drought Policy


Rhonda Smith

Market power in the grocery industry


Geoff Edwards & Bill Malcolm

Fellows Dinner to honour Neil Sturgess


Geraldine Gentle

Applying resource economics - theory and practice

Note: AGM scheduled for 1/12/05

Other branch activities

¾       Financial contribution and organisation of Fellows Dinner to honour career and achievements of Neil Sturgess.

¾       One candidate already received for undergraduate award.

¾       Branch is offering four fellowships of $500 to support Victorian members to attend either AARES 2006, or IAAE 2006.

¾       Follow-up of lapsed and prospective members.

Western Australia

President       Dr Johanna Pluske

Treasurer       Associate Professor Michael Burton
Secretary       Ms Sallyann Harvey
Councillor       Professor Robert Lindner

Meetings held in 2005

The Annual General Meeting was held on the 5th of August 2005 following the annual presidential address given by Donna Brennan.

8th Annual AARES Symposium

The WA branch hosted the 8th Annual AARES Symposium in Perth on the 23rd of September in conjunction with a Workshop on the 22nd of September. The Symposium was entitled ‘Water Markets: Prospects for WA’ and featured international and national speakers with experience in water market reform. Organising committee of Donna Brennan, Michael Burton and Sally Harvey

Other branch activities

Joint seminar program with the University of Western Australia’s School of Agricultural and Resource Economics, convened in 2005 by Dr Johanna Pluske and Dr Rick Lewellyn:




March 4

Richard Reeve

The economics of surface water management in rural WA towns - Analysing options using cost benefit analysis

March 18

Alex Lobb

(University of Reading)

Food risk communication and consumers’ trust in the food supply chain

April 8

Pham Thi Ngoc Linh

Impact of globalization on the livestock sector in Vietnam

April 15

Anne Bennett and Ross George (Department of Premier and Cabinet; Department of Agriculture)

Greenhouse and climate change in agriculture

April 22

Donna Brennan (also with CSIRO)

Modelling agricultural supply response in Vietnam using GIS and positive mathematical programming

April 29

Michael Burton and Jo Pluske

Making decisions in water management

May 6

Rosh Ireland
(Director of the Environmental Policy Group at the Department of Premier and Cabinet WA)

Greenhouse policy in Western Australia

May 13

Steve Schilizzi


May 20

Sally Marsh

Modelling the economics associated with the loss of glyphosate as a weed control resource: conceptual issues

May 27

Brad Plunkett

(Economist, Department of Agriculture WA)

The portfolio problem in agricultural cooperatives - An integrated framework

June 3

Graeme Doole

A bioeconomic model for terrestrial wildlife at threat of extinction with an application to the African elephant.







8 July

Rob Fraser
(Imperial College, London, UK)

Policies to encourage the adoption of sustainable farming techniques

22 July

Kenneth Clements
(School of Economics & Commerce UWA)

Pricing and Packaging: The Case of Marijuana

29 July

Steve Schilizzi & Helena Clayton

Experiments for improving empirical applications of theory & Experiences from recent conferences

5 August

Donna Brennan

AARES Presidential address: What price water? An economics perspective on the Integrated Water Supply System

12 August

Vic Adamowicz
(University of Alberta, Canada)

Economic impacts of forest fires on air quality and human health

19 August

Jo Pluske

Is saline water an asset?

24 August
(Wed 4-5pm)

David Pannell

Policies and politics: Challenges and opportunities for agricultural and resource economists

26 August

Zhao Hao

MBIs applied in China for Water Management

2 Sept

Ross Kingwell
(Department of Agriculture & UWA)

Agricultural sustainability: The interfaces between the science and economics

9 Sept

Hongwei Wu

(Curtin University of Technology with Ross Kingwell)

Overall energy efficiency for bio-diesel production from canola

16 Sept

George Verikios
(School of Economics & Commerce UWA)

A General Equilibrium Model of the World Wool Market

14 Oct

Bronwyn Crowe

Impact of recent changes to data protection legislation on herbicide R&D

21 Oct

Mike Wohlgenant
(N.C. State Univ., Raleigh)

Modelling Market Impacts of Environmental Regulations:  The Case of the North Carolina Swine Industry

28 Oct

Justin Jonson

Mapping NRM Outcomes of Revegetation efforts in the Central Wheatbelt Agricultural Zone

18 Nov
(Venue TBA)

Geraldine Pasqual


*Presenters are members of the School of Agricultural and Resource Economics, UWA, unless specified otherwise

 Annual AARES Undergraduate Award

 Recipient of the 2005 Undergraduate Award in Western Australia was awarded to Matt Titmanis                                     

New Zealand Branch

President                   Ross Cullen
Treasurer                   Mr Philip Journeaux

Secretary                   Kathryn Bicknell
Councillor                   Ross Cullen

Branch activities

2004/2005 Committee Meetings

The committee met on 6 occasions – three times by telephone and three times in person when members were together for other business. Meetings covered planning for the 2005 conference, and other general business.

NZARES Annual conference:

Location: Nelson, New Zealand. Date: 26-27 August 2005. Attendance figure: 81 registered delegates. 37 Contributed Papers delivered


Location: Nelson, New Zealand. Date: 26 August, 2005. Attendance figure: 28 Members present. Agenda Items:

§         President’s Report 

§         Treasurer’s Report

§         Fees for coming year (Proposal for fee increase to $40)

§         NZARES will continue to provide ‘hard copies’ of conference proceedings.

§         Election of officers.

§         Relationship with AARES

§         Discussion on need to set up LOC for joint AARES conference in 2007.

§         NZARES 2006 conference. Discussion on whether a NZARES conference will pull delegates away from the IAAE conference. Those present supported holding the NZARES conference in Nelson the week preceding the IAAE conference.  Motion carried that the current committee consider the timing and venue of the conference.

Tele-conference held on 14 October, 2005.

On Line:RossCullen and Katie Bicknell, and Committee Members: Richard Lynch, Neil Fraser, Stuart Ford

Apologies:Phil Journeaux, Frank Scrimgeour (past President), Geoff Kerr (Committee Member)


NZARES conference in 2006.

Concern over whether this event would ‘draw members away from the IAAE conference.Discussion on this topic focused on how we could achieve some ‘synergy’ between the two events. It was concluded that: The NZARES conference should be held during the week of 21 – 25 August 2006. The conference should be held at the same venue as 2005, but that the dinner be held elsewhere. NZARES members should offer to organize a workshop at the IAAE conference. We should determine whether there are any overseas speakers invited to the IAAE conference who would consider extending their stay to attend the NZARES conference a week later.  We should consider offering 4 x $500 grants to NZARES members to attend the IAAE conference. Richard and Stuart agreed to put the selection criteria together, and Geoff and Phil have also agreed to assist.

Joint AARES/NZARES conference in 2007

Discussion focused on where to hold the conference. Suggested venues included Wellington, Rotorua and Queenstown. A preliminary conference organizing committee was put together, comprising Ross Cullen, Katie Bicknell and Richard Lynch. Their primary responsibility is to decide upon the conference venue. A larger committee will be constructed after the New Year.

NZARES/AARES relationship

The legal relationship between the NZARES and the AARES is currently unclear. Some discussion followed on the options for our affiliation. Richard Lynch suggested that the first step is to determine exactly what the legal status of our organization is in New Zealand and to determine whether the AARES constitution defines our relationship with the Australian organization – and finally whether there is a conflict between the two. Ross agreed to carry out the research, consulting Robin Johnson, Phil Journeaux and Jeff Bennett.

Electronic storage of NZARES papers

Discussion on whether we should organize the electronic storage of our papers from the NZARES conference. The proceedings are currently mailed to members in ‘hard-copy’ format Ross noted that AARES is currently using the AGECON library hosted by the University Minnesota. Ross will ask Frank or Geoff to do some research, and determine whether it is possible to store the proceedings from our conference there as well.

Financial Report from 2005 Conference

It was noted that this year’s conference generated a large financial surplus. There was some discussion as to how the money might be invested, and whether there should be any formal guidelines (investment criteria) for the Treasurer to follow when considering how to manage the money. Richard suggested that we might be able to use the surplus to support more young people at conferences. He also suggested that we might consider expanding the committee to include a student representative.

North American Branch

President       Laura M. McCann

Treasurer/Secretary   Thomas L. Marsh
Co-Councillors          Nick Piggott, Julian Alston

Meetings held in 2005




Aug 2005


Branch Meeting and Reception, Providence

Other branch activities

The annual Branch meeting was held on July 25th at Tina’s Jamaican Caribbean Restaurant in Providence, Rhode Island.  The winner of the "Heading South" Travel Award for 2006 was announced: Amalia Yiannaka from the University of Nebraska.   Atakely Hailu, the winner of the “Heading North” travel award for 2005, was also recognized.  The next Branch meeting will be held in conjunction with the AAEA meetings in Long Beach, California in July, 2006.

5. Prize winners

Undergraduate prize winners:

ACT:                           Hugh Rex Green of Australian National University (attending conference)
New England:              Trudi Rodgers of University of New England (attending conference)

New South Wales:    Roslyn Wood of University of Sydney. (attending conference)
New Zealand:            Not awarded
Queensland:              Not awarded
South Australia:         John Manataris of University of Adelaide

Victoria:                    Mark Hawkins of Deakin University
Western Australia:    Matt Titmanis of University of Western Australia (attending conference)

Masters Prize winner:

Bodrum Nahar from the University of New England. Thesis entitled "Trade Liberalisation and its Impact on the Rice Sector in SAARC Countries with Special Reference to Bangladesh". The supervisor was Associate Professor Mahinda Siriwardana

PhD Prize winner:

Rodney Beard of University of Queensland. Thesis entitled:  Ito Stochastic Control Theory, Stochastic Differential Games and the Economic Theory of Mobile Pastoralism. Supervisors: Colin Brown and John Mott

Prize for the Best Article in the Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics:

Graeme Doole paper entitled “Optimal management of the New Zealand longfin eel (Anguilla dieffenbachii)” which is in Volume 49, issue 4, pp395-411.

AARES /AAEA Young Professionals Exchange Travel Award - Heading South

Amalia Yiannaka of University of Nebraska-Lincoln

AARES /AAEA Young Professionals Exchange Travel Award - Heading North

Jared Greenville of the University of Sydney for his paper titled "A Bioeconomic Analysis of Protected Areas Use in Fisheries Management". The paper is co-authored with Gordon MacAulay.

Distinguished Fellows

Allan Randall of the Ohio State University, Ron Duncan of the University of South Pacific and the Australian National University and Vic Wright of the University of New England

Distinguished Life Member

There were no nominations for Distinguished Life Members


Treasurer’s Report - Glenn Ronan

As your new Treasurer it is my privilege and responsibility to present this, my first Treasurer’s Report, to this AGM.  The report is in three sections:

1.       An update of the pathway to present arrangements for the financial management of AARES accounts that has been put in place since the 2005 AGM;

2.       The Australian Tax Office (ATO) ruling on the income tax status of AARES, and

3.       The financial statements for 2005.

1.                   Transition to a New Financial Management Team

         The 2005 Treasurer’s report was presented by Dr Mal Wegener, who indicated that he had accepted an additional workload on the organizing committee of the 26th Conference of the International Association of Agricultural Economists (IAAE) to be held in his home state of Queensland in August 2006.  There were no other nominations at the time to enable Mal to make an immediate shift in his personal workload from AARES Treasurer to IAAE responsibilities.

         So, when I was approached mid-year by President Dr Deborah Peterson to be Treasurer, I considered and accepted on the basis that the Central Office Manager, Ms Annie Hurst, would also become responsible for bookkeeping.  As 2005 has been a year of change in Treasurer it was appreciated that Ms Hurst and I would need to consult actively with Dr Wegener during the transition period to this AGM.  Executive endorsed my appointment in the knowledge that the mid-term switch would take some time to achieve a total transfer of responsibilities.  For example, standard Commonwealth Bank of Australia policy is that the minutes of this AGM are required to enable a change in signatories for the Cash Management Account.

         The September Council meeting in Perth supported my proposal that we upgrade bookkeeping to an electronic system to facilitate information sharing and enhance the quality of reporting.  Mal, Annie and I met in Canberra in October to discuss transfer of Mal’s books to Annie and myself and to decide on an e-bookkeeping system.  By day’s end Annie was equipped with Quickbooks on a new laptop and entering 2005 transaction details.  The Quickbooks reports were an aid to the new auditor, whose audited reports are attached.

         By late October the change of signatories to the General Account was finally effected after the first set of signatures had been lost in the bank. Through this period Annie and I were reliant on Mal to co-sign cheques.  Mal and George Antony remain signatories of the Cash Management (CM) Account; a vital connection to managing the cash flow of the society.  Signatories to the CM account will be aligned with signatories to the General Account as soon as possible following this meeting.

Around November a decision needed to be made about auditing the 2005 books.  Several quotes were obtained, including from our previous auditor, Mr John Johnstone.  However, Mr Johnstone indicated that he would need the accounts promptly as he was taking leave.  I appointed Mr Grant Pearce of Goulburn as auditor for the 2005 books.

2.             Private Ruling by the ATO re the income tax status of AARES

Since the “Coleambally case” in NSW a couple of years ago, many community organizations and societies around Australia, including AARES, have been concerned about their status as non-profit organizations and their liability for income tax.  The September Council meeting directed me to obtain a private ruling from the ATO to provide tax status certainty for the society.  Quotes were obtained and the Adelaide branch of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd was engaged through Mr Nick Stevens, Account Director, Assurance and Advisory.

Mr John Rawson, Deloitte Partner and Tax Services specialist was confident of the case from my first meeting.  Mr Rawson’s letter of 7 December 2005 to the ATO was responded to in a letter from the Deputy Commissioner of Taxation dated 5 January 2006 with the following ruling:

“AARES is exempt from income tax under section 50-1 of the ITAA 1997 as an association not carried on for the purpose of profit or gain of its individual members established for the purpose of promoting the development of an Australian resource in accordance with section 50-40 of the ITAA 1997.”

The ruling is a considerable relief to all involved and likely to be of value as an important precedent for our members on the organizing committee of the IAAE. 

3.                               The Financial Statements for 2005

The attached financial statements for the calendar year 2005 show that AARES has traded in surplus, that net assets have been added to and that the society is in a very sound financial position.

The income of AARES in 2005 was $142,209.  The costs for the year were $94,720, leaving a surplus of $47,489.  This continues a trend where the society has traded in surplus in all years since 2002, with each year achieving a greater surplus than the previous year.  This is indicative of a strong core membership and a string of successful conferences and symposia.

During this period of surpluses the statement of assets and liabilities for the society indicates progressive growth in the net assets of the society from $182,375 in 2002 to $312,441 at 31 December 2005.  With a profit of $47,489 in 2005, the net assets of the society grew from $264,952 at the end of 2004 to $312,441 at the end of 2005.


2005 was a year of transition from Dr Mal Wegener to myself.  On your behalf, I acknowledge Dr Mal Wegener’s bookwork in the first half and his valuable assistance to Ms Annie Hurst and myself in the period since.  The prompt and successful outcome for the society of the services of Mr Nick Stevens and Mr John Rawson of Deloitte’s Adelaide branch in regard to the private ruling are acknowledged.  And the accounting and auditing services of the new auditor, Mr Grant Pearce, are also acknowledged.

This report is an outcome of implementation of a new electronic bookkeeping system by the Central Office Manager, Ms Annie Hurst, and myself.  We have appreciated the active support and encouragement of the President, Dr Deborah Peterson, and Council.  I am especially grateful to Annie Hurst for her quick learning of Quickbooks, for her professional management of the increasing volume and value of the society’s business transactions and for her coordination of auditing.


The 2005 accounts for AARES Inc. indicate a sound business position at the close of 2005.  I conclude this report with advice to members that the society remains in a solvent and sound position at this date, enabling responsible planning and conduct of the society’s business into the foreseeable future.

See AARES website for attachments:


AJARE Editors’ Report

This report covers the twelve month period to 31 December 2005. 

1.       Statistics.  Summary statistics on numbers of pages and articles printed, papers received, decisions taken, papers under review and the ranking of the Journal are provided in the table overleaf.  Highlights include: 

·         The number of new submissions increased from 76 in 2004 to120 in 2005, which is the highest level for the past 7 years. While this a healthy level of submissions, an even higher proportion (approx 20%) of manuscripts than last year were not worth sending out to review.

·         All of issue 2 was devoted to articles on Asia, with most resulting from research in China. Hopefully this will raise the profile of AJARE in the region.

·         After a shortage of accepted manuscripts in the latter part of 2005, the workflow is now back on schedule, with a good supply of papers in review.

·         A decline in the Institute of Scientific Information (ISI) Impact factor from 0.653 in 2003 to 0.400 in 2004, and a decline in the ISI ranking of the Journal from 78/169 in 2003 to 117/172 in 2004 (2005 rankings will not be available until June).

·         A decline in acceptance rate for new papers from 42% in 2004 to 22% in 2005. In part, this was due to the high proportion of submitted manuscripts that were not worth sending out to review, and in part due to the overall increase in total submissions combined with the shortage of accepted copy in the second half of 2005. 

2.       Publishing.  All issues in Volume 49 apart from issue 4 were published on schedule.  There was a shortage of accepted copy toward the end of 2005 which meant that publication of issue 4 was held up, and contained fewer pages than was available under the contract. This has now been rectified, with sufficient copy for issues 1 and 2 of Volume 50, and one paper already accepted for the special issue on water policy. Proofs for the first issue of Volume 50 are with the Blackwell’s Production Editor, Brigid Stapleton, and should be dispatched shortly. 

3.       Supply of Manuscripts.  Six papers have been accepted for Issue 2 of Volume 50, and one paper has been accepted for Issue 3. There also are more than 30 papers currently under review. 

  1. Associate Editors. The Associate Editors oversee the review process for selected papers, including identifying appropriate reviewers, and making a recommendation to the Editors about publication of the manuscript, and are a vital part of the editorial team. The four Associate Editors in 2005 were Ray Trewin from ACIAR/ANU, Donald MacLaren from the University of Melbourne, Tom Kompas from ABARE/ANU, and Julian Alston from the University of California at Davis. Garry Griffith from NSW Agriculture, and Deb Peterson also served as Associate Editors for selected papers. The Book Review Editor was John Rolfe from Central Queensland University. We are extremely grateful to all of the above for their contributions to AJARE.

5.       Editorial Board.  Members of the Editorial Board serve to enhance the status of the Journal, and generally contribute to maintaining the quality of our Journal as an outlet for applied economics research related to agriculture and the management of natural resources. There were no changes to the composition of the Board during 2005, but the Editors intend to implement existing policy and invite some new members to join the Board in 2006.

6.       Manuscript Central Electronic Editorial and Management System.
From December 1 2004, authors have been able to submit papers electronically to AJARE via the new Manuscript Central AJARE web site, so 2005 was the first full year working with a web based electronic editorial management system. While it was hoped that this would enable the editorial office to be more efficient, more accessible, and fully secure, it is fair to say that these hopes have not been fully realised due to significant implementation problems during 2005. I am pleased to report that many of these problems have been resolved with the help of Blackwell staff, but some reviewers continue to experience problems in logging on and/or submitting reviews. Anyone who experiences such problems in 2006 should contact Martha Rundell on
Martha.Rundell, who I am sure will be able to help sort out the problem.
Authors intending to submit manuscripts to the Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics should login at the AJARE Manuscript Central web site,
http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/ajare. You can check whether you already have a login id and password in the system using the “password help” facility, or if needed, you can create a new account.                                                                               

7.       Changes to the Editorial Office.
Blackwell now has full responsibility for administration of the AJARE editorial office. During 2005, under interim arrangements to facilitate the change from the old editorial office, Bronwyn Crowe at UWA was an administrative assistant who very ably helped handle papers submitted prior to the establishment of the Manuscript Central AJARE web site on December 1 2004.
From now on, all papers, including resubmissions of revised papers, will need to be submitted via the Manuscript Central AJARE web site, and will be handled by the Blackwell administrator, Martha Rundell. Any correspondence regarding these papers should be addressed to her at
ajare, or at Martha.Rundell.

8.       Finally, we would like to thank Georgina Nunn, Martha Rundell, and Bronwyn Crowe, who all provided invaluable assistance to the AJARE editors during the past year.

Bob Lindner, University of Western Australia,
David Pannell, University of Western Australia,
Ross Kingwell, Department of Agriculture, Western Australia,
Co-Editors, AJARE

Summary Information 1999-2005









Published Volumes








Volume Number








Number of Issues








Page Budget








Pages a
































Policy Forum Papers








Book Reviews
















Papers Receivedb
































Decisions Taken
















Revise and resubmit








































Acceptance Rate d
















Papers under review at 31 Dec.
















ISI Impact Factore








ISI Ranking - Economics Journals








ISI Ranking - Agricultural Economics
& Policy Journals










a   Includes editorial text and Blackwell advertising as per agreement with Blackwell.

b   Book reviews and obituaries are not included; each resubmission of the same paper is counted separately.

c   The total number of decisions does not always equal the total number of papers received because some decisions are made in respect of papers received in the previous year(s).

d Acceptance rate in year x = (papers accepted in year x)/(new papers received in year x) × 100.

eImpact factor in year x  =  .


Manager, Promotion and Development – Lili Pechey

Outgoing meeting - 7th February 2006


1.       IAAE 2006 Fellowships (completed):

Information about the AARES fellowships to attend the IAAE conference was placed in the November edition of News and Views. Thanks, Richard.

2.       ACIAR sponsorship (completed):

I approached Ray Trewin at ACIAR about sponsorship and am delighted to report that the agency has again agreed to be a sponsor of our annual conference. ACIAR’s continued generosity is greatly appreciated.

3.       News and Views Report (completed):

Richard Reeve will submit a report as the Editor of News and Views.

4.       AARES prizes (commenced):

At the September 2005 Council meeting it was agreed that the Best Journal Article in AJARE would be renamed as the Blackwell Prize. Council also agreed that three new prizes would be created - the ‘Quality of Communication’, ‘Quality of Research Discovery’ and the ‘Connections’ best article prizes. The conditions relating to eligibility, entry and instructions for judging committees were raised during the Council tele-conference held on 01/02/06.

5.       Business Manager and Manager of Promotion and Development roles (commenced):

Julian, Gavan and I have discussed the potential duties and responsibilities for the Business Manager and Manager of Promotion and Development roles.


1.                   Sponsorship:

At the time of writing, the sponsorship for the 2006 conference is as follows:


Value ($) gst inclusive



NSW Premier’s Department




















University of Sydney




Blackwell Publishing






I would like to acknowledge the efforts of John Mullen, John Madden, Matt Arthur and Jason Crean, all of whom have worked hard to help obtain this sponsorship.

2.                   Membership

The latest membership list follows. It is current as at 21st December 2006. These figures do not include new members who subscribed at the Perth or ACT symposiums, E-CReW or the 2006 conference. Updated data from Blackwell are expected shortly.  


No. of Members


No. of Members



New South Wales












Australian Capital Territory




New England




South Australia




Western Australia




New Zealand




North America




Other overseas








Declining membership is a considerable concern. At this year’s conference we will be running a facilitated session that will seek ideas and thoughts on ways to maintain and enhance AARES membership consistent with the AARES objectives. This session will focus on young professionals and their membership needs.

3.                   Web site development:
I have updated the records located on the AARES web site as a component of the web site re-development.  Thank you to those members who searched the depths of their memories to insure the accuracy of these records. If you still find errors, please contact me or Felicity Flugge.


AARES 2006 AGM: Connections Report


Connections: Farm, Food and Resource Issues is a joint e-publication of AARES and the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Agriculture and Food Systems. The first issue of Connections was Summer 2001, so by mid 2006 the editors, Bill Malcolm of the University of Melbourne and Glenn Ronan of Primary Industries and Resources South Australia will complete five years of publication, including concept development, co-editing and production. This is the first occasion that Connections has been included on the agenda of an AARES Annual General Meeting, for which the editors gratefully acknowledge our President, Dr Deb Peterson.  It is with pleasure that I present this report to AARES 2006 AGM on behalf of Bill and myself.

The idea for a joint AARES/Australian Agribusiness Association extension publication emerged from Council in 2001 with a note by Dr David Pannell in News and Views seeking suggestions for a title and volunteers for editing. The American Society’s extension product, Choices, was seen as a model but the cost of a paper publication was prohibitive. Electronic publication was the only way. I came up with Connections, spoke with David and developed a concept paper. Bill was also a keen supporter of the project from the outset.  We were appointed co-editors and worked with AAA’s David Ginns, who loaded it onto the web. A couple of years later with the demise of AAA, Bill rescued Review, Perspectives and Connections to the University of Melbourne. Connections can be found at:


With the related publications, Australasian Agribusiness Review and Australasian Agribusiness Perspectives, Connections makes up a suite of three very readable agricultural economic e-publications at the website. The publications are differentiated by ownership and editorship, while articles are differentiated by length, style and reader orientation.  Connections is the only extension product in the AARES and UoM stables.


Connections has published a total of 43 articles during its five years. The number of articles published each year is as follows:

2001: I issue, 7 articles
2002: 3 issues, 17 articles
2003: 2 issues, 11 articles
2004: 1 issue, 1 article
2005: 2 issues, 7 articles

Connections could publish more material if more articles were chased or contributed. The reason that Connections stepped back from the higher volume of production of its first years was an absence of voluntary member contribution and depletion of editor energy. We had hoped that publication of invited articles and discovered articles would lead to articles contributed by members. That has not been the case. Rather than terminate the product, Bill decided that we could continue by changing strategy from quarterly issues of collected articles to publication of papers when ready. 

Several years ago we did investigate the feasibility of broadening the editorial team to widen the catchment of suitable material. That trial was unsuccessful, but it should not prevent a keen member from volunteering to join the team! The lack of emergence of voluntary contribution has been a disappointment. However, we have enjoyed our contact with all the authors who have engaged with us. 43 articles have been edited and published on the site that may otherwise have been lost in the array of contributed papers to this conference and other public forums, thus remaining unpublished and more difficult to locate.  These authors have grasped the idea that Connections is mainly  to do with what they as agricultural economists (and related professions) can do to help the society reach out to a broader audience; this is a key aspect of the constitution.

It has been suggested at Council’s September meeting that there may be greater interest from university people to contribute if Connections switched from editor-refereed to peer refereed. Many articles have been checked with peers and that would not be difficult to achieve. We would be interested to receive comment on that option, taking into consideration our interest from the outset to avoid duplication with the policy section of AJARE.

Connections has been free of cost to AARES during its five years. As a sign of support for the infant product Council voted for a motion put by Julian Alston at its recent meeting in Perth that a $200 prize be initiated to encourage interest by members in contributing copy and to acknowledge excellence in extension by members on current farm, food and resource issues for Australia and New Zealand.


We thank all authors who contributed their work for editing and publication during the past five years. We also thank our de facto sponsors, the University of Melbourne and Primary Industries and Resources South Australia. We are always interested to meet and discuss potential material with authors, to meet members who wish to become part of the publication team and to meet with any organisation that may be interested to add to the Council’s support for Connections and agricultural economic extension announced at this conference by way of the new prize commencing this year.

Glenn Ronan

Editor Connections: Farm Food and Resource Issues


Phone: 08 8207 7903 & 0401 121 897

Email: glenn.ronan

Bill Malcolm

Editor & Website Manager Connections: Farm Food and Resource Issues

University of Melbourne

Phone: 03 8344 5015 & 0428 499 266

Email: b.malcolm



Guest address at the 50th Anniversary AARES conference dinner

M. John Phillips AO
Pacific Hotel, Manly; 8 February 2006

Thank you for the invitation to join you this evening.

It comes as something of a shock to be invited to attend an organisation’s 50th Anniversary and be reminded that you were at the first meeting fifty years earlier. It is a little like someone offering you their seat in a bus or train. You start to feel your age.

There is a tendency for nostalgia to set in, prompting memories of what was happening in 1956.

As most of you will recall, that was the year in which Melbourne hosted the Olympic Games, producing gold medallists like Dawn Fraser, Betty Cuthbert and Murray Rose. Australia won a total of 13 gold medals.

It was also the year that saw TV introduced into Australia, Dwight Eisenhower was re-elected as President of the United States, Elvis Presley was at his peak, and the Cuban Revolution began.

Among the births that year were Mel Gibson, Steve Vizard and Bo Derek. But I am not sure these new arrivals made up for the losses.

Among the deaths were band leader, Tommy Dorsey, A.A.Milne, of Winnie the Pooh fame, and Jackson Pollock the painter of Blue Poles, which was to become something of a cause celebre here twenty years later.

Our Prime Minister was Bob Menzies; his Treasurer was Arthur Fadden; Jack McEwen was Minister for Trade (both these were Country Party members) and a young Billy McMahon was Minister for Primary Industry.

Ten years were to pass before the introduction of decimal currency. We still had pounds, shillings and pence. Bread was 7 pence a loaf; a newspaper was twopence and a new Holden car cost one thousand pounds.

The Australian population was 9.5 million. I married Moya and the Agricultural Economics Society held its first meeting.

When I look through the list of attendees at that first meeting, there are many more nostalgic reminders.

I recall being involved in an Economic Survey of the Yass Valley with Roy Spinks from the NSW Department, Rod Harry from the Commonwealth Bank and Alf Gurnett Smith from CSIRO. Apart from the survey itself, we experienced severe bush fires and a rather nasty car smash. I was the driver but, happily, I walked away with just some bruises, as did Roy Spinks my passenger.

The car was a total write-off, much to the disgust of the Commonwealth Bank Stores Department, whose car it was.

Unfortunately, Roy isn’t here tonight. His health has been very poor for a few years. Our paths crossed quite a few times over the years, when we were both in Papua New Guinea and, later, when he was with FAO in Rome

In the mid-1950s, in Australia, agricultural economics was in its infancy as a study, let alone a discipline. But the relations among the practitioners were quite close. Among others, there was Keith Campbell, a very new professor at Sydney University, Henry Schapper and Roger Mauldon in Perth; Frank Jarrett in Adelaide; Peter Druce and his rather remarkable team at the NSW Department of Agriculture; and Tom Strong, Doug Mckay and their people at the Bureau of Agricultural Economics in Canberra. Then there was Cec Dowsett at the Rural Bank and our group from the Rural Liaison Service at the Commonwealth Bank.

And therein lies a story.

Fifty years ago, there was no Reserve Bank. The Commonwealth Bank was central bank, development bank, trading bank and savings bank. Its rural lending activities were controlled either by the Rural Section of Inspectors Department or the Mortgage Bank and Rural Credits Department. The latter financed the multitude of rural co-operatives and marketing boards which controlled the sale of Australian produce in those days.

In the early 1950’s, the Bank established a small group of economists, under the leadership of the late Alan McIntyre, to provide an advisory service to those lending departments. In 1953, I became one of that team.

Our Governor in those days was H.C. “Nugget” Coombs, and he was very friendly with Sir Ian Clunies Ross, the Chairman of the CSIRO. They and, I suspect, Sir John Crawford, another close friend, formed the view that the banks generally were struggling to keep up with developments in rural industry and finding it difficult to develop sensible lending guidelines.

So, they thought, how about we set up a service for all the banks to look at the economics of new agricultural techniques, help bank managers to understand them and, in this way, help to establish some discipline in credit standards and, at the same time, improve the efficiency of rural production and exports.

Our group, which until then had been part of the trading bank, was transferred holus bolus to the central banking division of the Commonwealth Bank, as part of the Economics Department, under the general oversight of the late Ira Butler, a character in his own right and a well credentialed orchid grower.

To divert, when I was working in Papua New Guinea, Ira came to pay a visit and I took him to the botanical gardens in Lae, where they had a magnificent orchid collection.

We were being shown around by the Curator and Ira stopped at a particular plant with a frown on his face and said: “I think this has been wrongly classified. It has the wrong name on it.”

The Curator was taken aback by this amateur and assured him they were very diligent and precise in their work. But Ira persisted and the Curator finally asked why he was so sure. Ira replied “Because I bred it!”  And he had.

In any event, all members of the old Rural Liaison Service are listed among the attendees of that first meeting of the Agricultural Economics Society. Two of us are here tonight. The other is my old friend, Bob Thomas.

We did some interesting things – commodity surveys and statistical analyses; we wrote and issued a regular publication, something between a pamphlet and a journal, called “Rural Developments.” I recall being required to write articles on quite a range of subjects, from the rabbit plague to the conservation of water in farm dams.

We also organized and ran conferences for country bank managers, from all banks, on new developments in farming. The faculty for the conferences comprised agronomists, economists, scientists of varying persuasions, and people active in the commercial side of rural industry.

Ron Prunster, previously of CSIRO, had joined our team by then and was the main coordinator of the conferences. They seemed to be very successful. Coombs himself was a regular attender as was Sir John Crawford. The first conference was at Armidale, on pasture improvement. Others I recall were at Albany, Toowoomba, Mount Gambier and Victor Harbour. I know I have forgotten a couple at least.

I should mention one other innovation which came out of the Coombs/Clunies Ross collaboration and predated the formation of the Society. To encourage the spread of pasture improvement, the Commonwealth Bank, in conjunction with Departmental agronomists, selected a number of trial properties, mostly on the Northern Tablelands. The farmer and the local agronomist would agree a farm management plan and the Commonwealth Bank would provide the finance. The loan would be serviced from the additional income generated. However, if the farmer followed the plan and it didn’t work, the loan was not repayable.

I am not sure how many banks would sign up to such a scheme these days. It was a very different environment fifty years ago.

In some ways, Australia in those days was very far sighted as far as economic development projects were concerned. The Snowy Mountains Scheme was the best and biggest example but there were many more, some more successful than others.

But in other ways, the Nation was very insular.

We were, in most respects, a closely regulated economy.

Most of our rural produce was sold through a multitude of marketing boards and grower cooperatives. Queensland probably held the record for the greatest number. There were price equalization arrangements, sometimes subsidised, for quite a few crops. Producers were licensed and often told how much they could plant or produce.

We had a fixed exchange rate. Our pound was fixed to sterling. We were members of the sterling area and participants in the sterling guarantee arrangements, which called for us to keep our international reserves in sterling.

There were tariffs and quotas on virtually everything that came into the country, with goods from Commonwealth countries receiving preferential treatment.

Interest rates were strictly controlled as were the amounts which banks could lend. And pretty well all overseas transactions were subject to restrictive exchange controls.

As I said, Agricultural Economics was in its infancy in Australia. Resource economics was not a term I remember being used. The doyen of agricultural economics was probably Earl Heady at Iowa State University and a number of Australians travelled there to do their PhDs. Heady’s book, Economics of Agricultural Production and Resource Use, was the major text. Linear programming was the new micro-economist’s tool. Parametric budgeting was soon to be developed.

Australia was performing above its weight in developing the discipline. Keith Campbell, John Dillon, Alan Lloyd, Allison Kingsland, Ross Parish, Warren Musgrave, Jack Duloy, Fred Gruen, Roger Mauldon, to mention just a few, all made a mark on the international as well as the national stage.

My own direct involvement in agricultural economics lasted for only seven or eight years. In 1961, I became involved in another of Coombs’ initiatives, the development of the financial and banking system in Papua New Guinea. That kept me busy for the next decade.

However, the grounding I received in those seven or eight years, from interactions and debates with others in the field, stood me in good stead in many of the other roles I subsequently played, and not just in the Reserve Bank. Even today, I find that experience quite useful from time to time.

For the past twenty five years, I have been closely involved with the financial system, both domestic and international, and it has often struck me that many of the innovations in financial services that came with the deregulation of the financial system, and which have led to such an explosion, not just in financial products, but also in the remuneration levels of financial operatives, were based on techniques developed originally by agricultural economists. I guess one should expect microeconomic inventions in one field to have relevance in others.

I won’t try to pontificate on the position of agricultural and resource economics in today’s Australia. That would be both arrogant and foolish, given the state of my knowledge of contemporary affairs. However, I would like to offer some thoughts on a vaguely related issue.

That is the current focus on microeconomics, particularly related to financial markets, and the dearth of good, experienced, macro-economists.

One of the consequences of financial deregulation, which I don’t think we adequately foresaw, was the lure, financial and otherwise, of employment in those markets. At Universities, including my own, the emphasis is no longer on macro-economics, nor is the bulk of research in that area. After all, research tends to follow the availability of funding.

The result, it seems to me, is that public debate on macroeconomic topics has deteriorated. With one or two exceptions, “economic” journalists are actually financial journalists. When expectations arise that the Reserve Bank might change interest rates, for instance, the headlines are not about the impact on the economy; they are about the difference in monthly instalments on someone’s housing loan.

And I don’t remember the last time I saw any meaty debate on “fiscal policy”.

When the Treasurer recently made reference to the Government’s need to save because the private sector was not saving, the journalists’ eyes glazed over. They were only interested in whether there would be a tax cut. Opposition spokesmen didn’t canvass the savings issue; they just wanted to suggest other ways to spend the money.

Debate on fiscal policy seems to have become the private preserve of the Federal Treasury and I am not sure that is in the nation’s best interests.

Perhaps it is simply nostalgia, but I think we would benefit from a better informed debate on macroeconomic policy, which suggests we need more practitioners committed to this field.

Another hobby horse of mine is the degree of government intervention in private and business activities these days, in the name of safety, corporate governance, competition, transparency, financial compliance, acquittance, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, as the King of Siam reportedly said to Anna.

I cannot remember a time during my long career, certainly during the lifetime of this Society, when there has been as much intervention, either through regulations, guidelines, or reporting requirements, as there is now.

I say that from personal experienced in finance, energy, superannuation, mining, insurance and higher education.

I am often reminded of the old childhood rhyme that I regarded as a cautionary adage when I was a regulator:

Great fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite ‘em;
And little fleas have lesser fleas, so on ad infinitum

Regulators, I am afraid, have much in common with fleas and can be just as irritating.

But that is not a topic for this evening. You have had enough pontificating from me. As the old saying goes, nostalgia ain’t what it used to be!

Thank you again for inviting me tonight and congratulations to the Society on its fiftieth anniversary. It is a delight to see that it is still fighting the good fight and, on the evidence of the agenda for this Conference, dealing with important contemporary issues.

It is also a delight to see some of my fellow survivors of the past half century.

It has been a fascinating fifty years. I am sure the next fifty will be equally challenging and exciting. I hope medical science will have advanced sufficiently to permit you to invite me back when you celebrate them.

Thank you, and Happy Birthday!



AARES Awards 21 Fellowships to Attend the IAAE Conference on the Gold Coast

AARES has awarded 21 fellowships worth $850 each to assist members of the Society to participate in the IAAE Conference to be held at the Gold Coast August 12 – 18, 2006.

To be eligible for consideration for a fellowship the applicant must be:

·         The designated presenting author of a paper that has been submitted as a possible contributed paper at IAAE 2006 (eligibility is not conditional on the paper being accepted for presentation at the conference)

·         A financial member of AARES in 2005 at the time of application

Winners were selected by a committee comprising Deborah Peterson ( Past President of AARES), John Mullen (President of AARES), and Julian Alston (co-Chair of the IAAE 2006 Australian Organising Committee).

We are pleased to have the following people representing AARES at the IAAE Conference and are confident that attending the Conference will be of benefit to these people and to AARES:

Tihomir Ancev, Samad Azad, Michael Burton, Emma Comerford, Jason Crean, Bronwyn Crowe, Mariah Turner Ehmke, Bob Farquharson, Jared Greenville, Quiquong Huang, Bill Kaye-Blake, Lan Li, Sally Marsh, Jill McCluskey, Nam Nguyen, David Pannell, Budy P. Resosudarmo, Arlene Rutherford, Peter Warr, Sarah Wheeler, and Xueyan Zhao


AARES Working Parties on Publications and Promotion and Development

At Council meetings at the Annual Conference at Manly, Federal Council decided to establish two additional working parties – one to advise Council about all aspects of AARES publications and one to work with the Manager, Promotion and Development to increase our efforts to promote the services of AARES and expand its membership at a Branch level. 

AARES already has a number of working parties with membership drawn from within and outside Federal Council and rotated over several years, including the various prize committees and a working party developing the Society website.

Some of the general advantages of working parties are:

Working Party on AARES Publications

Publications are a key service provided by AARES to its members. This service has major financial implications for the Society through the cost of operating an editorial ‘office’ and maintaining a contract with publishers. A large share of current subscription rates can be attributed to the cost of producing AJARE in hard copy form.

Hence the appointment of editors, the cost of supporting them and the contract for publication of AJARE are very important considerations for Federal Council. The appointment of editors and the renewal of the contract with Blackwell occur every three years at roughly the same time. New editors will have to be appointed no later than May 2007 and a new contract with Blackwell or an alternative publisher negotiated by 2008.

The area of journal publication is a rapidly evolving one and a working party with members with strong interests and expertise can assist Council make better decisions in this area.


Appointment of a Working Party

You will note that the process of selecting a new editorial team for AJARE has already begun with a call for expressions of interest published in this News and Views. To involve the new working party from the beginning of this process, Chris O’Donnell, Bill Malcolm and Donna Brennan were approached and have agreed to serve on this working party. The President, John Mullen will also be a member of the working party.

Call for Expressions of Interest

Those members who would like to assist AARES by serving on this working party in the future please contact John Mullen, Allan Rae or Chris O’Donnell. The membership of the working party will be rotated regularly and expressions of interest called for at this time each year.

Working Party on Promotion and Development

While AARES has been successful in recent years in reversing a trend of declining membership, the age structure of the Society suggests that continuing promotion of the Society and attention to the expectations of members will be required to maintain the Society’s membership base into the future.

The Society has been well served by a series of energetic Managers of Promotion and Development but this enthusiasm and commitment needs to be matched at a Branch level, by the appointment of Managers, Promotion and Development.


Appointment by Branches

Federal Council invites all branches to appoint a Manager, Promotion and Development at one of their forthcoming meetings to work with the Federal Manager, Promotion and Development. More information about this position can be obtained from Branch Councillors and from John Mullen.



It is only a few months until the "IAAE 2006" International Conference of Agricultural Economists, August 12-18, 2006.  It is not too early to register for the Conference or book accommodation, given the early signals that the Conference will attract an unprecedented number of participants from all around the world. Complete information on the IAAE 2006 Conference, and facilities for on-line registration and accommodation options can be found at the conference web site www.iaae2006.org.  Details are also available on much of the formal conference program, and other aspects, and additional details are being added as they become finalized.  


The program is extensive and rich, and promises to be engaging and informative, with something for everyone.  The IAAE 2006 E-News, which provides key information about various aspects of the Conference, is available for viewing at http://www.iaae-agecon.org/AusConf/updates.html.  If you register to receive the newsletter you will receive updates on the Conference as the information becomes available over the coming months.  As reported in the March 2006 issue of the IAAE 2006 E-News, the Conference organizers received an unprecedented number of submissions, including 865 contributed papers, 77 poster papers, and 62 proposals for symposia (previously referred to as mini-symposia and discussion groups).   In response, they have expanded the venue capacity and significantly increased the total numbers of papers and posters on the program.  Even so, unfortunately, many of the submissions could not be accepted.  The program committee accepted a total of 360 contributed papers, 330 posters (including some contributed paper submissions redesignated as posters), and 44 symposia (previously referred to as mini-symposia and discussion groups). These are in addition to the large numbers of presentations that will be made in the other elements of the conference, including 4 plenary sessions, 13 invited panels, 5 day-long pre-conference workshops, and the mid-week program on Showcasing Australian and New Zealand Agriculture and Natural Resources. 


All authors who submitted papers, posters, or symposium proposals should have received email messages by now, indicating the decisions concerning their submissions.  Those authors whose papers or posters were accepted onto the Conference program were asked to respond by April 30 to confirm that they would participate.  The E-News also indicates some other key deadlines for authors.  If you have not received such a message about your paper or poster submission, please contact the organizers by email on iaaewith a subject line “Acceptance Decisions.”  

2007 AARES conference

New Zealand branch of AARES has agreed to host the 2007 AARES annual conference. The conference will be held in Queenstown New Zealand during 13-16 February 2007. Pre conference tours and workshops are planned for February 13; the conference proper will be 14-16 February.

Queenstown is a major tourist destination and there are direct Sydney-Queenstown flights as well as connecting flights from Christchurch, Wellington, Auckland and other New Zealand centres. There are direct flights from Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Los Angeles and other cities to Christchurch.



A booking has been made at Rydges Lakeland Resort Hotel. The hotel is large enough to cater for 250 attendees (the expected number of delegates), and is conveniently located in the township to allow easy access to most facilities visitors may need. There are many accommodation options in Queenstown.

All Occasions Management are the Professional Conference Organisers for the 2007 conference.

The theme for the conference is Australasia’s Resource-based industries in a future world.” President-Elect Professor Allan Rae of Massey University is organising the plenary programme and other invited speakers. We look forward to an informative and interesting programme and to strong attendance at the conference from all AARES branches.

Queenstown is located on the 45th parallel, at an altitude of 315 m. Temperatures in summer range up to 30C, but it is an alpine environment and four seasons in one day are possible in New Zealand. Courtesy of the hole in the ozone layer, and perihelion, which occurs about January 20, solar radiation is intense in New Zealand in summer.

Queenstown markets itself as the Adventure Capital of the World. Conference attendees will have a wide range of options, with varying levels of risk to sample before and after the conference.  There are many scenic attractions within a day’s travel of Queenstown.

Ross Cullen


Nominations for President-Elect and Distinguished Fellowships

The Nominations Committee calls for nominations for President-Elect and Distinguished Fellowships for the year 2007. Nominations should be submitted to Dr Deborah Peterson by Friday, June 30, 2006 (Fax 03 8653 2284; email: dpeterson; postal: Dr Deborah Peterson, LB2 Collins Street East, Melbourne, VIC 8003).

Nominations for President-Elect should be dated and signed by the nominator, a seconder, and the candidate.

Distinguished Fellowships are awarded to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to agricultural and resource economics and/ or the activities of AARES. Past winners of this prestigious award are shown on the AARES web page at: http://www.come.to/aares (Archives/Records). Nominations should include a brief biography, and an explanation of why the proposed candidate merits the award.


A Call for Expressions of Interest from Members of AARES for:

Editor: Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics

The Co-Editors of the Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics (AJARE) have advised that they plan to step down as Editors once sufficient copy has been accepted for Volumes 49, 50, and 51 of the journal.  It is anticipated that this will occur sometime in the first half of 2007. Accordingly, expressions of interest are sought from individuals or teams interested in filling these positions. Interested persons are advised that:

Interested teams and individuals are encouraged to discuss the requirements of the position with Bob Lindner (phone +61 8 6488 2563 or email blindner ), David Pannell (phone +61 8 9844 8659 or email David.Pannell ), or Ross Kingwell (Phone +61 8 9368 3225 or email rkingwell). More information about AJARE is available from the journal webpage: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/ajare. Expressions of interest should be sent to:

Dr. Chris O’Donnell ,
Chairman, AARES Working Party on Publications
School of Economics
University of Queensland
Brisbane QLD 4072
Phone: (07) 3346 9256

Email: c.odonnell


2006 Masters Prize Committee

Frank Scrimgeour, Waikato (Chair), Sarah Lumley, UWA and Rod Duncan, CSU


2006 PhD committee

Quentin Grafton, ANU (Chair), Steve Schilizzi, UWA and Caroline Saunders, Lincoln.

We are grateful for their contribution to these significant AARES activities in the coming year.




Dr J Mullen (John)
Phone: +61 2 6391 3608
Fax: +61 2 6391 3740
Email: john.mullen



This could be you




Mr G Ronan (Glenn)
Phone: 08 8207 7903
Fax: 08 8207 7852
Email: glenn.ronan

Manager: Promotion and Development 

This could be you

Web Manager

Felicity Byrne
Tel:    +61 8 9368 3134
Fax:   +61 8 9367 4265
Email: fbyrne

Editor, News and Views

Mr Richard Reeve
Phone 02 6488 4633
Fax: 02 6488 1098
Email: reever01

Editors: AJARE

Professor Bob Linder

Tel:    +61 8 6488 2563
Fax:   +61 8 6488 1098
Email: blindner

Professor David Pannell

Tel:    +61 8 9844 8659
Fax:   +61 8 9341 2707
Email: david.pannell

Dr Ross Kingwell
Tel:    +61 8 9368 3225
Fax:   +61 8 9367 4265
Email: rkingwell

AARES Office
A Hurst (Annie)
Phone: +61 2 6125 6564
Fax: +61 2 6125 8448
Email: aares



The deadline for receipt of any items for inclusion in the next edition of AARES News & Views is 15 July 2006. Please send items to Richard Reeve reever01

Advertisements in AARES News and Views are welcomed. The mailing list for News & Views exceeds 700. Advertising cost is $55 (including GST). Enquiries to LPechey