Newsletter of the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society Inc.

Volume 15, Number 2, August 2003


President’s Column: Bill Malcolm

AARES Annual Symposium 2003 – Market-based tools for environmental management

AARES 48th Annual Conference and Workshop

AJARE – Highlights from the Publisher’s Report 2002

Position Vacant – Research Economist, NSW Agriculture


Contact Details for Office Bearers and Central Office

Deadline and Advertising



By Bill Malcolm

Imagine: Agricultural Economists are heavily involved in debates about droughts and water policy. Cure-all hawking blatherskites are proposing crazy schemes.  Fundamentalists of all shades of colour – green, brown, beige – are digging in. Politicians are being more than economical with the truth. The Agricultural Economics profession is busily organizing its annual conference and a forthcoming International Conference of Agricultural Economists to be held in Australia. The time – the late 1960s.


But, the situation described above could just as easily be 2003. Just as there is a certain constancy about the nature of agriculture itself, so too with agricultural and resource economics.


In 2003 the AARES is financially sound and active. The annual conference in Perth was well sponsored and well supported by the members and made a profit of over $20,000. Mal Wegener has a team organizing the 2006 International Association of Agricultural Economists (IAAE) Conference in Queensland – either in Brisbane or the Gold Coast. The annual 2006 AARES Conference – our 50th – will be held in conjunction with the IAAE Conference.


Garry Griffith, Julian Alston and Bill Malcolm are organising a commemorative book, comprising contributed chapters, for the 2006 IAAE Conference. ‘Agriculture in the Australian Economy’ edited by D.B.Williams was published in 1967 for the 13th International Conference of the IAAE, held in Sydney. The convenors of the 2006 book have been consulting learned people such as John Freebairn and John Mullen in lengthy lunches about the content of the book, and will canvass members further for ideas about content and authors. Prospective authors are more than welcome to volunteer!


In the 1960s the great Australian agricultural economist Bruce Davidson was subjected to much aggravation from non-economic professions, the bureaucracy and politicians for exposing the fallacious thinking and wasteful investment in building the Ord River Dam. Recently a paper by AARES member Ollie Gyles entitled ‘More Water for Irrigation and the Environment? Some Problems and Prospects for Worthwhile Investments’ was published in Connections, May 2003, and caused a bit of aggravation too.


In this paper Ollie Gyles examined losses of water due to inefficiency of delivery and use and, drawing on basic principles, demonstrated that ‘the majority of anticipated savings from most projects promoting water use efficiency are ‘illusory’ (or ‘grossly overestimated’ depending on which draft you read) because of errors in logic and the inability or reluctance of the promoters to view water flows in a systems context’.


He went on:

‘The indisputable conclusion is that the economical opportunities for real water savings in the connected Murray system can only be measured in hundreds, rather than thousands of gigalitres. Thus increasing environmental flows beyond some hundreds of gigalitres will have nationally significant opportunity costs measured in billions of dollars rather than millions’.


Little wonder the author of this paper, like Bruce Davidson before him, encountered crude opposition to publication. The more things change…..


The LOC organising the annual conference to be held in Melbourne in February 11-13th 2004 has appointed a conference organizer. The theme of the Conference will be Contemporary Environmental Issues, and there will be a Pre-Conference Workshop about – what else – ‘Water’.


The ANU’s Economists and Environment network held a two day workshop with high quality contributions. The AARES is to have a presence at these annual workshops with a view to AARES memberships and material for the AJARE.


The AARES has called for bids from groups wishing to take on the role of Editors of the AJARE, as the term of the current editors is running out. One bid has been received so far from a team built around well known and highly regarded members of the AARES, Fredoun Ahmadi-Esfahani (Sydney University), Chris Alaouze (University of NSW) and Dodo Thampapillai (Macquarie University).  The proposal is for the AJARE administration to be based at Sydney University.


The undergraduate prize this year has been enhanced to include free membership for a year and an airfare to the conference, provided branches pay the Conference Registration.


At the recent council meeting some time was spent discussing the (then) proposed amalgamation of ABARE and the BRS, and an associated change in reporting arrangements. There was uncertainty as to what such a change would mean for the independence and influence of ABARE and its staff. Council need not have worried – the mooted change did not happen, this time.


An issue raised informally at Council was the changing, and different, roles of the branches in each state. ‘Horses for courses’ seemed to be the sentiment. For instance the Victorian branch has not had the usual, regular branch activities for the last couple of years. However, had put on a well attended major symposium and is now putting on the next AARES Conference. Maybe the Victorian branch might adopt, as a ‘modus operandi’ the role of putting on one or two major, well-attended seminars/meetings/workshops each year, as circumstances suggest. Other branches too will evolve to roles apt for their own, changing situations – and a good thing too.


There has been a bit of emphasis on water in this report – let the incomparable Kenneth Boulding (1964) have the last word:


Water is far from a simple commodity,

Water’s a sociological oddity,

Water’s a pasture for science to forage in,

Water’s a mark of our dubious origin,

Water’s a link with a distant futurity,

Water’s a symbol of ritual purity,

Water is politics, water is religion,

Water is just about everyone’s pigeon,

Water is frightening, water’s endearing,

Water’s a lot more than mere engineering,

Water is tragic, water is comical,

Water is far from Pure Economical,

So studies of water, though free of aridity,

Are apt to produce a good deal of turbidity.






September 2-3, 2003, Canberra, Australia


Market based instruments are emerging as an important tools for management of natural and environmental resources.  Recent applications of market mechanisms in Australia include salinity management (Hunter River salinity trading scheme, NSW EPA), environmental services (Victoria’s Bushtender pilot program) and renewable energy (Renewable energy tradeable certificates, AGO).  Non-government examples include the ‘piggy-backing’ of environmental outputs on other products via labelling, for example Banrock Wines bundles wetland protection with wine consumption.  The importance of these instruments will increase under the sponsorship of the National Market Based Instruments Pilots Program.


A linked two-day symposium exploring the concepts, practice and complexities of applying market based instruments to the management of natural resources and the environment will be held in Canberra in September 2003.  Day one will develop the fundamentals and core concepts of market-based instruments for natural resource and environmental management, the underpinning economic principles and a review of their current extent and status in Australia as well as impediments to their further adoption.  Day two will delve into these issues in detail including natural resource and environmental management problems and market creation, the potential and limits to market based mechanisms in Australia, market performance measures and integration of more traditional tools with market based instruments.

This workshop is a must for:

ü     Regional natural resource management decision makers who would like to understand market based instrument application possibilities and limitations;

ü     Industry body representatives who need to understand the opportunities and implication of these tools on their industry;

ü     Policy makers who are desiring a better understanding of market based instrument potential, limitations and an insight into the complex policy interactions; and,

ü     Researchers working at the market-based instrument research/policy interface and those who just want to know more about the opportunities for research and application.

Registration will be available for the whole Symposium or each day separately.  For further Symposium information go to:

or contact:

               Stuart Whitten

               The Markets for Ecosystem Services Project

               CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems

               Ph: 02 6242 1683

               Fax: 02 6242 1705

               Email: stuart.whitten




11-13 February 2004, Melbourne Victoria


The 2004 Conference of the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society will be held in Melbourne.  Summer in Melbourne is a great time to reap the rewards of Victorian winegrowers, soak up some lunchtime sun in Melbourne's famous cafes, and escape to the fun and drama offered by Melbourne's theatre in the botanical gardens. You may also want to tap your foot to the sounds of some of Melbourne's fine jazz musicians as they swing through the evening hours. Shopping is another fine Melbourne tradition, with Collins and Chapel Streets offering the latest in fashion and those renowned fashion flowers that turn so many heads. If you stay the weekend, you can also experience the diverse cultural culinary traditions and landscape beauty of regional and coastal Victoria. Melbourne has excellent transport, and plenty of accommodation options to enjoy (see or contact the conference organiser who can assist you with information and transact any reservations you may require).


The Conference will run from Wednesday 11th to Friday 13th February, with a Pre-Conference Water Policy workshop on Tuesday 10th February.  This will give delegates the opportunity to enjoy the weekend in Melbourne or to explore some of the attractions that the rest of Victoria has to offer, possibly attend the cricket one-day series at the famous MCG.

The Conference will have a combination of both 'Invited Speaker' and 'Contributed Paper' sessions. The invited speakers will include:

·       John Altman (ANU) and John Gibson (Waikato), Indigenous economics – Australian Aboriginal and Maori.

·       Chloe Munro, Secretary, Department of Primary Industries Victoria.

·       Prof. Vic Adamowicz (Uni Alberta), Developments in valuing environmental impacts

·       Dr Suzie Kerr (NZ), The role of market based instruments in emissions control

·       Prof. Terry Anderson (Montana), Property rights and natural resource management.


All members and interested non-members are invited to submit titles for contributed papers.  Contributed papers in all areas of agricultural and resource economics are welcomed. Around 150 contributed papers are presented at the conference each year. The deadlines for submissions are: 

·       Submit paper titles: 19 September 2003 (extended from earlier advertised date of 15 August)

·       Submit abstracts (100 words maximum): 24 October 2003

·       Bring copies of papers to the conference: 11 February 2004


Note: presenters must register for the conference no later than 21 January 2004 in order to remain on the program. Submissions should be made to the Conference Organiser, NGT Travel Conferences & Incentives, Suite 505, 566 St.Kilda Road Melbourne VIC. Australia 3004. Phone: (03) 9521 7715 or 1300 36 26 56;  Fax: (03) 9521 7697; Email: AARESinfo.


If you join the AARES, and attend the Conference as a member, one benefit is a lower registration fee. Membership and conference information can be obtained from the AARES web site at:




Further to the recent Editor’s Report in the last issue of News & Views, we are pleased to present the following highlights from the 2002 Annual Publisher’s Report for The Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics (AJARE).



There is growing evidence that online usage is becoming a factor in the retention of subscriptions. In view of this we are very pleased to see an increase of 47% in online usage levels of AJARE in the past year through major service providers.  Additionally, AJARE is now available via Blackwell Publishing’s online delivery service, Blackwell Synergy Blackwell Synergy is popular with both the library community and researchers with whom it has a reputation as one of the most user-friendly services available, incorporating many added value features for individual researchers such as personal home pages and personalised alerting. This service was successfully re-launched in February 2002 and has had many new design features and navigation tools added to enhance the research experience and connect readers to relevant content more quickly and easily. Key features include subject clustering of journals, free sample issues, free abstracts and ‘Table of Contents’ email alerts Blackwell Synergy is being continually developed so that it better meets the needs of the journal, its readers and its library subscribers. Full access details for Blackwell Synergy will be forwarded to AARES members very shortly.



Awareness of AJARE is built throughout the year via a strong presence at key conferences worldwide. Blackwell Publishing exhibitor booths at major conferences display samples, or promotional material such as postcards and leaflets are included in delegates’ satchels.  AJARE is featured in the Blackwell Publishing Economics and Finance catalogue, which is available at conference booths as well as mailed directly to researchers and librarians.  AJARE is also advertised as widely as possible in other relevant journals, and included in relevant email campaigns specifically targeted at academics.  AJARE has its own homepage on the Blackwell Publishing web site where both authors and readers can learn more about the journal:  


Library Market Trends

Institutional subscription-based circulation has fallen slightly over the past year, however the number of Institutions with consortia access has grown very significantly worldwide. It is Blackwell Publishing’s policy to work cooperatively with libraries (and library consortia) and highlights for the international sales team during 2002 have included dealings with the following consortia:


The Americas

·       National Academic Purchasing Consortium (CAPES), Brazil.

·       Ohio Library and Information Network (OhioLINK), USA.

·       North Eastern Research Libraries Consortium, USA.

·       Many institutions across Canada.



·       National Electronic Site Licence Initiative.

·       Centre for Information Professionals and Students (CIPE) and the Consortium for Italian Academic Libraries (CILEA), both in Italy.

·       German Academic Consortium.

·       Russian Open Consortium.

·       Many institutions in Iceland.


Australia and New Zealand

·       Consortium of Australian University Libraries.



·       Academic National University Library (ANUL) consortium, Japan.

·       Korean Electronic Site Licensing Initiative (KESLI).


Blackwell Publishing have also been actively negotiating a number of major funding initiatives in developing world markets, such as the Ebscohost/Soros Foundation Project, which allows electronic access to journals at a substantially reduced rate in 200-300 libraries in Eastern Europe, and the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP), which works to provide sponsored access to journals in poorer countries.


Blackwell Publishing welcomes comments and feedback from AARES members regarding AJARE. Please feel free to contact Blackwell Publishing Asia via jennifer.mcdonald.






NSW Agriculture is a smoke free workplace.

Successful applicant MAY be required to undergo a medical/occupational assessment.



Professional Grade 1-4, Full-time, Orange Agricultural Institute, Orange,

Pos No Ag 03/7/344.

Total remuneration package valued to $83,916  p.a. (salary $39,594-$76.045) Commencing salary level and progression subject to meeting certain criteria. Analyse impacts of alternative technologies and economic conditions in the Australian sheep industry. Assemble economic information relevant to sheep producers. Identify priorities for research and extension resources within the Program. Provide economic research assistance to CRC management. Selection Criteria: Degree in Agricultural Economics or equivalent with specialisations in quantitative methods including mathematical programming, econometric modelling and benefit-cost analysis. Sound understanding of research methods. Ability to integrate technical information in an economic context. Effective communication and microcomputer skills. Capacity to contribute enthusiastically in an interdisciplinary research team environment. Drivers licence. Applicants for NSW Government Jobs must show knowledge and understanding of 'common selection criteria' as they relate to the job. For details, visit: Not open to overseas applicants. Note: Temporary position for 3 years. Inquiries and Information Packages: David Vere (02) 6391 3850 Email: david.vere or John Mullen (02) 6391 3608 Email: john.mullen  Application marked ‘Confidential’ (quoting Pos No) to: Staff Officer, Staff Payroll Centre, NSW Agriculture, Locked Bag 21, Orange NSW 2800 or apply on-line at: Closing date: 29 August 2003.




IAAE Conference, Durban, South Africa

The 25th Conference of the International Association of Agricultural Economists (IAAE) will be held in Durban, South Africa from 16 to 22 August 2003.


Organisers of the conference are expecting about 700 delegates to participate in workshops, plenary sessions, panel discussions, contributed papers, and poster presentations.  A significant number of Australian delegates will be attending the conference including several who were part sponsored by AARES.


The conference is of special interest to the Australian contingent since the 2006 conference will be held in Australia.  Conference organising committee chairman Mal Wegener has assembled an enthusiastic steering committee who will have the job over the next three years of managing activities leading up to the next conference.


With the construction of the new Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, the organising committee is reviewing possible locations for the conference and expressions of interest have been sought from Professional Conference Organisers for the actual management of the conference.


To create an opportunity for the maximum number of Australian delegates to attend the International Conference in 2006, the AARES council has agreed to re-arrange the schedule for the national conference that year.  It is proposed to hold the Annual Symposium in February at the normal time of the Annual General Meeting and defer the Annual Conference until August to run it in conjunction with the international meeting.


Some flexibility in programming from the point of view both the Australian and the international conference will be necessary to enable the combined meetings to occur and this will be negotiated with the executive of the international association at their meeting in August in Durban.


AARES members wishing to attend the international conference in 2006 need to be aware that membership of the International Association of Agricultural Economists (currently $US 60 for the three-year period between conferences) is essential to do this.


Anyone seeking information about the IAAE are directed to contact Prof. Roley Piggott at the Faculty of Economics, Business and Law, The University of New England, Armidale NSW 2351 (Ph 02 6773 2990; email rpiggott)


Information about the IAAE 2006 Conference Organising Committee is available from Dr Malcolm Wegener, School of Natural and Rural Systems Management, The University of Queensland, Brisbane QLD 4072 (Ph 07 3365 2939; email malcolm.wegener)


Second Notice: AARES-AAEA Young Professionals Exchange Travel Awards

The Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society (AARES) and the Foundation of the American Agricultural Economics Association (AAEA) will offer two travel awards during 2003.  These awards are intended for agricultural and resource economists of all ages but in the early stages of their careers. Thus stage of career rather than age is what defines an appropriate applicant. The objectives of the awards are to provide the winners with an opportunity for professional and personal development and international professional and cultural exchange.  Each award will have a value of US$2,000 to be used to assist the winner to participate in the annual conference of either the AARES or the AAEA.  Applicants for both awards must be members of both the AARES and the AAEA.


The “Heading North” award will be given to a resident of Australia or New Zealand to support their participation in the August 2004 Annual Conference of the AAEA in Denver, Colorado. This award is valued at US$2,000 cash. Australian and New Zealand residents are now invited to consider applying for the “Heading North” award.  Applications should include (1) a paper for presentation at the conference, representing their original and unpublished work, (2) a one-page biographical statement, and (3) a one-page statement in support of their application, indicating what they would hope to accomplish through the award, and why they would be deserving of the award.  The winner of the award will be determined by a committee, based on the submitted materials, with some emphasis on the quality of the paper.


Electronic submissions (preferably in PDF form) should be e-mailed to Garry Griffith (garry.griffith).  Applications must be received by December 19, 2003, and the winner will be announced at the AARES 2004 conference in Melbourne.  Please address any questions about the application process to Garry Griffith at the above address or by phone on 02 6770 1826.


Australian Agribusiness Congress 2003

August 27-28, 2003, Southee Pavilion - Sydney Olympic Park, Homebush

The 2003 Australian Agribusiness Congress will follow the well received format of the 2002 event, by examining the performance of and trends within the major sectors of the Australian Agribusiness Sector. This year we are paying special attention to Trade issues - recognising that the global trading environment has become more volatile, with armed conflict, a stalled WTO process for agriculture and the emergence of bilateral trade agreements such as the Australia - USA FTA currently being negotiated. We have taken notice of feedback from our 2002 delegates, particularly their desire to make the event more relaxed. So we have created a program that will be less intense and provide more opportunities for interaction with presenters and more networking opportunities.

As part of our commitment to research and knowledge development, we are once again holding a Forum - inviting professionals from the agribusiness sector to submit presentations that advance knowledge in the agribusiness sector. For 2003, we are holding the Forum on August 27, before the Congress, once again at the suggestion of our 2002 delegates. For further details go to

4th International Crop Science Congress 2004 (4ICSC)

Theme: New directions for a diverse planet

Date: 26 September - 1 October, 2004

Venue: Brisbane Convention Centre

City/State: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Further details: Contact the Congress Managers - Intermedia Convention & Event Management, 11/97 Castlemaine Street or PO Box 1280, Milton QLD 4064.

Phone: 07 3858 5554, Fax: 07 3858 5583


Email: 4icsc04



Bill Malcolm 
Phone: (03) 8344 5015
Fax: (03) 8344 4095
Email: b.malcolm


Liz Petersen
Phone/Fax: (08) 9330 2092
Email: Liz.Petersen


Mal Wegener 
Phone: (07) 3365 2939 
Fax: (07) 3365 9016 
Email: malcolm.wegener

Manager: Promotion and Development 

Lisa Brennan
Phone: (07) 3214 2375 
Fax: (07) 3214 2308
Email: Lisa.Brennan

Web Manager

Atakelty Hailu

Phone: (08) 9380 2538
Fax: (08) 9380 1098

Editor: AARES News & Views

Tracy Henderson
Phone: (07) 3210 0495
Fax: (07) 3210 0506
Email: thenderson

Editors: AJARE

Chris O’Donnell
Phone: (02) 6773 2815
Fax: (02) 6773 3607
Email: codonnel

John Mullen
Phone: (02) 6391 3608
Fax: (02) 6391 3650 
Email: john.mullen

Manager: AARES Central Office 

Honey Greenwood
School of Economics
Armidale NSW 2351
Phone: (02) 6773 3278
Fax: (02) 6773 3607
Email: journal.ajare



The deadline for receipt of any items for inclusion in the next edition of AARES News & Views is Friday 31 October 2003. Please send items to Honey Greenwood at the Central Office: journal.ajare 

Advertisements in AARES News and Views are welcomed. Mailing list exceeds 700. Advertising cost is $250 (including GST). Enquiries to Lisa.Brennan