2003, 51 Minutes
A devastating examination of the ecological disaster brought about by massive land clearance in Western Australia.
The southwest of Western Australia is one of the world's most biodiverse areas. But in the last half of the 20th century it was the scene of environmental destruction on a massive scale.
After World War Two, successive governments sold off and encouraged the clearing of less viable areas for agriculture. During the 1960s a million acres a year were opened up. Much of the land was unsuitable for farming yet the new landholders were obliged to bulldoze and burn the native bush or risk losing their allocation. Most were eager to do so and pressured the government to release even more land. The long-term consequences have been devastating, with industrial farming and salinity turning most of this priceless natural heritage into a biological desert.
Many farmers are caught in a financial catch-22: unviable farms force them into debt and this prevents them investing in more sustainable systems. However, there are others who are trying to turn around half a century of gross mismanagement.
Through the voices of people on the land, this compelling documentary tracks the history of this ecological disaster and reveals the impact it has had on them, the landscape and Australia’s unique flora and fauna. It also gives us glimpses of the stunningly diverse bush remnants they have saved and outlines their case for a “land ethic”.
Winner, Best General Documentary Science, Technology and Environment, ATOM Awards.
Produced by Snakewood Films in association with SBS Independent. Developed with the assistance of the Australian Film Commission. Financed with the assistance of the Australian Film Finance Corporation.
Director: Frank Rijavec
Running Time: 51 Minutes