Unite to fight for farm­ers

Wangaratta Chronicle - - News -

THE time has come for long-term, bi­par­ti­san, vi­sion­ary ac­tion to be taken on be­half of our farm­ers.

For decades pri­mary pro­duc­ers have had to deal with an in­creas­ing num­ber of in­equities as they bat­tle against the el­e­ments to make a liv­ing.

Whether it’s a dairy farmer be­ing told by a pro­ces­sor he has to re­turn thou­sands of dol­lars paid for his prod­uct be­cause the farm gate price is ret­ro­spec­tive, to beef pro­duc­ers deal­ing with a lop­sided mar­ket that seems to favour pro­ces­sors and buy­ers rather than the pro­duc­ers them­selves, or any­one who has to ex­port in this world of free trade to coun­tries and trad­ing blocks that set tar­iffs to suit them­selves and dump their ex­ports onto our mar­ket be­low their own pro­duc­tion cost.

Fed­eral Gov­ern­ments of both per­sua­sions have largely put their sup­port for agri­cul­ture into in­quiries and re­ports with lit­tle mean­ing­ful ac­tion af­ter­wards, or an­nounce mil­lions of dol­lars in aid – nor­mally in the form of low-in­ter­est loans or one off cash grants that might stave off to­tal dis­as­ter for a few months but is no so­lu­tion. Lo­cal farmer John Con­roy con­tacted the

ba­si­cally to say he has had enough. He has called on lo­cals to put pres­sure on MPs, fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions, gov­ern­ments at ev­ery level, author­i­ties to get Aus­tralian agri­cul­ture back to where it should be.

Is­sues such as en­ergy, cli­mate change, re­cur­ring events such as drought, all seem too hard to tackle long term and cer­tainly don’t have bi­par­ti­san sup­port.

For ex­am­ple bet­ter use of en­vi­ron­men­tal wa­ter in times of cri­sis, not just to­ken one-off an­nounce­ments or sell­ing to the high­est bid­der, en­ergy so­lu­tion al­ter­na­tives which have been avoided for more than a decade, even get-out op­tions for those on the land that need to change their op­er­a­tion al­to­gether.

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