OPINION: There must be a better solution to drought despair
AFTER a lifetime of witnessing the same devastating cycle of drought and despair that faces our farming communities every few years, surely there has to be a better solution other than another short-term, ineffective financial Band-Aid as currently being offered.
Other countries and in particular China recognise food security as a major issue and are acting upon it. They are purchasing agricultural farming enterprises throughout the world in preparation for a world that is now mindlessly geared to an economy of infinite growth. Infinite growth in a finite world is neither possible or logical, but that is a whole other subject.
So in Australia do our politicians really think that food security is not an issue? What are the answers to the ongoing cycle of drought and despair for our Australian farmers? If Australians do not want to become dependent upon inferior food that is produced overseas, the answer is obvious. We all need to decide if our Australian farming sector is an (essential service) or not.
If it is, it needs to be properly backed through the tough times, not just given wholly inadequate handouts that do little other than keep their livestock alive for a few more weeks or days in some cases.
Between the banks, the politicians and our own choices in the supermarkets, we are all rapidly heading towards dependency upon foreign food imports. Individual farmers cannot withstand the ongoing ravages of prolonged droughts, floods or cyclones on their own. We as a collective can. The Federal Government needs to establish a system where hardship is met with genuine and meaningful assistance.
In better times this could be reimbursed when possible. In the longer term, drought-proofing our agricultural areas where possible by harvesting and transferring surplus floodwaters has to be a national priority. Do we feel that our farming sector is an (essential service) or not? Or put another way, are we prepared to eat whatever from wherever whenever it may or may not be available?