Time for drought action
AUSTRALIA has experienced drought many times in the past and will experience drought again in the future.
Whenever farmers go through drought, the maintenance of key breeding stock is essential to assist in the recovery when the rain comes again, and it will come again.
This drought in Queensland and most of New South Wales is certainly severe.
Fortunately most of Victoria is not in drought, however the coming months will determine the outcome of the season as soil moisture is low and relies on good spring rain.
The NSW government has implemented freight subsidies, but securing adequate fodder to freight is proving difficult.
Over the next few weeks, if spring rain fails to fall in Northern Victoria, the fodder producing capacity will be reduced. There is however significant opportunity to water hay crops in the Goulburn Murray Irrigation area to boost hay production, if water is available on the market.
The people of Australia hold water with the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder. State governments collectively hold water through various portfolios.
My farmer calculations tell me that a release of 100GL which is 100,000 Mega Litres could assist Goulburn Murray Irrigators and produce 21,400 semi-trailer loads of hay.
Water released onto the market would need to be offered in 100 Mega Litre lots, with the community expectation upheld, that this water is specifically for fodder production. But time is of the essence, as hay crops require water now.
Also, Western Australia is experiencing an average or better grain season. This will allow grain to be provided within Australia by rail, to supplement feed stocks.
I believe Australians would look favourably on strong intervention to support drought-affected farmers and rural communities. The goodwill and generosity of Australians continues to impress me.
The decision to release water now sits with the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder, and state government ministers in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, and South Australia.
Surely it’s time for some creative action on drought.
Andrew Broad, Member for Mallee
Corporate impact on sport
IT WOULD have no doubt slipped beneath the radar that the English football team Arsenal were bought by an American billionaire, Stan Kroenke for 1.8 billion English pounds, or roughly 3.5 billion Australian dollars – one team in England for approximately the price of the entire AFL.
This is becoming the new norm in sport where wealthy individuals – mainly Russian, Saudi or American – buy up, at their whim, clubs from differing sports that usually have been in existence for more than 100 years, and use as they see fit to enhance their already vast wealth.
There is a warning here for all true sports fans. Football, or soccer if you prefer, started as a pastime for the lower classes. Then as it evolved, it became organised into clubs and then into an association in England, and then into FIFA as the game migrated to the four corners of the world.
Basically for 100 years or so, the supporter base were the driving force behind the football league, until television and corporations started playing a roll.
Now the game that I grew up with, and played, is light years away from the game that is promoted as the world game today. The team that I supported as a boy now changes from year to year as money is the driving force of every decision – on or off the pitch.
Why is this important? We, as a society, are losing our identity to the highest bidder. Even Australian rules is heading in the same direction.
You can guarantee that if the masses vote to leave the grand final at a 2.30pm kick-off but corporate pressures want to move to twilight to maximise advertising, we will have a twilight grand final.
What we see and read on the back pages of this, and other local papers, is the lifeblood of our culture.
Unsullied by the corporate elite, because of the lack of corruption, local sport is the purest form of recreation that goes back to its founding members. and it must be preserved and supported.
William McIlwain, Minyip
Combatting stock thefts
STOCK theft is getting worse not better under Daniel Andrews.
Opportunistic crooks have made a big business out of ripping off our hard-working farmers and their families, with many farmers calling for more to be done to protect their livestock and assets.
Victorian Crime Statistics Agency data shows offences were up 40 per cent in 2017, but Labor’s cuts to police mean there’s only ever a handful of arrests made.
The Liberal Nationals have listened to our farmers and will work with Victoria Police to establish a new, dedicated Livestock and Rural Crime Squad if we’re elected in November.
The additional 20 new specialist positions, based throughout Regional Victoria, will work with the force’s 48 Agricultural Liaison Officers (AGLOs) to make sure our farmers’ livelihoods are protected.
Only a Liberal Nationals Government will send a strong message to potential criminals that if they are thinking about farm and livestock theft you will get caught and you will get punished.
Victoria’s agricultural industry can’t afford another four more years of Daniel Andrews’ and Labor’s lack of action on farm and livestock theft.
Peter Walsh, leader, The Nationals