Gympie farmer slams inept pollies, 'supermarket bashing'
LETTER TO THE EDITOR BY GREG EDWARDS, FORMER BELLS BRIDGE DAIRY FARMER
AS A former dairy farmer for 35 years, I cannot believe how inept and out of touch our current politicians and aspiring politicians are.
Not only do they propose a drought levy on milk, which they should know would be doomed before it started, but then they would spend millions on a Royal Commission which would only line the pockets of those who least need it. Farmers need that money, barristers do not.
Processors and supermarkets deal with all of their food suppliers in the same manner.
After all, it is a free, deregulated market.
Unfortunately, it can put farmers in a position where they need to flood an already depressed market. This happened recently with strawberries.
The dairy industry is more vulnerable because there is a continuous supply of a perishable product that cannot be stopped.
Nor can it be stored on farm or disposed of on farm.
Supermarkets are very good at using this to their advantage, but they have to survive in their own competitive market environment.
Regulation and retail levies are not the answer, as market forces will always overcome them, again to the farmer's disadvantage.
The only answer is for the Federal Government to direct money to farmers where it is needed, not to Royal Commissions where it is not.
The mechanism to do this is already in place, in the form of the farm household assistance package, which simply needs to become ongoing and permanent.
Four years of payment at one third of the basic wage will not, as Llew O'Brien may think, get those farm businesses "back on track”.
This assistance helps not only farmers, but flows on into their rural and regional communities, therefore it is a proactive measure.
It is these same communities that will be expected to accommodate future refugee and migrant intakes.
Financial and technical services that result in more product being dumped on to already depressed markets are the type of reactive measure that is definitely not needed.
We can only hope to see something more proactive than supermarket bashing and Royal Commissions.
I welcome the $5 billion Future Drought Fund, but it must provide direct income support, community services and support for water infrastructure.
Also, it must be recognised that drought is just one of the issues confronting farmers.
The recent hailstorms and fires, the 2013 flood and the dairy industry situation are all examples of this.
Wide Bay Highway,
Bells Bridge, Gympie
Health system would benefit
JUST imagine how our stressed health system would benefit if people who have pre-diabetes and diabetes researched the new study results in The Gympie Times, November 1: "Vegan diet aids diabetes” that points out the management of blood sugar levels, weight and the "...psychological health and quality of life” all are improved by following a balanced vegan diet.
This is easily achieved by going to the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine for information and also investigating the hundreds of easy, healthy vegan recipes available on the internet.
Instantly cholesterol and saturated fats are gone and plant fibre helps eliminate unhealthy toxins, which makes good sense.
Seacliff Park, SA