Missing in action
Almost a month after the release of the White Paper into the red meat Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) there has been almost nothing from any of the state farm organisations.
If producers believe they will get more say over how their levies are spent or will gain more strength in advocacy on policy that benefits producers I fear they will be sadly disappointed.
This plan is the absolute antitheses of the seven recommendations made by the Grassfed Levies Inquiry. It mentions transparency and accountability numerous times while actually offering little of it in the areas that matter to producers.
Instead the sub-text reads as a manual for top down leadership with "grassroots" organisations not so much listening to their members but "shaping the thinking, knowledge and behaviours of farmers".
If that sentence alone does not send chills down your spine it ought to.
The whole paper is a roadmap for a dictatorship, while appearing not to be.
It talks about limiting unnecessary government involvement in industry affairs.
Well, the transaction levies are a government tax and they should remain in government control to a degree.
If one wants to see negative outcomes when the government hands authority to another body, one needs to look at the Murray-Darling Basin Plan where some farmers are on zero irrigation entitlement.
Others have some entitlement and a very great deal of water is being pushed down the system for the environment while causing drastic flooding for yet another group of uncompensated farmers.
The government seems only too happy to stand by and observe the anguish of our fellow farmers.
More worrying is that the integrity systems body, the one responsible for controlling auditing systems such as Livestock Production Assurance (LPA). It will also have a separate levying capacity.
This will be the funding centre for PICs policy and advocacy functions.
There are a couple of possible funding centres signalled in the paper but are dependent on conformity.
This White Paper leaves many questions unanswered. It will not empower producers and it is not something that will be easily changed if it is introduced.
Joanne Rae, chairwoman, Property Rights Australia
The watering of inland Australia is not only important during our droughts, which are ongoing, but for the benefit of our country towns.
The dams created would not only create a recreation for that district but attract folks to settle locally from over populated cities.
The other obvious benefits are improved agriculture and animal breeding as well as supplementing mining water requirements.
I am a retired engineer and am interested to find out it if the Bradfield (or other) schemes are feasible.
John Davis, Sydney
Trains are now carrying water into the Airlie coal mine near Lithgow in NSW. Without this water, the coal mine would close. Similar trains are being planned for drought-stricken towns elsewhere.
But the trains at the coal mine are pulled by diesel locos. The continuing existence of the coal mine is thus being further weakened. If the both the owners and workers of this coal mine were really serious about their own industry, the locos on all trains at their mine would be steam-powered, fuelled by coal. As they also should be on coal trains in other parts of the country too, of course.
The coal industry can't expect us to to remain stuck in the past if it won't stay there itself. Just think of the boost to Australian coal if all our trains, even on city and suburban networks, went back to steam.
Grant Agnew, Coopers Plain