Farm notes:

  • Farmers on more than half of Australia’s agricultural land are now subsidised by the Federal Government through special assistance drought payments. The number of farmers receiving aid increased by 10,000 to 72,000. – Sydney Morning Herald, today
  • “If ever a country in a strong financial position owed something to some of its citizens, this nation owes to the farmers of Australia the support they need to get through this terrible drought… the essence of being an Australian includes the bush (rural Australia) being part of our existence.” – Prime Minister John Howard
  • The rural sector now accounts for less than 3% of the national economy, around 12% of total exports and 3.5% of total employment. – Financial Review
  • “Human need doesn’t get any more basic than food on the table and Australian agriculture is the source of most of the food Australians eat.” – National Farmers’ Federation president David Crombie
  • The cost of helping farmers ravaged by Australia’s worst drought in history has reached $2 billion with the announcement of another package yesterday — and there is a promise of more to come. – Canberra Times, today
  • “We must have pretty fragile national psyche if we have to preserve it by funding farmers to keep farming economically and environmentally unviable land.” – Democrat Senator Andrew Bartlett

Peter Fray

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