Readers had much to add over the weekend to Guy Rundle’s pitch for saving rural Australia. Many were at odds about how exactly to do so — or if it could even be done at all. One thing they could agree on: as Rundle notes, the plan has to be bold — and possibly outrageous — if it’s going to work.
David Edmunds writes: Guy suggests that the rewilding of now uneconomic farms would be a good idea. Our federal government now has an opportunity to do something in its own political interests, and that of the nation. It could implement a green new deal. Farmers who have the good luck to have wind turbines or large scale solar projects on their properties love it. They now have financial security. A holistic project that coupled some rewilding, some renewable energy projects and some water measures that do not include new dams would provide jobs to the regions, alleviate the suffering of stressed farmers, solve our energy crisis, alleviate our water supply problems and provide us with some much-needed credibility in international climate change fora. I bet they don’t do it.
Mark Dunstone writes: It might also be added that the agriculture sector pay net negative taxes, and that much of their welfare is without the usual means testing ensuring there is a genuine need, and the demeaning and shaming processes to discourage a sense of entitlement of city and poor regional people. For example, I know of one cattle station in western Queensland that received a $50,000 welfare cheque from the federal government last year as “aid” for cattle lost in floods. They didn’t apply for it; the cheque just turned up in the mail. They didn’t lose one beast. Compare that to the treatment dished out by robo-debt.
Frank Dee writes: Start by reintroducing the water license buy-back scheme. Earplugs may be needed to avoid being deafened by Barnaby’s screams of outrage. Introduce a water auditing scheme for big agriculture, and insert earplugs again. Remind the neolib Greens of their purpose; to be an alternative to the major parties and to champion the environment and the underprivileged.
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