LETTERS: by John ParkinNews Weekly
Time for farmers to wake up (letter)
, November 1, 2003
Patrick Byrne's article "The issues behind the rural crisis" (News Weekly
, September 20) pointed up the stupidity of successive governments and academic economic theorists, which have virtually destroyed rural and manufacturing industry in Australia.
When I started farming some 50 years ago, we operated under the system devised by "dynamic community-minded farmers, who had created rural co-ops, marketing boards single selling desks, regulated authorities and rural credit unions to ensure farmers received a just price for their products and access to adequate finances."
These bodies meant that consumers also got a quality product at the cheapest possible price. Bodies that come to mind are the Potato Marketing Boards and Co-ops., Milk Boards with their contract suppliers guaranteeing regular supply at a reasonable price.
I remember the era before the single selling desks delivering barley to the malthouse for 5c bushel and a Smiths Weekly
cartoon with the caption "He's so low he could walk under the price of wheat with his hat on!"
That there are those among farmers and some peak bodies advocating the abolition of these single desks is remarkable. How quickly they forget!
No wonder the US wants the abolition of single selling desks and the weakening of quarantine as condition for a free trade agreement!
It is time for Australia to implement the eight points enunciated in Byrne's article.
It is time for the peak organisations to either lift their game or move aside for a new body to truly represent farmers.
It is time that not only governments, but also all farmers woke up to the economic destruction and terrible social disintegration these policies are wreaking on rural communities!John Parkin,