Jun 1, 2017

Solutions to Australia’s rural crisis

By Elena Garcia

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Australia is the most urbanised country on earth. Almost 90% of Australians live in urban areas, while rural Australia, as of 2010–11, had only 134,000 farm businesses employing 307,000 people to manage 52% of Australia — 417.3 million hectares of land, including the 46.3% of Australia that is marginal land.

In rural areas plagues of feral animals destroy land management infrastructure, drive native plants and animals into extinction and strip vegetation from the soil and creek banks, allowing the topsoil to be flushed down the rivers by the increasingly intensive rain events or blown away in dust storms because rain is less frequent.

Meanwhile, a concentrated attack has been launched on land owners by corporations. Aboriginal communities have been moved from their traditional lands into townships on various pretexts, including by cutting the water supply to remote communities, so the mining industry can have free access to their lands.

The abolition of marketing boards and the fair minimum pricing regulations they set has allowed the supermarket corporate duopoly to drive farmers into poverty. The managers of our prime farmland — dairy, fruit and vegetable growers — are pushed out of the industry as farm gate prices remain below costs and food processing industries are moved offshore or run for investor profit rather than farm returns.

Both foreign and domestic corporate interests work with banks to buy up the best agricultural land by whatever dirty trick they can manage, so they can directly export our best produce for premium prices, leaving cheap and toxic imports, produced with polluted water and slave labour, for domestic consumption.

Once they own the land, there is nothing to stop these Big Agriculture corporations from establishing the toxic industrial agriculture that has destroyed American farmland and small farmers.

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