Home' Grower : July 2012 Contents The South Australian Grower -- July 2012
IHAVE said it many times: if need-
ed, we can grow horticultural
crops in the north of Australia.
I have often joked that Indonesian
and Chinese people could show us
how to. It seems my statements are
now coming back to haunt me.
The key ingredient for growing
crops is water. The sandy soils only
hold them up and the nutrients can
be added as required.
If you don't believe me, look at the
A friend of mine bore the brunt of
flash-flooding on his property that
was eventually left with huge gullies
running through it. He hired a large
dirt scoop and simply levelled it out
again. It was, after all, only sand.
The same grower is still one of the
most successful potato and onion
growers we have.
I have a serious problem coming to
the realisation that our government
is even considering giving large tracts
of land to the Chinese to grow hor-
This land belongs to Australians
and it is their job to nurture and pro-
tect it for us and future generations.
Why would they even consider
such an idea?
Are they trying to encourage the
Chinese to buy more minerals from
us? Australia is the only country in
the world where this could happen
and we continue to turn a blind eye
I realise that China has a popula-
tion of 1.3 billion, however, we have
an ever-increasing population in
Australia, the driest continent in the
Normally, nature levels populations
by the availability of water.
This is evident when comparing the
Foreign ideas muddy water
United States and Australia. Both
have a similar land mass but the
populations are vastly different
because of the great water ways they
The Chinese have lost more rural
land than they have reclaimed, by
literally raping it. The desert is fast
closing in on them.
A recent sur vey indicated that
more than 81 per cent of
Australians were against foreign
ownership of agricultural land.
Mind you, they were all against the
carbon tax but we still got it.
Where will the produce go?
We already know they are looking
toward improving their own food
security, so it will go back to China.
Our government has not got any
idea what food security is.
It will be easy for the Chinese to
dump product on the Australian
market because it will be a 'product
of Australia' grown using cheap
labour and dubious pest control.
Where will the water come from?
Water is available from the Great
Artesian Basin, Nothern Territory
underground water or the
The Great Artesian Basin is the
lifeline to a huge part of eastern and
central Australia and is already suf-
fering because of its competition
with the mining sector.
If it starts to deplete -- and it could
-- we are in a lot of trouble.
A lot of the area it supplies is cat-
tle countr y and although govern-
ment interference has all but put
this sector on its knees, but there is
still a huge future for it as a source
of food to South East Asia.
In good seasons, it props up a lot
of creeks and rivers.
The Kimberly area is a bit of a joke
-- we have so much water there but
we don't know what to do with it.
We have been fooling around up
there for more than 50 years.
Crop after crop has failed or been
decimated by insects and birds. A
friend of mine tried to grow
Barramundi there but the catfish
Let's keep the farm and develop it
ourselves, with a government that
gives a damn. It could be a really
secure investment for our own
superannuation funds to invest in.
email@example.com or 0419 591
Why should Australia even consider giving the Chinese large tracts of
land to grow horticultural crops when it is already battling extreme water
with WALLY SPARROW
Budget policies hurt growth
WHERE is support for the primary
production industry in South
The recent State budget failed to
offer any encouragement to any
SA sector, let alone any of its
Basic accounting taught me that
you cannot spend more that you
earn. If you do, you will go broke.
It seems that governments --
State and Federal -- fail basic
accounting tests and in reality
should be put into receivership.
The other component of basic
accounting is that you invest in
business that is growing or has
the potential to grow rather than
spend on extravagant items for
few to enjoy.
Recently, the State Treasurer
handed down a budget based on
some basic highlights.
• Greater support for disability
services -- we would all support
• Easing cost pressures on South
Australian households -- seems
to me that all my household
costs have or are going up
including water, electricity and
• A leaner government -- PIRSA
lays off a range of grassroots
staff and then advertises for a
new director of agribusiness. It
appears government is good at
taking away the basic service
providers who generate real
productivity and replacing them
with another level of
unproductive, middle and upper
• Decreased expenditure in Rural
Solutions SA to meet savings
measures in 2011-12 ($1.6
million) No new taxes yet
every conceivable State
charge has or will go up.
• Increase for animal
health cost recovery in
2011-12 ($0.4m); an
intended increase for
animal health cost
recovery in 2012-13 ($0.9m)
• Supporting our frontline
emergency services and
volunteers Yet we are seeing
volunteer groups such as the
CFS forced to source community
support for fire stations and
struggling to attract new
• Record investment in skills and
• A reduction in SARDI research
and development activity and
service delivery to meet budget
savings targets in 2012-13
($1m) The decrease in SARDI
income is partially offset by
annual indexation on fees and
• Stimulus given to key areas of
our economy to keep
unemployment at historic levels
• A reduction in seafood research
and development activity and
service delivery to meet budget
savings targets in 2011-12 ($2.7
• Reduction in agriculture, food
and Wine service delivery to
meet budget savings targets in
These are but a few examples
within the budget papers but the
theme that flows through all is a
reduction in services and
increases in fees and charges.
At times, I think I must live in a
different part of the State to our
politicians because everybody I
talk to and every business that I
know is struggling under the
burden of past and present
excessive government expenditure
and poor policies.
My Perspective by
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