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Byron Shire
August 4, 2021

Look after local farmers

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Binnah Pownall, Billen Cliffs

I would like to know the philosophy behind the lack of support for Australian farmers and food growers by government. We have a unique set of circumstances – such as the tyranny of distance and weather extremes, though the fuel subsidy for farmers was actually cut some years ago.

We are six times behind the level of subsidy that other OECD farmers get from their governments – and look how far away their market is from us. We end up buying products from overseas that are subsidised by other competing governments. No wonder food is so expensive (and rising every day) on shop shelves when our farmers must pass on costs such as ‘food travel’ to markets.

Although subsidies are not really the way to go, as it ends up disadvantaging so-called Third World farmers even more, the breaking down of subsidies for farmers in the European Union and the USA hasn’t really happened. This leaves our farmers even more in the lurch! What to do?

In today’s changing world food market, farmers need all the help they can get to diversify through research and development assistance.

It all seems like bad future planning by successive governments, which ultimately adds to poverty levels in this country and suicidal stress on our farmers.

We need cheaper food.

We really need to start to look after our local farmers in Australia – in a real sense. We need, as a local community, to support food security processes further being put in place on a local level. It all starts at home.


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  1. Most of the population of Australia live in urban areas and often have a disconnect with the production, harvesting and everything else to do with the food they eat. This leaves consumers susceptible to believing that our food producers, both land and marine based, are wanton environmental destroyers and greedy exploiters. All food producers in Australia are being affected by green groups and government policies formulated by those that only care about an agenda and don’t really care about any consequences to producers, consumers and subsequent harm done to their communities. The so-called “Free Trade” policy also is harming our producers as there is no level playing field. Having to compete with cheap labour, no government controls and fees in regards to the environment/chemical use/ workers’ rights/, subsidized produce and lower production costs is forcing many of our food producers to the wall. Not only that, most food producers are price takers, not price makers which leaves them vulnerable to predatory market practices brought about by the duopoly of our supermarket system. Buying as much local produce as possible and shopping at independently owned Australian supermarkets is a couple of ways to support our struggling food producers (while helping our local communities and economy at the same time).


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