Tuesday, July 27, 2010
lose control of its food resources? Australia
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Reporter: Andrew Robertson
There are fears that
TICKY FULLERTON, PRESENTER:
It's something which we take for granted, but there are those who believe that as the world's population increases,
Already foreign interests are increasingly looking to
As part of a multimedia special involving ABC's News Online and Radio National's Background Briefing, Andrew Robertson has prepared this report.
ANDREW ROBERTSON, REPORTER: In a country as steeped in farming as
JULIAN CRIBB, UNI. OF TECHNOLOGY,
ANDREW ROBERTSON: In his new book, The Coming Famine, Professor Cribb paints a bleak future of a planet where food is in very short supply. The world's population is tipped to hit nine billion by 2050 and 11 billion just 10 years later.
Food production will need to double, but many countries will be left behind, particularly those like
JULIAN CRIBB: Well I once asked that question to some Chinese academics, I asked them what the carrying capacity of
ANDREW ROBERTSON: According to Professor Cribb this shortage of food is going to have serious implications for countries like
ANDREW ROBERTSON: The evidence suggests that process is already underway. Just this month, Singapore-based Wilmar outbid
An increasing number of prime Australian farms are being purchased by overseas companies. For example,
The Packer family has sold 17 properties to a British private equity firm. The American pastoral giant Westchester has played $40 million for properties at properties in Moree in
Bill Heffernan is the chairman of the Senate inquiry into food production. He shares Professor Julian Cribb's concerns about the surge in foreign investment in Australian agricultural assets.
BILL HEFFERNAN, CHAIRMAN, INQUIRY INTO FOOD PRODUCTION: We're asleep in Australia to the fact that a lot of places round the world such as China, India and the Arab states are looking at where they're gonna be in 40 or 50 years' time and they're making provision now for their food task in the future.
ANDREW ROBERTSON: Which according to Bill Heffernan eventually could see Australian farmers becoming tenants in their own country.
BILL HEFFERNAN: Because we are an attractive destination for safe capital investment, we will lose control of our destiny to outsiders and the worst of that will be government outsiders.
ANDREW ROBERTSON: A look at the Tasmanian dairy industry provides some salutary insights.
JIM HURSEY, DAIRY FARMER: It's actually costing us to go to work. We're actually going to work, doing our job and at the end of the day, we're getting a bill for doing our job! How many people do you know that do that? No one.
ANDREW ROBERTSON: In the Apple Isle, dairy farmers have had enough. Their industry is dominated by two foreign-owned companies -
GLENYS FURZE, DAIRY FARMER: We've been milking 25 years and our farm is really our super fund, like a lotta farmers. And we're just seeing that going down the drain.
ANDREW ROBERTSON: For Bill Heffernan, it's a classic case of how Australians can be the big losers when foreign investment is allowed to go unchecked.
BILL HEFFERNAN: I chaired the milk inquiry in
ANDREW ROBERTSON: The irony is that although foreign investment has contributed to the plight of Tasmanian dairy farmers, for many of them, foreign investment could also be the only hope of escape.
With no Australian buyers coming forward for their farms, estate agents are hawking them overseas. One agent alone has 40 farms she's trying to sell in
GLENYS FURZE: No-one wants to see our farms sold out to another country. There's not one of us wanna see that. But what do we do? Do we sit back with our hands tied and go broke and lose everything?
ANDREW ROBERTSON: The answer for many people connected with agricultural industries is for
TICKY FULLERTON: And in the second part of our investigation tomorrow night, we'll be examining the New Zealand model, which could provide the answer to this growing problem.
For more detailed coverage on the battle for control of Australian farmland, you can visit ABC News Online at abc.net.au/news
Monday, July 26, 2010
A meeting of Mayo electors unanimously agreed to nominate Bill Spragg as the independent candidate for Mayo to provide electors an opportunity to register their concern about population growth and food security.
“The revised population policy announced by Prime Minister Gillard spells disaster for Mount Barker. “ said Bill Spragg.
“Essentially that policy falls into line with both the Greens and the Coalition in arguing that the real concern with population growth is the provision of adequate infrastructure.”
“There is not one party that has a coherent policy on food security as evidenced by the decision to allow the importation of Chinese Apples and Pears and thus threaten the viability of Adelaide Hills Growers.
“We are witnessing the product of over thirty years of neglect – Paul Keating argued that he aimed to allow cheap imports to give urban dwellers access to a wide range of cheap consumer items.
“This policy has continued unabated under both the Liberal and the Rudd/Gillard Labor government.
“It is important not just to reserve land for agriculture but to ensure that the opportunity for farmers to make a living is not put in jeopardy by government policies.
The voters in Mayo will have a unique opportunity to send an unambiguous message to both the Labor and Liberal Party. They are in effect invited to participate in a referendum on population growth and food security. By voting 1 Bills Spragg and then allocating their second preference to either Labor or Liberal they will be sending a powerful message to both the Coalition and Labor.
Written and Authorised By John Tons Lot 10 Edwards Hill Rd Lenswood 5240
Friday, July 23, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
- A big Australia is not a good thing
- Stopping or reducing migration is not a good thing
- Filling up regional centres (ie anywhere other than the East Coast conurbations) is a good thing.
- Some regional centres (by no means all) can do with a greater population but perhaps it is time to make hard decisions. Which communities are genuinely viable? If they are potentially viable then there is the need to develop programmes that encourage internal migration.
- We need to bury the idea that stopping migration is necessarily racist. Hanson was not opposed to migration but opposed to the sort of people who were coming in. Until we have some real idea of how many people can live on this continent we should be calling a halt to all migration other than asylum seekers.
- Not one of the parties has joined the dots between depletion of natural resources (eg peak oil), climate change, growth economics and population. Good policy demands that we develop a strategy for making the transition to a low carbon , renewable economy. That strategy will dictate what sort of population numbers are genuinely sustainable.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Saturday, July 17, 2010
As anticipated Julia Gillard has called on the Governor General and we will be going to the polls on August the 21st
The pity is that neither Stable Population Party of Australia nor Stop Population Growth Now has been registered in time to be able to contest the election as a political party - the less attractive option of running independents will be decided in the coming weeks.
One of the reasons that I joined Stop Population Growth Now is because the name conveyed the sense of urgency with which we need to address the problem of population growth
Social policies have a momentum of their own - even were we to commit to stopping fuelling population growth now it would still be some years before population will be stabilized. The name Stop Population Growth Now conveys an appropriate sense of urgency.
The problem that we face is that Julia Gillard in adopting the language of moderation – of sounding as if she is concerned about population will have taken much of the urgency out of the debate. The tragedy is that changing the language will make no difference - this government, the opposition and the Greens are all committed to policies that in various ways help fuel population growth.
Part of the problem is that population issues, particularly calls to abandon our migration policy, have largely been captured by the extreme right. Once population debate degenerates into a racist slanging match it becomes difficult to shine the cold light of reason on the question of population growth.
In coming weeks as the election unfolds and indeed even after this election I will use this blog as a forum to develop a coherent argument in favour of stopping population growth; an argument that, I would hope, reasonable people can embrace.