Looking back through the The Land in the past week for the 5000 editions feature one is quickly reminded of just how long agriculture has been under attack.
The recent farm activism stunts are just the pointy end of behaviour that has been reinforced by our political leaders in their pursuit of votes over decades.
Both sides, at times, have been guilty, but the green-leaning Labor leaders are the worst offenders.
The result is they have, over time, sent a message that it is okay to treat farmers as collateral damage.
The very fact that in the past few years we’ve had to have debates about right to farm and property trespass points to some much bigger issues.
Some key issues that have led to this situation include shutting down forests to timber mills (Labor), the lies about how new national parks will bring tourism dollars (Labor), taking back water (Liberal and Labor), making farmers carry the cost of biodiversity and carbon targets (federal Liberal and Labor), splitting water from land titles (Coalition).
After last week’s release of the Royal Commission into the Basin Plan, the path is laid for federal Labor to remove the cap on water buybacks – if it wins government.
Former state Labor member for Monaro and now National Irrigators’ Council chief executive officer, Steve Whan, even says: “Those supply projects are proceeding very slowly, but that is not the community’s fault. Labor’s commitment should be to speed up the wheels of Government on these projects, not push the blame, and the cost, on to people who have no control.”
The Coalition, at both state and federal levels, has been sloppy in recent terms and not what voters had hoped for after the back-stabbing behaviour from Labor.
But with the present situation around drought, water, activism, live export, native vegetation and infrastructure, are we going to see any better from Labor?
These issues are at a critical point.
Give farmers (especially dairy farmers) decent negotiating powers, commit to paying farmers for ecosystem services, build on the foundation of the Basin Plan, support Australians in owning farmland, invest in supporting agriculture in extreme dry periods, guarantee quality communications, protect farmers from activists.
The message is simple – drop the politics and stand up for farmers.