Sunday, 9 June 2013

Our Political Challenge

Citrus Farmers Hung Out to Dry

Our push on selective tariffs will have to play second fiddle - at least for a while. There was a Senate Select committee Inquiry in January 2012. Hansard confirms that there was a ban due to come into effect in April 2013.  This could have made an additional 200,000 tons per annum  (approximately) of oranges to become profitable and allow a very noticeable reduction in Farm Debt. A  projection of  this graph was prepared and was presented at the Senate Inquiry into Citrus in Griffith on 3rd July 2013.

When this web site claimed that a ban on contaminated Brazilian orange concentrate has been reversed both sides of politics loudly advised that there was no reversal of the ban because there was never a ban. The minders of Senator Colbeck John Cobb who claimed this have been proved to be wrong. I am happy to talk to them or to their bosses at any time.

The book 'WHODUNNIT The Last Nail in the Coffin of the Citrus Family Farm' accuses:
1. the multinational company which controls more than 80% of the juice market and most of the beer market in Australia of bribery to reverse the ban
2. Senate members who knew than or now of allowing it to happen of betraying citrus farmers .

that as the future outlook for fruit growing in Australia  - oblivion

A petition is being enthusiastically  signed with the first item calling for an immediate ban on contaminated Brazilian orange concentrate. There are at least six political parties with policies or leanings to saving citrus. They have joined with those signing the petition and have  been trying unsuccessfully  to debate  with Michael McCormack - the National Party member for Riverina. We have invited any one of Warren Truss,  John Cobb, Barnaby Joyce  or Michael McCormack to come to Griffith or else arrange for a video hook up to debate this issue. We are not surprised that not one of them has responded. We are moving towards a Battle Plan to achieve the aim of saving agriculture.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Letter not accepted

A letter not accepted and a member's bill for truth in advertising

Recently a letter to the editor of the "Latrobe Valley Express" was not accepted. While talking to the editor there was an introduction to the farm reporter who was going to follow up on the letter. The reporter was told that an Economics Professor had told  that Australia has no future as a fruit growing country. The reporter said that many people told him that and that he was prepared to accept that.

A few days earlier  wanting to check orange volumes with the Department of Primary Industries the switch girl said that the department was in disarray and it was hard to find a person to talk to after so many had been released. A phone call from a field representative advised that he had received our  plan to save agriculture but said that he admired what  was being tried but said " the Government has been going down their path for so long that there is no turning back."

With professors, editors, reporters and industry representative having feelings like that it shows how difficult it will be to get enough votes to change the direction of both sides of Government. When the web page was being designed the motif was to represent global warming. The message here is that it probably could represent tears - big ones!!

Bob Katter's private member's bill on Truth in Advertising

Bob Katter
Tomorrow I will be introducing laws that will spell out for consumers the potential health hazards of food being brought in from overseas.
The legislation aims to inform consumers by marking all imported fresh produce and processed food products with the label: “WARNING: IMPORTED FOOD. THIS FOOD HAS NOT BEEN GROWN OR PROCESSED UNDER AUSTRALIAN HEALTH AND HYGIENE STANDARDS AND MAY BE INJURIOUS TO YOUR HEALTH”, with penalties of $500,000 for non-compliance.
This private members bill aimed not only to warn consumers of the health risks from food produced overseas, but to influence Australians' purchasing power in favour of our home-grown agricultural and processing industries, which are being decimated by a flood of cheap imports thanks to an uneven regulatory playing field in a globally competitive free market.
When people buy Australian caught or farmed fish, they know exactly what they are getting – a clean, healthy product. But it’s a very different story with imported seafood, such as most of the prawns sold in Australian shops being grown overseas in waters contaminated with sewage.
The critical importance of consumers being warned about where exactly the fish they are eating comes from is brought sharply into focus when you consider that Australia has gone from exporting $200m a year of fisheries products to being net importers of $200m worth of fishery products.
In fruit and vegetables we went from being net exporters of $1000m a year to net importers of $250m a year. And it’s similar with pork.
Meanwhile, our orchardists are being forced to let their fruit rot on the ground and our iconic manufacturing processors are closing down because of the interminably increasing rivers of imported fruit and vegetables - from Brazilian juice concentrates to overseas tinned fruits that the supermarket giants favour in order to expand their private label range at the expense of Aussie businesses, farmers and jobs.
How can the supermarket giants continue to import fruit from other countries while the famers and heroes of our great nation watch their fruit rot?
We have no faith in Australia's biosecurity regime to protect our nation’s agricultural industries from the increased risk of exotic pests and diseases in line with the increasing import approvals precipitated by our governments' free market obsessions.
New Zealand has fire blight and therefore often sprays with streptomycin, which is quite rightly banned in Australia.
But there is currently no warning to Australian consumers, and both sides of Parliament should be ashamed of themselves since both agreed to the apples coming into Australia.
But it was not just apples at stake. No country in the world has to put up with the impossibly restrictive conditions applied to Australian growers. The least we can do is see that consumers get the benefit of such farmer hardship.

Let the consumer be forewarned