PETER Manual, a cattleman and businessman from South Australia, says the proposed carbon tax, abrupt Indonesian live cattle exports suspension and flimsy power sharing with the Greens and Independents are not the only reasons to change the Federal government or hold a fresh election.
He says the government is also using water and environmental issues as a means of controlling people.
Mr Manual became so concerned about environmental controls and over-regulation he joined with others who shared the same view as him and started the Food-producers and Landowners Action Group SA (FLAG).
FLAG resulted from concerns in SA about the government’s draft water allocation plans and potential impacts on sustainable food production in that State.
But they are also concerned about the gradual erosion of landowner rights, with Mr Manual saying his local Natural Resource Management Board possessed more powers than the SA police.
He cited several examples of fines or regulations imposed on farmers by environmental regulators, which contradicted or invaded their basic rights and strangled their business profitability, such as being forced to fence creeks.
Mr Manuel said his members were being told how to run their businesses way too often and didn’t like the direction it was all heading and wanted action.
“A change of government would help,” the Strathalbyn Poll Hereford Stud owner said.
He said FLAG exists because “we are sick and tired of the way food producers are being sent to the wall”.
Mr Manuel claimed a SA food producer was recently fined $35,000 for clearing silt off a creek on his property because he had no permit, but it improved the environment.
Another was fined $125,000 for having Redfin Perch in his dam by the local NRM group.
“They want to get rid of everything that’s not native,” he said.
Mr Manuel was one of several speakers at the coalition of industries’ convoy of no confidence protest rally in Canberra earlier this week.
It wasn’t just Coalition MP’s like Tony Abbott, Warren Truss and Barnaby Joyce who stirred the crowd.
Mr Manual joined with others from the mining and agricultural industry, like Marlee Ranacher from Bulloo Station in the Northern Territory, Rashida Khan also from the Top End, NSW dairy farmer John Cartwright and biologist and Environmental researcher, Dr Jennifer Marohasy.
Mr Manual said while he wanted to see a change of government, he didn’t want it replaced by one that only provided “lip service” and anyone in Federal office needed to back up words with actions.
He said he had serious concerns about foreign ownership regulations and sales going un-checked due to the Foreign Investment Review Board’s $231 million threshold.
He said FIRB also lacked a national register on who owns what for water entitlements, farm-land and agribusiness.
“They can cut back our water allocations but the government can sell water entitlements to overseas investors and nobody knows about it,” he said.
“Mining is going to fade one day but the only industry that will keep the country going is agriculture because everyone needs food and it’s a license to print money.”
The convoy was organised by President of the National Road Freighters Association, Mick Pattel, with 11 convoys descended on the nation’s capital from Perth, Port Hedland, Darwin, Katherine, Atherton/Cairns, Rockhampton, Brisbane, Adelaide, Colac, Warragul, Mildura, and Bendigo, in calling for a fresh election.
Speaking on Tuesday morning, Ms Marohasy, who is also a columnist with The Land, said Australian farmers are amongst the most efficient and responsible food producers in the world but are increasingly “demonised” with their businesses currently under “extraordinary and unnecessary pressure”.
She said the pressure comes, at one level, from “apparently arbitrary decisions made by this Commonwealth government”.
But she said the previous Coalition government was “no better”.
“Decisions affecting agriculture increasingly reflect the values of an overweight metropolitan elite who have no empathy for, or understanding of, food production or food producers,” she said.
“It is fashionable to denigrate the very people who keep our supermarket shelves piled high with affordable milk, meat, fruit and vegetable.
“And so GetUp! – with members who mostly sit down – dictate ever more impractical but fashionable policies.
“Apparently ignorant of the recent widespread flooding in the Murray Darling, there is even a GetUp! campaign claiming the region is on the verge of ecological catastrophe.
“But if GetUp! campaigners got up, and got out to the Murray Darling, they would see that the Basin has come roaring back to life since the drought broke.
“Soaking rains returned to the Murray Darling last summer.
“But you may be surprised to learn that despite the rain, the abundance of wildlife, and the full dams, most food producers along the Murray are right now without a water allocation.”
The story Cattleman concerned by erosion of landowners' rights first appeared on Farm Online.