COUNCILS MUST SPEND LESS
Local Government Association president Sam Telfer confidently states, "This is an outstanding result, that will drive downward pressure on rates", after it was announced that local councils will save at least $14 million on their electricity bills across the next three years under a new deal for their energy supply.
With those in power averse to making sensible and achievable budget cuts, given the regularity of overspending and deficit budgets, an opportunity like this cannot be seen as the only approach to a reduction in spending.
It is time for all levels of government to "live within their means" and to show greater consideration and empathy for rate and taxpayers when undertaking their annual budget cycles, rather than merely reverting to the default position of increasing rates and taxes.
SUPPORT ALL BUSINESSES
The recent talks about how the government can increase drought relief is a subject that a lot of rural Australia would have an opinion on.
It comes at a time when a major part of rural SA is suffering and feeling the full effects of the drought.
I would like to point out that it's not just the farmers feeling the financial hardships, it's a knock-on effect and it goes right through the whole community, from the local shopkeeper, mechanic, tyre fitter, rural merchandise distributors, shearers and other casual farm workers, then across to the larger regional centres with machinery and vehicle dealers and the list goes on.
Everyone is feeling the effects of this drought. Farmers cannot spend what they don't have.
Talks of tax relief and tax incentives for farmers to help build fodder sheds to store hay and grain leaves me mystified and dumbfounded as to how they come up with these ideas.
Do they realise in times of drought most farmers have little or no income, so how on earth can tax relief help if you are running at a loss and not paying any tax?
Even the concessional loans seem like a recipe for disaster. At a time when a lot of producers are borrowed to the hilt it just seems to be digging the hole deeper. As for Farm Management Deposits, it would be handy if we had money to put in them.
These million-dollar grants that have gone into the communities in drought-affected areas have been of big assistance to the greater rural community, but you do have to question where some of the money has been handed out, and if some of these areas are actually in drought.
Assistance is available for those who choose to use it. There are plenty of good people on the ground with the rural financial counselling service who can help you through the process of receiving these entitlements.
I believe the assistance is adequate - it may not seem like much, but the government cannot financially float every single farming business in Australia. Who supports these other businesses that are struggling?
Barnaby Joyce's recent comments are the harsh reality of the full effects of the drought. Some producers will be forced to move on to different careers, we may be one of them.
Farming is a lifestyle, but it is a business first. You don't have much of a lifestyle if your business is not thriving. Yes, there are so many variables that affect our income from year to year, ranging from unpredictable weather to fluctuating markets, but that's farming.
We are all doing our best to knuckle down and get through this as best we can. Unfortunately, some farmers may be forced to move on but someone's misfortune creates another opportunity for someone else.
It's nothing a good rain or, more importantly, a few goods seasons won't fix!
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