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TAS Country : December 9th 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010 Tasmanian Country 21 OPINION Budget submission turns new leaf CHEWS theFAT David Byard No amount of irrigation water will ever help our farmers if they can't get a price for their product that is above the cost of production.' THE TFGA has had a chequered history with budget submissions. They have been late, missed the tram altogether or made poor proposals. This year, the budget submission by the TFGA for 2011-2012 is a comprehensive document unlike any I have seen the TFGA do before --- a true breath of fresh air. Some points it makes in putting its case for a much better rural deal: Tasmania represents just 0.9 per cent of Australia's land mass yet has 14 per cent of the nation's fresh water. Our ratio of arable land to population is the highest in Australia, with agriculture occupying 24 per cent of the state's land mass, and we have some of the world's most skilled farmers and researchers. Agriculture is essential to the Tasmanian economy, generating a significant proportion of the state's income. The process of writing the submission began in May. It is a comprehensive and well-written document that makes strong recommendations on important initiatives. One of the initiatives is game management, which the TFGA believes is critical to the viability of the agriculture sector. It points out that we are losing on an average of 65 per cent of available pasture to native animal grazing. This is a great start by the TFGA on game management and I hope its own hierarchy is listening. The budget submission's hero proposal is for a $100 million HECS- style loan scheme to enable farmers to invest in long-term projects. Such a scheme would give farmers access to money so they could invest in infrastructure improvements and irrigation and not have to start repaying the capital until the crops matured. This way they can pay when they can afford to do so. I am not so sure this will work in the long term. What we need is Government to put in place an environment that encourages and fosters farmers to be innovative and self-sufficient, not burden them with red tape, taxes, poor infrastructure, environmental hurdles and a crumbling bureaucracy. Only a few years ago, farmers were trying to build dams that would allow them to diversify, innovate and become more profitable. However, the Government (and those either lobbying or advising the Government) put every conceivable barrier in their way until they gave up.The TFGA seems to think agriculture is on the way up while other sectors are in decline. Nobody seems to want to admit that agriculture in Tasmania is in real trouble. You only have to look at the spreadsheet provided by TIAR and the DPI. Put in all your costs and returns and it will calculate your net earnings. Do this as a cattle producer, spud farmer or just about any agricultural pursuit and the picture will not look too rosy. In the context of a growing population and climate change, agriculture may be seen as a very profitable enterprise in the future. However, banks and good governments don't use crystal balls, they want facts based on sound research. If the Government is really serious, perhaps it might look at facilitating building dams to a much higher maximum capacity. Farmers --- unlike the rest of society --- have to accept what they get for their products. The cost of living and farm inputs goes up while farmers' prices drop as the supermarkets scour the world for cheap products. These can be produced using child labour, subsidised by government and use chemicals that are banned in Australia. There is two sets of rules, one for local producers and one for overseas products. No amount of irrigation water will ever help our farmers if they can't get a price for their product that is above the cost of production. The TFGA submission is right: we have fantastic products and we need to differentiate our products from those produced on the mainland. We need consumers to want to buy Tasmanian. If governments and the TFGA take the bull by the horns and find ways to keep our farmers viable, the irrigation will follow. Roberts Limited Unsecured Deposit Notes Interest Rates ABN 12 009 475 647 Roberts Limited is pleased to advise increases in rates available on unsecured deposit notes. The current rates are listed below: If you are interested in investing funds with Roberts Ltd please contact our Hobart, Launceston, Burnie or Smithton offices or visit our website www.robertsltd.com.au Roberts Limited may accept applications for the issue of unsecured deposit notes under its Prospectus dated 5th March 2010 which expires on 5th April 2011. An unsecured deposit note of Roberts Limited is not a bank deposit. All investments involve risk and investors risk losing some or all of their principal investment. Roberts Limited s unsecured deposit notes do not have a credit rating by a recognised credit agency. This means no independent assessment has been made about the risk of loss to investors. * The minimum initial subscription is $500 for At Call unsecured deposit notes or $2,000 for Fixed Term unsecured deposit notes. No application for the issue of unsecured deposit notes will be accepted unless it is on the form included in the Prospectus. 2049429-101210 The above rates are subject to change without notice. Store cattle & light chopper cows Enq: Bill Aldridge 0418 236 316 200 -- 300 Friesian & Friesian x dairy cows in full production Enq: Nick Smith 0400 384072 Kayden Edwards 0418 123879 Qty new seasons Silage 4 x4 , from newly sown paddock $65.00 loaded Enq: Robert Drummond 0418 132763 Livestock Wanted Fodder For Sale At Call * 4.75% Fixed Term * $2,000 to $25,000 to $500,000 + $24,999 $499,999 3 Months 5.55% p.a. 5.85% p.a. 4 Months 5.75% p.a. 5.90% p.a. 6 Months 6.50% p.a. 6.60% p.a. 6.75% p.a. 8 Months 6.55% p.a. 6.75% p.a. 7.00% p.a. 12 Months 6.85% p.a. 6.95% p.a. 7.15% p.a. 24 Months 6.75% p.a. 7.00% p.a. 36 Months 6.50% p.a. 6.75% p.a. 48 Months 6.55% p.a. 6.80% p.a. 60 Months 6.60% p.a. 6.85% p.a. Clearing Sale Terms Strictly cash or approved cheque on day of sale unless prior arrangement has been made with Rural Finance Department. All intended bidders must register prior. For full details of Clearing Sales, Wool and Livestock Market Reports visit our website www.robertsltd.com.au Hobart 6235 1444 Launceston 6337 1555 Smithton 6452 2511 Devonport 6424 8271 Thursday December 16 at 9.00am Account: "Lennon" Bruny Island 200 White Suffolk x fattening lambs, Sept 10 drop Enq: Brian Peacock 0408 146057 Account: Archer Landfall Approx 122 Composite ewe lambs, June July 10 drop, weaned Nov 9, drenched, vaccinated, not shorn, approx 45kg liveweight, final weight on assessment Images available www.auctionsplus.com.au Enq: Nick Towns 0419 373602 www.auctionsplus.com.au
December 2nd 2010
December 16th 2010