Thursday, April 26, 2018

Letters to the Editor

Editor June 2, 2016


Dear Editor,

I was amazed when learning about the management decisions of Murray Goulburn Dairy Company and the Fonterra Group’s plan to reduce the price of dairy produce and make the price cut retrospective.

This amazement was compounded with disgust when it was further announced the ‘overpayment’ would be converted into a loan to be repaid with interest.

How can the factory managements do that?

Who was the individual who thought of this diabolical plan? They must be identified.

If this situation is allowed to continue, then in one blow confidence in any form of food production in Australia will be annihilated.

Factory managements have set a precedent to be willingly embraced by other buyers of rural production.

The decision has opened a ‘Pandora’s Box’ of fiendish proportions.

The grain buyers, the meat buyers, etcetera, can offer prices leading to increased commitment and production from farmers and then take money back when they have over committed themselves.

This policy and treatment of farmers is reminiscent of the old Soviet Union under the murderous Stalinist regime.

This is no way to treat Australian dairy-farmers or any primary producers.

According to a senate report into deregulation of the dairy industry, “over the past couple of decades the industry has experienced substantial consolidation and efficiency gains. The number of dairy farms is reported to have declined from over 30,000 in 1975 to 14,000 currently. This consolidation of farms, together with advances in farming techniques and associated technology, has increased productivity substantially, with milk production per cow rising from 2,750 to 4,744 litres. In total, national milk production has increased 30 percent since 1970.”

Farmers have done everything expected of them to feed Australians and the world, and this is their reward; shame on the factory management, shame on the farm leaders, and shame on their elected political representatives — all are self-indicted incompetents.

What can be done now?

Firstly, the factory debt management scheme must not proceed from this moment.

Secondly, if price for dairy production must drop, then it must not be allowed to go below the estimated cost of farm production now, and this includes debt management.

The flow-on from the factory management decision will impact on all sections of the Australian economy. As farmers decrease their spending then other businesses will have to increase their prices or they too will face bankruptcy; the economic destruction will escalate further to job layoffs, with the only growth industry ‘police and emergency services’ as they cope with the breakdown of a once stable society.

Australians are fortuitous that an election is in full swing so it is time to punish the elected representatives who have allowed the decimation of rural Australia to happen. Candidates for all the major parties must be placed last on your voting paper.

Yours sincerely,

Louis Cook




Dear Editor,

Labor has been congratulating itself for funding $170M for the Shepparton hospital, something either Labor, or the coalition, should have done years ago. Labor, has now funded special high-tech schools, for all the regional areas, except Shepparton, where we probably have this highest youth unemployment in the state.

Sharman Stone is advocating one person in the next election, saying this man is going to fix everything. Sharman had 20 years here to fix everything, and hasn’t been very successful, especially as the federal coalition cancelled the Shepparton by-pass, something the RACV says is one of the most necessary in the state.

As usual, there will be many promises but nothing really delivered for Shepparton, even though our exports bring in many dollars to the state and country. Plus all the taxes paid into the coffers of both federal and state, which they use to buy votes elsewhere.

Yours sincerely,

I. Hay




Dear Editor,

I refer to the Michael Curtis letter (SAM and due diligence May 18) that queries our councillors’ decision making abilities. I was disappointed that whilst Michael highlighted the wonderful collection held by the Benalla Art Gallery, he failed to acknowledge the strength of SAM’s collections thus leaving the impression that our art collection is of lesser standard. Without going into detail, I know that we have paintings from the ‘Heidelberg’ artists and that we have a world class collection of ceramics, much of it held in storage.

The importance of this ceramic collection is supported by the bi-annual Sidney Myers Ceramics Awards that, in 2015, saw prize money of $50,000 being awarded. So whether data from the Benalla Art Gallery is the ‘right’ gallery to use to back up assumptions I cannot say, but there is no doubt that no two galleries are the same, so Michael would have been able to argue this point regardless of which gallery council had used.

As an artistic ‘layman’ I do know that the proposed new SAM will provide a worthy home for our ceramics collection plus all of our other art works and we will gain an outstanding collection of Aboriginal art.

I also support the development of the new SAM so that our one Ellis Rowan painting can be displayed.

Yours sincerely,

Bill Brown