So, who is really 'dozing'?
APPARENTLY THERE is a bit of a ‘bun fight’ going on in the citrus industry.
Last Friday week I received an email inviting me to a ‘dozing’.
The email highlighted the fact that "...Nick Xenophon will be present with a camera crew and press" and that “both Bill and Nick would like other growers at the ‘dozing’ to seek comments and fill some photos etc.”.
Now, Friday afternoons are not always the best time to catch me, especially when I have spent a long morning in the shed packing quinces.
Within seconds of reading the invitation, I had clicked on reply with a response of: “Have pity on us all... we’ve all seen more than enough citrus trees bulldozed in the last few years without making a special outing to go and gloat on someone else’s misfortune!”
I never did get to see what kind of a ‘circus’ was portrayed on the TV news, but I did see some okay print media reports.
I also heard Bill Ruediger being interviewed on ABC Radio the following Monday.
The interview was fantastic. Everything that Bill had to say portrayed a sincere and truthful view and was entirely credible.
It was also amazing to hear the credible job the interviewer did. Bill’s interview was not chopped up or twisted about; he was allowed to have his say.
The interview was all the more impressive because Bill is actually a real grower whose livelihood actually depends on his citrus orchard and other plantings, unlike many others who have very small plantings and other jobs for income.
Another view questioning the value of ‘publicity dozings’ was also aired by the ABC Country Hour on Monday and there were some very valid points made there as well.
Surely if there is publicity of the fact that if there is such an abundant oversupply of citrus that they need to be bulldozed and burned on the tree, then the consumer would naturally think and expect to be able to procure some pretty cheap produce.
My opinion is that although many citrus trees (about 20 hectares of my own) have been bulldozed over the past few years, and although 50-year-old valencia trees are probably starting to decline in yield and quality of fruit, it takes a lot of sincere desperation for a bona fide grower to sacrifice an orchard’s last crop as well as the trees.
Have the petty jealousies, personal agendas and accusations of a vocal minority - taking our minds off the real problems and solutions – all but destroyed the citrus industry in this area?
Or has it brought us to the point where real growers, those whose work is growing the world’s best citrus for the world, are going to start putting more thought, time, effort and co-operation into saving our industry?
Let’s stop dozing and wake up.
Of course, the biggest question still remains: What is going to be planted in the orchards where trees have been bulldozed?
Take pride in our region
WHILE ON the Berri Lions Walking Trail this morning, I spoke to some tourists also enjoying the lovely river vistas, the frogs and birdlife.
They talked glowingly of the Riverland, mentioning that all the towns along the river were so clean and lovely and that all had beautiful green parks.
And whilst we have endured a long, painful drought, it is good to know that with the recent change in fortunes, we are once again being seen as a wonderful region to visit.
Sometimes we get bogged down in the negativity of life – and I concede that our primary producers are still feeling the pain of low prices and an uncertain future until the Murray Darling Basin Authority can (hopefully) come up with a plan that is fair and equitable to all concerned.
However, now and again we need to be reminded of positive aspects of our surroundings. Our communities are full of caring, generous and committed people.
One only has to look at the monies raised by high school continentals, and cancer support groups – all this coming from an ‘economically challenged’ region – to the many service clubs and support groups that give so willingly and so freely of their time and money.
So perhaps we should all look at our region in a different light. We should all take pride in our towns and communities and see ourselves as tourists see us.
I will add that this is not an isolated incident as I have heard similar sentiments expressed by other visitors.
It’s nice to know that others see the beauty that we sometimes overlook in our busy lives.
And the winners are...
I SAT through the recent MDBA meeting in Renmark listening to some good speakers (and some not so good).
I don’t think that the government should have to, or needs to, buy back any water in the Murray-Darling Basin because there is plenty in the system for all at the moment. It just needs to be managed better.
Water buy backs will cause more problems and arguments than they will solve.
I don’t know if the current area of land used for irrigation is capped, but if it is not, then it should be and no more new land opened up for irrigation.
The money that the Federal Government is thinking of spending on buy backs should instead be spent on subsidising water bodies in the states to upgrade their infrastructure in the way of pumps and pipelines to do away with open channels.
The irrigators then have a deadline to convert from flood irrigation to a more water wise system – a system that is at least the standard used by most South Australian irrigators.
At the deadline date all areas that are flood irrigated at the moment lose 40 per cent of their water allocation to the Federal Government for environment flow.
With more efficient irrigation systems, the 60 per cent the irrigators have left will be more than adequate for their irrigation needs, so they have lost nothing.
This will allow approximately 50 per cent of water currently being used or wasted in these areas to be put back into the system for environmental flows.
The extra 10 per cent is saved from evaporation and seepage from the open channels and flood irrigation.
1. The environment with extra flow.
2. The government with an easier and fairer system to put into place.
3. The irrigators with a far easier system to manage than flood irrigation.
4. The Australian people for having the best environmental and irrigation system in the world.