The Australian Drought Kills Cattle, and Revives Bailouts?
|January 7, 2014||Posted by Staff under Environmental, Subsidies & Waste & Public Debt|
When drought stalks the land, graziers become rent-seekers and bone collectors.
This 2014 excerpt of Crickey, Jan 5, is by Bob Gosford.
Graziers in far western Queensland Australia haven’t had enough good seasons to prepare for the number of droughts and the length of droughts they are continually facing. The majority of graziers have a huge financial burden and even in the better years, most struggle to make ends meet. They face rising costs of production, wages, fuel, rates & land rent, and have no control over the price of the product that they produce.
Every grazier says that without some assistance there is no future for them in the grazing industry or anyone else who wants to follow in their footsteps. There is much hand-wringing sympathy for the lot of the poor graziers. Few questioned the apparent god-given entitlement of graziers to keep flogging this country. The response to anyone wanting to protest against these commonly held views is scathing and abusive.
If the arid-zone country of western Queensland cannot sustain grazing activity from year to year, through drought and good seasons both, then it seems environmentally foolhardy and financially irresponsible to keep flogging a dead horse. Or in this case hundreds if not thousands of dead cattle. Graziers may have to stop grazing cattle and find some use for their land within its carrying capacity and sustainable yield.
Ed. Notes: During the Australian drought, unfair emotion prevails while equitable reason is left on the sidelines. Government subsidy has just prolonged a bad situation that should’ve ended long ago, as it would’ve in a free and fair market, a market that in this case would’ve been beneficial to the environment.
What government could do is replace aid to a special interest — the graziers — with a dividend to everyone. And make sure the payment of land rent goes to the community, not to landlords, so that it can feed into the dividend to everyone. If graziers get a share of the location values from the entire region, cities included, then those dividends would dwarf any ground rent or land dues they’d have to pay, since urban land per acre is thousands of times more valuable than rural land.
But if sharing Earth’s worth does not help graziers, it might be tough emotionally for them but land uses do and must change. People have to adapt or lose out. It might be time to move on.