Sunday, May 28, 2017

Time to act on Mary Valley

Posted by Jim on May 31, 2010

The beautiful Mary Valley

The Mary Valley must be planned and developed as the food bowl for the region and South East Queensland. It is in the national interest that the State and federal Governments treat the future of the Mary Valley as a matter of the highest priority.

There is an opportunity that is being missed here to put in place a highly productive and sustainable food cropping zone to feed the region and export to the rest of the country and even overseas.

The Mary Valley could become a model for efficient food production and distribution by changing the inefficient supply chain practices of the large supermarkets. The primary market for Mary Valley would be the Burnett, Sunshine Coast, Fraser Coast and Wide Bay regions supplied directly from the Mary Valley, with the surplus exported to the rest of Australia and overseas.

Intensive but sustainable methods could be world class with efficient water usage and re-usage.

This is the most important climate change policy and population policy for the region. and we hear nothing from either the State or Federal Government. The necessity of acting on protecting and nurturing our best land seems to have escaped the notice of Anna Bligh and Kevin Rudd.

After prematurely acquiring a large number of properties, which it finds it can’t now [sell in its] buy back [plan], the State Government owns the most fertile land in the valley, so the essential planning should be less difficult than under other circumstances.

This is about securing food supplies in an area that has a reliable water supply and fertile land.

The Mary Valley provides the opportunity for model planning in food security. The sustainable development of food production in the Mary Valley is a national as well as a state issue and Mr Rudd and Ms Bligh are to be condemned for their failure to address the question.

Letter to the Gympie Times, published 29 May 2010

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Population figures by themselves are irrelevant

Posted by Jim on April 13, 2010

Gross population figures by themselves are irrelevant.  Whatever number Australia reaches by 2050 or 3000, the present growth trend will take Australia beyond the projected 35 million in Treasury’s forecasts.

The discussion about how big Australia’s population has to be, first, can we sustain the number?  That means: do we have enough water?  Do we degrade the environment by digging more coal pits and pumping more CO2 into the atmosphere?  What efficient  infrastructure do we need to reduce our reliance on oil to provide rapid and convenient transportation?    What directions should education planning take to provide a skilled workforce that is not reliant on immigration?  What technological developments that do not degrade air quality or add to toxic waste production can assist the necessary growth in productivity.  To what extent can government encourage the necessary research?  How do we go about protecting and utilising the most productive land for food cropping when so much has been alienated by urban spread?  Should we expand the protection of forests and to what extent should we expand existing plantations?

The population question generates questions on a very wide range of policy issues and that is why Bob Brown’s call for a review is the most savvy response to the current discussion.  However, if the discussion continues on in the vein of Gerard Henderson’s commentary, it will be nothing more than a fatuous focus on political spin.  The future of the Australian population is not a one-dimensional question that political spin will resolve.  The nation’s future requires a whole-of-picture approach and neither Mr Rudd nor Mr Abbott have demonstrated the vision for the future, which our politicians owe us all.

Letter to the Editor, Sydney Morning Herald, 13 April 2010 [unpublished]

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