I had one of those phone surveys today - I only responded because she said it was about our local area. It ended up being about a new mine proposed for Springsure area, which isn't too far away.
Before I knew this, she asked me what were important issues to me. One was that the Mining sector seems to have total disregard for agriculture and the value of the land that they destroy. So it was interesting that it ended up being about mining. I know that mines bring jobs and revenue to an area, but I can speak from authority, as I have a coal mine about two kilometres from our house....they don't really do a lot for a community. Yes there are jobs for some locals, which is good but brings up another issue I have, which was my second concern, that we as food producers cop ever increasing costs of production, without a corresponding increase in price received. To me, it appears that the mining jobs subdise food production. Just about everyone on properties in our area, has a job in the mine. They work so that they can continue to farm! Without the support of outside income (and that includes me, because I work off farm) most farmers in Australia would not be able to continue to produce food.
In America, the government pays subsidies to their farmers to assist them, over here, we have to work off farm to subsidise the farm. So next time you go to Colesworth to do the shopping, please consider our Farmers before you buy the $1/L milk or $1/kg vegetable! This sort of thing just puts another nail in the coffin of Aussie Farmers. We need support from the Townies to keep us going - buy our food and be prepared to pay for Good Quality Food. Cheap imports will only be around while we have an Agriculture industry. Once our farmers are finished, the cheap imports won't be so cheap!
Sorry, I went on a bit of a rant there, but it really does bug me when I see people I know that only want to be farmers and they have to work off farm so that they can stay farming. But, we all continue to farm, because we love farming!
This is part of the latest Slow Food Newsletter - I thought it was interesting.