Friday, 20 May 2011 13:04

Govt must look big picture

Written by 

THERE'S NEVER been a more important time for the Federal Government to look at the big picture when preparing policy.

This big picture includes: climate change; emissions trading; food production; exports; R&D; the Murray-Darling Basin and the environment.

And yet these areas are all being addressed separately.

Carbon trading is at the forefront of the current Federal Government's mind. It wants to implement legislation next year come hell or high water.

How will it do it?

By adding bits and pieces from those needed to pass it through the lower house and the Senate.

Prime Minister Gillard does not have an ideal working environment, reliant on the independents. But would she carry more clout if she showed a vision for the country that would benefit future generations?

That would be real leadership, something missing in Canberra from both parties.

Hard work now could secure food production and a healthy environment, while underpinning export growth when a growing world population needs us.

It requires a holistic approach and the strength to change the current political direction of responding to polling and trying to please everyone. Instead of making a comment to meet the needs of the 24 hour news cycle, the Government must look long-term to see what food production is required in 40 years and the best way to achieve it.

If the environment needs more water, then invest in R&D to find the best way to deliver sustainable production for each megalitre.

Climate change policy should also be made in terms of how to limit impact on food production. If it requires further R&D, invest now as part of a holistic approach – not down the track in a piece-meal fashion.

Decisions like these will also improve Australia's economy.

Australian farmers currently produce enough food to feed 70 million people. That demand is only going to increase as the population is expected to grown from six billion to nine billion people by 2050.

There is not enough food to feed the world now, let alone in 40 years. Good policy must be made to ensure Australian farmers can continue to do what they do best, produce the best quality food in the world.

Prime agricultural land can no longer be sacrificed for housing estates or mining for short-term profit. Farmers must be recognised for their contribution and provided the support to do what they do best.

We all know the world is going to need more food - the Government needs to start planning for that now.

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