Wednesday, March 18, 2015

That Australian life - rural snippets

At the moment, I'm largely stuck in Sydney. It's remarkably difficult to get away and I'm missing the country, so today's post focuses on Australian rural stories.

Communities battling blackberry in Victoria are trying to convince government to restart research into a plant-killing disease. Research into purple blotch disease has stalled for the last two years due to lack of funding.

Ah, blackberries. I so remember picking them, but that's not the reason I'm starting with this story.

This is the picture ABC news ran with the story. The caption on the original photo reads blackberries close up. I suppose it's possible, but it doesn't look like a blackberry to me!

Christmas Island only became part of Australia in 1957. Presently most famous for its role in refugee detention, the Island has a colorful history. Like many remote communities, the Island suffers from distance when it comes to food. All imported, it's very expensive.Now work has begun on a new farm development. I just wondered why it hadn't happened before.

Down at the Riverina city of Wagga Wagga, foreign students are completing Diplomas in Agriculture as a way of gaining Australian permanent residency. The photo shows Dutch student Marina Van Aken and Estonian student Lina Koppel.

Good on them. With large parts of the economic and civil infrastructure in inland Australia rotting away, we need all the help we can get. If the people in the increasingly remote metropolitan islands that now dominate Australian life want to stay there, the rest of us have to look after ourselves. Pacific Islander seasonal workers, foreign doctors, refugees to work in abattoirs, Dutch agriculture students, we need you.

On most of the measures, country people are more conservative than the Australian average. Interestingly, this does not apply to foreign workers at least outside the big inland centres where services have been centralised. They are welcome.

Doctors are the most classic example. I monitor the country press quite closely. You will find story after story of local welcome for foreign doctors regardless of ethnicity or creed. The community needs those doctors. They are very important, and they are welcome.

Finally, bananas. Australians like their bananas and take them for granted. The Queensland cyclone that wiped out the banana crop and led to an explosion of banana prices was a salutatory reminder of the importance of local supply and long supply chains. Suddenly, every Australian found themselves in the same position as Christmas Islanders.

In the Northern Territory, the need to prevent the spread of banana freckle disease has led to the wholesale removal of banana trees. Now Panama tropical race four (TR4) has been found on a farm in Queensland.This disease remains in the soil for 30 years or more.

I have always been a supporter of quarantine measures to try to protect Australia's disease free isolation. I remain so.          


1 comment:

Dr Purva Pius said...
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