Letters to the Editor

August 31, 2017

Take politics out of food production

It is disappointing that the role hard-working Australian food producers play in feeding our nation and others throughout the world continues to be hindered by those seeking political gain.

In the past week we have had full page newspaper advertisements from the union-funded GetUp organisation that denigrate food producers as it tries to score a political head in the form of Water Minister Barnaby Joyce.

It is unfortunate, and to the detriment of our nation, that these environmental lobby groups ignore the full facts in their quest for ideological goals.

They will not acknowledge our food producers are among the most efficient and environmentally responsible in the world, and have been forced to make significant financial and productive sacrifices to ensure water is available for environmental flows.

It is also a bitter pill to swallow when we read GetUp advertisements attacking our food producers that are authorised from an office in Pitt St, Sydney — arguably the most environmentally damaged area in Australia.

Imagine the uproar if regional Australia demanded the city of Sydney be demolished and the land returned to its original natural state?

That may sound ludicrous, but it is precisely what city-based environmentalists are demanding, despite having virtually no idea of the food producing environments they claim need protection.

What we need across the Murray-Darling Basin and other agricultural areas of Australia is common-sense policy that encourages food production (we all need food!) in collaboration with environmental protection.

—Vicki Meyer


Burden of proof lies with G-MW

Re: ‘Feud over property damage’ (Country News, August 8).

Goulburn-Murray Water has the burden of proving that it acted with care and skill when it damages private property in the exercise of its powers.

This means it has to show that there was no practical way of avoiding the damage.

The burden is hard to shift.

The reverse onus of proof, in my opinion, is the foundation of the duty of G-MW to find out what irrigation infrastructure exists before it enters land to do works (or it authorises contractors to do so).

In the absence of proper records of what existed before being damaged or destroyed, G-MW, in my opinion, must reconstruct infrastructure to best practice standard in the district, even if the standard is better than previously existed.

G-MW must ensure that its authorised contractors act with care and skill not to cause damage when they enter private property in exercise of statutory powers and G-MW will itself be liable for the damage they caused, in my opinion, if it does not.

—Edwin Kennon


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