Foreign Ownership : doesn’t this send some people into overdrive? Here in the agriculture sector it divides friendships, neighbours and everyone thinks they have the answer. Well here is my take a different perspective, I am not a farmer, I did not grow up on the land, I married into it and it is not my passion. That does not mean I haven’t educated myself on it nor does it mean I can not appreciate the passion, the pleasure, the pain and I am also a woman.
I can see and appreciate everything that my Husband does on his property, he works daily, there are very few times when he doesn’t even in 40 degree Celsius 104 f, he is out checking water so that stock does not die, or he moves them to where there is shade and water, he has spent more than 20 years planting tress to provide protection and foodstuffs for the animals on his property. It is not only choice of work place it is the place he loves, he cares for all his animals and some that aren’t, he sees no harm in kangaroos eating some of his crop – there is not enough to do damage, when he sees a male emu sitting on a nest he avoids it till the chicks have hatched, he hates snakes though they get a lead bullet if he is quick enough.
I hear all the time people saying we must stop foreign ownership, they have no rights to our land but tell me what is the answer to the retiring farmer? Those farmers that do not have children – there is no one to pass it onto, those farmers who have sent their children off to school and they chose not to come back to the land, who will pay off the debts some of these farmers accrue? The neighbours will not (normally) pay the asking price for the land as many know the history of the place or have so much debt themselves that they can’t afford it either.
There is rarely a ‘city’ folk who will move the country and buy land to become farmers, most country towns in Australia are without services, Doctors are scarce on the ground, if the town has no medical services many do not even look, did you know that a standard 3 to 4 bedroom home is about $180,000 to $210,000 in country towns? there are many houses for sale in country towns but not enough owners. Family’s do not move where there is no work opportunities, in the country as an educated woman, the odds are against you earning in the area you study in. If you open you own business there is limited market to thrive.
Who is going to purchase the land of a farmer if foreigners don’t? they say house affordability for first home owners is out of reach, so are farming properties. How can those that have never lived on the land, nurtured land, animals and made a living from it be condemmed to live older lives in poverty or worse still die in their properties because no one will save it. Farmers are workers, many go to middle age with aches and pains no one sees.
They are so highly skilled yet this is not valued, foreign owners don’t have to relocate families, most times they employ the person who’s property they by till they wish to move. This affords the hard working farmer to earn money so that when they relocate they have a type of superannuation. This is like the uneducated decision like stopping live export, no one wants animal cruelty but everyone wants education and support to keep the industry viable and welcoming for all countries. To stop foreign ownership is reducing the opportunity for farmers to see in old age, to retire where they want and to pass on generations of potential wealth and knowledge.
For those trying to stop it, come up with an affordable plan so that farmers can enjoy the spoils of years of work like city people. Stop trying to stop it. Give us plans to expand what the rural sector can do, provide solutions instead of hindering people from being able to afford a decent retirement.