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The Forum > Article Comments > Is there a prosperous future for the Australian bush? > Comments

Is there a prosperous future for the Australian bush? : Comments

By Everald Compton, published 4/12/2012

Have we killed the legacy of John Flynn?

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Good to read a story about John Flynn - an almost forgotten Aussie legend. Unfortunately the Flying Doc is going the way of Flynn as rural population ages. It's effectively and aged care aerial taxi service. It does a few rescues but that mainly it's hospital trips.

I too am concerned about the exodus of young people to the city (it was ever thus) but also the sheer number of aged people and almost aged people living in rural and regional Australia. Once they pass on, the Flying Doctor will be just a memory.
Posted by Cheryl, Tuesday, 4 December 2012 7:16:47 AM
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Everald, the starry-eyed visions of Flynn and Bradfield are all well and good. I too, as a botanist and ecologist and a great lover of our arid environments, wouldnít mind seeing a bit of agricultural greening of the land, up to a point.

But when we look at the practicalities, we may as well forget it, at least at anything on the scale that Flynn, Bradfield or you would like.

I think there are two themes in your article which should be separated out.

These are;

1. better health services, transport, etc. Letís just say; betters services and infrastructure of all sorts, and

2. massive expansion in the provision of water and hence agriculture, and population.

We could definitely do with the first. But we really donít need the second.

If the dreams of Bradfield and co could have been realised, they would have been. There has certainly been no shortage of starry-eyed people with similar visions, who would love to see the likes of the Snowy and Ord River Schemes all over arid and northern Australia.

But it hasnít happened because the economics donít add up! These projects would be extremely difficult if not impossible in a practical sense, enormously expensive, not sufficiently productive and fraught with a bunch of other crippling problems.

continued
Posted by Ludwig, Tuesday, 4 December 2012 9:28:45 AM
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Hey, with our current mining boom, we should have the economic wherewithal to greatly improve the wellbeing of our inland population. But we donít!

THIS is what we should be looking at if we really want to improve the quality of life of our semi-arid dwellers.

And I would suggest Everald that the biggest factor of all is to reduce immigration down to net zero, so that our economic growth can work towards achieving real improvements for the existing population instead of very largely being put into the basic provisions for ever-more new residents!

So, in the interests of a better quality of life for all those living well away from the coast or from southeast corner of the continent, rather than pushing for large-scale population growth in these more remote areas, perhaps you should be pushing for a STOP to population growth for the whole country.
Posted by Ludwig, Tuesday, 4 December 2012 9:30:19 AM
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Well as the author says, water is the greatest impediment to rural enterprise/development!
We could build a dual lane inland canal to lake Eire/inland shipping destination, serving all Australia; and rely on the huge northern tides, and lock-gates, to keep it permanently full; and or, keep the canal traffic moving in and out.
Water pumped from the out flow, will ensure we don't add to the salt burden, which in Lake Eire, is already double that of sea water!
Salt water pumped by windmills around and through ag pipes, wrapped in membrane, will support numerous crops, which have a natural water pulling power, superior to many of the pumps that wear out and currently support reverse osmosis!
If these crops were intensive and grown under-glass/polycarbonate!
The crops and pristine and endlessly reliable evaporate, would support a level of previously unavailable human habitation, activity, and industry based, like say various orchards, on nutrient rich recycled water.
If these orchards were also grown under glass, the endlessly reliable pristine evaporate, etc etcetera, endlessly repeated.
This plan, if adopted, would present the best chance, of our survival as a species, in a future environmental Armageddon.
The Bradfield plan, as worthy as it was, only served one purpose, and would cost tens of billions.
Whereas a canal, would support multiple, trade, commerce and shipping ventures/opportunities, and even act as an inland airfield for amphibious aircraft.
We could however, adopt an affordable version of the Bradfield plan, by damming northern water, and then allowing just gravity and weight of water, to inject a few trillion tons annually, into the Great Artesian Basin.
This would serve to both top up and desalinate the basin, which by the way, stretches from FNQ to central SA, and all points in between.
The NBN and very rapid rail completes a picture, which would likely make the bush far more prosperous, and significantly more desirable, to live work and play in.
Rail guns and vacuum tubes, would allow speeds of 4000klms plus, to be envisaged, for very rapid magnetron rail!
Albeit, the cost would be prohibitive?
Rhrosty.
Posted by Rhrosty, Tuesday, 4 December 2012 11:12:12 AM
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And in the meantime all those horrid creatures living in the Capital cities of Australia just consume and consume, never thinking about those poor souls sustaining them in the bush.

What has been forgotten and what should form the basis for a reality check and a real bottom line is that rampant credit growth for much of the past 20 years caused an oversupply of consumption goods. The whole retailing sector is oversupplied. People are still shoppingÖit has nothing to do with confidence. What you're seeing is simply a structural change and the painful process of working off excess capacity.

Per Capita wealth is shrinking globally, transportation fuels are on a plateau and any thought of 'developing' the bush for some cornucopian dream will just result in that, a dream.

Reality is we are living on a finite planet and no matter which way you look at it, we as a species are heading into a much greater decline than that currently being experienced by those remaining in the bush with a hope for some 'survival and revival dream'.

You need to get your head around that before you can espouse some long-forgotten era that will never raise its head on a finite planet that is pretty much tapped out.

Flynn may have been a visionary for his generation; itís just a pity we now live in a completely different and declining world.
Posted by Geoff of Perth, Tuesday, 4 December 2012 1:59:44 PM
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Rhrosty, the ideas you mention are certainly nice dreams. Having spent almost all of my working life in the bush (particularly in intensive agriculture) I am all too aware of the challenges we face. I feel the constant steady pressure of our city cousins who don't really want us to exist here. We have a population in the cities who feel sorry for us and want to give us some aid from time to time. This is not what we want. We don't want to be a charity case.
We are slowly being regulated and forced out of it. I have worked on a few large scale vegetable & irrigated cropping farms over the years and their drivers are always the same. They live off capital growth. The few surviving businesses are growing, but the margins are getting impossibly small and it is really only land value increase which keeps us going.
It is painful to see that the Chinese see the oportunities as obvious. They have invested many hundereds of millions in Australian agriculture in the last three or so years. And they do this inspite of the Australian political and cultural environment, not with the assistance of it.
I was recently involved with trying to change the land use on a government owned piece of land neighbouring our farm. We currently have a permit to occupy for the purpose of grazing. We wanted to grow vegetables in this paddock. After nearly 2 years of backwards and forwards, lawyers, govt department people & experts, we were declined on the basis of the land being of unsuitable soil type. It seems that some guy sitting behind a desk in Brisbane knows this better than we do. We have only been doing this for 25 years. Good luck to him and his family trying to eat the paper he shuffles around every day.
This is typical of the obsticles we face. We can't even continue to operate under these conditions, let alone dream of developments
Posted by ManOfTheLand, Wednesday, 5 December 2012 7:30:03 AM
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