the latest brilliant idea from the cunning rats who run our state is to make farmers pay for water used from farm dams.
it's already impossible to make a living from a small-holding such as ours [470 acres] without working off the farm, unless of course you don't mind working 24/7 doing every single task yourself so as not to have to pay someone else.
at 52 that kind of back-breaking labour is getting well beyond me. which is one of the reasons why i wander about the whirled telling anyone who will listen how to get pretty colours out of leaves.
but back to the story.
farmers [and other landholders] already pay water tax. it's called "rates" and these rates are based on the value of the land. this may seem a mere coincidence, but observation shows [quite consistently] that the more rain falls on your property [in South Australia] the more highly it is valued and [consequently] the higher the council rates paid.
installing meters [at farmers' expense] on dams to make us pay for water used [bearing in mind we've already paid for the construction of the dam and all the infrastructure, unlike our city cousins who have it provided for them] is outrageous.
if i'm fortunate enough to inherit the family farm [and this is not a "given", my parents have every right to sell up and go live in luxury on the Queen Mary if they wish] then frankly "farming" is not going to be high on the agenda. i'm thoroughly sick of having to tag each animal with an electronically readable plastic tag. i'm tired of hearing farmers being accused of pillaging the land and emitting excessive rates of carbon [what about all the other industry emissions? the tricky chemicals the politicians can't spell?]
we've just been advised that as stock-owners we'll are required to pay an annual "epidemic tax" [in case some blight descends upon the herd/flock] and i'm not looking forward to the day when we are made to individually weigh our stock and pay methane emissions tax based on their possible gas output [and probably calculated on the basis of feed-lotting as opposed to paddock grazing]. we also had a letter from the MLA telling us that we've been chosen at random to have our "books inspected" to make sure we're not feeding meat products to our stock. what the? if i were stupid enough to feed meat products to ruminants [and unlike the idiots who fed scrapie-infected sheep carcasses to cattle and kicked of the BSE plague i don't], do they really think i'd be writing it all down in a book?
so i'm extremely unhappy about having to pay a water tax on top of maintaining pipes and pumps and associated paraphernalia.
after a cup of tea and a bit of thought, here's the development plan for 'Hope Springs', assuming i have anything to say in the matter.
* discontinue meat production [let the old cows retire in peace for the rest of their days] and only keep a flock of pet sheep [none of whose children will be sent to market]. plant lots more trees and let most of the place become a wild forest, keeping a bit of clear space around the houses so there's a chance of eluding the inevitable fires. [there are plenty of kangaroos to graze under the trees.]
* grow enough fruit and vegetables to feed the family and trade with the neighbours. carrying the water in buckets from the dam should keep us all quite fit, no need to go to the gym so there's another saving [not that i go anyway, he he]
* compose a lovely "nyah nyah i told you so" song to sing when the government starts bleating about food shortages because nobody wants to be a farmer any more
oh and while i'm having a food and farm rant - the next semi-vegetarian who tells me they don't eat meat on principle but DO eat kangaroo because it's a soft-footed native animal that doesn't damage the country might like to have a little think about how that soft-footed animal is "harvested". these gentle creatures are chased at night by men in 4WD vehicles with spotlights and guns. they die in agony [very rare to knock an animal out with a clean shot to the head] and in terror.
don't tell me that's sustainable meat production.
sorry about the rant folks, but had to get it off my chest. time for a coffee and then back to the sewing room...
one more thing, as my friend from Soewnearth has kindly reminded me [see comments]....the other item on the grand plan is to consider the installation of meters on our rainwater tanks and charge us for usage as well... i may spontaneously combust at some point.