CONGRATULATIONS to the Kerang business houses and the shire for the festive decorations around the main business area of the town.
What a great initiative you have all shown to showcase our shopping precinct. Scoresby, Wellington and Victoria Streets are a delight to see and create an ambience of happiness and welcoming. The bows, lights, trees and tinsel bring the spirit of Christmas alive and put a smile of the faces of the community.
Thank you to all involved for your imagination and creativity at a time when businesses are 'doing it tough' but you still have time to light up our streets. Thank you to all the business houses, retail outlets and hospitality venues who have added decorations to their premises; Christmas cheer is alive and well in Kerang! Thank you, your efforts are valued and appreciated!
A SINCERE thank you to all who were involved with the organisation of the effective and eye-catching painted Christmas trees which now adorn our main street.
Their simplicity is spirit uplifting and wondrous.
We feel the pain
BEFORE long our politicians and their staff, along with the numerous public servants who are charged with policy decisions and implementation, will take their Christmas break.
Some may take a bit extra time-off this year, with Christmas Day and New Year's Day on a Tuesday, making it easy to take a couple of flexi days and extend the break.
They will also have their holiday in comfort, knowing their job and secure income will be waiting for their return.
Unfortunately, the decisions they make can have a vastly different impact on their fellow Australians.
Take those who work for SunRice, in the Riverina, for example. It has announced 100 job losses as they restructure to cope with one of the lowest Summer crops in history.
Meanwhile, in other parts of Southern NSW and Northern Victoria, dairy farmers are culling herds and walking off their farms.
This is all occurring because our decision-makers insist that no allocation of water should be given to Southern NSW food and fibre producers, while those in Victoria are faced with exorbitant water prices
At the same time the Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers are running high with the Murray above capacity, forcing desperate farmers to watch nearby forests flood while their nearby paddocks turn to dust.
In fact roughly 200,000 megalitres, or 40 per cent of Sydney Harbour, has unintentionally spilled into the forests because the river is not being operated efficiently.
Due to outdated rules which haven't been updated despite significant changes in recent years to water delivery, these river losses come out of the food producing bucket. That's food that could be grown to support all Australians, regardless of where you live.
This is devastating for farmers who want grow the produce needed by our nation and the rest of the world. As a consequence we are now dealing with a whole range of associated issues including increased mental health, severe financial stress and, in some cases, bankruptcy.
This is all being caused because the politicians and bureaucrats in charge of water policy development and implementation are refusing to listen to those who live and breathe their local environment, nor will they 'come to the table' and work on effective solutions that ensure there is plenty of water for the environment, food production and South Australia.
Even in times of drought we can all survive if we get the balance right; at present it's not.
I call on the Federal Minister for Water, David Littleproud, a country guy from Chinchilla, who I am sure knows the devastation caused by the loss of 100 jobs in a small town, to step up and provide some protection to our rural communities.
It can as simple as demanding his staff – before they go on holidays – work on rule changes to return the wasted 200,000 megalitres to farm production.
We're a long way from Chincilla, but we feel the pain of unnecessary lost jobs in the same way.