Kicked while they're down
THE bush is under attack and it's time we fought back.
Whether it's pesky animal activists, politicians running dead on job creation projects, the decline of maternity and banking resources or the drop in population numbers, regional Australia is at crisis point and we need a national summit to rejuvenate our country towns.
Whether it's building new dams, infrastructure or keeping businesses afloat, the time has arrived for action, not just empty rhetoric.
And just when you thought it couldn't get any worse - with suicides at record levels among those on the land - now they are under attack by animal activists.
The publication of the personal details of farmers by animal extremists is a bridge too far, even for these people. Not content with trying to close the live export industry and all forms of racing in this country, they have now published an online "attack map”, which identifies hundreds of family farms involved in livestock production and lists the personal details of farmers.
Let's be clear. This is a "hit list” for animal activists, a how-to guide for causing problems. It encourages trespassing, biosecurity breaches and acts of industrial sabotage.
Nobody begrudges people protesting. But encroaching on private property is irresponsible and inviting trouble.
This mob, ironically called Aussie Farms, is a fringe group that believes animals should not be owned by humans and is trying to terrorise farmers.
The group's activities endanger humans and animals. We cannot allow this militant and extreme minority to hold hard-working farmers to ransom.
Last week we learned of the measures Animals Australia would go to in a bid to expose inhumane treatment within the live export trade.
These people will stop at nothing in their zealotry behaviour. They leak the footage to a compliant ABC and use the resultant footage and story to pressure politicians. Their charitable status is never questioned and they use their sizeable donations to market their ideology.
Take a look at plummeting population numbers in country areas. The Queensland Treasury website this week released estimated resident population by local government area. It showed that 37 per cent of Queensland local government areas had negative population growth. Almost all were in regional Queensland.
Decline is generally from 2010-2012 onwards, suggesting bank foreclosures and drought have underwritten population decline. Examples of important regions are: Mount Isa -13.1 per cent, Longreach -16.2 per cent, Barcaldine -14.1 per cent, Flinders (Hughenden) -17.4 per cent, McKinley -25 per cent, Richmond -11.7 per cent, Winton -18.2 per cent, Murweh (Charleville) -9.1 per cent, Quilpie -18.7 per cent.
These are depressing figures, testament to the challenges being experienced in the bush. Regional NSW would be similar.
This is a national disaster. The stars have aligned with drought, activism and a lack of corporate support to send our farmers into a death spiral.
It's time we sorted this out, once and for all.
Gleeso's News Talk airs weeknights at 5pm (6pm AEDT) on Sky News Live and Sky News on WIN.