Bill Tatt: drought causes major flow-on effects to towns

Week Ending 13/09/19

Stock and property: Bill Tatt (pictured) writes about how the drought has had a terrible flow-on effect to regional towns. Photo: File

Stock and property: Bill Tatt (pictured) writes about how the drought has had a terrible flow-on effect to regional towns. Photo: File

Across the spectrum of most parts of Australia the drought is horrendous, but even more worrying is the loss of population in rural and regional precincts.

Towns in areas such as the Gunnedah, Tamworth and Moree regions, once the backbone of blue ribbon livestock and crop production, have fallen on difficult times.

This is partly due to the drought but also due to apathy and lack of forward thinking on all levels of government.

Properties have been amalgamated and mechanise to such an extent that where once their were 10 families supporting the local economy and the schools we now have one.

Even parts of Victoria which have enjoyed reasonable seasons over recent years are unable to prevent the drain of people and resources from their districts.

Further council amalgamations are discussed at length but are never really popular with the masses and like all levels of governments this can lead to a bloated top-heavy bureaucracy with too many chiefs and not enough Indians.

In my small part of the world we have two-three major players who have purchased numerous properties and where once there were 15-20 family farms, we now have the above mentioned few.

Nobody should begrudge any group from expanding or the families selling from taking the money on offer.

The flow-on effect is what concerns the writer.

It was told to myself by one near local business owner that one conglomerate suggested that they paid accounts at 90 days.

He politely told the spokesman that his suppliers required their money in 30 days, and he expected the same.

This is where it really starts to hurt our rural economy.

I certainly don't know the answer hopefully somebody in government does otherwise inland Australia will become a mere shadow of what it once was.

We must all try where possible to support our local economy.

Dubbo agents drew for 6410 head for the cattle sale on Thursday, September 12 which is some 900 less than the previous weeks draw.

We have to be thankful for the strong southern influence which in many cases is the sole reason for the market remaining at its current level.

While it is showing easing signs, is nevertheless at a higher level than we have seen in many past major droughts.

Sheep and lambs' numbers are remaining reasonably static at about 25,000 head give or take a 1000 or two.

A very large percentage of these yarding's similar to the cattle are only suitable for restockers and feedlotters.

The number of pens of prime lambs and mutton are becoming fewer and fewer with many top prime lamb producers now selling their sucker lambs as stores.