It's hard not to admire the attitude of pragmatism of our southern cousins.
DO Australians need to rethink which areas of our country are actually viable for farming?There is more at at stake here than just political or economic policy. Extended life support for farm that make no sense strips the farmers and the profession of any dignity. This is the same argument I have heard in our ag press about food stamps, oddly enough, but we can't seem to realize it applies similarly to our farms.
Droughts and floods are an inevitable part of agriculture in any country but it seems rational to ask how often these calamities can afflict a region before prudence demands it is marked as unsustainable for food production.
“In most Australian farmlands, the rainfall is sufficient to raise crops to maturity in only a fraction of all years”
If a private company wishes to run at a loss, it is no-one's business but the proprietor's, however, when that business is subsidised by taxpayer dollars, it's commonsense we ask questions about where the money is going.
The 2009 Australian Productivity Commission report on government drought support found some Aussie farms had been on "income support continuously since 2002". [More]
What worries me most is subsidies outlined in the new farm bill will encourage unneeded production too far into the future by enabling marginal land to stay in production. When economic response times are expanded like this by artificial means, the whole system suffers from an inability to adjust supply and demand in a timely way.
On a different note, climate change - which has become a political rugby ball there - may rule out Australia as a major competitor for Asian demand.