Michael Jeffery states that Australia as a nation should have a common purpose to restore and maintain the health of the Australian landscape. Farmers find it hard to change and need to be brought together and to work together.
Likewise there is a disconnect with the urban population who Michael feels should support rural Australia. There are 24 million living in urban areas and only 130,000 farmers who are looking after 60% of the landscape. They need support by being paid more for their produce.
Michael continues stressing the importance of establishing a garden in every school.
Michael Jeffery: It’s very difficult to change whole cultural attitudes particularly farmers because no farmer likes being told what to do. He likes to make decisions for himself and to bring those farmers together in ways that have commonalities of purpose is not easy, but it’s made less easy because we do not have a national political, on all sides, philosophy that in my view should have as its mission to restore and maintain the health of the Australian landscape. That should be the mission of all of us. That’s every one of us should be making a contribution, whether it is our backyard gardens, farmers, [inaudible 00:36:55], aboriginal communities and so on: restore and maintain the health of the Australian landscape.
Then I want to look at the fact that it is water, soil or biodiversity as an integrated whole, working the three together, which is Peter’s philosophy and Martin’s philosophy, many of yours’ philosophy. I want to work those three things and say: let’s declare them as national strategic assets to be recognized as such and managed accordingly at an integrated way because once that becomes a political driver, all those three things in the public mind, because it is a political driver, they work together. That will change the whole philosophy of how we look at managing our landscapes. Then if we’ve got the case studies or whatever you want to call them, there they can show and demonstrate how to do it, then we’ll be on the track. What we’re finding at the moment is just little organizations such as ours trying like hell to punch through the heavy weight.
Then I want to bring together or to reconnect urban Australia; 24 million people living in urban surrounds to support rural Australia: 130,000 farmers who are looking after 60% of the Australian landscape. There are two things we’ve got to do, it’s first we pay them the fair price for their product, that’s not my business …… but it’s got to be somebody’s. Secondly, to reward those farmers for the way they look after their landscape on behalf of we 24 million urbanites. So how do we reconnect that? I think the simple answer, we’re working on this and I think we’re going to succeed, is to put a garden in every primary and junior high school in the country but not a garden that just teaches you how to grow a tomato and how to cook it and it eat, but a garden that over from five to sixteen will talk about the whole principles of good landscape management in an interesting, stimulating way.