To be frank I’ve started to believe that I should be building a waterproof, fireproof, all round idiot-proof disaster bunker and have it stocked with all manner of supplies. From the essentials like water, torches, batteries, tins of baked beans, cans of beer and the like, to the not so essential items like tide guides, shaving cream, mouse traps and clothes pegs (for those times shortly after eating aforementioned baked beans).
Reading the papers and watching the news of late would have one believe that we’re on the brink of a global famine with all this talk about food security. I remember when the groceries and meat use to be housed in a larder, but I don’t think that’s what they’re talking about. When I was growing up food security was about using one’s fork as a defensive weapon to protect the one’s sausage or pork crackling before it was lifted before your very eyes having employed various diversionary tactics. We learnt to eat fast with one eye on our food and the other suspiciously scanning the wandering eyes of other family members.
On the other hand, according to Wikipedia, food insecurity, is a situation of “limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways”. This sounds remarkably like a trip to McDonalds with the grandkids!
Now, I’m not one to make light of an issue that is impacting almost 1 billion people, but it’s sometimes hard to put into perspective. We are blessed with proverbial food bowls right across the country and yes whilst we do suffer intolerable luck with droughts, floods, fire and the occasional biblical locust plague, a hearty meal is never too far away, nor are there empty shelves at the supermarket.
So what’s really pissing me off is all this bullshit about imported produce having less regulations and red tape to jump through than the locally based producers. Now I’m all for free trade agreements and the breaking down of borders when it comes to global economics (I’m sure Bunnings wouldn’t be so much fun without them!) but when a can of locally grown and manufactured two-fruits has to comply with over 144 regulations compared to some 60 for an imported one, there is simply something quite wrong with the world, or maybe just Australia. Is it any wonder the imported can, which may have travelled some 8000kms on its journey to your supermarket shelf, is still a third of the price of the Australian made one, from just down the road.
We’re already the global laughing stock when it comes to the price of our goods and services, so it’s not like we needed to arm the commentariate with any more ammunition.
This isn’t meant to be an economic war and peace…far from it actually, but in the face of growing international competition (both for our agricultural land and our wallets) we’re just not making it easy for our farmers and food manufacturers to succeed. I hear plenty of people banging on about selling the farms to the foreign governments and corporations, but we’re making it almost impossible for the farmers to make any other alternate decision. We run ‘em to the ground, make it impossibly difficult for them to compete, but then shout blue murder from the top of the buy Australian-made flagpole, when they sell up.
This love affair with the over-complexification of almost everything is becoming our biggest problem? In a world where there’s an app for almost everything, we continue to make things harder and harder and harder…from tax rules and superannuation to booking a flight on Jetstar and pleasing the missus’…damn near impossible.
How do we turn our country around and make it one rooted in a culture of making things easier. In the meantime, I’m going to Bunnings to buy myself a new long handled shovel… to start digging my bunker.