This farm blog is about our family life on a dryland broad acre farm. I hope by writing about our life, friends, relatives and others will gain a greater knowledge of rural life, where their food comes from and the struggle of small rural communities to maintain their facilities and quality of life.
For those in South Australia, help for farm safety and compliance matters can be found at www.broadacrefarmsafety.com
Our local primary school recently requested a larger school bus to cater for some extra students.
The bus drivers are a local husband and wife team and do a great job of the bus run, of which, the duration is about 1 hour and 15 minutes ever morning and afternoon.
When they found out what type of bus the Education Department had allocated us, they refused to take delivery of it.
Apparently these buses have a automatic sliding door that will only open when the bus in on level ground!!! Hardly appropriate for rural roads, let alone dirt roads!!! The sliding door also allows dust to get into the bus, so you can imagine what a mess that would make, especially during Harvest when the dirt roads turn to a fine powdery bull dust. Lovely!!!!
So, to the SA Education Department I would say - "Darling, in case you haven't ventured past Gepps Cross in your lifetime, many country school bus routes are on horse and cart style bitumen or dirt roads. There are no bus shelters to protect passengers from the rain, there is no sign to say 'bus stop', there is no set aside area to protect your polished shoes from the mud in winter, there is no pretty signage spelling out the bus timetable. Perhaps you should get out more before making decisions that are clearly made from a citycentric mind!"
We recently had a wonderful family holiday to Western Australia, it was great. But I couldn't help noticing that while we were doing the 'tourist/rubber neck' thing, that mobile phone coverage was - well - pretty darn good!
So this is our view crossing the Nullarbor. It's a beautiful place, not barren nothingness like some people waffle on about.
While crossing the Nullarbor my trusty Nokia 6120 had FULL mobile coverage! Go figure!!!
And the majority of the southern areas of WA also had good mobile coverage, it was great, I didn't know myself. We even had quick internet courtesy of a prepaid dongle thingy and the great mobile service.
Trouble is - now I really know what some of us are missing out on!
I came to the conclusion that tourists are obviously more important to Australian society than farmers.
So I looked up some stats:
Tourism is 5.3% of Australia's GDP
Agriculture contributes 3% of Australia's GDP
While there is not a great deal of difference in these figures, there seems to be a huge gap in the equity of services delivered and sustained in rural areas, especially those that don't attract the tourist dollar.