Fear of the times

Drought is one word that sends normally sane people into periods of depression, walking on eggshells around each other and periods of high stress. This has been proven, there are many organisations that provide workshops, individual and private counselling for mental health and financial advice. Groups form to “catch up” so it gives people time to get off the farms and away from the situation even for an hour or so.

A lot of the women in farming families feel the stress of this greatly as they cope with what it all brings. It’s not like depression though, that is a different element, if you suffer from depression I am positive it would be harder to manage this, the farmer and the change in lifestyle if you do. Luckily I can only imagine how much harder it is for people with depression to cope during difficult times when families depend on that person more. We must watch out for each other during these difficult times as it is only people who keep people going.

Some days are harder than others and with all of the white noise around concessional drought loans (there have been minimal allocated in South Australia) from what sounds like political argy bargy many are going hat in hand to the Banks. It has been decided SA or parts of SA like the South East & Mid North are in drought after record-breaking lack of rain falls yet the State Government is playing politics with federal allocation of money that can assist some farmers during this time.

I wonder sometimes about the choices we make with voting our politicians in, there is no doubt they all go into politics to ‘help people out’ yet most of the time it looks like grand standing, self-absorption and self-importance, doesn’t it? These people are making decisions they rarely know anything about and do it thinking about the deficit they have created in the economy. Many people need financial assistance especially here in the South East but feel it will only be given out whilst taking from the back pocket with drainage levy hike, NRM levy hike and what ever else is next . This leaves many wondering if politicians really do know what it’s like to live rurally? they have good salaries, fantastic accessible pension funds from the day they leave office, they use the tax payers money for dinners, bottles of wine, business class and first class trips around the country and the world then come back and tell us all to tighten our belts. I often wonder if this mentality will ever change, if you can get away with the finer things in your job then one suspects everyone would do it.

When I was a sales rep, I traveled for my job and often at conferences met up with other staff members. I vividly recall being told that on one representative I went with ate and drank the mini bar dry 3 times whilst they were there for 5 days. In a 10 day trip and my expenses of eating in cafes and pubs for the 10 days I was away were not as much as had to be paid for the other reps gluttony in 4.

I have been told dealing with the banks is almost as difficult, though most farmers plan for drought, they also plan to get income, either through stock sales or grain sales and hay sales to name a few. When in drought the crops don’t grow, so it can not be sold as there is nothing to sell. I had a lady email me to tell me the most humiliating thing that has happened to her during this hard period is having to go into the bank and sit across from her friend and be scrutinised over their spending habits even to be told her monthly coffee catch up with her friends (including the bank manager) was out of their budget. At that moment she writes, her stomach started churning, her palms started to sweat and she knew she was going to vomit.

There was only one way to get the overdraft and that was for her to get a job in her chosen profession, she is a lawyer and with no option open to her to work in this field and with a 3 month old at the time, she has taken a job in the meat works in the local town 4 days per week.Her husband has also taken off farm work, as a truck driver and she said over the last 6 months they have worked 60 to 80 hours per week and their daughter has seen more of the child care assistants than of her or her husband. They are coping and are managing financially. She writes that this saved the property from foreclosure and they are able to pay their bills on time. She has never returned to the coffee group as she can not face her friend again.

If you can assist with my drought ladies day in March 2016please let me know, sponsorship, gift bags and prizes. Dates and sponsors will be announced over the coming week. InOurPaddocks is going through the system to be a Not For Profit Charity so I will be able to issue tax-deductible receipts. Anyone can contact me through the Facebook page or here.

If you do need help call Life Line 13 11 14

#newneighbours #travellinghome #emus

#newneighbours #travellinghome

I took this photo yesterday on my way home.

Incomes, luxury and Living

There are some days one gets up and it starts, you know you already feel irritated from the minute you open your eyes? Sometimes it can be put down to PMS, other days stress, cold and being confined. If one doesn’t like their job the luxury of changing at will have now gone, especially in South Australia where the unemployment rate is 8.2% and no break in sight.

Living rural it’s even worse in the South East of South Australia the figure has hit 8.7% with over 7600 people looking for work, this doesn’t count those that have given up. It is something politicians make fodder out of, of course the opposition blame those in power until they become the sitting and then blame the ousted. It’s a cycle that is the carousel of all politics isn’t it, the way these people fight, spend our money with the saying ‘it’s for the good of the people” well I never asked them to sell the forest to build an oval and take 300 or more jobs out of the economy in a rural area, I wonder if there is now 300 people working in the oval on a daily basis, I suspect not. They paid off the debts of the cricket association, both AFL football teams and said we would all benefit. I am yet to see this benefit, I have been to meetings at the Adelaide Oval and it is fantastic but it was built at the sacrifice of many.

I would like for them (the politicians) to stop in-fighting, it’s a farce seeing the opposition people reading out statistics and when asked what would they do, they brush it off saying it’s not on their watch. If they get in power they them continue the blame. It would be great to see an opposition leader saying to the media, you know what I do have an idea and I’m catching up with the premier, Prime Minister etc so that we can plan this together. But they don’t and they won’t it’s be out there and criticize.

We then hear them on radio stating things like, “no we have to be positive, or we can’t move forward.” I can tell them, moving forward for most people is work, pay and paying the ever rising bills, without any source of income, how can anyone be positive. I am positive, it’s hard to keep motivated and happy about not having paid work, something politicians NEVER suffer from, for once they are voted out or retire the pension starts immediately and for life, the payments normally are more than the average wage and the benefits they get with travel is enormous.

Having B Bishop this week ousted for a chartered helicopter ride is the tip of the ice berg, not only is it living so far from reality it is offensive. If she truly believed she was acting in the rules, then why did she pay it? It was only $5000, there is no uproar for the $88,000 spent in a 15 day trip, why because they all do it.

I didn’t start this to be political diatribe I did start about putting on the cranky pants and I know this feeling will stay with me for a few days. I am unsettled, ready for change and yet stuck in the same place all at once. I rejoice in people’s happiness especially family joys and I also feel the confinements of rural living, I am now looking to closing down the salon, it is not earning enough to remain open, but that is the same story in cities and country towns, there is only so much money to go around, I know laser hair removal is a luxury many can’t afford and with the highest rate of unemployment in Australia being in my area, one can’t be surprised.

Telecommunications #fail or #pass

Living in regional areas means having to use every thing available to stay in-contact with families, travel safely in areas during daily work life, maintain and do business, so it requires properties and families to have a land line, mobile phones, satellite internet and satellite TV services that are affordable and relevant. It also makes sense to provide these areas with great services due to the high risk of fire, isolation, horrific road tolls, farm accidents, distances needed to travel to get to anywhere and educational opportunities that city children don’t have to give a thought to. These are a few of the daily activities that regional and rural people need to combat in order to be educated, informed and involved in their local communities and lives, even medical services are now looking to linking up with video conferencing to diagnose and treat people in these areas as Doctors stay away in droves.

Yet in Australia, Governments historically and modern-day concentrate all finances and upgrading of services i.e. roads, high-speed internet to the cities, to get more votes. Their tunnel vision doesn’t expand greater than for self-serving and vote grabbing. Despite the fact that all politicians admit and acknowledge it’s an issue, one will come up with an idea i.e. NBN Co  the next incoming Government will veto it, change it and then make it so redundant it fails to provide anything for regional and rural areas, it becomes obsolete or rather the service so over subscribed they cut everybody sighting a ‘Fair Use Policy” designed to discriminate against “‘only regional customers” as told to the local radio station by a CEO of a provider, when challenged.

When paying subscribers were notified by email of this announcement to cut GB to 20Gb for all, there was a written disclaimer of being sued for breach of confidential information should you share it ( they were trying to infer regional people would just accept this as delivery of more poor services to our areas without a fuss). In the city, emails seen to fly out of sent boxes with ease, regionally you sometimes have to walk away and or disect the email and send in consequential lots, 1 email in the city and 4 from regional areas, depending upon content (thankfully there are now drop boxes and clouds).

I have written to all Communications Ministers, Sitting and Shadow, State and Federal to receive, at best, a substandard response from them all, when sending some of these onto radio producers I have had to send them with a warning “this will be 5 minutes of your life you will never get back if you read this” some Ministers Shadow and Sitting, actually think it is ok to make this about THEM, not only as individuals but as a party, the absolute vanity and non caring of these people sitting in $100K+ salaries telling us that if it weren’t for them we would have nothing was awkward at best. The radio producers have had to agree and then not able to put it to air so as not to embarrass themselves with such stupidity. Others have referred me off to the Dept of Communications – beautifully side stepping the issue.

Our local ABC radio has been great with the cause as it affects all of regional and rural areas, having diminished services puts safety at risk of all road users and travellers, tourism, business, medical services and educational growth of these areas. I was lucky enough to be able to get onto the regional telecommunications review webinars to hear how these decreases have affected many people in different forms from all over Australia.

My other issue is that though the provider has reduced the satellite internet services by 2/3rd they have not reduced the price. All our communications services are extremely expensive and fairly useless, mobiles do not ring or can’t be answered in houses, we get great reception 30kms away so we are reliant on a land line which during our fire was damaged and though, in an active fire zone was told we “were not important enough to have it fixed” it took Telstra 6 weeks to reconnect us. Recently it was out for 9 days with no explanation as to why they wouldn’t come and fix it, when they did it took less than 30 minutes.

Now with the reduction in Satellite internet services we also have had the announcement that Mobile black spot funding has been settled at 11 towers in SA, due to lack of input and finances from our State Government. In the South East of South Australia there was none allocated despite areas being identified where there is no network, no safety for people in these areas and no level of comfort they are being taken seriously. Our State Government has had over 12 years to improve our state and regional areas, with the exception of Port Pirie, they haven’t nor do I feel comfort that the opposition party will be any better, there is no money. Governments spend and spend tax payers money with no real planning for future growth and needs.

I have heard of families struggling with remote education, saying that their 2 teenage children had used the quota up in two weeks with school work and then they were cut off till the next billing round, does this then make it necessary to have local and regional libraries open after hours? Will the Government be proactive and allow this? pay the wages and encourage students to go there? the problem is lack of foresight by  Government and lack of finances to pay wages due to poor fiscal management.  Distance being an issue for families in that some of these libraries are attached to schools and are over 100+kms away from properties. I think not, its put up with it until we fix it sometime in 2016.

For anyone wanting to let the Department know of their issues and problems with reduced services please go to the Regional Telecommunications Review, issue papers and do a submission you have till 15th July 2015 to get your voice for your area read. It may not help solve the problem in the short term but will give them different aspects to work on. To make it easier click the link and it will take you straight there. I am also happy to share with you the correspondence I have received from the Ministers and Shadow Ministers if you would like to email me requesting it.

Some of these people and Departments make as much sense as standing in a paddock full of cattle, the language barrier is huge and the lack of concentration and understanding by the parties is a great divide.


I’m giving our Governments and Telecommunications a big #FAIL

A 4 Year Retrenchment Notice – is that not enough?

I am writing this starting without a heading, I am hoping it will come to me as I go but I want to talk about retrenchment and Holden closing in Australia. I agree it’s sad an “icon” gone from our shores but I am a little over the media coverage and the tales of sadness and woe. We are hearing about 30+ year employees being without work, supply chain and ancillary companies telling us they will close. We are watching these awful politicians blaming each other for this, I would like them to stop it, isn’t it time to Govern our country?

All that money millions & millions in fact $2.1Billion dollars over the last 12 years from the Government and then they asked for more and they never diversified, never changed the model of car to be made and employed the select few. They were importing parts and sold 82,000 cars this year at less than the cost of production. Really this was a business on its knees years ago. Watching our Premier, it is almost farcical blaming the Federal Government, they need to look at the state of the economy, cars are an expensive purchase and with the cost of living especially in Australia, people I know want value for money, like clothing & other items purchasing a car is rarely done without research and yes cost does come into it.

Look at the business model that Holden presented, they wanted more money to remain here, they have not updated the plant they just used the money to stay in existence, how did that help the economy? They asked their workers to take pay cuts over 12 months ago, surely this was the writing on the wall. There was no change in-car model being produced, no rethinking the downturn and making cars that people could afford and wanted to buy. Then we hear that there was a large-scale and long-term ‘stealing and selling of engines’ not just one but several that went unchecked and undetected for a long period of time.

Living in South Australia it is the most taxed state in Australia it didn’t make sense to keep putting money in, the State can not afford it and relied on Federal money,  who looked at the figures and went, we need a business case to justify the amount they were asking for. Surely this makes good business sense, these weren’t short or long-term loans, there were ‘incentives’ from where I sit more like subsidies. Nothing to pay back, no justification of where the money was being spent, they just stuck their hands out and the money was placed in it, unthinkable. Surely the Premier could get out there and say well “it’s sad but we have Homeless, Aged, Disabled, unemployed that we can support with that money or perhaps look to reducing our electricity bills and water rates”. That will not happen, all we are hearing is the ‘blame game’. Imagine what could have been done with $2.1 Billion dollars in the Australian Economy not just going to one company.

Now the decision has been made we are bombarded with the names, faces and voices of those workers who are going to be out of work, they will be retrenched once the plant closes. We are talking in 4 years time mind you, 4 years!! I don’t know many people who have been retrenched, fired, made redundant, terminated or given notice, never alone 4 years, it normally is a matter of minutes or perhaps hours. These people have ample opportunity to find work, they are going to be given money to retrain, go to TAFE, learn other skills and this seems to be lost on the sensationalism of “Holden to close” I guess it doesn’t make news worthy stories. There will be many that will leave with very generous financial packages for all their years of loyalty.

I wish all of the workers well and hope they take advantage of the offers on the table to be retrained, as for the news grabs, please move on, I’m a little over it all, they have 1461 days to work, earn a living, retrain and look for employment. Now I have found my title A 4 Year retrenchment notice is that not enough?



the budget & me

Well here it is, the budget for 2012, no matter what your political leanings are, it is hard to believe that by upping your limit on your credit card and taking money from other areas will bring ‘savings’. In my household it does not work like this. I have been a budget freak for years, with one income and child in private school I had to account for every dollar and sometimes I did not do this well but other times I did.

What I didn’t account for ever was not having a job and this has become now a task, a full-time career, trying to make money or get gainful employment when there is limited opportunities in the country. I look at these people in politics and think no matter what they have great super, a great pension and really will not ‘suffer’ the same fate as the ordinary person. Going into Aged Care facilities now requires a down payment of $300,000 so if you or your parents do not own a home – where is this money to come from?

The budget may be the talk of the day but it does not stop the bills coming in, food to be purchased, mortgage to pay or rent depending upon your circumstances. Without an income how does one look at their day and move through it? It simply is hard and I think I can say most governments do not see this or if they do, they forget whilst the average person pays all their taxes (as do politicians) they do not have the luxury of having no car expenses, Rego and petrol, these people get driven everywhere, being able to transport oneself at the expense of others is a savings on its own.

The budget does not mean much to most people as everyone knows you need to work to pay bills, no work, no money and no budget by this Government will fix unemployment or create work where there is none. I consider myself lucky in that I have a roof over my head, food and family that I love. The budget will affect many people in all areas, DH read out to me this morning that overseas they pay a $4 carbon tax so how can we ‘Australia’ be looking to pay $20? I have no answers for him, I don’t get it either.