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Land and Environment : Agribusiness Assoc. of Australia

Contents - Winter (July) 2005


Paper 40

Australia's Farm-Dependent Economy or Australia's Dependent Farm Economy?

Alistair Watson

Freelance Economist, Melbourne,

(Comments on an Australian Farm Institute Research Report ‘Australia’s Farm-Dependent Economy: Analysis of the Role of Agriculture in the Australian Economy’, published in March 2005[1])

The purpose of this paper is to discuss a recent report by Econtech for the Australian Farm Institute and Horticulture Australia Limited that develops another way of measuring direct and indirect links between agriculture and the rest of the economy. The principal conclusion of the paper is that the measure put forward by Econtech and actively promoted by the Australian Farm Institute is misleading and unhelpful in the development of farm policies.

Paper 41

Drought Policy

John Freebairn

Director of the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research at the University of Melbourne

Droughts are a recurring feature for the Australian rural sector. Clearly, most of eastern Australia is in the grip of a severe and prolonged drought, agricultural production will fall, farm incomes are down, and some families are in difficult financial circumstances. Not surprisingly, the lobby groups are seeking government support, and the Commonwealth and State governments are again reviewing their responses. It is useful to consider the arguments for government assistance for drought, and the form such assistance might take, in terms of direct income assistance to families to meet society equity goals and in terms of subsidies to farm businesses.

Paper 42

Water dilemma flows on

John Quiggin

Federation Fellow, School of Economics, Faculty of Business, Economics and Law, University of Queensland

Despite the recent rains, the problem of water shortages in Australia is not going to go away. The problem is not one of inadequate total supply (on a per person basis, Australia has plenty of water), but one of competing demands for water in specific locations. Politically determined boundaries can make a big difference, and a dispute over these boundaries has opened up within the Commonwealth government.



Bill Malcolm Glenn Ronan

Co-editor and
Associate Professor
School of Agr & Food Systems Faculty of Land and Food Resources
The University of Melbourne
Victoria, Australia

Co-editor and
Principal Strategy Consultant, Corporate Strategy and Policy,
Primary Industries and Resources South Australia


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