Mr RAMSEY (Grey–Government Whip) (16:20): About a week ago, I took the opportunity to visit a region out to the east of Burra in my electorate, to Eudunda, which is severely affected by the current dry conditions of the drought. I toured with some young farmers and had a look at the properties out there. Pretty much, we are just talking about bare paddocks. The input costs from their crops, their wheat and their fertilisers are gone. Many of their stock are gone because they’ve had to take them off the property. The thing that struck me the most was when I was shown a paddock that had been shut up for 18 months to preserve feed for these livestock only to find out that the kangaroos had eaten the lot. I’ll probably have more to say about that on another matter, but those who oppose our kangaroo industry should go and have a look at the reality of the kind of damage that is doing to the environment. It’s actually denuding the ground. They’ve ruined our exports.
I’m pleased with the Commonwealth support thus far for those who are living the reality of the drought at the moment, but I think we really need to keep our finger on the button in this area. We certainly don’t want to lose a generation of farmers off the farm, and neither do we want to set up a cradle-to-the-grave welfare system. It’s a matter of getting that balance right. I want to tell the people of my electorate that my ears are open, the ears of the minister are open and the ears of the Prime Minister are open, and I will carry that message.