Rural concerns need addressing

29 Mar, 2006 08:45 PM
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KOJONUP farmer Trish Webb says politicians should pay more attention to rural residents' concerns considering most of the state's export dollars come from rural industries.

Mrs Webb said rural livelihoods were dependant on people being able to stay in the country and without a decent level of services that would be difficult.

"Our businesses depend on us staying on our farms," she said.

"The government has to look at options to keep young rural people out here running rural businesses and farms, otherwise farming areas will suffer as the drain of young people to the city continues."

Mrs Webb said there was poor representation of the rural community in Parliament because electorates were too big for one MP to service properly.

She said the issue could become more of a concern when one-vote, one-value electoral boundaries changed.

"The weight of voters in the city tends to sway politicians and decision-makers much more than the rural voice," Mrs Webb said.

"Even in a town like Kojonup there is only one full-time GP and you must pay the full fee as there is no bulk billing available.

"In terms of education, we felt we had to send our kids to Perth for high schooling for them to have access to the best possible opportunities."

Mrs Webb said there was no reliable broadband internet service on the farm, despite the Webbs running their farm business from home.

"All we have is dial-up, which is very slow," she said.

"The tyranny of distance is definitely tricky.

"Getting stock, grain and produce to Perth is also very costly because of the distance.

"All our food and basic supplies in Kojonup are more expensive than in the city because of the cost getting it here."

Mrs Webb runs a 1900ha mixed farming operation with her husband about 10km outside of Kojonup.

They run Merino sheep for meat and wool and have a mixed cropping program.

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