Cattle grazier questions government preparedness for second harvest in pandemic

Politics flagged as big harvest threat

Opinion
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COMMENT: The biggest manageable threat to this year's harvest is politics.

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POLITICAL HARVEST: Government management of COVID-19 and its Delta strain will unnecessarily impact the second grain harvest to be carried out during the pandemic, according to Peter Mailler.

POLITICAL HARVEST: Government management of COVID-19 and its Delta strain will unnecessarily impact the second grain harvest to be carried out during the pandemic, according to Peter Mailler.

The world feels like a very uncertain place lately.

In reality though, the world is remarkably predictable.

Science is the best tool we have for understanding the world around us, and it is proving to be increasingly reliable.

Politicians continually explain away their failures by suggesting that circumstances they did not foresee were unforeseeable.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a classic example.

Political leaders insist the pandemic, and its global impacts, were unforeseeable.

But for as long as I can remember, scientists have been warning the world of the inevitability of a global pandemic.

We are now almost two years into the current pandemic, and politicians are still on the back foot and reacting.

Politicians continue to under-react and over-react almost simultaneously, which is seeding uncertainty in the community and undermining science - which remains the most useful tool in understanding and managing the world we live in.

The great thing about farming is that it tends to ground you in nature.

Every day, the sun rises and sets, the seasons roll-on and - while the weather remains a challenge - we know what to expect.

When we plant seeds, we know that - weather permitting - there will be a harvest.

We even pretty much know when that will be.

We plan for it and, amazingly, the agricultural industry has evolved to be able to manage a complex and demanding logistics challenge so that the national harvest actually works.

Somehow though, politics is undermining this too.

This year presents our second harvest in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But politicians and bureaucrats seem to be just as unaware of predictable circumstances, and similarly unprepared.

Or is it that they just don't really care?

State-based health directives are again wreaking havoc with essential agricultural work across borders, and pointlessly dividing communities and creating uncertainty and acrimony.

They will of course argue that this is all because of the Delta strain of COVID-19, which is "different".

The truth is that Delta is managed the same way as the earlier strain.

People should get vaccinated, and they should exercise care around other people.

Ideally, they should wear a mask and practice good hygiene, including sanitising hands and not touching their face.

It is important to minimise contact and unnecessary movements in the community.

Harvest is certainly a busy time, but it is remarkably self-isolating.

People operate inside machinery cabs, with little to no mingling.

Truck drivers move frequently, but to a limited number of points.

The harvest risk of spreading COVID-19 is manageable without the bureaucratic border tangle.

Compounding the challenge for common sense around borders for harvest, though, is an underlying political opportunism.

The thing that is really different this year is a pending federal election.

There is no doubt that quarantine and vaccinations have been bungled.

It is a festering political wound for the Prime Minister, and Labor will amplify that perception for the upcoming election.

Labor will exploit community angst about COVID-19 and leverage state-based dissent on pandemic management.

The biggest manageable threat to this year's harvest is politics.

- Peter Mailler is a third generation grain and cattle farmer on the NSW/Queensland border.

The story Cattle grazier questions government preparedness for second harvest in pandemic first appeared on Stock & Land.

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