Queensland is suffering its worst drought on record. The number of drought stricken shires in the state has risen from 23 to 38 with even large sections of the coast being included.
The Abbott government’s response has been to announce a $320 million drought support package for farmers. This package is basically a corporate subsidy primarily aimed at supporting agribusiness.
While announcing the package Abbott dismissed the link between the drought and climate change. This is despite climate science clearly showing that a combination of low rainfall and high temperatures has lead to the development drought conditions in both Queensland and New South Wales.
Ultimately subsidies to agribusiness is no way to deal with droughts. If this issue is to be genuinely addressed we need to focus on taking urgent action to address climate change. Investment in renewable energy and mass public transport should be the top priorities.
At the same time the introduction of a sustainable plan of production for the agriculture sector would be the most efficient way to produce goods. For this to work the big farms and agribusinesses should be brought into public hands and run democratically.
By Aishwarya Ramji