A Share of Mining Royalties

March 2014. It's election time here in South Australia. Three rural Mayors have published a letter in the printed press about a "Royalties For Regions" type program to provide a long-term funding model for rural infrastructure.

In an 8-part series … A Proposition For Change … I described a similar funding model for the most challenging problem confronting the agricultural regions and rural folk in the years ahead. 

Whilst local government representatives want more funding for roads and regional development, it will be a very difficult task to sway the political masters of the need for a sustainable funding model. The campaign has just begun, and it's going to be long and slow.

Local governments in South Australia have avoided becoming too involved in state politics.

However, in this day and age, it seems that if any organisation or group or community wants to advance a cause, there are few options other than becoming a hard-head in politics.

Maybe it's time for rural people to break away and form their own political party in this state, because what has happened in the past 10 years or so is a concentration of decision-making and organisational structures in Adelaide. It's what I call - Adelaide-centric.

I wrote to the three Mayors to give them another perspective on rural regions. Here's the letter.

Source : "The Advertiser", Tuesday February 25, 2014

Dear Mayor

It was with interest that I read your joint letter in The Advertiser on Tuesday 25/2/14.

How right you are about a "Royalties for Regions" program. However, your reasons are quite different to mine about the need for a RFR style program.

Recently  I sent a letter to the Premier and the Opposition Leader about one of the two or three most important issues confronting this state. Copies have also been sent the The Greens and Family First. The replies from the major parties were exceedingly disappointing. No response has been received from The Greens or Family First.

Nevertheless, it was Rob Brokenshire of FF who tried to introduce legislation into parliament in October last year about a "Royalties for Regions" program. It failed.

So, what am I on about? In an 8-part series I have written here … A Proposition For Change … about regional RE-development, I have raised the prospect of a 10% transfer (about $23m pa) of mining royalties just to provide kick-start funding for what could/should be a new source of income for farmers and rural communities. There are multiple benefits.

It is all about using the Carbon Farming Initiative on a landscape scale across 10% of the area of the agricultural regions. It is also about providing hope and employment in the thousands for rural communities that will most likely need to confront predicted decline in rainfall and decline in agricultural output in the coming decades. And it is also about confronting the great risk of ecosystem collapse in the remnant land-based systems that exist in agricultural areas.

The 8-part series I have written is not based solely on my opinions, but rather on what is contained in numerous studies and reports that are in the public domain. One of the most recent, but alarming, reports is State of the Environment 2013. This is a clarion call for action if ever there was one.

So, who am I? Just an ordinary bloke who has very deep concerns about the future of the rural regions in the coming decades, and who is very concerned about the Adelaide-centric "vision", investment, and policy direction that have dominated political thought during the past decade.

The reason why this has happened is in Part 3 of the series. Just 4.4% of state gross product is attributed to agricultural production. SA is a service-based economy and the rural sector is in a slow downward spiral and diminishing role … unless rural people wake up to that fact! 

I would be very interested in your views on my proposal. It is just one piece of a jigsaw for rural recovery.

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to your reply.


What seems to be little understood by local governments and their communities is what action is needed right now to begin the transition to a new agri-economy in light of what lies ahead in terms of climate change. 

Want to know more?

Agricultural Land Condition           New Direction For Farming         About Landscape Change

I have described what is needed in Agricultural landscapes recovery, but who among local governments will take up this challenge? Who will take those first steps to aknowledge that their future partly lies in replacing what has been removed by massive land clearance? Who will understand that here is an answer to transition their local economy? 

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