After a full three weeks of touring NSW I returned on the weekend to rain. 24 mil fell over the last two days with heavier falls towards Moree and Goondiwindi. Even after the substantial flooding we received in January some areas are thirsting for precipitation, especially those areas untouched by both flood water and rain. It was quite amazing to see many areas of NSW green and lush and equally interesting to get to chat with some of the locals. At Grafton a dairy farmer is suggesting a boycott of Coles Supermarkets. Many await with scepticism for the pricing enquiry into the milk debacle which will be held at the end of the month. Along many areas of the coast people are hurting from the increasing cost of living. A newspaper article in the Central Coast region said crime had increased due to parents inability to support their children. Food theft is on the rise. Out at Penrith which sits at the base of the Blue Mountains I was told how impossible it was to live on a pension.  These are issues we read in the paper and hear on the radio every day, yet it is totally different when we sit and talk to people about their problems. Indeed one lady asked me when we stopped being the ‘Lucky Country’. In Sydney a real estate pal said that interest in 1 to 1.5 million dollar residences (inner city housing) had all but dried up. At the higher end, 5 mill plus, things were slow but 10 mill plus was still simmering away. The 1 to 1.5 mill bracket is considered by some real estate agents to be the ‘aspirational’ level. For those of us in the bush we have a tendency to think ‘Wow, all that money in an asset and it doesn’t actually produce anything’.

My thought for the day comes from a conversation I had with an environmentalist in the New England region. He asked me how farmers and graziers would exist once stringent laws came into effect to protect the environment. When I asked what these laws consisted of he walked away. The next day on the radio an eminent scientist suggested the following: if world instabilty continues both through natural disasters and civil conflict and by necessity countries become net importers of goods, it is possible that hardline environmental agencies will have to recognise the need to feed the world and become more realistic in their approach. Here’s to commonsense!