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Beat the drum for the bush

IT is to be hoped the new National Party leader gets down to the realities of the ailing, disappearing ‘bush’, I mean the various causes, many of which Joe Poprzecny points out in his column of Business News 12/4/01.

One of the most relevant factors of the situation, probably the most important, being the way bush people educate their young by usually sending them off to the city (or even the regional) schools, colleges and institutions, in other words centralisation.

The usual results of this practical are:

l The best of the ‘boarders’ become part of the city commerce, government or industry and rarely get back to the farm.

l The bush schools are shunned by the best educators, ensuring that standards never rise, which in turn results in more parents avoiding the local schools, a vicious circle.

l The loss of the more gifted results in the less brain and initiative on the farm, evidence of this is the proliferation of farm management firms and services, which are usually city based and which do not necessarily add to bush wealth or people.

In 1970, I aired these views at a couple of PC meetings at our local bush school of Gairdner, where I noted most parents citied their children after the primary period.

I am afraid my assessment went over their heads and, not the slightest notice was taken.

Occasionally I still gave it a plug and importantly tried to practice what I preached, by using the local Jerramungup Junior High School .

Well so much for that. I even wrote to politicians, even top Nationals, with only one acknowledging my interest for the bush.

The impression I got was suspicion of anything, anyone, not officially party (i.e. not Nat) orientated, in other words a closed shop mentality, which I am afraid is endemic and irrational in the sense that as a farmer my interests cannot be much different from any other farmer or country person.

This faction (and others) need to be understood and appreciated to become united in this sense not by purely being a political party member if the bush is to be of real significance and repopulate.

I think, and believe the bush needs to look at itself, first of all on the education point, for its there where philosophies are formed.

Then, the practice of city investing (real estate). Invest in local industry such as transport engineering etc.

People never mind the self destructive notion of tiny or no family.

Peter Bertola

Esperance

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