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Mildura
A sensitive issue but I read Tim's article to be about the wine industry not whether or not a coal mine would be better than wine at Margaret River. The wine industry at grower level is being hung out to dry by processors and international marketing people. Input costs of growing grapes rises every year whereas returns to growers have been falling for atleast seven years; maybe this year will see a small price increase to growers but, how many years before price per tonne exceeds costs of production? The industry is still propped up by off-farm income to the wine growers' housholds. It is important to remember that as a primary industry diminishes the off-farm income opportunities also diminish as the local population diminishes when families move away for employment reasons and thus demand for all local services diminish: have a look at the warm-areas where small businesses and towns are dying. The wine industry is in serious trouble now, it is already too late to look for some future options for some people and communities; coal mining is probably not the right industry for Margaret River but, as for the wine industry across Australia something needs to change now not in two or three years time.