Originally published in Crikey on October 17, 2006

Our national myth is that of the stoical farmer battling the elements and never succumbing. But the $1 billion plus in drought relief granted over the last few years is an expensive means of sustaining an anachronism. Sometimes we have to be cruel to be kind, and that means refusing to pretend that if we can get marginal farms over this hump everything will return to normal. Instead of another round of drought relief, both the taxpayer and the marginal farmer − not to mention the land itself − would be better served by a one-off scheme to close down farms that are not viable in a drought-prone continent.

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