Tom Melville 0:00 Hi, I'm Tom Melville, and welcome to voice of real Australia. Each episode we bring your people, places and perspectives from beyond the big cities. Before we get into the episode we want to hear from you. You can help improve the podcast by taking part in our listener survey. You can find the link in our show notes on this episode,
Norman Moeris 0:21 worst trouble is coming out of a three year drought, a reasonable good harvest and then flogged with a bloody mice. That's what hurts.
Tom Melville 0:30 After years of drought fires and floods, farmers in New South Wales have been hit by another natural disaster, a mouse plague, we find out what exactly is going on and when it will end. But first, a seaside Victorian site may well rewrite the history of human occupation of Australia and change the global story of where we came from. In Module also known as point Richie, scientists working with people of the gunditjmara nation have unraveled an extraordinary human story. The Warrnambool standards Kyra Gillespie takes us to the sacred site.
Kyra Gillespie 1:06 From Moyjil you can gaze out over a bassalt reef to the mighty Southern Ocean. In the winter and spring, Southern right whales can be seen just a few hundred metres offshore. The occasional seal likes to drop by and frolic amongst the kelp. immediately to the east of the head land is the mouth of the Hopkins River. To the west is lady Bay and the Warrnambool breakwater. At sunrise and sunset, the view can be breathtaking. There's more than a stunning vista to Moyjil, the rocks beneath your feet, The Heath covered dunes and the life in the Hopkins river tell a great story. The story of a people who lived and gathered at this place for 10s of 1000s of years.
John Sherwood 1:51 If moil turns out to be proven as a human site, it will double the time of human occupation of Australia. And it will also have implications for how rapidly modern humans migrated out of Africa, across Asia, down into Australia. And so it will just be another interesting chapter in the human story. And I'm sure we don't know the full human story just yet.
Kyra Gillespie 2:20 I meet Professor john Sherwood on the rocky module clifftop on a moody autumn afternoon in Warrnambool at the end of Victoria's iconic Great Ocean Road.
John Sherwood 2:29 dr. john Sherwood from Deakin University's School of Life and Environmental Sciences here in wonderful Victoria.
Kyra Gillespie 2:36 Some shells found here are 120,000 years old. What john wants to know is did people put them there.
John Sherwood 2:44 If you look down here on the rock platform, you can see some very blackened stones there are some stones which are white and only partly black and there are some stones which are red, but there is this clustering of very dark black stones
Kyra Gillespie 2:59 Moyjil is about 10 minutes drive from Wombles main drag contains the remains of shellfish, crabs and fish in cemented sand together with charcoal, blackened stones and features which resemble campfires.
John Sherwood 3:13 You can also see over here, some of these broken shell fragments that I was talking about. And if you look closely, you can see they're very sharp edge they're not like we'd expect to find on this very high energetic ocean coast where shells are normally tumbled round and round and become smooth.
Kyra Gillespie 3:32 The site has been the focus of intense scrutiny for decades. It all began 40 years ago when john Sherwood, then a young academic arrived in warrnambool from Sydney, then Dr. Jim bola took an interest in the site.
John Sherwood 3:47 The most recent phase of research the last 10 or 12 years, developed when Jim bola who some people may know as the man who discovered the Lake Mungo skeletons, the oldest known cremation in the world and the oldest known ceremonial burial in the world. Jim knocked on my door one day literally and said that it was about time we started to do some serious work to solve the puzzle of the Moyjil site
Kyra Gillespie 4:12 Moyjil which in Aboriginal language means long dragnet or basket belongs to the country of the gunditjmara nation
Craig Edwards 4:22 My name is Craig Edwards, the Aboriginal cultural heritage manager, Natural Resource Manager for Eastern Maar Aboriginal corporation. We're on Gundijmara country,, I'm a Gunditjmara man, with Peek Wurrong and Kirrae-Wuurong language groups, but I also have Wadawurrung flowing through my veins as well... I'm very proud of that.
Kyra Gillespie 4:42 Craig, and I walk out to the topmost point of the Moyjil headland. Craig Edwards 4:46 We as Aboriginal people don't put a timeframe on that we've been here forever, what people have been here forever, but in context of what we're looking at, and I mean, they're pretty close to talking about 120 thousand years which just is mind blowing, you know, to think that that could be the case. And that just rewrites history all together,
Kyra Gillespie 5:08 Craig points out the areas his ancestors would have set up camp, warming their hands up against small fires, and harvesting and feasting on the plants and abundant seafood. preserved within the rocks and dunes is a story of Indigenous connection to land, over 10s of 1000s of years.
Craig Edwards 5:27 You can imagine the mobs just from the net across here, while the eels are coming through their migration. I've seen the younger eels heading up the river and up the Hopkins falls and they're climbing the rocks. They are an amazing, amazing animal. It's such a great food source for our people. And our mob knew that back then. So it wouldn't have to go any further. You got plenty of vegetation and Tucker around, this would have been a beautiful spot to sit here and get a good view of what's coming. What's going and want to talk to you. What would you have to move.
Kyra Gillespie 6:00 JOHN says the Gunditjmara people have been involved throughout the process, but aren't massively concerned about science determining when their ancestors arrived in the area.
John Sherwood 6:10 The traditional owners have been involved very heavily right through this last phase or most intense phase of our research. And they've been very supportive of the research. But they roll their eyes a little bit about Western scientists fascination with dates and ages because in their beliefs, or Aboriginal people have always been here and they've been here since the dream time. And so they every time I guess scientists find an older date in Australia. It only confirms their belief that they've always been here.
Kyra Gillespie 6:46 Moyjil is a popular spot among locals. Most afternoons. The riverbanks are dotted with dog walkers and children sitting cross legged building sandcastles, with the water lapping lazily at the sandy edges. For many years, people have played and fished and walked along the side, not realizing the significance of the area. Craig has fond memories of fishing here as a kid.
Craig Edwards 7:11 You know, my early days are very loving, I think about all those times as early days running around and then we yield. We did a lot of early we ate a lot of Ale, mass roaming and believe it or not picking peas in the paddy. My grandmother was a really she loved fishing. We used to come down here a little bit, not a lot, but we were down to Hopkins falls a lot pop. He did some ill stone traps as well down on the river there. So they still there today.
Kyra Gillespie 7:38 It's archaeological importance has seen module given special protection by the Victorian Government in 2013. Through an ongoing protection declaration. There's no doubt the sand dune behind the 12 meter high head land is 120,000 years old. JOHN Sherwood says controversy lies in whether humans were there to
John Sherwood 7:59 the oldest known sites in Australia around 50 to 60,000 years. And so we have here at module a site that is 120,000 years old, we're very confident the age. But of course, there are various ways a shell bed like this could form. And what the archaeological community are saying is that if you are going to double the time of arrival of people in Australia, then you need very high level of proof. And so what the research is doing now is looking for that elusive conclusive proof if you're like that would establish absolutely that this side is a human site.
Kyra Gillespie 8:35 Now, this is where it all gets a bit technical. To understand what john means by this, you have to pedal way back
John Sherwood 8:42 Here at Moyjil. We're lucky in that we've got layered one on top of the other, a whole series of occupation sites by Aboriginal people. And these all contain an abundance of one particular shellfish. It's called turbo undulatus. So it's a snail shell with a beautiful green and white stripy shell pattern. And it was a major food item for Aboriginal people. And they would collect them from the rocky platforms around module and go up front of the sand dunes behind it and break open the shellfish with simple stones and eat the shellfish around campfires.
Kyra Gillespie 9:19 However, seagulls might poke some holes in the theory. John Sherwood 9:23 And so with good science, you have to look at all the possible causes for a site like this. And one of the possible causes is that it's due to seabirds in particular, the Pacific goal which is a bird that we know collects turbo angelakis, it flies up high on a rocky cliff and drops a shell to break the shell open on the rock civic goals will return time after time after time to the same rock and drop their shells repeatedly so that over time you get a collection of sharp edge broken fragments of basically one species Does that sound familiar?
Kyra Gillespie 9:59 But of course Most seagulls don't like campfires, which is where the research gets interesting.
John Sherwood 10:05 Even with wildfire, the rocks here I've got very very shallow, thin soils. We know from fossils, snails land snails that we find in the sense here that the vegetation was always a heathland of vegetation, very light timbered. And so, in order to blackened stones like we find at the site, you need intensity over four or 500 degrees for up to an hour. And those sort of fire conditions wouldn't be found on a heathland, the evidence could all be explained with a single cause. And that's a human cause.
Kyra Gillespie 10:41 How though, do you get very, very strong proof? The research attracted the attention of world renowned Professor Paul Goldberg from Boston University. He came out to the site in 2020, and spent weeks extracting samples to take back to the United States to test then, the COVID pandemic hit, and the samples have been stuck in Melbourne labs, unable to be transported to the US. The last key to the mystery potentially is still in lockdown.
John Sherwood 11:14 So we're waiting impatiently I must admit, but waiting for the samples now to be impregnated with resin, which is the first step and that's going to happen at the University of Wollongong. And then they'll be sent overseas to be cut into the very thin sections that Paul Goldberg will use to examine under the microscope.
Kyra Gillespie 11:34 All of this research only confirms the belief of Aboriginal people that they have been here since the dream time. The Easton maar Aboriginal corporation is the registered Aboriginal party over a large portion of land in southwest Victoria, including the Great Ocean Road, East and maar are the primary guardians, keepers and knowledge holders for the management and protection of Aboriginal culture in the area. It wants to incorporate more Aboriginal culture into tourism experiences along the gradation borrowed to inform and educate the wider community about traditional owner connection to country. Craig Edwards, again,
Craig Edwards 12:14 we need everybody to really understand the significance of, you know, the areas that they are visiting, they're walking on land that our people have been here and walking on for 1000s of years. And if they understand and really acknowledge the cultural significance of that, they will be so much better off, you know, the gradation road is massive. I mean, that is second to the Great Barrier Reef, in terms of tourism, that's massive, massive, and to get a cultural perspective, because they're not getting that at the moment. There's there's sightseeing and a little bit of information around shipwrecks in the shipwreck coast. But they're not getting a cultural perspective. We are working with tourism tutorial, making sure that you know whoever comes to visit your beautiful country, takes it back home and really understands and respects that.
Kyra Gillespie 13:08 Earlier this year. An ancient ceremonial stone arrangement here in western Victoria was damaged by a farmer. Craig says traditional owners reacted with shock and sadness after the destruction of the sacred Kuang site in like, bolak.
Craig Edwards 13:24 Yeah, it's a dagger in your heart. And we don't want to lose all that there. They've been there, we don't know whether 1012 15,000 20,000 years old woman, you know, to know where people have been there and done that. And it's been there for that amount of time. And then to say that the steroid is just to
Kyra Gillespie 13:43 it adds to a long history of disregard for Aboriginal culture, and significant sites across Australia. Craig says it makes the kind of work being done at module all the more important in preserving the country's rich indigenous history.
Craig Edwards 13:58 Unfortunately, the legalities and the legislation around protection of Aboriginal cultural heritage doesn't do enough. And we've got to change that. We've got to work with the government to make sure that these sites are protected forever. We don't want to lose him. And that's just the bottom line for me. We keep destroying. We've got nothing for our future. We got nothing for our kids. And that's not just average people that's full for all our people in Australia. You know, I mean, our history is your history.
Kyra Gillespie 14:27 JOHN says this has been the driving force behind his work. John Sherwood 14:31 It'll be very satisfying to get a final answer to something that's occupied such a large part of my scientific life. But it also I think, will place even greater emphasis on the the longevity of Aboriginal culture and Aboriginal occupation in Australia. Hopefully raise the profile of Aboriginal society and continue the process. I think we've started have greater recognition of our traditional owners. T
om Melville 15:00 JOHN Sherwood they're waiting impatiently to rewrite the history books. Thanks to Kira Gillespie from the WArrnambool standard for that story. Now, regional New South Wales is under attack. A mouse plague of biblical proportions is overwhelming farms and homes from the northwest to the riverina. It's predicted the vermin will cut the value of the state's winter crop by $1 billion. And some estimates suggests farmers are paying up to $150,000 each to combat the mice. Mouse numbers have been building since before Christmas last year. But a mild and dry March saw the population explode. farmers in regional communities are taking a huge hit financially and mentally. So what's going on? And is it normal? And crucially, is there an end in sight? Producer Laura Corrigan finds out
Norman Moeris 15:51 at night when they were really bad. It was just a shimmering of like water. There's that many there, they're on top of each other. You just couldn't put another one in between them.
Grace Ryan 16:01 They just make you feel dirty, like they make you feel like you're a dirty person we've got a toddler is crawling. So there's also that just germs everywhere. That's always playing on your mind as well. The shops in town, they were couldn't sort of really stack in there on the shelves that wasn't either teen or packed away in boxes, you know, like they were just into everything. And the stench of it as people in town getting turned away from coming to a coffee shop and just the smell of the mice.
Andrew Bouffler 16:29 They just leave I wouldn't know the number of mice that was coming out of this little track though there was nearly like a waterfall. It was a constant flow of mice just piling out the back of it that had gone into this truck. The floor of the shed was literally alive with mice, I was sleeping away.
Norman Moeris 16:46 And all of a sudden I saw this stabbing the back of my head which was very painful. And I found later that it wasn't a stab at all. It was a blood mail spike.
Laura Corrigan 17:02 These are just some of the horror stories coming out of Central New South Wales mice in huge numbers have been reported from Southern Queensland to Western Victoria. The rodents have devastated haystacks, emptied silos made homes out of people's pantries and their propensity to chew wires has broken down vehicles and even brought down mobile phone networks.
Norman Moeris 17:21 Norman Morris from gilgandra farmer of probably 2800 acres of farming, mixed farming. A 65 year old been on his farm for 50 odd years. And sometimes I wonder whether it should be but I'll keep doing it. Laura Corrigan 17:39 Norman Moeris has been dealing with the mice since the end of last year,
Norman Moeris 17:43 January, February, March was probably the worst one, where I was getting probably five and 6000 a night just in the buckets random silos in the house and that but then we were probably poisoned then probably 10 to 15,000. Also,
Laura Corrigan 18:00 Norman is surprisingly optimistic all things considered, he tells me there's always someone worse off than him. At the peak of the invasion, Norman was killing five to 6000 mice per night. Now he says he's down to just five or 600
Norman Moeris 18:15 cost but you just got to build that into the farming sort of thing. But the worst trouble is coming out of a three year drought, a reasonable good harvest and then flogged with a bloody mice. That's what herten it's physically mentally and monetary. Nearly every hay shed around, it's been filled up because of the good season, and mice have just ruined it. There's blokes just burning hay stacks around course there's that many mice in
Laura Corrigan 18:45 A farmer for 50 years now, Norman has lived through his share of mouse plagues. And he says this is one of the worst
Norman Moeris 18:53 We've kept grain there for the next drought to put away in bags and all that and the mice have just ruined them. I've lost 30 or 40 sheep and probably another 60 are crook. We had a bit of rain A while back and the water washed the mice into a dam and the sheep drank the water and got salmonella and died.
Steve Henry 19:14 So this is the introduced house mouse mus musculus domesticus probably came on the first flight wonderful stowaways. They're basically everywhere where humans are on the planet.
Laura Corrigan 19:24 I turned to the mouse plague expert Steve Henry to understand more about what's going on. Steve Henry 19:29 I'm Steve Henry and I'm a research officer with csiro I guess I have a almost a slightly unique position because I sit at the interface between science and industry. And I've got a good understanding of of cropping systems and farming systems in general. And that enables me to relay information in both directions from farmers to scientists and from scientists to farmers.
Laura Corrigan 19:53 Steve says a plague like this happens every 10 to 20 years after a long dry period. Sound familiar?
Steve Henry 20:00 We don't fully understand why we don't get a full on mouse outbreak like this every time we have a good season. But it does seem to come at the end of a run of dry years. And baby, there's less stability in the population after all of those dry years. And so mice are able to breed on unchecked.
Laura Corrigan 20:18 The New South Wales drought broken conditions were good for grown crops, but they were also favorable for breeding. There's lots of food and shelter around and the weather is good. So you also get a lot of the baby mice surviving.
Steve Henry 20:31 All of those animals are going on to breed then the rate of increase is dramatic, because my start breeding when they're six weeks old, and they can have a litter of six to 10 pups every night 18 to 21 days after that. But also, as soon as they give birth to the first litter they fall pregnant with the second litter. So that means that the rate of increase is really dramatic.
Laura Corrigan 20:51 That's a lot of mice, very quickly. The New South Wales government has called this mouse plague a natural disaster and is providing a one-hundred-million-dollar assistance package to help those affected. Households and shops can claim a rebate of up to one-thousand dollars for mouse bait. Farmer's can get 50-percent back, up to 10-thousand dollars. And the government has put its support behind the rat poison Bromadiolone. It plans to provide the bait, free for farmers if it's approved by the regulator. The safety of the anticoagulant has been questioned because the mouse carcass becomes toxic putting other animals at risk. For now, the bait of choice is Zinc Phosphide but that doesn't come without its risks either -- several people have been poisoned by the industrial strength bait.
Xavier Martin 21:33 So my name is Xavier Martin, and I'm Vice President of New South Wales farmers Association. And I farm on the Liverpool Plains near Gunnedah. You know when I walked into the office here a minute ago, I kicked three or four mice out of the road of the door as I came in. It's a plague
Laura Corrigan 21:49 New South Wales farmers Association have surveyed their members to try and measure the impact of the mouse plague, they estimate the cost so far to be at least $1 billion Xavier Martin 21:59 40% of farmers are reducing their area. And all those that are reducing the average reduction is 30% of their farm area. So that's how we very quickly factor in the crop types and how we quickly come to over a billion dollars where the farm gave value and extraordinary hit on the rural economy. The farm economy, we're also saying just what the impact is economically across fodder and pastures, improvements in other damaging sheds and houses. The survey
Laura Corrigan 22:33 of 2000 respondents looked at the impact of the plague on mental health as well.
Xavier Martin 22:38 Most importantly, the impact on human health and mental health. The feedback we had was really quite extraordinary. And you know to see 93% concern that plague has led to unsafe accommodation for their family and employees at night and 7% feel the stress levels in making farm business decisions are significant and 30% of those so they're very impacted.
Andrew Bouffler 23:05 So I'm Andrew Bouffler. We farm in southern New South Wales, near a little town called Lockhart, which is about 60 ks west of Wagga
Laura Corrigan 23:14 Riverina farmer Andrew Bouffler says the mouse plague feels inescapable sometimes
Andrew Bouffler 23:19 when you're dealing with a good drought I've got quite a good ability to walk away from my problems at the end of the day and shut the door and grab a beer and leave the problem outside but mice don't like to play by the same set of rules and like to follow inside you so when you try to get to some respite from the reasonably tough autumn to go in and first thing you do is change half a dozen mousetraps and then you sit down and then the mouse comes out and you hear the traps going off and we've poisoned on under the house and the smell as you walk in your back door is not overly pleasant. Laura Corrigan 23:48 Andrew says he tries not to ruminate on what could have been
Andrew Bouffler 23:51 my mind advice for mental health and things is to not beat yourself up with the advantage of hindsight. Sometimes that right decision you make at the time ends up being a good decision. Sometimes it ends up being a poor decision. But with the information at hand if you make what you think's the right decision, but it ends up having a poor outcome. You can't beat yourself up
Laura Corrigan 24:10 New South Wales farmers Association, welcome to the government's commitment of $100 million. But Xavier Martin says they're skeptical about how it will be spent.
Xavier Martin 24:19 There doesn't seem to be anything meaningful coming back to the paddock at this stage that actually kills mice. Not one mouse has been killed by this program yet but we're aware of you know, whilst the optics are great that I guess it's a natural disaster, big tick Buddhists. Another big tick. See isn't killing mice. Now it's not so at the moment. It's an impractical offer.
Laura Corrigan 24:45 Of course, money and mental health aren't the only concerns. Health Professionals warn that mice carry disease.
Darrell Jordison 24:52 The doctor said to me What made you call an ambulance on the Monday and he said that phone call so Your life. In all honesty said you want to last till the morning
Laura Corrigan 25:03 Darrell Jordison runs a cattle and crop farm in Gulargambone Northwestern New South Wales. At the beginning of this year after harvest, he started to feel very lethargic and sore in his joints.
Darrell Jordison 25:14 Are you I didn't feel right. I was starting to get a bit down over at all. And I just was achieving nothing during the day and battled on with that for three months and just feeling all that and in about January, I began to get a sore neck like a really, really sore neck like a job One day,
Laura Corrigan 25:35 he went to a chiropractor and pushed on then in February, his symptoms worsened.
Darrell Jordison 25:39 I woke up one morning and my left knee was the size of a football all swollen up. And I said to my wife, I said, she said, You must have bumped it. And I said, No, I haven't done they do. I just woke up like this is a tall swan. And about three days later. It went down and annoy started feeling like I was coming down the flu. I was hot. I was called.
Laura Corrigan 26:03 He was knocked down by fever on a day out in dubbo. He tried to sleep it off at home, but the flu like symptoms persisted. He had a fever of 40 and a half degrees.
Darrell Jordison26:12 I didn't get any sleep in the back of my neck was starting. Really I had a headache that got really bad. I became sensitive to light. I couldn't handle the curtains in the room been opened and I made the decision. I said a colleague or wife I said just your medical name once said I'm not good er.
Laura Corrigan 26:33 Doctors tested him for Ross river fever and Q fever and COVID-19. Of course, he had symptoms of meningitis. So they performed a lumbar puncture to get a sample of his spinal fluid for testing.
Darrell Jordison 26:44 And they came in and he said he had some good news and some bad news. And I said, Oh, you better give me the good news. First. He said we've confirmed you've got meningitis. And I said all that's good. And he said then we can start trading now he said but the bad news is your cell count was 211. And he said you've got a massive infection in your brain fluid and your spinal cord. I could sense there was a little bit urgency and panic in his voice when he was telling me this and the big risk is that with with an infection in your brain fluid like that, with the inflammation, your scalp can expand So it puts pressure on your brain. Some of the side effects that brain damage or strokes.
Laura Corrigan 27:28 After a week in hospital, Darrell was taken home where he stayed in bed for four weeks recovering. He's the first known person in Australia to contract lymphocytic choriomeningitis a road and bond disease
Darrell Jordison 27:42 I have plenty of time in bed so I started reading up on on this and found out that one in three household mice carry the virus. I talked to the doctor about this and he said look it would have been you know, as easy as just not washing your hands after dealing with a trap or feeding a bale of hay out with some urine on the string. He says it could also be air so like could be spread in the wind you know with it with some PR or something like that. I don't know a hell of a lot about it obviously because no one's had it.
Laura Corrigan 28:16 Darrell says it took him six weeks to get his energy back to start eating properly again, he'd lost 11 kilos. He kept waiting to discover some severe side effects but thankfully hasn't noticed anything major. But says his hearing isn't what it was after his ordeal Darrell his biggest piece of advice is don't put off seeing your doctor
Darrell Jordison 28:34 read a lot of other farmers not just farmers but a lot of other men that could take a bit of advice if you are on no different anybody else I feel like you're getting the flu take a bit of nurofen and go to bed and you know battle on but I think if you even if you have more on someone's have been sick I think like like I had the high temperature and feeling bad like just just get to the doctor you know, it's not worth it to think that she'll be right might no come good. You know,
Laura Corrigan 29:03 what most people affected by this plague want to know is when will it end? Expert Steve Henry says mice often follow a boom and bust trend where their population becomes unsustainable and crashes out.
Steve Henry 29:13 And so what happens is, as mouse numbers get really, really high, that facilitates disease to spread through the population. At the same time that that's happening. We're getting animals becoming stressed, they're running out of food, they turn on each other and start to wait the second wake ones. But then they also are eating babies as well. So all the time. So it's a bit of a horror story. But all of those things together facilitate this monumental crash in the population. And farmers will start to ring me almost overnight and say look, where's my mice gone? They've just disappeared.
Laura Corrigan 29:48 But Steve tells me these plays can have a one or two year cycle that a harsh winter can finish them off. But this winter is looking pretty mild. If the mice can survive until spring This could mean a whole other year of play. Like government back studies are taking place into the genetic bio control of mice. But that kind of prevention is a long way off. For now, Steve says the best thing to do is get ahead of the mice
Steve Henry 30:12 at the time that they start to think that they're seeing a few mice and they might be a problem. That might be almost too late. So what we're saying is that they need to be monitoring early. And even when they think there are too many in the population. Maybe that's the time that they should be getting ready to buy. Because if they've got 200 miles per Heck, they're at 100 of those are females, anything that's not too many. In three weeks time, there could be 800 wives back there if they will have six babies,
Laura Corrigan 30:45 birds of prey are enjoying extra meals. Mari Carter having a bumper year as they pick off mice trying to swim across rivers, and thankfully the mice aren't competing with other small mammals for food. So their impact on native wildlife is small. But farmers and other new south Welshman will certainly be happy to see the end of it. Xavier Martin from New South Wales farmers again,
Xavier Martin 31:07 what's really disheartening is the double whammy where farmers are going to lose out because I don't plant particular paddocks for particular crops, and the whole community, the whole economy of New South Wales and Australia then suffers because of that loss of multiplier effect. You know, if this explodes into the spring, why experts are telling us it's likely to the sort of heat on our gross domestic product will be very significant. And it's only at that point with perfect revision that we'll probably see some of these decision makers realize what I missed that night
Laura Corrigan 31:40 farm Andrew booth flat isn't letting the plague get him down.
Andrew Bouffler 31:44 That's agriculture off inside of myself. I choose to farm the driest continent on the planet. So we're going to deal with drought and that no one's going to get my head to be a farmer. I choose to do it. It's the most wonderful lifestyle. It's a great place to bring up your kids. agriculture's been great to me. So the mice plague is just another little hiccup along the way. But it's nothing too dramatic. Really. At the end of the day. We'll just deal with it. Move on and wait for the next challenge or opportunity, I guess.
Laura Corrigan 32:12 And neither does farmer Norman Moeris.
Norman Moeris 32:14 Ah, keep smiling. It's got to get better but we're still in a low lucky country. We've got flood fires and all that and mice plagues and grasshopper plagues. Just keep keep on going. We're far better off than a lot of other countries. I
Tom Melville 32:32 think. Norman Morris there with some upbeat words. He was speaking to produce a Laura Corrigan. That's it for this episode of voice of real Australia. Thank you so much for listening, subscribe on Apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen, and I'll be back in a couple of weeks. If you liked the podcast, please tell your friends and give us a five star rating on Apple podcasts. It really does help. If you'd like to share your story. Email voice at asked community media.com.au that's voice at asked a ust community media.com.eu our Facebook page is facebook.com slash voice of real Australia. You can follow me on twitter at Tom Melville 124. Voice of real Australia is recorded in the studios of the Newcastle Herald. It's produced by Laura Corrigan and me your host, Tom Melville. Special thanks this week go to grace Ryan Tilda Nelson and the teams that the daily liberal, the budget guardian and the central Western daily. Our editors are Gail Tomlinson and Chad Watson. This is an ACM podcast.