REAL AUSTRALIA

Some work harder, while others live high on the hog

The healthy farm practices of producers like Edwina Beveridge, from Blantrye Farms near Young in NSW, are being highlighted in a campaign by Australian Pork.
The healthy farm practices of producers like Edwina Beveridge, from Blantrye Farms near Young in NSW, are being highlighted in a campaign by Australian Pork.

Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from Australian Community Media, which has journalists in every state and territory. Sign up here to get it by email, or here to forward it to a friend. Today's newsletter is written by ACM group editor Kathy Sharpe.

Some stories hit an instant nerve with our readers, and when they do, the response is equally swift.

As the Federal Treasurer explained why the nation needs over-65s to retrain and stay in the workforce, the comments began multiplying on our social media pages around the country - the modern equivalent of 150 or so switchboards lighting up.

Brave man to take on the baby boomers, I'll give him that!

Here's a summary of our readers' main beefs.

First, highly paid suits like Josh Frydenberg retire early with a generous pension, without having to nurse bodies injured or worn out from a lifetime of hard physical labour.

Second, the baby boomers have worked hard all their lives - they deserve a rest. Why should they pay for the government's economic mismanagement? (Love those boomers...)

Third, how are these older workers supposed to get a job when ageism in recruitment is rife? Our older job-seekers tell us that anyone over 50 is already considered past their use-by date.

Of course, some seniors want to work longer, like Launceston grandmother Keryn Hudson who works as an Uber driver - a late career U-turn you might say.

Grandmother Keryn Hudson drives for rideshare apps about six hours a day. Picture: Scott Gelston

Grandmother Keryn Hudson drives for rideshare apps about six hours a day. Picture: Scott Gelston

Keryn and other drivers interviewed by The Examiner noted how workers of all ages have become increasingly reliant on the so-called gig economy.

The hidden problem of under-employment means a lot of people are working two or three jobs and still struggling to make rent and pay bills.

But while the big end of town continues to live high on the hog, back out in the country there are big concerns over hogs in general, with swine fever now on our doorstep.

The majority of hams sold in Australia are made from imported pork, and while authorities are clamping down on "pork tourists", (in the past year more than 27 tonnes of pork has been found in the luggage of travellers entering Australia) our own industry is at risk.

So, just as we're beginning to think about the annual Christmas ham purchase, how do we know we're buying an Australian product?

I like the way Mitch Edwards from Australian Pork broke it down for us: "When it comes to ham, if it's on the bone, then it's one of our own".

What's more, Mitch says, "if you're buying a boneless ham, look for an almost full bar chart on the packaging to be sure your ham is made from 100 per cent Australian pork".

Steve and Stacey Young's Noosa Meat Centre has produced Australia's best ham in the annual PorkMark awards.

Steve and Stacey Young's Noosa Meat Centre has produced Australia's best ham in the annual PorkMark awards.

The whole issue will likely mean prices will be higher this year, but to whet your appetite, here are a couple of the Australian hams voted the best around the traps - in Noosa and Tenterfield

Mick Rourke and Christine Bannister of Telegraph Point tied the knot as planned, even as fires continued to burn near their property.

Mick Rourke and Christine Bannister of Telegraph Point tied the knot as planned, even as fires continued to burn near their property.

As most of the country remains on high alert with many fires burning and unprecedented hot and dry conditions, a love story has appeared out of the ashes.

Mick Rourke and Christine Bannister of Telegraph Point on the north coast of NSW had planned their wedding for 12 months, and almost called it off after fire threatened their property. They told Taree's Manning River Times that the day before their wedding the decorations were "red and blue lights and fire hoses". But the ceremony went ahead.

As their guests sat down to the reception they were serenaded by the sound of water bombers at work less than a kilometre away.

The public support for the growing number of people left homeless by the fires has been inspiring. The plea now is for cash donations, so that goods and services can be purchased in the affected towns, to help those businesses that are hurting too.

This is perhaps the simplest way we can reach out a helping hand to those communities in this time of need.