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What a year it has been

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I congratulate the remarkable resilience and spirit of Mallee Electorate families in recent weeks when dealing with unexpectedly huge rain events, crop damage, flooding and the invasion of plague locusts.

The way we cope with adversity in its many forms reminds me of the meaning of Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ and his values, especially consideration for others.

Communities have rallied in the face of these latest events which have spoiled pasture, cereal, grape, stone-fruit and vegetable crops, and flooded some of our homes.

I urge friends and neighbours this Christmas period to keep in touch with each other and watch out for those in stress and those less fortunate.

These are sad times for many after prolonged drought and the promise of bounty this harvest.

The way we cope and rise to this latest challenge is important and I’m reminded of the bloke looking over his ruined cereal crop and casually remarking “farming can be frustrating”.

It is equally frustrating for grape, citrus, stone-fruit and vegetable growers who cannot get onto their properties to protect their crops against disease caused by the rain and humidity.

On the plus side, the country has had a good soaking, our water storages are full and we can look forward to the run of good seasons and prosperity that usually follow drought.

Australia is a pretty good place to live compared with many other parts of the world.

Our ambition must be to shrug off adversity, work hard to retain our lifestyle, compassion and in particular, our sense of humour.

May all people enjoy a blessed Christmas and look forward to an exciting, successful and rewarding New Year.

John Forrest, MP

Federal Member for Mallee. 60 Campbell Street, Swan Hill VIC 3585 ph 03 5032 4510 fax 03 5032 9407