I was just reading my comments from this time last year and it seems that 2015 had a mild summer which was great for our industry and this year has been the same. We were all waiting for a hot one this year with strong memories of the 2009 fires i the front of mind. However after a couple of hot spells around Christmas the rest of summer has been very mild. So much so that when they predicted three or four days in low thirties everyone was talking about a ‘heat wave’. There are many February days in past years where we felt relieved that it was only going to be thirty.
Indeed the weather has been ideal for gardening and most outdoor activities that are such a key part of our lives. The days have been basically warm and nights mild and with light to medium rain every few days we have had it pretty good. Even the hot spots like Perth and Adelaide have had some cooler periods. Plant growth has been good, fruit set average or above and pests and diseases fairly low. Unfortunately the weeds also like these conditions so they have been quick to take hold. Small business always has a bit of give and take.
Autumn is here which usually signals an upswing in demand for plants. Schools have been back for a month and cash flow is on the mend for families. Football season hasn’t started and for southern states weather is the best. Landscapers and construction companies are all back at work and keen to get the commercial gardens in place before winter rains. So unless you are selling ice cream business isn’t too bad.
Where will 2016 take us? We have a federal election later in the year which will slow business down for a month or two. This year, unlike most election years will not have masses of pork barrel spending as the Turnbull Government tries to pull in spending and project a financially responsible image. The Shorten lead opposition cannot afford to go counter to this and face the wrath of the financial media. This is good as we are spending too much and we don’t need to pay more in tax.
The business commentators said Turnbull should have increased the GST but they don’t really know what happens at our end of the world. First the cross bench imposed tax cuts for the ‘poor’ would have taken a large percentage of any gains leaving those of us who pay more tax to pay even more. Also the big two (Wesfarners and Woolworths groups) would have forced small companies who supply them to absorb the extra GST. The smaller retailers would have had to do the same to remain competitive.
It is really time to cut expenditure, especially in the welfare sector. We have to stop paying people not to work whilst so many small businesses are struggling to find staff. For a very vocal and not so small minority there is a belief that those who chose not to work have more rights than those that do. As well they seem to believe that anyone who employs others is not a ‘hard working Australian’. One union recently stated that their members should be earning $1000 if they work on a Sunday. How can they not see that this just feeds straight through to the cost of living for everyone?
Unfortunately just ‘legislating people off welfare’ won’t work as they will simply go to work and not want to be there. We need to go back to basic values where we all see the need to have a job and contribute to the social network of our communities and earn money to buy what we want. I am not sure of the exact percentage of people on a ‘disability pension’ of some form but it is more than one in ten. I find this hard to believe as my father only had one useable arm. Welfare was never an option in his young life so he just grew up dealing with it. I believe it is time we taught responsibility and not rights, taught that contributing is better than taking.
It is Festival time in Melbourne and this year is as busy as ever with Grand Prix, MIFGS, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, Comedy Festival, our very own Herb and Chilli Festival and many, many more. The cost of many essential items are comparatively low so families have a bit more free money and many are heading to the various festivals. Community spirit in Melbourne is high and I hope it translates into a busy autumn for the nursery industry and really busy Herb and Chilli Festival.