AUSTRALIA - Billionaire’s Solution to Drought

Arno Froese

Anthony Pratt, the executive chairman of packaging giant Visy Industries and a food security philanthropist, called for the Great Artesian Basin to be tapped to relieve the drought crippling most of NSW, and parts of Victoria and Queensland.

Outlining a 20-year plan at the National Farmers’ Federation’s congress about ensuring Australian agricultural produce could continue to be exported, Mr. Pratt said Australia should look to Israel and California to solve its water management problems.

“I believe the Great Artesian Basin and other underground resources could produce much of what we want to grow with carefully sited infrastructure,” he said.

“Some underground water is salty, so can’t all be used for irrigation. But Israel processes brackish groundwater for agriculture. And solar-powered desal equipment teamed with modern bore equipment could yield fresh water.”

The Great Artesian Basin stretches under 1.7 million square kilometers, or 22 percent of Australia’s land mass, and sits underneath NSW, Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory.

“Some of our best pastoral and farming land lies right on top of the Great Artesian Basin—which holds 6000 trillion liters, 10 times the water we need each year,” he said.

Mr. Pratt, who is worth $12.9 billion, also took aim at the shortage of workers available to farm produce, an issue that has plagued the Coalition as Nationals MPs demand Prime Minister Scott Morrison create a special agriculture visa to solve a crippling shortage of workers in the industry.

Mr. Pratt said “on-farm robotics solve the backpacker labor shortage.”

Australian agricultural innovation powerhouse Costa, which has seen its share price soar on the back of glasshouse-based farming, has begun using agriculture robots to pick its strawberries and blueberries.

Mr. Pratt said investing in robots and scrapping the backpacker tax were essential steps if “we’re to ensure that no fruit is left behind because of a lack of labor to pick it.”

Deloitte and the National Farmers’ Federation estimate there will be a shortage of 100,000 agricultural workers over the next decade. The shortfall led to hundreds of tons of fruit rotting in Victoria and Tasmania in 2017 alone, according to Fruit Growers Victoria.

Mr. Pratt said Australia had a massive opportunity to export more high-quality food to a growing Asian market.

“Chinese buyers often don’t trust the safety of Chinese-produced food,” he said.

“And our exports of food to the booming middle classes in Asia alone grew by 51 percent this last year.”

Those figures are likely to get a further boost from January after the Trans-Pacific Partnership [TPP11] passed Parliament with Labor’s support.

The deal will remove 98 percent of tariffs for 11 countries – including Vietnam, Canada and Malaysia—with a combined GDP of more than $13.8 trillion and close to 500 million consumers., 17 October 2018

Arno's commentary

Mr. Pratt’s confidence is fueled by his firsthand witness of Israel and California. “…The Great Artesian Basin…holds 6000 trillion liters, 10 times the water we need each year.” In plain words, make the desert bloom. According to the CIA Factbook, Australia’s land area is 7,682,300 square kilometers. Seventy percent of the country is classified as semi-desert, with less than 500 mm of rain a year. By land mass, the USA is 9,147,593 sq. km.

Australia can learn from Israel, and so can many other countries, particularly the Islamic world. The prophet Isaiah proclaims: “I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together” (Isaiah 41:18-19). While this prophecy is related to the land of Israel and its future, Israel has utilized their God-given intelligence to get water from the depths to grow food in abundance. Again, we see Israel is the leading country already now, while still in darkness spiritually, and the above prophecy is yet to be fulfilled.

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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