On Friday the Pastoral Times celebrated our 160th year with a commemorative supplement full of local history, alongside information on community and sporting organisations.
We are extremely proud to be the longest-operating business in the Deniliquin district and despite challenges that are impacting sections of our industry, remain confident we will continue as the major local communication vehicle for many decades into the future.
In fact, we are about to start a new era with the pending introduction of our next step into the digital world, offering readers and advertisers the opportunity to engage with the Pastoral Times across various platforms.
As we move into the future it is important that we do not forget the past.
In Friday’s supplement we quoted the PT’s founder, Dr David Griffith Jones, who, in the first edition, expressed a desire to publish a newspaper that supported and protected the readers he would serve.
Today, we continue this commitment without fear or favour, even though some people are uncomfortable with this approach.
In our editorial column we will continue to express our views on important issues, including the local political scene.
Interestingly, we still receive feedback about our approach to the March state election.
It was our view, as we expressed in this column, that The Nationals conducted a poor state election campaign. The incumbent member made some mistakes, and did not work hard enough to repair the damage. The poor campaigning was reflected at the ballot box.
In the May federal election there was again strong campaigning, and across the electorate the experience of sitting member Sussan Ley shone through. However, at a local level the constituency took the opportunity at the ballot box to express concerns at Ms Ley’s performance. In the ensuing two months we have not seen anything that is likely to have changed that broad community view.
For expressing our opinion on Ms Ley’s inability to take the actions required to support our farming community, the Pastoral Times has been the brunt of some criticism.
Perhaps that is because, for many decades, we have generally been a conservative supporter and those on the conservative side of politics do not expect us to question their actions, or lack thereof.
However, we maintain the view that while our region should be best served by conservative parties, they should not take the constituency in this region for granted.
We did not believe The Nationals were effectively representing our interests at state level, and we said so. Since the election their state leader, John Barilaro, has made every effort to right some wrongs, which we have acknowledged and look forward to this continuing.
However, at federal level we have still not seen the leadership we think is needed from our federal member, especially around water policy and management. Tough decisions require strong leadership, but unfortunately it has not been forthcoming to the level many local people expect.
We hope that changes and, as we have said in the past, will offer appropriate acknowledgement if it does.
In the meantime, we will keep advocating for our community and expressing opinions as we see fit, which this paper has been doing for 160 years.