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By William P. Avery

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They possess a fairly impressive industrial base t h a t should be able to provide most, if not all, t h e necessary farm inputs. The exodus from the farms eliminated t h e traditional agricultural overpopulation, thus reducing t h e sheer burden of the agricultural s e c t o r . In most of the countries the socialist transformation of the countryside resulted in an improved farm s t r u c t u r e , much more conducive to mechanization and modern agricultural m e t h o d s . The rapid process of socioeconomic modernization has changed the traditional a t t i t u d e s and value systems of the peasants, making them more receptive and amenable to innovation and experimentation.

So substantial did this export t r a d e become, compared with internal consumption of the same commodities, t h a t the balance of payments - the ratio of export earnings to import costs - b e c a m e a major preoccupation of the federal government. Throughout the 1970s, for example, more than 90 p e r c e n t of Australia's wool production was exported. Other components of rural production sent comparable shares of t o t a l production abroad - wheat, 58 p e r c e n t of the "total disposal"; cane sugar, 72 p e r c e n t ; mutton, 50 p e r c e n t ; lamb, 12 p e r c e n t ; and beef and veal 51 p e r c e n t .

First, Why did government involvement - from the first British s e t t l e m e n t in 1788 to the present - remain such a critical necessity? Second, Given the 200-year transformation of both Australian government and Australian environment, how was the first adapted to cope with the second? Finally, Have the goals of government intervention been achieved? The broad contextual lineaments of political geography are easily sketched. The Australia discovered and settled by Europeans after 1788 contained some 300,000 aborigines(l) who had no permanent agglomerated s e t t l e m e n t s , no cultivation, and no d o m e s t i c a t e d livestock.

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