Overseas sell-out continues with northern food bowl
14 November 2012: THE Federal and WA governments have betrayed their own people by subsidising an overseas sell-off of untapped valuable northern agriculture, said KAP Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter today.
“Wake up Australia, they’re selling your country out from under you,” said Mr Katter regarding the overseas deal for a sugar mill producing ethanol biofuel in the Ord irrigation area.
“And this time they’ve spent hundreds of millions of dollars on a golden handshake for foreigners.”
Mr Katter blamed major party government policies that had made farming unprofitable for Australians for leaving the entire nation up for sale to overseas bidders.
“In every agricultural area in Australia, they’re rolling up their swags and getting out because they can’t make money. The dollar has doubled in value, which has halved the income of every Australian farmer, and if they’re selling on the home market it’s a joke because Woolworths and Coles will pay them what they feel like paying. And of course our farmers are also up against an average global subsidy of 41 per cent when Australia’s average is 4 per cent.
“These are all factors which overseas companies pay little, if any, regard to. Their market is secured and protected, and Australian fools are willing to subsidise their Australian activities.
“Ask any Australian if it’s good idea to spend $500m of taxpayers’ money to subsidise a foreign company to come in so the profits can go overseas, most of the wages I’ll bet will go overseas, the ethanol goes overseas. And what do we get out of it? We get nothing.
“But if the Federal or WA or Qld governments faced up to their responsibilities and – like every other government on Earth – introduced a 10-20 per cent ethanol mandate in petrol, our farmers could make money and you’d have been killed in the rush to take up that Ord land.
“They’d be the only farmers in Australia who would be able to make money because ethanol is the key to turning around farming in Australia. It also enables you to have a prosperous cattle industry because distiller’s grain, a by-product, is extremely valuable to cattle and poultry industries.
“But reducing pollution, people dying from motor vehicle emissions, is the reason most other countries have introduced ethanol. And there can be only one reason why Australia does not have ethanol – and the only explanation there can be is because the ALP and LNP are owned by the oil companies.
“Please wake up, they’re selling your country out from under you and it’s got to stop. And we as a party will be moving legislation in the Federal Parliament to stop the sale of Australian land to foreigners,” concluded Mr Katter, who has already lodged legislation to reverse the overseas sale of Australia’s biggest farm and water licence at Cubbie Station.
Hon. Bob Katter MP, Federal Member for Kennedy