10 April 2013: KAP Leader and Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter is Western Australia bound and attending an agricultural crisis meeting in Merredin as a guest speaker is priority one on his agenda.
Mr Katter, notorious for his unshakable resolve in pushing for a sustainable Australian agriculture industry, said that rural debt in Queensland has leapt from $1.2 million to $1.4 million per farm in the last four months alone whereas over two years ago it was just $700k and that the rural crisis meeting is vital to the survival of farming in the western state.
There are huge similarities between rural Queensland and Western Australia water, mining, land, isolation each of these present a considerable number of risks to agriculture production as we have seen time and again in Queensland. I understand these risks implicitly, Mr Katter said.
After 12 months of pressure from Mr Katter, the Federal Treasurer agreed to host a Rural Financial Roundtable with key stakeholders including farmers from across Australia, food security and economic academic experts, realtors and financial counsellors. This was precipitated by a rally at Runnymede Station in north‐west Queensland late last year.
The Agriculture in Crisis Meeting is to be held with the Rural Debt Roundtable Working Group (RDRWG), whose chairman Rowell Walton has been busy lobbying the Federal Government to intervene and help solve the rural debt crisis.
Mr Walton said, In the case of the Western Australian Wheatbelt, urgent assistance is required to fund the planting of this years crop, which will likely be a very good crop because the season has opened with early rains.
No reason exists for the new government, with its mandate from the people of WA, not to step up to the plate and undertake the communitys expectation of assisting farmers in this time of great need.
The Rural Finance Roundtable Working Group has proposed a reconstruction Bank much like the Commonwealth Development Bank to reconstruct rural debts that have become unserviceable for members of the rural community. This is the only way to stabilise rural industry while we review policy failures that have led us to this place.
We do not need to lose another raft of skilled dry‐land farmers as suggested by the state government economist in the press recently; this concept has led our nation for the past couple of decades and wreaked havoc to rural communities. Enough is enough, Mr Walton said.
The Agriculture in Crisis Meeting is aiming to expose the severity of the situation in agriculture and gain the attention of both media and politicians in the hope state and federal governments will take action to help the desperate industry.
The Agriculture in Crisis Meeting is aiming to expose the severity of the situation in agriculture and gain the attention of both media and politicians in the hope the state and federal governments will take action to help the desperate industry.
“Rationalise or Reconstruct” will be held on the 15th April at Merredin Community Leisure and Recreation Centre, Merredin from 9.30am. The meeting is being hosted by the Muntadgin Profit Farmers and held in conjunction with the Rural Debt Roundtable Group.
Mr Katter is calling on growers, business owners and community members from throughout the Wheatbelt to attend and have their voices heard.
Mr Katter said, I will be speaking both in Merredin and lobbying in Canberra about how every patriotic Australian knows that the situation in agriculture has to dramatically change if our nation is to grow and more importantly, survive.