Katter outlines North’s potential at OzIndo beef forum
22 August 2013: KAP Federal Leader and Member for Kennedy today told a forum of beef industry representatives from Australia and Indonesia that development of Northern Australia was key to restoring the valuable live cattle trade between the two nations to its full potential.
Mr Katter was invited to address the IndOz Beef Investment and Trade Forum at Brisbane following a series of meetings with the Indonesian Ambassador regarding the northern lifeblood industry, which was decimated by the Australian Government’s sudden temporary live export ban more than two years ago.
Mr Katter’s condemnation of the Australian Government’s live export ban was met with spontaneous applause.
But it was Mr Katter’s vision for the development of the industry in Northern Australia that captured the attention of the audience, which included Indonesian trade and agriculture ministers, and leaders from the North West Qld Cattlemen’s Crisis Committee Barry Hughes and John Nelson.
“I can’t explain to Indonesia or even to my own electorate why Northern Australia isn’t allowed to use virtually any of its water whatsoever for irrigation,” said Mr Katter.
“Our party’s policy is that every cattleman gets 200ha of freehold irrigation so they can survive droughts, fatten cattle all year round, and get cattle prepared for the Indonesian market six months earlier.
“With micro-irrigation schemes in five Gulf of Carpentaria and Mid West towns, that would double Northern Australia’s cattle production.”
Mr Katter said upgrades to the Port of Karumba to enable direct exports from North West Qld into Indonesia would also mutually benefit the two nations.
“Karumba badly needs to be developed as a major port to save the horrific expense of two days of road transport via Darwin or a day on the road and two days on a ship out of Townsville.
“This election should be about making the economic cake bigger, and I haven’t heard one single statement that would lead me to believe that one extra job would be created.
“But to create northern irrigation without a market for our product is just silly.
“We believe that the live export trade should go up to 1 million head a year, which can be achieved in a short period of time. That would be worth $1000m to the Australian economy and $4000m to Indonesia.”
Mr Katter commended the efforts of the North West Qld Cattlemen’s Crisis Committee towards working to restore the beef supply to levels seen prior to the Federal Government’s live export ban in 2011 – including bringing forward the second half-year live cattle quota to 260,000 head, double that of last year. The cattle leaders continued their meetings with Indonesian officials to repair industry relations in Brisbane yesterday and today.
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