$2 million spent on saving one whale, as 5-10 thousand cattle die daily
28 January 2014: KAP Leader and Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter has called on the State and Federal Government to pull their heads out of the sand and act, while farmers in the west are on their knees as the drought worsens.
“In a knee jerk reaction to animal libertarians, the Gillard ALP Government effectively shut down the entire beef industry of Northern Australia with the Indonesian live cattle ban. Well mate let me tell you, there are five to ten thousand head of cattle dying the most cruel death of starvation as we talk now.” Mr Katter said.
“But the greatest tragedy in this story, is that we estimate that one farmer every four weeks is taking their life”
Mr Katter has criticised the State and Federal governments for their inaction, saying in comparison that “I saw the government on at least one occasion spend $2 million rescuing one whale.”
“I rang up three blokes this week, all who are completely removing their stock. Most of the cattle in those conditions will go to a meatworks. Their breeders, in effect – your calf factory, has been smashed to pieces. It will be 30 to 40 years before the industry will restore itself to the present moment” Mr Katter said.
In what is a perfect storm belting the cattle industry, the drought comes on top of escalating rural debt in Queensland. Average farm debt has risen from $700, 000 two years ago, to now being over $2 million.
“The solutions are tremendously simple” said Mr Katter.
“Farmers need cash relief right now, but we also need a long term vision”.
“You set up Rowell Walton and the Debt Crisis Council’s Australian Reconstruction and Development Bank and you give each of these graziers access to underground water and 200 hectares of freehold irrigation”
In urging Australians in the cities to dig deep and support our farmers, Mr Katter has praised the work of charities Aussie Helpers and the Black Dog Institute which are providing practical help to our farmers in need.