Land reform may squeeze out aspiring farmers: Katter

The Land and Other Legislation Amendment Bill delivers some very welcome outcomes but also has the potential to squeeze out ordinary Queenslanders who one day hope to own their own piece of country, the Member for Mount Isa, Robbie Katter told Parliament this week.

The Bill will assist current leaseholders to convert to freehold land tenure.

Mr Katter said while he agreed with the main objective of the Bill, to provide security of tenure to landholders, he was concerned about the removal of restrictions on corporations owning and aggregating types of pastoral holdings.

“I think it is important to preserve that place in the marketplace for owner-operators and people like me who aspire to one day owning their own piece of country,” Mr Katter said.

“There was a place preserved in the marketplace for people like us, which kept out corporations and large foreign owners.”

Mr Katter said he was not afraid to stand up to free market principles that would open the gates to allow corporations and foreign owners to buy up huge tracts of land.

“I acknowledge that many vendors would welcome this change, however the answer is to fix the economics of the industry, not flog it off to foreigners.

“I believe in intervention. I believe in some form of regulation.

“It is the essence of conservatism in preserving that place for owner-operators and family farms.”

Mr Katter said he agreed with other aspects of the Bill, such as the review of land rent calculation.

“It is an antiquated system and is desperately in need of review.

“It has been a terrible impost on producers in that their land rents have been skyrocketing while their cost of production has gone up and the value of their commodity has gone down.”