Katter: 11 December 2014: State Member for Mount Isa Robbie Katter, State Member for Dalrymple Shane Knuth and KAP Leader and Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter have announced today that they are forming an Action Council that will Name and Shame banks that take possession of a property of a farmer affected by drought before the wet season arrives.
Bob Katter said today that the now famous Longreach Catholic Priest Father Matthew Moloney and radio presenter Alan Jones had constantly hammered a moratorium on bank foreclosures. Starting today Mr Katter will now publish the name of every bank that forces a farmer off their land before the wet season.
“We plead with people to let us know about any and every station going on the market. If you know a neighbour – and we include the sugar industry and any other agriculture industry as well as the cattle industry – contact my office and we will Name and Shame.
“We will also send the details through to Alan Jones for him to broadcast across Australia.
“It is now a full week since the Winton Last Stand Rural Debt Crisis Summit and there has not been a single thing done by the Government.
“The Agricultural Minister tries to speak the speak, but certainly he doesn’t walk the walk. He constantly reiterates the same message that he can’t get agreement from the Liberals in cabinet. That is bull dust.
“The National party has the balance of power in the Federal Government. They can decide who is installed as the Prime Minister and who is the governing party in Canberra. I say to them, “you hypocrites”.
“They won’t put at risk their jobs as Cabinet Ministers. Their jobs are more important to them than the survival of rural Australia.”
Mr Katter said that he had a message for the Government:
“This is a warning to you. The now famous letter by Dr David Pascoe featuring Charlie Phillott had over 1.5 million hits on Facebook within 2 days.
“If you think the people are going to stand idly by and listen to your hot air and some face saving gestures and think that is a replacement for action, the people of Australia will not buy that. They will not accept the cruelty being done to the agriculture sector and specifically the cattlemen of Queensland.
“They will stand up and punish you”.
Mr Katter said he was angered by the Agricultural Minister’s comments that only 3% of 1,100 cattle stations are in default on their loans.
“The Catholic priest in Longreach has quoted 46 potential foreclosures in the greater Longreach area alone. The actual eye of the storm is further north in the Mid-West and Gulf. As far as we can make out there is a direct or indirect foreclosure once every 3 or 4 days. Who is the Minister listening to, the people or the banks?”
Mr Katter said today that the Name and Shame will apply regardless of whether the banks had forced the farmers off their land or done so under inducement with an offer to avoid bankruptcy.
“Many banks I regret to say have a policy of conscious inducement. We are getting case after case where the banks are cleverly avoiding forced foreclosures through this policy. We are seeing case after case of “if you sign all these forms we will leave you with this little house or this little bit of money, we won’t bankrupt you”. But all of this is to no avail, in reality these farmers are losing everything.”
Mr Katter said that unless the Agricultural Minister delivers action and not words, he knows as well as everyone else in the industry that there will be no Australian farmers left.
“Unless the Government comes in with a Reconstruction Board to take over the bad debt, to write off 25% of the debt and loan it back to farmers at 2% interest, then a significant proportion of the North Australian beef industry will vanish.
“Any cost to government will be recouped 10 fold when the Chinese and Indonesian markets kick in and when the rains come in the New Year, as they will.
“This model means that 95% of farmers will pull through. The $100 million in concessional loans currently put forward by Government is woefully inadequate to address the problem and only guarantees the bank gets repaid”, Mr Katter said.
Any persons wishing to Name and Shame banks can do so by contacting the offices of Rob Katter on (07) 4743 5149, Shane Knuth on (07) 4787 2139, Bob Katter on (07) 4061 6066 or by emailing nameandshamebanks.