1 June 2015: KAP Leader and Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter has led the way for an Inquiry into Iron Ore production in Australia, introducing the Iron Ore Supply and Demand (Commission of Inquiry) Bill 2015 into Parliament today.
Speaking in the House of Representatives, Mr Katter said that it was in the interests of his electorate of Kennedy, where there is a mass of iron ore supplies on the Northern Territory border, as well as the Australian people who have been impacted by falling taxation revenue, to seek a formal Inquiry into Iron Ore supply and demand.
“We now have in Australia a “do nothing” approach, as it’s not a free market policy, it is a policy of do nothing and the marketplace will look after us.
“Well if you revert to the jungle, you will find out that the big tigers eat everyone in the jungle – and we are not the big tigers, the big tigers are the big multinational corporations that stalk the earth and we are on their menu.
“The country had been in the grip of economic rationalists and the policies of market fundamentalists for the last 25 to 30 years.
“We now have to buy all of our whitegoods from overseas, by the end of next year there will be no motor cars built in Australia, we will soon have to buy all of our structural steel from overseas, we also send $25,000 million a year overseas to buy petrol.
“Where are we going to get this money to buy everything from overseas?
“Production figures for iron ore this year will be over 700 million tonnes.
“The price of iron ore has dropped from around $140 a tonne to just over $70 a tonne.
“The revenue coming into Australia has been cut clean in half, the current account has suffered a crippling blow,” Mr Katter said.
Mr Katter attacked the Government’s failure to address the market dominance of the big iron ore producing companies and their wasteful approach to production in the face of ever decreasing demand.
“The problem with this place is that your mummies and daddies did not have you play Monopoly, because if you had you would know that the name of the game in making money is to destroy your opposition and to become a monopoly.
“What game do you think the Rio Tintos and the BHP Billitons are playing out there? They are playing Monopoly.
“Whereas you fools are playing some sort of ideological, primitive jungle-type ideology that you are perpetrating upon the rest of us, which is not done on any other country on earth.
“It is no use producing if there is no-one out there to buy it or if people are only prepared to buy it below your cost of production.
“It is not right and it is criminally stupid to continue to produce product at a loss, because you are subsidising the producers overseas,” Mr Katter said.
Mr Katter also criticized the Government’s back-flip on its support for an Iron Ore Inquiry.
“There has been a withdrawal of support and criticism made of the Head of Fortescue, Andrew Forrest.
“I do not hesitate to say that he is a very great Australian, he has trained 2,000 of our First Australians and 600 of them are working at Fortescue today.
“There is only one mining operation substantially owned and controlled by Australians and that is Fortescue.
“But I do not come here today to represent Fortescue, I speak today to represent the Australian interests and the interests of my own electorate where there is a mass of iron ore supplies on the Northern Territory border.
“Are we going to destroy the Australian economy, because this is our major export item and its price has dropped clean in half?
“Are we going to sit on our hands and do nothing?
“Surely, just the interests of Treasury following the loss of tax revenue would be enough to vocalise support,” Mr Katter said.