North Qld economy takes $500m hit with more than 250,000 dead cattle
KAP Leader and Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter has urged the Prime Minister in Parliament to commit to low-interest reconstructed debt through his Reconstruction Board Legislation to help farmers in North-West Qld who are facing the worst natural disaster to hit the cattle industry.
Up to 500,000 cattle have died and thousands of people are now without an income for years – all a consequence of the years of drought then devastating floods.
Mr Katter has been on the ground and seen first-hand the extent of damage; within a matter of weeks, most of the farmers’ entire livelihoods – many going back generations – have been wiped out. A whole economy and backbone of QLD agriculture has been devastated.
“The Mid-West and Gulf provides one tenth of the entire Australian cattle industry; beef is Australia’s fourth biggest exporter,” Mr Katter said.
“It is now decimated by droughts, flooding and the resulting terminal health conditions. With no stock, massive existing debt and hundreds of thousands of rotting carcases to clean up, farmers will have no capacity to pay their mortgage let alone restore and restock.
“I have asked the Government to commit to a Reconstruction Authority, cutting existing debt by 30%, providing finance at government interest rates
“Without this minimal action North Qld’s calamity, its misery, it’s human and economic hardship will worsen exponentially,” Mr Katter said.
The Prime Minister has said restoration of the Qld cattle industry isn’t about trying to prop up an industry that doesn’t have a future, it is an industry that has a massive future for Australia, and the Government needs to be there to support and re-build that cattle industry. He has assured Mr Katter there was a recovery and restoration plan and they would work to assure the cattle industry was going to be as great as it was going to be in the future – if not even greater and a plan will come forth from the Minister of agriculture to address these issues.
Mr Katter has been working tirelessly to help see the north west and Gulf through the greatest devastation known to the cattle industry.