Category Archives: Katters Australia Party
Katter says tear up Darwin Port lease to China now – he has the numbers to make it happen in parliament
Former LNP Trade Minister Andrew Robb profited enormously from the port deal
Member for Kennedy, Bob Katter, MHR has warned the federal Government to tear up the Port of Darwin lease with its Chinese owners, arguing that a “review” will achieve nothing but waste time.
Mr Katter’s opposition to the Port of Darwin sale – a 99 year lease to Communist Chinese controlled Landbridge Corporation – has been tenacious over the last six years, concerned by the economic and security implications of the sale.
Former Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has joined the crescendo to kick out Landbridge which secured the long-term operational control of the commercial facility in 2015 as part of a $506 million deal with the Northern Territory government.
The lease was signed by former CLP chief minister Adam Giles, but Mr Rudd said key ministers within the federal Coalition government were also responsible for the outcome.
“[It was] all approved, all let through, by Morrison when he was Treasurer [and] Frydenberg was then Minister for Northern Australia,” Mr Rudd said.
He added that former Trade Minister Andrew Robb also took on a lucrative consulting job with Landbridge after he left office.
“For all those political reasons, Dutton, Morrison, Frydenberg know that they are deeply exposed on this issue.
Katter warned Australia’s national security was being severely compromised while the CCP continues to acquire strategic assets across the north of the country, “right on our doorstep”.
He reminded the LNP government that the top half of the Australian continent was already encircled by China, stretching from Cockatoo Island near Derby in Western Australia to Keswick Island near Mackay in Central Queensland.
“Why do we need a review to see if it is good for Australia? Blind Freddie could see it’s not!,” Mr Katter said.
“Darwin is the only port between Cairns and Broome making up half of the entire Australian coastline and the sale should never have happened in the first place.
“You can’t get anything out of the Northern half of Australia except out of a foreign Check Point Charlie (Port of Darwin) which can charge you whatever he feels like charging you.
“Up to 300,000 head of live cattle go through Darwin, and for six years we have been in a situation where a foreign corporation can charge us whatever they feel like charging and decide what goes through the port because they own the port.
“They can close the port to any competing development by Australians and by having control of that port, they control the whole economy of the north western quarter of Australia.
“It is not my aspiration as an Australian, to work in a country owned by foreign landlords where I’ll work as some sort of modern-day serf for whatever amount of money that they feel like paying me”, Mr Katter said.
“I’ve said this before, anyone that would give away their only ‘non-coal loading’ Panamax port in the northern half of the continent to a foreign power has committed treason.
“Don’t waste time with a review. Just tear it up now.”
Mr Katter said that he was confident he had the numbers in the Parliament to suspend standing orders and move for the Port of Darwin lease to be torn up.
“I’ve had a motion drafted and ready for the last few months. I’m confident that I have to numbers to get this up. So who’s going to move first?!”
Landbridge secured the long-term operational control of the commercial facility in 2015 as part of a $506 million deal with the Northern Territory government.
The lease was signed by former Country Liberal Party chief minister Adam Giles, but Mr Rudd said key ministers within the federal Coalition government were also responsible for the outcome.
“[It was] all approved, all let through, by Morrison when he was Treasurer [and] Frydenberg was then Minister for Northern Australia,” Mr Rudd said.
He added that former minister Andrew Robb also took on an $800,000 per annum lucrative consulting job with Landbridge after he left office.
As part of the “confidential” consultancy deal, Mr Robb, the architect of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, began consulting to Ye Cheng the day before the July 2 federal election in 2016.
It’s estimated that Mr Robb pocketed more than $2 million plus expenses from Landbridge. A company document revealed that Mr Robb’s consulting contract was so vague and ill-defined he would be paid even if he did nothing.
“For all those political reasons, Dutton, Morrison and Frydenberg know that they are deeply exposed on this issue.
“Hence, my prediction is that they will seek to scupper the lease and then there’ll be a huge financial liability on the part of the taxpayer.”
Mr Rudd said he was not privy to current intelligence briefings, but he was aware of concerns raised by the US after the deal was signed.
“My understanding from Washington, for example, is that the US administration at the time was absolutely ropeable by the dim-witted nature of this particular decision back in 2015.”
DFAT has previously said the Darwin Port lease was not within the scope of the Foreign Relations Act.
Mr Robb’s consultancy with the leaseholder of the Darwin Port, Landbridge, was trumpeted by the Chinese-government aligned company in 2016, but became intensely controversial when an investigation by The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and Four Corners revealed his fee, and that he had joined the company straight after quitting parliament.
Mr Robb joins former foreign minister Bob Carr and former Victorian premier John Brumby in taking up lucrative roles with companies or, in Mr Carr’s case, a think tank, founded by businessmen with strong ties to the Chinese Communist Party.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has scrapped Victoria’s controversial Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) deal with China, calling it “inconsistent with Australia’s foreign policy”.
The decision made late on Wednesday night threatens to inflame already fraught diplomatic tensions between Canberra and Beijing.
Deploying Australia’s powerful new veto powers under legislation passed last year for the first time, the Federal Government ended the deal, warning it was against Australia’s interests.
“I consider these four arrangements to be inconsistent with Australia’s foreign policy or adverse to our foreign relations in line with the relevant test in Australia’s Foreign Relations (State and Territory Arrangements) Act 2020,’’ Foreign Minister Marise Payne said.
“I will continue to consider foreign arrangements notified under the Scheme. I expect the overwhelming majority of them to remain unaffected. I look forward to ongoing collaboration with states, territories, universities and local governments in implementing the Foreign Arrangements Scheme.”
China quickly hit back at Australia over what it called an “unreasonable and provocative move”.
In a statement, a Chinese Embassy spokesman slammed the decision which is expected to plunge the fractured relationship into greater acrimony.
“We express our strong displeasure and resolute opposition to the Australian Foreign Minister’s announcement on April 21 to cancel the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation within the Framework of the Belt and Road Initiative and the related Framework Agreement between the Chinese side and Government of Victoria,” the spokesman said. – News Ltd
Regional health, road and bridge network crisis will suffer even more
Katter’s Australian Party MPs have described the $1 billion redevelopment of south-east Queensland’s Gabba stadium, announced today as part of the 2032 Brisbane Olympic Games bid, as “gluttony of the highest order” that will further entrench neglect of Queensland’s regions.
Despite state debt levels rising to around $130 billion in the next four years, the Palaszczuk Labor Government is pushing on with pre-emptive and extravagant social infrastructure spending in preparation for glitzy event.
Brisbane has not yet been officially awarded the 2032 Olympic Games, however the International Olympics Committee (IOC) named the city its preferred host city in February.
It’s understood the plans for the Gabba are contrary to the IOC’s proposal to use existing facilities to reduce host city costs, and that Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is still waiting for the Prime Minister to confirm what federal funding will be provided for the proposed event. 
The cost of hosting the Olympic Games is notoriously unpredictable, and budget blow-outs well into the billions are normal.
The upcoming Tokyo Olympics is expected to cost at least $15.4 billion. 
KAP Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter said while the Olympics were a wonderful event that most people loved to watch; Queensland’s already precarious economic position meant there was little joy to be had in taxpayers having to stump up the costs.
“I don’t want Queenslanders having to live through the next 12 years of deficits in hospital and road funding, education investment or any other services needed west of the Great Divide,” he said.
“There is actually a health crisis in rural and regional Queensland but that doesn’t seem to be a priority for the Government, their priority is hosting a big party in 10 years’ time that almost no one else in the world wants the responsibility of holding.
“This is not the panacea of prosperity for the people of Queensland, it is re-building from the ground up our core industries across the entire state and starting with the regions.”
Banks forced Liberals to sack Christine Holgate, best ever Post Office CEO – Katter calls for reinstatement
KAP Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter, a staunch supporter of former Australia Post CEO Christine Holgate since her unethical dismissal last year will move in the Federal Government a motion to reinstate her as CEO.
He praised her integrity and perseverance in defending her decision to purchase Cartier watches as a reward for key employees securing long-term, profitable banking services which ensured the longevity of Australia Post branches around the country.
“The most successful and honourable businessmen I have ever had the pleasure of being a friend of, Marcus Blackmore, the great innovator in medicinal supplements had Christine for a long period as his Chief of Staff and he swears by her integrity and her competence,” he said.
“I cannot say how much I admire a person that cut her salary in her job down to that of a departmental head in a state government department. This is one of the largest operations in the country and she is the only CEO in Australian history that I can think of that reduced her salary down a fraction of what it had been under her predecessor.
“It is the first time that post offices have spoken positively about their CEOs of Australia Post and she gave them hope for the future. She had worked with owner/operator pharmacies which are owner/operated by law (albeit with corporate oversighting) and she was determined to keep the owner/operator model – clearly the most successful model which guaranteed local ownership throughout the suburbs and regional towns of Australia.
“Quite frankly she should had been sacked if she hadn’t given these star-performing, hardworking employees a bit of reward for their efforts.”
Mr Katter said, “Call me paranoid but I just can’t get it out of my head that the banking agencies were working so well that the banks were getting toey that there might be another powerful banking player in Australia. The last thing they want is any further competition, particularly from an organisation that has branches in every suburb and town in Australia, places they have long since abandoned.
“Christine has extraordinary capabilities – you don’t run a multi-billion-dollar corporation like Blackmores if you are a fool – was in her vary nature, threatening on the banking front. And a rabid free market government in Canberra whether LNP or ALP except for Rudd, I can’t name one of them that is ideologically bound to a free market mentality, has made continuous efforts to prioritise one of the last assets the Australian people own. Everything has been sold off with the vast bulk in the hands of foreigners.
“Christine did not strike me that she would agree to sell off the magical asset of Australia Post and/or bow to the whims and interests of the banks whose record was so bad that each of the banks did a huge backflip and apologised for their conduct.
“Well now we know the truth. We know now we have been misled and we know now who has misled us.
“We will get a vote in the Parliament and she will be reinstated. And if the Government doesn’t do that, then the way it is headed at the present moment, it will just be another nail in their coffin.”
Deflecting blame, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said today her dismissal is now the subject of a senate inquiry.
NEARLY $10,000 has been spent by one Queensland shooting organisation in legal fights on behalf of its members following policy changes by the state’s Weapons Licensing Branch – and there’s no sign of that letting up anytime soon, either.
Following in the wake of a Question on Notice in Queensland Parliament from KAP Member for Hinchinbrook, Nick Dametto last week demanding an explanation for firearms licensing delays, cancellations and seizures, pre-eminent pro-shooting organisation Shooters Union Australia has waded into the fray.
Shooters Union Australia president Graham Park said the organisation had spent nearly $10,000 this year alone helping its members with Weapons Licensing issues.
“It’s completely unprecedented – we’ve dealt with more requests for legal help from our members in the past two months than we have in the past two years,” he said.
“It all stems from a deeply flawed Audit into Weapons Licensing, and in particular the auditors essentially not understanding what they were looking at and deciding, for some inexplicable reason, that law-abiding firearms users were the issue and not the incredibly outdated and not-fit-for-purpose systems in the state’s firearms registry.
“We’ve supported more than a dozen applications to the Queensland Civil Administration Tribunal (QCAT), covering everything from people having licences taken off them for speeding offences from decades ago, to primary producers who WLB deemed didn’t earn enough as a farmer to keep their licence.
“In a lot of cases, the situation is sorted out amicably before the QCAT hearing, but a number of cases have gone all the way with rulings in the shooter’s favour.
Mr Park said the situation now was simply chewing up vast sums of taxpayer’s money and administrative resources for no reason other than political appearances.
“Every dollar wasted by police justifying a pointless QCAT case because someone got busted smoking a marijuana joint in 1998 is a dollar that’s not being used to ensure frontline police and emergency services personnel have the equipment and resources they need to fight real and serious crimes like assault or robbery,” he said.
“What makes it worse is this problem could literally go away today if Weapons Licensing stopped actively looking for reasons to deny licenses to people, and went back to the way things were before the Audit when everything was working more or less satisfactorily.”
Mr Park welcomed Mr Dametto’s Question on Notice and said bureaucratic over-reach needed to be exposed and held to account.
“Imagine if the Department of Transport decided to refuse you a driver’s licence because of a decades old misdemeanour, or because you had dodgy mates, or because they decided you didn’t live far enough from your work to need a car – that’s pretty much exactly what happens to law-abiding shooters all the time,” he said.
“We are glad an MP is standing up for the constituents and saying ‘This is not OK’, and we are very much looking forward to the Police Minister’s reply when he provides it by March 29.”
Cairns News suggests you vent your anger on the Marxist-Leninst Gun Control Australia: https://www.guncontrolaustralia.org/
Contact Australia’s premier shooter’s body below which protects your inherent rights to own and bear arms:
North Queensland would become a state in its own right if a referendum on the issue was held today, exclusive polling conducted by ReachTEL in Townsville has revealed.
The poll, commissioned by Katter’s Australian Party, has revealed almost 36 per cent of Townsvillians “strongly agree” with the push for a North Queensland to secede from the state’s south while 21 per cent “agree”.
Around 17 per cent of people are indifferent, while collectively 26 per cent “disagree” or “strongly disagree”.
The poll, conducted in late September, surveyed around 350 locals across the state electorate of Mundingburra.
Buoyed by the results, KAP Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter has announced his party’s plans to push for a referendum within six months of the next parliament on whether the North should take control of its future and officially separate from the south.
The referendum question would be posed to North Queenslanders only, with the boundary to be drawn strategically alongside the Tropic of Capricorn (north of Rockhampton).
Mr. Katter said it was clear the only way North Queensland would get a fair go was for us to be able to determine our own future.
“By definition, a referendum is direct democracy in action and that is 100 per cent consistent with what we are setting out to achieve here,” he said.
“And the LNP and Labor are afraid of even letting us have a vote to decide our future.’”
Mr Katter said people in the North should not be surprised at the determination of the LNP and Labor to prevent North Queensland from having a vote its future.
They are constantly looking over their shoulders to butter up to Brisbane’s inner suburbs regardless of the effect on regional Queensland,” Mr Katter said.
“”You only have to look at the LNP’s decision to preference the Greens in every seat, all the key decision makers in the public service sitting in Brisbane issuing instructions about how we should live our lives and run our businesses, Labor’s and the LNP’s spending billions on more road systems around Brisbane, but putting upgrading the Bruce Highway on the ‘sometime/maybe’ system and the LNP’s and Labor’s willingness to spend millions on an Olympic Games bid but not being able to find money for dialysis machines in North Queensland.”
In September, 2016 the LNP voted with Labor to oppose the KAP in a motion to establish of a separate state of North Queensland.
Again in March, 2018 the LNP and Labor even opposed a KAP proposal to conduct a $250,000 feasibility study into how much it would cost to divide Queensland into two separate states.
But Mr Katter said the major parties’ blatant disregard of the proposal was now being drowned out by a growing tide of support from both Queenslanders and Independent MPs.
Last month, Independent MP Jason Costigan backflipped on his previous dismissal of the plan and pledged his support for a North Queensland state.
The KAP labelled the Mr Costigan’s moves as the height of hypocrisy considering the Whitsunday MP’s history of helping to block the KAP’s past attempt to fund a feasibility study when he was a member of the LNP.
Then, The Courier Mail released its Your Say 2020 survey results showing almost half of North Queensland respondents expected a split between the north and the south within three decades. 
Mr Katter said finally holding referendum on the issue was the key first step in understanding what was the best future for North Queensland.
“We know that while there has been a push for North Queensland statehood since before federation, but the Queensland Government is controlled by Brisbane and therefore has always refused us this chance,” he said.
“They have everything to lose by separating, but we in the North have everything to gain.”
North Queensland farmers now will have to apply to a government-appointed rehabilitation commissioner to plough their paddocks or risk a heavy fine.
The Queensland Labor Party with support from the Liberal National Party enacted legislation on August 14 in State Parliament to appoint a mining rehabilitation commissioner including new requirements for farmers in the six Great Barrier Reef catchment areas.
In typical communist style farmers wishing to plough their paddocks will be subject to the whim of a commissioner. who does not need to have any formal qualifications under the new legislation.
Leader of Katters Australian Party Robbie Katter who opposed the laws, said the LNP, but in particular the Member for Burdekin, Dale Last, a former senior police officer, had again betrayed farmers.
“Mr Last has been very vocal in his attacks on Labor in the past but this week proved his loyalties lie only with his party and not the people,” Mr Katter said.
“He should have shown the convictions of Colin Boyce, LNP Member for Callide, who crossed the floor and voted against his own party’s support for a new mining rehabilitation commissioner.
“Farming used to be an essential service by providing clean and green food and fibre for Australians, but the LNP has thrown the baby out with the bathwater and the population could starve for all they care.
“The consequences of this could be dire and could hold up development for years.”
KAP Member for Hinchinbrook Nick Dametto said Mr Boyce’s courageous move in the House this week was significant.
“I believe Mr Boyce’s move has signalled that LNP policy no longer truly represents the values of the bush and this is why he crossed the floor,” he said.
“By voting for that legislation, the LNP and Labor have endorsed the appointing of a commissioner who will dictate not only how mining businesses operate but will also enforce last year’s amendments to the Environmental Protection Act that introduced draconian regulations on farmers in the six reef catchment areas.
“There wasn’t even a skillset specified for this person, who might very well come from a green lobby group. The LNP and Labor seem content with creating a legislative hitman answerable only to the Environment Minister and no-one else.
“They will have immense power to work against mining and agriculture in Queensland.
“The LNP continually says they back farmers and here they are voting with Labor. This was a perfect
opportunity to do the right thing and vote against Labor’s legislation that will only hurt farmers,”
“It took the crossbench to call for a division in parliament to trigger one of the LNP’s own members
to cross the floor in a strong show of support for the agricultural sector.
“Backing Queensland agriculture isn’t about creating a bunch of one-liners and wearing a green
shirt at a rally. You actually need to back words with actions.
“The KAP talks the talk and walks the walk. We have drafted a bill to repeal Labor’s destructive reef
legislation and to date the LNP have refused to say whether they will support it.”
South Brisbane MP Jackie Trad’s attack on a bill designed to protect the use of traditional, gender-based language in Queensland is the mind-boggling epitome of extremist “woke” culture, Katter’s Australian Party Leader Robbie Katter has said.
Speaking on Mr Katter’s “He Said, She Said” bill last night, the former Deputy Premier and Treasurer described the KAP’s legislation as disrespectful, divisive, damaging, and akin to the “weaponization of language”.
Mr Katter said while he was not surprised by Labor’s attack on the traditional values held by the vast majority of Queenslanders, it was still confronting to hear that terms like “boy” and “girl” could be considered “weapons”.
The Anti-Discrimination (Right to use gender-specific language) Amendment Bill was first introduced in 2018 – at the time the KAP hoped it would mark a turning point in “the battle for common sense”.
The bill’s intent is two-fold: 1) “To protect an individual’s right to use traditional gender based language” and 2) “To protect businesses and other organisations from disadvantage in the provision of facilities and services that exclusively recognise gender as either male or female”.
The bill is not designed to legalise hate speech, as outlined in a clause in the amendment that disallows the use of gendered-language that is used with the intention of “offending, humiliating or intimidating another person”.
Mr Katter said the bill was about providing protection for people who use gender-specific terms such as ‘he’ or ‘she’ and face punishment from their workplace, school or university.
“This bill is not about allowing people to intentionally attack each other, it’s about protecting those of us – who I would suggest are in vast majority – from being set upon and socially ostracised for simply using the language conventions humans have used for thousands of years,” Mr Katter said.
“We exist in an increasingly intolerant and hostile social environment whereby mis-gendering an individual, or otherwise offending someone by the use of normal language, is enough to see an individual treated as a social outcast.
“I do not believe this is what the vast majority of Queenslanders agree with, and so we have spoken for them through this legislation.
“You cannot fight discrimination by discriminating in the reverse and we cannot sit by while radical ideologists suggest otherwise.”
The debate on the “He Said, She Said” bill is due to resume at the next Queensland Parliament sitting, before going to a vote.
A knee-jerk decision by the State Labor Government to implement a blanket shut down of all Queensland ports to foreign ships until they go through a two-week quarantine period could see North Queensland lose millions of dollars from the local live export industry.
Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) MPs have called out Maritime Safety Queensland’s (MSQ’s) decision, which will exclude all foreign ships from pilotage areas at Queensland ports until 14 days has elapsed since leaving their last international port due to concerns over COVID-19, as an over-reach.
It follows discussions today between the KAP and Townsville feedlot and export operator Py Porter, who manages Kellys Yards, Queensland Livestock Exporters’ Association president Greg Pankhurst, Frontier International managing director Will McEwin and Frontier logistics operator Tom Emery.
State KAP Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter said there were fears Queensland’s live export market would be severely impacted at a time when economic stability across all sectors was desperately needed.
“The North’s live export trade is facing an extremely dire situation as a result of this blanket ban,” said Mr Katter said.
“Live export is a critical part of the supply chain in northern Australia and the middle of this year will see a lot of producers looking for markets to sell cattle as the grass is minimal.
“This decision is going to mean that areas such as Cloncurry and Mount Isa will be sending cattle to Darwin as a result of this blanket quarantine policy, with North Queensland losing out on millions of dollars.”
KAP Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto said there was no reason why MSQ could not adopt Darwin’s approach to commercial vessels, which instead of imposing a quarantine has implemented measures that restrict the crew from disembarking.
“Persons loading cattle from the docks and the people on those vessels do not meet each other anyway, so Darwin’s measures make far more sense. Restrict the crew from disembarking and you’ve already minimised the chances of
COVID-19 spreading through human-to-human contact,” he said.
“With the current air travel restrictions in place also impacting box meat supply to places like Indonesia and Vietnam, there is already an increased demand for Australian live export.
“But if our customers can’t access our ports in a timely manner, Queensland is going to miss the boat.
“Graziers have been doing it tough for too many years and all of a sudden an economic opportunity is here for them to capitalise on, all they need is for the government to get out of the way and let them do business.
“One cattleman we’ve spoken to fears the live export market will crash because of these port restrictions with little to no consultation by the State Government.”
“I understand there is a vessel due to come into Townsville early next month, which means they would have to hold offshore empty for the 14-day quarantine costing a significant amount of money in carrier fees per seven day waiting period. This is unacceptable,” Mr Katter said.
“Think about the knock-on effects to the industry chain, such as hay suppliers, fodder suppliers, vets, consumables from local agribusiness stores and cattle agents.
“The state needs to remove this restriction and the Federal Government should immediately classify the cattle supply chain as an essential industry. We cannot afford to lose it.”
19 February, 2020
KAP ANNOUNCES “BAT RE-STOCKING” PROPOSAL
Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) has today offered to devise a plan to safely export hundreds of thousands of Queensland flying foxes to New South Wales with no option for “return to sender”, as part of a proposed “Bat Re-Stocking Program”.
The announcement follows the news that hundreds of bats were flown on a private plane for care at Queensland’s Australia Zoo following the recent NSW bushfires, and that local populations on the ground were likely to have taken a hit during the natural disaster.
It also follows an announcement by Australia Zoo that its ‘flying fox intake’ had sky-rocketed by 750 per cent due to the effects of drought in Queensland, followed more recently by the import of bats to Queensland affected by the NSW/Victoria fires.
While obviously a tongue-in-cheek proposal that should in no way been taken too seriously, the KAP is using this opportunity to call for some common sense to be injected into the way the State Government and Queensland communities handle flying fox populations.
KAP Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter said for too long Brisbane had failed to acknowledge through legislation the effect huge populations of flying foxes are having on the towns they inhabit.
Regional communities across Queensland have in recent months been battling with plague proportions of flying foxes, with hundreds of thousands of the animals roosting in urban towns like Charters Towers, Townsville, Ingham, Cairns and Mount Isa at any one time.
More recently, new reports circled that SEQ was also expecting a “flying fox invasion” of upto 600,000 bats, highlighting that no community is immune to the unsustainable numbers seeking refuge in urban areas.
Mr Katter recently made the Minister for Environment and Science, Leanne Enoch, aware of the bat import situation.
He has called for the Minister to detail if the State Government supported the import of bats from interstate and also asked her to clarify if any state money had been spent on the exercise.
Mr Katter said he has no personal issue with flying foxes, but believes it is ludicrous that Queensland’s Nature Conservation Act 1992 has enshrined their rights to the point that their well-being is routinely being prioritised ahead of people.
He said the latest news of the import of bats to Queensland was a symbolic slap in the face to the communities which have been battling plague proportions of the animals for weeks, months and in some cases, years.
National Farmers Federation, which doesn’t represent family farmers, wants them to make way for China
National Farmers Federation solution is to get rid of the farmers
Farming is an essential service
Barnaby Joyce joins in the chorus to throw farmers off the land
KAP Federal Member for Kennedy, Bob Katter has today slammed the National Farmers Federation (NFF) after they appeared on national television and announced they were lobbying the government to provide financial incentives to drought-affected farmers to leave their land; a campaign which is being echoed by the National Party.
A livid Mr Katter said, “Your solution is to get rid of the farmers. It is in the back of the mind of every intelligent Australian ‘why do you want these people out?’ So your big corporate masters, Chinese investors, prominent amongst them can buy them out and we can have corporate farmers. The city suits and foreign nations will be our farmers and we peasants will be out there working for nothing in little towns that are vanishing. That is the solution by National Farmers Federation.”
The NFF, a farming lobby group, proposed six measures to the Government last week, one of which was an incentive payment to leave the land. Other measures in the proposal were rate relief to help pay local government charges, payments that are the equivalent to Newstart allowance, $2,000 top-up of the Assistance for Isolated Children allowance, two-year interest free government loans and a plan to work with state and territory governments to eradicate feral pigs.
While the NFF has been critical of the ad-hoc response to drought by the Government, Mr Katter believes that exit packages are not the answer.
“The KAP, the political party I belong to, says Reconstruction Bank. It’s just so simple that you’ve got to be curious why they won’t do it.
“The Reconstruction Bank, through the Government, can borrow at, probably, a bit below 2% so it can lend at 1.9%. Where aa farmer now owes an average $1 million, he has to find $54,000 a year to pay to the bank. Under the Reconstruction Bank he’ll now be paying $16,000 to the bank.
“The Reconstruction Bank buys bad ‘in danger’ debts at a discount. The farmer will then owe the Reconstruction Bank not the full $1 million he owed the bank but only $850,000 giving him leeway to buy fodder.”
Mr Katter also took aim at the Government’s sorry attempts at financial assistance for primary producers, “The Federal Government claiming they have done something with the farm and financial assistance grants, that one is one huge whopper. Hungry Jacks would love that one, that’s the biggest whopper of all.
“It was the Rural Action Council of Far North Qld, secured at Wayne Swan and Kevin Rudd’s Drought Summit that gave us that concession. The tragedy is when Rural Action was screaming against former Deputy Prime Minister, John Anderson’s, dreadful comment that “we don’t need 240,000 farmers in Australia we only need 120,000”, well the National Party has achieved its objective, we now have less than 120,000 farmers and of those farmers around one in 10 have been on welfare payments, the Family Assistance Grants, given to us, not by our traditional party, the National Party, but by our traditional enemies the ALP.”
“If the KAP gets a commanding position in the Parliament, as Knuth, Katter and Dametto have said again and again, they will immediately reintroduce the reconstruction bank which was successfully run for over 100 years in Queensland.
“We have already lost half of our farmers in the last 20 years. Clearly it is the intention of the NFF, and their political wing, the National Party, to get rid of another half. The farmers are doing it tough? Their solution: get rid of the farmers.”
State KAP Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter has labelled the State Government and the Queensland Greens hypocrites for posing as environmental champions while at the same time chronically ignoring of the wave of prickly acacia engulfing the state.
Mr Katter said it was outrageous that Labor, and the Greens who have so far been silent on the issue, were sitting idle and refusing to make more funds available while the African weed was destroying the north and mid-west plains.
The Traeger MP said he was at a loss to understand why the Palaszczuk State Government had refused to adhere to a supposed ‘agreement’ made with the Federal Government in March that would see a $10 million ‘war chest’ unlocked to fight the highly-invasive weed.
The funds were due to see action on the ground from last month, but the Palaszczuk Government has denied it agreed to provide the money.
It has made clear it will not allocate the $5 million share that a joint media release circulated by the two governments had promised it would.
Mr Katter said the anticipated $10 million in State and Federal funding was welcomed, but at the end of the day it was grossly insufficient to deal with the weeds crisis.
He said Queensland landholders desperately needed support in controlling prickly acacia on their properties, and there were many ways the State Government could assist with this.
This could include providing land rent rebates to those who proved they were successfully controlling the weed on their properties, Mr Katter said.
“The most current estimates we have say that prickly acacia is costing our agricultural industries more than $4 billion dollars a year in costs and lost productivity, with the most affected area the Mitchell Grass Downs region in central Queensland,” he said.
“You may not be able to see the problem from the cities, but believe me a large portion of our environment is in an unnatural and unhealthy state because of this weed.
“The problem is thrown into the laps of our graziers every year, and they fork our millions of dollars trying to contain prickly acacia with little assistance from government.
“Prickly acacia infestation has increased from around 6.6 million hectares 20 years ago to around 33 million hectares today – it’s a cancer in the bush.
“It is important also that we focus on the weed control activity in the Gulf where the problem is the worst.
“I have great concerns that the former Federal Minister for Agriculture wanted to pork barrel all the federal funds into just his electorate in the central west when the majority of the problem is in the Southern Gulf.
“Regardless, no one is interested in the particulars of what deal may or may not have been struck by the government, and this is not an issue that should be politicised by either levels of Government.”
Mr Katter said the north and mid-west was desperate to see some genuine leadership from the State Government on prickly acacia.
The Palaszczuk Government has only spent $2.7 million on dealing with the weed since it gained government in 2014.
In comparison, Labor has given $3.5 billion to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation for reef protection and preservation activities in the same amount of time.
Prickly acacia is a highly-invasive, thorny African weed that was brought to Australia as a shade and fodder tree.
It strips land productivity by causing erosion, decreasing pasture and out-competing other native vegetation for water, and is hugely problematic in that it can transform natural grasslands into desolate thorny scrub.