Natural disaster funding a ‘con’
by Jim O’Toole Townsville bureau
The Federal Government’s aid package for grazing property owners is a terrible confidence trick still being played on survivors of the horrendous floods in North Western Queensland.
More than 600,000 head of cattle were estimated to have been lost in the February, 2019 deluge.
Prior to the federal election held on May 18, 2019 the government appointed former Northern Territory Chief Minister Shane Stone to sell their Clayton’s recovery package which involves a so-called $400,000 grant.
This week the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority has placed advertisements in regional newspapers offering these grants of $400,000 for restocking lost livestock, replanting lost or damaged crops repairing or replacing damaged or lost on-farm infrastructure.
A meeting of affected landowners held in Winton in April was told the $400,000 federal grant was available to individual graziers who had matching funds.
In other words if a family farmer had $400,000 in his bank account, the grant was available.
It was pointed out at the meeting by a flood victim that the entire North Western region had been in a seven year drought before the ‘Great Flood’ event.
“How would any of us have $400,000 in the bank after feeding stock for so long?” the grazier asked.
Mr Stone was at great pains to explain the ‘grant’ was just that; no repayments were required provided there were matching funds.
The lasting legacy of the flood has already seen an exodus of generational farmers from the area with predictions of more to leave.
They are unable to continue on their properties, some held for more than 100 years, because they simply have given up hope.
The national cattle herd numbers are seriously depleted due to ongoing drought in all eastern states.
Suitable replacement cattle are not available for restocking.
Governments have deployed counsellors and financial advisors to the area trying to stem widespread bouts of personal depression and giving financial advice to stressed farmers in an effort to extract them from this economic maelstrom.
FORMER SENATOR ROD CULLETON ASKS COMMUNITY TO STAND UP TO BANK RECEIVERS AT BALLABAY STATION
Former Senator Rod Culleton, has released a plea on social media for people to get to Ballabay Station located just outside Charters Towers, at Pentland, 9am on Thursday morning.
Nolene Bradshaw and her family own Ballabay Station and Mr Culleton said that he had been working closely with Mrs Bradshaw when he was a Senator, to help keep them on the farm.
Mr Culleton said Rabobank, the lender, was one of the most aggressive banks along with the ANZ, when it came to farm foreclosures.
“Once we lose the great generational farmers of this nation, they will never be replaced and we will have lost the knowledge and expertise forever. This happened in Europe and it can happen here! Our farmers are irreplaceable,” he said.
“Rabobank have engineered the demise of Nolene Bradshaw and her farm. Nolene, her husband and their son are great pastoralists and have survived drought for years and the government induced live export debacle. Even through these tough times, the Bradshaws were able to look after their cattle, which are in prime condition now to be sold. The market is at an optimum peak and Rabobank should be allowing the Bradshaws to sell their cattle, to help service their loan. The Bradshaws had room to financially manoeuvre to meet repayment deadlines but Rabobank kicked in their heels.”
“The cattle are calving at present and the heat is extremely high, yet, the receivers have sent in a helicopter to muster the cattle. There is no court order to do this and the cattle do not belong to the bank. This is theft, not to mention that these actions will cause stress to the cattle and it is highly likely that they will die as a result.”
Mr Culleton says that he does not have a hatred for banks, but how the major four Australian banks treat their customers. “Instead of sitting down at a table and working out a commercial and viable way for the borrower to service the loan, the banks send in receivers and lawyers,” he said.
“This is why I am fighting for a Royal Commission into the banks, the receivers and other financial associates. The Senate has already agreed to one with the terms of reference I presented to them and now the House of Representatives will be voting on it again, imminently. I urge people to contact their local member and tell them you want a Royal Commission.”
Mr Culleton said that all members of the public and media are invited to attend Ballabay Station, on Gregory Springs Rd in Pentland, at 9am on Thursday 9th February.
“Mrs Bradshaw has advised me that the receivers could come at an moment during the day, so we are asking the public to be prepared to attend and stay for the day and potentially into the night. Our aim is to stop the receivers moving in so that we can prepare other avenues for the Bradshaws to save their farm. Bring drinks, food and shelter. It could turn out to be one big bush barbeque.”
When Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull met British Prime Minister Theresa May two weeks ago he hoped to secure a “strong” free trade agreement between Australia and Britain. KAP Member for Kennedy believes Australia will only end up worse off and “political interference” is not required to take advantage of #Brexit trade opportunities.
Mr Katter said, “We are the weakest trading nation on earth and we should despise free trade deals. Free trade deals are the ceding of our sovereignty.
“Free trade deals have proved disastrous for Australia. Every single report that’s come out indicates Australia comes off second best.
“Our leaders are so mind numbingly stupid they actually think that a free trade deal wins them votes in Australia. When Prime Minister Abbott stood up and signed a free trade deal with China, he was gone within five or six weeks. Hardly the stuff of winning the hearts and minds.
“The British have made their statement with #Brexit. We as a nation have to grow up and cease to be an economic colony.
“I think the UK offers splendid opportunities for our beef our sugar and to a lesser extent our dairy products.
“Effectively sugar was not allowed into the EU. I will be seeking discussion with Queensland Sugar Limited to move aggressively to capture this market. The deal should not be with government, the deal is with purchasers of sugar in Great Britain, and the soft drink manufactures, the supermarket retailers, the confectionary manufactures. We don’t need political interference.
“Britain joining the EU saw around 25 per cent of Australia’s beef exports vanish overnight, collapsing our beef market to the point where I missed the sale day in Julia Creek where a competitor of mine bought 1000 cows for a dollar a head, they’d been $70 the year before. That was the damage of Britain going into the EU, whilst the benefits won’t be as great with them coming out; it is still wonderful news for the consumers of Great Britain. They’ll get their sugar at half the price they’ve been paying and their beef with a very formidable drop in price indeed.”
Katter: Over the next 20 years most of Australia’s farmland will be foreign owned
07 September 2016 KAP Member for Kennedy would like to remind people that the last disclosure of foreign ownership released by the Government in 2013 showed 12.4 per cent foreign ownership of all agricultural land.
Mr Katter said, “The 2013 report said 12.4 per cent so we’ve had an increase to 13.6. Over the next 20 years most of Australia’s farmland will be foreign owned. Nearly a 1.2 per cent increase in two years.”
Mr Katter does not think the findings of the report tell a story of modesty as some elements of the Government are trying to frame it, “30 per cent of NTs farmland is foreign owned, 22 per cent of Tassie – that’s extraordinary!
“Forget about your grandkids getting on to the land, that can’t happen, they can’t compete. In most of these countries buying into Australia, they can borrow money at 2.5 to 3.5 per cent. In Australia, it is impossible to borrow money for agriculture for less than 8 per cent, which gives our competitors a massive advantage.”
Mr Katter thinks it is irrelevant if the UK, US or China own more of Australia, “Ted Theodore’s Government took all the land off our British Landlords and Masters and parcelled it out to Queenslanders both in the sugar industry and in the cattle industry. He was known as “Red Ted”
“With Australian owner operators, owning and working their own land, Australia’s production went through the roof and in fact the sugar industry rescued Australia from the Great Depression.
“Robert Ardrey’s landmark books show the enormous benefits for owner operator agriculture compared with the land being owned by Corporate Absentees.
“We ran out entire campaign on Australia “Not for Sale” and got a near record for majority in the Kennedy Electorate. There is a message there for our politicians, and politics seems to be the only language they understand.”
By Matt Brann
Thu 12 Dec 2013
After a few tough years, the live cattle trade in Australia’s north is ending 2013 on a high.
Thousands of cattle are being shipped, prices are strong and the Darwin port is on track to break a record.
Both the Dareen and Finola are due to leave the Darwin port today, and it’s expected more than 80,000 head will be shipped out of Darwin in December (a monthly record for the port).
Brian Scott, from the NT Livestock Exporters Association (NTLEA), says it’s been a big effort by everyone across the supply chain.
“It’s great to see the cattle going out in these large numbers,” he said.
“It’s good for the people of the Northern Territory, the producers, and everyone along the supply chain.
“Everyone is very happy to have such a busy end to the year, the cattle are going out, they’re all in good condition and people are very positive about the future.”
Feeder steers to Indonesia are now fetching up to $2.25 a kilogram, but how long those high prices will last will depend on the upcoming release of import permits for 2014.
“It’s unknown what will happen next year. We’re still waiting on (next year’s) permits to be released from Indonesia,” Mr Scott said.
“We’ll also find out next year how this price based system is going to work.
“We need a consistent flow of cattle going into Indonesia, as Indonesia needs a consistent flow of cattle as well, so it’s one of those things that we’ve just got to suck it and see.”
Tony Abbott’s office has ‘obsessive centralised control phobia’
Ian Macdonald is “incensed” that two key elements have been left out of the instructions for the new joint select committee on northern Australia. Photograph: Alan Porritt/AAP
A Liberal National party senator has lashed out at Tony Abbott’s office for displaying an “obsessive centralised control phobia” over every aspect of parliament, saying he will not be bossed around by “unelected advisers”.
The veteran Queensland senator, Ian Macdonald, who has voiced his disappointment at being passed over for a front bench post, levelled the fresh criticism over the government’s handling of an inquiry into the development of northern Australia.
Some Coalition members have privately raised questions about the level of control exercised by Abbott’s office, headed by chief of staff Peta Credlin, but Macdonald chose to make his views public in a short address to parliament on Wednesday.
Macdonald said he was “incensed” that two key elements had been left out of the instructions for the new joint select committee on northern Australia, including an examination of the zone tax system and a definitive programme towards sustainable development in the region.
He said there had been little or no consultation with senators with a special interest in the north over the terms of reference, arguing that the prime minister’s office seemed to have “an almost obsessive centralised control phobia over this and every aspect of parliament”.
Moving an amendment in the Senate on Wednesday, Macdonald said such action should not have been necessary, but the terms of reference that he “eventually discovered almost by accident” were not in accord with the Coalition’s previously stated aims.
Macdonald pointedly declared he was “not elected to this parliament by the prime minister’s office but by the Liberal National party of Queensland and by the voters of Queensland, particularly those in the north”.
“I have to advise them and my constituents that I’ll not have unelected advisers in the prime minister’s office telling elected politicians who are actually in touch with their constituencies what should and shouldn’t be done,” he said.
The original terms of reference asked for recommendations on establishing “a conducive regulatory and economic environment” in northern Australia. Macdonald’s amendment makes clear that taxation should be part of this examination.
Before the election, the Coalition promised to develop within 12 months a white paper on policy options, including building on existing key urban zones such as Darwin, Cairns, Townsville and Karratha.
“To this end, the efficacy and targeting of current relocation incentives and personal and business tax incentives could be reviewed,” Abbott said in a statement before the election. Kevin Rudd subsequently proposed cutting company tax in the Northern Territory but faced criticism over the lack of detail accompanying the campaign pledge.
Also added to the committee’s terms of reference is a specific requirement for advice on a white paper to detail government action needed to make the proposals a reality, including funding sources and a timeline for implementation.
Most elements of the terms of reference put to the lower house on 21 November will remain the same. The committee will consider policies for developing parts of Australia that lie north of the Tropic of Capricorn spanning Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory.
It will look at opportunities in the mineral, energy, agricultural, tourism, defence and other industries, trade and investment links with the Asia-Pacific, critical economic and social infrastructure, “impediments to growth” and ways to encourage private investment and innovation.
The committee is expected to report about the middle of next year.
Grazier challenges national park grazing deadline
A north-west Queensland grazier has decided to challenge the State Government’s refusal to extend national park grazing permits beyond 2013.
He has the political support of a local MP, who will appeal to the Queensland Premier to overrule yesterday’s decision by the Department of National Parks.
John Gilmore, of Cranford Station, near Torrens Creek, has had 500 head of cattle on the Moorrinya National Park in North Queensland since June and says the animals will die if he is forced to move them off by the end of the year.
In April this year, the Queensland Government opened up five national parks to give drought-affected graziers access to grass. The deal was that the cattle would have to be out by December 31.
However, drought conditions have prevailed, and with little rain forecast for summer, graziers wrote to the government asking for a three-month extension.
Yesterday, the government officially denied the request, saying the deadline still stands.
Mr Gilmore is devastated by the decision and won’t take no for an answer.
“Well, I can’t move them until it rains, simple as that, there’s nowhere to go.
“You can’t shift cattle at this time of the year onto strange country if it’s not green country. You’ll kill them.
“We’re not going to throw the towel in yet, I wouldn’t think, but it’s just got to rain, otherwise we can’t go anywhere. So we’ll see what happens.”
The Member for Mount Isa Rob Katter has also come out swinging.
He’ll be backing graziers like John Gilmore, and will ask the Queensland Premier to intervene.
“There’s no second option, there’s no contingency here. They either leave them on there for another month or two, just to keep these cattle alive until some rain comes, or those cattle will perish or be shot.
“We’ll be calling on the Premier to step in on this decision, because the minister has already made his decision, so we need the Premier to see the dire situation that exists.”
Meanwhile the Brisbane-based National Parks Association has come out praising the government for sticking to its guns, having the cattle removed from parks by the end of the year.
The Parks Association for 30 years has agitated for more national parks claiming 10 per cent of the state should be placed in mothballs.
This group of mostly retired, ‘closet greenies,’ outside of the South East corner, has no understanding of nature and how it works in this diversified state.
The former ALP government in its maddening haste to pacify the Greens and their loopy mob of followers, either purchased or resumed dozens of once viable cattle and sheep properties, detocked their vast paddocks and locked them up naively thinking these huge swathes of grazing land would somehow remain the same as the day they were taken out of production.
Most of these former stations have little or no conversation value, in particular the properties on which grazing has recently been allowed.
The National Park inventory should be closely scrutinised by graziers and a select body of naturalists, inspected, then any areas of high conservation value could be fenced off, returning the balance to regulated grazing.
This strategy would remove the chronic need for trained staff to manage these properties.
Fire damage would be mitigated, feral animal and noxious weed control would be undertaken by the leasees and overall this plan would save the government many millions of dollars.
Can we expect a LNP government to do this? Not on your nelly, Based on their present track record of allowing disease-ridden flying foxes to kill our kids and infest our towns, it would be a long shot.-editor
The red meat industry structure is very complicated and not very efficient. In fact some believe with a structure with 6 masters with competing interests is unworkable.
The structure consists of six peak councils who then put varying amounts into the MLA and have varying influence over the MLA.
Live export Council contribute 2.2 million
Australian Lot feeders contribute $8.5 million. L
Lamb, goat and mutton contribute $31 million
Processors through AMPC contribute $9 million
Cattle producers throw in $56.2 million
This clearly shows that cattle producers are paying more into MLA coffers than all the other peak councils put together. The most concerning thing is the way the structure has evolved whereas live exporters and processors can control what levies that they contribute and make sure it is spent how they decide. One prime example is MLA has spent in excess of half 1 billion dollars on export markets over the last ten years, whilst processors say this is a complete waste of money and refuse to contribute any of their levies to overseas marketing. It should be remembered that processors have enormous influence due to their feed-lot levies which gives them a huge voting block. This is in direct contrast to cattle producers who have no say on how and where their levies will be spent. It also should be noted that 40,000 grass-fed producers have registered for MLA votes, whilst there are 5,000 people registered for grain-fed cattle. According to ABARE the price and tonnage of Australian beef sold on export markets has hardly altered over the last 10 years. According to MLA last financial figures beef export values have increased to $4.5 billion from 2009-10. When one studies the same chart 2008-2009 beef export values were very close to $5 million. MLA are very good at using very selective data. Domestic beef prices have gone up by 60% over the last 10 years, whilst producer prices have flat lined over the same period. MLA judges their success on the price of retail meat. Producers should be entitled to ask how the retail price of beef helps the producer. The answer would be that the higher the price of retail meat will spill-over into livestock prices.
What’s the answer?
Producers could form a revamped Cattle Council that took over the collection of the cattle grass fed levies of $56 million that at present goes into MLA coffers. This body could copy how the processors operate and give money to a service organisation like MLA or they could follow other models which appear to be very successful. Other agri-organisations have systems whereas every transaction is recorded and voting rights are given accordingly, not like the MLA model whereas producers have to register to vote and so doing so agree to be members of the MLA.
Other agri-political organisations are designed by producers for the benefit of producers.
A new structure would be designed to give levy payers more ownership and more influence over the use of their levies to ensure its accountability.
Other people would like to see no reserve positions for state farming organisations. Direct elections merge advocacy, representation, policy and service delivery in one organisation. A one stop shop that looks after all grass-fed producers needs. As stated earlier this is not unique to the red meat industry and it appears to be working successfully for other organisations
A distinctive feature of the APL Pork corporation, is its ability to use its marketing levy funds for the delivery of strategic policy development services and advocacy on behalf of pork producers. There is no separate representative body.
When one considers how much the pork people have to spend on marketing and compared to the MLAs hundreds of million dollars. Whilst beef consumption has dropped pork is on a steep upward curve. Porks total income is $15.8 million, compare this with MLAs $170 million.
Whenever people talk of a statutory levy this inevitably leads to the comment the government will not accept statutory levies being used for agri-political use. The APL would appear to put this argument to rest, providing the Agri-political body doesn’t try to influence one party over another or actively take part in pushing a political party.
By all accounts we could have an independent elected Cattle Council and overseas marketing R & D
and policy development then this could be a well resourced body that does not rely on state farming organisations to keep it afloat and members of the board could be elected by using a similar voting system that the AWI has used so successfully are so many years. Who knows all levy payers may be given their voting rights through the post just like AWI then we will know how many levy payers that pay the compulsory beef levy. Perhaps the time has come for people involved in Agri-politics to forget self-interest and egos. If this happened and everybody worked together we may see the results of a workable system that looked after producers interests.
from David Byard Australian Beef Association