Queenslanders living in an economic backwater
19 January 2016: Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter has written to the Prime Minister today urging him to intervene in the situation concerning Queensland Nickel, owned by a Clive Palmer company and provide bridging finance to the company until the market recovers.
The company employs nearly 1,000 direct jobs and according to Mr Katter is now in grave jeopardy unless the Government intervenes.
Mr Katter said in his letter to the Prime Minister that the industry was going through the standard ‘boom and bust’ cycle.
“For the past fifteen years the price of nickel has averaged $25,000 per year, it is now $8,000 per year.
“China is suffering a normal ‘boom and bust’ cycle; minerals live with a ‘boom and bust cycle’.
“Nickel is used in the production of stainless steel and in turn these alloys are used in the production of many electronics, power tools, transport and emergency power supplies.
“Nickel is of immense commercial value. Its long term outlook is solid.
“World bank projections are for $20,000 per tonne within the next few years,” Mr Katter said.
Clive Palmer says the placing of Queensland Nickel into receivership has “nothing to do with me.”
Mr Katter said that in the 1980s the Queensland Government had no hesitation in providing a loan guarantee for $40 m (the equivalent of nearly $100 m now) to get Queensland Nickel running.
“The tax revenue from an operation bringing, we are informed $800 m per year, generates a tax revenue of at least $200 m.
“The loss of one of the bigger nickel refining plants in the world would be yet another blow to the North Queensland and Australian economy.
“Last year we saw the closure of Australia’s last motor vehicle plant and white goods plant.
“There is not the slightest doubt that the Australian people believe that they are, or will very soon be, living in an economic backwater.
“We urge immediate Government action to assist this situation, put in place strict guidelines, and provide bridging finance until the market recovers,” Mr Katter said.
6 October 2015:
Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter today called the signing of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) the greatest blow to democracy in 300 years, saying that it amounted to nothing more than a new form of Corporate Colonialism.
“This agreement is not about trade, it’s about sovereignty,” Mr Katter said.
“Governments will now be stripped of their power to regulate the behavior of overseas companies.
“Companies will be able to come here under certain terms and conditions and no Government will be able to change those without fairly horrific consequences, if at all.
“It takes away our sovereignty and hands it over to the giant foreign owned corporations.”
Mr Katter expressed concern over the foreign workers who would be let into the country under the TPP agreement.
“Foreign workers will pour in and they are already at high levels, there are 600,000 foreign workers a year coming into an economy creating only 200,000 jobs a year.
“They are taking our jobs and undermining our pay and conditions, and there’s nothing we can do about it.
“Once in place, withdrawing from the TPP will ensure the wrath of countries infinitely more powerful than our own.
“The Americans have imposed this regime upon South and Central America, reducing them to some of the lowest living standards in the world.”
Mr Katter said that he was deeply disappointed with Prime Minister Turnbull, this being his first major initiative since taking the office.
“Mr Turnbull’s background is very much associated with a merchant banking company who’s preeminence in both the Bush and Obama administrations is a matter of public record.
“These are people who make money out of money; they do not make money out of producing goods and services.
“I absolutely believe we are now retreating back to the days of colonialism, the only difference being that it is Corporate Colonialism and not Imperial Colonialism.
“We will be fighting the TPP and have forwarded a letter today to all Senators pleading with them not to turn the control of their country into the hands of foreign corporations.
“We will be moving for the Treaty’s disallowance as soon as Parliament resumes,” Mr Katter said.