Lakeland farmers have been told they no longer own the water after rainfall hits the ground on their properties.
Desperate for irrigation water to keep their banana crops alive the State Government delivered a mortal blow preventing farmers from building any more dams over 50 megalitres capacity without applying for an expensive licence.
Mareeba-based Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy officer Patrick Huber broke the devastating news at a meeting of Lakeland farmers recently.
Mr Huber stressed that water caught in domestic rainwater tanks was safe from government hands but any other water belonged to the State.
Releasing the Draft Water Plan for Cape York Peninsula he said overland flow had to be protected and the department would soon require land owners with existing dams, large or small, to supply dam measurements and capacities to the department.
Within 12 months of receiving the information the DNR would then issue a licence for the water and install meters on all private dams to get an idea of water usage.
When questioned if the reason for water meters was to charge landowners for their own water, Mr Huber said there was no mention of this in the draft plan.
It was pointed out that other Labor states began charging farmers fees for private water storages more than a decade ago but DNR staff denied this was their intention.
The Draft Plan allowed for total usage of only 2.5 per cent of the entire water availability on Cape York, which did not impress the meeting.
In the Normanby Basin which includes Lakeland, “the Draft Bill allows 2000 ml for general use but has allocated 16,000 ml to indigenous groups because they are the largest landowners under the Cape York Peninsula Heritage Act,” Mr Huber said.
“If farmers require more water allocation they can buy it from various indigenous bodies at commercial water trading prices.”
The Plan allows for a total of 516,350 ml of unallocated water across Cape York.
Lakeland stud cattle breeder Bill Reddie questioned why no more dams could be built saying he had lived at Lakeland since the 1980’s.
“There is more water going down our gullies than 30 years ago which could be caught,” Mr Reddie commented.
Weipa grazier Mr John Witherspoon said he was angry the DNR had not provided any allocation in the Watson catchment or allowed more water for farm usage across the Cape.
“The State Government is right out of touch with the Peninsula and we should be demonstrating against them over taking away our water rights and charging so much just to apply for a licence with no guarantee of getting it,” Mr Witherspoon said.
In attendance at the meeting was Katters Australian Party candidate for Leichardt Dan McCarthy who questioned the reason for restricting land owners access to the vast amount of fresh water on Cape York thus preventing any further agricultural development.
“I am very concerned about the overarching policy of only allowing 2.5 per cent of water that falls on Cape York for farming,” Mr McCarthy said.
“The government needs to make up their minds. They are restricting access to a mere 2.5 per cent of rainfall that falls from the sky claiming any more would be detrimental to the environment, yet on the other hand they squeal like a stuck pig that runoff is killing the reef.
“We are blessed with abundant water during the wet season and we should be encouraging land owners to capture more water rather than the State Government persecuting them for using a natural resource.
“It’s disgraceful situation that legislation is leading towards farmers having to install meters on their own dams on their own properties which will lead to them having to pay for their own water..
“We are constantly told that runoff is killing the barrier reef but farmers want to capture water runoff.
“KAP policy is that farmers own any water that falls on their property so how is it they can eventually charge farmers for their own water? – contributed
October 27, 2017 – Leader of the state KAP party and Member for Mount Isa Robbie Katter has released his policy regarding the formation of new North Queensland State.
“If the KAP holds the balance of power at the next election we will immediately take the first step toward the establishment of North Queensland as a separate state.
“The first step will be the establishment of a committee of independent experts with knowledge of the legal, economic and social factors to be considered and addressed to facilitate the establishment of the state of North Queensland.
“The independent committee will develop a ‘roadmap’, that will define the steps required to establish the state of North Queensland,’’ Robbie said.
Mr Katter said a logical starting point of a border when splitting Queensland in two, would be the Tropic of Capricorn.
“If this border was adopted it would place Rockhampton in the state of North Queensland.
“Crucially our indigenous population would also have to be closely consulted,’’ Robbie said.
“Robbie says the Australian constitution is well prepared for the creation of a new state.
“A new State can always be created by an Act of the Commonwealth Parliament. The constitution has provisions included so this can take place. It’s not as if this has never been considered before.
A new state can only be created if the State in which it is to be created holds a successful referendum of the voters of that State.
“However, there has not been a new state created in Australia since 1859 – during the same time the United States of America created almost 20.’’
Under our unicameral system of Parliament, Queenslanders have been dominated by major parties which focus on winning votes in the South-East of Queensland. Meanwhile, they take the wealth that’s generated in regional areas and funnel it down to their South-East Queensland seats.
“North and Western Queensland are economic powerhouses. Real Gross Regional Product in Mackay was more than twice that of the state average while the North West was three times the average.
“About 60 per cent of Queensland’s export industries are above the Tropic of Capricorn and contain only 20% of the population.
“Given the decline of the north and the regions under multiple ALP and LNP Governments we believe the time is right to once again seriously consider the creation of separate North Queensland State.
“It would result in an immediate financial return back to those who created the wealth in Queensland,’’ Robbie said.
North Queenslander Bill Bates is currently touring Queensland in an effort get people to sign his own personal petition to create a second Queensland state.
Generally, petitions which attract 10,000 signatures will be debated in parliament.
October 11, 2017 – The LNP tonight backed Jackie Trad’s stricter Queensland gun control laws, with both parties displaying their willingness to work together to successfully attack the rights of law-abiding firearm owners.
The major party duopoly voted down a KAP Disallowance motion, ensuring more irrational changes will be made to the National Firearms Agreement (NFA).
KAP members Robbie Katter and Shane Knuth commended LNP Member for Gympie, Tony Perrett for crossing the floor to vote for KAP’s disallowance motion and for putting his constituents before his party.
After a debate characterised by mudslinging and misdirection the LNP sided with the Government to vote down the KAP motion moved by Robbie Katter resulting in Queensland now having gun laws which go far beyond those put in place by John Howard.
When debating the motion, Robbie urged all members of the house to look past the fear and emotion of the issue to ensure our laws are based on evidence and fairness.
“The changes to the NFA have absolutely no empirical or practical justification.
“Unfortunately these laws only punish people who do the right thing while doing nothing to address community safety,’’ Robbie said.
Member of Dalrymple Shane Knuth said if the State Government was serious about community safety it would look at measures which crackdown on gun crime, including a permanent amnesty, real time licence verification and better mail and customs screening to stop illegal weapons entering the country.
“The aim of the KAP disallowance motion was to remove the additional regulations imposed by Labor, resulting in tougher gun control laws,’’ Mr Knuth said.
“The LNP had the chance to block these tougher gun controls but chose to support Labor, even though they had been telling constituents they would champion law-abiding gun owners.’’
The LNP attempted to shift the blame to the State Government and the KAP for their decision to support the irrational NFA changes, however it was clear to all observers this was a weak attempt to move the focus away from their attack on law-abiding gun owners and the division within their own party.
“We will always support measures that make the community safer however, good policy needs to be based on evidence and not emotion,’’ Mr Knuth said.
Leader of the Opposition, Tim Nicholls quoted support for John Howard’s gun laws as the rationale. However, the new regulations significantly strengthen John Howard’s laws and they have been made without sufficient consultation with shooters.
The major aspects of the regulations which strengthen John Howard’s laws include:
– A reclassification of lever action shotguns to Category D, which is the same category as AK-47s and AR-15s, while pump action shotguns with the same capacity are classified in Category C.
– Serious questions around changes to the definition of lawful modification which could have the effect of making any type of weapon that has been modified by a licence shooter illegal. This has potential to make hundreds of thousands weapons illegal.
– If weapons are now deemed illegal they need to be handed back. With no compensation scheme in place this is perhaps the biggest injustice in the new laws.
Robbie Katter talks about a number of changes that could be brought in to improve community safety.
“There are a number of things that could be done to improve community safety including a permanent amnesty, a real time licence verification system, better screening of packages coming in from overseas and redirecting resources from persecution of law abiding shooters to fighting gun crime.
“According to a report by the auditor general, Customs only screens 25% of consignments, whereas previously all international mail coming into Australia was scanned. That equates to just 46 million scans, resulting in 67,123 prohibited items being seized. On those calculations, a further 201,369 prohibited items were let into the country,” Robbie said.
BRING ON THE ELECTION … NOW IS THE TIME
Bob Katter took part in a recent western shoot at the Mareeba SSAA range. He joked that this might be the best way to bring the banks into line. Bob says KAP is the only party in Queensland that wants to do away with firearms registration which has been a long-held policy. Bob spent some time shooting at the range with pistol, rifle and shotgun. His pistol ability did not go unnoticed by the club. They want him to come back for a day’s competition. The veteran politician warns that if the Labor Party gets re-elected in Queensland with a majority, the state’s 600,000 shooters will be faced with restrictions on ammunition sales and even tighter restrictions on gun ownership. He says the ALP and LNP simply hate guns.
Robbie said he was honoured to accept Pistol Shooting Queensland’s invitation to be its patron.
“Pistol Shooting Queensland is a great organisation which promotes the sport of target pistol shooting in a responsible way,” Robbie said.
Pistol Shooting Queensland is the sport’s state peak body, providing leadership to more than 40 clubs. Membership with Pistol Shooting Queensland provides all members with affiliation to the national body for the sport, Pistol Australia. It is also the only pistol shooting body in Queensland which provides members with the eligibility and pathway to be selected for Commonwealth and Olympic Games, including those athletes with a disability.
“Target pistol shooting is a challenging sport,” Robbie said. “There are men and women of all ages who enjoy it, as well as a strong cohort of juniors coming through. The people who participate through Pistol Shooting Queensland’s clubs love their sport, and are serious about safety. Despite what some people might think, it’s definitely not a bunch of red necks shooting in their back yard. It’s a serious sport, and the clubs take safety really seriously,” Robbie said.
Robbie went to Pistol Shooting Queensland’s home at Belmont Shooting Complex in Brisbane, which will be host next year’s Commonwealth Games shooting competition.
“The facilities being built out there for the Commonwealth Games are incredible, and they will be available for Pistol Shooting Queensland to use after the games are over, so there’s never been a better time to get involved in the sport,” Robbie said.
Pistol Shooting Queensland President Michele Sandstrom said the decision to offer Robbie the role was an easy one.
“Robbie has been a long-time supporter, and understands what Pistol Shooting Queensland is about. When Robbie was nominated at our last Annual General Meeting, he was unanimously endorsed by all. We know he understands the importance of safety in our sport, and will help us to promote it. We are very excited to have Robbie on board.”
For more information on pistol shooting, visit – www.pistolshootingqld.org.au
Disgrace: LNP and ALP government abandon North Queensland
KAP’s Robbie Katter and Shane Knuth have called the LNP a disgrace after they confirmed they will sell out North Queensland and pass the budget as is, without any negotiation.
Robbie and Shane asked the government for four basic things to address the current crisis in North Queensland. Robbie and Shane and the rest of the crossbench said they would vote against the budget if the government refused to come to the negotiating table. “North Queensland is in crisis. The government should be ashamed of itself for not agreeing to these four very reasonable requests,” Robbie said. “Even more shameful is that the LNP had an opportunity to stand with us to force the government to listen, but instead they’ve decided to sell out North Queensland and rubber stamp the budget.”
Robbie and Shane requested four urgent actions to support North Queensland, which faces unemployment rates as high as 14%, compared with unemployment of about 4% in Brisbane:
- Power prices reduced by 5%
- Commit to reducing North Queensland unemployment to 6% by 2020
- Commit unspent infrastructure funding to North Queensland to kick start the economy
- Set up a North Queensland Budget Equity Board
Shane Knuth said he was disgusted, but not surprised, with the government and LNP. “I wish I could say I was surprised, but I’m not,” Shane said. “I was excited because we had a real chance to make some change for North Queensland, but we needed support from either the government or LNP to make it happen, and neither of them would step up to the plate. They should hang their heads in shame,” Shane said.
Robbie said he was shocked the major parties wouldn’t consider KAP’s requests. “They’re quite happy to throw billions of dollars at a Brisbane rail project so city people can get home from work earlier, but won’t commit to something as critical as reducing unemployment in the North. At least we in North Queensland know exactly where we stand with the government and LNP: and that’s on the wrong side of the Brisbane border,” Robbie said.
Robbie and Shane will vote against the budget unless the government accepts their basic requests – which could make an immediate difference to North Queensland.
KAP’s Robbie Katter and Shane Knuth and the rest of the Queensland crossbench will vote together against the Trading (Allowable Hours) Amendment Bill.
Robbie, Shane, and fellow crossbenchers Rob Pyne, Billy Gordon and Steve Dickson, said they could not in good conscience support a bill that gave more power to supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths.
KAP State Leader and Member for Mount Isa, Robbie Katter, said KAP and his crossbench colleagues had consulted extensively with their electorates on the Bill.
“This bill is sold as making positive changes to trading hours in Queensland, but in reality it will squeeze out small and independent retailers and give more power to the supermarket duopoly,” Robbie said.
“The Parliamentary Committee that investigated the Bill could not even bring itself to recommend it be passed,” he said.
The report states: “The IGA State Board stated that following the deregulation of trading hours in December 2016, IGA supermarkets lost $1 million per week in turnover. It advised that the loss in turnover reduced wages by approx. $5.5 million, which will lead to a reduction in employment across the network of approximately 128 fulltime jobs.” The report suggested that these jobs were not necessarily re-created by the two major supermarkets, because of the use of self-check outs.
“This will be disastrous for small business operators in Mount Isa and other rural and regional areas in Queensland,” Robbie said.
“KAP has been sticking up for smaller businesses for a long time, and we won’t give up,” Shane said.
“KAP is opposed to any changes to trading hours that would allow a supermarket duopoly to dominate the market over small business. If the changes are passed, there is a real danger it will destroy small businesses which are already doing it tough. It’s the one size fits all mentality that simply does not work for smaller regional centres,” Shane said.
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The KAP has condemned reports this afternoon that the State Government will review new crocodile management plans following an attack on a snorkeller on Lizard Island yesterday.
The man was treated for minor cuts and abrasions to his head after the reptile, estimated to be up to two metres long, attacked him near Watson Creek Inlet.
ABC reported Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the incident was concerning and that maybe stricter measures were needed, although she’s ruled out culling.
KAP State Member for Dalrymple Shane Knuth said a review was the last thing Queenslanders needed.
“The time for talk is well and truly over; we need real action in the form of a controlled cull now to put a stop to the attacks, which seem to be multiplying by the day,” he said.
“We do not need a review – we know what the problem is and we demand action.”
State Member for Mt Isa Robbie Katter said the latest attack was the final straw.
“Human safety is paramount and the Government has now run out of chances to evade action; we need to activate a controlled cull as soon as possible,” he said.
The latest development comes just hours after reports of a beheaded crocodile near Innisfail, revealing locals may be taking steps to control crocodiles themselves because the Government is failing to act.
“People are saying this was bound to happen and it will continue if the Government doesn’t do something,” Mr Knuth said.
Following a well-supported consultation tour around north Queensland, the KAP will table legislation next month to allow for a controlled cull in populated areas across Queensland.
Under the legislation, Mr Knuth said crocodiles could be culled or relocated to a crocodile farm, and safari hunting and egg collection initiatives could be set up to create jobs for Indigenous rangers.