Bring on a State plebiscite to create the new State of 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:
1. Power prices reduced by 5%
2. Commit to reducing North Queensland unemployment to 6% by 2020
3. Commit unspent infrastructure funding to North Queensland to kick start the economy
4. 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.
State budget a lotto win for Brisbane
Robbie Katter says news that the government will spend $2billion on Cross River Rail confirms what people in the North have long been saying: the major parties govern for Brisbane. “It’s never been more important to fight for North Queensland,” Robbie said.
KAP is urging the LNP to join them in standing up for North Queensland. KAP’s Robbie Katter and Shane Knuth have asked the government for four urgent actions to address the crisis in North Queensland:
- 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
KAP State Leader Robbie Katter said he, Shane, and the rest of the crossbench, would vote against the state budget if the government would not deliver these initiatives for North Queensland.
“If the LNP stands with us, we can make this happen, we can create real change for North Queensland,” Robbie said.
The state treasurer said in his budget speech today “Queenslanders will not forget” if the Federal Treasurer doesn’t commit money to Cross River Rail.
“North Queenslanders will not forget that this government thought $2billion was better spent on a project so city people could get home from work a bit earlier, rather than on infrastructure projects to invest in North Queensland’s future,” Robbie said. “That same $2billion could have seen the rail line out of the Galilee Basin already built, which would produce income for Queensland for decades to come.”
Robbie said comments by the Treasurer in his budget speech that “confidence has made a comeback”, showed how out of touch the government was with life outside of Brisbane.
“In my home town of Mount Isa, confidence is so low in the wake of talk by Glencore of pulling out of its copper operations, people are losing sleep. This is affecting people’s lives, and all we hear from the treasurer is that survey results are good. Well that’s not what’s happening out here in the real world,” Robbie said.
“In other parts of the North, unemployment is as high as 14%. If business confidence was as high as the treasurer claims, we wouldn’t be seeing rates like this.”
Shane Knuth said it made him sick that more wasn’t being done to address unemployment in the North. “Unemployment in Brisbane is around 4%. If unemployment rates were as high in the big city as they are up North, the government would drop everything to fix the problem. Instead we see them drop $2bn on a project in an electorate with 4% unemployment.
What a joke. If they care about North Queensland and making a change, they will agree to our request to reducing unemployment in the North to 6% by 2020. And I expect the LNP to show some backbone and stand with us to make this happen,” Shane said.
Mount Isa MP Robbie Katter says recent polling shows people are sick of the Government treating them criminals.
“The Government recently agreed to a number of changes to the National Firearms Agreement which are going to make it much harder for licenced shooters including farmers and recreational shooters, to continue to pursue their activities. The NFA changes were agreed to without evidence and without adequate consultation.”
Independent polling commissioned by the Law Abiding Firearm Owners (LAFO) shows 64% of people think the State Government is not listening to them and more than one third of Labor voters in three Townsville based seats would register a protest vote against the Government if more firearm restrictions were introduced.
“KAP has always been a strong supporter of law abiding citizens being able to own firearms and enjoy shooting both recreationally and professionally. Labor’s latest endorsement of the changes to the National Firearms Agreement (NFA) shows this Government will continue to treat law abiding citizen’s like criminals. Instead of consulting with firearm owners and the industry, the Government has ploughed ahead with significant restrictions to appease their left leaning constituents in Brisbane,” Katter said.
If the Government enforces the NFA changes in Queensland it will reduce access to ammunition and double the cost of maintaining a firearms licence.
“I’m yet to see any evidence that these changes will increase public safety. The changes are completely irrational and all they do is punish people who haven’t broken the law,” Katter said.
The polling showed that 91% agree with farmers owning a shotgun for farm work, 89% support feral pest controllers being licenced to use guns and 86% are okay with sporting shooters using guns at gun clubs or in competition.
“The results of the polling are very clear. Guns are a big issue for people in North Queensland. The KAP will be voting against any legislation or regulation that the Government brings in to Parliament that tries to increase restrictions on licenced shooters. The Government has provided no evidence to support the changes and they’ve shown they’re willing to restrict the rights of those who abide by the law for the sake of winning votes,”
The polling was conducted in the seats of Mundingburra, Thuringowa and Townsville.
Member for Mt Isa, Robbie Katter has questioned a plan for a reduction of seats in Queensland Parliament, which would give people in the bush even less representation.
The State Leader of the Katter’s Australian Party said the proposal would result in further neglect of rural and regional communities, robbing constituents of their opportunity for face-to-face conversations with their local MP.
“It’s vitally important that MPs are able to get out on the ground in their electorates and talk to their constituents face-to-face,” Mr Katter said.
“The suggestion that MPs could spend less time out in their electorates and replace handshakes with emails simply doesn’t work in Western Queensland.”
“The Mount Isa electorate is more than twice the size of the state of Victoria and it’s already hard enough to get around to meet people face-to-face and understand their issues first hand.”
“Every voter has the right to shake hands with their MP.”
“It would make representation absolutely impossible for Western areas.”
“Frankly, it’s a bush killer, no question, because it would see more power go into the hands of the city-centric establishment.”
Mr Katter was supportive of better checks and balances in Parliament but believes this can be achieved by breaking up the two-party system.
“What we need is the public to embrace a multi-party system that would deliver competition to parliament to break up the duopoly of the two major parties,” he said.
“We need representation that champions development West of the Great Divide.”
“This plan would only exacerbate the gravitation of government spending towards votes in high population areas.”
Mr Katter said relying on undependable technology for communication with constituents in the bush would be disastrous.
“Try and tell the people of Gregory or Karumba who regularly experience internet and mobile phone outages for weeks on end,” he said.
Dear Members and Supporters,
Bob was recently interviewed by ABC News 24’s Joe O’brien on the topic of free trade and how it affects the Australian economy and the Australian people. Bob also went into depth on 457 visas and President-elect Donald Trump. If you’d like to watch the interview you can do so by clicking on the image below.
QLD STATE NEWS
In State news Robbie Katter, together with the Health Minister Cameron Dick, has announced that construction will soon begin on a new carpark and helipad at the Mt Isa Hospital which will serve to provide better access for those in need.Mr Katter said the need for additional car parking on the hospital’s grounds had been an ongoing issue.
“It’s always been an awkward issue for a council owned car park issuing a service for a state owned hospital. If we can stop the elderly and sick walking an extra block or two we’ve done well,” Mr Katter said.
As the State Member for Mt Isa Robbie has consistently attempted to acquire state funding for rural and regional Queensland. This is but one of the initiatives which Rob has taken in order to provide North Queensland with their fair share
“We do not want a return to the nasty era of tree police”
KAP member for Dalrymple Shane Knuth
An emotionally-charged meeting of Far Northern pastoralists, indigenous representatives, councils and farmers at Mareeba has urged three State Parliamentary crossbenchers to vote down proposed changes to the Vegetation Management Act.
Deputy Premier Jackie Trad, in a move to appease Brisbane environmentalists and bolster Greens Party preference support for the ALP, will introduce new VMA regulations to halt tree clearing in State Parliament this week.
Agforce hosted the gathering of nearly 80 primary producers and industry representatives from Innisfail to Cape York Peninsula, held at Mareeba Bowls Club on Tuesday.
In spite of the threat of a snap election, crossbenchers Rob Katter and Shane Knuth vowed they would vote against the new regulations that Mr Knuth said would set the state back 20 years.
“We have been telling the Premier for a long time that landowners cannot afford and will not support the return to the nasty era of tree police,” Mr Knuth said.
“We have just had one of the worst droughts in history with record numbers of bank foreclosures and the Labor Party wants to make farmers suffer even more.
“We will not support the new laws.”
After the meeting Mr Knuth said he did not know which way Member for Cairns, now independent Rob Pyne would vote after he deserted the Labor Party last week.
While addressing the audience, Member for Cook Billy Gordon tacitly approved the stance of his crossbench colleagues.
Agforce General President Grant Maudsley said the State Government’s own data showed tree coverage in Queensland increased by 437,000 hectares between 2012 – 2014.
“Moves by the government to reject simple data and repeal the current vegetation management laws are the biggest threat to Queensland farmers since the Gillard Government smashed the live cattle export trade in 2011,” Mr Maudsley told the meeting.
“The results for consumers will be more expensive fresh produce and a loss of jobs. Meat processors have already started putting off staff because of a slow-down in domestic cattle supply as the national herd hits a 20 year low.”
Mareeba District Fruit and Vegetable Growers representative Makse Srhoj warned the new laws would impact severely on farms within the MDIA because of their smaller size.
“If we have to leave 30 per cent remnant vegetation on a block then we can’t do anything with them, particularly if there are two or more deeds,” Mr Srhoj said.
“Who looks after the land the best? Farmers; we are the real greenies.”
Noel Pearson says even white people have land rights
A member of the panel, indigenous leader Noel Pearson, waded in roundly condemning green groups and the ALP Government for holding back economic opportunities in northern communities, rejecting the new laws as a ‘rebirth’ of Wild Rivers legislation.
In his hallmark immutable style Pearson did not hold back, criticising Federal Member for Leichardt Warren Entsch and former Member for Cook, David Kempton for waging a “disgraceful campaign against Billy Gordon” after he was elected.
“These guys are ‘false prophets,’” Mr Pearson told an entirely attentive audience.
“We have no property rights on Cape York and we need upgraded tenure. There are lots of fronts where all landowners are vulnerable.”
Public servants who once worked for environmental lobby groups were targeted by Pearson for pushing extreme green agendas within government.
“These greens have infiltrated indigenous groups and government departments and it’s like a tag team, they are all the same, and have networked with all departments,” Mr Pearson said.
“Public servants should declare their association with environmental groups.
“The proposition there is going to be land clearing the size of Victoria, is fantasy.
“There are only pockets of land suitable for development.
“White people too have had many generations on this land and they have a great love for their land. It’s high time the law in Queensland started to respect that relationship.
“We spent five hard years and lots of money fighting Wild Rivers in court but we could have been doing other more productive things.
“We need another 10 independents in parliament to put us in a better position, given the absence of an Upper House.”
Katter’s Australian Party have finally got the Government to listen after receiving news today that $25 million will be allocated to upgrade the Mount Isa to Townsville rail line. More to come…
RAIL line upgrades should be a focus to restore industry confidence and jobs growth in the North, Robbie Katter says.
The State Member for Mount Isa has called on infrastructure issues to be urgently addressed on the Mount Isa to Townsville rail line.
“We have to be mindful of the fact that in the last 12 months there have been at least 1000 fly-in-fly-out jobs out of Townsville lost in the North West,” he said.
“It’s in everyone’s best interests to get industry-enabling infrastructure, such as the rail line, back to a point where it is again accessible and working to its full capacity.”
“If it’s good for the North West, it’s good for Townsville.”
Mr Katter said patience was running out to improve transport corridors in the North.
“We’ve waited far too long for the State Government to recognise the critical need for significant investment in upgrading the Mount Isa to Townsville Rail Line,” Mr Katter said.
“There must be some movement on fixing this ageing line and now is the time for the State Government to step up and address these issues.”
“If the State Government wants the region to thrive into the future they need to recognise the pressures and inefficiencies on the rail line.”
“Productivity and safety cannot be compromised because of ageing infrastructure which has been neglected by successive governments.”
Mr Katter said State Government investment would bring confidence to the North.
“The mining industry is going through tough times and it needs stimulation to secure jobs,” he said.
“The State Government needs to enable industry in the North West and fixing up the rail line should be one of the starting points.”
“If we have an effective and productive rail line we will see a lot of flow-on benefits.”
“It’s in the best interests of the State Government to support a region which generates approximately $300m in royalties per annum and brings $2.8 billion to the Queensland economy through mining.“
Bob Katter, KAP Member for Dalrymple Shane Knuth, Alan Jones and Robbie Katter tell the Liberal and National Parties they have had enough!
THE LAST STAND IN WINTON: WE WANT A RECONSTRUCTION BOARD
5 December 2014: KAP Leader and Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter said today that the ‘The Last Stand in Winton’ – the Rural Debt Crisis Summit was unanimous in its determination to seek a reconstruction debt approach to farm debt.
Approximately 400 people including leading economists, politicians, Government Ministers and farmers from around Australia attended the Summit called by the State Member for Mount Isa, Rob Katter.
Radio Presenter Alan Jones was the guest speaker who promised he would be delivering the message from the bush to the people in the cities and the politicians in Canberra and the capital cities. Mr Jones received a rousing standing ovation from the audience who he told to ‘put their shoulders square and fight’.
“Farm debt has exploded in 9 years from $31,000 million to over $64,000 million last year,” Mr Katter said.
“To reconstruct the bad end of that debt is achievable by Government and they need to move in immediately in a situation where the banks are foreclosing at a rate of 10 properties per week.
“Banks do not just foreclose, they’re using duress and even mis-representation to get people to agree to terms without putting them into receivership.”
Mr Katter said the meeting unanimously rejected the Government’s offer of more debt by way of concessional loans.
The meeting also called for a moratorium on all bank foreclosures until the drought ends.
Farmers spoke from the floor to give heart-breaking accounts of their farms being sold up after generations on the land.
A Winton Rural Crisis Committee will now be established to take forward the outcomes of the meeting.
The resolutions agreed to at the meeting are:
Drought and other natural disasters
1) That the current Drought Assistance approach is a failure and this approach is rejected outright as manifestly inadequate
2) That the meeting calls on the Council of Australian Governments to convene an inclusive working group (within a month) to develop a new approach to drought and other periods of natural disaster consistent with the WTO Agreement on Agriculture framework
3) That the new approach support stressed agricultural businesses by providing:
· Prompt direct funding assistanceSimple conditions of access
· Low interest loans
· Greater certainty as to the availability of assistance
· A form similar to the previous QRAA model, and
· Other features arising from subsequent industry deliberations
4) That governments increase the number of Rural Financial Counselling and other support services in the state of Qld and place them appropriately around the state.
5) That Australian farmer incomes and profitability be made central to government policies, including in a reworking of the inadequate Agriculture Green Paper
6) That the Senate Economics Legislation Committee proceed in its enquiry into the Reserve Bank of Australia Amendment (ARDB) Bill as a matter of urgency
7) That the Federal Government commit to the provision of finance to fund the reconstruction and development of Australian Industry with urgent attention to rural industries and infrastructure
8) That the State government provide affordable Risk Mitigation Insurance to give effective cover against natural disasters
9) That interest rates are excessive and incompatible with sustainable production, industry profitability and international competitiveness. The Federal Government to work towards reducing interest rates.
10) That the Australian dollar is un-competitively high and calls on the federal government and the Reserve Bank to put in place methods to compensate Australian industries and reduce the dollar.
11) That governments and banks immediately enact a moratorium on forced farm sales until effective action is taken on the resolutions above
12) That the meeting supports the Winton/Western Rural Crisis Committee in its efforts to advance these issues and relevant other issues subsequently raised with appropriate industry and government representatives and agencies
Tuesday 17 December 2013
The Member for Mount Isa Robbie Katter has written to Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce calling on his support for an Australian Reconstruction and Development Bank (ARDB).
A packed meeting of rural producers at the Hughenden Rural Debt Crisis Forum last week unanimously passed a resolution to call on the Federal Government to commit to the provision of a reconstruction model capable of financial stabilization of rural Australia and reduction of rural debt.
“I called the forum to give a clearer picture to rural producers of the structures and procedures to form an ARDB, and to seek their support to take these plans to Federal Parliament.
“I was given that unanimously, and was greatly impressed by the fervour and interest in the forum and the willingness by attendees to learn as much as they could and to work on the solutions with me.
“Many of them are doing it very tough in the drought and carry a massive debt.
“The fact they travelled hundreds of kilometres to attend indicates their willingness to find smart, long-term, sustainable answers to the woes of Australian agriculture.
“Today I’ve written to Barnaby Joyce and Senators Nick Xenophon and John Madigan who tabled a Bill in Parliament in earlier this year to establish an ARDB.
“The Northern Beef Crisis Committee, led by chair Rob Atkinson, will join me in taking the resolutions from the forum to Canberra before the next sitting of Parliament on February 11-13,” said Mr Katter.