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KAP slams Govt croc management review in wake of latest attack, calls for real action

KAP Shane Knuth and Rob Katter – “We do not need a review – we know what the problem is and we demand action.”

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.

Crocodiles in plague proportions in North Queensland and KAP is moving laws to reduce numbers

In response to a public outcry, Katters Australia Party is drafting legislation to remove or cull crocodiles in northern waterways after a spate of savage attacks on tourists and residents.

The recent death of a spearfisherman and the mauling of a man at Innisfail by crocodiles prompted a series of public meetings called by the Member for Dalrymple Shane Knuth to gauge public support for crocodile removal, culling, egg collection and safari hunting.

Meetings were held last week at Mareeba, Innisfail and Port Douglas.

At the Mareeba meeting Mr Knuth said the attacks had been given international media coverage and tourists were now cancelling visits to the Far North because they were frightened of being attacked by a salt water crocodile.

Former deputy Mayor of Mareeba Shire, Evan McGrath spoke of crocodiles close to the town and how farmers had been menaced by them when checking their water pumps in creeks and channels.

He said crocodiles had been seen in irrigation channels and the Barron River near his farm. “Their numbers are out of control in areas where crocodiles have never been seen before.”

Crocs eat crocs or humans in the Far North. KAP is drafting legislation to reduce the runaway numbers of dangerous crocodiles in North Queensland

“Enough is enough,” Mr Knuth told a supportive audience of more than 100 residents.

“We have to bring the numbers back under control. Over the past 40 years since croc shooting finished the numbers have exploded and crocs no longer fear man and they have become cheeky and not afraid to attack people or domestic animals.”

A three metre long photo backdrop of a crocodile with a kelpie in its mouth reminded the audience of the audacity and savagery of a crocodile eating a pet dog near Innisfail two weeks ago, greatly upsetting the dog’s young owner.

Supporting the KAP legislation was the Chairman of Cape York Peninsula Land Council Richie Ahmat who suggested a truck load of large crocs should be taken from a local crocodile farm and dropped into the Brisbane River.

“Then we would see some action,” Mr Ahmat quipped.

Former Gulf area cattle station manager Jack Fraser told the meeting the excessive number of crocs in the vast Lower Gulf district were out of hand and should be culled as a matter of urgency.

He said several years ago a large crocodile on a cattle station was found dead on a riverbank. It was cut open to reveal 60 plastic cattle ear tags in its stomach.

“Sixty ear tags represents a loss to the station of about $60,000 worth of stock on today’s market,” Mr Fraser said.

Member for Kennedy Bob Katter received thunderous applause when he stated the obvious: “The Brisbane Government does not care a less about North Queenslanders and it is time we looked after our own problems.

“Home rule is across the world and like Brexit, North Queensland must now take a stance,” referring to a new State of North Queensland.

Member for Mt Isa Robbie Katter said he would present a bill to State Parliament in the May sittings to address runaway crocodile numbers that were of grave danger to the public.

He alluded to making unchecked crocodile attacks a precursor to blocking the May budget should the Labor Government not support his bill.

Meanwhile the Independent Member for Cook, Billy Gordon, did not attend either the Mareeba or Port Douglas meetings held in his electorate.

On his Facebook page after the meetings Mr Gordon claimed he would not be supporting the crocodile removal legislation because he had not been invited to either the Mareeba or Port Douglas meetings.

“The needs of my electorate are quite substantive, the areas of health, education, telecommunications….and tourism are of primary concern to me,” the post said.

“It’s on these issues that hard- nosed negotiations should be had on.

“As a matter of public record I have not been invited to or included in meetings in both Mareeba and Port Douglas to advocate for culling of crocs.”

A KAP spokesman said today Mr Gordon’s office was contacted early on Tuesday morning by staff inviting him to the meeting.

“On Wednesday morning his office put in an apology telling us they were unsure if Mr Gordon would attend,” the spokesman said.

“A meeting flyer was emailed to his office. KAP contacted his staff who said they were unable to send a representative to the meeting.

“KAP staff also left a message on his phone,” the spokesman said.

Mr Gordon is believed to be in Melbourne and was unable to be contacted for comment.

At the Mareeba forum, local Labor Party stalwart Duncan McInnes said most Aboriginal communities and Traditional Owners he had spoken to supported the proposed legislation.

New state of North Queensland here we come

No adequate political representation for the Far North after ECQ and ALP gerrymandered northern seats to Brisbane. Consequently the new State of North Queensland is in the making

The Electoral Commission of Queensland, a Brisbane-based bureaucracy headed by H W H Botting has long defended itself against corruption allegations and again has come into the spotlight after a State electoral redistribution moved several key northern seats to Brisbane.

The Labor orientated ECQ cries independent but long suffering voters outside of the south east corner of the State have been crapped all over by its ALP and LNP driven agenda for decades.

KAP Member for Dalrymple Shane Knuth says LNP removed safety net from his bill to protect cane growers

KAP Member for Dalrymple Shane Knuth

Released today, the ECQ has engineered a gerrymander of monumental proportions removing Katters Australia Party Shane Knuth’s seat of Dalrymple stretching from Atherton in the north to the southern mining town of Moranbah in the Coalfields.

The last time the effective and independent member Rosa Lee Long threatened the status quo of the LNP and ALP,  her seat of Tablelands was abolished by the ECQ in 2009.

Far North people are sick and tired of being the political football for the LNP and the ALP. Cairns News has no doubt many thousands of voters who have depended on Shane Knuth for his astute representation will protest to the ECQ during the public comment period.

Several contributors to Cairns News have already suggested that the entire population of the Far North refuse to vote at the next State election.

The people should take a line on the map north of the Tropic of Capricorn and tell the south east corner Labor and Liberal politicians and their public servants to go to hell – the north is creating its own state, we don’t need you, one contributor said.

The Mt Isa electorate will now take in Charters Towers in a ploy to spread its highly effective member Robbie Katter wafer thin across an electorate nearly twice the size of Victoria.

Robbie Katter says the re-mapping of the boundaries is another blow for rural representation.

He has constantly pushed against further expansion to rural seats and had hoped for more adequate representation in regional areas.

“The major parties have got what they wanted, in particular the ALP,” he said.

“Adequate representation means that each person has the opportunity to meet and shake hands with their local member.”

“It’s a shame the new seats being created are closer to metropolitan areas, not in western areas where it’s already difficult for the local member to get around their massive electorates.”

Mr Katter said the proposed changes meant that the Mount Isa electorate will lose Diamantina and Winton Shire boundaries, of less than 2,000 people combined, while taking in the Charters Towers Regional Council, with a population in excess of about 12,000 people.

“I’m very concerned that we’ll continue to see people with no idea what it’s like to live out west, making decisions about how we use our land and water.”

“That’s a nett gain of approximately 10,000 people for the local member to represent.”

“The people of these smaller rural towns, that already struggling, need more representation, not less.”

“We need to make sure that everything is being done to ensure adequate representation in rural and regional areas.”

Mr Katter was disappointed the rural areas would miss out once again.

“The major parties have got what they wanted which is less representation in regional areas,” he said.

“It’s another example of rural areas being overlooked.”

“With less representation in the bush we’ll continue to see policies focussed on cities.”

qld-electorial-boundaries

Wilmar Sugar and the LNP rip up canegrowers contracts

KAP Member for Dalrymple Shane Knuth says LNP removed safety net from his bill to protect cane growers

KAP Member for Dalrymple Shane Knuth says LNP removed safety net from his bill to protect cane growers

Singapore-owned Wilmar Sugar refuses to pay cane growers fair price.

Thanks to the Liberal National Party cane farmers cannot go to arbitration because the LNP removed the clause from Shane Knuth’s bill.

19 February 2017:   KAP Federal Member for Kennedy, Bob Katter and State Member for Dalrymple, Shane Knuth MP today, in the Burdekin town of Ayr, attended a meeting with cane farmers to end the sugar marketing stalemate with Singaporean based company Wilmar.

In 2015 Mr Knuth introduced into the QLD Parliament the Sugar Industry (Real Choice in Marketing) Amendment Act 2015 giving an estimated 4,500 cane growing families choice in who they market with – the Bill passed with the support of the LNP and Independent Member for Cook.  It was the second KAP Private Members Bill to become legislation and came within 24 hours of passing the ethanol mandate.

The outcome of the meeting today still does not give clarity because there is no manoeuvre by the Federal Government to introduce a Code of Conduct,” Mr Knuth said. 

The numbers in the QLD Parliament have not been secured by the LNP, as yet, to get any amendments to the sugar marketing legislation.  But as I did in the past when we drafted this legislation – working with the LNP and Canegrowers – we will be doing the same to ensure effective changes can take place,” Mr Knuth pledged.

Mr Katter whose electorate of Kennedy is highly reliant on sugar, was critical of the LNP for removing the final arbitration from the KAP legislation.

The State representatives who were there today – we are only in this hole, without any cane supply agreements (no contracts between farmers and millers), because the LNP took out the clauses for final arbitration – where the referees decision is final. That was in there and the LNP took it out.  We didn’t have the numbers without the LNP so it had to go through QLD Parliament without that clause,” Mr Katter said.

“With all of the QLD State LNP seats now in serious doubt and vulnerable to attacks from KAP and PHON, we might be able to get the QLD State LNP more scared of us than their corporate masters. 

LNP Federal Member George Christensen will cross the floor of parliament if the LNP does not help cane growers in their battle with foreign-owned Wilmar sugar

LNP Federal Member George Christensen will cross the floor of parliament if the LNP does not help cane growers in their battle with foreign-owned Wilmar sugar

“George Christensen has crossed the floor on ethanol. His crossing the floor on ethanol was an act of very great courage and I think he has played a key role in convincing the Feds to stop them from intervening and overturning the sugar marketing legislation.  

“The LNP today says ‘we believe in a competitive market and when it doesn’t work we intervene’.  Fancy saying that when they (the LNP) introduced the deregulation. 

“Statements about ‘we believe in competition setting the market price’.  What an appalling statement! Do you believe the market sets the price of milk with only two buyers in there? Or the price of apples, bananas, oranges or sugar? 

“The two giant supermarket chains set the market price.  Sugar has a 400% mark-up on the price for refined sugar that the industry gets paid.

“Our second underlying problem is the world sugar market price is set by Brazil and they have over the last 16-17 years received $420 a tonne, and I doubt whether we have got $360 a tonne.  We can’t survive on $360 a tonne average price.

“George Christensen no doubt was instrumental in getting the Deputy Prime Minister to stop any intervention from Canberra to overturn the Sugar Marketing legislation.  Farmers and every worker in Australia should be entitled to arbitration.  Thanks to KAP for introducing the legislation, at least one industry now has arbitration. 

“We thank the Deputy Prime Minister for listening to George Christensen on this issue,” Mr Katter ended.

 

Members vow to vote down any changes to Qld vegetation laws moved by Labor

“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.

Agforce Tablelands organiser Graham Elmes, Robbie Katter, Shane Knuth and Billy Gordon

“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

Noel Peason

Noel Pearson

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.”

Lock out laws rile some Cairns night clubs, but majority agrees says Knuth

Changes to State Government liquor ‘lock out’ laws have divided the community in Far North Queensland, with letters to newspapers and radio talk back callers equally opposed and agreeing to the changes.

Taxi operators, nightclub owners and young patrons have criticised the Labor Party’s legislation that will see a reduction in drinking time, with last drinks at 1am instead of 3am.

Some venues can apply for last drinks at 2am with an additional 30 minutes grace before lock out.

Shane Kunuth KAP (google pics)

Shane Knuth KAP (google pics)

The new regulations come into force on February 1, 2017, allowing a 12 month phase-in provision insisted on by Katters Australian Party MP’s Shane Knuth and Robbie Katter.

Those with a criminal history of violence or drug dealers will not be allowed entry to venues.

The regulations are to be reviewed in July 2018.

Emergency services personnel have shown total support for the new laws, praising the KAP for its insight into the burgeoning alcohol culture of young people.

The Australian Medical Association welcomed the changes, believing the shorter hours will go a long way towards halting ‘coward punches’ and drug-fuelled violence.

“The police asked us to include the banning of known drug dealers and users within night club precincts and the management of this is up to the night clubs,” Mr Knuth said.

“We indicated from the beginning we would not support the regulations in their original form.

“In Sydney, with its similar laws, clubs introduced food towards closing time, helping patrons to sober up before leaving.”

Our Nightlife Queensland Secretary Nick Braban attacked KAP for supporting the winding back of trading hours describing the 1am lock out as “draconian” that would cost jobs and kill business.

The LNP, in opposing the changes, has waded in accusing KAP of “backflipping” and causing chaos to Cairns’ status as an internationally renowned tourist destination.

Michael Trout tourist operator- ex-MP  (google pics)

Former LNP Member for Barron River and tourist operator Michael Trout, said KAP is not welcome in Cairns.

“It no longer has any relevance,” Mr Trout said.

“KAP is too close to the ALP and is now seen as being in bed with them.

“The night chaplains are upset and an ABC poll showed 75 per cent support against the changes.

“I thought they (KAP) would never sell our town down the drain. It is not a beat up and is not going to go away.”

Advance Cairns and the Cairns Chamber of Commerce joined the fray believing the early lock down would create transport issues.

Cairns Taxis chairman Layne Gardiner said  the city’s 137 cabs would not be able to provide the same level of service when venues are unable to serve alcohol after 3am.

He said when large numbers of patrons leave venues simultaneously, on big nights, trouble usually breaks out at taxi ranks.

“I think that when they start to wait on ranks, that’s when fights do break out and unfortunately we are the end result who have to take them home,” Mr Gardiner said.

A KAP spokesman said due to the large number of calls and emails received by Mr Knuth and Mr Katter, the majority of Queenslanders supported the changes leaving Cairns as the main objector.

katter-knuth-004

Rob Katter and Shane Knuth KAP – (google pics)

Debt Summit calls for government moratorium on bank foreclosures

A meeting of more than 300 cattle producers at Charters Towers has called on the federal government to create the Australian Reconstruction and Development Board and place a moratorium on bank foreclosures before the state’s cattle industry completely collapsed.

Called by the Member for Dalrymple, Shane Knuth, the crisis meeting followed on from a similar meeting held by the Member for Mt Isa, Robbie Katter at Winton last year.

Producers demanded the federal and state governments act immediately to introduce the ARDB, modelled on the Rural Reconstruction Board of 30 years ago which was designed to absorb the “toxic” trading bank interest debt that has engulfed primary industries and to issue low interest development funds for primary producers and small business.

More than 20 resolutions were passed unanimously by the gathering of desperate and often distraught cattle producers.

While an unprecedented 80 per cent of the state is reeling under a drought declaration, producers heard how social media and 60 Minutes superstar Charlie Phillott, 81, of Winton, beat the ANZ Bank and had his property returned with a substantial settlement.

Mr Phillott’s plight has been closely monitored by the 60 Minutes television show and scored an Australian record 3.5 million hits on Toowoomba veterinarian David Pascoe’s social media site.

He urged producers to stick together when fighting questionable behaviour by the banks.

He said he had never missed a repayment but when the bank restructured his loan he was unable to manage and was eventually put off his Winton property after the bank took it over.

“All of us here owe a great deal of gratitude to Bob Katter for he saw my position and stood by me for two years ,” Mr Phillott said.

Primary Industries Minister Bill Byrne when addressing the meeting started an uproar when he said the State Government would not be building more dams because there was “no business return” from farming.

Charters Towers cattleman Mick Pemble attacked the Minister asking why he could not build dams, and “…do what everybody else in this room does and borrow the bloody money!”

“If I could make it rain I would, but our resources are finite and we are working on what can be done in the circumstances,” Mr Byrne said.

“There are amendments before Parliament and our policy is that water is critical to agriculture but the government capacity to fund such a project is limited.

“If you build dams in the city or for mining you get capital back but for agriculture you do not get capital back.

He said federal money or private investment would be needed to build dams.

Meeting chairman Shane Knuth said he was aware of highly questionable behaviour by bank-appointed receivers that had caused a lot of grief to families through no fault of their own.

He said there were many hundreds of northern producers in financial difficulties and the local industry could collapse unless the bank debt issue was resolved.

“I know some of you want to speak, and I am aware that confidentiality agreements stop you from telling us about what the receivers have done to you, but everyone is behind you and we must stop the foreclosures,” Mr Knuth said.

Burdekin farmer Max Menzell asked the Minister why police were involved when foreclosures took place adding that they should not be used by the banks and receivers as debt collectors because foreclosures were a civil matter.

The Minister strongly defended the use of police stating categorically: “That is the law.”

Mr Knuth said more meetings and what actions should be taken would be called unless the government brought the banks into line and stopped foreclosures immediately.

Phillott and the KAP

Member for Kennedy Bob Katter, Charlie Phillott, Member for Dalrymple Shane Knuth and Member for Mt Isa Robbie Katter.

Mr Phillott said the northern grazing industry and businesses owed Bob Katter a great deal of gratitude for giving producers a voice in dealing with banks and foreclosures.

DSC_8277

Bob Katter addresses 300 desperate cattle producers and small businessmen at the Charters Towers Debt Summit. Resolutions passed called on the federal government to halt farm foreclosures immediately and enact the Australian Reconstruction and Development Board to absorb toxic bank debt or the northern industry could collapse.

BUST THE BANKS

We will face the crisis with aggression and unity – KAP

Charters Towers Debt Summit August 31, 2015

With less than a week until the Charters Towers Rural Crisis Summit, Member for Dalrymple Shane Knuth said he has felt a groundswell of interest.

” Since we announced that a summit would be taking place I have been fielding calls from graziers and small business owners in drought effected areas all over the state,” Mr Knuth said

“The amount of people who are getting involved in this is encouraging, the rural crisis really is the issue of our time.

shane-knuthMr Knuth who will be chairman on the day with KAP member for Mount Isa Rob Katter said while the speakers at the summit will help bring context, it is a priority locals are given the opportunity to speak.

“The summit is important but the action that follows after is essential,” Mr Knuth said.

“The resolutions devised and agreed upon at the summit will form a blue print for action in rural Queensland.”

Member for Mt Isa Rob Katter who held a similar summit in Winton last year said the rural crisis committee which has since become the backbone for rural advocacy in the area.

“Less than a year on the committee has been instrumental in applying strong pressures to the government in face to face meetings, but we aren’t done yet,” Mr Katter said.

“There needs to be a stronger and more direct connection with between the cattle producers, business owners and the policy makers, we are trying to facilitate this.”

KAP Federal member for Kennedy Bob Katter who will also be part of the day has widely encouraged people from all walks of life to join to help find a solution.

Mr Katter said the current high price of cattle due to the lack of stock available isn’t a consolation for struggling farmers because they themselves have no cattle to sell.

“There are answers here, and we have got to go to those answers with aggression and unity,” he said.

“Wandering around blaming political parties quite frankly isn’t going to get us anywhere, there is a big system of power there and we must assail it on the political front, the economic front and through social media.”

Mr Katter drew reference to the story of Charlie Phillott (speaking at the summit) who’s story written by David Pascoe, went viral and became the most shared post in Australian History.

“The people of Australia are  behind us, but we have got to know clearly what we want,” Mr Katter said.

“We must fight for survival.”

AGENDA

Final Agenda Charters Towers Rural Crisis Summit

Chaired by Shane Knuth and Robbie Katter

9.30- CUPPA

9:50 – Take your seats for the morning

10:00- Opening Address and Welcome Shane Knuth MP Member for Dalrymple

10:10- Andrew Jensen chairman Charter Towers Rural Crisis Committee, Committee work and goals for the day/ House keeping

10:15- Charlie Phillott face of the crisis/ Winton

10:20 – Bill Byrne MP, Minister for Agriculture Queensland Government

10.35 – Open Questions to Minister Byrne

10:50 – MORNING TEA

11.30 – Brian Egan, Aussie Helpers

11.40 – Cate Stuart, Formerly of Mount Morris Station

12:00 – Ben Rees, Australian Agriculture, the Real Story 12:15 – Dr Mark McGovern, Summing Up

12:45 – Committee Resolutions/ Other resolutions

1:30 – Bob Katter Federal Member of Kennedy, Closing address

For more information on the day please call: 0466-7 11-527

 

KAP wants sweeter deal for cane farmers

Bob - Shane - Robbie 15-04-15

Rob Katter – Shane Knuth – Bob Katter

Meetings into the future of sugar marketing in Australia over the past two nights in Ingham and Innisfail have seen resounding calls for State and Federal Governments to act to preserve growers’ economic interests and to retain existing marketing arrangements.

The meetings were attended by KAP State MPs Shane Knuth and Robbie Katter, leading cane growing groups Canegrowers and Australian Cane Farmers, peak ethanol industry body Biofuels Australia, a representative of the AWU speaking on behalf of employees, local farmers and community members.

State Member for Dalrymple Shane Knuth said that he and Robbie Katter MP would be introducing a Private Members Bill on behalf of the sugar growers, but better still they hoped the Government would take the Bill on themselves with the KAP MPs and farmers’ support.

Mr Knuth said he had seen what the closure of industries had done to small towns across Queensland.

“I have great concerns for the coastal communities that stretch from Bundaberg through to north of Mossman, including the Atherton tablelands, if this is not resolved.

“The sugar industry drives the economies of those towns.

“The last thing we want to see is all the profits going to foreign companies at the expense of these communities.

“I’ve seen the damage that closing one railway station does to rural communities and those once-thriving western communities are now ghost towns,” Mr Knuth said.

State Member for Mount Isa Robbie Katter said at the meeting that he wanted a future for his children where there was still an agricultural industry in Queensland.

“We want more opportunities.

“The foreign owned Wilmars of the world can say they create opportunities, but they’re essentially opportunities for the corporatised, foreign owned Wilmar, rather than for farming families.

“Governments really need a punch in the nose, they need to deliver outcomes and not just another inquiry and lip service.

“There needs to be legislation that protects the farmer as the primary producer and sees a return to statutory marketing,” Rob Katter said.

Sugar meeting Innisfail

Sugar meeting at Innisfail

Chairman of the Innisfail meeting Barry Barnes said it was testament to the integrity of the KAP State politicians that they had attended a meeting outside of their electorate on an issue that affected a large portion of Queensland agriculture, the viability of the Queensland sugar industry.

“Most politicians only come out of their electorates before an election to buy votes.

“But Shane Knuth and Robbie Katter have come to these meetings early in the Parliamentary cycle because they realise the urgency in the marketing of sugar, which is currently not in the farmers’ best interest,” Mr Barnes said.

Federal member for Kennedy Bob Katter, who called the meetings, said he was deeply appreciative of the two State members of Parliament who were shouldering the responsibilities of not only their own electorates but also the wider interests of North Queensland.

He also advanced the calls for mandatory ethanol in Australia, which relies heavily on sugar production, saying it was about the only product left that Australians could make any money out of.

“Try growing tomatoes, China will kill you.

“Try growing prawns, Thailand will kill you.

“We just can’t compete with the imported products.

“But ethanol, we know we can make money out of and we have to convince the Parliament of the absolute necessity for ethanol,” Mr Katter said.

Mr Katter will be putting forward amendments to legislation at the Federal level reflecting the meetings’ resolutions.

The meetings’ formal resolutions were as follows:

QLD State Government – Sugar Industry Act 1999 – Demand the State Government legislate as required to recognise:

  1. grower economic interest
  2. real choice in grower market interest
  3. preserve current equity marketing interests
  4. provisions for commercial dispute resolution
  5. retention of independent industry owned marketing body.

Federal Government – Australian Competition and Consumer Act 2010 – Demand the Federal Government legislate for a mandatory Code of Conduct to recognise:

  1. grower economic interest
  2. real choice in grower market interest
  3. preserve current equity marketing interests
  4. provisions for commercial dispute resolution
  5. retention of independent industry owned marketing body.


It’s time for rural and regional Queensland to share the spoils

Shane Knuth - Rob Katter

Shane Knuth – Rob Katter

In front of 19 different media people, KAP members Rob Katter and Shane Knuth outlined their priorities for rural and regional Queensland on the Speakers Green at Parliament House this afternoon.

Saying it was time rural and regional Queensland enjoyed the spoils in terms of jobs and industry, Mr Katter said they would work with any Government that was prepared to unlock that prosperity that was lying latent in the regions.

Rob Katter Member for Mount Isa said he was bound to deliver to his electorate first, and listed no asset sales as top of the list and many others that all adhere to the theme of productive infrastructure not populist infrastructure.

“Dams, roads and rail lines not sports stadiums and traffic tunnels,” Mr Katter said.

Mr Knuth said the KAP MPs had not yet spoken to either Labor or LNP, but were open to those discussions.

“We’re basically not interested in the great Labor Party or the great Liberal Party. What we are interested in are the best interests of Queenslander’s and rural and regional Queensland.

“We don’t have any favouritism whatsoever.”

The MPs pointed out that “Labor and LNP are one scandal away or one member quitting, from needing our vote if one side takes majority government.

“They will be a lot kinder to us than they have been in the past

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