Jul 2020

Not a drop of money for water security in latest drought spending

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KENNEDY MP, Bob Katter has savaged the Federal Government’s first round of spending under the Drought Future Fund, as it demonstrates once again the Agriculture Minister’s preoccupation with climate change and free market ideology.

The Government’s announcement included money for making farmers ‘financially savvy’, climate data services and natural resource management but not a cent for dams or irrigation.

Mr Katter, who just this week toured the sites of north Queensland’s proposed Hells Gates Dam (Revised Bradfield Scheme stage 1) and Big Rocks Weir, said if the $5B fund was used to build dams and on-farm irrigation then it would drought-proof every farm “north of the line” from Mount Isa to Mackay – one fifth of Australia’s land mass.

“Each farmer would be able to apply for 300 hectares of irrigation under a ballot system. This would double our cattle numbers and double our turn-off rates, and provide $7B in extra income,” he said.

“The Murray Darling suffers in drought but nothing like the impact taken by grazing areas that don’t have irrigation. Irrigation solves the problem of climate change.

“We are very disappointed and we plead with the Cabinet to consider the KAP approach of micro irrigation to be funded by the use of superannuation moneys through government guaranteed development funds. It provides secure and wonderfully high returns on investments. After 30 years of stupidity, Mr Government please listen to us.”

Mr Katter said the claims of the ‘climate change outrage mob’ (people that need a cause to justify their hatred of those that get out and work and have a go) that it would “never rain again,” were ludicrous.

“The Cloncurry–Flinders River has run continuously every year for the last 150 years, with the exception of two years,” he said.

“We saw the region inundated with a devastating mega-flood in 2019 and yet there were no dams or weirs in place to capture and store the water – liquid gold.”

Mr Katter said he would be embarking on another drought tour later this year through inland Queensland starting at Longreach, going down to Barcaldine and further down to the border.

“Pauline Hanson and I got a very clear picture of the needs and frustrations of landowners and primary producers and I plead with the Minister to undertake the same exercise,” he said.

“The Cabinet continue to listen to the extraordinary closed mindset of the Minister who has an almost fanatical obsession with climate change and the brutal imposition of fang and claw – “market forces”.

“And yet he is completely oblivious to the massive power of our competitor nations who believe government has a duty to work with their farmers to deliver acceptable outcomes and moderate prosperity.

“America’s farm support levels are nearly 40%. Europe’s farm support levels are over 40%. To preach to we Australian farmers as the Minister does with a messianic zeal and impose a free market regime is both spurious and ignorant. We had hoped his very welcome remarks that deregulation didn’t work for the dairy industry was a Damascus-like change, but no way Hosay.”

Contact Details

P: (07) 4061 6066
F: (07) 4061 6566
Visit: Cnr Edith and Owen St
Post: PO Box 1638
Innisfail, Qld 4860

Mount Isa
P: (07) 4743 3534
F: (07) 4743 0189
Visit: 42-44 Simpson St
Post: PO Box 2130
Mount Isa, Qld 4825

(when Parliament is sitting)
P: (02) 6277 4978
F: (02) 6277 8558

Local Call within the electorate
P: 1300 301 942

Email: Bob.Katter.MP@aph.gov.au