6
Aug 2018

We need to save the herd. Katter backs farmers and praises drought helpers.

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KAP Leader and Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter has praised the work of all the charities, campaigners, volunteers and media that are helping farmers, farm workers and local businesses during this devastating drought.

Mr Katter said, “Thank you to all of those wonderful people that have followed on from Aussie Helpers, you are too numerous to name but your work is immeasurable and enormously valuable for maintaining the will and spirit of these stoic people.

“There has probably never been a group of people on earth that have suffered like the Australian farmers and farm workers; they have suffered because of the punishment meted out by the ALP and LNP Governments of Australia.

“The Government says we’re helping...helping, really? Julie Bishop announced $342 million for overseas students to get an education. They’ll find around $4000 million a year to flaunt around on the international stage but when they go over to the little towns of Australia few have high schools, they can’t afford to send their kids to boarding school therefore no town and no education.”

Mr Katter called for the Government to better support farmers in the good times, so the devastating impact of the bad times aren’t elongated and raised his concerns about deregulation.

“Almost every farmer on the land today belongs to a family that was there 100 years ago. How did they survive through droughts back then? Well, we didn’t have a Government that took our protection away.

“Farmers in other countries get around 40% of their income from their Government but if you’re a farmer in Australia or New Zealand then you only get 5% - we can’t compete. Our interest rates have been 10 times higher than our competitive nations which means our dollar has been twice the value that it should be so every single farmer in Australia has been cheated out of at least half of their gross income for the last 20 years.

“Also, there are only two buyers in Australia – supermarket giants Woolworths and Coles and they’re out there to make a profit, they’re not there to be Santa Claus. The day before milk deregulation - 59 cents a litre and then the day after - 41 cents a litre. “

Mr Katter has argued that the rural sector could be tremendously helped by the establishment of a reconstruction board (a government-backed rural bank) and also by investment in infrastructure projects that make use of North Queensland’s water supply such as the Upper Burdekin River Irrigation Scheme.
“We can’t survive without a debt reconstruction board. Take the banks out because the banks have got these people on 10-15% interest rates. You take the banks out the Government can borrow the money at 2 3/4 % and give it to the farmers at that rate. We’re not asking for a single dollar from the taxpayer. All we’re asking for - is a fair go and for a bank that doesn’t punish us in these dire times.

“If we build projects like Hell’s Gates Dam then we can take 1 million head of cattle at Charters Towers and make use of the water in North Queensland. We intend to fatten and lot feed one million head of cattle a year - such measures dramatically reduce the exposure to drought and dried distillers grain from giant ethanol plants and judicious use of hay but we currently have near enough to nil ethanol in Australia.”

Mr Katter has also slammed insensitive comments made by an animal rights group who boldly stated “if you can’t feed them, don’t breed them”.
“I was in a debate once and I said ‘how are we going to feed the world if we don’t have farmers?’ And this bloke said ‘oh there’s too many people in the word now’ and I said ‘ oh that’s a good solution, you think we should starve them to death?’. I thought it was clever but nobody laughed because it was a greenie audience.”

Mr Katter has long stressed the importance of support for the bush, “There is someone from the farm –a farmer worker, a contractor or a farmer doing away with themselves every week in Australia.”
Let’s hope we’re one day closer to rain.
If you, or anyone you know is suffering from a mental illness then please contact Lifeline 131 114
—ENDS—

Contact Details

Innisfail
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

Canberra
(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