Media Releases

 Producers aren't "lone cowboys"

12
May

Rick Gurnett, KAP candidate for Maranoa, in response to Tuesday 24th May article in Country Life "This just shows how out of touch as usual city politicians are with regional producers. Law abiding firearm owners everywhere should be outraged with the Minister. Mr Byrne has no idea and once again farmers are penalised for political gain”.

This is an issue KAP feels passionately about. And already responsed to 12 May, 2016

 

Drought declaration opens funding access

12
May
Drought declaration opens funding access

KAP Member for Dalrymple commended the work of the local drought committees and industry groups who secured the drought declarations Tablelands and Mareeba.

"Everyday I see firsthand producers who are now entering the fourth year of drought and are struggling, I am glad that their situation has now been registered by the government."

Eligible areas now have access to a number of schemes including water freight subsidies and emergency water infrastructure rebates as well as access other programs in the Queensland Drought Assistance Package.

"Those effected can also access relief from electricity charges and freight transport subsidies for livestock and fodder," Mr Knuth said.

"There are a number of community and mental health programs available to assist" he said.

Mr Knuth said the KAP is also urging the government to explore long term drought policies following the release of the Rural Debt and Drought Taskforce Report.

"This is an ongoing problem across Queensland, while the current solutions are only short term we need to look beyond that. 

"The recommendations detailed in the report, such as the establishment of a Rural reconstruction facility will lead to long term stability for rural and regional Queensland."

"Drought declared zones in Queensland are at 83.9%, it is clear just how far reaching the effects of this drought are, with it spreading further east," Mr Knuth said.

Katter calls on opposition to "put up or shut up"

11
May
Katter calls on opposition to

KAP Member for Mt Isa Robbie Katter has warned the LNP to "put up or shut up"  when it comes to tackling Rural Debt and Drought.

"Three years of pretending everything is fine is not good enough - We can't continue to sit on our hands and not support solid solutions," Mr Katter said, extending a hand to the Opposition.

Mr Katter, who chaired the Rural Debt and Drought Taskforce, is calling on the Opposition to put forward their own solutions, or support the innovative long term policies detailed in the report released Monday. 

"I acknowledge we didn't get total agreement on big ticket recommendations from two of our twelve members, due their inability to support a reconstruction facility for the Agricultural industry," Mr Katter said.

"I am disappointed, but not surprised, that the Liberals would reject new ideas to assist our producers."

"All of the Taskforce members saw the same desperation out there, we all saw the need for solutions that go beyond simply extending existing policies."

Mr Katter said he understood the recommendations would be a hard sell for the fledgling Deputy Opposition leader.

"Liberals are not likely to support this vital bank and reconstruction authority, it's unfortunate the Nationals have lost their clout," Mr Katter said.

"The previous shadow agriculture Minister's comments have suggested farmers can't handle more debts because of little cash flow; we agree, this is why we need this reconstruction facility.”

"The LNP simply need to work out whether they are with us or against us in regards to finding genuine rural debt solutions, and stop playing games." 

Mr Katter said the contemporary Farm Debt Reconstruction Authority with the ability to address untenable financial arrangements is of high importance to Queenslands rural communities.

"I was pleased to see consensus could at least be achieved on simple solutions such as extending access to Federal farm household payments and the financial assistance for children’s education in suffering areas, some of these recommendations are urgently needed, but will not cut the mustard with the big picture" Mr Katter said.

Katter to Government on Northern Australia: Talk is cheap - Show us the Money!

3
May

On the day of the 2016-17 Federal Budget, and a year after the $5 Billion in concessional loans for Northern Australia was announced in the 2015-16 Budget, not a cent has been spent. KAP Leader and Federal Member for Kennedy, Bob Katter told the LNP Government today to stand on its record of what it HAS done for Northern Australia over the past 3 years, not what it’s ‘Gunna Do’.

“Both the ALP and the LNP have no understanding that we do not want to hear what they are 'going to do'.

Mr Katter said to this LNP Government “You've been there for three years, and you've been there for 14 of the last 20 years; why haven't you done it?

“You've had all this time and now you tell us you're going to do it next time. Well, 'going to do it' is not good enough.” Mr Katter said.

The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility Bill 2016, (the legislation for the $5 billion Northern Australian
Concessional Loans), was only introduced into the Parliament last month. Today it was sent to the senate a second time – raising doubts if it will be passed before a double dissolution election and a year after being announced.

Mr Katter who was a Senior Minister for the best part of a decade in the long-standing Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen Queensland Government stated that cabinet would never have contemplated going into an election stating ‘this is what we are gunna do’.

“When I was in a government that won every single election for, I think, 35 years, we did not go to an election saying what we were going to do, because that is an advertisement against you. The immediate question, then, that leaps to people's minds—is: 'Why haven't you done it?

Mr Katter also expressed apprehension at where the $5 billion concessional loan monies for Northern Australia would be spent; and questioned whether the funds would go to Australians or to Foreign owned corporations:

“As a person at a distance, I say the Ord River stages 2 and 3 will easily be the biggest farming operation in Australia, and it will be foreign owned. The biggest farming operation in Australia at the moment is Tasman Farms; it is foreign owned. The third biggest operation in Australia is Cubbie Station; it is foreign owned. What the hell do we own?

“If you want to know where the money is, $23 billion of superannuation money is shipped overseas and put into the roulette wheel of the American stock market. That is a wonderful use of our money! If people knew where their superannuation was going, they would lie awake at night in a cold sweat,” Mr Katter said.

Mr Katter then focused on successive ALP and LNP government’s lack of spending on development infrastructure and the projects which will generate returns and jobs in Northern Australia.

“For the last 25 years, I have not known of a developmental project financed by the government anywhere in Australia.

“When the Liberals announced an infrastructure package to boost the Australian economy, it was roads and rail in the city.

“What do you get for a $5,000 million tunnel in Brisbane? A few thousand people get home a few minutes early to watch the television!

“If that $5,000 million were used to build a railway line into the Galilee, I would give you $4,000 million a year in revenue for the Australian people. I would give you 20,000 jobs, for the next hundred years.

“If it were used on the Hells Gate Dam and the Upper Herbert River proposals, the two water projects have an income of $4,000 million a year,” Mr Katter said.

"It only took 30 years!" Mission Beach gets the breakwater it deserves

29
Apr

KAP Leader and Federal Member for Kennedy, Bob Katter is relieved the Mission Beach Clump Point “breakwater” will be constructed and the alternative proposal has been scrapped.

“The money has been redirected from the ‘rock sausage’ to the breakwater at Mission Beach’, said Mr Katter

Mr Katter has been supporting the community’s fight for the development for over 30 years.

“I give thanks to the people who have fought for this for an unbelievable 30 years. The late Helen Wiltshire and her brother James Mort, Tony Lee (probably the most strident voice) Peter Dore, Ken Fox, Robert Mackay, Les Blennerhassett, Annette Treseder, Richard Giuliany. I deeply apologise to the many people whose names are too numerous for me to list here.

For people to have kept the faith and to have kept battling at this for 30 years…. Power to you. All that you see in North Qld today is built by people like you.

I’ve been actively involved in politics for 45 years and I’ve never seen a group that has stayed the distance like this. Sadly only two of the original group (Tony Lee and Myself) are still with us today. It should be an inspiration to others that if you are right, no matter how many obstacles you endure, you keep on.”

But Mr Katter will not forget the ugly politics that has clouded the proposal:

“I do not hesitate to show my anger and disgust at members of the old Cassowary Coast Council and the State Member of Parliament (ex-Minister).

The Federal Government’s $5.5 million has been sitting there now for four or five years. The State Government doubled the figure two weeks after my announcement. But the State Government’s $11 million has also been sitting there for four or five years when the local Member was arguably the relevant Minister (the decision maker).

I single out Allister Pike. Allister had his own business interests and he didn’t make any secret of his position and the stand that he took was against us. But he was open and honest and that’s more than I can say for the other people and their cowardly bushwhacking of the people in Mission Beach who are working so hard to try and better their community. I’d love to bring out the details of exactly what occurred and the nasty, despicable nature of what transpired behind the scenes but I’ll leave it at that.”

Mr Katter describes Mission Beach as “one of the most beautiful tourist destinations on earth”. But the community has experienced economic hardship in recent years:

“We lost 120 jobs at Dunk Island, Bedarra Island went into a very low operation and 23 businesses closed in Mission Beach.”

Mr Katter believes the breakwater will be key to the economic survival of the town:

“It will provide safe anchorage for 70 or 80 boats with all weather, dry-foot access. Economists believe $100,000 per boat will be injected into the local economy.

I received a letter from Castaways Resort, Dunk Island Resort and Bedarra Island Resort. If these tourist operators can go ahead with their proposals which are contingent upon proper boating access then you’re looking at millions being injected into the economy each and every year from now on.”

We have won a battle, but not the war. Re-open QLD Nickel!

23
Apr

23 April 2016: KAP Leader and Federal Member for Kennedy, Bob Katter welcomed the liquidation of Queensland Nickel, but warned the war is not yet won.

“The aim is to get Qld Nickel re-opened and operating. Today is helping us in the battle to win the war – which is to recreate those 2000 jobs, the 750 direct jobs.

Mr Katter, whose electorate of Kennedy’s southern coastal boarder is just north of the Queensland Nickel Yabula refinery, estimates that 200 of the workers probably reside in the electorate of Kennedy.

Mr Katter has paid tribute to Alan Jones and the workers who stood up and fought for fast-tracking the liquidation process at a workers public meeting on Monday 11 April. Following pressure from the meting the Minister announced an expedited process.

Liquidation now allows workers to access the Federal Government’s entitlements scheme. The entitlements are reported to be as much as $74m.

“The people that went to the workers meeting two weeks ago, to the great Alan Jones who travelled from Sydney to Chair the meeting and to the worker’s committee who organised the meeting – they are all great heroes.

“Again we thank the workers who stood up and fought. They were not going to roll over and cop it. They forced the Government’s hand and said ‘come back to the world of reality, this is a few weeks or months wages’. That is so easy for the Government to do.

“But have no illusions to reopen Queensland Nickel, it requires $100m guarantees from the State Government and a similar guarantee from the Federal Government. We will be working closely with the worker buy-out group,” Mr Katter said.

“Every single person in the greater Townsville region has a vested interest in Queensland Nickel reopening and Townsville once again being one of the global centres of mineral processing - refining copper, cobalt, nickel and zinc.

“There will not be a person in Townsville that will not feel some pain if this nickel plant stays closed. I represent around 200 of those workers, and as far as I’m concerned the battle is just starting.

“Stand on your hind legs and fight - you might be amazed what you can achieve.

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