Media Releases

Push against veg management clear at NQ hearings

 Push against veg management clear at NQ hearings

Voices against the Government's new vegetation management legislation have united in North Queensland following two days of public hearings.

KAP Member for Mt Isa Rob Katter said the hearings, which were held in Townsville and Cairns, have shown a strong push against the proposed changes.

"At each of the forums we saw strong representation against the changes, which will hopefully send the message loud and clear to the government," Mr Katter said.

"The biggest concern was stunting any further development in regions like Cape York where there is already 99% remnant vegetation."

"Speakers detailed a net increase of wooded area across the state by 437,000 hectares over and above tree clearing, in a reporting period between 2012 -2014," Mr Katter said.

"We also heard of increases in erosion due to restrictions on clearing, and property owners, unable to grow feed have had to import hay often spreading invasive weeds - all because they are not permitted to work their own land. This actually damages biodiversity."

"All evidence which undermines the very intent of the bill," he said.

The debate on vegetation management often became emotional with many participants vocalising their concerns that their livelihoods may be lost.

"Further restrictions have the potential to remove development activities altogether," Mr Katter said.

"Even groups like the Australian Conservation Foundation made it clear that they believe some clearing is ok.

"We also heard representatives on both sides of the argument suggest that many producers found it difficult to work with the already existing legislation," he said.

Mr Katter said suggestions of a clearing "frenzy" if the bill was not passed were exaggerated.

"We need to dispel the misconception that there would be a free for all - given the expense of clearing, this is a struggling industry, many of these producers are only just getting by," Mr Katter said.

"Clearing is a very costly exercise."

Member for Dalrymple Shane Knuth also believes the laws will make clearing practically impossible, a tragedy in areas in desperate need of development.

"This battle is about preserving our right to develop our own land," Mr Knuth said.

"It is also about being able to maintain our current productivity levels - being able to reclear thickening vegetation or regrowth on areas."

"We heard from producers and indigenous community groups just wanting to develop and make a future for themselves," he said.

Mr Knuth said the North of Queensland needs every chance to push forward and develop its agricultural industry.

The KAP looks forward to engaging with the farming community further over the coming weeks during the second leg of public hearings.

Maranoa candidate Rick Gurnett

Maranoa candidate Rick Gurnett

Robbie Katter endorses KAP candidate for Maranoa Rick Gurnett, a champion of regional Australia. 

Passion for nursing in the blood

Passion for nursing in the blood

KAP Member for Dalrymple Shane Knuth was cheered on by the gallery as he spoke in support of the Hospital and Health Boards (Safe Nurse-to-Patient and Midwife-to-Patient Ratios) in parliament this week.

Mr Knuth drew on personal stories when delivering a speech in support of the bill, which set minimum number of nurses to the number of patients they care for.

"Establishing and maintaining a safe workload has been a long-term priority for nurses and midwives," Mr Knuth said.

"Politicians are rated 49th out of 50 on the list of trusted professions, but nurses are number one; we need to look after them," he said.

Speaking proudly about both his mother and daughter Mr Knuth highlighted just how important this bill is for nurses in Queensland.

"I grew up with a mighty woman—a nurse—my mum. My mum has said that being a nurse is about finding the need within a community and trying to fix it," Mr Knuth said.

"There were never enough staff to meet the needs of patients. My mother worked in wards of up to 50 patients with a ratio of up to eight patients to one nurse. She said supplies were thin and there was never enough staff to tend the needs of every patient.".

"Under this legislation nurses will have a more manageable, safer workload with ratios of four patients to one nurse during the day and seven patients to one nurse during the night."

Mr Knuth's daughter also carried on the family tradition first as an enrolled nurse at the Charters Towers Eventide aged-care facility  and at the Townsville general hospital.

"Nurses and midwives play a crucial role in delivering safe, high-quality care. In contributing to the debate tonight hopefully we can provide a safer environment for those in need and for nurses like my daughter," he said.

"The Queensland Nurses’ Union have been lobbying for a safer ratio for our nurses and midwives, and tonight I stand with them.

"I admire their dedication, their determination, their passion and their will to see a better nurse-to-patient ratio," he said.

The bill will also see an additional 250 nurses employed across Queensland.

Katter launches Tom Harris for NSW Senate for KAP

Katter launches Tom Harris for NSW Senate for KAP

KAP Leader and Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter, launched Tom Harris as the KAP Senate candidate today at Parliament House.

Tom Harris is a fifth generation grazier from central NSW.

“I’m running because there are farmers all across this country that are struggling and things are harder then they need to be. I‘ve got two young children and I really worry about what sort of future they’re going to have if we keep voting in ALP and LNP governments,” said Mr Harris.

Mr Harris said the establishment of the Reconstruction and Development Board and removing 457 visas are priority issues for him.

Mr Katter said the Prime Minister’s Senate voting reforms will start small parties like KAP on a “handicap”…“in his drive for dictatorial powers.

“Once upon a time the Country Party was a watch dog, we now have a National Party that’s a lap dog, and Mr Turnbull will have immense power.

Barnaby Joyce will never walk, and that’s why he’ll never exercise the power we have if we can get two or three members in there and that’s why we are very much campaigning to get them in.”

Mr Katter said the only way people can stop the immense power being dealt to the LNP is to give small parties like KAP a go.  

“The Liberal Party is going for dictatorial powers. God help this nation. Every single asset this nation has will be foreign owned and your jobs will be taken by masses of people coming in from overseas. 

We thank Tom Harris for coming forward and doing what he can stop them from getting dictatorial power,” said Mr Katter.

Mr Harris grew up on a family farm near Orange, NSW.  After receiving his primary education at Stuart Town Public school, a small, two teacher school, he attended boarding school in Sydney. After a brief sojourn at Sydney University, followed by work and travel, Mr Harris returned to the family sheep and cattle property at Stuart Town to learn the ropes. He now runs the family's cattle property at Molong (also near Orange). He is married to Adelaide who hails from Neutral Bay in Sydney and has two children, Ned and Lizzy.

 Producers aren't "lone cowboys"


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

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.

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