Media Releases

Taxis Draw Battle Line in Toowoomba

Taxis Draw Battle Line in Toowoomba

KAP state leader and Member for Mt Isa Rob Katter, along with Federal Leader Bob Katter, Senate candidate Rowell Walton, Toowoomba South Candidate Ken Elliott and Federal Candidate for Maranoa Rick Gurnett have drawn a line in the sand against Uber.

Speaking in Toowoomba today with a rally of local taxi drivers Rob Katter had declared Toowoomba the next battle ground against unlicensed taxi services.

The KAP who have been vehemently opposed to Uber operating without regulation, took a stand when the corporation announced it will operating in the regional centre of Toowoomba.

"I think no one in Queensland minds competition but we just want a fair go," Mr Katter said.

"To operate against the laws put in place by the state undermines the principals by which we operate a fair and legitimate business.

"Sure there is a low cost service in Uber but that comes at a cost, that cost is a loss of taxes to Australia, a loss of the regulations that ensure a safe service for people and a reliable service operating 24/7.

"Taxi's also provide over 1 million rides per year to those confined to a wheelchair, how else are we going to supply these government mandated services," he said.

 Mr Katter said he wants Toowoomba to look at the big picture and stand up for small business

"This is a point where we should all be standing up to say small business has a place in Australia, we are not going to be dictated to by multinationals who come in with their large media campaigns and sell shiny baubles to young people saying this is a great new service," he said.

Uber drivers now risk facing penalties of up to $2300 following a recently passed KAP bill, introduced by Mr Katter. 

"It drives me absolutely wild we spend all this time dealing with safety issues in parliament to make the laws and ensure community standards,  and a multinational corporation  feels they have deep enough pockets to treat any laws in this country and the people of Queensland with absolute contempt," Mr Katter said.

“If I start up a business tomorrow I need to check out the laws in which I want to operate that business, if I want to start up a pub tomorrow I need to wait until my licence is approved; they have said we don't really care about the laws in your country it doesn't matter what the laws or the government says we have deep enough pockets to win over the youth and the media," he said.

 Mr Katter said he has often seen the powers of Government weakened on the issue of market power.

"This is a story we see time and time again,  you're letting small businesses in Australia get rolled by these multinationals, if we accept this here we can look forward to unregulated pharmacies and selling booze out the back of your house," Mr Katter said.

"There has got to be a circuit breaker there, government has got to do its job, it's the same situation with the dairy industry," he said.

The KAP stance against Uber is one of the regional party's many pushes against excessive market power.

"Where we have been successful in conflicts like this in the past is through government, one of the founding principles of KAP is to hit that space and ensure small Australian Businesses aren't the ones who lose out.

"Try and repair some balance in industries, we are doing that through ethanol, we are doing that in the sugar industry, we will be doing that in the dairy industry and we are attempting to do that in the transport industry," he said.

Party Leader Bob Katter had likened the issue of possible taxi deregulation to the deregulation on the dairy industry.

"In the dairy industry we had 243 dairy farmers in the Atherton Tablelands before deregulation was announced, we now have only 38; it’s just all gone the area lost 50 million dollars," Mr Katter said

"The greater Toowoomba area also lost 100 million dollars due to the deregulation.

"What we are saying to you is if you continue to deregulate with unhinge industry in Australia, you will suffer the same fate as the dairy industry," he said.

The Member for Kennedy had concerns about the reliability service based on promises instead of a legislative structure.

"If you have a giant foreign corporation coming in and they have a monopoly hiring people part time as a second job, they aren't going to be as committed," Mr Katter said.

"Taxi drivers however have to pay $20000 a licence that guarantees that the taxi is on the road 24 hours a day every day a year, we also have regulated pricing.

"Watch what happens when arbitration has been taken away and we are facing off against one of the world’s largest corporations, what chance has anyone got," he said.

The KAP will continue to fight for the rights of small legitimate businesses in Queensland in the lead up to the outcome of the OPT review.

Katter's Australian Party Candidate - Brad Kennedy Calls for support in the battle of Longman.

Katter's Australian Party Candidate - Brad Kennedy Calls for support in the battle of Longman.

Brad Kennedy today asked the voters of Longman to “Pick me” as the nation’s voters turn in droves towards minor parties to solve Australia’s mounting problems. 

“I can deliver Jobs and prosperity and lead the people of Longman to a future that will deliver us from our economic demise.  One which has seen our unemployment rise above the state average and with youth unemployment dwarfing some of our nation’s worst hit regional areas.   The suicide rate which is in the top three in Australia is the legacy that 20 years of swapping LNP and ALP representation has delivered the voters here in Longman” He said today.

“My vision is to build the foundation for the world’s next generation 3D printing innovation and to base it here in Longman.   3D printing is now in its infancy and will be the new manufacturing method for thousands of products and generating jobs and export opportunities for decades to come.   At last Australians will be able to purchase Australian products manufactured and designed right here in Longman” KAP candidate Brad Kennedy said today.

“The car manufacturing industry might be finished in Victoria and South Australia but in a couple of years Longman will be launching the ‘Pet’, made and designed right here in Longman.” Mr. Kennedy said today.

Katter's Australian Party Supports Dairy Farmers

Katter's Australian Party Supports Dairy Farmers

Newly selected Katter’s Australian Party Senate candidate Rowell Walton said he was right behind dairy producers in their battle against monopoly supermarket powers, Coles and Woolworths.

Along with Robbie Katter MP and Shane Knuth MP, Mr. Walton attended the rally protesting governmental response to the Queensland dairy industry held at Parliament House in Brisbane on Tuesday 24th May.

He commented, “… this battle has gone on for too long, we need to find an answer. The whole community knows it’s time we resolved this for ordinary milk producers.”

The ridiculous situation of processed milk being cheaper than water was “…out of step with common sense,” he said.

"It’s time the industry got its act together and announced an effort to amalgamate in some form of cooperative marketing arrangement so they can exercise countervailing market power to the overly dominant supermarkets" he said.

The Queensland Dairy industry has been in decline since deregulation, placing immense strain on farmers whom are unable to produce milk, instead outsourcing from New South Wales to fill community need.

$1.00 per litre milk, made available by Coles and Woolworths, has significantly reduced farmer’s ability to produce milk at cost let alone profit, resulting in the majority of Queensland dairy farmers running at loss. 

"It’s got to go. This $1 per litre price for milk has got to go." said Mr. Walton, the Katter’s Australian Party Senate candidate.

Consumers are encouraged to buy branded milk to try to help farmers; however there is suggestion that both supermarkets have maliciously withheld branded milk from market to increase purchase of their product.

"This problem needs an answer and I can say to Queensland dairy farmers and families that the Katter’s Australian Party has been aware of their plight for a long time and they would all know just how hard KAP members had fought for their rights. It goes without saying that as we progress the health of the business of dairying will be a community requirement which we will push relentlessly," said Mr Walton.

Oakey Water Contamination

Oakey Water Contamination

State KAP leader Robbie Katter and KAP senate candidate Rowell Walton today declared enough is enough in the Oakey contaminated water debacle.

"This is an absolute disgrace and both the ALP and LNP have declared their complete lack of compassion for the people of Oakey this week,” said Mr Walton.

“LNP Defence Minister, Marise Payne refused to even discuss the issue when questioned by media in Townsville this week and Bill Shorten has announced partial funding for some blood tests admitting they weren't offering enough blood test for all affected residents. So, on one hand the residents can be ignored by LNP or fight to get in line and be the "lucky ones" to get blood tests under Labor.”

Mr Walton continued to say: "Democracy doesn't work like that. There is an election on and people don't have to simply cop what the two parties dish up. The KAP is in an extremely strong position in the Qld State parliament and we intend to secure at least one, but ideally two key Senate seats in the Federal Parliament along with several Lower House seats.”

In a two pronged approach, Robbie Katter has vowed to introduce an urgency motion in the Qld Parliament to force the Qld Government to issue a writ against the Department of Defence in order to hold them responsible for the contamination and to commence the immediate clean up and rectification of the contamination.

Rowell Walton will also introduce a motion to the same effect in the Federal Parliament. Mr Walton is confident of securing enough cross-bench support for his motion to see it introduced as well as the urgency resolution in the Federal Parliament.

Media commentator Antony Green is predicting that whichever party wins the Federal election they will need the support of at least 6 cross benches to pass any legislation. Rowell Walton has committed to using his vote to force the government's hand in the Oakey contamination scandal.

"The solution is not an enquiry, it is not blood tests, it is not a continued regime of silence and secrecy, it is simply an unqualified commitment to fix the problem and make it good immediately. The cost is unimportant. This is the lives of Australian citizens, and governments just do not have the right to poison their own people and cover it up. All sides of politics must just stop the bullshit and fix it," said Mr Walton.

Uber expansion blatant disregard for safety

Uber expansion blatant disregard for safety

Member for Mt Isa Rob Katter has struck out at American owned multinational Uber, who this week announced the expansion of  its unregulated service to the regional centre of Toowoomba. 

"Once again we see the multinational side step the law of the state and ignore regulations, put in place for the safety of passengers," Mr Katter said. 

"Drivers hoping to join this unlicenced taxi service should be aware they are putting themselves at risk of fines of up to $2300," he said. 

Mr Katter warns the unregulated service does not have the same standard of government mandated safety provisions as the taxi industry. 

"There are not driver fatigue measures to limit the number of hours these unregulated drivers are on the road, which vital components of every legal transport industry," Mr Katter said.

"Other normal Government standards like protections for the drivers themselves are simply not mandated under the Uber model."

"The regulations also ensure that 20% of each taxi fleet is capable of taking wheelchair bound passengers, self-regulated businesses do not," he said.

"These other ride services aim to take away these community focused regulations, which significantly damage accessibility for some of society's most disadvantaged."

The KAP who successfully legislated tougher measures on unlicensed drivers earlier this year are eager to see a fair reform, following the outcome of the OPT review, due in a few weeks. 

"Current civil disobedience in this matter has gone on for far too long, is harming too many legitimate businesses and putting too many people at risk," Mr Katter said.

"It's regulation not ratings that are going to keep Queenslanders safe on our roads," he said.

Consultation procrastination = Gun owner frustration

Consultation procrastination = Gun owner frustration

Member for Mt Isa Rob Katter says firearm owners are growing tired of the tactical delays in the establishment of the Weapons Consultation Forum, announced by Police Minister Bill Byrne last month.

"While we wait for a committee to be formed the Minister makes major unilateral decisions on firearm legislation, including recommendations to the National Firearms Agreement," Mr Katter said.

"Yet responsible firearms owners are still waiting to hear any terms of reference for the forum or details around how applicants can apply."

"The move looks to be a token gesture, especially now we are aware the submission to the National Firearms review has already been put forward," he said.

Mr Katter who has long called for the consultation on these issues believes that the delay in the establishment of the body is yet another tactic to keep discussions away from responsible shooters.

"Surely a government that prides itself on consultation would have consulted with the law abiding property owners, sportsmen and women before making a submission to some of the largest firearm reforms Australia has ever seen," he said.

Mr Katter believes the situation clearly illustrates the opinion the Minister has of licenced gun owners.

"This is all about best practice for policy development, the government has said they will consult but are yet to act," Mr Katter said.

"These groups can assist in enhancing safety measures and taxpayer costs on the issue of guns."

The KAP will continue to follow up with the Minister on the establishment of forum and the rights of responsible firearm owners across Queensland.

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