The KAP are calling on drought effected producers from across Queensland to assist with the case for a reconstruction board.
A number of committee hearings will be held in regional Queensland in the coming weeks to give rural residents the opportunity to speak in support of the KAP’s Rural and Regional Adjustment (Development Assistance) Amendment Bill.
“Debt it one of the biggest burdens our producers are shouldering, there is a clear need for an alternative loaning facility,” Member for Mount Isa Rob Katter said.
“The average debt in regional Queensland has continued to increase, yet the current model has provided little benefit to our towns.
“Sure there have been efforts across both major parties in the last few months to try and come up with improvements, but in the years before that they haven’t lifted a finger.
“I believe through the KAP bill the drought concessional loans of increased capacity will be the key component to assisting and uplifting these towns,” he said.
Mr Katter said he was strongly opposed the government’s softer alternative mediation bill, and said the loaning facility he proposed has proven to be a success in the past.
“The Farm Debt Mediation Bill is a nice suggestion, but we need a big tool that can provide financial stimulus to agriculture in the state, to allow it to become the economic provider it was in the past,” Mr Katter said.
“The great news is this has been tried and tested before, this is not a radical idea, we’ve done it before through the QIDC which was a benefit to the taxpayer.
“I believe this bill creates a vehicle that can accommodate a separate loan book which will act as a circuit breaker for this cycle of debt,” he said.
Member for Dalrymple Shane Knuth is personally calling on constituents to make an appearance at any one of the hearings and put their case forward to the parliamentary committee.
“Now is the time for our farmers to come forward and make the case for reconstruction, and show the major parties that this is just what is needed,” Mr Knuth said.
“The reconstruction board will assist solid operators and efficient producers and keep the families in these towns,” he said.
Mr Knuth said while he supported the intention of the Government’s bill which will be debated simultaneously, he believes a reconstruction board is the only way to deal with this structural issue.
“Current loaning facilities don’t have the capacity and will not help restock Queensland and bring life into the towns, neither will the government’s mediation plan,” Mr Knuth said.
“It’s a clayton’s solution; the only way forward is through the adjustment facility,” he said.
The Finance and Administration Committee will be holding public hearings on both the Farm Business Debt Mediation Bill 2016 and the Rural and Regional Adjustment (Development Assistance) Amendment Bill 2016 on the following dates.
There is limited space for observers in some locations. Observers must also register their attendance:
4 October 2016
Cloncurry TAFE Queensland North, Cloncurry Campus, 35 Ramsay Street, Cloncurry 10am – 11.30am
Longreach Longreach District Office (Glasson House) 1pm – 2.30pm
5 October 2016
Mackay Central Queensland University City Campus, Mackay 9am – 10.30am
Emerald Central Queensland University campus, Emerald 11am – 12.30pm
St George St George Hospital 2.30pm – 4pm
6 October 2016
Home Hill / Burdekin TAFE Queensland North, Burdekin Campus, Seventeenth Street, Home Hill 9am – 10.30am
Bundaberg TAFE Queensland East Coast, Bundaberg Campus, 118 Walker Street, Bundaberg 11am – 12.30pm
Hughenden Hughenden Hospital 1.30pm – 3pm
Roma TAFE Queensland South West, Roma Campus, Timbury Street, Roma 3.30pm – 5pm