“Where are your priorities?” asked Member for Mt Isa Rob Katter following the Commonwealth Government’s recent commitment of over $930 million to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (A.I.I.B).
Mr Katter has warned the federal government’s push for foreign investment and its commitment to the A.I.I.B is undermining the future of Australian farmers and the country itself.
“It would appear that the government is prepared to support other countries and their endeavour to provide food security while being content to neglect our own food security risks,” Mr Katter said.
“Instead of investing in our own essential industries close to $1 billion taxpayer dollars have been committed as upfront capital to this Chinese driven fund – it is time the Federal Government’s priorities are addressed.”
Mr Katter pointed out Australian producers urgently need similar federal investment and banking initiatives to provide finance and loan at concessional government set rates.
“We are asking for $250 million for the establishment of a state owned rural bank which is minimal compared to the $930 million committed to the A.I.I.B by the federal government,” he said.
“Instead the funds for the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank will be pooled across the Asian pacific region while our land owners fold under the pressures of crippling debt only to be taken over by foreign investors.
Citing the Sunday Night program which highlighted increasingly frequent farm foreclosures Mr Katter said signs of the crisis in the sector were clear.
“This hypocrisy on such a large scale is something we can’t ignore, are we in it for hard working Australians that put the food on our tables or are we in it for multinational corporations? ”
With 80% of the state in drought and only 113 farmers taking up the state’s current drought loans it’s clear urgent banking reform is needed.
“The agricultural sector has been hit so hard over the past decade – Our farmers simply don’t have the ability to hold out against foreign investors anymore,” Mr Katter said.
“We need to stop seeing our own country as an investment and start seeing it for what it is, our future.