State Member for Mount Isa Robbie Katter has slammed the LNP for supporting Labor to vote against a real solution to address the rural debt.
In a parliamentary session that went into the early hours of Wednesday morning the KAP’s Rural and Regional Adjustment (Development Assistance) Amendment Bill was denied a vote in the House through the blocking of a motion put forward by Robbie Katter.
“The motion was put forward to enable the Parliament to adequately consider and vote on a solution that would’ve seen a new lending mechanism established to address the shortcomings in QRAA’s current activities”
“Each member of the crossbench voted to allow the motion to be heard but it was the major parties who didn’t allow it. It’s unbelievable that they would so blatantly work together to stifle a minor party Bill.”
“With so much public disappointment in partisan politics, it’s ironic that the only thing the major parties can agree on is limiting consideration of minor party Bills”
Mr Katter highlighted the amount of consultation and analysis that went into the KAP’s Bill and expressed his disappointment at the behaviour of the major parties.
“The LNP not only supported Labor’s Bill over the KAP alternative, they actively worked to restrict debate and consideration of the KAP Bill”
“The LNP and Government used every excuse in the book to avoid undertaking a difficult reform. They even used banking regulations as an excuse. Do they forget where here to change laws and regulations? If I told my constituents that I wasn’t prepared to undertake legislative reform because of a regulation I wouldn’t deserve to represent them”
“For me, the genesis of this Bill was during the term of the Newman Government, which shows that this has taken years of stakeholder discussions, industry forums, community and local leader’s input,” Mr Katter said.
“Through the Rural Debt and Drought Taskforce that I chaired in this parliament, it was clear that the debt problem is massive and that a significant response from the Government was required to address it”
“However what the Parliament has achieved is an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. A farm debt mediation mechanism doesn’t solve the debt problem it just ensures that when the problem has finally caught up with a producer they can shut their business efficiently”
KAP’s legislation was designed to address not only the cattle industry but also the viability of our rural towns.
“We need ways of stimulating the economies of the rural towns that rely on agriculture. Rather than using blunt funding programs to create short-term employment, why not invest in reconstructing the core industry so longer term organic growth can be delivered”
Mr Katter expressed disappointment at the Government and Opposition’s “hands-off” approach to supporting a key Queensland industry.
“In 2015, I thought the Palaszczuk Government was serious about identifying solutions to address rural debt issues with the formation of a Rural Debt and Drought Taskforce. I was wrong. Just like the Opposition they prefer to leave it to the “market”. This approach has delivered a declining sugar industry, a decimated dairy industry and some of the most expensive gas and electricity in the world.”
“Government’s “intervene” in markets all the time. Between the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, there’s about $5 billion worth of low-interest loans to help stimulate the industry. However, when it comes to supporting agriculture, and particularly family enterprises, the Government doesn’t want to touch it”.
“The rural community right throughout the State should be angry that a significant proposal to benefit people doing it tough and earning a living in regional Queensland would be stymied and watered down by both major parties.”