Member for Mount Isa Rob Katter has today hit back at the calls by the Queensland Competition Authority to remove agricultural assistance, and has in-turn called for the authority’s disbandment.
The Industry Assistance Report, a final report by the authority which was released at the end of last week has recommended the scrapping of industry specific assistance measures, much of which includes drought assistance.
“This report is free market madness that has grown over the last 20 years and has driven our economy to the state it is in,” Mr Katter said.
“For an independent review of our services we need to step away from the industry destroying economic rationalism and move forward to a model that builds employment, industry and understands the importance of the agricultural sector.”
Mr Katter said he believes the Queensland Competition Authority needs to be reformed “out of existence” because the recommendations produced have proven to be incompatible with contemporary Australia.
“It seems we have progressively moved away from the real world, and into a place where removing a paltry $50 million in farm assistance from the $50 billion Queensland budget is seen as a good idea,” Mr Katter said.
“Unemployment is rising, our rural industry is under extreme pressure from marketing giants and much of the state remains drought-affected and yet we see the QCA advocate the removal of further protections.”
“If the QCA was a doctor their prescription for the flu will be to let the sick die off to make room for what’s left,” he said.
“These people have had a good turn at running the economy and have failed miserably leaving the Queensland in a diabolical state.”
The crossbencher said the excessively free market ideals produced within the document are a philosophical remnant of the tyrannical previous government.
“In some areas this assistance is keeping people alive by the skin of their teeth – When you under value our regions, you undervalue the backbone of Queensland.”
Mr Katter urges the government against any changes to industry assistance that would impact Queensland industry and agricultural assistance.
Recommendations by the Queensland Competition Authority include:
7.1 (a) Remove drought assistance provided through input or transaction based subsidies , with appropriate transitional arrangements.
(b) abolish the Drought Carry-on Finance and Recovery Scheme. (Pp 79)
7.3 The Queensland Government should abolish the Primary Industry Productivity Enhancement Scheme. (Pp 84)
7.4 The Queensland Government should abolish the Hendra Virus Personal Protective Equipment Rebate Scheme. (Pp 90)