KAP plan to save sugar industry $1.3 billion

Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto wants the LNP to back a Katter’s Australian Party Bill that will avoid Queensland’s sugar industry copping a $1.3 billion hit over the next decade from the State Labor Government’s draconian Reef regulations.

HINCHINBROOK MP Nick Dametto has called on the LNP to back a Katter’s Australian Party Bill that will avoid Queensland’s sugar industry copping a $1.3 billion hit from the State Labor Government’s draconian Reef regulations.

Mr Dametto said his Draft Environmental and Other Legislation (Reversal of Great Barrier Reef Protection Measures) Amendment Bill 2020 would repeal Labor’s farm-destroying Reef runoff regulations in the next term of parliament in order to avoid the cane industry suffering a $1.3 billion loss over the next decade, according to a report by Canegrowers.

“As always, it’s been left to the KAP to stand up for our farmers by drafting this legislation that will free them of the onerous green tape they are now dealing with,” Mr Dametto said.

“The LNP’s Opposition Leader needs to back the KAP’s Bill before the upcoming State election. Does the LNP support inner-city greenies or do they support our growers? They deserve to know where the LNP stands. If the LNP doesn’t support our Bill, farmers struggling with the new Reef regulations should be asking why.

“Backing farmers means more than words. It needs to be demonstrated through action, which is what the KAP has done with our Bill. I personally wrote to the Opposition Leader some weeks ago seeking her support and feedback on the Bill but unfortunately, we’ve had radio silence.”

Mr Dametto said the major parties had an “appalling track record at both a State and Federal level” when it came to supporting agriculture.

“In 2015, we had the former Abbott Government’s Sugar Marketing Code of Conduct Taskforce and the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee recommend a mandatory Code of Conduct be adopted for the sugar industry. Yet at the time the Coalition refused to do it. They voted against a motion by a crossbench Senator to implement a code of conduct, which is disgraceful,” he said.

“Then the Coalition panicked in 2017 and rushed to implement it only after being threatened by crossbench Senators that they wouldn’t be able to pass any other legislation unless they did. It disgusts me that the Coalition, and especially members of the National Party, threw our farmers to the wolves for years by letting millers dictate the commercial relationship without any safeguards.”

Mr Dametto said if Katter’s Australian Party found themselves in a position of power to form government after the upcoming State election, they would make repealing Labor’s latest amendments to Environmental Protection Act and vegetation management laws a “non-negotiable”.

“Our Bill will undo Labor’s overreach on farmer’s property rights in Queensland that took effect last year. This is a good starting point to give farmers back their rights to responsibly manage their land without the ogre of government bureaucracy watching their every move,” he said.

“This whole debacle is proof that the major parties really struggle to deliver for agricultural communities when trying to pander to Brisbane’s wants. Katter’s Australian Party will always unashamedly stand up for our farmers.”

Nick Dametto MP