Premier considers KAP water tariff reduction plan

Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto has backed calls for a 25 per cent reduction in State Government water tariffs for farmers could boost Queensland’s economy by as much as $220 million over the next four years.

PREMIER Annastacia Palaszczuk has revealed her government is considering a game-changing proposal from Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) that could dramatically boost farming and inject millions into Queensland’s economy.

When asked at a press conference this morning whether the government was considering the proposal to cut State government water tariffs by 25 per cent for farmers, Ms Palaszczuk responded that KAP MPs had met with her and the government “was looking into it”.

Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto said the Premier’s response was “encouraging” with the policy having the strong backing of irrigators and the Australian Sugar Milling Council.

“Our policy is based on the Milling Council’s projections that a 25 per cent reduction in irrigated water tariffs would add up to $220 million to the Queensland economy over the next four years. That’s the equivalent of 11 AFL grand finals,” Mr Dametto said.

“This is something that could benefit agriculture immensely and I trust the government will give this policy serious consideration.”

Hill MP Shane Knuth said reduced tariffs were beneficial across a range of areas.

“This policy would be a win-win for irrigators, consumers and the State government as a result of increased production that would also provide a jobs boost for tradies and apprentices across the state,” he said.

Mr Dametto said farmers were crying out for financial relief through the tariff reduction after Labor “crippled the industry” with vegetation management legislation and new reef regulations.

“Neither Labor or the LNP are friends of the farmer. Labor put through this farm destroying legislation and then the LNP voted with them in August to established a legislative hitman answerable only to the Environment Minister and no-one else. They will have immense power to work against mining and agriculture in Queensland,” he said.

“What we’re asking for is a significant reduction in water tariffs at a time when both Brisbane major parties have taken so much from regional Queensland.”

KAP leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter urged the State Government the speed up their consideration of the KAP’s proposal, given the unprecedented economic pressure Queensland was facing.

“It’s a given that agriculture and mining are going to be the key industries carrying us through the COVID-19 crisis and the subsequent recession,” he said.

“It’s not optional for government to help out these industries while they do all the heavy-lifting.

“Today we have just heard the state has approved work on a $662.5 million Bruce Highway upgrade down on the Sunshine Coast which will see some extra lanes added.

“If they can find the money to help people get home a little bit faster from work each evening in the south-east, then that can surely give consideration to a plan that supports agriculture and will actually make the state’s economy money in the long-run.”

Nick Dametto MP