THE Katter Australia Party has introduced a bill to Federal Parliament today that seeks to establish an Australian Reconstruction and Development Board and enable reconstruction of ‘debilitating’ financial debts at the Government interest rate, currently set at 2.36pc.
KAP Federal Leader Bob said the the legislation, if passed, would provide tailored funds and capital arrangements would help the recovery of those devastated by flooding in North West Queensland which has killed an estimated 500,000 cattle, leaving thousands without income.
Mr Katter has urged the Federal Government to throw its weight and support behind the Reserve Bank Amendment (Australian Reconstruction and Development Board) Bill 2019 introduced today.
“Australia has developed a highly-regarded capability to provide its own foods and to trade surplus produce for the sustenance of others and the prosperity of the Australian nation.
“This important national capability has been diminished by recent events including, inter alia, a combination of adverse conditions originating beyond the farm gate which have reduced farm incomes and imposed great strain upon production systems.
“Rural Australia is struggling under an insurmountable debt burden, characterised by low farm income and lending practices of financial institutions in deregulated financial markets. With escalating debts, there is a risk of ‘fire sales’, that could precipitate a raging financial bushfire that may not be contained to rural and regional Australia – and leaves our doors wide open to more China/foreign ownership land purchases.
“The Australian Reconstruction and Development Board (ARDB) will also play a vital role in researching and monitoring industries to provide advance warning of emerging problems and to initiate reconstruction, development or other activities as deemed necessary.
“In such circumstances of uncertainty and risk to nationally-important agricultural and associated industries, reconstruction is critical to re-establish a sound financial basis, and development funds to maintain and sustainably develop capabilities in this country.”