6000 local jobs at risk under Greens' 'thought bubble'
A GREENS candidate has appeared to support the idea that cattle don't belong in Australia and should be replaced with kangaroos - a policy that would cost "6000 local jobs".
Greens candidate for the federal seat of Page, Daniel Reid, who hails from the beef capital of Casino, shared an infographic on Facebook which claimed "in Australia there are 26 million cattle that eat as much as 669 million kangaroos" with a comment that "if we want animal agriculture in Australia then it has to work with our living country and not against it".
In the same thread Mr Reid posted an article titled "Eat locals: swapping sheep and cows for kangaroos and camels could help our environment".
The article by Deakin University ecologist Euan Ritchie argued that eating "fewer sheep and cows, and more kangaroos, feral animals, and insects" was good for the environment, because of the degradation intensive livestock farming had arguably done to much of the Australian landscape.
"The days of riding and relying on the sheep's back, cattle's hoof, or the more recent, and increasingly popular, chicken's wing, may need to pass," Ritchie wrote.
Page MP Kevin Hogan said the idea was "extreme" and "out of touch" and would destroy the local beef and dairy industry.
"The jobs of more than 1200 people at the Casino Meatworks would be lost, the 850 jobs at Norco would be lost and the income of our cattle farmers would be decimated," Mr Hogan said.
"Agriculture, dominated by cattle and dairy, directly employ more than 6000 people across our community.
"Even more indirect jobs would be lost and many local businesses dependent on the dairy and cattle industry would be forced to close their doors."
Mr Reid defended his post in a statement saying it was "intended to stimulate conversation around sustainable agriculture in this country".
He said the recent drought had been "horrendous for all of us especially those who had to face not being able to feed their livestock and keep their breeding lines".
"Sustainable animal agriculture plays a vital role in the Northern Rivers community.
"The Greens have a strong policy on sustainable agriculture."
Meanwhile, Greens candidate for the state seat of Lismore Sue Higginson said Mr Hogan's comments were a "low ball".
"The irony for me is while Mr Hogan is taking aim at a Facebook comment made by my colleague, today I am sending the first 64 of 250 round bales of stock feed to Werris Creek."
A dry land rice farmer, Ms Higginson said she usually let her paddocks fallow over winter but this season decided to plant a crop of triticale for stock feed specifically for drought relief in the west.
"The Greens have stood by farmers in the face of coal mining, coal seam gas and drought, and we are fighting harder than any party for action on climate change to benefit our agricultural sector."
According to ABS figures cited by Mr Hogan, beef contributes more than $135 million to the local economy and makes up 66 per cent of the agricultural production in Kyogle local government area.
Last year dairy co-op Norco recorded almost $1 billion of sales.