Scott calls for more support for drought-hit farmers
IF YOU eat food and wear clothes, Federal LNP Member for Maranoa Bruce Scott has implored you to be involved in the debate and support farming families facing drought during his passionate speech made in Parliament.
As the only Queensland Federal MP west of the Great Dividing Range, Mr Scott spoke of family financial and mental angst as drought grips the entire Maranoa electorate.
"If people eat food in this nation, they should be engaged in this debate, because our agricultural sector produces the food and fibre that we all enjoy in bountiful amounts in Australia, as well as clean, green, healthy food," Mr Scott said.
"In terms of the agricultural sector, it's the largest manufacturing sector in Australia. If you look at the workforce from the start through the processes and the people who are engaged in agriculture - transport and processing through to exporting - the agricultural sector is the largest manufacturing sector in Australia.
"The problem when we came to government was there was no drought policy - Labor had got rid of the policy that existed over many years.
"Exacerbating this, in many parts of my electorate, was the callous way Labor banned the export of live cattle. This has had a significant impact on capital values of land across northern Australia moving into the western parts of the Maranoa electorate.
"There is no cash on the land out there in these pastoral areas which are totally destocked and it's important to note that $1 earned on a pastoral property is $4 that circulates in the community."
Mr Scott said this week's rural debt forum - held in Parliament House with beef industry and rural sector representatives, banks and government officials - was a step in the right direction where financial institutions accepted the correlation between debt, drought and the live cattle export ban.
"The banks have, at long last, accepted that, whilst there is not a debt crisis per se across all of rural Australia's agricultural sector, there are hotspots of debt exacerbated by drought and also the ban on the export of live cattle," he said.