MINISTER for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud was in Mareeba last Thursday to meet with local industry professionals and farmers to hear their concerns in the lead-up to the Federal Election this Saturday. The forum also provided Mr Littleproud the opportunity to show his support of Kennedy’s Liberal National Party candidate Frank Beveridge, who has run a strong and tireless campaign on the ground that has seen his core messages gain greater traction with voters seemingly every week.
“I want to reinforce to industry professionals and farmers on the Tablelands and the Kennedy electorate that we are the ones who will make sure that their voice is heard in Canberra,” Mr Littleproud said. “That’s a huge priority of mine as they don’t have one at the moment, and I think that’s something a candidate like Frank (Beveridge) will provide this electorate. “Frank has been in both local government and small business,so he can relate to the people of this electorate and knows what it takes for this part of the country to prosper. “The other thing is he’ll be inside the room, because if we win, he’ll be there making the case for you by cutting the cheques and making the decisions – which is something you’re not going to get with an independent or minor party.”
Mr Littleproud said the most notable issues which were raised at the meeting on Thursday were roads, biosecurity and water infrastructure, and he spoke to what processes the LNP have put in place to ensure the Kennedy electorate are the beneficiaries of greater investment in those particular industry areas. “We’ve got $3.5 billion that we put in the Federal Budget for roads of strategic importance, $1.5 billion of which will be for North Queensland and we want that money spent,” he said. “As it relates to biosecurity, let me tell you, I have changed the rules now. “If someone comes in from another country and they disrespect our biosecurity or risk our 60 billion dollar agricultural industry, we send them home straight away.
“We have to take this threat very seriously, and we have done so by committing a further $313 million into biosecurity and that’s not only for boots on the ground, but also for the implementation of Indigenous rangers and up-to-date technology.”
Ultimately however, Mr Littleproud noted that arguably the most pertinent issue facing regional Australia is ensuring its continual economic growth. “In order to grow regional Australia and allow it to reach its full potential, it’s essential to invest in agriculture,” he said. “We as the Federal Government have put $3.3 billion towards new water infrastructure. “It’s never been the responsibility of the Federal Government to build water infrastructure, it’s traditionally the responsibility of the State Government yet they won’t come to the table.
“It’s vitally important that we back ourselves because for far too long in this country we’ve perpetrated our own misery by saying why we can’t do things rather than looking for reasons why we can. “We’ve got to back ourselves with the smarts of the 21st century with infrastructure, science and technology – we can build dams, we can build water infrastructure and that will empower regional Australia to grow.”
Mr Littleproud said the Liberal National Party is coming from behind in this Federal Election however he believes in his party’s policies and the LNP’s ability to be transparent with their vision for the future, and he’s confident that will bode well come this Saturday. “You can’t have a party become the Federal Government who don’t tell the voters what the cost of their major policies are,” he said. “For example, they won’t tell us the cost of their climate change policy which is of great concern.
“With the LNP on the other hand, we’ve got nothing to hide and you know what you’re going to get with us – so don’t wake up on May 19 in a cold sweat after voting Labor to find you’ve been hit in the hip pocket.”