Ken O’Dowd hosts the Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Food Security in Flynn
Posted on Monday, 18 June 2012
Federal Member for Flynn Ken O’Dowd last week hosted the Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Food Security, The Hon. John Cobb MP on a two day listening tour of the Bundaberg and Burnett Regions.
On Wednesday, accompanied by the Federal Member for Hinkler Mr Paul Neville MP, the pair met with the Canegrowers Association board where various issues from biosecurity to Education and Research were discussed.
This was followed by a meeting with Fruit, Vegetable and Nut growers that saw many of the same issues, including labour costs and shortages as well as the Carbon Tax raised.
Mr O’Dowd said that “these meetings have been a great opportunity for us as the regions Federal Representatives to get a grassroots understanding of some of the most pertinent issues facing producers in these vital industries in both Flynn and Hinkler”.
Mr O’Dowd and Mr Cobb then continued onto Biggenden, where they met with Burnett Livestock and Realty Director Mr Lance Whittaker. Mr Whittaker conveyed to them some of the core issues and challenges facing the cattle markets at the present time.
Following this a meeting was held at the Biggenden meatworks with Director Peter Gibbs and Forman Gavin Kelly. They were given a tour of the facility followed by a tour of the company’s feedlot operation.
“The Carbon Tax continues to pop up as one of the biggest issues facing industries that we have met with so far, the Biggenden meatworks is no different and to be told of significant cost increases, particularly regarding refrigeration gas prices is a big concern.
Biggenden Meatworks is such a valuable part of the local and regional economy in this area and rest assured their concerns and feedback are being heard loud and clear” said Mr O’Dowd.
After spending the night in Biggenden Mr Cobb and Mr O’Dowd then attended the Livestock sale in town and were impressed by a healthy show of numbers. They then continued onto Smithfield Feedlot in Proston to attend a working lunch which included representatives from a wide range of stakeholders.
In attendance were representatives from Agforce, The South Burnett Regional Council, Smithfield Feedlot and HSR Seeds. Again many issues and concerns were raised during what was an invaluable opportunity to hear firsthand the current challenges facing these respective groups.
Mr O’Dowd said “The consistency of the issues being raised by the people we are talking to is truly amazing. Of particular concern to people across all of these industries are the Carbon Tax, Royalties to Regions, Biosecurity, education and Research and Development in Agriculture, and the ever increasing restrictions of Red tape.
These are issues that as the opposition, we have been aware of but the extent to which the Carbon Tax, R&D, and Biosecurity are of concern to some of our core industries is a big eye opener”.
The trip was wound down with a tour of the Smithfield facility before meeting with constituents in Proston and travelling onto Wondai to meet with constituents for the evening.
“I would like to thank everyone involved in our visit for taking the time to meet with us on this trip, the opportunity to show the Shadow Minister around this area is very valuable and the feedback we have gained will help us continue to stand up for the rights of our agricultural sector.
The Coalition is committed to repealing the Carbon Tax at the very first opportunity if elected to Government and certainly understands the importance of science in agriculture and the need to protect the sector from biosecurity threats. Gaining a grassroots perspective from the people is something we value greatly, and is exactly what’s lacking in the current Labor Government” said Mr O’Dowd.